Friday, July 13

No, I haven’t died…

…not yet at least. It’s been awhile since I wrote a new entry to the blog. The reasons are myriad, and include being too busy, too tired at the end of the day, and too depressed because of the increasing intensity of obligations when building a house and paying for it as we go along. So far, everything we have shown of the house-building is totally paid for. The only thing we bought on credit is the astonishingly expensive roof covering. Our contractor’s mouth fell open when I told him what it cost. But we don’t want a shoddy house, so we bit the bullet. After all, the original ceramic tile roof we bought twenty years ago was to be a signature piece, our feather-in-the-cap. When the county building department denied it, the price of the house went up.

Thurman sprays, Chad digs

The start of this week was intense because we came to a point in building when we had to make a whole series of snap decisions. The air conditioning people are going to be putting ducts in the ceiling spaces, and that means we have to know where the duct from the stove hood will be. Precisely. Originally we planned to have the stove on a counter space where we could have seating on the opposite side, facing the living room (excuse me: Great Room). But hanging stove vents that go up to a fourteen-foot ceiling are much more expensive (by thousands) than the kind that are mounted on a wall. Move the stove, save thousands. We moved the stove. Then, having a cooktop and a wall oven means we have another venting problem from the oven. It will have to be on an outside wall, which doesn’t work design-wise. Otherwise, more expensive ducting since it’s a gas oven. Electric ovens can be anywhere. Gas ovens are impossible to find. One sales rep told us that only 3% of wall ovens are gas, and he hadn’t sold one in decades. So we settled on a gas range. We toured the hundreds of appliances at a place called Pacific Sales. They have everything a kitchen builder could ever imagine buying, and very good prices. A Viking range caught our eye. It is more beautiful than even the Viking stovetops and wall ovens. Then we saw how well it fit, design-wise, with the other Viking stuff. The french door refrigerator matches the stove’s design and does not have a ghastly ice and water dispenser through the door. The stove hood has infinitely variable fan speeds and is as quiet as a pleasant dream made on a down pillow.  The dishwasher is a gem. Its interior is entirely stainless steel—NO plastic parts whatever. The door holds its position regardless of whether it’s fully open or anywhere else in its travels, the racks are infinitely adjustable for any possible arrangement of dishes, glasses, and whatever. There are about a million wash settings, or a simple “Get ’em clean” command. Simple. We love Simple.

Tomorrow I have to go to Fresno to buy the bathtub. The plumber has to have it now for some reason, even though all the rest of the bathroom stuff can wait. It’s a Jacuzzi. Indulgence? Perhaps. Karla and I were going through the Lowe’s store and fell in love with a funky vanity for the half-bath. It will make anyone who goes into that room break out in a huge smile.

I’m having second thoughts about my preferred toilets made by Kohler. They’re one-piece, and rather elegant, but we bought one for our current house and after a year it is showing problems with its flapper valve not always closing the way it should. Consumer Reports magazine says American Standard makes the best toilet, but it’s two-piece and not as elegant looking. So what do I do? Look good, or work every time? Tough choice.

Early Sunday morning I have to meet with another stucco contractor. Our first stucco bid was nearly $50,000. That’s ridiculous. We’re hoping to get that down by half or near so.

Garage goes here

We had some grading done today for the garage. Our good man Thurman Wallis along with his son Chad did their usual earth-moving magic and provided a gorgeous space for the garage. Then Chad moved soil away from the house in a county-inspector-pleasing way so water drainage near the house meets their specs. There was a large oak tree in the way so he couldn’t smooth things out the way we wanted and they asked me if I could finish off the pretty parts with my little road grader. You bet, I said. Their work was a bargain at $1,200. Paid for.

There’s more to come, and I’ll try to keep current. Wish me luck.


Susan said...

Wishing you ease, simple, success, and everything for a VERY affordable, reasonable price, with no compromise on quality or elegance.

Tom Hurley said...

Thank you Susan. You’re a saint.

Pete S. said...

Good luck, Tom!