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September 30, 2010 / Scott Oldford

Not Just a LOT Anymore

In just a couple months, December 13 to be exact, it will be 3 years since we moved in and boy do we love being here. Our neighbours are friendly, and some have kids close in age to ours; the community is awesome; and we have a great bunch of friends within close proximity.

Since my last post 2 1/2 years have passed and a lot has happened to our house in that time so I guess a logical place to start this update would be where I left off.

Shortly after we moved in my artistic sister went to work creating two beautiful murals for the girl’s rooms. Olivia’s room now has 4 life-sized ballet students and their teacher painted on her walls, and Sophie has v2 of the mural that was on the wall above her crib in the Timberlea house. Both are amazing JennO originals.

Speaking of JennO originals; that first Christmas I received my very own piece that we placed in the dining room. I have a dream of someday opening a family-friendly cafe and my sister created this piece to keep me inspired, I guess!

Last winter in an effort to reduce some heat loss through the basement we studded, insulated, and drywalled over half of the basement. It seemed to make a bit of a difference, but we need to complete the project and do something with the floor to realize the full effect. In the semi-finished area Tracy has built herself a very elaborate scrapbooking area (I can’t call it a room because its all open). In this area she puts her creative ideas down on paper and her art form has really matured since her first pieces.

As with most new home constructions the builder leaves the lot rough graded and for 2 summers I dreaded letting the kids out to play in this. And so last summer friends of ours that built at the same time as us landscaped their yard the month before their oldest daughters birthday party (our oldest kids were born a week apart, and our youngest were born less than 2 weeks apart). After the party Olivia said she wanted grass for her next birthday. Well Olivia got her wish we had grass but it was a wet day so the kids didn’t get to play in the grass. Oh well, the grass looks awesome and I’m so glad we did it as it completely changed the look of the property. We’ve even received an unsolicited compliment from a Realtor about our house.

Another project that has changed the look of the house was skirting the front porch with privacy lattice and staining the porch Cape Cod Grey. I haven’t gotten around to staining the lattice yet but I think I’ll wait until next year to give the pressure treated wood a chance to weather a bit so it matches the original wood when stained.

A house is not a home without people and in the last 3 years we’ve had many many birthday parties, family gatherings, BBQs, dinner parties, and playdates. LOT 1706 is no longer just a lot its our home.

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May 9, 2008 / Scott Oldford

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

It has been almost 5 months since my last post and in that time I’ve gone through 2 hard drives and 3 disk crashes setting me back in updating this blog… but here I am tonight typing my last entry on the construction phase of our house.
 
As our contractor promised the house was ready to move into on December 13th. That morning his cleaning lady cleaned the place from top to bottom removing the last remnants of construction materials officially making it a home.
 
While the cleaning lady was getting our new home ready we were busy moving out of "The Little While House". The day got off to a rocky start and had a rocky finish but all parts in between went pretty well. To start off the parking brake wouldn’t engage on the moving truck and the truck kept sliding down the driveway at The Little While House, so they had to take it back and get a new truck. This set the move back an hour which meant they were unloading after dark in an all-day moving job.
 
When we finally made our way to the house with all of our belongings we noticed the kitchen counter tops still went in place, but they were supposed to have been installed that morning. When Cameron, our Contractor came by to see how we were doing he took note of this and didn’t say anything. No more than an hour later Nova Tile and Marble was there with our countertop… we have no proof but I’m certain Cameron got on the phone and made it happen.
 
At this point the movers still had quite a bit left to do but so we could have a countertop they took a bit of a break to let the countertop installers back their truck up the driveway to unload the couple hundred pounds of Star Galaxy granite countertop. I still remember it as if it was yesterday… as they were taking the last piece off the truck (the piece with the sink cut-out) I had this sinking feeling in my stomach as I noticed the cut-out was not the shape of the sink we ordered. I said "GUYS!!! That piece it cut wrong." They stopped taking it off the truck and we went in side to look at the sink. The sink (Blanco Precis U 1 3/4) was still in the box and when the box was opened we had another surprise… the sink had a huge crack between the bowls. OH NO!!
 
So its Thursday night at 4:30 and the plumbing store where the sink was purchased is closed for the night so were not getting a new sink tonight, and the granite was cut for a different Blanco sink, the Diamond U 1 3/4 sink (a 1 and 3/4 bowl but has different dimensions and shape than the Precis); so what do we do, order a sink to match the cut-out or get a new piece of granite cut? Our preference was the latter because we really wanted the Precis and it wasn’t our mistake that the countertop was cut for the wrong sink. As it turned out the cut-out was in the wrong spot so a new piece of granite would have to be cut, so a new sink was ordered and we didn’t have to make a decision.
 
That night we had… as you might have guessed… "everything but the kitchen sink". 🙂
 
Since we didn’t have a kitchen sink Brian Archibald, Owner of Accent Plumbing and Heating, came by on Friday to install a temporary sink, but little did we know we would be living like this until January 9th (3 days before the Birthday Party for our 1 year old).
 
Yes Christmas and New Years played a factor in it taking almost a month to get a replacement but would you believe a total of 3 new sinks were ordered and shipped but it wasn’t until the 4th sink arrived that we had one that too was NOT cracked. Yes the next 2 were also cracked in the exact same spot; Blanco tried to blame the shippers but I find it extrememly unlikely that 3 could be broken in shipping… there has to be either a design flaw in the product or its not being packaged properly and at $500 a pop that’s a lot of $$$ thrown out the window.
 
In the days leading up to the 9th I had to schedule the countertop installation, basksplash tiler, and the cabinet maker because our contractor was out of the country and I wanted the house to look finshed when we had family and friends over for the Birthday Party. Everything was dependant on the sink arriving in one piece and it did so the countertop was installed on the 9th, and the backsplash and the lighting valances on the 10th. I enjoyed project managing the trades people and thought this might be a future career move for me, but for now I’ve got my eyes set on something else.
 
Until next time…
December 12, 2007 / Scott Oldford

The Excitement is Building (T- minus 2)

The time is almost here. In just a short 2 days we will be moving into our new house. It’s not just Tracy and I that are getting excited the girls are too. When you ask Olivia what colour her room is she emphatically says BLUE, and she would rather come in the house than watch her video… that says something right there. 🙂  Sophie isn’t saying much… but that is to be expected… but she is very comfortable crawling around in the sawdust and she too doesn’t want to stay in her car seat.

As of December 7th we were completely floored. The last rooms to be done where the girls rooms and they received carpet. After watching "Sarah’s House" [Sarah Richardson from HGTV] we decided to put carpet in the girls rooms… thanks Sarah. We want them to play on the floor and a soft floor is much nicer to play on.

Since my last post here is quick run-down of what else has happened:

  • Baseboards were installed
  • Both interior and exterior lights installed
  • Door bell and buttons
  • Front Step Installed
  • Vanity light for 1/2 bath installed. Really this time!
  • All remaining kitchen cabinets were installed and the pony wall too
  • Requested a replacement for the open-shelved cabinet as a door was installed in it accidentally. It should be installed tomorrow
  • Handles on Kitchen and Vanity cabinets were installed. In total we have 6 different handle lengths on our cabinets and they look GREAT!
  • Light rail and crown mounding on Kitchen cabinets installed
  • Garage door opener and garage lights were installed
  • Over the Range Microwave/Vent combo installed
  • Miscellaneous plumbing and electrical

Move-in day is Thursday and the rest of our appliances will be arriving tomorrow. The only things that will NOT be done before we move in are: the granite countertop, but it will be installed on Friday; and the back splash, which will be installed shortly after the countertop.

So we’re ready to move in, now we just have to finish packing and have 2 more sleeps… like we’ll be sleeping tomorrow night. 🙂

December 7, 2007 / Scott Oldford

The Heat is On! (T-7)

In the last 2 days the house has really started to look like a house instead of a construction site. The two pieces of work that tipped the scale for me was the hardwood floor and the staircase. At about 3pm yesterday the hardwood flooring installers completed the floor (all in Cherry Spice; more on that in a bit) and the railing installer had all the posts and some of the balusters installed. He was positioning the railing when I first saw him. It looked awesome! And it looks even better today with all the balusters and the railing installed too.
 
Ok now for the story on the "all in Cherry Spice". As I mentioned in a previous post there was issue with the manufacturer discontinuing that line and delays in getting the wood. Well about 3 weeks ago when I was at the house with the kitchen cabinet maker we realized that we couldn’t bring the cabinets up flush with the hall wall becasue the crown moulding would stick out and be seen from the front entry, and on the other side of the kitchen we had the patio door contending with the raised bar. In the end we had to introduce hardwood 5 inches into the "kitchen space" so as not to have ceramic just in front of the raised bar which meant we may be short on the Cherry Spice. But as luck would have it there was just enough. The pile of scrap was approximately the equivalent of 5-6 lenghts of wood. That’s pretty exact!
 
Other activities that have taken place over the last 2 days include:
  • Plumbing fixtures installed. Olivia was the first to pee in a toilet in the new house (she’s peed in her porta-potty before) even before the water was hooked up. 🙂
  • Most of the Kitchen Cabinets have been installed
  • Received some of my appliances. Microwave and dishwasher were successfully delivered. Fridge, Washer and Dryer will be delivered next week due to no front step.
Tonight when I popped over to the house to drop something off for the kitchen cabinet installer I met the Halifax Heating guys who were testing the heat pump. It is now hooked up and "The Heat is On!"
 
Work scheduled for the next few days are is follows:
  • Finish installing kitchen cabinets
  • Installation of carpet flooring in the kids rooms. Thanks Sarah!
  • Install baseboard mouldings
  • Install front steps
  • Install lighting fixtures
This weekend I have to put in a bit of time at the house as well to run a data line, a phone line and 4 coax lines from the garage to the utility room where I terminated all my comm/data wires. I love this stuff!
 
And the really big news today… ONLY one more week until we move in! It is hard to believe the day is almost here.
December 5, 2007 / Scott Oldford

Music to My Ears (T minus 9)

Well yesterday the hardwood flooring arrived. Like a lot of choices we’ve had to make, we had to make the selection of our hardwood floor twice. The first stain color we chose looked great in the showroom but once we got it home in regular lighting and got the input from my two sisters we realized it was not going to work. We wanted something dark but not black because we still wanted to see the wood grain. The stain in our first choice had a purple undertone, which we didn’t see in the showroom, and the stain we chose for our kitchen cabinets (which we didn’t want to change) had an orangey-red undertone and they were clashing. It was unfortunate because we were getting a great deal on this wood, so back to Vintage we went.
 
We received as good a deal on our second choice as the first but after we settled on it we got a bit of a scare; the manufacturer is is discontinuing the line so we weren’t sure if we could even get it, but the owner of Vintage was able to secure enough for us.  Lucky for us because I didn’t want to go through the selection process a third time because we were running out of economical options.
 
When I arrived at the house yesteday the installers had the Family Room, Eating area and part of the downstairs hallway already layed and they were working right on pace according to one of the installers. It looks awesome! Cherry Spice was definitely the right choice.
 
Today Sophie and I enjoyed our lunch on the hardwood floor in the Family Room. It was fun to sit there just the two of us and I’m sure it was just the first of many.
 
Other activties that have taken place so far this week include:
 
  • Installation of Heat pump blower unit and HRV. The heat pump will be installed sometime later this week.
  • Light fixtures arrived. Today I exchanged some fixtures that I wasn’t 100% with… more changing our minds 🙂
  • Installation of a vanity light in the 1/2 bath that was overlooked.
  • The remaining kitchen cabinets arrived and are being installed.
  • The hardwood staircase guys are back to finish off the staircase. We now have hardwood treads to go with the risers that were installed last week. The flooring guys have stopped until these guys are done.
  • The plumbing fixtures arrived.

And according to my informant the plumber arrived shortly after I left so we may have running water.

The only item that hasn’t happened yet from my list on Friday is receiving the appliances which are being delivered tomorrow, a bit earlier than planned which is nice.

I also received some really great news today about our granite countertop. It should be installed by the middle of next week. Up until that conversation we were most likely going to be using a temporary countertop until the granite was ready the following week. It was like music to my ears.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings but it still looks like the house will be ready next Thursday. OMG we better get packing!!

December 1, 2007 / Scott Oldford

T minus 13

The last 10 days at the house has been a beehive of activity. Here’s a run down of what has happened:
 
  • Interior doors and trim installed – November 21st and 22nd
  • Front porch completed – November – 22nd and 23rd
  • Priming and Painting – November 22nd through November 26th
  • Installation of ceramic floors – November 27th and 28th
  • Installation of weather stripping around Garage door – November ??
  • Installation of Hardwood Staircase – November 28th through xxx
  • Permanent Electrical Connection – November 22nd-ish
  • Installation of Kitchen Cabinets – November 29th?? (I wasn’t out today or yesterday afternoon, but that is when they were scheduled)

In our neighbourhood and the one across the street there are at least a hundred salt box houses so to make ours just a little different we ordered non-standard interior doors and hinges. We chose the Jeld-Wen Cambridge design for all interior doors with brushed nickle hinges and I must say a small detail like this made a huge difference in the look and it didn’t cost us a thing, we just had to make the decision far enough in advance for the builder to order the doors instead of taking them off the shelf at the local Hardware Store.

When Tracy and I decided to build we also decided that we would pay the painting company to paint the rooms as we’d like them instead of going with some basic color everywhere and re-paint each room ourselves over the years as so many other people do. It cost us a bit extra but it is totally worth it and the end result looks awesome. One of the painters is the brother of someone we know and she has told us that he’s given us the award for the most number of colors in one house… 6 to be exact (Naturally Calm in the Entry, Mudroom, Kitchen, Living Room, Family Room, Main Bath, 1/2 Bath, and Upstairs Hall; Mocha Treat – Dining Room; Morning Haze – Master Bedroom; Alluring Blue – Ensuite; Corn Silk – Bedroom #2 (Sophie); and Tahoe Blue – Bedroom #3 (Olivia)). The trim is Antique White and ceiling is a 1/2 tint of Antique White instead of flat white as recommeded by the main painter. Scott, thank you for the lovely award. 🙂

Last week I had to sign-off on a sample of the stain to be used for the stair case… I actually had to sign the stained stairtread as proof that I agreed to that sample… pretty novel idea! And since then they have started to install the risers and the skirting and it looks awesome. I can’t wait to see the finished product which may be done now as I wasn’t out to check on the house today.

The ceramic floors were installed this week as well, and man can they ever install them fast. The mudroom, 1/2 bath, and kitchen on the first level; and main bathroom and ensuite on the second level all received ceramic tile floors and they look great. We chose a 13" x 13" Ceratec tile called Arte Bianco Everest Straight Copper. The picture of the tile on the website does not look at all how it looks installed with the Sahara Beige grout. I love it and I’m looking forward to seeing our kitchen cabinets on it, which I should be able to see tomorrow.

Some of the activities that I know that are planned for next week are:

  • Measure kitchen base cabinets for countertop
  • Installation of heat pump
  • Receive kitchen appliances and washer/dryer
  • Installation of hardwood floors

We are now at T minus 13 days until we move in and there is still a lot to be done but I have all the confidence it will be done on time.

November 21, 2007 / Scott Oldford

The Stars are Aligning

Well the drywallers started on Monday the 12th (everyone deserves a weekend off especially a Holiday weekend) and finished on either the 13th or 14th. Man they were fast! For about 5 minutes I just stood in amazement just watching them slinging the 12 foot long pieces of drywall up on the walls. In swear they could complete a whole room in the same time I would get one sheet up. Sophie was taking it all in too… I don’t think she blinked once.
 
Then on Thursday the crackfillers showed up and they worked up until today. Watching them was pretty cool too but it was the graceful long strides on stilts vs. the whir of the drywall gun and buzz of the cut-out tool that was fun to watch.
 
FUNNY STORY: During one of my first conversations with Dennis, the main crackfilling guy, he was cleaning some dried crackfiller off the tip of a screwdriver. Unprovoked he started to tell me all about his pearl-handled Snap-On Tools Indy 500 Collectors Edition Phillips screwdrivers, including that he paid $400 for the set of 5 of them. Holy Cow!! I guess everyone has their hobby.
 
Now on to some really AWESOME news… we’ve been given a move-in date… December 13th! All along we’ve been going on the notion that we’ll be in before XMAS. In my mind that would be XMAS Eve or just a few days before, which wouldn’t be fun but we’d deal with it. Then this week our Developer called and said we could move in on the 15th. I asked if we could store our stuff in the garage so we wouldn’t have to move it 3 times this year and he had no problem with that. Then about 10 minutes later he called back and said we could propably move in on the 13th as well. The 13th is a crucial date for us because the owners of the house we’re staying in are moving here on the 14th so we need to be out of here before then. The stars are aligning for us.
 
Next step trim and painting.