Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5/26/15 - Structured Wiring Walkthrough

Earlier today I got a call from Steve over at Structured Cable of VA asking if I would be able to meet him out at the house this evening to do a walkthrough and go over all of our choices and locations before the guys go in to do all the wiring.   The framing is all done and the roof is on, so I guess now we get into the fun stuff.  As I said many posts ago, this part of the build is my baby so to speak.  My wife gave me free reign to do what I see fit here more or less, so to finally get to walk around and lay it out is awesome!

I posted in a previous post about what all we had decided to add at this stage.  We plan to use the main part of our basement as a theater room, so we opted to prewire the ceiling for a projector as well as setting it up for in ceiling surround sound.  There is a utility room in the basement that houses the furnace and water heater, so I am having all the cabling run into there, where with the help of an IR repeater I can have a fairly stealthy installation without a ton of equipment littering the room.

Another thing I addressed with Steve during the walk-through was our desire to have POE video cameras at the front and back of the house overlooking the main entry points.  For those that aren't familiar with a POE Camera, it's basically a hard wired camera setup that uses a typical ethernet connection for power and signal.  By using a good quality camera with a nice field of view we will have pretty good coverage of the rear of our property as well as the front door/driveway and the street out front as well.  To some this may seem overkill, but it's a small price to pay for a little piece of mind.

We hadn't discussed the cameras during our initial meeting, but we had originally planned to have cable and data run into all 4 bedrooms, and as our plans for the house have evolved, we realized that it wasn't really needed so we were able to swap out two of those connections for data wiring to the front and rear doors.

Other than that change, it was all pretty smooth.  We got to walk all three floors and point out and mark where we wanted everything to go, from the alarm panel and volume controls for the in-ceiling audio in the kitchen and the prewire for deck speakers, to the surround sound locations and cable/data jacks.  As always Steve was extremely helpful and courteous and took time to go over it all with us as well as give his input/advice where needed.  After all, he has far more experience in these matters than we do, so an educated opinion is always welcome.

Next up is our pre-drywall meeting.  We noticed today while we were there that a lot of the HVAC stuff was already installed and our bathroom fixtures were sitting in the garage with lots of piping and stuff for the plumbing, so that will probably be the next thing up.

And since everyone loves pictures, here is a shot of one of my cars in front of it's soon to be new home!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

5/23/15 - Another Walkaround and More Progress

We made a quick stop off at the house on our way up to Richmond today to go visit the Pottery Barn to look at some decorating stuff for the kids room and when we got there, much to our surprise  contractors were inside working.  So we decided to stop back by on the way home so we could walk around and be nosy without disturbing them.

When we came back we were able to take a look inside and see what's changed since last week.  They had a lot more of the framing done as well as the rough-in for the fireplace and much to our delight, they had the staircase in to the second floor so we were able to go up there and poke around.  It's strange to walk though our house after going through the two model homes we've looked at since our house is arranged backwards inside, so it took a little bit to get our bearings.  Everything looked great as far as we could tell.  There were a few notes here and there from the PM pointing out some things that needed to be addressed, and we could already tell that some of them and been corrected.  It's nice to have a PM that seems to be staying on top of things.  They had started the HVAC install already and we could see the shingles for the roof had already been delivered, so hopefully there will be some good progress in the coming week.  

Our packing progress is coming right along too.  We are just about down to the necessities at this point.  So Hopefully move out day will good smoothly.  

21 Days Left Until Move-Out and Closing!

Now on to the part everyone wants to see, THE PICTURES!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5/20/15 - Raising the Roof

A quick update thanks to our wonderful, soon-to-be neighbor.  They made some serious progress today!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

5/17/15 - An "Inside" Update

Today we made our regularly scheduled weekend trip up to Williamsburg to move yet another load of furniture and belongings into storage and as always we made a quick stop by the house to check out the progress.  When we got there we found that they had made quite a lot of progress on the framing of the house.  Most of the interior walls are in and the basement framing is more or less done.  There wasn't anyone on site doing anything, so we did what any normal person would've done.

We Went Inside!

It was neat to be able to walk around inside and see how it was all coming together.  Our house is built "per plan" so it is the mirror image of both of the models that we've walked through.  As such, all the pictures and images we have seen aren't the way ours will be.  It was cool to see it live and in person.  The upstairs isn't done and the staircase isn't in, so we stuck to the first floor and basement.

The rafters should be delivered early this week, so hopefully my next update will feature a roof!

And a quick picture of our storage unit that now houses just about all our worldly possessions

Thursday, May 14, 2015

5/14/15 - The Second Story Going Up!

Stopped by the house today to see that they were making progress on the second floor.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

5/12/15 - What a Difference a Day Makes!

Today my wife rode out to see the progress because our PM told us that they got the approval on the first floor decking and that they would be starting to frame the rest of the house.  Needless to say, we were surprised to see such progress.  Hopefully it all goes this fast from here on out!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

5/10/15 - A New (Temporary) Home

One of the big issues that we've been dealing with during the whole process of selling our current house and buying the new house is the gap between the closing date on our current house and the closing date on the new house.  We knew that there was going to be a gap of at least a month, and we have been stressing out big time over what we were going to do during that time.  We had looked at staying in an extended stay hotel, but it posed a couple of problems.  1: We need to be able to take our cat with us.  We have a cat and a dog, and while my mom is nice enough to watch our dog for us during the move, the cat isn't invited.  2.  We need a two bedroom place.  Our son is 7 and he really needs his own room separate from us so he can go to bed early and not be disturbed by us. And 3.  We need a little bit of room to move around.  We have some stuff that we need to keep with us and as such we need some space to keep it.  None of those issues are met at an extended stay location, so it was to be our last resort.

Thankfully I came across a student that was looking to sublet her apartment for the month of June and July.  It's a fairly large two bedroom apartment in Williamsburg only a few miles form the new house and it's available from June 10th until Aug 2nd.  Doesn't get much better than that.  So tonight we drove back up to Williamsburg to check it out and it's perfect for what we need.  So we paid our deposit and agreed to take it.

Check off one major stressful thing from our list!

5/9/15 - Let the Framing Begin!

Since it's the weekend and we're both off of work,  we did what we've done every weekend lately, load up the trailer and the Pilot and head to Williamsburg to pack some more stuff away in storage.  We were luck in that there is a local storage unit very close by to our new house so even though we have to move twice so to speak, at least the bulk of our stuff is close by to the new house so it won't be too bad to get it moved in once the house is finished.    While we were up in Williamsburg, we decided to swing by the new house and take a peek at the progress.  We knew that they were going to be farming the basement/first floor deck this weekend so it was pretty cool to see it all done.  It's finally starting to look like something!

And a shot of our very full storage unit!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

5/5/15 - A Quick Update and the Tale of Two Yards

When we first decided to build on the lot that we chose, we were advised that since the lot was essentially a big hill, the back yard would have quite a bit of slope to it.  We were able to see our neighbors yard as their house is already completed and it does have a pretty serious slope away from their walkout basement.  For some people, the smallish yard would be a deal breaker, but for us and our lifestyle we were happy to give up the lot size in order to get the house that we really wanted.  In the area that we were looking, there was a huge premium for a house with a large lot, and frankly, other than the dog, no one would really enjoy the yard anyway,

As we've watched the footers and the basement go up, we couldn't help but notice how high up the door way was for the walkout basement.  It was well over our heads standing at the footers, so we have been quite curious how exactly they were going to grade up to that in order to make it work.

This morning I got an email from our PM about some of the non-standard options we had requested and the status of them.  He wanted to make sure that we knew what was approved, what wasn't and where we stood so there wouldn't be any confusion down the road.  This is greatly appreciated by both my wife and I as this whole process has been very overwhelming and quite frankly, I'm not sure either of us completely remember what we chose and what we didn't.  During the conversation he asked if we'd mind meeting him at the site so we could discuss our backyard one day this week.  It just so happened that today at lunch was a perfect time for me so we went ahead and agreed to meet him then.

When we got there he went over a few of our changes, the door into the garage, the full size window in the basement and the relocation of our water heater were the big things as well as letting us know about a few changes that we were just too late to get in.  (can't win them all!)  

Then came the talk about the yard.  As I said up there ^  we didn't really expect a whole lot.  We had seen the lot, and seen the height of the basement door, so we knew that we'd have a pretty steep roll off from our basement door at the very least, but we were pleased to hear that there was another option.  Rather than having such a steep hill away from the back of the house, we could opt to have a small platform off the sliding door from the basement with steps leading down to the yard which would now have a much shallower slope since it wouldn't have to be graded up to meet the house.  This was a no-brainer for us, as we'd much rather have the (in my opinion) more useful yard and have to deal with the steps, over having a true "walkout" basement with a steep hill.  I can fully understand why someone would prefer to not have the steps, but for us, this is a perfect solution to a somewhat imperfect yard.  Besides, I'm sure the puppy could use the exercise!

Other than that, construction is moving right along.  They are planning to get the floors in the basement and garage poured this week and hopefully framing will start by this weekend as well.  Here's hoping everything goes quickly.

T-minus 36 days until we have to be moved out of our current house.  

More to come!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

5/3/15 - Water-Proofing and Backfilling Done

While making yet another trip up to our storage unit, we decided to swing by the house to check out what had been done this past week.  All the waterproofing and backfilling is completed, so not were just waiting for the basement plumbing and basement floor and then the framing will begin!