It's been two weeks since my last post, and there's been a lot of progress...so I have a lot of pictures to share. This weekend started with a snow storm, but the outside crew, thankfully, had already started putting up the siding. At long last! For months, the first question most neighbors have asked when they saw me was, "when is the siding going up?" I think it's a local joke that some people never get past putting up the water-proof barrier, which in my case is a sickly baby blue.
During the planning stages, I had made a major decision to turn to vinyl siding instead of wood. It was purely a financial decision, because the labor of going with wood was exorbitant. The up side with vinyl is that I'll never have to paint it, and the harsh winters of the Catskills can leave people having to repaint their exteriors every few years.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover how much vinyl siding has improved since the last time I noticed it—which wasn't to admire it. Vinyl today can have a much more realistic texture and pretty sharp profiles. In my case the vertical battens look very crisp and cast really nice shadow lines in the direct sunlight. The down side? Don't knock on it (it feels and sounds like what you'd expect vinyl flooring to feel and sound like) or study the joints and intersections too closely. You'll be able to see that it's thin and not thick like wood.
Again, though, the color is beautiful. I'll never have to paint it. It's virtually maintenance free.
Below the porch the crew has installed the wood lattice. Oak Tree offered me an alternative for this wood product (which will have to be painted again)...a plastic vinyl product, but I chose the real McCoy in this case. The holes in the wood lattice are smaller and the product has a more pronounced three dimensional texture. (The plastic lattice had none.) The last step here will be to apply the trim boards around each of the lattice panels.
Straddling real and faux, the front steps look fantastic. The risers and sides of the steps are covered with manufactured stone (tinted concrete) and the treads are blue stone planks. I had originally wanted to use the manufactured stone around the base of the entire house, but cost constraints prohibited it. And, now, I actually like the stucco that was used instead around the basement. The last thing left to finish the front steps will be the railing, which I had thought would be wood but am now reconsidering. I'm asking Oak Tree to price out metal. I've been looking at old houses, and these railings are often different from the porch railing. I also think white wood railings might overwhelm the steps and feel confining. I've always planned to use these steps as seating for stargazing.
Inside, things are moving equally well. Most of the honed Brazilian slate is down on the living room floor. Scott worked Saturday to make more progress. I don't have covered outdoor space, so the crew is having to stage all their preparations inside the house. In this case, they're cutting tile for the living area in the kitchen space. When the living room floor is finished, they'll cover it and use that room as the staging area for tiling the rest of the first floor.
I don't think I've talked about the slate that I found for the floor. It's gorgeous. Although I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted to use, I didn't know how or where to find the tiles. This was a product that I had agreed with Oak Tree (actually requested) to find for the project. So, I turned to the Internet and started Googling key words like slate and tile. Eventually I found a great source in California. I needed a lot of stone, but the process worked like a dream. I ordered a few sample tiles, they quoted shipping costs (which were reasonable, especially given the good price for the slate), and the tile was delivered within a couple of weeks. I never would have dreamed that it'd be so easy to find building products on the Internet.
Other developments: The wall studs have been installed for the open kitchen wall. Window and door trim (pre-painted at Oak Tree's workshop) is being installed. The upstairs wood floor is about half complete, because there was a small leak in the bottom corner of one of the Andersen windows in the guest bedroom that has to be resolved before going further. And some of the doors are being installed upstairs. Oh, and the first floor ceiling is finished! At least installed with it's first two coats of paint.
A lot has been accomplished in the last two weeks, but the pace can't slack. I'm a little concerned with the holiday season approaching. Hopefully, Thanksgiving will be a one day event, because I'm moving out of my nearby rental...and I'll have to "camp out" in the house during the last stages of construction—not the ideal situation.