January 23rd, 2014
Usually when you build a house, you don’t source your own tile – you go through your contractor or builder. And if you want anything custom-looking, you pay way more than you should. However, we are doing our home build as a “Cost-Plus” build. This basically means that we pay our builder/contractor a flat rate to build/subcontract the house, and then all the bills/invoices are paid by us without any sort of mark-up. This has several benefits, one of which is that we can provide anything (or any subcontractors) that we want for the house and at the end of the day there isn’t any sort of credit/allowance issues that we have to deal with. It basically gives us complete artistic freedom to do anything to the house and any changes/upgrades etc without having to deal with logistical issues. For us creatives, it’s the perfect way to build a house. We have total control over the spending, materials, and subcontractors, but we don’t have to actually manage the build, pay invoices, or make sure people show up. It also allows us to do some serious budget shopping to save money in areas where people normally spend the most.
Anyway, back to the tile… When we were in the design phase of the build, we visited a local tile design center. We happily looked through tile samples and found 3 that we liked a lot for the kitchen backsplash. The sales associate looked up the price on her computer, and the tile that we liked best was $93.00/sq. ft. No misplaced decimals… 93 bones! It was fabulous tile, but not even remotely close to our budget. I knew I could find something else that worked just as well for a fraction of the price. I started searching online, and went to several online tile retailers to see what the prices and selection was available.
It’s interesting buying something like tile online. Unlike things like 2x4s and drywall, finishes for a home are an emotional/design purchase. You want to connect in someway with the surfaces that you are going to interact with on a daily basis. As a creative person I’m completely picky about my environment, so I have to be 100% happy with the products going into my home. I was a little nervous about the prospect of buying my tile online, but I figured if I could look at sample tiles, and save a lot of money, it was worth the risk of possibly being dissatisfied and having to look elsewhere. I’ll tell you right now, that I have been so incredibly impressed with the style and quality of every tile product that I ordered. Even Mr. Project, who is very hard to impress, has commented numerous times on the quality of the tile that we ordered from BuildDirect.
When I came across BuildDirect.com I found exactly what I was looking for. They had a great selection of 12×24 floor tile that I wanted for several areas of the house. They also had white subway tile, glass subway tile, and even 12×24 sheets of white marble – all the classic items I was wanting to put in my home. And the best part was that the prices were better than I’d seen at the other online stores (in most cases by a lot). I ordered some free samples (first 5 are free including shipping!) and I was so impressed with their tile samples, and customer service that I knew they were a perfect fit for our build. Knowing that their product was perfect for the look and style of our home, I took a chance and contacted them about being a blog sponsor. They were excited to see a big project like our Project House unfold in real time, and we worked out some details to make it all happen. Throughout the whole tile process (ordering, receiving, ordering more last minute, quick shipments, and installation etc), I’ve been impressed over and over again by their great customer service, and quality of product. I really could not recommend them more, and not just because they were kind enough to sponsor my blog, but also because I know that if you order tile from them, you will have a great experience.
Okay so really, onto the (drool-worthy) tile.
About a week after ordering my tile, I started to get boxes… and palettes (I ordered a lot of tile). Getting your first box is always the most exciting, and my first was this GORGEOUS ice mist 3×6 glass subway tile. I was really nervous about this color – I decided on this tile at the last minute and didn’t have time to get a sample. So I was just crossing my fingers that the color was correct. The color that the BuildDirect website shows was a little more green then I was hoping for, but I decided to just go with it and hope for the best. When I got the box and opened it, I jumped with joy because the color was absolutely PERFECT. Seriously perfect. And for a designer to say a color is perfect means a lot. If you’re looking for a great ice-aqua color glass tile, this is the tile for you. I also ended up ordering the same tile but in 4×12 for the boy’s shower/toilet room. I haven’t received it yet, but it should be here in a few days.
The next day I received this beautiful Marble Basket-weave tile. This tile is so beautiful in person. I love mosaic tile, and really love how the basket weave mixes just a little contrasting black into the pattern. I also was excited to find a basket-weave in marble as most of the ones I’ve seen are porcelain.
Maybe an hour after receiving the basket-weave tile, a truck pulled up with 2 palettes of tile… thats a lot of tile. Nearly 3000 lbs!
I could hardly wait to open it and see what it all was. It was seriously like Christmas!
After carting (literally using a hand cart – well not me – but the very nice neighbor) a few boxes in the house, I opened up this glorious 12×24 white marble tile. So pretty and so heavy. I ordered a lot of it too – for the master shower, floor, and tub surround.
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January 21st, 2014
Okay… I haven’t updated on the house in a few weeks. So much has happened… so much is happening right now. It’s really kind of overwhelming to keep up with it all, and take pictures, and blog and whatnot. And so pictures were kind of piling up and I knew I needed to get to an update, but then I went out of town on business for several days, and pictures really started piling up, and the whole idea of updating on the build seemed really overwhelming.
So finally I decided that I couldn’t wait any longer, and started flagging images. Well there were more than 60 images that I want to share… and really, I couldn’t do that in one mega post, so I decided to catch up a bit by showing projects/categories for a few quick posts. This way I can get a bunch of little posts done and get all my updates posted, without feeling overwhelmed.
Onto the first project… The built-in window seat in the Guest Room. This is one of those projects that I just didn’t think we’d get to until after we moved in. Mr. Project was feeling motivated, and asked what I was planning and said that maybe he could get it done… well if you know my husband, you know that when he says that, he is about 5 minutes away from diving in head first and getting said project started and finished in record time.
Here is the window wall of the room. I really wanted double or triple windows in all the rooms instead of one big slider window. I just think it looks so quaint and designed.
I planned for this room to have a window seat with shelving on the sides, so I had the framers keep the ceiling lower over this one part of the room, and then raise it up higher for the rest of the room. I basically wanted it to feel like a more enclosed space.
When Mr. Project asked what I wanted the space to look like, I drew this (awesome) picture on the wall:
Apparently I need to brush up on my perspective drawing… I drew a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf on each side of the windows, and then a bench area between. Then detailed the paneling on the inside of the seating area, and the front of the bench. We made a few measurement decisions – how deep, how wide etc. and then Mr. Project got to work!
First he made bases for everything to sit on. He said that this was the most important part of the job because if the bases were off, then everything else would be off. So he spent a long time putting these in and making them completely level and plumb.
Once he had the bases in, he built each bookshelf in two pieces (because they are so tall). I don’t have any during pictures of this process because I had to go home and be a mom/get work done. But Mr. Project stayed late that first night assembling the shelving and router-ing the v-groove paneling for the shelve backing. The next day when I came by again, it looked like this:
That’s a lot of progress for less than 24 hours. That Mr. Project, he’s pretty amazing. The second night he stayed late again and paneled out the window and created the face frame (from poplar wood) for the shelving, and the paneling on the inside.
So the next morning when I came to the house… this Is what I saw!
So amazingly gorgeous, and absolutely perfect. Less than 48 hours from Mr. Project just asking what I wanted it to look like – to – being all done except the baseboard, front trim, and liftable-seat. He really is amazing!
Here’s the simple v-groove detail in the back:
And the inside paneling:
The crown and face frame detail.
If you want to know more about HOW he created this, I can see if Mr. Project will write a how-to with some additional images and notes. Just let me know in the comments/ instagram/facebook, and if I get enough interest, I can convince him to write a post all about building a built-in window seat with bookshelves.
Stay tuned to my blog for a lot more house projects and mini-update posts the next few weeks. We’re less than a month out (cross my fingers), so things are really picking up!
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December 27th, 2013
Even with this week being Christmas, a lot still got done on the house (mostly due to Mr. Project working at the house every day except Christmas).
Doors were mostly installed we have 3 different styles in the house. Here is a narrow 3-panel door looking all fly. This is the “media closet” in the family room. I just love long narrow doors.
All the 6’8″ doors in the house are this 1-panel style. Super simple and a nod back to the early 19th century. They are going to look beautiful all painted up and with pretty door knobs.
I wanted light to flow through the hallway. So I had a skinny french door made for the reading room. Right now it has a film on it to protect the glass. but after everything’s painted, the panes will be clear and really let the sun shine. We have 3 sets of these in the house and I love how much character they have.
Mr. Project has been HARD at work on lots of finish carpentry projects around the house. Each of these could warrant a blog post, but things are moving so quickly, I think it would be impossible to keep up. So we’ll get a quicky update post now, and maybe after we’re moved into the house, I can break down some of these projects into individual posts.
After the drywall was done, the first thing he tackled was the fireplace wall in the Family Room. This was one project that I didn’t expect to do until after we were moved in. But because of how it’s all put together, it was best to get it done now before paint and flooring.
This truly was a massive undertaking. I wanted him to plank the entire wall. But I didn’t want the perfection of MDF, I wanted the character of wood. The knots, the grain lines, to make it feel like a very organic space. So he bought rough lumber, planed it all, and cut it down to size – this part alone took nearly an entire day. AND it’s kind of silly, because I’m going to paint the whole thing. Which is sad… it’s so beautiful all natural wood. But we are planning a similar style for the upstairs fireplace that will be natural wood, so I didn’t want repetition there.
With all this work, Mr. Project was lucky to have some help from my Brother-in-law and one of our new neighbors for parts of this project. Even with all the help, it took him a good 3 days to finish.
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