Monday, November 28, 2011

Pre-drywall stuff

Today was the pre-drywall walkthrough. I've been visiting the site on a fairly regular basis, so there weren't any surprises. Almost all of the electrical and mechanical work is now complete. The same goes for most of the Guardian-related work. Thus far, I am very impressed with the quality of the work and attention to detail by everyone who has worked on the house. The project manager has obviously run a tight ship, and the Guardian installer has gone to great lengths to accommodate all of my requirements. With an independent inspection scheduled for Thursday lunchtime, I expect drywall work to begin that afternoon or the following day. My project manager was expecting the Energy Star guy to come this afternoon to do the initial leak check, so hopefully that went well.

Also today, we finally received a figure for the appraisal. Despite all our options (including some custom work), I'm happy to report the final number came in at almost 98% of our sales price. This was great news that gives us a bit of flexibility when deciding how much to put down on our mortgage.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Water is awesome. I like drinking it, bathing in it and even swimming in it because it tastes great, cleans awfully well and makes me feel nice and buoyant. But continuous rain for days on end with an unfinished roof is very irritating. Everything is awash and everywhere is muddy. So pretty please with a cherry on top, go away and leave us the hell alone for a few weeks. Come back when we have stuff that needs growing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

First walkabout

I had my first opportunity to go inside the house today. I met with the project manager at the site this morning and we walked around the house discussing the positioning of various additional power outlets we had requested. I didn't take any pictures because the house was, to be frank, in a dreadful state. The rain was coming in through the unfinished roof, so there were pools of water all over the place. It was fairly dark, very noisy and the floor was littered with obstacles. I didn't want to walk around with my camera, trip over a piece of AC ducting and kill myself. That being said, I did get to look around a bit so here are my impressions.

The house already feels right. It is everything I hoped it would be, and there's much that surpasses my expectations. Here are the things that I'm particularly happy about:

  • High ceilings that make even the smaller rooms seem spacious and grand.
  • The height of the raised hearth on the fireplace makes it look expensive.
  • The arch window on the stairs leading to the second floor.
  • The layout.
  • The quality of construction - the house feels solid, even over-engineered. It would take some serious huffing and puffing to bring it down.
  • The “morning” room should really be called the “everyday and twice on Sundays” room. It is easily the nicest room in the house. I can't believe we considered not having it at one point.
  • Absolutely enormous basement. It goes on forever. By itself, it is as big as the apartment my wife and I live in at the moment.
  • The egress window is much larger than I expected and lets a significant amount of daylight into the basement.

We have a couple of days of rain to get through, and then I hope to be able to get out to the site and take lots of interior pictures.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Shingles going up

Framing seems to be complete, with the exception of decking for the porches. They've only just started doing the front porch on the Savoy model home, so it might be quite a while before we see similar work on our house. There are some guys putting shingles on the roof now, although while I was there it was starting to spit with rain and heavier showers are expected. Here's a picture of one of the roofing guys putting shingles on the morning room:

I also saw a plumber's truck parked outside the front of the house, with a cable snaking out of it and in through the front door. I suspect that means plumbing and HVAC stuff has begun.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Framing mostly done

My wife and I visited the deserted site yesterday to see what had been done and take a few pictures. It appears that framing is mostly done, and the house has been wrapped. Let me get a couple of things out the way I mentioned in my last post. Firstly, the front porch now has a peak:

Secondly, the garage door issue has been resolved:

All the doors and windows are in, and we are particularly delighted with the way the morning room has turned out:

This image of the side porch shows the morning room's outside door:

The “long front” of the house certainly makes it look enormous:

As does the “long back” of the house:

But the “short front” makes the house look small and cute:

I'm planning to swing by the site this afternoon to see if they've started on the roofing, so perhaps I'll have more for you later.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Framing continues

I know two things about carpentry:

  1. Wood comes from trees
  2. Nails don't

My complete lack of knowledge in this field is exposed; nevertheless, something doesn't look quite right to me with the work being done on our front porch. I took this picture of it at around 11:30 this morning, and I've added an inset picture of how it is supposed to look when it is done:

As you can see, the porch is missing the peak. Perhaps they always do it this way and then add it later, but right now it looks wrong to my inexperienced eyes.

It is really windy on site today, so after hanging around this morning I decided to head home to where I could find warmth. I have tremendous sympathy for the poor fellows working in the freezing wind. I'm amazed it hasn't slowed them down a bit. I took a few pictures that show the good work they are doing. This first one is of the side (what I call the “long front”) of the house:

And here's a closer shot of what will be our side porch:

Here's the rear (morning room) and “long rear” that faces the wet pond:

Here's the garage:

Right now, there is a small problem with the garage. The standard design calls for the small door to be at the rear, as it is now; however, the layout on our lot means it makes more sense for it to be at the side. So the foundation was poured with a side door in mind, but the framing was completed with it at the rear. Our project manager assures me this will be fixed, but I thought I'd include a picture to illustrate the problem:

Finally, here's another picture showing the front of the house with the porch currently being built:

The lack of a peak on the porch is quite clear.

Roofing material is supposed to be delivered later and the plan is to start putting it up tomorrow. Hopefully, the wind will have died down enough to make it safer to walk around up on the roof. You wouldn't catch me up there in a million years!


At eleven minutes past eleven this morning, take a minute of your time to think about all the people who have served and fought for our freedom, both in the present and in the past. Both my grandfathers served in Britain's Royal Navy, and my father-in-law served in the United States Navy. I will be thinking about them, I will be thinking about all the graves I've seen in Ypres, the Somme and Arlington, and I will be thinking of those fine men and women still serving or retired. Thank you all.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Second floor and roof

The second floor went up today, although there are no stairs yet. Most of the roof went up as well, but the garage was neglected. I took a few pictures today. The first one shows the front of the house, taken at around noon:

The early stages of the roof going up:

It's really fascinating to watch the process. I'm glad I have the opportunity to observe. More roof work:

This was the last picture I took today:

One thing that surprised me was how late the guys work. Yesterday and today, work continued until about an hour after sunset. I hung around the site with the full beam of my car headlights on so they had a little light while they were packing up.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Framing goes into overdrive

I drove to the site early this morning (well before 8:00) and was surprised to find seven guys working feverishly on framing the first floor. I prefer not to take pictures of the workmen, so I have nothing to show you today; however, I did spend most of the day on site so I can give you the sequence of events:

  • Beams for the first floor laid over the basement.
  • Particle board glued and nailed to the beams, creating a floor!
  • Pre-made wall sections shuffled around the lot a bit.
  • First “vertical” piece goes up. It's half of the rear wall of the garage.
  • Bits of pre-made interior walls passed down into the basement.
  • Second piece of garage goes up, half of a side.
  • Third piece of garage completes the rear.
  • Final bits of the garage go up. Apart from bracing the walls, that's it for garage work today.
  • The first bit of exterior wall goes up on the house! It's on the outside of what will be the stairs.
  • Next, the front of the house - the wall the includes the dining room windows.
  • Then the corresponding piece for the living room.
  • Bits of the morning room walls go up. The main wall is left open to provide access for large items.
  • Family room walls, followed by the dinette and then the bit of wall that includes the front door.
  • Kitchen walls go in, followed by the rest of the living room.
  • Interior walls next. By this point, the whole lot has only taken three hours.

After all that, the workmen spent the afternoon sealing everything up, putting in braces and then starting work on the second floor beams. I was very impressed with the quality of the work, the attention to detail and the precautions they took for their safety.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A hint of framing

The tiniest soup├žon of framing has begun today. There's so little of it, the two syllables in “framing” probably exaggerate the work done. I took these pictures at around 2:30pm today, by which time there was nobody around:

The morning room:

In these images, you can see the Savoy model home in the background:

This will be the egress window:

From the front porch, looking back toward the morning room at the rear:

Part of the huge pile of lumber:

I'd like to ask my learned housebuilding brethren what this is. Could it be the sump? Qu'est-ce que c'est?

I'm hoping the framers returned to work after I'd left, given that there was about three hours of daylight left today. This last picture shows the wet pond in the background. I've been assured that it will eventually have a fountain and look awesome, but I have a feeling I'm going to have to nag Ryan Homes about it:

I hope to get back out there tomorrow, but with family commitments it may have to wait until Sunday. Fortunately, we are expecting good weather until at least Wednesday next week.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


The garage and basement were poured today. The garage slab:

The basement:

The light wasn't good when I took the picture, but you should get the general idea. Framing is supposed to start in a couple of days.