New Home Update

09/27/2012

We have had a lot of work done on our new house the past couple weeks that’s not very visually interesting. We’ve had duct work run for the heating and cooling system. We’ve had gas lines run for appliances and vents for those appliances. We’ve had all the electrical work in the house roughed in.

Also, the courtyard leading up the front door got cleared out and a concrete footer was poured for the steps.

Next up: concrete for the front porch and steps, the garage and the back patio. I think. And soon after that: insulation, doors and drywall. Woohoo! We’re half way there.


New Home Update

09/05/2012

Since my last update on our hew house, we’ve had our windows installed, the ground leveled around the house and our roof has been shingled. All of that excitement packed into one picture-ific post:

The house feels much more grounded, nestled into the property, now that the dirt has been leveled. We’ve got a lot of landscaping to do!

The window in the foreground will be over my desk, looking out into the backyard.

The front door (in the right of this pic) opens into the dining room and kitchen area. The windows next to the door were not yet installed in this picture. We get a ton of light while still having a lot of privacy from the street.

From the front door, we can see straight down the hallway and out the window in one of the kids’ rooms. I love how that worked out.

Also from the front door, I catch a glimpse of the living room with big window and tall concrete block fireplace.

We’re looking forward to cozying up in front of the fire this winter.

I really, really love how much indirect natural light we get in the house through the clerestory windows. Three cheers for thoughtful architects!

The exposed concrete block continues into the den/playroom/spare bedroom. Jason is probably swatting a mosquito in this picture. They’re really bad down by our house. Maybe because all the dirt was stirred up with the leveling?

We have some nice big windows in the master bedroom too.

I love that we get to look out at this beautiful crepe myrtle tree all summer and fall!

Lucy is very happy that we have some low windows and glass doors that she can bird watch through.

The front door on a different day, after the windows were installed. This is from the dining room looking out toward the courtyard entryway.

A couple of weekends ago, Jason and I did a bunch of yard work. We removed about 60 feet of chain link fence and posts, cut back/down some trees, weed and shrubs and hauled all the debris to either the dumpster or the curb for brush pick-up. It was hard work on humid days but it felt so good—the physical exercision and the fact that we were working on our new property. This photo is taken from the back corner of our lot, the highest point on the property.

In the above pictures, our roof is covered in tar paper but not shingles. I’m not sure if you can tell by looking at them. But, in the pictures below, we have shingles! Yay! We selected “weathered gray” and it’s just what we were hoping for. We didn’t want to go too dark to attract the sun and we didn’t want to go too light that it looked the same shade as concrete. We didn’t want to go too brown since we have gray concrete block but we also didn’t want to go too gray because we’ll have cedar wood siding. Needlesstosay, we’re pleased with our choice.


New Home Update

05/17/2012

I wish I had more exciting news to report. I was really hopeful that we’d be breaking ground this week. We’re working things out with the bank, trying some different options to see who/what/where will be a good fit to finance our new home. In the meantime, our contractors have the building permit in hand and are ready to go as soon as we close on the construction loan…which could be a few more weeks. Boo. We’re really eager to start moving forward.

I have some samples of countertops and wood flooring on my desk. This is honed granite, which is an option we’re considering for the kitchen countertop. The wood sample is hickory. Jason picked it up at the hardware store because he likes the fine, straight grain and the variation of colors. I do too. We’re still quite a ways away from needing to make those decisions but we’re looking at options as much as possible now so we can decide quickly later on.


Pinterest and Kitchen Inspiration

03/29/2012

Good news: Pinterest has some practical real life applications! Last week I was pinning pictures of kitchens for inspiration for our new home. Our architect emailed us and said, “I noticed you’ve been looking at soapstone countertops. Do you want us to get some prices together for soapstone counters in the kitchen?” Jason said, “How did he know that?!” Because he follows my boards on Pinterest, of course!

It’s true. We’ve been thinking about putting black soapstone countertops with high gloss white cabinets and stainless appliances in our new kitchen. We like the solid dark color, the soft feel, the heat resistance and the matte finish of soapstone. And supposedly it’s quite a bit cheaper than granite. Here are some inspiration pictures I pinned on Pinterest. Some are pinned because of the cabinets, some the counter tops, some the configuration.

Source: homedesigninterior.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: fortheloveofahouse.blogspot.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: google.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: younghouselove.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: designsponge.com via Martina on Pinterest

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Source: theredbungalow.blogspot.com via Martina on Pinterest


New Home Update

03/22/2012

Our architect finished our construction documents last week and we have three general contractors putting together bids. Friday night we looked through the plans with our friends Leila and Jeremy who just built a house last year. We are getting so excited now, looking at all the drawings, elevations and schematics in PDF form. Hurry up, GCs! We’re ready to break ground!

On Sunday afternoon, Jason and I spent a little time on our land tree-chopping. We cut down three trees a few months ago… a huge one that had been burned by a house fire in the past, a dead cherry tree and a sickly dogwood tree. We neatly stacked all the wood at the back of the property, along the fence in anticipation of a wood burning fireplace in our new home. We were really bummed when the whole pile of firewood was stolen. Who does that?! So last weekend when we cut down huge maple tree that we decided would be too close to our back patio and house, we left the wood in large (10′ or so) pieces at the back of the yard to make it less appealing for thieves. We’ll cut it up later, maybe after the house is up.


Home-Free

02/29/2012

Home-Free. That’s what I’m calling this combination of being homeless and debt-free. Last week we moved the rest of our belongings out of our house into storage and we closed on the sale of our sweet little green mid-century ranch. (I just updated my blog header, sniff, sniff.) I miss that house already. I’ve been driving past it everyday, just because, and I consistently have an impulse to check the mail or stop at the end of the driveway to pick up the paper. I have to remind myself, it’s someone else’s home now. We’re not really homeless. We have a home at my parents’ house for now, but it feels funny after owning a home for 7 years to no longer have a mortgage. Which brings me to…

We’re debt-free! We made a little money off the sale of our house. We put the first bit towards paying off the last chunk of our school loans and the rest we’ll set aside for the new house we’re building. I’ve been hearing for years, “The borrower is slave to the lender” but it’s still surprising to me how freeing it feels to no longer have any debts! And we’re soaking up the feeling because we’ll be taking out a construction loan soon. But you know, for the moment, we can shout a good ol’ Dave Ramsey style, “WE”RE DEBT FREE!”

Fun fact: Jason was out of town so I had to sign for him at the closing. Instead of just signing “Martina Ahlbrandt” on every page, I had to sign, “Martina Ahlbrandt, Jason Ahlbrandt by Martina Ahlbrandt his Attorney in fact.” And anywhere I had to initial for him, it was “JA by MA his AIF.” Isn’t that nuts?! I think he owes me a hand massage or something.


Front Elevation Photoshop Mock Up

02/23/2012

We’re waiting for our architect to finish up the construction documents so we can find the perfect contractor and get started on our new house. In the meantime, I decided I’d take Ryan’s front elevation drawing into Photoshop and have some fun with it. I used a photo of the property from October (when the trees had leaves) and then added colors, textures and landscaping.

I don’t know how accurate this mock up will end up being but it sure does get Jason and me excited!