Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Spring has truly sprung in the southwest corner of PA. After a frost last night, the sky is blue, the temps have soared to over 60* and daffodils are blooming all over the place! We spent the entire morning out on Poplar Ridge, and invited friends to come and see the big trucks! The kiddos had a great time running, exploring and getting muddy.

They poured concrete for our patio on the first floor and our porch on the second floor today. We decided to tint the concrete a "sandstone" color, so that all of that expanse does not end up looking so much like a huge sea of, well, of grey concrete! Here is a shot of them pouring.

This is the nearly finished porch. You can see how well the concrete color goes with the block on the garage.

Here is the patio from the front. The girls put their little hand prints in the concrete to the left.

One of my friends was impressed that our builders are a pretty good looking crew of guys. Unfortunately, I usually get pictures of their backs (and no, it's not intentional). Here is a picture from the front for once. This is R, fixing the patio where J accidentally ran out into it and left big holes. You can see the little foot prints on the floor where she came back in.

They have also gotten a bunch of wiring done inside. Here is the wiring for the chandelier and 2 ceiling fans in the Great Room.

We leave for our Disney vacation this weekend. The house will probably be done when we return. (Or is that just wishful thinking?)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bits & Pieces

Our trip to Poplar Ridge this week was mostly for a fishing trip. I fished around in the garage for a couple of hours, looking for summer clothes and shoes, cotton sheets, suitcases, arm swim bands, speaker wire, etc. I was mostly successful, although I couldn't find my summer clothes, and in the process found several boxes of china on their sides, or under stacks of books...oops!

Our doors are here. The front doors are all wrapped up so I can't see what they look like. These are the 2 sets of french doors, the inside side is showing, which will be finished wood. The outsides of all the doors are forest green.

They have been preparing this week to pour the patios on the West side of the house and on the South side under the deck. This photo is taken from the South-West corner of the house, looking toward the garage. One area of fill, on the right front of the photo has settled a bit. The other hole, in front of the garage, will be all concrete. This is to reinforce it for the stone fireplace we hope to build there at some point.

The deck is also framed out. It will be an interesting shape to mirror the roof prow. This shot is from the Great Room.

I didn't realize that I cut off half the roof of the house in this shot.

We are looking at decking samples. We are using composite decking because I am tired of staining the deck every summer...I don't want to do it ever again! We are the most interested in the 2 samples on the right.

I have been pondering how to decorate the tray ceilings in the Master Bedroom and the Study. I found these ceiling tiles, and a paint technique that looks like copper that I really like!

The concrete truck is supposed to come on Tuesday morning, so we try to be there for that. I guess the builder is planning to work on plumbing and duct work for the next couple of weeks. Once the duct work is in, the central vacuum guy will come out to do his bit...they are estimating the 9th or 10th for that. The tubs and showers are to arrive this week. I can hardly wait each trip to see what is new!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ghost Blogger

We missed our Saturday morning hike this week due to a Birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese (oh joy, joy!) So we went Sunday instead. L was a fabulous hiker this time, we walked for an hour without complaints. The underbrush is starting to become greener. I have been keeping my eyes peeled for ramps, but haven't seen any yet!

Unfortunately, not much happened at the house between our last visit and the weekend one. Hubby likes to go there and spend hours, walking around, looking and dreaming. I am finding many of the visits painful these days. My true "glass half empty" nature is showing through and instead of noticing what is done, I am seeing what still has to happen.

I still feel like a ghost walking through the house...meaning I can walk through the walls. Here are L and I sitting in the Master Bedroom closet.

We got out some of the toys and let the girls ride bike in the Great Room. This one is soon to become L's, as J's knees hit the handle bars!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wearin' O the Greene

J got off work early today, so we scuttled up to Poplar Ridge to meet with the builder. We got a lot accomplished...marked cable and phone outlets, also made some trim decisions and kitchen layout decisions.

We were surprised to see windows! They are almost all in now...we decided to go with casement instead of the double hung. They look great! Here's the view from the drive...

...and from the garage side...

...and this shows the finished retaining wall for our back porch too.

The stairs are in too! L was a bit nervous going down the first time, but soon was running up and down.

The girls had a great time playing in the sawdust.

Here is L wearing her green.

They have done some more framing down stairs as well. This photo is taken from the "Exercise Room" toward the storage/closet and bathroom. The girl's bathroom and the unfinished storage areas have been framed out too.

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Greene County!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Retaining Wall Revision

Friday must be concrete day. The truck came and went again without our knowledge. The girls and I drove up in the afternoon after spending and hour and a half at the Auto Repair shop. We discovered last weekend that on one of our forays up the hill, we drove over a stick 2" in diameter, which broke off to about 18" long in the right front wheel well. We apparently drove around with it for awhile before we found it and pulled it out. In the meantime, it gouged the inside of the rim, and scraped off all the wheel weights. Consequently driving to Pittsburgh and Morgantown this week was a jolting experience! It's all better now, and hopefully we'll be able to remain on the driveway, and not venture through the fields to get to the house. Super Handy-Man worked on the road this week, and it looks much better, even after the concrete truck came and went!

We found on Friday that the remainder of the basement floor was poured...

Here are J and Daddy trying it out on Saturday.

Several pallets of concrete block and a pile of sand were delivered on Friday as well.

Imagine our surprise on Saturday AM when we drove up to Poplar Ridge for our semi-weekly visit and hike, to see the masons hard at work on the base of our porch that will span the west side of the house and the garage! There will be 10 foot overhangs covering the porch, making it a nice outdoor entertaining area.

Initially, we thought we would have to build a huge retaining wall in order to have the porch on the west to be at ground level.

With some creative excavating, however, it appears that this will be the extent of the wall we will need.

This is the view from between the house and the garage.

The area inside the wall will be filled and the porch will be concrete (what else?). The remainder of the bank of dirt will be gently graded to ground level on each side of the house. What do you think Brother F?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Clearing to the South

Unfortunately, this post is not about the weather. Being a typical March, the forecast is for rain. The girls and I trekked up to Poplar Ridge this morning to see the clearing that was done yesterday by our friend and Handy-Man-Extraordinaire before the sprinkles began.

I tried to find a "before" picture. This one was taken in the October 2008, shortly after the excavation for the house began.

Here is nearly the same area today, taken from our great room windows. Big difference!

This is the area where my parents are planning to build next year. This picture is taken from East of the site, by Zach's grave.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

That is the song I had blaring on the radio this afternoon as SEVEN (count 'em) girls were leaving Poplar Ridge. We actually made 2 trips up the hill today, as we were anticipating the cement truck today to pour the basement floor...thought it might be nice to see them pour a little bit, seeing as our entire house is concrete and we've missed it all so far!

This morning we were able to see the hoses/pipes for radiant heating in the floors of the girls' rooms on one side, and the Exercise Room and extra Bathroom on the other.

They were also laying re bar to prepare for pouring footers for the porch between the house and the garage.

This afternoon, with blue skies above and 70* fresh air blowing on the hill, we returned with friends in time to see them pouring the footers. The cement truck poured into the bucket of a tractor, which in turn dumped the concrete into the footers. Someone had to slop around down in the hole to jiggle the air bubbles out and level it all off.

The floors downstairs are all smooth and neat.

The shingles and siding have arrived. Our builder expects windows and doors next week.

A good end to a good week!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Early Spring

Yesterday we trekked out to the hill to return the window and shingle samples that have been cluttering up our apartment all week (and stick 2 boxes of J's old school books in the garage). The driveway was a mess since it was warm all week. I wonder what it will be like in April when it's warm AND raining? Yikes.

They have installed the mechanisms for 3 pocket doors upstairs, in the Study, Pantry, and this one in the Master Bath. We really had to think through the space while looking at the blue prints to figure out where we would not want a regular door.

The tray ceilings in the Study and Master Bed Room are being refined.

They have been doing a lot of digging. There is a trench from the house all the way over to the driveway, past the well. Also, there are a couple dug in the basement. This one is in the Girls' Bathroom/Room.

After inspecting everything, we headed off in a different direction than last week for another hike. We caught this glimpse of our old property on the way.

This time we followed the 4 wheeler trail, so the going was easier. We heard the stirrings of lots of creatures, and the strange cry of an unknown bird. We attempted to walk quietly through the dried leaves, but the idea of stealth was lost on L, who decided to sing at the top of her lungs. That is, until she got cold, then she whined until the van was in sight once again.