House Update: We Have Windows!

Five months into construction, the windows were installed.

I had to double check that last sentence after typing it. Has it really been only five months? We're so eager to get into our new home, it feels like Panorama Homes has been building it forever, with no end in sight. We broke ground at the end of June and the windows were installed right before Thanksgiving.

That still doesn't seem right. Also, I am way behind on my blogging.

Sexy Nerd and I went around and around on windows, waging a heated battle between Pella and Amsco. What's that? You've never heard of Amsco windows? Supposedly, if my husband and our builder and our foreman and dozens of Google reviews are to be believed, Amsco is far superior to Pella in every way.

Still, it would have been nice to install just two Pella windows, purely for the sake of being able to say "Our house has Pella windows," without it being a complete lie. According to the Pella salesman though, their windows don't actually say Pella anywhere...so what's the point?

Here are our living room windows, as seen from a windowless room.

My dad doesn't understand why we bothered with the divided light windows at the top. I think they're cute! They add character and they were one of the non-negotiable items on my design wish list.

Which, I suppose, makes it a design demand list.

Can you tell I'm partial to divided light windows?

I do have an Amsco window complaint, although I'm told this is the same for all windows. Fine, I have a complaint about all windows. See those adorable little squares on the right, complete with charming, perfectly proportionate mullions? See that enormous window on the left, the one that appears to be tied to the wall with a cheap piece of string? No matter what size window you purchase, they install the exact same ten-cent mullion between the glass.

BIGGER WINDOWS = BIGGER MULLIONS

I can't be the only person who feels this way. Get it together, window companies.

Ack! When I'm in the dining nook, I'll just stare at the ceiling. This was going to be one of my favorite windows and it looks so awful, especially with the reminder of how it should be just outside, taunting me with its proportionate mullion goodness. 

"Nyah, nyah," it says.

For months I tried to add upper windows to our foyer, but everyone told me not to bother, insisting 8' tall entry doors would be more than enough. I finally got them and I love them. Phooey to you folks who did not share my vision.

Phooey to you, Sexy Nerd.

I also had to battle you-know-who to get these three windows above my kitchen sink. Now, he loves them. LISTEN TO YOUR CLEVER WIFE, SEXY NERD! 

That said...

Here is a view through an interior window in the foyer. Yes, those are especially tall ceilings for a bathroom. The square at the top of the especially tall wall? It was a last minute idea and Sexy Nerd might hang a bell inside. Of course, he will need to somehow build a custom-sized bell for this to work.

He says he'll run a rope down the wall so that people can ding the bell when they're done using the toilet.

He's joking...I think.

Whenever a contractor steps unsuspectingly into this bathroom, they look up.
And.They.Laugh. 

It might turn out to be the most amazing bathroom in the history of bathrooms, starting a long-lasting trend of mega-ceilinged, super-bathrooms. Anything is possible.

Perhaps Sexy Nerd should have reined in my insanity creativity on this one. He picked his battles.

He may have picked wrong.

From inside the elegant funhouse bathroom, I thought you'd be able to see the sky through the kitchen windows. You almost see a sliver, but the curved ceiling of the hallway takes up the entire view.

Which is sort of neat too.

Behold, another window with insufficiently scaled mullions.

We debated and ultimately opted for tempered privacy glass here, which still seems ugly to me. It's a shower window. If I could go back, I would do away with the lower window altogether and just go with the upper squares, which are high enough that privacy isn't a concern. The trouble with designing a home from scratch (well, one of many troubles) is that windows look great on paper. It's just $200 here and another $300 there, which feels like it's in the noise when your budget is hundreds of thousands of dollars.

When you look at the resulting ugly window every day, knowing well that it cost more than a 5-night cruise, your soul dies a little and you curse your younger, idiot self. 

Complaining aside, most of the windows turned out exactly as we'd hoped and we can't wait to move in.

These windows, which are in the kitchen, turned out great. I've been toying with the idea of having identical mirrors cut to hang on the opposite, windowless wall. Do they make mirrors that large?

If they do, will the price knock me over?

Other than mirrors, I have no idea what to place in the wall triangle. Decorating experts recommend not drawing attention to it by simply leaving it blank.

Could it really be that simple?

Visualize this with the word "Eight" spelled out in fancy cursive letters above the entryway. 
I wasn't going to type that, thinking it would give away our address, but it's not like I would have a house with fancy cursive letters and not share a photo of it online. Heck, I'm so excited about the fancy cursive letters that I'm telling you about them before I've even figured out how to make them happen! They will be large and they will be cursive and they will be the epitome of fancy.

I love this house.

Sexy Nerd Quote of the Day: Feel the Burn

My brother and his wife are moving to Australia, where she will attend medical school and he will mooch off our relatives get a job. Everything must go! We just returned from their house $200 poorer, but rich in junk. A backup bread machine? Ours squeals like a pig whenever it's in the mixing cycle, so sure. Speakers for the garage? We're building our house around the garage; of course it's going to need surround sound. My sister-in-law was happy to let me have her old purse for free, pointing out that she'd received it for free as a gift from my mom, but my brother jumped in and charged me $20 for it. When I'd wanted it a few years ago, his price was $50. We aren't close.

A surprising thing about my brother and his wife is that they are bodybuilders. I know, you re-read that last sentence, thinking you'd surely misunderstood. Take a look:

A video posted by Joanna Neal (@joanna.n88) on

A video posted by Joanna Neal (@joanna.n88) on

I'm the opposite of a bodybuilder (here's a post to prove it), but I've made my peace with that and had no interest in purchasing any of their weights or kettlebells. I did bring home a couple of yoga DVD box sets, which I intend to look at every morning with good intentions, and occasionally dust. Imagine my surprise when Sexy Nerd offered to purchase the weights and kettlebells.

"Will you actually use those?" I asked. He nodded, leaving me instantly impressed, imagining a buff, new Sexy Nerd who pumps iron and helps clean the floor by lifting the sofa over his head. Just when I thought he couldn't get any better.
We got the weights home. I asked where we'll keep them once we move. "In the garage," Sexy Nerd replied. The notion of it also being a gym would help me feel better about the excessive window costs and scenic views in every direction, surely wasted on a closet for cars. If only he'd stopped there.

"These are so heavy," he added. "They'll be perfect for projects in the garage. I always need to weigh things down and it sucks when I can't find anything heavy enough."

Did I just pay top dollar for the handyman equivalent of a paperweight? *Sigh*

Construction Update: I Love This House!

Is there such a thing as Bipolar Construction Disorder? Forget my anxiety-filled post from the other day. I love everything about this house!

There's really going to be an actual house here soon, windows and stucco and all. I can't believe it.

Here is our kitchen/living room, which is off the foyer and attaches to a cozy dining nook and the theater room. Before you say "THEATER ROOM?!", it's essentially just a TV room with a fancy name.

And three seating options, including a bunk bed.

This is what you see when you step outside the master bedroom, which is at the very back of the house. It's hard to tell from this photo, but by adding a door to each side of the room straight ahead, there's a gorgeous view of the front yard. We'll also be able to see the fireplace to the left.

See how wonky and asymmetrical our back patio roof is? Although we approved the plan, including this odd roof (oops!), our builder agreed that the look wasn't right and said it wasn't up to his high standards - so they redid the entire roof on the left half of the house at no extra charge! Thank you, Panorama Homes! (AKA the best builder ever!!)

Here's the front door/foyer, which is another redo at no extra expense to us. We'd actually thought it looked perfectly fine. The plan is to have stone running continuously from outside to inside to outside and, luckily, our builder realised that the windows had been drawn and framed just a tad too far to pull this off properly.

With framing almost complete, I can finally picture what the finished product is going to look like. That said, I still have my fingers crossed that this space will turn out well. I insisted on adding this window (in the foyer) and I insisted on making the ceiling on the other side ridiculously tall (in the guest bathroom!), and I'm too stubborn to admit it may not work. Hey, the point of building a custom home is to have something unique, right? I'm 87% certain the finished result is going to be amazing.

I'm 13% certain we'll be covering up this window with artwork in the foyer and a mirror in the bathroom.

We requested tongue & groove on the outdoor ceilings and the builder ran with it. I think this must have been up within an hour of Sexy Nerd mentioning it! I'd actually meant to install it just on the patio ceilings (on the ceilings people will actually see). There's no reason for anyone to ever stand under these windows outside, as there's no yard there, but I suppose it would be odd to do every outdoor ceiling except this one.

Funny enough, whenever we'd visit a Parade of Homes house with outdoor tongue & groove, I'd say we need it and Sexy Nerd would immediately shoot me down, insisting it was over our budget and a waste of money. This has probably happened a hundred times over the last 6 years or so.

At $7 per square foot though... 

I maybe could have skipped this one too. 

Here's something strange. Unless Sexy Nerd misunderstood, the construction crew thinks its easier to stain the tongue & groove when it's already installed, waaay up in the air on a ladder. He must have misunderstood, right? I think the framers got a bit carried away/impatient when they installed all the outdoor tongue & groove sans stain.

What's with the holes in the wall?

(Not complaining, just wondering.)

(Love this house!)

I've been unable to attend our site meetings with the builder (always on a Friday - our busiest day at work), so I have to trust that Sexy Nerd and I are on the same page. The builder mentioned improving our already-awesome curb appeal by possibly cutting these trees back. I want more trees. Bigger trees. He said no...and then agreed we should remove another tree or two to expand the driveway.

*Sigh*

Here's what you see when you enter the house from the garage. Who has curvy hallways? We do.

Cheers!

In the Battle of the Sexes, I Think I Lost This One

I greatly underestimated how stressful it would be to build a house. Everything has been progressing smoothly and there are no problems with our builder or the construction process. The problem is me and my crazy brain. 

One day, I'll visit the house and be so thrilled I practically skip through the halls, loving every detail. The next, this wall is wrong and that ceiling height is awful and how could we be so stupid to put the house in this location and what were we thinking when we designed the floorplan and if only we could go back in time, our lives would not be ruined now. Oh, I hope I hope I hope the finished house is nice!

One of my biggest house concerns has been capturing views. So many 2ams lately have had me on the verge of a panic attack, unable to breathe as I fixate on seeing the corner of a neighbor's house through one window or a distant roof through another. The driveway snakes across the entire front of the house. More trees were cleared than we'd initially hoped and many may still die. The windows to several rooms have no view and no privacy. From the foyer, you can see power lines in the distance.

*Deep breath*

Here is what you see when looking through one of the living room windows. I'm just going to focus on this photo when I think of views from now on. And just think how great it will look once the scrap pile is removed!

You'll never guess which room ended up with the best views in the house.

Sexy Nerd's insanely oversized garage, complete with insanely oversized windows and a glass door for 360 degrees of glorious views.

The garage was going to be on the other side of the house, where the views and privacy aren't as nice. At the last minute though, Sexy Nerd flipped the house. He has a million reasons why this was a smart move, none of which include his spectacularly situated mega-garage.

Mmm hmmm. The flip had nothing to do with the garage. Suuure, Sexy Nerd.

(Meanwhile, the master bedroom and my office will require closed curtains at all times. And did I mention the driveway stretches through our entire front yard?)

There's that stress again. *Deep breath*
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