Thursday, July 29, 2010

Our House Build Update: More digging, and pouring footings

We have made some progress on our house build.  First, David had to do some more digging.  The first dig was just to lay out where the house would sit.  The second dig was to actually dig into the hill a little bit so the house wouldn't sit so high off the ground.

There's David on the Bobcat, digging away and kicking up huge clouds of red dust.  It hadn't rained for a while, so the ground was very dry and hard.  You can see that now he's up on a ledge, above where he dug into the hill.

This is what it looks like from the other direction.  That corner that was left higher than the rest is where the back porch will sit on a slab.  That was the ledge David was on top of on the Bobcat in the above picture.

Now with that digging done, it was time for the foundation crew to come in and start working.   We used McGee Brothers.  They came out and checked it out, and we went to their Greer office and picked out brick the same day.  The next day they dug the footings.  They were inspected the following morning, and they immediately poured the footings. 

Now our big hole is full of a maze of concrete.

It looks like a muddy mess right now, but the next step is to start laying the block for the foundation, which will then be bricked.  If you squint really hard and use your imagination, you and ALMOST see this house sitting there, right?  :-)

Thanks for coming by!  More pictures will come with each step of the build. 

*Note:  While David is the contractor on our build, he will be subbing out some of the work and doing other parts himself.  I will continue to let you know which parts he does himself, and which parts are done by subcontractors.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Welcome to 2010, fireplace!

David recently did a  revamp on the mantel at my (Lauren's) parent's house.  The poor fireplace was stuck in 1990.  It had a plain stained-wood mantel at the top of the bricks, and a brass insert.  I was going to take pictures of that, but David had already taken them off and I was too slow.  So here it is with the brass insert pulled out, the old plain mantel gone, and some MDF he put up as a backer for all the decorative stuff he was about to add.  I know it's not really a "before" pic, but he didn't wait for me to take pictures. :-)

He built small built-in cabinets at the bottom to go on each side, and he built 8 foot bookcases to go above those.  He also created "columns" on each side of the opening out of fluted board and decorative moulding.

There's one shell of a bookcase, and part of one column.

Now he's got two book cases, and most of the two columns.

He built doors for the lower cabinets, added the shelves into the book cases, and started adding decorative moulding pieces.  He also framed up a box to go between the two book cases that will frame a large picture later.  That box was topped with crown moulding.

David put a new mantel on top of the fireplace, and created dentil moulding above the two white boxes of trim. 

This is what the doors that he built look like.  They have a recessed panel.

Then it all had to be primed.  Since the living room had all stained trim and the mantel was going to be white, the windows and door casings were painted white, too.

Here's a close-up of some of the decorative trim.

Here's another close-up of the crown moulding at the top, and the trim inside the box.  And if you didn't notice, the walls are no longer plain old cream.  They are now.... blonde.  (It was a BIG change for my mother!)  The darker shade really helps the white stand out.

And this is the finished product!  David included several outlets in and around the mantel to make it easier to plug in lamps.

There are outlets inside each lower cabinet, with a hole for the cord to go through so it's hidden.

There's also an outlet that lies flat on top of the mantel, but is not visible when you're looking straight at it.  It's for Christmas lights, other lamps, or whatever you can dream up to plug in there.

And that's it!  Now the fireplace has a lot more presence in the room, not to mention the extra lighting, outlets, and storage space that was added.  It's also a classic look, so it looks like something that would have always been there, not something that was added in later.  Eventually, they will probably add some sort of decorative fire screen in front.  You would never know this fireplace once had a brass insert from 1990 now!  Welcome to 2010, old fireplace!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

And so it begins... Our House Build: Digging!

On July 7th, we made the first progress toward the actual building of our house.  We bought the land last year, and we have slowly been doing some work all along to get the land ready until we were ready to actually start building.  Some of the things David did to get the lot ready were:

-Trim trees and clear brush and stumps from the land.
-Some minor grading to smooth it out a little.
- Installed the culvert pipe to run under the driveway.
- Had gravel poured over the pipe for the base of the driveway.

On July 4th, David and his dad set out some stakes to lay out basically where the house would sit.  Then, we ended up having to move it back about 10 feet to make sure it was in the right spot for the septic tank.  When it was finally settled where it would sit, David started digging.

This is our house plan. 

This is what the lot looks like now.  You will have to use your imagination to visualize the house sitting there! :-)

I took pictures from various angles, none of which really show much about what the house will be like!  You will have to look at the link for the plan for that.

And that's it!  I know it's not much, but I'm going to show the whole build from start to finish.  There will be many, many more pictures to come as each phase is completed.  Thanks for stopping by!! 

Monday, July 5, 2010

When Trees Attack

You know we can have some monster storms in this area! Especially in the summertime, the sky can go from sunny to black and menacing in just minutes. Sometimes a good thunderstorm is nice to watch from the safety of your house, but they can do a number on trees.  Sometimes limbs can break off and cause damage to the roof.

This branch broke off in a storm and pierced the roof.

This is what it looked like from the attic....

And this is what is looked like in the room beneath.

It was a pretty simple fix.  The branch was removed.

The damaged part was sealed and repaired on the outside.

The water stain was covered up on the ceiling of the affected room inside.  Luckily there was no major water damage, so all that was required was a little ceiling paint.

Fortunately, the damage was minor and now it isn't noticeable.  The spot has not leaked anymore since the repair.  The main issue with roof damage is that it needs to be taken care of quickly so that more extensive damage doesn't occur.  If left unrepaired, a leak that size could have caused major damage.  This is one of the many types of handyman/repair jobs that David can take care of!  Thanks for checking us out!  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What water can do....

We've got to have water to live. It keeps us hydrated and makes the plants grow, but we sometimes forget how destructive it can be. I mean, it DID carve the Grand Canyon, and it can do a number on your home without you even knowing it. A hidden drip over many years can leave a big mess (as seen previously in the kitchen disaster, which you can read about here. )

You're about to see what a tiny leak in a washing machine can do over time. The floor started feeling "spongy," and this was what was underneath:That's never good.

Once again, it all had to come up.

What a mess! See how those boards are rotten and splitting? It's amazing what can be under your floors without you ever knowing it! Obviously, the floor joists had to be replaced again, just like in the kitchen job.

Much better! Nobody has to worry about falling through the floor with these new boards in place. (It can happen! Remember the almost-disaster where the refrigerator sat? Scary!) Now we just need to cover that up. It's usually a bad idea to leave gaping holes in your house for extended periods of time! :-)

Almost back to normal! Let's get some flooring back on there.

And that's it! Sometimes you have to end up taking it all the way back to the dirt, but the end result is much stronger, sturdier, and nicer than it was before.

Coming soon: Taking a mantel from early 90's brass to classic and elegant in white. It's almost like one of those home makeover shows...... almost. :-)