week 22: stucco done (and more fun to come)!
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Big stuff on the outside, details on the inside. It's week 22!
The last coat of stucco is complete, and it looks great! We didn't go with baby-butt smooth stucco (= mucho bucks), but the level of smoothness we went with (teenager-butt smooth) looks pretty slick. The quality of the framing is shining through right now: sooper-dooper flat! We don't see anything that makes us go "hmmmm...."
The house at this point looks very New Mexico-y to us (we've both lived in the Land of Enchantment in the deep dark past), which is not a bad thing. Paint will likely bring the house from the Earth to the machine aesthetic.
Seeing the house with the stucco complete makes it more "real". The outside is nearly complete! Whoop! Whoop!
Now we need to choose paint colors, and pronto! The builder uses Sherman Williams, so we stopped by there yesterday to pick up chips and whatnot. After we choose some colors, the builder will throw up paint so we can see what it looks like. That will be helpful (and buys us more time before making a final decision).
The builder had a chunk of limestone onsite this past week, and it's on the money: Texas Cream. The final pieces will be somewhat sizable, about half the width of the windows above.
After a meeting that included two bowls of queso and three margaritas, we finally finalized the cabinet order. I reckon the cabs will go in right after the drywall goes up, so they will be coming soon!
final (we hope) "we wiring"
Due to finishing details on the electrical and responding to inspection deficiencies on the electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and framing (they always find them, I am told), our project is now about 30 days behind schedule. The builder is apologetic, but we've appreciated the extra time to contemplate and install speaker wire and network cables. We were back out there yesterday to run network cable for wifi stations (one in the hallway between the kitchen and dining, one in the back of master bedroom, and one upstairs). We also ran an extra network cable to the TV area in the living room. TVs are getting smarter, so I can see direct network connections coming soon (if not already). Another network cable might allow us to keep the cable box in the pantry and control it remotely (and allow us to serve the telly signal about the house). We also ran network cable in the garage for a couple video cameras.
In all, we ran cable for all the speakers in the house and the garage, network cameras for video cameras, network cables for glass break detectors, and network cable for wifi stations. Including what the electrician's ran for network cables and cable cable, we have 34 returns to the pantry. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things (I've seen insane photos on the interwebs), but a fair amount nonetheless. I think this is all we will do.
wood for ceiling and soffit
We had decided on cedar, and then undecided, and then decided on pine, and now have undecided on that. And now there's a new wood in the mix: cypress. We would absolutely love cypress. We saw it on the house below during a home tour, and gasped with joy. The builder says he now has a good source for cypress and will check in on price. Cypress or cedar, that is the question...
With the exterior nearly complete, here come the serious discussions on landscaping. We have a fairly healthy budget for landscaping, but at the same time, we don't think it will cover everything (it's an allowance at this point). First things first, we need to have a master plan for everything. It's always good to have a plan, but it's even more important if you plan to phase stuff in over time (which we may have to do depending on the cost of things). You want to think about the big picture before putting in the little picture stuff now so you don't have to tear stuff out (and waste money) in the future.
We've been working with the architect on finalizing the hardscape features (the most recent version below ["I notice more walls," noticed the builder]). We've also talked about the stage design for the back yard as well as planters.
We've discussed the sidewalk with the builder. We can put in a sidewalk per city code or write the city a ransom check (for twice the cost of putting in the sidewalk). I'm amenable to a sidewalk for the front of the house if we could get a "curb hugger" (a sidewalk that's up against the cube instead of set back two feet), but the builder said that the city will insist on the two foot setback (gives pedestrians more time to dodge careening vehicles, apparently...). A curb hugger, in my mind, would make it easier for passengers to get in and out street-parked cars and look less goofy than one house on our side of the street having a sidewalk.
ready for the runway?
The builder suggested that the architect ought to consider getting professional photographs made of the house when it's done. That's a good sign! And the architect has felt us out about being on a home tour at some point. Sign us up! We've appreciated the many good folks about Austin that have opened up their homes to us (and many, many others) in the past, so we're good to give back.
...things are going great! Little glitches here and there, sure, but the balance weights heavily-heavily o-so-heavily towards "Totally awesome, dude!" Lots to do, but it's all terribly exciting, and getting us closer to our move in.