I like dirt

front grading done

Dreary last day of September, but I think it’s overcast on purpose. Look how nice the new dirt looks in the front yard against all the gray.

The last of the expected dirt has indeed arrived and been spread and final grading had just finished when I took this photo. The bulldozer was being loaded on a trailer after a job well done.

We walked into the house and saw Designer-Katie and MHC-Kate at work decorating for the open house.
Not really my style, but it doesn’t have to be.

great room

I was told to go check out the basement, so I did.

dog bath

Dog bath has been tiled in dirt colored tile!
It’s 30 by 40 with the bottom at 20″. I will paint the back wall with something that is easy to wipe off and put the grooming table to the right of the dog tub.
Add some type of cheapo plastic shower curtain/bio hazmat solution to contain the hair when blow drying.

We’ll see.

dog bath 2

Closeup. The sprayer is ordered and will make an appearance very soon.

M showerSpeaking of baths, Ms shower has doors.

Heading upstairs.
Stair runner and the cool undermounted LED lights have been installed. The Runner is covered in heavy duty plastic wrap to protect it.

stair from basement

stair light strip stair rail light stairs

The fridge and freezer have moved into their permanent positions in the kitchen.


The backsplash has been grouted, except for the 5-and-change mint green placeholder tiles above the blue water bottle.

A handful of the darker colour tiles have been ordered and will be installed and grouted and no more mint will enter this house ever again.


Still got the wrong light fixture over the dining area but other than that it looks pretty good.
I like the bar stools!
Dishwasher in the lower right corner.

Ending with some new photos of the master bath with sparkly new glass surround and door.master bath 2 master bath

master bath3 master shower doors


The final countdown

Timeline: Parade of homes deadline minus one week.
The craftsmen at the house today said they will finish in time as long as the builder stays away 😉
Mike-the-Builder has a really good report with them, and they have gone above and beyond when things have cropped up.
Such as instead of grouting the kitchen yesterday like planned they were cutting and installing more backsplash today.


Happy green =)
Also a first peek at the pendant lights over the kitchen island.


That BIG box is the dining table chandelier.

Kitchen cardboard

These even bigger boxes are the fridge and freezer, their trim kit is the long box on the floor. The dishwasher has the cooktop on top.
The right light in the wrong spot can also be seen here.


The laundry room boxes.


Speaking of lights, here is my favourite entry light turned on.

Sparkly and throwing cool shadows on the ceiling and walls.

And once again, I am so happy with how this turned out. I don’t think I will stencil these walls after all, the shadows are really neat.


The great room fireplace has been finished.


The master bedroom tray ceiling light in action.


Master bath has shiny new shower heads and controller thingies. Just missing the hand held.

The tub filler is still in its box, now in front of the tub.

stairs base board

Stained baseboard in place on the stair landing.

It looks so much better, or maybe I should say less ‘huh?’ than the white that was there previously.


Doug-The-Painter didn’t just stain the baseboard and continue the finish paint of the house. He also atomize sprayed the front mesh for our surround speakers, no more stark white rectangles on medium gray wall.
They look darker than the wall due to the black speaker behind, I can fix that and I think it looks much better already.

The checklist is now down to a few items.
One lighting fixture is in the wrong spot, and the one that should go where it hangs is still in its box.
The appliances are in cardboard boxes in their respective rooms, but we are waiting on the ovens.
The tub filler is still in its box in the master bathroom.
Mirrors, towel bars and tp holders are yet to be hung and shower doors installed.
Lastly, the built in bookshelf is being finished off site (funny!) but other than that, it looks pretty close to done!


Things look great outdoors as well.


front yard 2 front yard       IMG_2779

Waiting on even more dirt to shallow out the front and west side swale, so that part has not been seeded yet.

Everywhere else the landscaping is in and ready for mulch and rocks. The backyard and east side future lawn areas are covered in a layer of straw, to help the grass seed germinate.

We also had a fence company out to measure and give us a quote for a 3 rail split rail fence.

Something has changed within me

Something is not the same.

The electricians and the painters were working at the house today putting in their finishing touches.
Appliances have been delivered, there are big cardboard boxes in both the kitchen and the laundry room just waiting to be installed. Fridge and freezer are evident, as is the dishwasher, not sure if the ovens have arrived yet. In the laundry room boxes we have washer, dryer, 2 pedestals and we think the 5th box in there might be the laundry sink.

Speaking of kitchen. I was thrilled to see this today:backsplash

Yes, I especially like the damaged drywall areas!

Why? Because yesterday it looked like this:IMG_2719
And I hated it. Those light mint green tiles made the whole backsplash look pixelated and the stark contrasts did not work for me at all. Especially not with the countertops, and those are not going anywhere.

If the light ones had been in a shade in between the dark and the middle colour, with more of a brown tone it would have been much closer to what I had envisioned.

Luckily, our head tile guy was installing the rubberized membrane on the dog tub in the basement. We happened upon him as we were checking out the basement while I was still whining about the kitchen.
We told him how we L-O-V-E how the shower turned out, but that the kitchen backsplash was atrocious (clearly no fault of his, that selection is all on me), and how I had read up on glass paint in different forums and been to craft stores earlier in the day to figure out how to paint the backsplash until we can have it replaced.
He said that since it wasn’t grouted yet, he could ‘just have his apprentice pop some of the light ones out’.
Serious doubletake.
He double checked to make sure he had enough of the other two colours to be able to pull it off, and he was only 1 bullnose tile short.

So instead of having a grouted backsplash today, we have this, and I couldn’t be happier about it!


More changes, we have hardscaping!
The foundation plants are also in. There are 6 trees left to be planted in the front yard, you can glimpse them to the right of the trucks in the photo. Also 6 more trees for the west side, but we are waiting on more dirt before they finish off the front yard and put down grass seed.

Landscaping happened yesterday, and we had them take out one of the apple trees in the back yard that was a little mutilated during septic tank install.
I liked that tree, but it will be easier to get the fence in now.

The new stairs leading down the the backyard, they flipped those huge stone slabs around with a backhoe and scooted them into place after digging out their spots with hand shovels.



And here is the backyard, the disturbed areas here have been seeded. The septic mound in the very back has new grass peeking through the straw!

We will kill off the ground covers in the treed areas and either seed it or plant something that is less likely to be poison ivy.

Heading indoors again:


Lockers, with hangers.


The kids’ fans were all lit up.

So were the can lights.

stairs and the light

Do you see it?
the light

It is THE light. The one I gave up my DIY itch for.
It is right where it should be and I think it looks awesome.

Another happy room.

powder room

Powder room, with electricity.

I think I might not have to stencil these walls after all, those are some really cool shadows cast by the chandelier.

The mirror is the only thing missing in here.

stair landing light

The painters had stained a couple of lengths of baseboard, to replace these white ones on the stair landing. It just looked odd with stained baseboards flanking the actual stairs, then switch to white at the landing and continue with stained for the other half of the stairs.

Also, there is a safety light here for night time stair-strolls.

The LED hand rail lights are yet to be installed.


Rocker switches in the office.


Power and ethernet ports. The desktop powerhouses will be hardwired for speed.

Our cabinet maker is building the built in bookcases off site, but besides that small thing, the office is finished.

The great room looks like this.


Those surround sound speakers make me sad.
We have this beautifully finished, perfectly smooth expanse of wall, and then there are those -things-.
The painter will try to dilute the wall paint down and atomize spray them, but the holes in the mesh are so fine it might not work that well.
What on earth was he (as in the husband) thinking?

Oh well, maybe I should take up tapestry making and cover that whole wall.

On a happier note: fireplace stone is pretty much the only thing left in here.
And blinds.



The rack with the home automation system,  waiting for more tech toys to move in.

master bedroom2

Master bedroom with electrical outlets and TV installed.

The electricians and painters were doing their final work, and the rope light in the tray ceiling was going in as we watched.

This room is done!


The ball over the tub all lit up.
The tub filler and the shower faucets are still in boxes in here.


The sconces that will flank the mirrors over the vanities all work.


Master closet #2 gets to close this post.

Workday visit

With a house showing, a truck full of dogs, and time to kill I went over to the house just after noon today.
Pulling up I noticed a lot of vehicles. A Chippewa Stone truck, a HVAC truck, a plumber truck and 7 other miscellaneous pickup trucks, cars.

And a dozer.

Inside there was a lot going on.
The trim carpenter and his crew were doing finish work, partly following the path left by the hardwood floor installers.
The lockers now look like this:

The lower section actually slides out, (or did before the front edge of trim was attached) so the flooring underneath is laid in full sections, like the rest of the floor.
!!! NB: Shoe space !!!

Looking UP.

garage foyer light

That is the garage entry foyer light.
Meaning one of the teams in the house were installing light fixtures.

The light looks a little on the small side, or maybe the ceiling is just big.


kitchen counters

Kitchen counters!
They are beautiful.
The installers were rolling on sealer and stepped out of the picture just as I took it. The granite is still wet in this photo.


Eric’s sink.


All the pieces fit, it is almost like they do this for a living.

This is the counter area closest to the pantry door.

Next stop: office.

office wainscoting and floor

The header for the paneling is in place, as is the shoe molding.

office fan

Bubble glass  office ceiling fan!
I wonder if the other side of the blades are darker. I think that might look better.

master showerShower!

master bath

Bathroom sconces and bathroom countertops. Sink mounting in progress.
Now I don’t have to wonder how they did it.
Worker count in here: 1.

master fan

Master bedroom ceiling fan.

master wall

Master bedroom wall colour in the corner meets floor. Got shoe moulding here too.

Electric outlets and switches, and the lighting in the tray ceiling are the only thing missing in this room now!

stair handrail

Stairs were also being worked on while I was there.
Notice the moulding at the bottom of the pillar.  I think that looks nicer than the crown on top.


Worker count in this area: 2 (3?).

floor dining corner

This is the same corner I took a photograph of yesterday. With more floor and trim.
The floor is gorgeous in daylight!

I think the reveal of the last of the Big Unknowns that were decided before we even signed the contract to buy the house turned out to be a nice one. It has character.

powder room chandy

Peeking into the dark powder room, there was sparkle!

The hole in the ceiling behind it is for a fan. The light might sparkle, but like every room in this house, it is actually meant to be used.
Do not like superfluous spaces. (Remembering the house hunt this spring with the countless formal living and formal dining room of so many colonials.)

powder room
This is where one of the plumbers were working.

boys bathroom vanity with counter

The boys’ bathroom vanity counter is in place and so are their two sinks. The granite is very pretty.

I am not a big fan of Jack&Jill bathrooms in general (this is a T&C bathroom). But the boys do brush their teeth at the same time, and I have witnessed enough space squabbling with accompanying toothpaste leakage to think this might work very well for them.

Two people were installing wood floors in Ts bedroom, to the left, and another was assembling a ceiling fan in C’s bedroom to the right.


M’s countertop and sink. Hers will likely be messier than the boys’. On the other hand, the toilet will be a lot cleaner.

There were a few people in the unfinished part of the basement too.

One was moving the window screens from the area under the stairs where they have been stowed.

Another was doing something with red and blue pipe.

hot water heater Also, we now have a water heater!

Total worker count, no idea, they kept moving around, but maybe around 13. Plus Mike-the-Builder who was showing a couple around, discussing their future house.
Point is, it wasn’t crowded.

slope from driveway

Closing with the view from the concrete pad outside the garage, looking north. I want a split rail fence going from the side of the house here curving right and away into the trees and straight back to the far side of the septic mound. I estimate it will be 6-700 feet. *gulp

This is where the landscapers will install sandstone steps leading down to the backyard and patio.

Next week!


Edited to add:

west side

This photo was taken on September 18th (the day after the others), just to show where we are at, dirt wise.

More dirt is scheduled to arrive early next week, so lawn installation has been pushed to Wednesday.

Let the bodies hit the…


There are sweaty offspring footprints in the dust, but there is definitely a floor here!
Much squealing commenced.


We arrived just as the sun dipped below the horizon, so the lighting is iphone created.
The floor is variable width Hickory in a medium stain and satin finish. Think it’s sufficiently dirt coloured to hide mud and dog hair?

Next squeal happened in the master bath.


The new wall tile arrived, and it looks fantastic.
I’m very pleased with the 4×12, and the glass accent looks nice.
The shelves are skimpy, my shampoo bottle would take up one, and the conditioner the other.


This is the cap on the half wall between shower and the bath tub area. It’s Caesarstone Classic in Nougat, just like the counter tops in the bathroom will be (installing tomorrow?), and I believe it will give us enough of a ledge to put bar soap and rubber duckies on in the shower. If the glass wall butts up to the edge of the tile.
We’ll see.

Heading down to the basement for squeal number 3.
At this point it was really getting dark, but I still had to take a photo.
It’s the DOG SHOWER!


Clearly it isn’t done-done, it will not be OSB when finished.  But I don’t actually know what it will end up looking like. I think I specified ‘Some kind of dirt colored, budget field tile.’
I don’t really care, it will be a dog shower =D

I see the light

I’m talking about the one light fixture we were missing: the dining table chandelier.

It will share the big vaulted ceiling space in the kitchen with the three island pendants:

kitchen island pendant catalog

The middle light, the lowest.

After a lot of browsing, I found two collections at Restoration Hardware that grew on me.

camino light

san sebastion light

Both have optional Edison tube or squirrel cage bulbs and both come in round and rectangular. We prefer round, more like our foyer light.
The Camino comes in sizes we could use. But it has only extension rods and not chains, like our pendants will have.
San Sebastian on the other hand, has the chain elements but the round versions are huge in scale.

Also, the Restoration Hardware prices are steep.

Enter Overstock.com
Presenting: Liam – oil rubbed bronze 24 light chandelier, 48″ ⌀
Half the price of the RH varieties makes it even prettier.
Or handsomer?

use dinette light

Oh, well

Our first meeting today was at Chippewa Stone, to place our kitchen counter templates. Meaning we got to see our slabs and in theory decide which part we wanted placed where.

In reality we asked the stone lady her opinion and went with that.

It was a challenge to take photos of the slabs, as even with the dust layer they reflected the cars in the adjacent parking lot.


See the olive? No? Try squinting, it might help!


We helped place the counter templates on our two slabs, holding the wooden templates in place as they were taped on. There was also white marker being used.

Since I was using my hands for more important things, I forgot to take pictures.
I did snap one of our island countertop though. It’s the whole area above the masking tape. 123 inches long and we were lucky it fit without having to do a seam.
Bonus red car reflection!

Dairy Queen break.

The next meeting was with Kevin-the-Landscaper from  Lamphear’s. We met him at the house.


Today’s view ! Another beautiful day and blue September sky.

We have well drilling happening. They just got started with the actually drilling as we arrived.

Taking bets on how deep they will have to go, with us being close to the top of the slope. We are adding an extra  commercial waterpump to amp up the water pressure.
I know this might come off as sacrilege to those in the drought stricken parts of the country, but the Great Lakes area is not known for being arid.

Concrete moulds and prepping was being done by one very sun exposed, hard working man in the 90 degree temperatures around noon.
Half the concrete will go in tomorrow, and half on Friday.

Also, the paint crew was working indoors, in the AC I might add to show the contrast, doing final paint because all the trim is done!


Walkway shots!


Two stair steps at the front door.
And a _huge_ front bed area.

We are leaning toward having a swoopy part of this being lawn , to break up the hard lines of the walkway and to lessen a threatening mulch desert. Maybe some rock pebbles. We will see what Kevin-the-landscaper comes up with, design wise.

We would like some good bones in shrubs and trees, so I can add perennials for colour to create my own cottage garden idea of pretty.

We gave Kevin pretty free reins for the design, with the exception of not overdoing the yellow. We also asked him to spec out sandstone steps from the garage down to the back patio, and a retaining wall for the west side slope.

The majority of our complimentary 6 pine trees will get to live on the dog door side of the house, to screen the neighbour’s basketball court. The only gap in our nature provided privacy screening.

Moving on to more concrete. This is the parking pad outside the garage, the swoop of the walkway, and the 10′ deep garden bed in front of the garage.


Indoors I just took a few photos.


Today’s locker view, white suits them, but also the only ‘hmm’ of the day.
The bottom cubbies here should be for tucking away shoes, but we spotted something on the great room floor that looks an awful lot like a paneled front and side for this.
While the paneling was beautiful, echoing the fireplace and office board and batten, I do hope we get shoe storage. We really need it!

Fireplace. I really like it.


Meanwhile, I think the dining room pillars are a little pretentious. The crown moulding at the top in particular.

I have an itch to square that off.


The office window, taken against the light and really throwing off the wall color. I still took the picture because like how the trim carpenters solved the under window panels.


The view from the deck, looking down on the patio.
Also starring Kevin-the-Landscaper’s feet.


Another view of the patio, as seen from outside the dog room door.



Right as we were leaving a dirt truck arrived. Front yard dirt dumping as seen from the car.
Looks like really nice dirt.
We hope to have the lawn going in early next week, even if the full landscape plan isn’t set in stone by then.