State of the Hive

I think that doing a major renovation/addition is like having the world's worst house guest for six months. One who comes and goes without telling you when they'll be around, but expects you to be home to greet them enthusiastically when they do arrive. A guest who makes the biggest possible mess, but doesn't clean up or even apologize for the clods of mud they just tracked into your house or that they just covered your son's tiny shoes in the thickest coating of marble dust. A house guest who monopolizes all your bathrooms...for months on end. And one who breaks, dents, scratches or otherwise damages everything brand new in your home.

I think it's time for these house guests to go.

With that being said, we're four weeks away from our finish date and pigs will fly if they meet that date despite our contractor's insistence that they will. They worked 6 days in September and 12 in October. Maybe they'll work 24 days in November and actually make it happen.

Just a minute, I need to go step into my massive new closet for a zen breathing session.

I think the worst thing about this project is that because something goes wrong every. single. day. it's taken the fun out of it for me. I don't feel like blogging about it at all. You know, 'cause if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Or if all you can say is, "they haven't worked in nearly two weeks and I'm going to lose my sh*t," then don't say anything at all? S thinks I should write a book about everything that's gone wrong. I wouldn't want to subject anyone else to the details of that laundry list.

But despite the fact that it feels like the fun has been sucked totally dry, we do have some pretty cool progress to share. And without further a-doo-doo all over this project, here's where we are this week.

We don't have siding yet, (big surprise) so we'll just start inside.

Enter through the new side door (to be replaced because someone cracked the window trim and chipped the top of the door, chapter 456) into our new mud room. It's so spacious! On the left S and his dad are going to build two sets of awesome cubby/open locker-style storage area. Directly next to the door they'll go all the way to the ceiling and be sized for adults. On the wall to the right of the window they'll be about 5' tall with hooks the perfect height for little guys and backpacks/purses when the little guy is big.

Large cubbies/locker style units will be directly next to the door and include a bench with a hinged top for out-of-season storage.

To the left is our massive 8' long coat closet. We put counter height outlets inside the closet to the left and the right of the double doors so we can have a concealed charging station for the dog's training collar, toys, etc. I also plan to have several shelves on the left-hand side for toy storage. (Interior doors were delivered this week - with the wrong color hinges, of course - so disregard the giant doors strewn about.)

At the end of the mudroom on the left is the powder room. It's just wide enough for a vanity and toilet, but long enough so neither will be visible when the door is open. That way we can keep the pocket door open to let morning light into the living room.

At the end of the mudroom straight ahead is the pantry and freezer closet. We have counter height plugs in the pantry side of this closet so we can keep the toaster oven, coffee maker and other lesser used appliances (or those that you just set and go) out of sight and not even have to haul them out to use them.

Past the pantry to the right is the new living room. It's nice and big and open to the kitchen on the left.

There are lots of windows and even though these four are north facing, there's lots of light in here. The afternoon light from those two westerly windows is lovely. I can't wait to spend time in here. Without shoes on. And on a big sofa. We're thinking a sectional, probably the sectional version of the couch we have in the basement from Ikea. With a two year old in our main living space, it's probably not the time to invest in a forever sofa. Speaking of Little M, he and I were out there last week measuring for furniture (and trying to rekindle some of the fun.) I think we're going to try putting the longer 9' end of the sectional against this wall o' windows, but have the shorter 8' long side "float" off the wall in the back to create a play area behind the sofa. I think we'll try lining the back of the couch up with the middle of the right-hand bank of windows. That will give a 4'x8' area behind the couch to organize toy shelves and other stuff I generally don't want to look at after bedtime.

Yes, those are gray paint chips all over the floor. It's like gray-gate all over again in here as I try to, yet again, find the perfect gray for our house.

The living room is open to the kitchen and dining room, which you can kind of get a sense of through the plastic wall, here. (I didn't clean before taking photos, it's futile.)

Here's an idea of what it looks like, taken on the day the floors went in ... with the plastic barrier down. Even the professional house cleaners who came for four hours the next day couldn't clean up from that disaster of a mess.

 This is how we're living right now. No dining room table, stuff shoved where it will fit. That lone chair is for whoever is lucky enough to sit across from M's highchair during his dinner. The unlucky one gets to sit on the floor. He demands that someone sit on the floor. We use the word "picnic" a lot.

We're still planning to take down the wall where the crab painting hang and the entire door frame next to it. I get hives when I think of that mess, especially since no one can give me a good idea of whether that phase will last three days or thirty.

Moving on upstairs, you can see here when the new hallway connects to the right of the door to our old bedroom. (No photos of that room - it's torn apart since we stole from the closet in there to make the hallway and then extended the room by 6" into the addition to make the new master windows centered left to right, if that makes any sense. I try to avoid opening the door as much as possible.) The hallway is made up of the old hallway linen closet and the closet in our old bedroom. It's the same width as the existing hall to the left, which is fab since I was worried it was going to feel too small.

Looking down the new hall to our new master. To the right is the old bathroom, which...

...has been completely re-done.

We have a new tub, which is great since our old cast iron tub was stolen from our yard along with all the copper we'd saved from this bathroom. And gutters. This is our second new tub since the first was smashed, cracked, chipped and scratched. The new scratch put on this tub by the tilers(?) will be "fixed."

After buying all our tile, we decided to go with a little tile down the side of the tub to control splashing. So I sent S back to Lowes to buy 4x4 tiles to create a "picture" frame identical to our old bathroom's. I absolutely love how this looks like our old bath, only newer. With niches. One at tub height for bath toys and one higher up for shampoo. I know little guys grow up, but I love creating little details for the "now" stage of our lives. Especially since we may only be here for another year.

I'm totally in love with this shower faucet too. It's Moen's "Lever" tub faucet. Instead of saying "hot" and "cold" it has a little sun on the left and a little snowflake on the right. It's subtle, but I think it's a very cute detail for a kid's bathroom. I'm drooling over the grout, Laticrete's Silver Shadow. It's so perfect for the basketweave floors. I love it so much. I cannot wait for this bath to finally be finished so we can start using it again.

Silver Shadow is the same grout color we chose for, da da dum, the master bath!

The herringbone on the wall proved to be a challenging pattern, but it came out so well. I think the most challenging part was the language barrier and the fact that there was zero supervision most days, so something got lost when I said use "whites and grays." We had bought double the square footage we needed and were assured we didn't need to go through and pick the specific tiles we wanted, that the tilers would be able to pick out and use the whitest ones as they went. Then I walked in and saw the most wild patterned marble tiles I've ever seen on the walls, forced a fake smile, called a supervisor to come help, and then went through hundreds of tiles to pick out the ones for them to use. In the end they pulled six of the most "wild tiles" and replaced them with "whites" and the whole thing was toned down significantly. I left a couple wild ones, just as a memory of the process kind of thing. The grout pulled everything together and really toned down the remaining wild tiles.

When the herringbone pattern was going up I started to second guess my choice of floor and wall combo. But now that the grout is in, I love them together. They haven't cleaned after grouting, so don't look too closely.

We went with a full width marble threshold for the shower entry rather than trying to create a threshold with tiles. I love the way it looks, it was a great suggestion by the tilers. Under the threshold we decided to go with a standard brick configuration rather than trying to bring the herringbone into such a small space. I don't think we'll ever notice this area once the room is finished.

Just next to the shower is a little linen closet, which is about one folded towel wide. It will have a tiny little door so those folded towels can be messily folded, if we want (that's not permission to fold messily, S.) S added two outlets in this closet too so we can have out-of-sight toothbrush and razor charging stations.

Here's the view from the bathroom down the little hall to the master bedroom. Just out of the bathroom to the right is S's closet and down to the left is the entry hallway.

To the right in the photo above is S's closet, the "his" of the his and hers closets. There's not much to see yet, but to the left of the door will be double hanging for shirts and along the back wall will be long hanging for flight suits.

And to the right where the closet turns in, he'll have floor to ceiling shelving. I cannot wait to open his closet door, drop whatever offending clothing was gathered on top of his dresser onto the floor, and close the door again. Marital bliss = separate closets. I don't think I'll ever be able to move!

 At the end of our bathroom hall is our bedroom. Those lovely angled ceilings were necessary for the new and old roof lines to meet on two of the walls. The angle on the left is "faux" and just there to balance things out. It was all S's idea to put that faux angle in. Beautiful idea.

Our bed will go against this wall so there are switches on each side of the bed to control a lamp on the opposite wall. We didn't want to have a ceiling light, although the ceiling fan junction box does have a wire in there to accommodate a light if we want one some day. The switch to control the fan is at the entry and also on my side of the bed.

This photos shows what I mean about the windows being even on the wall. Outside they'll be centered on the new siding, so in here if we didn't move the wall to the left into this room by six inches, then the windows wouldn't have been centered on this wall. That's why our old bedroom is a mess. But the six inches will make a big difference when we build a new closet in the old bedroom to make up for the one that was removed to create the new hallway.

Here's a little visual to reorient you.

Why yes, that big room to the left with all the lovely light streaming in, is my closet. I think it has the same square footage as M's nursery! It could easily be a nursery someday, if we didn't have several unoccupied bedrooms otherwise available. And if this room weren't the key to the smile I plaster on my face every day (or every tenth day, whenever someone decides to work around here.)

 You can see above that the closet takes a turn to the right, which is where I'll put my floor to ceiling shelves. Under the window I'll have more shelving, exactly one shoe box height apart, for all my shoes. Once I'm finally able to see them, I may even give away my shoes that no longer fit. Because yes, it's possible for your feet to grow the tiniest bit of a micro size during pregnancy, which doesn't change your actual shoe size, but leaves many of your old shoes too snug nonetheless.

Here's the view looking out from my closet into the bedroom.

The wall along the right will be all hanging. It's 13' long so I plan to have the first 6' closest to the door as long hanging with a shelf above and the next 7' as double hanging for shirts and pants. I can't wait to hang everything. I may even hang my underwear. I'm that excited about this space.

And finally, here's the view looking out of our bedroom down the new hallway into the existing house. It's going to be so lovely when it's finished. That day just can't get here soon enough!

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Halloween Boos - a Tutorial

Don't forget to share your kid's latest wisdom with Campbell's Wisest Kid.

Little M and I saw some small, simple ghosts hanging from a tree the other day when we were out walking Feeney. He pointed and laughed. I told him they're called "ghosts" and asked if he'd like to make some. He laughed. He doesn't say "yes" yet, he just laughs his assent.

So yesterday after getting our flu shots bright and early at his pediatrician's office, we went to JoAnn's for our special project supplies. While talking about what we were going to make he was repeating "ghos," but by the time we were hanging them on the tree in our front yard he was calling them "boos."

... Just before making our boos, we were running around the addition and I hid behind a wall and jumped out shouting "boo!"As I jumped out, my mind was simultaneously thinking, "this could be a really bad idea." But Little M screeched with delight and started hiding behind walls and shouting "boo" at me. Then my wild child and I went inside to make ghosts, which I told him "say boo." So these are now boos and that's why.

makes 6 ghosts

2 yards of inexpensive dress lining or similarly gauzy fabric
6 - 3" styrofoam
fishing line cut into 6  ~12" lengths
black sharpie
fabric scissors

To make the ghosts
1.  Trim selvedge edges off of fabric
2. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and cut into two (2) long strips
3. Cut each strip into three (3) equal pieces, resulting in 6 approximate squares
4. Place a styrofoam ball in the center of each square
5. Cinch fabric around the base of the ball and tie tight with one end of the fishing line to make the ghost's neck
6. Knot the other end of the fishing line into a hanging loop
7. Draw eyes and a mouth on the ghost's face, opposite the knot - we did a mix of smiles and "O" boo faces
8. Hang from trees in your yard

Happy Halloween!

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Our master bathroom floor was tiled yesterday. I love it!

It's a hexagon marble tile that we found at the Home Depot. I say "the Home Depot" but I really mean six Home Depots. S woke up early on Saturday morning, as he usually does, and went to Home Depot about 45 minutes away on the other side of DC. Their website said they had enough square feet of tile to do our master floor... after several hours searching the store with several managers he discovered that they did not. By a long shot. So he went to every Home Depot around the beltway, calling in in advance, getting several square feet at each store until seven hours later we had more than enough. We needed 80 square feet, he came home with 140.

When Little M woke up from his nap we went through all the boxes together choosing the sheets of tile that had the least yellows and the most grays. I'm so glad we bought so much extra; there was a lot of yellow! I'm also glad we didn't decide to order it online and wait until next week for shipping since yesterday's install was a total surprise.

Now we just need to choose a grout color. I'd like a light gray, but so far I haven't found one and I think were delaying progress. Uh-oh.

Last night we ordered our vanity online. I can't believe things are finally coming together! Maybe will actually be done by Thanksgiving. I hope I didn't just jinx us!

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Fresh Garden Tomato Soup

I planted three tomato plants this year thinking we'd have just enough tomato for the one person in our house who actually likes fresh tomatoes (me.) One plant died for some unknown reason just as fruits were starting to ripen. The second, a cherry tomato plant, didn't start to give us ripe tomatoes until mid-August, which is when I discovered that Little M LOVES cherry tomatoes. Up until this week, I hadn't eaten more than a half dozen cherry tomatoes total, whereas Little M has had a dozen at day at least!

My one remaining brandywine plant was giving me just enough fruit to have plenty of BLTs and an occasional grilled cheese with tomato sandwich or two - one for me and one for Little M. When S's parents gave us a bag full of tomatoes last weekend from their super prolific plants, I definitely didn't have enough bacon to eat them all BLT style. So I decided to give tomato soup a shot.

Which is nuts since I loathe cooked tomatoes.

But not anymore. This soup was really good! I think it's the sugar, it cut the acidity in the tomatoes and the whole thing was just creamy goodness. Which I served with grilled cheese. Of course.

Fresh Garden Tomato Soup

64oz fresh tomatoes, chopped
1T olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
10 whole cloves
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4T butter
1/4c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole milk or fat-free half and half
2t. cornstarch 
2t. salt, to taste
1-2 T sugar, to taste

 1. Combine milk and cornstarch in a bowl, mix well and set aside
2. In a large soup pot sautee onions and garlic in the olive oil
3. Add tomatoes and cloves, cook for 10 minutes
4. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes
5. Ladle tomato mixture into a food mill and process to remove skins. Discard skins and set aside tomato mixture
6. In the soup pot melt butter. Add flour and cook, stirring continuously until it's a golden roux
7. Slowly ladle tomato mixture back into the pot, stirring after each addition to keep lumps from forming
8. Add milk/cornstarch mixture slowly while stirring continuously
9. Season with salt to taste
10. Add sugar to taste - it should cut the "acidic" taste of the tomatoes
11. Serve hot, freeze leftovers


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Dreaming of the Hallway Bathroom

Literally, I wake up at night in need of the hallway bathroom only to realize I've got to go all the way down to the basement to use the bathroom. Hiking back up two flights of stairs really wakes you up in the middle of the night. I'm tired.

Thankfully things in the hallway bathroom remodel are coming along. We decided to splurge and replace all the plumbing. "Remodel" does not mean "replace plumbing" even though remodel does mean rip up all the floors and expose all the plumbing. I honestly didn't know that. To save on the overall cost, S jackhammered up the concrete floor himself.

Changing out the 75 year old plumbing cost an extra $850, which only included the plumbing in the floor since all the drain lines and stacks in the old wall needed to be removed as part of the overall plan for the house since the bathroom wall was moved 6" into the addition. We're definitely glad we decided to update the plumbing. Over the years the drain lines settled so that the shower drain wasn't sloped properly anymore and the 2" drains were down to about 1/2" of effective size, which explains why the shower drained sooooo slowly. I can't imagine how small the old drain lines from the house to the street are now, and I do not want to find out.

We decided on getting a new tub and ended up donating the old one, which should get us a little tax deduction (thanks for the suggestion!) The tub is in place and the subfloor is down, which gives a good idea of how much six inches really means in such a small bath room. Six inches more is huge! It really does feel larger when you walk in the door. Granted there's only a tub in there, but I can tell.

We had the framers put in two spots to make nooks for bath toys and shampoo. I wanted them side by side, but the plumbing stack that you can see above foiled that plan. The tiles will basically wrap in and around the two nooks just like the one we have in the basement bathroom.

S insulated between the first and second floors for sound (also not something in the plans) and put extra insulation in all those open bathroom walls you see above so that someone showering or flushing in this bathroom won't wake someone sleeping in the master.  Insulating is a an itchy, miserable job.

Now that the tub is in place, the walls are framed and the insulation is in, we're ready for the fun stuff that we'll actually see!
center image, tub & faucet, tile & vanity & toilet, rug

We have the tile, toilet and faucet ready to go. The old toilet, which was brand new when we bought the house will go down to the powder room. The Wellworth toilet is a little shorter, so we figured it would go best in the room that will essentially be Little M's. We're reusing the old vanity, lighting, medicine cabinet and fan since they're all nearly-new.

Tiling is supposed to start tomorrow and all we have left to decide is grout color. I'm leaning heavily away from white. I cannot wait to have an upstairs bathroom again!

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Soup is Good Food

My little guy brought his first cold of the season home from daycare the other day (last month of daycare, so last daycare cold too??) and was a miserable mess over the weekend. I decided to give him what any good mom gives their sick kiddo – chicken noodle soup – the classic from Campbell’s, of course. Isn’t it scientifically proven that chicken broth helps cure colds?

When I was heating the soup on the stove the smell brought me back to my parents’ kitchen as a kid and I wished we had some crackers to crumble on top. I’m not sure how I associate chicken noodle soup with crackers as I’m fairly certain I was a soup purist growing up.

When the soup was warm, I ladled it into Little M’s elephant bowl with the suction bottom and took a taste to check the temp. Then I added an ice cube. Then I added another. When I finally served my little guy, chicken noodle soup proved to be a challenging choice.

Little M is 21 months old and while he’s skilled at eating yogurt with a spoon, soup was a whole new challenge. I tried giving him the broth in a cup, with a straw, in a sippy. Nothing worked. Finally I emptied the broth and just let my gluten sensitive kid eat broth-soaked noodles. With his hands. Good news is he’s growing out of the gluten sensitivity. And the warm lunch helped his stuffy nose.

While he ate/accidentally dropped noodles all over the floor I went to Campbell's Kitchen to check out the Wisest Kid page featuring some kid-friendly recipes using chicken noodle soup, guaranteed to make my kid happy. The mini chicken pot pies look pretty delicious and like a much easier way for a toddler to eat chicken noodle soup. Those may be making an appearance in our house this winter when the next cold hits.

There are several kid friendly recipes on the Campbell’s Wisest Kid page, definitely worth a peek. And for fun they feature a widget were you can share the wisest wisdom from your kids. Little M’s contribution to the wisdom? “Hot, hot.” Check out this widget and share the “wise” things your kids say.

What’s the wisest thing your kid has said recently. Is there anything wiser than “hot, hot”?

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Bye, Bye Bathroom

Just as soon as we finished fixing the basement, this happened upstairs:

That's our one and only upstairs bathroom. Gone to the dumpster.

We're remodeling the entire bathroom, obviously. In the interest of our very strict budget, we're keeping the vanity (it's not the best quality, but has a few years left in it, so we'll wait to swap it out), the toilet, the medicine cabinet and the fan that we installed when Little M was just a couple weeks old. The toilet is actually going down to the powder room since it's a "comfort height" toilet and we bought a new Kohler Welworth standard height toilet on sale at Lowes for this bathroom. We figure the shortest toilet is probably best for what will be the little boy's bathroom.

I'm 90% sure we're getting a new acrylic tub. But the guys were able to get the old cast iron tub out in one piece and now I'm having second thoughts!

To refinish our tub would cost about $350 and would last about 10 years - that is, if it's refinish-able. An entirely new tub is about $600. I'm torn. I hate sending stuff to the landfill unnecessarily and I'm of the thought that they don't make 'em like the used to. But the front skirt on this tub sticks out a couple, very valuable, inches into the room, it's in need of a refinish and now it's kinda scratched. Can cast iron tubs be scrapped? Are my demo guys going line their pockets with a whole lotta cash from this two ton tub? I'd feel a lot better about it if it were scrapped and not trashed. Plus the tub I picked out is equally deep and very sleek.

The whole remodel is supposed to take about two weeks. So in like a month we'll be in there again. A really long month of going from the second floor all the way to the basement in the middle of the night.... Will you judge me if I brought bedpans back in style?

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Progress, Albeit Slow

First the most important news from the past week: we decided on gray siding. We (I) went back and forth and agonized over the decision until the last possible minute. The turning point came when S pointed out that when I'm in the backyard, where I'll spend 99.9% of my time outside, I'll be looking at all siding and no brick. And do I want to look at taupe or gray. I want to look at gray. I love gray. So gray it is. I have no idea when it will be delivered. I really have no idea when anything will happen despite asking daily.

Second, we have windows. They were delivered on a Friday and in on a Saturday afternoon. In like two seconds flat. Maybe two hours, but it was no time at all.

Knock on wood, they appear to be as we ordered, which is a whole lot more than I can say about our last experience with Jeld-Wen windows from the Home Depot. However, I will shout it from the rooftops DO NOT MAKE ANY MAJOR CUSTOM ORDER PURCHASE WITH THE HOME DEPOT! What a disaster they are. Seriously. Last time was a year and a half long battle of which I couldn't share many details with you and we still never got the correct windows. Total incompetency. This time the incompetency worked in our favor in the end, but I cannot stress enough that your local lumber store is the place to go for windows, cabinets, doors, whatever. The big orange is a big freaking mess. Our contractor, who I accompanied during the window ordering process, was speechless. No joke. Think twice before placing custom orders at Home Depot.

Third, we decided on doors. Nearby neighbors renovated their house recently and I fell in love with their front door. I went so far as to contact their contractor to ask for the door manufacturer. Alas, it was a wood door and we wanted wood-look fiberglass. So in the end we went with Thermatru in a style that's very similar and for half the cost of the door I envy. They're on order and should be here soon-ish.

Fourth, the repairs from the flood are finished. The tile guys finished on a Thursday and we started doing our repairs that evening. I pre-painted a couple dozen lengths of baseboard with two coats of Benjamin Moore's Impervo paint and then patched two large sections of walls and several smaller holes with drywall and three coats of joint compound. Our basement contractor had used Duron paint, which has pretty poor coverage so I had to prime and then do at least two coats in all the damaged areas. I also painted the walls and shelves in the linen closet that were damaged when the plumbers moved the plumbing stack. I just wanted to get the basement finished, so since I already had all the paint out and was in painting mode, I decided not to wait for our contractor's painter to paint those areas.

S and his dad made all the baseboard cuts and installed them all. I went around and filled all the nail holes and caulked. It took several days. The bedroom ceiling and one wall in there are still torn apart from electrical and HVAC. They can't be repaired until after the HVAC inspection, so we're waiting on that before we can deem the basement back to normal. Plus, the Directv box just suddenly stopped working downstairs, so that needs to be replaced before we can call anything normal.

We don't have any "finished" photos of the floors because our stuff was delivered and it went from looking great to total chaos very quickly. Then we discovered all three of Steve's carpets were ruined by the flood. Or never cleaned by the cleaning company. So we've been focused on documenting damage. Again. And half our stuff was lost. So that's been interesting.

Fifth, the electric work has passed inspection and now the electrician is putting in actual switches and outlets. He's my favorite of all the trades people so far. He is so meticulous, especially about lining up lights and fans so they're centered precisely on whatever I've asked him to center them on. He gets to work at 7am and works a full day too, which I really appreciate. Two thumbs up for Rick.

Two thumbs down for HVAC. I wish I didn't think that because the guys doing the work are seem nice. But OMG the laziness, the shortcuts. They work for four hours, max, and call it a full day. One day their boss thought they worked a full day here when in fact they never showed up at all. Free Friday! The worst part is that the lead guy on our crew is the owner's son - the "and son" on the truck. I'm embarrassed for the whole lot of them.

We're putting a new HVAC unit in to service the second floor; the old will service the first floor and basement. The new unit and all the duct work are in the attic now. S had to empty then entire attic of all our storage on a 90+ degree day because the guys had refused to work for three days with our stuff up there (neatly.) It was only on the third day that anyone told us or our contractor why they weren't working. Frustration station. S emptied the entire thing, alone, in 45 minutes. How long do you think it would have take 3 guys to do that?

Whatever, when they finally did the work it "looked" good, but the laundry list of things they failed inspection for proves otherwise. The did divert the duct from the upstairs hall bathroom into the kitchen ceiling, which has been wonderful, especially since there's just a big uninsulated plywood wall separating the kitchen from the addition right now - sealed only with a roll of tape that I happened to find hanging around (which Little M keeps trying to remove.)

However, we've spotted (and repaired) short cut after short cut that they've taken. It's so disappointing. 

So all of that seems like quite a bit of progress except that there's been little to no work for a the past two weeks. Everything has come to a screeching halt because nothing can happen until the HVAC passes inspection. After they failed inspection and promised to be out "first thing tomorrow"... they showed up at 2:40pm and worked until 4. And did some shoddy work. So they're my least favorite trade so far, despite having friendly, chatty guys working...when they actually work.

The sarcastic text I wanted to send my contractor on what seemed like the 100th day of no work:
"Is today a national holiday that we forgot to observe?"

But instead I asked it in person.

Things have got to get going eventually, right? I'm keeping my eye on the prize, ahem, closet I'm looking at you.

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Showing off my Mad Photoshop Skillz

We looked at the color samples in every light today and then drove around neighborhoods looking for similar colors on other houses. We liked gray on other houses. But those houses don't have existing brick. So basically we got nowhere today.

Then tonight I brought out my mad Photoshop skillz. This is what not one, but two courses in Photoshop gets you. And because S ripped all the siding off the sunroom this weekend and then wrapped the whole thing in house wrap, they're covered in pretend siding in my renditions. Good enough.

with Certainteed Taupe

with Certainteed Granite Gray

S and I are leaning toward the cooler gray color after seeing it with the black roof and black shutters. Tomorrow I'm planning to get color samples and paint two big boxes or pieces of plywood to hold up in various lights as larger samples. At least we're down to just a couple choices. Only a gazillion more choices to go once we've settled this one ;)

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Torn Over Siding Colors

We have a box full of siding samples to choose from for our addition. The siding will go on the addition and on the sunroom/office. The brick will stay brick, we don't want to paint it like many of our neighbors have. All our samples are from Hardie and Certainteed. I don't generally like the Hardie colors, so we narrowed our choices down to five Certainteed colors pretty quickly. We nailed them up on the side of the addition and left them there to look at in different lights.
Wicker, Taupe, Linen, Silverplate, and Granite Gray
Then today S mentioned that having the five options against the blue of the house wrap was probably skewing our perception of the colors. Duh.

So I took the samples and looked at them each next to the kitchen window where there's brick, white trim and black shutters. I think we narrowed our choices down to Taupe and Granite Gray. Wicker was too yellow, Silverplate too blue and Linen too light.

Taupe & Granite Gray in the shade of the porch roof:

In direct sun:

When we were planning the addition we planned on having dark gray siding. But then someone along the way suggested matching the mortar of the brick as a way to tie together the existing brick house and the addition. So while gray is my favorite color (and has been ever since I had this gray sweater my junior year of high school that I looooooved and wore every day until I accidentally shrunk it to toddler proportions), I am wondering whether the taupe might be a better option since it "goes with" the existing mortar of the brick that we do not want to paint. Ever. I'm so torn!

I even tried to let this guy decide, but he just runs between each color pointing to all of them.

What do you think, taupe, granite gray or something entirely different?

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