T – Minus 1 Week Until Move In

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The posts stopped because, quite simply, I’ve been running around like a proverbial headless chicken trying to get everything done, and get some consulting business going so we have a little extra cash to play with. A LOT has happened. We are close to being in the house with a nearly finished kitchen, one finished bathroom, all trim in (but not painted), and hot water.

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I am officially exhausted, mentally and physically. And I can’t wait until there are no more workers, no more appointments with contractors, city inspectors, or waiting on deliveries. I think John is ready to move in as well as Buster, who got a new bed to hang out on in the house while we finish our work.

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The kitchen has turned out particularly nice. John did a great design with the help of Joy Dolling of Abodian. After all, the choice of Alder wood instead of the melamine was a great choice. It is warmer, more elegant and will stand the test of time. All of the appliances are in, the bar is ready to go, and I’m sure John will be pouring Scotch soon.

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I finished the front entryway this week. After a great assist on the framing of it from our buddy, Malcolm Smith, who knows his way around a circular saw and is a great photographer, I installed the IPE decking this week just in time for the onslaught of rain.

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Our finish carpenter, Chris Olson, was great, and cased the doors, trimmed the baseboards and finished out some shelving in no time. It was pretty astonishing. He worked a little too fast sometimes, but he was a pleasure to work with, mildly OCD, which is good in a finish carpenter, and very eager.

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He also finished up the Sky Deck and dining deck off the kitchen today. There was a double rainbow off the dining deck right after he left, so I think that’s a great sign. Now we are just waiting on the railing so that we can call the inspector for our occupancy ok.

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Then a final polish of the floors and top coat. Here I’ll add that the flooring company, Eurocraft, did an astonishing job on the floors weaving together the old and new. It was truly amazing to see how they did it considering we have three entirely different types of floors in the house.

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Our former neighbor, Steve Branca (Branca Tile), did an amazing job on our guest bathroom, and is now headed upstairs for the main bath. That is going to be beautiful soon, as well. He made the guest bath a nice haven while we wait for the upstairs, and it’s a pleasure to be able to shower again in a real bathroom.

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The whole process has been very challenging given the disruption in our lives, the constant decisions, and all of the people involved in creating a house. I don’t think I could ever watch another HGTV show and not laugh at the budgets, the time frames and how simple they make everything look. I’m convinced now that those shows are simply adverts for big box stores and unsuspecting DIYers like we envisioned ourselves to be.

I will say, however, that there is a great sense of accomplishment I feel. It’s a beautiful home; we’ve learned so much about this process, and through careful decisions, have come up with a house that feels warm and welcoming – two things I desperately wanted. And John and I made it through after so many people had told us how hard it is on relationships and such. I think we’re stronger for it. We made many key decisions quickly and efficiently particularly when it came to tile and color. And now we’ve been through the worst, and are looking forward to carrying on our lives in a comfortable home. It seems that there is nothing we can’t get through now.

We finally said adieu to the contractor, which took a lot of weight off our shoulders and allowed me to sleep a little better. While I wish Broadmore Builders well, I couldn’t recommend them at all if their project manager continues to be a part of them. I won’t go into all the details, but the one thing that infuriates me is that he belittles his own crew, who did great work despite him, in front of his clients, and to them. It’s sad to see Broadmore’s largely hispanic team so disabused by him in so many ways, not least of which is care for their safety.

We do miss Juan and Ivan and Leo – all from various parts of Mexico – all of them left family and loved ones to make a better life here in the US.

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The sunrises and sunsets continue to be beautiful. And the rains that have come, I’m not so worried about given our new sewer lines, roof and gutters. Though our Airstream has performed remarkably well over the stress of two guys and a big dog, we are ready for the creature comforts of home. A bigger bed, warmth, quiet, and the space to breath and to read. I miss reading soooooo much and have lots of books to catch up on.

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Happy Halloween… next post will be after we’ve moved in!

T

3 Months and Counting

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We are now five weeks behind the schedule given to us by our contractor. It’s a bit depressing given that fall is approaching and both John and myself are back to work. It’s a little challenging for John to get ready, and I still have a lot to do to get things done so that our finish contractors will be able to do their job and write creative ideas for a project I’m working on.

But, we do love the comfort of our Airstream and are now talking about taking off in a few years and traveling around the United States and Canada for however long it takes. We will rent out both the house and backyard cottage and upgrade to a larger model and go. It is nice to have air -conditioning in the Airstream once again as we continue to have very hot days (for the NW, anyway). The 2015 Airstream models feature ducted air so the unit is now completely outside and it is very quiet inside. We are waiting for sales on those models. 🙂

One of the things we’ve really missed is traveling around in it this summer, but since we are living full time and staying on property, it’s more difficult to put everything away and make things travel safe. When we aren’t living in it, we keep it ready to travel except for the addition of food and drink, which is a lot less to contend with. We’ve mostly missed our fellow Airstreamers and are looking forward to connecting again with them.

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We escaped to San Juan Island last week to take a break from the noise and frustrations.

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It was really beautiful and the cottage we rented was perfect for us and Buster who made a new friend in Mondo. Kit, our host shared John’s famous sangria with us and we learned a lot about the island.

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Highlights included a walk around Garrison Bay,

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A hike at the American Camp, which was gorgeous, and I showed John the treacherous Cattle Pass,

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Lime Kiln Lighthouse,

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and a beautiful sunset at the County Park.

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In the last couple of weeks, the house’s exterior has been worked on so that the Hardie Panel and shingles are really looking great. Ivan and Juan are doing a terrific job.

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Insulation is giving rooms their shape and it’s being installed, as I type, under the house. In the next couple of days drywalling will begin.

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One of the things I really wanted to do was put clear cedar planking under the eave of the main deck to give it a more elegant and finished look rather than Hardie Panel. Juan did a great job of integrating it and now it will look beautiful once the house is painted.

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We did make a mistake on the double doors and got framing that was too small – 2×4 versus 2×6 opening. Ivan and Juan came up with a great solution and now it looks fine. We both have learned so much over the past year, and I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet on what to do when, and the things to think about.

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As the house takes shape, We’ve been hosting people on the Sky Deck most evenings and have been enjoying sharing the view. It really is quite something to be able to sit up there and look out over the lake as alpenglow hits the mountains and the top of Mt. Rainier. It’s pretty stunning. Fall will be truly amazing.

10 Weeks Down – Project Fatigue Edition

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After ten full weeks of building and living in the Airstream, by this Saturday, we both were feeling very stressed with project fatigue. The dust, the mess, the process, and constantly wondering where things are finally got the best of us. Even Buster seemed a little out of sorts.

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Luckily, our great friend, Perry, invited us out onto a boat in Andrew’s Bay near Seward Park, which could not have been a more perfect tonic to lift our spirits. Lots of laughs, cocktails, food and floating around in the water really helped. Thanks, Perry.

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Sunday, we spent in the mountains and visited Franklin Falls where John and I had our first date three years ago. We also tried bushwhacking our way to Source Lake and found it nearly impossible, but it was nice to hang by the river and let Buster enjoy some downtime, too.

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Meanwhile, back at the house this week, the siding began going up with the textured Hardie plank and shingles. Starting in the rear of the house, the planks and shingles are really making the house feel like a house again, so it’s good to see.

The electric rough-in continued. We really like the electrician: nice, very competent and has great suggestions. The plumbing inspection never happened during the week. Something which was supposed to happen.

Several things to think about this week as the heat rises again today: cabinets, railings, decks and finish work. Lots and lots to do.

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We are roughly three weeks over the planned schedule. Part of our frustration lies in the fact we were told by our builder they would be done with their work by August 8th and there is still so much left to do under their contract: siding, insulation, drywall, mudding, exterior and interior paint, not to mention all of the little things to fix. It will be interesting to see how long it really is going to take. We hope to be in by mid-September when we can still do some of the finish work, but also enjoy the house.

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We saw this beauty at Airstream Adventures Northwest while we waited for our Dometic air conditioner to be replaced. Again, a wonderful service experience. The dealership as a whole seems to have really upped their game service and knowledge-wise. We came away quite impressed with how they are working to make the experience there so much better.

The First Rain

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Well, the rain finally came to Seattle, and seemingly all at once. We’ve had quite the storm today, which brought torrential downpours upon our new roof and our Airstream, which needed a bath anyway, but not the canopy being jostled around.

Luckily, the new roof worked well, except for the flat roofs, which are still needing a torch-down. Unfortunately, the East room is under that deck and got drenched. It’s drying out now. For now, we are happy that 90% of the roof was completed yesterday. Note the ginormous tarp over the East, the wind stretching it and making the house seem like it’s about to set sail.