Valuable quotes

"No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow." ~~

"The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you've already lost." ~~

Cree Prophecy - "When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money." ~~

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Philadelphia Building Journal Diary blog

When someone coined the phrase "A nice place to visit, but you wouldn't want to live there" they must have just been returning from Las Vegas. A very fun city, I will given you that, but don't ever contemplate trying to make your home 36 miles from Death Valley! Unforgiving, oppressive and I could feel the essence that is me being drawn away, leaving a sad and beaten spirit in it's place. In less than three years I found I desperately needed to escape.

I have found I could not thrive without green in my life. I just barely survived it, in fact.
Nor could I live with the
scorpions and the cockroaches the size of Volkswagens. Or the Brown Recluse or the Black Widows nesting in room corners.

So we are back now to a more habitable world and embarking on yet another building adventure. I say adventure is um, like saying falling down a well is an adventure; or having your stomach pumped or getting stung by a bee is an adventure. It's a PG rated way of expressing the building experience. But build we must because after having lived in three old houses in the past, we've learned that 'new' is the lesser of two evils. That's if you ever want to have a life outside of working on your home. Don't get me wrong, you will work on your new digs too - just that it will be dressing up and not all repairing.

So! Here we stand at this nest-building juncture for the fourth and I'm hoping final time. We have everything we need and we've rid ourselves of everything we don't need. Now we just move in. Aaah, were it only that simple.
~Click on the smaller pictures to enlarge.~

The model is called The Malvern, named after a small town near here. Malvern, the town, is steeped in history, not all good but certainly all interesting. One of it's main historic points is that it was the site of the Paoli Massacre during the American Revolutionary War.

The town, originally named after The Malvern Hills, (close to the Welsh border in England), is both quaint and beautiful and the land around it mirrors those hills in the UK.

It was originally settled by Welsh Settlers in the 1600s. William Penn sold them the land for 10 cents an acre, along with the rest of the land on the Welsh tract, or what is called the Main Line. It is the last stop of the original Main Line railroad into Philadelphia. Today, the railroad has expanded several more stations west of Malvern, but none are associated with the Main Line, and Malvern is still considered the end of the Main Line.
Alright! End of history lessons!

We have chosen a quiet half acre spot that backs on to protected land and woods. As mentioned above, I need that. Two years of living in the desert has taught me that I need woods and wildlife. As much as I can get of them. No more sand storms and oppressive heat crushing me into the ground. No more wildfires whose smoke permeates your home and makes it hard to draw a breath. And no more of miles upon miles of nothing to see but grit and sand with an occasional big rock or two. Instead, soft rains and snow in winter. And a new house to make our own.

I intend to use this blog as a journal to chronicle all the highs and lows from breaking of ground to the final moving in.

The first and second steps - Sunday July 22nd, 2007 -

We claimed our land & they tell us if everything goes according to their providential plan, we could be moving into our house on Providence Hill Road by November 22. I am not going to get too excited about all this, as there are too many things that can still go wrong yet. Trust me! I've never been a negative person but going through the school of hard knocks can force one to be a little apprehensive.

So I'm staying relatively reserved for now and not heralding our news to many, but I do need to mumble and smirk about things on my blog at least. After all, I started it for that purpose - to have a space to download my feelings.
Once my clothes are hung in the closet and our name is on the mail box, then I'll exhale.

Beginning to make it ours
Thursday, August 2nd, 2007 -

So now it's time to pick our interiors. This is the fun part. Don't get me wrong, it still comes with a lot of pressure. You chose your carpeting and your floors, the lighting fixtures and where they need to go. And where do we need those outlets and the light switches, the cable in and the computer input jacks? This is where you have to live a month in the house in your head and see where these things go. A slip-up now could have you blaming each other for not thinking of it now. Haunting lessons from the past...

Safety in color choice is also good to remember. Being bold is fine, but how long do you want to live with 'bold'. And how long do you want to have 'bold' dictate your wall colors and any new furniture? Unless you're blessed with gobs of money, you pick wisely now!

We decided to go with a carpet company we know and have used in the past - Shaw carpet. Our selection was from their Tuftex Sunshine selection and we chose Turtle Dove as our color throughtout.
The other flooring, with the exception of the laundry, will be hardwood. We have gone with Armstrong Bruce hardwood - Pioneer oak gunstock.

Plumbing fixtures - piece of cake! Something that can be changed later if you want to, so just go with nice and don't brood over it for now. We went with Moen - bathroom and kitchen.

Lighting. This gets hard because there are sooo many to choose from and they are all really pretty. As well as pretty expensive. This will take a little longer and when we know you'll know.

Friday, August 3rd, 2007 -

We will have lights! And we will have TV and computer. All the important things in life.

First the foyer...
.then into the dining room...then the light over the breakfast table...and these over the island in triplicate. Little things mean a lot asking for outlets at both ends of the island instead of just one. Done! Asking to have three-way switches put in for upstairs-downstairs lights so you don't have to truck back upstairs when you see someone has left the light on up there. Done! Asking about bathroom fan switches being separate from the light switch so you don't have to listen to the fan for an hour while having a relaxing bubble bath...done!

Oh, and making sure they install under-the-cabinet lighting strips so you can see what you're doing at any counter in your kitchen - done! And while speaking of cabinets, we decided to go with distressed off white with a taupe glaze. We've always wanted these but then impulsively switched to something else. Not this time. This time we are getting the Kraftmaid cabinets. And our granite countertops.

The hallways will all have these ceiling lights and the bathrooms will all have these over the mirrors.
As each piece is completed and we put our touches to this house, it goes from simply decorating a house to decorating our home, even at these early stages of having nothing really there yet.

We're pretty much good to go on paper now and patiently waiting for the digger to come and begin excavating. This should be happening within the week. Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 25, 2007 -

Still no hole and so goes our beginnings. Frustration to get things moving and the weather not co-operating. We were so hoping for something to be in the works by now, but other than promises to begin, there is no beginning. It is the weekend now tho', so it's possible something today...? You see, the eternal optimist.
Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007 -

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a hole and what a fine hole it is! The land has been flattened and graded and the earth scooped out to make room for a house.

That's it! The whole enchilada so far. It was such a welcoming sound, standing on the edge of this excavation and listening to the ravens and crows scolding us for messing with their space. Little do they know that this will be a good thing in our case, because we are the ones who will have peanuts for them every morning along with bread scraps and fruit at other times.

Sunday, September 2, 2007 -

What a great surprise to arrive at our property and find footings in and gravel spread ready for the concrete to be poured for the basement and garage! Woot! If I could I'd have done a happy dance, but suffice to say I worked my way down to the center of the house & did a happy 'sway'.

These are the photos of progress so far and they've told us that framing will begin next week. That is the time it really starts taking shape as a house.

Standing in the center of what will soon be my new home was a calming experience ... looking around at the views, the woods and the small meadow to one side and imagining it through this coming winter to spring and on to another summer and fall was so nice.

I brought my good medicine too, as I carry it with me everywhere and placed some deep in what will be the heart of our home. My belief has always dictated that I do this for prosperity and good health. It carries with it all the things I want to find in all corners of my home always - wisdom and truth; love and respect; honesty and humility; and bravery. The only house I was never able to do this with was our Vegas house, and true to form, it turned out to be a disaster in so many regards.

So the medicine has been placed and the ceremony held and now we wait for the day it's finished.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007 - The hole is filled!

The proof is in the pudding! There is definitely going to be a house sitting here - pictures don't lie.

It looks so big! That is always the first impression at this point. "That's the basement?? Jeez..." And it's going to have two floors sitting on top of this yet. Thank goodness for landscaping and neighbors who will hopefully be the same size as we are and not make us look conspicuous.

We requested that our house nestle down onto our property as much as the land would allow and they did everything they could to accommodate us. I hate when a house sits high on the land and peers over the neighborhood like 'the lord of the manor'. I want to fit into my neighborhood and be a part of it, not above it.

From the street we are at grade level which is exactly where we want to be, and from the back, the house will sit high enough that we can come out of our basement to what will eventually be a patio. I love how in this picture, the sun is hitting off the corner of the foundation right where my workout room will be below and our morning room above. I take this to be a positive sign.

The morning room and deck will be high enough to allow kitties to go outside without going any further. They will have a viewing perch that is strictly paws off the visiting critters. This keeps them safe as well as wildlife - a near perfect Ginger world.

I also forgot to post what the exteriors of our place will be. It will be fronted with New England Fieldstone and have Owens-Corning siding at the back and sides. I apologize for the small sample size - I haven't had any luck enlarging it yet.

Our front door and the flat panel shutters will be garnet in color and tho' we thought about having the raised seam tin roof on the porch in the same color, we decided to go with the same shingles as the roof has instead. Tin roofs are hot, snow and ice slide off them and birds can't sit on them. It's all about priorities - appearance vs practicality.

Photos are being taken as I type, so much, much more to come...

Thursday, September 6, 2007 -

I realize as I look over the photos today that, with few exceptions, most of which has been posted so far is mainly of interest to just Greg and I. I wish I could promise that these next pix would be more interesting than the last, but alas, they likely aren't. Unless you're sporting significant counts of testosterone and/or a love of construction, then you're still not going to get goose bumps - just yet anyway. ~Remember to click on the smaller pictures to enlarge.~

Standing at curbs edge last night, I managed a weak smile as Greg dashed gleefully past me with the camera over his arm, ecstatic that the form work was removed from the foundation! He actually hollered, "Look! All the form work has been removed; isn't that amazing?"

Well, I think it's amazing on two counts. That they got it all done in a day, yes, but that it could incite such happiness in one human being is another. He is so rapt in all of this...I wanted some of that too!
So I plodded up the hilly earth and peered inside the basement once more. Huh! It looks like a basement now. There's still only gravel for a floor but all the walls look like um, basement walls.Complete with windows and a door going out to the back. Oh yes! About that.

They have altered the plan a little, moving the patio doors to the back wall instead of the side wall underneath the morning room. I like this! This means that when you're in the basement, you can look directly out into the woods, instead of a neighboring yard.
It also gives us more space for a little patio niche which will be under the deck. You know what that means? Places to hang plants and flowers!
Anyway, back to the basement for a moment - from the inside.

*Ugh!! Looks like my Vegas backyard for all the world!* Hard for you to believe, but with exception to the color of the blocks (Vegas was pink) this is what I escaped from to come here.
Sand and grit and concrete walls on three sides.
Compare that to what our new house has behind it.

Not to mention a welcome haven for wildlife instead of everything being shut out of our property. But, I digress as usual! The weekend is now here and there will be further photo ops those two days so we should be looking at sticky style walls going up shortly. Stick with us!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 -

A memorable day to be posting about our house going up. The sixth year anniversary of the terrorist attack in NYC. It seems ironic that something would be going up on a day when something so catastrophic happened that took so many lives and took two enormous buildings down so fast, but that is the case.

We didn't expect anything to be done today because it started out so rainy, but after going to our appointments, we came by the house mid afternoon and were stunned to see that, bless their little hammer-wielding hearts, they had been working in spite of the rain and gotten the first floor framing started and almost completed!

~Click on the smaller pictures to enlarge.~

This picture is taken from the left and shows the (l) laundry room window and the (r) powder room window with the door going in from the garage...which isn't there yet of course. They have to pour the concrete floor before enclosing that in. I am so happy that we opted for the window in our laundry room is nice in the summertime to open the window and let the humid air out of the room. Also nice not to have to have the light on all the time in there during the day.

This picture is from the right side front and shows the four living room windows with the double den window in the middle side and the family room window at the back. Look at how tidy they are when they work!? Their wives must be so proud. ~*wink*~
I know - they put the wood up like that so it stays dry and off the ground and it's also easier for them to get it inside quickly. It's all about time.

And moving indoors! Looking straight ahead at the solarium with the family room showing at the right. It comes into focus so easily once you've seen the model. --->

And the kitchen - use your's all there. =)
<--- And lastly, for now anyway, the view from the solarium space. Looking to the left you see the den, and the living room far left. In the center it goes down the hall and
out the front door. To the right is the dining room. Got all that?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007 -

Well, darn it, I've had pictures but no time to bring them here and post them until today. And there has been so much happen since the last bunch too, including our house being in the newspaper along with an article about our builder. How cool is that? I have some catching up to do now for sure. Guess I'd better get started.

First of all those newspaper things...I'm not sure if these will copy well or not but I will do my best. Again, you will need to click on the image to make it large enough.

We now have a roof, as well as wrap completely around the house, and I expect by the end of today, we may even have windows in - if not today, then tomorrow because the weather is beautiful. I am constantly amazed by the speed with which these guys work!
So far, everything I worried about happening hasn't...~*wiping sweat from brow*~ Our building experiences of the past had prepared me for inevitable glitches, goof-ups & piles of frustration but so far, our builder has earned all gold stars and thumbs up from us both. The tiny things we have mentioned to them as concerns were taken care in less than 24 hours and things continue on smoothly - take my word for it, those were very minuscule things like a small spill of concrete near the house where we'd planned a Birch clump. So far - so good! So very good!

Now, those pictures I mentioned. It's funny that the one picture in the paper is one that we ourselves took because from the top of the hill, our house is the only thing you see down in the woods. That will change of course, as we get neighbors, but for now, we command the view! Our solitary photo is this...

As I stood staring up the side of the house, it hit me how high it actually was! I don't recall this happening to me before with any of our other places, yet they were all as big if not bigger, but for some reason, this one seems to go on up into the clouds. Maybe it's only the fact that it's still a skeleton and needs some exterior trappings? Could it be I've been living in a Lilliputian apartment too long? That's gotta be it!

We are so happy the weather has been perfect too, with no rain to warp things or keep the workers from doing their job. It's almost scary how well it's worked out.
The front facade on the right is also done and awaiting the wrap and roof. The garage is finally framed in and wrapped now and the window hole punched and ready for a window.

That room under the peak will be my craft room and if I can stop gazing out the windows there long enough, I may just get some bears made. Or not. Before bears though, will be lots of sewing for the house. I have a brand new Husqvarna Sapphine 850 sewing machine that is more computer with needle than it is a sewing machine, and I have been learning how to use that, making plenty of pajamas for me and toss pillows for the house. Pajamas and pillows are the perfect thing to practice with because if you screw up pj's, so what? You sleep in them. And pillows are impossible to screw up.
But I digress...I look so forward to setting up shop in that room and getting to feel at home again in my new house soon! It's certainly getting closer! Will we be in for Thanksgiving? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 -

Oh my gosh! Windows and shingles! It's beginning to look very 'homey' don't you think?
The morning room windows are so big! My plants are gonna love this room...not to mention me and some nosy cats! I have a feeling that I will be parked in here whenever I'm not on the computer or watching hockey. Priorities - it's all about priorities!

One thing we did wrestle with and I'm glad we decided the way we did, was to have a wood burning fireplace as opposed to a gas burning one. Yeah, the gas fireplace allowed us instant fire without fetching wood and to have a nice window over the fireplace because we wouldn't have needed a chimney. But I wanted that crackle and wonderful smell of a real wood fire. Greg wanted the chimney, so there ya go! Stockings all hung by the chimney with care in the hopes that...etc...we really do get romantic about Christmas. Plus the wood burning fireplace can do gas, but the gas burner can't do wood, so it really was a no-brainer to decide.

And a look inside now that rooms are taking shape, although this does look a bit confusing to the untrained eye. You can even see a tiny bit of upstairs. But looking downstairs, the morning room is to the extreme left, straight ahead is the family room & at the right (and soon to be closed in with a wall) is the den with it's window. The center will be where the breakfast table sits. Funny how it can all looks small in this photo and how mammoth it looks from outside. Illusions...

The morning room from inside is pretty much all windows including the one on the right hand wall and out of sight here. Oh yeah...definitely going to be a favored spot both summer and winter.
This room, along with the eating area and kitchen will have wood floors. I think it'll be nice to change area rugs in the morning room summer and winter to reflect the seasons. It's so fun playing house!

Outside those patio doors will be a 14 x 17 foot deck. At least I think that's the size - I'll have to check with the boss. Either way it's going to be a good size - enough for outdoor furniture and a barbecue. And nice big potted plants too, so the kitties will have shady spots to lounge out of the direct sun.

And last but not least for this time anyway, a favorite photo of mine, of the sun spackled house and reflections in the windows. I really like this picture - it gives me a nice feeling about how things have gone so far. It really is moving to completion and our inevitable moving-in day! Woot!

Check back soon!

Sunday, September 23, 2007 - lockout!

Oh dear! Crime tape is up - ~*wink*~

It now gets harder to follow the progression indoors because they don't want people wandering around inside. We will have an opportunity on Tuesday October 2nd though when we go through the house with building supervisor Ken to look things over and then discuss any issues we may find at that time.

No pressure...we've been assured too, that
if we like, we can take slews of pictures then, or even make movies if we so choose. As long as we're accompanied by someone from the company, we can snap to our hearts content. Sadly, it has to be done this way now because of security issues and people who will steal and vandalize.
It is a sorry world we now live in.

But this is the place in the building experience
where I really like to be. The interiors getting started once the drywall is in and you can see what your personal home will look like. Here we are now at walls going up, the granite counter tops and vanities soon going in - kitchen cupboards and tiles. The warmth of the wood floors and the softness of the carpeting - this is where they all come in. Not an interior decorators idea of what it should look like, and not done in the colors du jour, but in the colors that make the house ours and wrap around us and become ours.

You can look forward to plenty of pix after the 2nd...count on it!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007 - the halfway walkthrough is complete!

Yesterday was the day! Getting back into the house and checking to make sure all the electrical boxes were in their right places, the fan boxes were in the right rooms and if we were satisfied with the work to date. Well! I have to say this whole experience, working with Rouse Chamberlin has
so far, been so pleasant and highly satisfying. These people strive to get everything right and have been open to our questions and taken the time to answer anything we want to know. We haven't felt rushed nor have we felt that any of our questions were not welcome. After our past house building experiences, this one (so far) has made up for all those labor pains of the past.

The visit yesterday was my first time to wander about and look at everything - try out windows, try the doors and check our views. I also got upstairs which heretofore, I haven't been able to do because there was no railing on the stairs. It is now so much easier for me to see just where things will go and what we still might need (not too much, she said, wiping her brow).
We made sure that everything was as it should be, and then Greg went back around snapping pix of each room. From here, we should have walls this week, as Ken is having the guys come in to begin that work today.

We also have a moving in date!!! Or at least a much better idea of a moving date. Enough of one that we can call the movers in Vegas and tell them 'Load that van and Come ON Down!' OMG! I am so looking forward to sitting in a comfortable chair after a year of sinking into a butt-numbing rib-prodder. And laying in my bed, instead of this lumpy rental sling.
But the set date for us to walk through these doors as residents now is a tentative November 27. Ken likes to give it a grace space of 6 days, but it's close enough to raise goosebumps on my arms.

So now, Greg's pictures...they are as you would expect, very woody and not so easy to tell what's what. But these are them for prosperity's sake.

It's fun to be able to look through walls, somehow it seems Super-womanish - or evil. I can live with both. =)

This first new picture above shows the second bathroom upstairs as seen from what will be the craft room and if you could look through that rooms closet. I know I'll really like this room. For the first time in all the years I've been sewing and creating, whether doing it as a living or just for fun, I've never had enough storage space for my supplies. This little room has a walk-in closet which all but one short wall we'll line with shelves. No more clutter...that is, until I go mad playing in there again; then it's all bets off getting across the room until I'm finished. Needless to say it's also the kitty-guys' favorite room too. All that ribbon and yarn!

The (protected) master bathtub with the big window above. I'm so glad that this window looks out over woods because I'm not sure what kind of blind we could put up here. All these pretty windows with their own set of challenges. I will figure it out though...I'm resourceful! I like this bathroom with it's two separate vanities - no knocking elbows with each other. I still can't get over the fact that none of the bathrooms have a medicine cabinet in them though! That seems to be so a part of any bathroom and we just expect them to be a steering wheel in a car!
Guess we go shopping for those right away...

And here we stand in the center of the kitchen and look through to the garage door. Straight ahead to the left is the dining room with window, which is still hard to distinguish due to the lack of walls, but trust me, that's it!

Greg took so many pictures this time and I really can't post them all, but this is
at least a good sampling. We have just ordered the draperies for all the downstairs windows, so that's out of the way now too. Grab 'em while they're on sale!

It's just about time to play house.

Saturday, October 6, 2007 -

So much has happened in such a short space of time! The siding guys came in and were able to do the entire house while we weren't looking! They did such a beautiful job and we are so pleased at what we saw when we drove up. It seemed a herculean task to be completed so swiftly, but they did it.
And as we sat looking on, the stone masons arrived to begin their work. I was so happy to see them & had to get out of the car - it's hard to dance in a car.

I think at this point pictures say it much better than I ever could so I will dispense with the ramble and just post this series of pictures for your perusal.
Just four guys steadily toiling away to rap music coming from their truck. I loved watching them fitting the stone, not just taking them one after another & sticking them up with mortar but actually matching color and clipping the corners to fit each one where it looked the best.

They took the time to make sure it was going to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye and not just 'getting the stone on the house'. The difference between a worker and a craftsman, I guess. They balanced color and size and the house looks terrific!

We watched til they had the peak done and then left for dinner, but curiosity pecked at us until we just had to come back around before going home for the evening. We found they'd completed the right side of the house.

Sunday, October 7, 2007 -

The stone is on! All of it! And when we arrived to the top of the hill this morning, we saw the house sitting in the morning light. I think this was the first time we both actually look at it and thought it was a house we were going to live in and not just a project awaiting completion.

~as always, click on the pictures to bring you closer~

And here we are! A stone house nestled against the woods and waiting for people and cats to move in. There is a bit of time yet before this will happen - things that still have to be done, but it is the first time it is "a house" in my mind. A place I will live. And hopefully not just another port in the storm, but for a long time. I am so weary and not just a little sick of being shunted about the continent with no roots or
permanency. I have done my time - I have given my life over to someone else's job and station in life. Now I want to settle. I always have but now I need to. This looks like a good place to do it, don't you think?

And so, the weekend is now over and tomorrow the workers come back to finish up the outside. The interiors will be finished in earnest. We edge closer to going home...

Saturday, October 13, 2007 -

So, most of the changes now are happening indoors. The drywalling is finished we've been told, and the little glimpses we've been able to get through the windows tells us this is true. It looks fabulous! Now I am getting excited to get in - really excited.

The photos that are to come now will be the finishing touches to the exterior - the door painted dark garnet red, the shutters of the same color put on. They did get our carriage garage doors put in and the stone has dried completely so we have a true image of the color. It looked a fair amount darker when wet. I liked both so it was really a non-issue, but this is the stone I picked.

Our neighbors come by every day to check on our place too...they are enjoying watching it go up, they say. We've chosen a different color stone than most here, so I guess that's intriguing them. That and the fact that the house is sitting down here all by itself and from the hill/intersection people see it. It just draws them down out of curiosity.

Now that we're down here in the woods though, I'm sure we'll get neighbors. It always takes one to start the ball rolling. Already we see building lots with deposits on them, so eventually we'll be hidden among houses to the front and trees to the back. This is such a great spot - I'm surprised no-one started building before us, but I'm happy it didn't happen because it means we were free to choose any color of siding and stone we wanted - yay!

The garage doors are so pretty
too, I think! They have so much more character than a simple metal or fiberglass door. The sweet carriage handles. Some things are just worth the extra it costs to get them.
Looking closer still, I love how the shadows fall on the house in the early hours.

The edges of the stone stand out and the second bedroom windows are shaded in the morning - lucky sleeper there! Think Sunday morning in winter - snow blowing around your house, the smell of coffee and breakfast wafting up to the room and you can nestle into the quilts and fall back to sleep. That's if you can get by the breakfast smells. I usually can't.
Columbian coffee brewing is my alarm clock. That and demanding crows calling for their breakfast. I am not complaining about any of this, mind. I missed all this so much living alone in the desert. I would have paid someone I think, to bring me crows or any birds of song there!

So our next step now will be to actually get inside to see what's doing in there. We'll need to be accompanied by one of the builders people, so it won't be as often as we'd like - they do have other things to do besides escort us around...but watch for more pictures, 'cuz when we get them - you get them!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 - the final phase

Oh, for a picture...or two or three or more, but alas, poor Yorick, we are to be forever on the outside til such keys to the manor grace our palm.
Okay, can you tell I was reading Shakespeare this morning?

We went around the house again while there was still light to see, peering in windows wherever possible, and imagining where everything will go. It seemed immediately so right, standing on the front porch looking in my dining room window - not that I make a habit of peering in dining room windows mind you, but standing on the porch, I connected with my surroundings once more.

I am so happy we decided on the larger double hung windows for the den now, instead of the standard clerestory the model comes with. While the look was very nice in the model home, we wanted to be able to sit at our roll top desk in the den and see things outside. And after having two rooms in our Vegas house with this style of window, I didn't want to contend with finding treatments again, or living with a lack of curtains they force upon you. Plus, the clerestories gave me the feeling of being in a basement.
I'm just an old fashioned girl I guess - I like the concept of windows that actually open and have curtains or draperies.

Greg and I also did some in-store garage lighting shopping on the weekend and although we haven't decided for sure, we are narrowing our search down. Since the garage door handles are black, it's dictating the color of the lights. We've agreed on this much at least...

I like the Chelsea with the frosted glass because it's softer and doesn't show dirty water spots. Or the hanging Georgetown. For the same reasons, I like the Tuscany style lamps with the seeded glass. I have this issue [read obsession] about clean glass. If my windows and mirrors are clean and sparkling, then I am at peace. And by extension, so is Greg because I'm not hounding him to do the windows I can't reach.

Greg likes the Mission lamps which we've had before and I like these too, of course. But I'd like to try something new and a little more suited to the style of our house now. We do have to take into consideration where the electrical boxes are on either side of the garage doors as well.
Lamps standing up would be a better choice rather than those hanging down because it would make them too low.
Ah, pondering and problem-solving.

Who will get their lamps, do you think? Stay don't lie.

Monday, October 22nd, 2007 -

We got in! We were handed the key to the kingdom by a caring keeper of the realm and for an hour we wandered and pondered, knelt and felt, prodded and nodded through every square every inch of our place. For the very first time we were able to look and not have to imagine a wall there - it was there! Albeit with mudded seams and funny colors, but we could now easily envision our tables and beds, couches, chairs and things put in place.

I could tell now, more than at any time before, that I was going to love this house! It's one thing to look at a model decorated by an interior decorator and like the effect. But it's still foreign and someone else's concept of what looks good. While I can appreciate their effort, it's not the same as having a white-walled house with nothing on the walls or the floor and thinking what your things will look like there. Like a brand new artists pallet and a box of charcoals. Over the years we have gathered so many things - they will be put to good use again and while they may appear a bit eclectic residing side by side, they are still who we are and each with their own story.

And so to pictures...
First, we
now have the porch columns added, as well as the eaves troughs and the downspouts. The painters will be coming in beginning today to put up shutters, then paint them and the door and porch columns. The columns will be white and as previously mentioned, the shutters and door garnet.

On the inside, the big changes. The sun room is so beautiful and it doesn't even have paint yet! The sun pouring in helps the room live up to it's name. We will have to think about how much in the way of blinds or window drapes we want. I love the brightness of the room, pretty now but there is the heat of mid-summer to think about too.

Wandering inward, we have the den and the large windows there. More light and places for kitty-guys to perch and watch the world go by. Not that they'll be alone. I've been known to lose myself staring too.
This room, like the sun room, will be used a lot. We aren't going to build bookcases this time like we've done in the past, but buy some already constructed and butt them together. Not necessarily this unit, but very similar in style and color.

Then the family room with the fireplace. A Whitehall mantle and black slate surrounding the firebox and the black slate hearth in front.
There's so much wall space for pictures now too,
something I really missed in Vegas with the big openings in all the walls. I'm really looking forward to getting things out of boxes again and back up on the walls where I can enjoy them.

I have an untitled Carol Grigg painting that measures approx 36" x 54". That's gonna work just swell over that fireplace. I haven't been able to use it since we lived in Pittsburgh and had a cathedral ceiling.

I think of curling up by the fire, reading a book and listening to music - or doing cross stitch while watching the Penguins trounce...well, anybody!
Each room comes with it's own set of dreams and to me, that is the true definition of home.

Tomorrow, pictures of upstairs.

Monday, November 12, 2007 -

The thing about moving? There's never time for anything else unrelated. Including keeping up a blog about it! I wonder now where my blog cutting off point should be? When the construction is totally complete? When the keys are handed over? Or when the furniture is in and it's finally our home? I'll play that by ear, I guess.

I am sitting here this morning with boxes stacked to the ceiling, and literally counting down the days til closing. We visited the house a few times over the weekend but weren't able to get photos because we aren't inside. The outside remains the same until the painters have a good painting day - it is November after all. One new accomplishment though, is the post holes for the deck have been dug and they will be working to get that built for us this week. It is so close to being complete now...all that's left is filling it - with us! The movers will be bringing our furniture in on the 28th. I'll sure welcome that! My books - my bears - my bed! Aaaah...

We stood on our front porch Sunday, peering in the window and everything looks so perfect. The carpeting is exactly what we wanted, which is a relief because many times the sample you chose doesn't translate to the room size. Ours does! As do the kitchen cabinets. We asked that they not put hardware on any of the cabinets so we could choose from other manufacturers - we still have to shop for those, now that we see the profile of the doors and the drawer face. I had wanted cup pulls and I'm so glad we didn't buy them ahead of time because now that I see the space on the drawer, it would be too cramped to put them on! ~*phew*~

I've been looking at a straight drawer pull with matching knobs in rustic bronze with a granite insert. I'm a bit nervous about doing this because it might not match our granite, so if I chicken out on that, then I'll go with a safer matte antiqued zinc knob.

We did shop for our outdoor lights on the weekend though and finally bought the Chelsea, not just because we liked those the best, but because we could get all the coordinating lights to match. We'll have the lamp post lamp as well.

So! Now I wait...and plan...and pack some more. At this stage it's like living in someones stock room somewhere. =) But that light at the end of the tunnel grows closer.

Friday, January 25th, 2008??

Where did the time go? Well, I guess I really do know the answer to that, so let's just pass that off as a rhetorical question, shall we, and talk briefly about the things in between the previous to last post and this one.
In a word...aaaaaarrrrrrrrgh!

We moved in! We got all our packed boxes from the apartment to here by Haycox convoy - one Mustang, one Escort GT and plenty of elbow grease. Steve, a soon to be new neighbor offered his assistance to Greg to get the 50" plasma TV and my stepper and treadmill into a truck and brought over to the house and then, bless his warm heart, helped get them all inside - upstairs, main floor and basement.

Then the movers came. And so did the tears, as one by one we sorted through all the damaged furniture and broken possessions. Crushed kitchen chairs and gouged cabinets. Delaminated coffee tables and a split vintage 12 string guitar. The guitar cannot be replaced - it was made in Bavaria in 1964 and has traveled with me everywhere. My only hope is that somewhere we can find someone who can repair it properly.

This was the worst possible move we've made, and that is truly saying something.

So we take an inventory of our damages, make out our claims and move on, hoping that we will be reimbursed for most of it.

Then it's phase two - tackling the boxes they've brought us. Floor to ceiling boxes in every room. I won't bore you with pictures of every room, but a sampling is the den and the morning room seen here.
The morning room shot is dark due to the sun pouring in all windows, but you will note that the boxes are three rows thick from the windows out and as high as I am. We had removed some from the top which had utensils and dishes so we didn't have to join the kitties for supper on the floor.

But finally, with some boxes emptied, we were able to put up blinds, and we filled everything; vanities and kitchen cupboards and closets and linen closets, laundry room shelves and the basement...oh, the basement! Back to storage room decor.

And of course it goes without saying, we filled the garage with knocked down boxes and bags and bags and bags of packing paper. The garages are filled eyebrow high and our cars sit outside in the unfinished driveway. The word Moving should really start with the letter 'f'.

Gradually things are coming together now. A path is cleared through the morning room to the patio doors and kitties have done their inspection of the deck.

It meets with their approval, though there have been some small complains and rumblings about the temperature. They're never happy. Only when the sun is shining and the vacuum is quiet...

The kitchen is finished as far as things put away. No paint or wall paper yet but we are just human, not super human. Once those things are done, if I'm still adding to this blog by then, I will post those pictures. But at some point, you have to stop calling it construction and start calling it homemaking.

And lastly here, we did not decorate inside for Christmas. There's something just too peculiar about garland draped cardboard boxes and tree ornaments hung from...well, not a tree that's for sure!

However, in the spirit of the season we did want to mark our first Christmas in the new house in some way, so we went out and bought a new wreath (who knows where the others are, you understand) and hung it on our door.

And so a Merry Christmas to all, belatedly, from 417 Providence Hill Road.

Sunday, March 9th, 2008 -

Well, I held off taking any outside photos after we actually moved in, hoping we'd have a warmer day so the shutters would be painted too, but the painters didn't feel it was wise with the temps as cold as they were. So we will continue to live with black a while longer. I can do that, of course, it just means that the photo of the finished house will still have to wait. Perhaps until the landscaping is done then - yeah - that will be nice. A few little trees, some grass and shrubs. Lady Bird Johnson would have been proud.
Aah but, I do have pictures. And again,
click on the pictures to enlarge.

We now have a den where bookcases replace the stacks of boxes and crates along the walls.

A living room and dining room that, while still in need of wallpaper and a paintbrush, does now have furniture in both and curtains with blinds on the windows.

There will always been messing around to do. New homes are like that. Things will never stay where you first put them.

What worked well in the last house, doesn't stand a chance in the next as a rule. The wonderful little alcove you had before doesn't exist now, but the table that sat in it so prettily still does, and where will we put it now? It just seems to look so wrong anywhere else.

So you cart it around from room to room and live with it here and there for a day or so. The conversations go, ' let's try it out here'...or 'let's put it over here for now' or 'okay, when we finally figure out where this is going to go, great, but for now, this is where it stays!' Basically, it's a matter of you getting used to it somewhere else, and not so much it fitting somewhere else.
And so as the problems of the world rage outside your door, you angst over placement of your little table and your 'things'. But that's alright, because it's all a part of moving in and eventually it will all be right. If only the worlds problems could be solved with this much ease.

And soon we will have others nearby that will be going through the same things we are now too. Where once we were one lonely house at the end of a road, we are now three! Human nature being what it is, the two lots on either side of us sold and their houses are nearing completion. They could have had any one of over a hundred lots here in this community but they chose to snuggle up to our house.
There is something so comforting in this...

, this is how the Haycox abode stands until painting & planting weather arrives. From a weedy overgrown piece of land adjacent to some woods to a stone house with two people and three spoiled felines, the building process began there and ended here. I have already made friends with the local crows and shelled peanut purchases have now become a part of our weekly shopping. Once the backyard is done, the bird feeders will go up and the welcoming signs be put out. I have striven to build a home and the wildlife I encourage are such a large part of that as they complete me. Without them I wither. They bring me back from so many brinks.

As Matchbox Twenty says:
"If I fall along the way Pick me up and dust me off And if I get too tired to make it Be my breath so I can walk."

Here we are today, 95% finished and no longer alone.

And now to either side of us -

...we are quickly becoming. We compliment each other nicely, don't you think? Or I'm sure once the blue wrapped one gets it's skin we will. Our little neighborhood is growing.

"Could you paint me better off?"

Friday, May 30th, 2008 - Epilogue -

Epilogue...sounds so final and yet I'm not sure it is, only for the finishing of the house. There is no more building to do - there is no more waiting on anything being done. It is done! We work on the interior now, adding ceiling fans and better lights throughout. The kitchen -

and a bath.

A bedroom -

or two -

0r three -

The shutters too, have been changed out instead of painters trying to match the color of the door. The landscaping has all been done and while it may not be the 'final' planting, it at least is some planting. And we have a lawn.

We have Azaleas and Burning Bush - Holly and Spreading Juniper. Some sort of little ornamental grasses too which I'll have to find out about. A Flowering Crabapple tree at the corner of the house and a Serviceberry on our lawn.

We weren't given any choices in what went in, so our house looks sadly like every other house on every other street in the community. But we hope to change this in time. I like the Holly because it provides berries, as does the Serviceberry tree. Even the little apples which will sprout on the Crabapple are fine.
But the Azaleas, pretty as they are, will go - have to go, maybe to the backyard. I don't like flowers in front of my house - I'm quirky that way, and this is too, too much flowery things. Everything they've put in has flowers.

We are supposed to be getting another tree at some time and I'm hoping they will forget about it. I don't want another tree standing on the lawn looking like a green Q-Tip. I want a tree or trees that I want and I want them to look like trees now. I would like to plant a Colorado Blue Spruce since there is not one evergreen tree within miles of us. I would like to plant a Birch clump...or two. One at the other corner of the house and one at the bottom side of our house.

I want the house to look like our house, not like a house somewhere in the village of Stepford - a cookie-cutter residence fitting the mold of a home designers sketchbook.

So with that, I will post my final photos, and maybe some day I will revisit this particular blog to show our personal touches completed. But for now I bid you adieu and please, feel free to visit. The coffee is always brewing and the cookie jar is full and the Welcoming Committee is always there waiting to make you feel at home.

~Click on the smaller pictures to enlarge~


Sal said...

You sure know how to pretty up Philly is style, girl! I can hardly wait to see the finished product. Do I get invited to dinner and a game on the big screen?
I'll bring beverages. ;)

Keep the pictures coming!
I love your blog btw!


Jess said...

Ginger! I can't believe this is going up this fast! Maybe the other house went into the dumper for a reason, what do you think? I like this one so much better mainly because you don't have to live with those awful power lines you had before.
I have your blog saved and intend to follow this and see how things go. Good luck the rest of the way. :-)

Renee said...

How did I know you'd have a red door? It was only a matter of time, eh?
I'm so glad you got glorious roots again. Nobody deserves them more and I'll pray this time you get to keep them.
How about writing me sometime?

Lynn said...

Beautiful! So thats Jake. You aren't kidding he's big!
Everything is very nice and I wish you all the best with this one. Your trees behind you look healthy, are they? I hope there's no signs of that vicious vine in there anywhere.
Rufus says a throaty hi to your boys. :-)

Anonymous said...

I always motivated by you, your opinion and way of thinking, again, thanks for this nice post.

- Norman

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