Rock and roll

dining columnkitchen columnliving fan and tracks living tracks and fan laundry lights fan guest room fan booth and lightkitchen sink and granite Uba Tuba guest bath vanity laundry sink island granite Verde MarinaceMoving quickly along now.  The stone masons are putting up the rock fireplace wall and finished the 2 stone columns in the dining and kitchen side of the entry hall.  The only problem is they didn’t look at the plans when they installed the switch box and it’s on the wrong side of the stone column.  Have to see if they can move to the other side since it operates the dining light and the accent light above the antique buffet that will be on the dining wall.  Doesn’t make sense to have the switch on the entry gallery side.

The electricians have also been busy installing ceiling fans, light fixtures, and repositioning a few outlets.  They are not yet done and have exterior fixtures to put in too.

The granite guys have almost finished up.  Just a few little tweaks left.  We had the Uba Tuba and Verde Marinace in the kitchen honed to create a more rustic and natural look; we like how they turned out.

The honed marble for the guest vanity was in the “half price” pile and we designed a custom top; they are not quite done and need to install the matching left side splash.

The Blue Pearl in my laundry is bright and flashy with my yellow walls; blues and yellows are my favorite combination, and the silver flash in the granite is lovely with my stainless accents in that space.

The linen textured tile flooring has just been started in the baths and, except for the two living spaces and two of the bedroom where carpet will be,  we chose slate look tiles to go in the rest of the spaces. Should have an update very soon.  We just might be done by Thanksgiving after all.

 

Painters out, HVAC in

Today I stopped at the house to check on things.  Saturday I stopped by and the painters were actually working and finishing up.  I am guessing the builder gave them a deadline.  Today not much is new except the air conditioning system is in. 

My husband is still in the hospital after surgery (Transhiatal Esophagectomy (THE)) last Thursday, and is expected to remain there into this next weekend.  This is the last step in his cancer battle.  After going through chemo and radiation which finished up in August, this surgery is removing the esophagus entirely and stretching the stomach up to a small amount of esophagus they left in place to connect to.  They biopsied all those tissues during surgery to make sure no cancer cells were showing in the esophagus piece left in place.  All went well and recovery so far is really better than we could have anticipated. 

He will be out and recovered enough to be available to follow up on issues with the final stages of the house.  I think these next few weeks will fly by and we will be moving before we know it.  I can’t wait for the flooring, countertops, fixtures and appliances next.

 

Rails to Trails, and rain

We have had a very dry summer and our pond at the new property is down at the lowest we’ve seen it in the past couple years we’ve had the property.  But, the good thing is, it has not gone totally dry like some small ponds in the area.  Ours is at just under 2 acres.

We are getting nice rain which will bring the level back up nicely.  It also gets nice runoff from  huge drainage pipes that run under an abandoned train track that runs alongside our property and drains into our pond.  This is  very cool, the abandoned train track.  The track has all been removed and the counties have bought up the right of way and turned it into a hiking/biking trail.  So, along one side of our property we have a great nature trail to walk.  It is densely treed on each side and it actually sits lower than our property so we won’t see any activity along there.  They keep it mowed and trees cut back.  In some places along the trail it is gravel and in other places where it goes into a town it is concrete.  This stretch runs from Farmersville to New Boston, TX, about 130 miles.

Rails to Trails Conservancy is a nation wide system of abandoned rail lines being reinvented as hiking/biking trails.  There might be one near you.

http://www.traillink.com/trail/chaparral-rail-trail.aspx

http://www.railstotrails.org/index.html

 

Off topic, oh well

I wish I had a photo, but I don’t.  We are in love with frozen hashbrown patties. We are using the Brookshires store brand, but name brands like Ore-Ida have them.   In all our married years I had not bought these.  They seemed too “fake” for some reason.  I could not imagine they would have any flavor.  But, since my husband’s radiation and chemo treatments this summer, we had to find foods he enjoyed the taste and texture of, plus add some weight back on.

I will now confirm that he has added weight back on, plus some.  He is now back on a more realistic food intake since he is above his goal weight.  He was on a doctor ordered “eat everything, as much as you want if it tastes good”  diet.  Well, I reminded him he is now done with treatments, all food tastes good, he is keeping everything down, and he has not recently weighed in at the docs office.  We are just waiting for a determination on a date for esophageal surgery.   We know it will be a somewhat slow recovery back to solid foods, so he is banking on that as his defense to keep eating everything in sight.  Sorry, no.

But, these potato cakes are so convenient and nice.  He used to grind up potatoes, fry them, and usually they were too greasy for me.  I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome and so my daily battle with food is usually on a collision course.  Some days are good, others are not and are totally unpredictable.  Grease is an enemy so I steer clear of all fried and greasy things.  These usually work out ok for me after draining on a paper towel right out of the oven.  Our toaster oven works great for these and we stock up when at the store.  If they go on sale, I stock up.

So, just a little side note today to reinforce simple things in life are great after you’ve been through some really rough days.  Enjoy the simple.

Architecture styles

My husband and I love architecture, and so that is why he is an architect and I love houses, too.  Our daughter is finishing up her Master’s in Architecture at University of Texas-Arlington, this is her last semester.  This is her second degree; she graduated from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, TX with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business-Retail Management, but she has been an artist since she could pick up a crayon and I knew she would pursue her love of art somehow.

But, house design is an interesting concept.   Each house needs the same functions: living, kitchen, bath, sleeping.  But to create  each in a different way is so addicting.  Any creative process is the same way.  I have been sewing since junior high and the same thing.  By choosing different materials and different option (short sleeve,long sleeve, cuffed pants or not, etc.)  you can create a whole new outfit with the same pattern.  I had favorite patterns I just skewed and used different patterned fabrics for each outfit.  Same with any kind of design; change it up and have a new look.

So this house came from our ideas of merging several styles we really liked into a cohesive and functional unit.  Prairie style, Craftsman, Bungalow, and Arts and Crafts styles topped the list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_School, (you can see it in our main living space with beams, a built in booth, vertical wall planks separating some visual spaces at booth and into hall space and stair space, and also the dark stained woods),

but also log homes or timberframe homes with vaulted ceilings creating lots of open space:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_framing, (the living ceiling with beams and truss structure creates an open feeling),

and I love the Southern regional dogtrot style of home: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/cfd01;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogtrot_house

(our detached garage connected to house with wide covered porch).  Many years back we went to City Park in Dallas where they have recreated a little village using old structures they have refurbished and furnished just like they would have been back in the 1800’s or so.  A school, dentist, a home, blacksmith shop, pottery making, food producing gardens, flower and herb gardens, etc.  The minimally furnished dogtrot  house on display was a log house and the docent explained that in cold months the log walls were chinked with a clay mud that dried hard, but in the summer and warm months the chinking was removed in places to allow air movement, aka “air conditioning” back then.  That fascinated me as I had not heard this altered in this way.  It was then easy enough to re-chink with new mud when the cold started moving in.  In the South you look for any way to bring in cool breezes so this makes sense.  There is not always a lot of breeze or a lot of cool in summer down here.

covered front porch

So the dog-trot style has come into play again as we were laying out the pathway from drive to front porch.  It worked out where it will be easy to create a “barrier free” entrance by sloping the walkway to the porch level and eliminate a step up.  We have a four-foot wide porch entrance covered to the front door on left side of porch, and the opposite porch wall is the garage wall and “person” door off the porch to the right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogtrot_house

The old dog-trot, or dog runs, had a very wide center porch area with ramps where they drove their wagons up on to the covered porch, unloaded their supplies and grains, etc, into the store room attached on one side of porch, and then drove  forward  down the ramp on the other side.  This porch was so useful since it was covered and it was used for anything and everything back in the day: laundry, sleeping, cooking, vegetable prep, butter churning, etc.

We hadn’t really planned on the sloping walk, but it worked out design-wise and the builder said he can do it easily, so there you go.  Ask and you shall receive.  And, of course, our  two and a half year-old grandson will love it as he zooms on his trike around the long porch and down that slope.  Thanks Grandma and Grandpa, I can hear him saying.

Shake it up a bit

Well, since the last post, the painters have been in the house for the past almost-two weeks, staining first all the wood and cabinets that need to be done.  They are almost ready to start the final finish to the stain.  Jason our painter is sourcing a flat finish and provide a sample board.   He already provided the sample of the satin finish, which I am not totally opposed to, but we like our woods to look natural, so he will have a flat finish sample ready on Friday this week.

In the meantime, it was a shock to walk into the new house after stain had been done.  After all the weeks of bare woods and light walls, we have some visible color and I was scared to face my decision of stain color.  Now, after a few days of “aging”, a patina seems to be taking place and the color is settling in and mellowing.  I chose the color because it was not as red as some of the other stains, but had less brown and more copper tone to go with our slate floor and backsplash, granites and carpet.   I have posted some pics.   My husband-the-architect and I love the Craftsman and bungalow eras and so we tried to incorporate that feeling into the design.  Once they start painting and get the stain overspray cleaned up it will look a thousand times better.  Did I mention our booth in the living room, adjacent to the kitchen?  We always wanted one, and incorporating it into the living space seemed logical, to allow for watching the big screen on the opposite wall, having breakfast tea with a morning view, playing games with the family, or our grandson drawing and playing cars on the table top while in the same room with family.  The booth table is being designed with a galvanized top; a nod to industrial.

stain booth

stain dining to living

They have to do all the staining first; then they cover up and tape up all the stained areas so they can paint next.  Painting interior and exterior in the next couple weeks.  It will be tedious painting around all the stained woods, in  the main living mostly, with some stained bookcases in the private areas of the house.

Our flooring people needed us to choose grout colors for the tile floors and the bath wall tile, so that is now done.

Once painters have moved out the flooring and granites will go in with all fixtures and appliances.  Then it will really feel finished, except for all the final minute details that must be addressed.