Monday, June 25, 2012

Making Progress

Lately we've been slowly adding things to the walls which has helped to make the rooms feel less empty.  After mounting the family room tv on the wall, I had to get something else so that it wasn't so alone (and to hide the view of the mount/wires when you enter the room from the kitchen).  I found the wall fixtures to the left of the tv in the Pottery Barn catalog, and after trying a few different combinations, I think I found one that works. 
The one of the left is a vase, so I'll be filling that with flowers soon.  I ended up moving the prints that I had initially hung above the loveseat because I replaced them with the scroll piece (votive holder- also from PB).  Dan initially thought this was going to be too much, and at one point compared the family room to an Applebee's with a million things hanging on the walls.  But now that everything is up, I think he likes it.
I'd been having a hard time finding artwork for the house.  I had decided to leave the walls blank and wait until I found pieces I really liked.  A few weeks ago we went to the Pittsburgh Three Rivers Arts Festival and did some major shopping. 
The first thing we were both originally drawn to was a gorgeous oil painting of mason jars by Harry Jarmon (Kernersville, NC).  It was amazing, but also way out of our budget.  As we looked around his booth we came across a set of 4 fun prints that were framed beautifully.  By the time everything was wrapped and ready to go, I had added on the corkscrew print too.
For the dining room, we bought 2 pieces by Philadelphia artist, Nicholas Longenecker.  Although his work is contemporary, the technique used (acrylics over lace) was really interesting.  The lace gives the pieces a romantic/traditional feel that goes really well in our dining room.
Now that we have artwork here I think I'd prefer just plain white drapes.  I haven't decided whether to go with linen (light and airy) or silk (heavier).
I used matching sconces (Pottery Barn) to fill the wall with the smaller piece.
This one is 4'x4' and fits perfectly on the wall. 

Finally, the room that I've hardly posted any pics of...the game room.  After a rough start, this room is most definitely Dan's favorite.  The layout of the basement was one of the reasons we chose a Milan (instead of the Naples).  We have a decent amount of furniture set-up and it doesn't feel crowded at all (and you can see the tv from pretty much any spot in the room).  
This bar was a craigslist find that Dan and his friend refinished.  Closed it's about half the size and looks like a solid wood cabinet.  It opens to reveal a marble top and expands to almost 7' wide.  To the left of the bar is Dan's humidor (converted from a wine fridge) and in the corner to the right is a speaker.
Dan finally has a place for his Scotch collection, although he thinks extra space is an excuse to buy more.  I disagree.
Near the bar we set-up a small pub table and on the other side of the stairs is Dan's desk.
The table-top is constructed entirely of old hockey sticks (and about 25-30 coats of lacquer).  We bought this at a recent art show (if you're in Pittsburgh I'd definitely recommend checking out the annual Art All Night event in Lawrenceville).
 On the other side of the room Dan plans to hang his dart board (we had a 3'x10' section of laminate wood installed for the "dart area").  I hate that from behind the couch, you can see underneath of it.  But since the recliners are super comfortable, I've gotten over it.
There's still a lot to do; the loft and 3rd bedroom are completely empty and there's no paint or decor on the 2nd floor at all yet.  We're starting to get the garage a bit more organized, and once that is finished we'll move on to organizing the basement storage rooms. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Overdue Update

 I can't believe how long it's been since my last update (or since we've been in the house, just over 3 months).  Everything is still a work in progress, but it's coming along. 

Prior to the landscapers starting the work here I had requested a different tree for the yard; the kousa dogwood was planted today.  I knew that I didn't want all of the standard plants, so I had purchased several things from a local nursery.  We ended up buying a fringe tree (in front of the window), topiary, hostas, a round arborvitae and some ornamental grass.  I really like how everything turned out.  We painted the white pipes that stick out of the ground to blend in with the mulch (they're brown right now, but I might repaint black so they blend in a little more).  The only thing I wish we could have done is laid landscape paper before they put the mulch down (we already have mushrooms, grass, etc growing through).
 Our front and back yards were seeded in April, and although it is still very patchy, the grass seems to be coming in pretty good.  I did buy extra seed to fill in some of the empty areas, but I think I just need to be patient and give it time to grow.
 This pic is taken from the common area behind our house that was just recently seeded.
We were going back and forth between deck and patio, but I think we're leaning towards a paver patio.  I got tired of the patio furniture taking up space in the garage, so we just stuck it in the grass last week.  I'm hoping to get something installed by mid-summer so that we can actually start using the back yard. 

We had a service call with Guardian last week to address the volume of the outdoor speaker.  It's definitely not what I was expecting, and from what the tech said they don't want it to be super loud and disruptive to neighbors (not that I want to blast music outside, but if a neighbor is running a lawn mower you pretty much can't hear anything).
 Our street has really filled up this spring.  I believe at this point there are only 5 lots left.

 Ok, now onto my new favorite part about the house...our new bamboo floors.  I love, love, love how they turned out.  If you're curious as to why we would rip out brand new oak floors throughout the first floor and replace with bamboo, check out this post.

The dining room still looks empty.  I ordered an area rug for the dining room from Ballard Designs in March.  It's still on back order so I've been waiting to buy window treatments and artwork until the rug arrives.
 The color is very similar to the original gunstock, so the banister looks good with the floors still.

 We love the wide planks and the variation in the color.  It's definitely less orange than the gunstock and more modern looking.

 The basement is also repaired and repainted.  Dan is still getting things set-up, but I'll take pics soon to post.  Congrats to everyone that's closed recently and just getting started with the building process!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Still Under Construction

There's so much going on with the house right now it's hard to keep track of everything. The basement drywall is now completely repaired, but we're still waiting for the carpet to be reinstalled. The tv is mounted, speakers are hooked up (to the Guardian pre-wire) and the plan is to start to hang things on the walls this weekend.

The hardwood removal started this week and hopefully by next week the installation will begin. They're going to have to install a new subfloor since the bamboo we're putting in is thinner than the original oak.
The painters came last weekend to paint the first floor. We decided not to use the company recommended by Ryan Homes. The work they did in the basement just didn't meet my expectations and I didn't feel comfortable with that level of quality throughout the first floor. We ended up hiring Jacey's Perfect Painting. If you're in the Pittsburgh area and looking for painters, I would highly recommend Jacey. They worked all day Friday (8am-10pm) and Saturday (8am-4pm) to finish the job. Everything turned out better than I expected, and I'm so glad we decided to paint now, instead of waiting until after the 10-month.

We ended up deciding to paint the majority of the first floor Silver Sage (a Restoration Hardware color that was matched at Sherwin Williams). I love how this turned out, it looks different depending on the lighting and it's the perfect shade of blue/gray/green. We used Silver Sage in the mudroom, powder room, kitchen, family room, hallway and stairwell to the 2nd floor.

The wall on the left of the stairwell was completely painted, so right now it's a nice accent when you're on the 2nd floor/in the loft.The dining room paint was also matched at Sherwin Williams, Sleek Gray (Valspar) above the chair rail and Yachtsman (Valspar) below. I'd really like to wallpaper this room (either above or below), but I haven't worked up the courage quite yet.I went a little darker in my office with Breezy (Sherwin Williams). I really like how it looks with the white trim, black furniture and pale blue sofa.
The final weekend project was hanging the photo collage in my office. I bought the frames at Pottery Barn like 2 months ago, but finally had a chance to sort through and select the pictures I wanted to display.

Of course I decided to start this at 9pm on Sunday which Dan was not at all happy about. This was probably the most stressful project we've tackled so far; it involved taping together 4 sheets of poster board and trying to trace each frame onto it, arguing about the math, deciding that our laser level is obviously broken, more math, covering the wall in painters tape and oh did I mention math?!?
In the end it turned out exactly how I wanted it and it looks fantastic. The pictures are of all of the events that I love working on and I love having them on display. I already have plans for the wall above my printer and the right side of my desk (parallel to the entrance), and just need to remember to have the photographers capture those details at a few of my upcoming events.

Next up is window treatments and artwork for the dining room (now that the paint is up it should be a little easier). I really like the natural light in the office, so I don't think I'm going to hang anything on the windows in there. I also need to decide if I'd rather replace the dining room light fixture or the two mismatched fixtures in the hallway (Dan's set on doing one or the other now, but not both). I'm leaning towards the dining room. I talked to the asphalt company today about widening our driveway. Right now if we both park in the driveway only one person can get out of the car comfortably, the other ends up stepping out into the muddy yard. I'm still not sure what we're doing with the back patio/deck situation, but I'd really like to be able to use the backyard this year (once it's not a giant mud pit).

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time Flies

It doesn't seem like it, but we've been in the house for over 5 weeks. We're really enjoying the house so far. We've found a few things that need fixed/addressed, but nothing major. We're still getting used to living on this side of the city and so far away from Downtown. Dan's adjusted to his commute, but I'm pretty much late to every meeting I've had in the city.

We have really great next door neighbors that we've hung out with a few times and everyone else on the street seems really friendly too. The lots on our street are selling at a pretty steady pace, and from what we've heard they expect to sell out in the summer and finish building by the end of the year.

The work to repair all of the damage from the kitchen flood is finally in progress. The drywall in the basement was repaired and repainted last week, but there are a few spots they have to touch-up still this week (mostly in the stairwell).
The carpet in this room still needs to be replaced and the drywall dust needs to be cleaned off of everything, but at this point Dan is going to start setting everything up.We went with Restoration Hardware paint in "Stone" in the subtle velvet finish. The painters said the quality of the paint was really good, but I think when we paint upstairs we'll have everything color matched at Sherwin Williams.We were both really pleased with how the color came out. I even suggested using this color on the 1st floor too, but Dan wasn't thrilled with having to "share his color," so we'll see.

I'm still undecided on paint colors. I think I'm going to put a medium gray on both the top and bottom of the chair rail in my office. In the dining room we're either going to do a two-tone bluish gray or two-tone greenish gray (eventually I'd like to wallpaper part of this room). I'm leaning towards doing the hallway in a different color than the family room, kitchen and mudroom.
My initial choice of Silver Sage is now my #2, but still Dan's favorite for the majority of the 1st floor. I'm afraid it will blend in to the couches and make everything look washed out.I'd like to make a decision on this before the new flooring is installed. We ended up going with the same carpet we already had, but we're changing the wood. Initially we had the standard 2.25" Gunstock Oak. We're replacing it with a 3.75" bamboo. The color is similar to what we have already (although a little less orange), but we're getting the wider plank that I initially wanted. I really like what we selected. When I first mentioned bamboo, Dan was afraid it would look like a yoga studio, or Ikea. But once we started looking at the different options, we were able to find something that had the look we wanted without screaming "bamboo."
It's been a while since my last post, so here are a few shots of the unpacked kitchen.
The mudroom in the Milan is pretty small and has 3 doors that open in different directions (garage, basement and powder room). I found this piece at Pier 1 and it fit perfectly (especially around the Guardian keypad and light switches).
We had a storm door installed last week too. I hated that we got no natural light in the front hallway because of the front door, so I'm really happy with the new door.
Our yard is still a mess. We had a drainage issue at the back of our back yard that they started to address yesterday. They installed a slope drain and a yard drain, so hopefully that will help (they're actually doing this to all 4 houses that sit at the bottom of this hillside). We haven't really been able to walk into the back yard at all yet because it has been so muddy. I don't think I've ever posted a picture of the outdoor speaker Guardian installed, I haven't had a chance to test it out while standing in the yard, but from the kitchen, it sounds pretty good.
Back to the yard... The pool of water in this pic has been here since we moved in.
I'm pretty sure they installed a french drain where the mud pool was and filled it with gravel. You can see the yard drain they installed right where the guys are standing. This is tied into the drain that our gutters are connected to (I think).They dumped a ton of dirt and started to level the yard, so as of today it looks like this...
To my surprise they also started leveling the front yard too. Although, I don't like that they didn't remove the huge pieces of concrete from the front, instead they just covered it with dirt.
They've poured a few sidewalks recently, so hopefully ours isn't too far off. I can't wait until we have grass too, but from what the PM said that's another few weeks away.