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April 13, 2012

We’ve quit calling it a renovation.  That is a severe understatement.  We are rebuilding the home.  It’s a rebuild.  I think we have created a new genre of construction with this project.  It’s not a renovation, it’s not completely new construction, it’s a rebuild.  Many people have asked me why we didn’t just knock it down and start anew.  Well, you have to consider your lot and place in a neighborhood.  The worst thing we could do financially is out build our lot.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a big project but when you start with a blank page with new construction, you go large.  It can keep going and going because there are no limits.  We were forced to stay within the foundation for the majority of the house and like Tim Gunn says, “Make it work!”.  This lot in this neighborhood didn’t need a castle sitting on it between 2 modest homes so we went with the rebuild.  We will likely still out build our lot, especially if you ask David, but the home will not look abnormal, it will blend and it will be unassuming, all qualities that make us comfortable.

April 13, 2012

This was the back on April 13, 2012.

April 27, 2012

April 27, 2012

Before the addition.

Back progression

April 27, 2012

As the addition goes on

May 18, 2012

May 18, 2012

Addition is on!

Front updated view-

May 18, 2012

Front view with addition complete.

The rear is still missing the courtyard and from what we understand that will be added towards the end of the project so the rear view is not complete at this point.  The plumbing is going in and the electrical begins Monday!

Garage addition-


We rebuilt and added the garage

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The last 2 weeks have been like what I imagine watching paint dry will be like expect there is no paint.  There are no walls for that matter.  We’ve managed to get the addition foundation walls poured and set and we now have a dirt pile 10 feet tall in the backyard.  It was delivered to fill in under the soon-to-be back courtyard if they ever start framing that is.

Right now, it is so slow.  Waiting for cement to dry is like watching paint dry.  Waiting for the inspectors is like waiting for your turn to check out at Target with a kid screaming in the cart.  Lots and lots of waiting and in the mean time, I am frozen waiting on what to do next. I haven’t made that many decisions yet and I feel like I am going to be steamrolled eventually and not prepared. I’ve had some weird dreams.  Nothing with naked people but dreams that make you wake up thinking you forgot something.

We need a landscape plan. Don’t really want to pay a company and we would rather look for an individual to help but that doesn’t seem easy to find right now either.  We have like 6 weeks before school is out and after that, I will likely be dragging 4 kids with me to any appointment and I can already feel the “That’s fine, whatever”, boiling up in my throat when it comes to what all needs to be selected.

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Friday update


3-30-12 Update


The windows are back in, front is wrapped and old landscaping has been removed.  The changes in the backyard are dramatic.

Before addition and garage


The footings are set to be poured today and then the addition can begin next week!

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Today, we received a basic landscaping layout plan.  It is just an overview of how to put the puzzle pieces back together but it give us a birds-eye view of the property.

We demolished the original pool but we plan to have another pool but we likely will not start that until next spring.  Let’s just get us in the house first!

The “Porch” is the topic of the day.  This is a typical day for me- The builder will text me and say, “Are you fine with the landscape plan?”. I have to get my phone out(because I am ALWAYS in the car) and pull up the latest PDF file and review it without crashing the car(don’t text and drive).  Are you “okay” with _____ is a loaded question.  You have to pay attention to the details because you are usually agreeing to a huge list of items that are not listed out.  

I open the plan and the one thing I see above all else is the location of the rear stairs to the backyard.  They are now located at the far side of the back courtyard which seems like a huge distance to me to travel to access the backyard.  

landscape plan
We have ONE door from the main level to the back and that makes the stair location critical to me.  

Stephen Fuller is our architect. If you are not familiar with him, he was/is the “Southern Living” guy and his kids go to Wesleyan.  He is an awesome resource.  He is my phone a friend.  So, whenever I get a call from our builder that I cannot answer immediately, I use my phone a friend and call Stephen.  Steve.  Here was his conceptual/rough drawing:

Rear courtyard

It shows stairs in the center.  That is where I thought they should go logically.  For some reason, the new landscape plan has them on the left hand property line.  I am not okay with that.

So, after emails/phone calls and texts, we have to meet at the house tomorrow to discuss the stairs!  Stairs.  Just one piece of the puzzle but it has to hit right and you cannot make a corner piece out of an interior piece no matter how hard you force it into the puzzle.

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Bye bye pool

3-26-2012 Today, they started grading work in the front and back.  We are planning an addition that will go across the back of the home and a new single car garage will be added.  We are also taking off the old front porch and replacing it with a larger front porch making the window above it smaller to accommodate the new.


In Progress



The plantings to the left of the home out front are gone as of tonight.  The landscaping was so overgrown, it really dated the home.  On the right side of the lot, there is a row of hydrangeas that are beautiful and those will not be touched.

Also today, the right side of the home came off.  That was a surprise to me- the roof was always coming off to accommodate Addison’s bath above the first floor but everything is gone so I guess that will be all new too!  I know it seems like I should know this already but we are staying inside the walls over there so I really didn’t know it was totally coming down.

This week brings lots of changes.  Audrey got glasses.  Bright pink ones which she will debut at school tomorrow. When I brought them home to her she put them on and said look at that apple over there and handed me HER glasses so I could clearly see the apple as she now does.  So, I guess tomorrow brings a clearer day for Audrey.

I went and looked at tile again today.  So far, that is the most frustrating thing to conquer for me.  There are just so many choices but I am just trying to find something neutral for the kids’ baths and the choices are limited with neutral and trying to keep cost reasonable.

I have selected 12×24 tiles for the floors and 4×8 subway tile for the bath/shower walls.  I did opt for a hexagonal marble tile insert on Addison’s bathroom floor to give her more grout in there and thus more traction which will help keep her from slipping.  It’s very pretty and clean-looking.  I just need to figure out if I want any accent bands or do anything interesting with the tile.

I’m still working on the master bath.  The only thing I know for sure is the glass mosaic shower tile.  I am trying to find something that works with it and right now it may be marble.  I wish I could get some glasses like Audrey and see things clearly tomorrow when I put them on.  It would make the selections so much easier!

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So, I have learned that when you start focusing on the inside of the home, your finishes revolve around your kitchen counter selection.  It defines the look, the colors and the feel of the home.  It is that significant so due attention must be paid.

I have been to so many stone lots- all the way up to South Carolina by car and even put in a call out of desperation to California and thought about having slabs shipped!  Crazy.  It shouldn’t be this hard but it is.

I love the look of marble.  I think a classic white kitchen is hard to beat.  I like wood but I think paint is timeless whereas wood tones come and go so we will be going with a painted kitchen cabinet.

On one of my first trips to look at stone, I came upon quartzite and once I saw it, that’s exactly what I wanted- quartzite is harder than granite and it does not etch or stain.  It looks like marble- it has the same veining without the specks that granite contains in the stone.  It’s the best of both worlds- the ease of care like granite and the look of marble.  It is more expensive that marble though- of course!  I can pick them!

I’ve been through a few different choices but the one that I think we are going with is called White Macabus.  It is a taupey-grey color with a dark gray veining.  I really like it.  Some of the quartzites are whiter in color but they have a ton of straight lines that run straight across the slab and I just wasn’t so sure i wanted to start at those lines for the next 20 years.  This one that I have picked is more random like marble.


I think it will set the tone that we want for the house and I am loving the color grey right now and it works with that very well!

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Today, the siding came off the front and underneath was National Gypsum board that was basically sheetrock like you put on the inside of your house.  So, that had to come off.  Now, it is just wide open.  It is shocking to look at.

Tomorrow, the back of the house comes off and they may start moving dirt around for the footings for the back addition which will start to change the way things look a bit.  That’s a good thing!

They have actually almost finished reframing the entire upstairs minus the additions.  We got to walk through the kids’ rooms, the bathrooms and closets.  The new linen closet is there and the new upstairs laundry closet is framed.  I am excited to have 2 laundry rooms!  The new media room will be located over the garage on the left side and that isn’t built yet and a bathroom will be added over the right roof- also not there today.  Upstairs, out the back, 2 baths will bump out the back wall so there are many spaces that are yet to come!

Things look small when there is only framing to look at and you just see right through the “wall”. I keep going back to the plans and remeasuring.  I started to panic walking through the new framing hoping everything would be right in the end.  I just don’t want to screw it up and working with an existing space, you have to find a way to make it work and options are not unlimited. That’s both a blessing and a curse.

My latest dilemma is trying to make Hudson’s “bunk beds” to work.  They don’t even exist yet but I had that in my head that it is what we were doing in his room and I love the picture that I have.  The problem is, it doesn’t work in the room that was supposed to be his room.  So, I can flip-flop he and Addi’s room but that means the wall for her twin beds would be smaller if I switched them.  Her beds are super cute and she has the flower chandeliers from PB Kids that go over her beds and I love them so it’s just comes does to how bad do I really want to have that bunk bed for Hud.  Decisions, decisions.



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