Sunday, August 21, 2016


The builder asked us to mark out the outline of the back patio with flags.  We were in a creative mood that day, so we used curved borders and more area than initially planned.  Add that to the list of cost overruns.
Forms were placed for the patio and a sidewalk to the walkway.
More forms for the driveway and sidewalk.
Yet more forms for the front porch.  A temporary post is installed to support the roof over the porch.
And then forms for the taxiway.  The stakes in the middle mark the finished height.
The crew on pouring day seemed pretty large, although I didn't count.  Everyone seemed to know exactly what to do.
Pouring the front porch.  The crew has to be prepared to step in it.
One way to trowel hard to reach places is to use kneeboards.
The other way to trowel hard to reach places is to use a long pole.
The second truck is leaving as the third one arrives.
A broom is used to rough up the surface slightly.
The finished back patio.
The finished front porch.
The finished taxiway.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


While we were designing the house, we met with Colleen from Dream Kitchens to help us design our kitchen.  One of her suggestions was to move the sink to the island and move the stove to the wall.  We met with her again when it was time to order specific cabinets.  There are a lot of possibilities that we didn't know existed.  For example, several of our base cabinets have deep drawers as opposed to doors, which should make it easier to reach pots and pans.

The cabinets are here!! The cabinets are here!!
Installation of the kitchen cabinets went quickly once it started.
This shows the seating area of the island before installation of the countertop.  It seems to be the best place to check the house plans but still not a very good place.
Since we selected relatively dark cabinets and floors, we went with white quartz for the countertops in the kitchen for contrast.  We thought it would be easy to find a backsplash that would tie in our countertop color, our cabinet color, and our wall color.  To our surprise, that proved to be one of the most difficult materials selections of the whole process.

This is the island with the countertop and sink installed.  We selected white quartz for the kitchen countertops.  There is a seam in the island countertop, but you have to look very close to find it.
The backsplash proved to be one of our most difficult selections.  The wire hanging from the wall cabinet on the left will eventually power an under-cabinet light.
We decided to go with granite countertops in the bathrooms.
This is the master bathroom vanity.  One thing that bothered us in our previous house was having only one electrical outlet in the bathroom, so we specified outlets on both sides of the vanities.
This is the guest bathroom vanity.
This is the vanity in the basement bathroom.
Having exceeded our budget with a couple rooms left to go, we decided to get off-the-shelf countertops from Home Depot for the laundry room.  The half bath will get a furniture-style vanity from Lowes.
This is the laundry room.  The clothes chute in the ceiling connects to the master closet.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Exterior Paint

The only part of painting in which we took an active role was selecting the color.  First, we took samples of the brick, the shingles, and the window frame material to the paint store and selected a handful of possible colors.  We bought seven samples and painted them on the side of the house.  We waited until after the brick was installed to make a selection.  We still couldn't decide, so we had a color consultant come out to the house to help us.  With her help, we eventually settled on a color called Sawdust.

This photo was taken before the bricks were installed.  We ended up choosing #6 - Sawdust. 
There are many reasons we were glad that someone else was doing the painting.  Before painting the trim, the painter climbs a ladder to remove a beehive from the highest part of the building. 
The finished product.  Paint color is difficult to show in photographs because it looks quite different in different light conditions.  This photo was taken in the morning with the sun behind the house.
The finished hangar door.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Interior Trim

The interior trim crew has been busy lately.  They do a number of different tasks, including:

  • Installing cabinets (which will be a separate post)
  • Installing interior doors
  • Installing trim around doors and windows and along the floors
  • Installing shelves in the closets and the pantry
  • Installing the railings, and
  • Building a mantle for the fireplace (which will be a separate post)
Due to the exterior foam, our window sills are 2" deeper than they would otherwise be.

Shelves in the pantry

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Over the last couple months, we have driven all over Southeast Michigan selecting finishes.  We are anxious to see what these finishes actually look like in the house.  The tile was among the first to be finished.  Our master bathroom includes a tile floor, a tile shower, and a raised tile platform for the tub.

The sign on the floor says "Fresh Tile - Stay Off!"  OK, I guess we will just look from the door for now.
We used 9x18 wall tile on the shower walls and ceiling, as well as on the tub platform.  This shows the tile before the grout was applied.  (The picture is taken from outside the bathroom door to avoid violating the sign in the previous photo.)  

The shower has two inset shelves.  Plastic inserts are installed between studs when the wall board is installed.  A glass shelf is installed along with the tile in the insert.

A whilrlpool tub will go in the hole in the platform.  The platform needs two access holes - one for plumbing and one for the motor.  The platform turned out to be the only available place for a supply register.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


The rooms really started to look like rooms when the drywall was installed.

The family room
The kitchen
The master bathroom.  The tub will go in this platform.
The master bedroom
The master bedroom after the drywall is finished and a primer coat is applied.  The primer has the same tint that the finish paint will have.
In order to avoid the air leak of an attic access, we provided an attic access from the gable wall.  Unfortunately, the crew that came to insulate the attic didn't think to look for an access via the exterior.  They decided to make an access panel where they expected it to be.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Hangar Door

Having a hangar attached to our house means that we need a hangar door.  We really underestimated the implications of that.  We selected a bi-fold door from Schweiss Doors. The door is 40' wide in order to accommodate the airplane's wingspan.  The height of the door is dictated by the fact that we intend to store our motorhome inside.  We went with a 14' tall door in order to get a 12' clear opening.

The cost of purchasing the door turned out to be only the start.  The narrow, tall walls on either side of the door provide little rigidity, so an engineer specified substantial structural upgrades including two large steel posts.  We were shocked at the quotes for installing the door.  Once the door was installed, we had to figure out how to sheath it.

The steel structure of the door was delivered by truck and unloaded onto the grass of the vacant lot next door.
The door has two seven foot tall panels.  The upper panel is hinged to the house.  The lower panel is hinged to the upper panel.  The door is opened by straps that pull the bottom of the lower panel upwards.  As the bottom of the door is raised, small wheels at the outside of the lower panel roll up the steel posts.  We won't be able to test it until the electrician connects the power.

A crew was hired to hang the door.  We severely underestimated that cost.

Once the door was hung, we had to figure out how to transform it from a steel frame into a door that actually separates the outside from the inside.  Wood framing was attached to the steel framing, followed by plywood sheathing and cedar trim.

Wood framing is attached to the steel structure in preparation for attaching sheathing.  Flashing ensures that water runs to the outside.
This shows the wood framing from the inside.
After attaching the wood sheathing and cedar trim, it is starting to look like a hangar door.
This is the door controller, which must be wired to 220V service.
Insulating the door is one of the tasks I am saving as a do-it-yourself project after we move in.  Several neighbors have mentioned that they really like having windows in their hangar doors.  I am looking into that.