Finally. And Happy New Year

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Happy New Year, everyone.

I thought I’d post an end of year report on our home and where we are. I’m going to clear out the negative right off the bat so we can begin the year very positively.

No two ways about it, but living in your trailer in your own driveway for 5 1/2 months is tough. Summer wasn’t bad, but once the weather turned it was hard, dirty and claustrophobic. We need a bigger trailer – like a 27 foot Eddie Bauer for us and our big ole dog. But we did it – and we’re still together (that’s a major plus).

I’ve learned way more than I ever wanted to learn about project managing the construction process of remodeling a house. Alas, we hired Broadmore Builders to do that, and our project manager was the worst manager of anything I’ve ever come across enabled by the business’ owner who made all kinds of excuses for him. The project manager was inept, full of lies, talked bad about his workers and clients in front of other people, a hothead, and accusatory. All bad traits in a human being. We are glad to be done with Broadmore Builders for that. On the plus side, their workers, Juan, Ivan and Leo were fun to be around and we miss them – they did all the work. I just wish they were treated more fairly and better. They are immigrants and they receive no healthcare even though we were told they did.

The initial company we hired, Batt + Lear, who took us to the cleaners for a fair amount of money for nothing we could ever use, apparently does the same thing to other people. We’ve heard from other couples who’ve had the same, if not worse, experience with them – which tells us we weren’t crazy. I hope that this year, they will learn that their business model – that of screwing their customers – will force them to close.

Unfortunately, our experiences with these two companies put a real damper on the excitement and joy of creating a new space.

Now on to the positive to ring in 2015.

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We are living in a wonderful new home that our neighbors and friends are loving being in as much as we are. We’ve hosted family and friends for Thanksgiving and Christmas and everything has gone great. John loves the new kitchen and being able to cook and create in it. I’m loving it for being able to work and still talk to people and engage with our guests. It’s fantastic. A big shout-out to Joy Dolling at Abodian Cabinets here in the Rainier Valley for their fine work and good humor.

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The glass backsplash is finally complete and the kitchen now looks sleek and contemporary. We love it.

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The bathrooms are extremely well done thanks to our wonderful tiler, Steve Branca, who has been meticulous. We still have the upper shower to go, but that should be done soon.

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The finish work is nearly finished – we are waiting on framing for our deconstructed looking fireplace, but we’ve already picked out the tile we want to use and it will be great. Christopher Olson was the finish carpenter and did a great job on installing our cabinets, doing the window sills, baseboards and door casings.

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The trim painting, though initially we were really bummed to be kicked back out to the trailer for a week, was done by DK Professional Painting. Julio, the foreman, did a great job with his team in making all of the trim look evenly painted and beautiful. They also stained and lacquered the window sills throughout the house.

The floors are amazing. Working with four totally different floor materials, adding in new material and fixing bad stains throughout, Eurocraft floors had their hands full. But they did amazing work, and blended all of them together beautifully.

John and myself painted all of the colored walls, lacquered the doors and have installed a lot of hardware. We’re continuing to work on putting things together and we are just now having the cabinetry installed in the laundry/mud room.

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My favorite room is the bedroom. It is such a beautiful and restful space where the light and views are amazing, and it’s cozy and warm to read and sleep in. It just feels fantastic and we both love to hang out there.

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We are just now starting to enjoy the home – the stress of building it is wearing off for me, and the people coming over and staying with us are making it feel like a home. We still have much to do in the yard, basement and then, ultimately, the DADU (Backyard Cottage), but we can wait on that for a bit.

We have to give another shout out to our architect and friend, Katie Wells-Driscoll, who really helped us visualize the entirety of our property that, when complete, will be extraordinary and help us live here for many years to come. If you’d like her contact info, please give us a call.

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Today, the view is spectacular with snow on the mountains and hardly a cloud in the sky. It’s a bit brisk to sit outside, but we stand on the deck and just admire all we can see, and wonder at all we’ve accomplished in 2014.

There is much to look forward to in 2015 with a brand new grandchild named Carson who arrived on the 28th, our wedding in July and visits from all kinds of friends and family. In February, we are headed to Florida to see the grandchildren and John’s family and friends. My hope is to have a new job I love while John continues teaching music to K-4th graders in the Bellevue School District.

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We also hope to reconnect with our fellow ‘streamers in Oregon and elsewhere. Margaret is in the shop getting repairs done before our warranty wears off and then we’re off to places unknown. In the meantime, we’ve put her up on Airbnb.com if you or anyone wish to stay. Check out the link here: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4461706

Our best to all of our friends and family, the readers of this blog, and anyone working on their homes in the coming year. May 2015 be one of the best years ever.

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Nine Weeks Down – SeaFair Edition

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Well, the deck got a workout this past weekend from SeaFair viewing. Lots of neighbors came by and we even made a new friend, Jill, who was standing on the street looking kinda lonely so I invited her up to watch the Blue Angels on Saturday. She was very nice and so appreciative she ended up offering us free massages whenever she was back in town. She is a massage therapist from Pullman, WA who was here for some long-term clients she had.

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The neighbor kids raked in the bucks with their lemonade stand and we were amazed at how many people were standing on the street watching for the planes.

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John overcame his fear of clowns on Saturday when the SeaFair clowns dropped by at our neighbor’s every year for amazing ribs and pulled pork. By Sunday, however, we were exhausted from the noise, the people, the constant running up and down the stairs and especially the heat, which rose steadily throughout SeaFair Weekend.

We had a great view of the entire show, and then Saturday night, the fireworks were right below us and spectacular. John made a very tasty Sangria and a gin/Byhr drink we share with our neighbors.

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Backing up, the big event for this week was getting windows installed and the plumbing roughed in. This made a huge difference as now we can see how the light is in the rooms. We also ordered a beautiful front door, French doors for the main deck and a single door off the kitchen. We brought home a basement door and back door for the house as well.

The guys at Frank Lumber: The Door Store in Shoreline are terrific at customer service. Can’t say enough nice things about them as they helped us out with many selections.

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Railpro’s in Southcenter are proving to be a great find, as well as Oregon Tile and Marble who were as helpful and lovely as any place could be. We are looking forward to the tile we selected that will be installed by our former neighbor, Steve Branca, who is a master tiler and has already been quite helpful.

Quite a lot was done.

Once more, we got into a contentious battle with our builders. Here, I’m going to say that we love the workers they employ (Ivan, Juan and Leo), just not their project manager who continues to be belligerent, untrustworthy and combative with us. His client skills are simply the worst. He calls meetings where we are all supposed to be and then doesn’t show up, or doesn’t tell us about them until his sub arrives. This time they were going to up-charge us $1654.00 for smooth Hardi Plank over textured, which we didn’t want. We first checked online at Home Depot and Lowe’s to see if there was a price difference between the two and found that there wasn’t. Then we called their supplier specifically and they told us there was no cost difference, and we also asked if it was readily available and they told us it was within a day when we were told it was “Special Order” and would take a week or two to get it delivered. John has lost all confidence in him, and I told the project manager that I was right on the edge with him yesterday.

The budget they prepared wasn’t detailed and every time we think something should be included in the contract cost, it isn’t, so frustration sets in and I’m feeling deflated and defeated by a builder who simply won’t be square with us. Doing a project such as this is very stressful without the added stress we get from the builder. We wish that Juan would be the project manager as he is not only helpful, instructive, but he listens to our needs as much as he can.

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Last Friday, we spent the day out at Airstream Adventures Northwest and came away very impressed with their service department, which has seen a seismic shift in their helpfulness and ease of working with people. Daniel, the service manager, was all kinds of great, and helped us get a lot of things fixed and replaced. We do have to take Margaret in this Friday for a new Dometic Air/Heat Pump as it has gone completely south. All is good, however, as we do enjoy looking at the new Airstreams and dream of upgrading to the 25 or 27 foot Eddie Bauer edition someday when we decided to head out on the road for awhile. We are missing being a part of the rallies and going up to the mountains this summer, but we both need to be here for all the details and watch our builder closely.

Next up is selecting the cabinets. We have many quotes, we just now need to pull the trigger. It’s not easy since it involves thousands of dollars and is critical to the success of the house’s aesthetic. John is working diligently through all the different vendors and we are close to a selection.

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This week, the siding is going up now that all the windows are installed and the framing inspection was passed.

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We continue to enjoy the beautiful skies, sunrises and sunsets, and now are glad of the railings, which make us feel more secure.