Sunday, July 29, 2012


A million times over. ... That is our drywall, of course. ;)

Stopped by yesterday evening to find that the drywall was up in the whole house! Still needs tape and mud, but it's all up there (screwed in place).

What surprised me most is how much bigger it all seems with the drywall up. Anyone else have this experience? You'd think as the stud walls were covered it would seem smaller, but to me it suddenly seemed huge! And like a real house. (And yes, that was me running around squealing: "It's a real house! And it's ours!")

Oh, and I totally forgot to update with results of our pre-drywall meeting. Our PMs got back to us last week to say they'd done everything requested (including getting those two 2" attic to basement pipes and adding a 3-way switch for the family room lights by the back stairs). The only things they were not able to do: move the light switches in the kitchen and the bonus bath. I think we can live with those the way they are, and can't be more pleased that all the other requests were honored (and so quickly).

Kitchen and morning room.

Hallway - Kitchen toward the entry.

Kitchen (seen from morning room)

Family room

Love that front door

Upstairs hallway -- looking toward the kids' side. Doors are the boys bedrooms and bath

Entry (with a view of our neighbor's framed Victoria Falls)

Kids bath

Master bedroom. (Loving the light!)

My closet. Can't wait to do closet organizers as it's big but unusual space.

Insert my very own vanity right here (husband's is  on the other side).

View to the hall from the master.

Sitting room (husband is already contemplating built-in ideas for this room)

Bonus room

Family room - TV will be mounted between the windows there.

View toward kitchen and morning room from family room.

Brick foundation wrap is done. Next up: Brick front!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

*insert happy dance*

Locking in: 3.375 with a credit of -.25 pt. That means they give us a little money toward closing. =)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pre-drywall meeting -- check

Don't you just love crossing the next thing off the list?

We had a fantastic pre-drywall meeting with our PM and PM2 today. Thanks all for your helpful input/questions. I owe Jesse a beer because I would have totally forgotten about the microwave plug.

Structurally, there wasn't too much to go over. We had done a pre-pre-drywall walkthrough with PM2 two weeks ago and marked up bad studs, etc., then. Today's meeting was mostly electrical with a few plumbing, Guardian things. My electrician dad walked the house with the husband last night to give his two cents. That was especially helpful.

Here's a summary:
- Only actual possible problem (as opposed to personal preference) - there were some wires touching a metal bracket in the guest room ceiling. Chances are that would have been caught on the electrical inspection, which hasn't been done yet, but still raised the flag.
- Moving lights - 2 kitchen recess lights so they are centered on the walkway between the island and counters
- Adjust placement (a few inches) on a couple of other lights or rough ins (entry, study)
- Missing the rough-in for the laundry tub in the basement
- Investigate moving/adding  switches -- there are no switches to turn on the kitchen lights in the kitchen
- Adding a switch for the family room lights by the back stairs
- Better secure a few switch boxes (the ones with 4s) and that crazy 4 block outlet in the kids bath
- Add that microwave outlet
- Missing those coveted attic to ceiling pipes
- Missing that 3-way switch for the garage coach lights at the front door.
- Guardian makes no sense. So so glad we didn't get more from them. It kinda appears that they wired for a motion detector in my closet. Did someone tip them off on my shoe habit? (PM is calling them, and so will we)

** Update: Turns out that that wiring is actually for the cell-receiver part of the security system (as opposed to the land line connection). The shoe thing was much funnier, though. **

Response on everything was great. All the little moves were "no problem." A few things that we knew were more complicated (redoing the light switch placement in the kitchen) were "I'll investigate and see what I can do."

We were really thrilled with how the meeting went. Can't say enough good things about these guys. So easy to work with, so accommodating.

We left with:
- The number for our pavers so we can call to get extra driveway
- Advice on when to call utilities (cable- 2 weeks out, other utilities a week out)
- And a new close date -- SEPT 14! We've been moved up a week. Frankly we probably could have pushed for even earlier, but as much as we'd like to be in the house, I'd rather have it done right than rushed to meet some unnecessary deadline.

A few pics:

They've started our brick! 
Here the brick wrap on the foundation.

Sorting piles.

Castlerock rocks!

A little beam issue.

Going pink

Even in the garage (well, the parts that touch living space).

Prepped for drywall.

Basement insulated -- rigid on the concrete walls, foam and bat on the stud-wall.
Today's POV shot. =)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Advice please!

I've seen lots of advice out there on the pre-construction meeting, but not that much on the pre-drywall meeting.

We've got ours at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Other than the specific questions about things that look off in the house (we wanted a switch there; that window is cracked; etc.), is there anything that you recommend asking about?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Back from the beach

We've been in the Outer Banks for the last week. It was an awesome vacation -- sun, sand, surf, kids, family and entirely too much food. But so much happened at the house just before we left and while we were gone.

Are those wild horses eating sea oats on the dunes at dawn? Why yes they are!
Totally worth the early rise that day.
Before we left: We had a great pre-pre-drywall walk-through with our PM2. We've got a main PM and he has an assistant. It was good to catch up on what was going on at the house, and the timeframe for the next steps. We had a chance to look at framing, add blocking and review all of our electrical choices before the electricians arrived. That was especially helpful in the kitchen where we have the 6-7 recess lights that come with the gourmet kitchen package, plus the rough-ins for our pendant lights, which hang over our non-standard island (6" granite extension). Very helpful to say "I want it there" and have the PM2 mark it on the actual studs, ceiling or floor.

We turned in a long-list of paperwork to NVR on the night before we hit the road. Our loan specialist had proactively sent a list of requests so she could get the ball rolling on re-approval. And our close date isn't even until Sept. 20.

Also right before we left, we got word our main SR was leaving us. Sad to see him go. He had done a terrific job for us, from working out a contingency when we were waiting for our old home to sell to giving some very helpful advice on upgrades and choices. It sounds like he has an exciting new opportunity and we are happy for him. We also have a SR2 in our community (previously part-time, but taking on a more full-time role now), and they're bringing on a new person. Not that I think we have much left to do with the SR, but it's nice to know there's still a familiar face there.

While we were gone: Wow, stopped by this morning (Sunday) only to run into the electricians, who were just wrapping up a 1/2 day. (Hello double time!) Rough wire is just about complete (looks like a few switches and, fingers crossed, our 2 conduit pipes for future wiring). Plumping rough in also mostly complete (they missed the laundry tub in the basement -- already emailed PM). HVAC in. Garage door installed. Guardian did their rough wire -- not that they let us know anything about that. Rigid basement insulation installed. Brick delivered.

Upcoming: Insulation Monday/Tuesday. Official pre-drywall meeting Wednesday! And we're now less than 2 months out!

And now the obscene number of photos:

Lots of shutoff valves. 

Piping for yet-to-be-delivered water heater ... or a future swing for the kiddos.

Interesting detail that our PM added: We're getting the full trim package, including the chair rail and decorative wall moldings (wainscoting, kinda). Our PM feels that the plugs, if left according to plan, interferes with the moldings too much. So ... he has the electricians put them in horizontally just above the baseboards. See outlet box, center. Now that's attention to detail! 

We got plugs added to our tray ceilings. Having the trim held down, so we can throw some rope lights in there. 

Recess lights, back, and the pendant light rough-ins.

Guardian was here. We only got 1 TV mount done (up/down).  For those who have done this: Did they just pull those wires through the box? Or is there some sort of receptacle? 

There's that TV mount. Family room.

Family room: Fireplace wired, eyeball and recess lights in. Another interesting PM tip: At his suggestion, we've added a plug just above our mantel (for Christmas lights, etc). Interested to see how that works with the stone.

Washer/dryer prep.

Hose bib in the garage.

More blocking added in my office, in case I ever want to mount a TV. Thanks to Thomas and others who suggested requesting blocking!

I kinda love that our electricians were labeling the wires for these multi-switch boxes.

Pretty sure this was a rough in for a smoke detector (not evident here, but "smoke" was written on the joist there). Did anyone else get Guardian to do an alarm system with smoke detectors? It looked like there were smoke detectors in every bedroom. Is this the case?

Kids bathroom -- ready for 2 sinks. And, yes, they've already claimed sinks.
This cracked me up.

More blocking in the bonus room.

Bonus room. That thing in the wall between the windows is one of our flood lights. We'll be able to reach out the window to change the bulbs. =) And by "we'll" I mean, "the husband will."

Bonus room, closet and bath.

Looking through the bonus room wall to the baster bed and bath beyond. Lots of framing, lots of wiring.

Tray ceiling in master, with a dangling outlet.

Master bath.

Brick has arrived! Castlerock. And like almost every other blogger out there, I'm nervous about the color.  When I pulled one out it looks good -- not too dark, not too light, worn but not too worn. But hard to say what it's going to look like up. Crossing fingers.

Front and garage ... with door!

Ready for brick!