details details

I was in Alabama this past weekend, dealing with the little stuff, of the sort that really isn’t so little, it just looks that way.

Not much has visibly changed with the house. the electrician and plumber are there, putting in the wars (that’s wires in Southern) and pipes (that’s plumbing in Southern). #3 and Strong Friend put the bathtub/swimming pool/Vat of Hedonistic Deliciousness in place so the plumber would know exactly where to put the stuff for the tub faucet and drain. But then he couldn’t do that without the specs for the plumbing, which I hadn’t ordered yet. I knew what I wanted so had to run to the other house and order it so I could print out the specs for him to use. Apparently I should have done that a week or two ago so it would actually be here for him to install. Oh well.

He was a funny sort, in that he was a Fine Southern Young Man who was trying to explain to me how he would install it, without using the word “nipple”, which is what the parts are called but he apparently was very uncomfortable saying that to me, a woman old enough to be his mother. Bless his sweet Southern heart. He wound up using hand gestures which, in some cultures, would be even more rude than saying “nipple”. So Son and Friend got the tub in place (temporarily), with much grunting and pondering out loud if such a heavy thing was really necessary (this coming from men with large, loud trucks.)

The electrician had most all the outlets installed, but not in the right places. Dad and I went through with a pad of hot pink sticky notes and a sharpie marker, and labeled where I wanted them. Waist height for most of them, please, as I will eventually be 90 and not want to bend way over to plug something in.  Most of them will have some sort of thing in front of them anyway, so it’s not going to look too strange.  He was a loquacious fellow, and spent a solid 45 minutes explaining to me all about how fine a contractor I had and he wouldn’t wire houses for just anyone and he’d come out of an early retirement just to work on this house because the contractor had asked him too and he’d make sure I had plenty of outlets and everything was up to code or even better and if I needed him to come out and add or change anything once I got moved in he’d be happy to because he really liked working for this contractor and wanted to be sure I was completely happy with this house and he was going to make sure it was done just like it was his own house and please be sure to let him know if I needed anything done.

I went to a tile shop and looked at tile samples and discussed with the designer about what I wanted. In true Rootietoot form (Just ask Himself), I went straight to the most expensive stuff and announced that it was what I wanted.  So, I may winding up changing what I want in the interest of economy, but until then I’m going to stick with the hand painted cobalt blue rope trim and Victorian basket weave flooring with the custom cobalt blue center squares. The shower will have white subway tiles with the rope trim at chair rail height. I figure if I’m going to have that fine, fine bathtub (a $2500 tub I found at Habitat ReStore for $750) then there should be flooring that does it justice. Right? Right.

It was a productive weekend, also The Grandpunkin was there for a good bit of it and I got to play with him, which is always wonderful. There will be a wall of cabinets in the living room, the bottom half of which will be filled with boxes of toys saved from when my boys were little…waffle blocks and Duplos and wooden blocks and a train set WITH all the Thomas the Tank models…perhaps it is wishful thinking and they’d rather play with something else, but there it is.

It won’t be long- David the Builder is estimating December when he’ll be done with his part. Then my fun starts.


Wrapping my mind around it.

Every time i look at pictures of this house my mind boggles a bit. It’s my house. Mine. I’m going to live in it. With my dogs and my furniture and my ideas about what it looks like and where to put the sofa and what kind of light to hang in the bathrooms.

That’s what I’m doing, hanging the lights in the bathrooms instead of having them stick out of the wall. I just prefer that. Sconces kind of irritate me for some reason. And that’s ok because it’s my house and I can hang the lights if I want to. With hanging lights it’s easier to change out the globe if I get bored with it. You can get globes in many different colors and shapes, and if I decide to make the guest bathroom olive green instead of windsor blue (not really, I despise olive green), all it takes is a paint job (that’s cheap), a new globe (also cheap) and new towels (not always cheap but I could go to IKEA for them)

I’m kind of planning on putting a crystal-type chandelier in my bathroom. Or perhaps even a pair of them. Because it’s my bathroom and I can do this. I don’t have to consider any one else’s sensibilities. They can be found for fairly cheap, and if I come across a really fabulous one- maybe on Ebay or Craigslist or something for fairly cheap, so much the better. Wouldn’t that be fun!

The guest bathroom is going to be pretty contemporary. I don’t know why I have it in my head to do it that way, but I do. Tiles, yes, but no frou-frou. My bathroom? Totally frou-frou.  Fancy tiles and chandeliers and color and I’ll probably even embroider the towels and put lace on them. Because I don’t have to consider anyone else’s sensibilities. I’m going to find a fancy pedestal sink, I have a pretty oak sideboard with a giant mirror, for storage and vanity use (I don’t ever sit down to do my hair. Actually I don’t ever do my hair. Or wear makeup, so I don’t need a big vanity type thing). I do have a pretty ice-cream parlor chair that my grandmother got back in the ’50’s or something, that will make a nice place to pile my clothes sit and tie my shoes.

I got the rest of the appliances ordered. The stove was half the price I’d had budgeted, so I went ahead and got myself a new washer and dryer. The fridge was ordered as well. I got a fancy french-door type. My brother has one and I am impressed with the width of the storage thing. Not that I regularly need a place for a 3 foot wide platter of sushi, but you never know. It’s good to have the option.  The smaller items are already coming in- they’re being shipped there instead of here. Dad says the sink and stove hood are very attractive, but the hood is 2 feet too short, so we’ll need to get extenders. I’m sure I’m not the first person to ever put a stove hood in a 10 foot ceiling, so I’m confident it can be found. Plus I have 9 months-ish to do it. If people can make a baby in 9 months, surely I can find a stove pipe.

I’m going over there today, for the weekend. I’ll get pictures. I think the siding is all on, and I’m hopeful that they’ve started building the porches.


Ok. So after drawing out the kitchen to (however you call it…)scale (that’s it!) on a piece of graph paper, adding in the appliances, it has been determined that normal commercially made cabinets just won’t work. Custom ones are called for. However, I am not going to go to a professional cabinet maker because really all that’s important, looks-wise, are the doors. And what I want are simple shaker style doors like these:

Though I’ll admit that inset doors and drawers like that aren’t nearly as simple as they look. However, Dad, who builds things, is a precision person and as long as I’m around to keep him from going for massive sturdiness over sleek design (surely there’s a happy medium in there) it will work out as I want it to. Also, not in a big hurry, which is a good thing. Also, the kitchen is pretty small, not a whole lot of cabinetry, as there is a humongous pantry, a humongous hutch, and a whole bunch of build in shelves that will suitably hold 90% of the stuff. Pretty much a couple of base cabinets for pots and cookie cheets,  and a couple of drawers for silverware and utensils are all that’s necessary. The less storage there is, the less crap extra doodads I’ll keep. The uppers are mainly full of windows and stove hood, so the parts that might ordinarily have cabinets will have open shelves instead. And, since there is a blacksmith shop/forge that is currently underutilized, I intend to utilize it and made brackets for open shelves. Because I don’t get nearly enough grease removal from cabinets as I want. Or something. Also my dishes are either clear cobalt blue pyrex, or white, and I think they’d be pretty out there for the world to see (and gather greasy dust) (but that’s why there’s dishwashers). It will also compel me to finally get matching coffee cups.

I ordered most of the kitchen appliances today- all but the refrigerator. I have always wanted a commercial type stove, and found a highly rated yet little known brand (little known are the best kind, small companies have great service, in my experience, and this is a non-electronic one which means stuff won’t go bad that’s costly to repair)

The stove:


The dishwasher:

The kitchen sink:

Image result for AKDY® 30" 16 Gauge Handmade Stainless Steel Undermount Apron Single Bowl Kitchen Sink

Stove hood:

Zuhne Ventus 30 inch Kitchen Wall Mount Vented/ Ductless Stainless Steel Range Hood or Stove Vent with Energy Saving Touch Control & LED Lights

Next up: Choosing ceiling fans, light fixtures, plumbing stuff, tiles (mostly white or marble), paint (not hard, will all be varying shades of a particular blue).

The cabinets will be glossy white- I’ve found that a wonderful high quality oil-based glossy finish on kitchen cabinets holds up really well, looks gorgeous, and is easy to keep clean. The countertops will be my favorite type- solid black laboratory phenolic resin. Stuff is nearly as heavy as granite, and almost completely indestructible. It doesn’t stain, burn, is acid/base resistant, you can set a super hot pot on it and it won’t melt or do anything weird, it won’t crack…tough stuff. It will scratch a little, but a good polish with paste wax makes it gorgeous again. Also it’s bacteria and fungus resistant, so weird stuff won’t grow on it. It’s what I have in my current kitchen and I flippen LOVE it. The cabinet hardware will be brushed stainless like the appliances. An old hutch will get a coat of paint like the cabinets, and a black top to match the counters.

I’m wanting a big island, and the cabinet part of that will probably get painted a color- like crimson red or something, with a butcher block top. I have a plan in mind for that. I found one I liked online, and they wanted $3000 for it. Given that I can buy the top for about $350, and build the cabinet for about $200, it’s worth building it.  Plus a RED island! And when I get sick of red I can paint it some other color.

Image result for red kitchen island

Really, the kitchen is the most complicated part of a house. Nowhere else is there the expense of appliances and such, and everything has to fit just so. I think by dealing with it first, everything else will seem easy in comparison.

Or, I hope so anyway.


Ok. So Dad called me with news that the electrician was fixing to start the wiring in, and he needed to know EXACTLY where the appliances were, how high was the backsplash, how the cabinets were being laid out, all that detaily stuff that was always Himself’s territory. I was the one in charge of color schemes and door front designs. He’s the one who did the logistical stuff. Only, the kitchen is me department and I’m having to work out all the door sizes and do I have room for a corner cabinet w/ carousel and is there anyone out there who makes a 12 inch door because I have a 12 inch space that would be great for cookie sheets but the smallest door IKEA has is 15 inches and if I scoot stuff over to make that spot 15 inches there won’t be room on the other side of the stove for their smallest corner cabinet (which I’m not even sure will fit there because I don’t know what they mean by 38″)


Also my computer lacks the willpower to use the online kitchen designer tool.

Granted, I know how to work a pencil and piece of graph paper, and IKEA cheerfully sized the cabinets to fit in if you, the novice, measure 48″. They assume you don’t really know what you’re doing.

I know for a fact when Himself measured for cabinets he automatically figured in the thickness of the wood and all. I remember him doing that. I do the same thing with fabric for clothing. But…I’m not exactly STYMIED, per se, but I am kind of wishing I had some cabinets to measure rather than looking at some pictures and not being exactly sure what they mean by 38″. I do so much better when I have the actual thing in front of me.

I knew this would be an issue but I’ve managed to avoid thinking about it so far. It’s been much more fun looking at tiles for the bathrooms. Also it’s easier measuring that one other room for built ins because nothing has to be exact, since I’m not working around appliances. Probably I should go to the store and sit down with someone who actually knows what’s what and let them work it out.

But then where’s the fun in that? Isn’t it much more adventurous to assume you think you might know something and hope for the best? That’s how I cook, anyway. I can hear Himself, in his box on the fireplace mantle, slapping his forehead and muttering something about how foolhardy it is to hope for the best like that, because Planning Is Key.

That man loved to plan stuff. I wish he were here now, to plan this kitchen so I didn’t have to. He remembered the standard things, the way I remember the standard things like how to measure a person and figure out how much fabric would be needed for a Zoot suit. Fabric is so much easier to work with than wood. And mistakes are easier to remedy as well.

Anyway, I think I’m getting it down. I kind of figure I’ll aim small with the cabinetry and fill in the spaces with cute little shelves that look like they were planned in. I saw some really pretty iron shelf brackets, perfect for gathering grease from the stove and making me complain and wonder what I was thinking when I put them there.

So far it’s been really easy, this whole house thing. All I’ve had to do is kind of wave my hand in a general direction and say things like “whatever you think makes sense” but once the interior stuff starts now they’re all going “You need to do (this precise thing you have no idea how to do so you’d better figure it out by tomorrow at 6am because that’s when the electrician wants to start)” and here I am with post-hurricane homework (how long can I milk a brisk breeze for getting out of doing stuff?) and housework (really! The freezer leaked meat juice that made my utility room smell like Hannibal Lector’s  abattoir*! Even the dogs gave it the hairy eyeball! It took an entire day to fix it!) and so much to do!

Image result for procrastination

At any rate, now it’s my turn with the house. Soon David the Builder will be done with his bit, and it will be time to order cabinets and plumbing fixtures, and choose paint colors, and decide on molding styles. Also light fixtures.

I have to decide now if I want to go “country modern” or “classic” or “Oh I like this I don’t care if it doesn’t go with that” and wind up with a house that looks like 2 aunts from opposite ends of the country threw stuff at me.

*I’ve always wanted an excuse to say “abattoir”. Such a pretty word for a gruesome place. Much more elegant than “slaughterhouse”.

It’s getting more finisheder!

I’m sitting here at the dining table, looking out the back doors and a wind picking up and also a rain, because a hurricane is trying to happen. Hurricane Matthew, precisely. Several of my people are out trying to convince other people to come to this house, which is brick, and board games. They left their dog here, so if somehow they get blown into Oz at least the dog will be cared for.

Anyway, in East Central Alabama, the weather is lovely and the house has been receiving  attention. The siding is going on! Now, it hasn’t been painted, but the finished paint is very similar to the color of the hardyboard siding. The back and east side has been covered, so you can get a bit of an idea of what it will look like.

East side
East side and back. Perspective makes the windows look wonky, but they’re actually at the same level.

The roof is on!


Pretty blue roof
Roof detail- fancy corbels, and the ends of the rafters are cut with the same profile.

David and Vince The Builders have taken an interesting sort of ownership with this house. They are doing things I hadn’t thought of, like the little roofed stoop over the side entrance, and the fancy ends and corbels on the roof.  That’s the sort of detail that doesn’t occur to me until after the house is built and I have time to look at it and think “oh, wouldn’t have been nice if…”  I guess they’ve been doing it long enough to know these things, and mighty thankful I am for it, too.

It might be nice to have a House Warming event, and invite all the people who’ve worked on this place over for ribs and beer or something. Of course by then they might be heartily sick of the place and not want to see it AT ALL.  But I am happy and grateful that they think of things like shaped corbels and profiled rafter ends, and are making this a really pretty place.

The windows are in!

I’m supposed to be doing homework right now. That’s what I told #4, anyway, and since he’s in another room also not doing homework, I’m not too concerned. Anyway, Dad sent the latest set of pictures. David the Builder got the windows in last week, as well as the stuff that goes up before the siding goes on…I’m sure it has a name but I don’t remember it. Anyway, even without the final skin on, it’s starting to look like a Real House, certainly it’s easier to actually figure out what it’s probably going to look like once it’s finished.  So here goes:

The front (porch isn’t in yet)
East side- all those windows and the little stoop are in my sewing studio- Lots of natural light! The scaffolding will be a screened porch.
Kitchen area- sink will be under the windows, the door goes onto the screened porch. A huge vintage hutch will go between the door and the windows.
Inside of the studio. It’s a HUGE room!
Inside looking out the front. Guest room to the right, master bedroom to the left. Bonus dogs.

The windows are all double hung, and the sort that can be tilted inward for cleaning. That will be nice because I won’t have to remove storm windows or screens to clean them. I insisted on the type with no lights because I DESPISE cleaning windows with all those tiny panes. Double hung is great, especially on windows so large (for proportion purposes, as the ceilings are 10 feet up), being able to raise or lower the upper part will be lovely for air flow during open-window season, which is all but (essentially) January and maybe August. There will be an attic fan installed. Who has had an attic fan growing up, and remembers the thrum of one at night, windows open and the rooms fairly breezy because of that fan? If you have it going, and open the windows and close the doors just so, the room will be positively brisk.

The roof and siding are to go on the next couple of weeks. It will have a metal roof, royal blue in color, and hardyboard siding (horizontal planks) painted a creamy yellow that’s more cream than yellow (it’s some Historical color) and white trim. Eventually, after living in it a bit and studying things, I’ll make some gingerbread to go on the porch posts.  Dad has a well equipped woodshop and I am quite comfortable with a band saw.

I’ve been pondering the landscaping, and Mom has been watching the light patterns based on trees and time of day. That will be a post for another day.