I keep hoping we will have a revelatory week where things magically finish as expected and we make strides towards move in by leaps and bounds. Each week we are thwarted by one thing or another, whether its weather or material shortages, or things needing to be redone. This week we had hoped to see a poured concrete porch, major painting progress and things just generally getting ticked off the list. What we got was some progress, which I’ll describe, but also some big disappointment on things that have already been done.
Let’s review the disappointments:
- Once the walls were painted we saw some glaring issues with door jambs. The lack of door trim to hide imperfections revealed… well it revealed a lot of imperfections. They went from being “done” to being a problem needing solving. They starting attempting a fix on Thursday and we’ll see how it works next week.
- The painter, who is excellent, used his Festool painter’s light to reveal to us that there are still some major drywall taping and mudding issues. Things not sanded, some things not even patched. In the diffuse light of summer it is hard to see these flaws but in the harsh light of winter, when the light is streaming through those windows to generate heat, those flaws will be extremely apparent. The painter doesn’t even want to paint over them until they’re fixed because he doesn’t want his name attached to such shoddy work. We are back to petitioning the drywall crew to come and clean it up. I suspect, from the amount of work I saw, it will take several days. Those are days we can’t be painting.
- The bathroom tile was mis-ordered back in the Spring. Once the error was discovered and an order placed to get the tile to complete the job, the COVID supply shortages reared their head. We have been waiting for weeks to get the tile to finish. This obviously holds up plumbing, painting, and other finish work.
- The sliding door has shifted somewhat and it has made it hard to close. The weather stripping has come loose on the main front door. Both things require the attention of Grand Banks, the dealer for the doors and windows so now we need to get on their schedule to fix them. No date for this yet. It is also essential that we understand what caused the issues so they don’t happen again.
- Unrelated to the house, an unexpected expense is going to nearly wipe out our buffer. The timing couldn’t be worse and it is so incredibly frustrating after spending so much brainpower planning this out so that we will land in a comfortable, worry-free place financially. We have reserves to dip into but we are now looking at added expenses due to these delays. If they continue we are going to have to pay rent for longer, pay for storage longer, etc. If the house isn’t complete on or near the date, we are being squeezed from both ends. At the same time, if we rush the builders to finish quickly, we get cut corners and mistakes which we’ll have to live with for a lot longer than a couple of weeks…
Are these issues huge? No. In building a house, you expect this stuff to happen. And the flaws in things like drywall aren’t eye-popping but, as the painter put it, its like you paid for a brand new car and you are going to drive it off the lot with dents and dings. Nobody wants that. If we don’t strive to make it perfect now we’ll regret it. The implications do involve time and expense though.
The summer porch was framed out to accept the screens which are being custom built by a company in Vermont. The frames will allow us to remove and store the screens during the winter which should prolong their lives. The breezeway floor between the summer porch and the main house was completed this week but we didn’t get any good pictures of it because it was covered up again quickly
Slowly but surely, surfaces are getting covered in paint and plaster. As the muted whites and greys start to appear, its clear they look great as a counterpoint to the finished ash. The idea is to balance the greys with the wood, rugs, furniture and artwork.
The railings and slatted false wall near the fireplace will require some creativity and skill to implement. The builder and architect went back and forth this week to come up with the optimal fastening technique for stability and aesthetics..
The views are starting to come together from various points throughout the house. The window exteriors were waiting for sills and end caps to complete the last two windows. Their shipments were thwarted by Suez Canal blockages and who knows what else, but they were re-sent and arrived this week. Window exteriors can be checked off as done. I think at this point, all cladding, siding, windows and metal are done.
The floor on the ground floor was revealed (it had been covered in cardboard since last Fall) and they put a first coat of finish on it. It revealed some of the pine needles and leaves that we posted pictures of last year. I like the imperfections of it. Once covered in rugs and furniture, the floor’s flaws will add interest.
The floors upstairs were revealed as well. The team prepped them for sanding and finishing as well as worked on the stair fabrication.
The darker colors of the library and stripe in Henry’s room, the only real color in the house paint schedule other than white, had a first coat applied. They are hard to see clearly in these pictures but the green should be perfect. The library will be a dark cave although, once the walls are covered with our non-dark-green books, it will reduce that effect somewhat.
So what is up for the coming week? Your guess is as good as mine at this point. Each week I lay out my “Here is what should be done this week” and each week those things don’t happen so let’s take a crack at it for the coming week.
- Drywall fixes
- First coats of paint on as many rooms as possible
- Poured concrete for the porch on the south side
- Stairs and landing completed
- Fixed door jambs
- Tile arrives and bathrooms are finished (lol)
- Solar panels installed (lol)
- Kitchen cabinets arrive (no chance of this happening but maybe the week after next)
A bright spot in the week was our tractor delivery. The front end loader and snow blower should making clearing the driveway a less stressful task this winter.