Nearing Completion on Plum

February 23rd, 2008 by Peter Schmelzer

Guardrail looking good at the metal shop

This week, Mary and I stopped at Welding Resources to check on the progress of the new guardrail. Dean Odette really stepped up in short order and pulled the guardrail together; we made a last minute design change from a traditional cherry newel and rail to this stainless steel guardrail. Why? It allows us to save the original newel and save about $1,500 in the process. It was exciting to see the rail looking so good; Dean agreed.

Stairway ready to receive guardrail

Here is where the guardrail will be installed: between the newel post and the doorway in the background. The guardrail will be lag screwed to the newel post and the studs directly behind the door trim. The slenderness of the steel will work well in this application; we’re looking forward to seeing the contrast of the turned newel against the sleek steel.

Master Closets awaiting paint

These cabinets are the closets and dressers for the Master bedroom. We opted for built-ins instead of closets to optimize the space. The floor plan is very efficient, leaving no room for a walk-in closet. “Shoe-horned” would be an accurate description of how we worked four bedrooms and two bathrooms into the floorplan, but wouldn’t be an accurate way to describe the spaces themselves. They are appropriately sized and functional, and seem to flow well.

So, back to the title of this post: nearing completion. We’ve decided not to try to move into the house tomorrow due to the work remaining (although not without some angst.) The final coat of paint remains to be applied to all of the bedrooms. The hardwood floors still need a final finish coat. The tilework in the bathrooms is incomplete, so the fixtures are not yet set. The light fixtures are still in boxes as are the door hardware sets. Three doors are still on order, which still need finishing and installation. Today they are finishing the last of the window trim and sanding the patches on the drywall. The new boiler and air handlers are not ready to go. The water is yet to be connected, since the fixtures are not installed.

Outside, there has not been much progress, since the guys were pushing hard on the interior. Corner boards, water table and siding will be installed. We’ll paint in the spring when it gets warm enough. We also plan to insulate the exterior of the foundation, which can’t happen until the ground thaws. And we’ll need to do some dirtwork and landscaping.

Causes for the delay? The airkrete insulation switch cost us a few days, then the icynene truck wouldn’t start in the cold, costing another day. We ended up putting new ceilings in two rooms downstairs due to inadvertent damage during construction, which forced us to paint both walls and ceilings. The drywall contractor’s work left much to be desired, so our painter has spent extra time patching and sanding the blemishes.

So what of the delay? We have a contract for completion by tomorrow, so there will be some negotiation about how to handle the missed date and the additional costs and inconvenience it means for us. That’s the long and the short of it.

Of course, we are more than ready to move back into our home. The adventure of living in “the cabin” has worn off completely. The cold weather has not helped at all, keeping us indoors for the most part. I am impressed with how mentally challenging this process has become as both the designer and displaced owner, on myself and on our family.

The sun is out today and the temperatures are up! We are pitching in with the painting the walls (easy stuff) so our painter can focus on the cabinets, doors and trim (tougher). Our new goal is to sleep in the bedrooms next Friday night. I’m going to patch the newel today, sand it and prime it. We may be able to install the guardrail on Monday if its finish is properly cured.

Oh, we stopped in to see the carpet yesterday. Vos Floors in Faribault received and unrolled it for our inspection. I looks great. We’ve chosen wool carpet for it’s durability, sustainability, and nice appearance. It will be installed in the hallway and on the stairs after the final coat goes down on the hardwood floors.

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