Thursday, August 25, 2016

More Fireplace, Kitchen and an Antique Door - Gateway House

Alrighty guys. 

The plan when I started telling you about our new house was to give you all the little details every few days. You know, fill you in on the ins and outs of construction and pictures of what we have going on in each stage. 
Well that's just working out dandy isn't it?

Somehow life seems to keep happening while I plan differently. Mainly the fact that we have full time jobs, mine that keeps me out of state three days a week, and a house that we're trying to get ready to sell. I swear every time I really get on a roll with my to-do list, hubby or one of the contractors will call and I get pulled over to the new house. Decisions to make, something to pick out, and let's get real. I love the process of designing this new house, so when I'm asked to stop organizing, purging, cleaning and staging the current house, well I kinda get distracted. We're so close though! I'm hoping we'll be putting our current house on the market very shortly.

Anyway... how about an update on the state of Gateway House.

It's been painted! I've had mixed reviews about my decision to paint it white. Some adore it, some ask me if this is primer, and some just straight out tell me they don't like it. I'm really ok with all of that, because I think it's fabulous! I took this picture today while it was very cloudy out, so the true color probably isn't represented well, but it's Benjamin Moore's White Dove. I love White Dove!! When placed next to plain white, it reads just a tad yellow. But on it's own, it's a perfect warm and cozy white. 

If you were paying tons of attention in my video post, you may remember that I said all the window bump-out areas would be a grey-ish color. Obviously not. We had planned to use Sherwin Williams Sea Salt in those areas, but when the white went on I just kinda had an excited fit. I wanted it all white so badly that my wonderful husband did what he's been doing with this entire house. He said "if that's what you really want, let's do it". How sweet is he!?! We'll be using the Sea Salt paint, that had already been purchased, in a different area that I'll show you later. 

I do feel like it's a teensy bit plain right now, but that's because it's missing what I like to call the "jewelry". The lights, the garage hardware, the shutters, and the painted front door! I've been at somewhat of a loss to what color to paint that front door, but I asked my wonderful Instagram community that very question today and got so many amazing ideas I can't wait to check out! Thanks IG followers!!

I talked a lot about the plan for the fireplace in my last post, and it's really come together. 

At this stage the shiplap on the walls and fireplace is up, as well as the beautiful barn doors our trim carpenter made from scratch. The door pulls are my absolute favorite! I ordered them from Magnolia Market online after seeing them when we visited their shop this spring.


The shiplap only goes just over half-way up the wall, while continuing to the ceiling on the fireplace bump-out. Even though I adore shiplap and would love it everywhere, we felt this would help to accent the height of the fireplace while also saving the budget just a tad.

The brick... This was one of those things that make people say they don't wanna build. Just little frustrations that leave you scratching your head! 
We picked out a thin brick called Peppermill, and chose it for it's rough tumbled look and color variations. See anything wrong in the picture below? How much color variation do you see?

The picture below is what Peppermill is supposed to look like. Not even close, huh?
We had two sealed boxes very clearly labeled Peppermill that our mason had already installed by the time I saw it. I called the brick company to complain and sent them these two photos, and they also looked at the sample in their own showroom that we chose from. With much chagrin, they agreed that I wasn't wrong. What we were given looked nothing like Peppermill. They offered to have us come in and hand pick bricks for our job, then offered to speak with the mason about paying for the overages it would incur to rip this brick out and place the new brick. It was very kind and professional, but after much thought, we chose to leave it as is. The time it would take to hand pick bricks, get the mason back over there to tear out and start over, not to mention I was getting ready to head back out of town for work, well, we made the current ones work.

The plan had always been to use a white over-grout process (or messy grout) and we hoped that would give us the variation we were looking for. I can't say what it would've looked like with the brick we originally wanted, but I can say that I'm happy with how it turned out.

This is where the house sits right now. Painting stage. The painted trim has been completed and they've started priming the walls and staining the few things that get stained.

Oh, backing up just a bit. I need to show you the ceiling and barn doors in the great room!

It's just simple pine boards, but we love the accent they add. And the barn doors there on the left. They cover a cased opening to the craft room which will be open most of the time to let in the light, but can be closed when that room is used for guests who need their privacy.

Most of the kitchen cabinets are in as well, with the exception of a few errors and changes that've been made.

The perimeter counter tops have been placed, along with the cabinets. We chose Bianco Marina Quartz which mimics the looks of marble. Marble is a beautiful material, but it stains something awful. Quartz gives a very similar look, but is much more durable (or so I'm told, it got rave reviews with our counter-top lady, as well as my Instagram friends). I'll take a picture of it when it's not covered in dust or plastic and let you see.

One of the things that was missed when our cabinets came in was the backing on our island, and the side panel for the fridge. That small lower cabinet pictured below will have to be completely taken out and replaced with an even smaller one to accommodate the side panel. After that comes in, trim will be added to the upper cabinet.

The change I'm making is to those open upper cabinets. They aren't supposed to be open, but covered with glass doors that have a grid. 

This is what the doors looked like when they arrived. I gotta say, I felt like they were squinting at me.

I thought I was getting doors like the picture below, so I was highly disappointed. We have a few options to get this look. There may be doors from a different manufacturer that have a larger opening, doors could be made on site and painted, or we can even scrap the windows and use solid panel doors like the rest of the cabinets. All I know is the squinty doors didn't stick around long and they won't be returning!

Ok, if you've stuck with me this far, I just have one more thing to show you, and it's pretty fabulous!

This is the opening from our master bedroom to the master bathroom. We found an antique walnut door from the 1880's that was originally part of a set of 4 pocket doors. This thing is huge! About 3 feet wide and I think around 8 feet tall. It has varying amounts of the original stain left on it which I plan to strip back to the original wood and finish with Hemp Oil to protect, hydrate and bring out it's natural beauty.

Well that's all for now. I will attempt to update you guys more frequently from here on in, in hopes of giving more of the fun details, and to prevent each post from turning into a small novel. I'll cross my fingers for that, but please, no one hold your breath. 

Until next time.


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trimming and the Fireplace - Gateway House

For the last few weeks the trim carpenters have been hard at work. I feel like this is the stage where it starts really feeling like a house. It's also where I begin to see if all the decisions I've been making for the past year were the right ones.

My goal is to have the feel of a farmhouse. I see that as clean, simple lines, and a mix of woods and metals. Something that feels collected over time. Only time will tell though if I get it right. For starters, we've picked a very simple trim and casings, five panel doors, and 2"x 2" wood spindles for the banister. 

Senoia Farmhouse via
We gave the carpenter the picture above as an example of the door and window casing/trim we wanted. And below is what he made. Can't wait to see it caulked and painted.

This is our master closet. It's hard to take a good photo in this small space, but this area will house our washer and dryer, with room for a trash can and storage of soap, etc.

The fireplace is something I'm really excited about, but has been a bit of a challenge. We found a few fireplaces that we're combining to create what we want.

Muskoka Living

We will have doors covering an opening for the television, similar to the pic above. I'm sure they will be open most of the time, but I like having the option of hiding the TV if we want.

The Lettered Cottage
The rest of the fireplace will be similar to this one. A beam for a mantel, brick around the actual fireplace and painted wood. We do like the mix of blue, white and wood in this photo, but haven't decided if we'll do that, or paint everything but the beam white. 

Speaking of the beam. We were very lucky to obtain one from a friends family barn in Wisconsin. We chose from this pile of gorgeous wood that's all over 100 years old. That shorter one (which is actually over 12 foot long) on the left is the one we picked.

This one here, with the grass growing out of it.

When we built our current house, we had a project that required two large corbels. After the corbels were delivered, we went in a different direction, and they've been sitting in our garage for the past six years. Fast forward to last week, and they're being used to help hold up this heavy beam. 

They did require some modification though. They are a cove style corbel like this. Which means they're intended to sit at an angle, and that doesn't work for our fireplace. The trim carpenter cut off the top portion so the beam could sit on top and the back would sit on the wall. 

It's a bit hard to see from straight on, but since the back is now sitting flat on the wall, it makes the bottom portion jut out into the room.

You can see what I'm talking about better from the side. I was working out of state last week when my husband sent these pictures to me. I tried to like them, I really did. 

I even took the time to edit the photo. I thought maybe it was the difference in wood tones that was throwing me off.  Didn't really help. 

When I got home on Friday, I just couldn't pretend anymore. I hated the corbels jutting out at the bottom. It wasn't as simple as unbolting them and cutting them off though. They'd used construction adhesive to attach them to the wall. Removing them would tear the entire wall off, sheet rock and all. The carpenter was willing to do that, but the hubby decided to try something different. A chainsaw.

It took some sanding and some wood filler, but it finally started taking a shape I could live with over the weekend. 

This is how it looked as of last night. The shiplap or planks will continue up the wall all the way to the ceiling. And will eventually look something like this.

Florida Beach Home via
The kitchen cabinets are going in as well, but I'll save those for another post. Until next time...


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gateway House - Video Walk Through

Wow guys! I just looked, and it's been a month and a half since I updated you on the house. The last you saw it was in the "sea of wood" stage, or framing. It's always so hard for me to really get a feel for the layout using pictures since you can see through all the walls. About three weeks ago, I took a video after the sheet rock was put up. Walking through the house this way actually gives you a real feel for the layout. Plus, the walls now make sense! 

Due to crazy busyness that included a death in the family, a birthday, and my poor videographer skills, I'm just getting around to sharing it with you. I should apologize in advance for this video. Almost all the editing breaks are due to my excessive use of "umm" that I tried to cut out for you. Sorry! 

Like I said, this video is a few weeks old. If you follow me on Instagram, you've might've seen that we're actually in the trim carpentry stage right now. I'll try to come back soon and show some of that progress. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gateway House - Big Beginnings (framing)

Last week I left off at the beginning of the framing stage of the house. I've got loads of pics of this stage, but even as I look through them, sometimes it's hard for me to make sense of what I'm actually seeing. It's all just a bunch of 2x4's with no walls and it gets confusing even though I know the plan! That said, I think I'll mostly just show you what it looks like now, and try to explain what's in each photo.

Let's start with a reminder of the floor plan. That should help all these open walls and 2x4's make a bit more sense.

This is the view just after you've stepped in the front door. (Not that I've ever done that, since there's about a 4 foot drop out the front door right now. But you get the drift.) Our master bedroom is the room straight ahead, then obviously stairs to the 2nd floor.

If you turn around and stand in front of our bedroom, you can see the full entryway. The area above the door allows us to have a covered porch, but leaves a landing of sorts above the door. To the left of that upper window, you can see there is metal instead of wood. (Seen much better in the pic below.) That frames out what will be a pocket door which will allow us access to that landing without using a ladder. This was a change from the original plan, but I just couldn't see carting a Christmas Tree up a ladder every year (the space so desperately calls for one doesn't it?!) when we could just walk it in through an open door. 

And the view when you're standing on said landing.

Backing up a bit. This is also one of the views you have when standing by the front door. If you come in and turn left, this area is a pass through to the kitchen, but will also serve as our locker area. If you're unfamiliar with those, here's an example...

It's a place for us to drop all our stuff and make a general disaster of everything. (Speaking from experience here as we already have an area just like this in our current home.) But hey, at least we'll know where our jackets are.

Backing up just a bit, you can see the same area, on the left, as it relates to the staircase.

The locker area I just showed you is now just to the right. This is the view when you've come in from the front garage and can see all the way to the back of the house. This encompasses the kitchen, dining and living area. If you walk forward just a bit and turn to the left, you come to the next photo.

This space is very underwhelming right now, but eventually it should be my favorite spot. Below that center window will be my farmhouse sink. On the wall to the left is where the stove and refrigerator will sit. 

Those same windows, now on the right, but seeing them from the dining area. The stove and fridge will be straight ahead with the sink and dishwasher to the right. We plan to put a big island in the center here, and that area on the left will be cabinets and a coffee bar.

For you all who are very visual like me, here's a bit of an example of some of the basic layout.


And here's a very loose example of what the coffee bar might look like.

Magnolia Homes

Also the coffee bar area seen here, as well as stairs to the basement. And if you walk through the opening to the left of the stairs, you've come full circle to the front entry.

Alrighty, if I had that big island in the kitchen already, I think I'd be standing on it. So what you're seeing here is the dining area and living room. Our table will sit perpendicular to those 3 tall windows on the right. One of the huge draws about this house for me is the ability to put the dining table out in the open and have nothing impeding anyone who wants to sit down from any direction. No more asking people to stand up or skooch over so someone can get to their seat. Hooray!! 

Past the open area you see a bunch of supports. (there's a better angle below) The living room is open to the second floor, so the framers built this scaffolding to access everything above the main level. The fireplace is on the left, and the door back on the right leads to the deck.

Fireplace rough-in. 

And looking straight up in the living room, here's the basics for a coffered ceiling. 

That's about it for the main level I'll show more details of the bedroom, etc. when it's all a bit more interesting. For now, on to the basement. 

The view below is just after you've come down the stairs, which are to the left in the photo. 

This is the only area that is actually getting finished down here. The bathroom and one bedroom.

In the middle, just behind the post, is the same hall to the bedroom. To the right of the post is the hall that leads back to the stairs, and the door on the right is to the area under the stairs.

This fun little room hidden back in the storage/utility room is what I'm calling the pet room. It's basically just a small space with a drain and sunken floor. Baths, puppy crating while we're gone, cats that can't be left unattended while we're away cuz they pee on my couch... No, they won't be in here all the time, and certainly not together. But it's just nice to know there's an easily cleanable area if we happen to need it for our animals.

Some day I'll show you all the safe room, but without electricity, it truly is a black hole in there.

To to second/upper floor.

You've already seen this view from the top of the stairs. Well if you turn around from here, it's the pic below.

This will serve as our family room. We envision a big comfy sofa nestled somewhere under those two windows, with the TV on the opposite wall. The wall to the right with the plumbing coming out of it, that's the TV wall. The area closer to me may have a pool table, it may be a card table, we just aren't sure yet what will be there. All we know is this is our hang out loft. Just a place to relax and enjoy ourselves.

I call it a loft, because if you were to turn just to the left from the last photo, you see this. Someday there'll be a railing, but here's the opening to the living room below. 

In this pic, for perspective, those windows down below are the dining room windows, and the fireplace rough-in is in the top right of the pic.

And backing up into that loft area, you see the opening to the stairs we just came up. On the right is a linen closet and a hallway to the utility/laundry room, two bedrooms and the real loft area. And to the left is another bedroom and the bathroom we saw plumbing sticking out of a few pics back.

Lastly, the real loft. The first pic I started with today is the loft. It's above the front garage, and is accessed from our oldest daughter's room.

The view looking back into her room. 

I realize this hasn't been a comprehensive walk through of the house, but I'm hoping having the plans to look at will make understanding the layout a bit easier. 
This is where the house sits today. We had a walk through yesterday with the insulation guy, which means electrical, plumbing and heating and air are just almost completed. We're hoping we'll get siding soon, cuz with the rain we've had in the past few days we're getting flooded. Yes, even with windows in, the rain came pouring in. Oops! The powers-that-be do assure me though, that the siding will cure all. Here's to hoping.

I'll leave you with the back/side of the house, as I realize I didn't show it yet in all it's black glory. Enjoy your day, and thanks for tagging along as we navigate this huge undertaking!