Sunday, June 10, 2012

Some final words

The big move is starting tomorrow afternoon.  We'll have movers all day Tuesday and hope to be settled in our new home soon thereafter.  Everyone we talk to asks if we'd build again.  I emphatically answer "Yes!" (except for the fact that we love our house so much that we hope to never move again)!  I'm not sure what I expected from the process, but have to say that it was easier than I had imagined.  Randy was extremely professional and responsive.  More than anything, I was in awe of how everything happened when he said it would happen.  The subcontractors were great to work with.  The allowances were generous and allowed us plenty of options.  Randy was flexible to change and delivered all that we asked for.  He didn't blink twice when we asked for a storm shelter or another built-in or changes in the floor plan.  We are so grateful to Randy and his crew!  I'm happy to be done with decision-making, but will miss looking at beautiful materials and picking out finishes!  It's a good thing that we still have a basement build-out in our future! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Parade Ready

It's official!  The parade flags are up!  Come see the gorgeous work by Randy Rempel and a large group of fabulous subcontractors.  We're so thrilled with how everything turned out! 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Certificate of Occupancy

We received our Certificate of Occupancy last Friday.  There are a few minor things we are waiting on, but the house looks great.  The black door is in.  The light fixtures are in.  The house is getting cleaned up for the Parade of Homes, which starts Saturday, June 2.  You should come see it! 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Kitchen and Bath

The last of the counter tops have arrived.  The back splash has been grouted. Looks great!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I love this deck and patio!!

I've been packing up our glasses and wondering why we have so many martini and margarita glasses.  I guess we now have a reason to dust them off and put them to use! We're going to have a fun outdoor entertainment area when all is done!   


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sod, seed and trees!

The Iowa City Landscaping crew worked hard to prepare the dirt and lay the sod.  They put together plant beds and filled them with colorful plants.  They also planted a red bud tree in the front of the house and an oak (not pictured) to the right.  It looks ready to move in!  


You'll also see house numbers on the front porch overhang if you look closely!  I can't wait to see our actual front door!

Monday, May 14, 2012

No parking!

I drove by the house this morning to meet with Andy from Iowa City Landscaping and had trouble finding a parking spot! Two landscape trucks were there with materials.  The Slager Appliance delivery truck was in the driveway.  Several other trucks and vehicles were parked around the culdesac.  It's a busy day at the house.  The landscaping is going in today and tomorrow.  The deck stairway and railing are almost done. Soon our exterior will have a finished feel! After discussing plant bed placement, I peeked inside.  The back splash is in! The appliances are in! The plumber worked hard over the weekend to get in the sinks, faucets and toilets. I can't stand the excitement!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Good stuff

Today I found a tiled shower:

 tile around the fireplace:

 counter tops in the bathrooms and kitchen:
 light fixtures in the great room, bathrooms and exterior:

The rest of the light fixtures are at the house.  I've peeked in the boxes and can't wait to see them up!  The thermostats for our heating/cooling unit are in.  The deck railing and stairway are under construction.  I see evidence that our appliances probably will be arriving shortly. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Peace of Mind

One difficult aspect of building when you have small children is visiting the site.  If you have children who are good listeners, it won't be a problem.  If your children are strong-willed and have selective hearing, it's not fun.  At long last, one of the most important pieces in the house has been installed.  I no longer have to panic because my children want to run to their rooms while I'm looking at another part of the house.  The second floor railing overlooking the stairway is in! 

Of course, there is trouble still to be found and they will find it. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

A great time to build!

The counter tops are arriving on Thursday!! The fixtures will follow soon thereafter.  We're nearing the end of the build.  We've got about 30% of our current house boxed up to avoid a mad rush in June.  We've booked our movers.  We've locked interest rates on our mortgage loan and have set the closing date.  I can't believe that rates are still so low.  What a great time to build! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Trim Work

The trim work continues.  All the trim is taped up and ready to paint white.  The tiles for the fireplace surround arrived at the house.  I imagine the counter tops will be ready soon.    

The big photo of the week is the stairway.  We're still waiting for the railing and balusters, but it looks so nice!

Friday, April 27, 2012

I'm a huge fan of the design website at  The woman who sold us the lot told me about it and gave me advance warning that it's addictive. She was right! I have since spent countless hours on it, reviewing photos of paint colors, built-ins, backsplash tiles, flooring, patios, kitchen stools, etc.  If you want to see how your paint color will look or how to design around bright blue walls, you'll find lots of examples.  If you want to see what's trendy, will tell you.  If you want to find that perfect lighting fixture, you'll find it. Because you can't always visualize how your choices are going to come together when you're building from ground up, the website has been a great resource.  Even if you're not looking for anything in particular, their weekly e-mails highlight specific projects and are worth looking through. The only words of caution I would pass on about are the same ones that were given to me:  "Be careful.  It's addictive!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


We've got the living room, guest room and mud room built-ins going in.  They look great!
The ceiling and columns in the dining room are in.

In addition, the front columns are taking shape.

And the patio looks pretty much done.  I love it all!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New tops and tile

After sleeping on the new counter top choice, I decided that the pre-selected tile wouldn't work after all.  The tile had too much yellow and the tops had too much gray.  I decided to explore other options.  It turned out that we have a little more time than I thought for installation of the backsplash tiles.  Sonja from Cabinet Works dropped off the Windermere sample and Tim at Randy's was very helpful with finding new tiles.  I am really happy with the selection! (And actually quite grateful that the Lincolnshire was on back-order!) 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Counter Tops

We had a little drama with the counter tops this week.  We had picked out Lincolnshire quartz for the kitchen and were just informed that those tops are now on back order.  Even arrival at the earliest date possible would be too close for comfort for the Parade of Homes.  This was initially disappointing news, but I had been questioning our selection for a few weeks.  The good news is that our second option, Windermere, is available.  I've seen it large scale at the Cabinet Works show room and it is really beautiful. 
I'm a little worried about our back splash tiles, a polished travertine, which we selected to go with Lincolnshire.  It would not have been my first choice for pairing with Windermere, but it looks like there are enough warm tones in the counter tops as well as significant color variation in the tile.  I am just hoping that it will all come together. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

The back yard

Total Tree Care worked for five hours yesterday to clear out the dead trees and brush and to trim back some wayward branches.  It looks thinned out, but still wooded.  It's a definite improvement!  Maybe we'll even be able to walk into the wooded area without being attacked by thorns and burrs!

The patio materials have arrived and the seat wall is under way.  We are so excited to see the finished product with landscaping and all!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Work work work

What a busy day at the house!  Jeff is working on the stair treads.  Both bathrooms are tiled and the flooring is in the laundry room.  The bathroom and laundry room cabinets are in their proper places, just waiting to be installed.  There is sawdust everywhere, but the the trim work looks great!!  It's all very exciting! I am very eager to see lighting and plumbing fixtures!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tile upstairs and downstairs

The tile so far looks great in the master bathroom.  I somewhat regret not thinking to put a window in the master bathroom.  It would have been small, sometimes obstructed by the door to the toilet and probably stay covered all the time, but it would have been nice to have some natural light coming in. However, I'm sure the bathroom will look much much lighter and brighter when the lighting has been installed. 

The slate in the mud room looks great!

The wood floors in the second level are all done and look awesome.   We're just waiting on more tile in the master bath and the upstairs bath as well as the carpeting for the bedrooms! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012


I went to check out the progress on the kitchen cabinets today and found trim on the windows.  I love it!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012


The bathroom and kitchen cabinets arrived.  The kitchen cabinets are going in now.  We selected a cream colored cabinet and dark island, both of which should look great with the floor.  Can't wait to see the counter tops!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Black stain

Here's the black impact oil on white oak.  I was so worried about whether I'd like it, but have to say that I'm really pleased with the result.  I also love the wide plank. 

Friday, March 30, 2012


A little like magic, the garage doors appeared!  The white trim is being painted.  The driveway is in.  The main level floor has been stained and I'm dying to take a good look at it.  I'll be waiting for the green light to go inside.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The woods behind us

We called in the experts from Total Tree Care to take a look at the woods behind us and give us recommendations for cleaning it up.  Although we'd like to preserve as many trees as possible, we want to give the healthy ones a good shot at surviving.  We also want the area to look nice.  Unfortunately, there are quite a few dead and damaged trees back there.  There are also tons of vines and thorny bushes.  Seth promises to give it a good clearing while preserving the good trees.  Maybe we'll even be able to create some paths into the woods after clearing some of the bushes filled with burrs and thorns.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Another exciting day

The front of the house has been painted.  It looks like the white trim around the windows needs to be painted, but we're very happy with how it looks.  We can't wait to see the columns, garage doors and the black front door installed!

In other news, the garage floor is in.  The guys are in the midst of planning for the sidewalk, driveway and walkway from the driveway to the house.  It will be great to be able to walk on hard surfaces for a change! 

The wood floors have been installed and sanded on the main floor.  Jeff also sanded and stained a sample for us in black.  We like the color and the stain will go on tomorrow.   The sub-floor has been installed in the master bath and we've discussed placement of the built-in shelves and a bench seat in the shower.  The tile is as beautiful as I remembered.  I imagine we'll see it up soon.  The tile for the mud room and main level bath should be going in soon as well.   

We also finalized the landscape design.  The patio will go in shortly with plantings to be done closer to the Parade of Homes. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We have floors and a landscape design

I went to the house this morning to meet with Andy about our landscape plan.  It was drizzling, so we stepped inside.  I was so surprised to see the wood installed in almost the entire main floor!  It looks great and completely changes the look of the interior.  It's six inch white oak plank.  We'll see a sample of the stain tomorrow and make our final decision on color. 

The lights are also working and the HVAC unit is working.  I hear that kitchen cabinets are going in next week.  It's hard to believe! 

As if that wasn't excitement enough, Andy's landscape plan looks fabulous.  He made some great selections for plants and trees. He designed a Brussels Block patio with seat walls wrapped around it as well as cut outs for plants and trees.  We originally thought that we'd wait on the patio, but it really makes sense to do it now before the sod goes in.  I just need to convince my husband!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Rare gray is up inside the house.  We love the color.  However, it's darker and bolder than any color we've ever had throughout the entire house, so I am a little nervous about how we'll pull it all together.  However, I have an inspiration photo I keep looking at to give me the confidence to follow through.  Randy likes the color and he has good taste, so I know we'll make it work.

Our daughter's room is Manitou Blue. It's bright, but we'll balance it out with white furniture and light carpet.

Our son's room is Ryegrass.  It's a little bright too, but it's a relatively neutral color.

The exterior of the house is not completely painted yet.  We've had some great weather, but also a little rain and/or the threat of rain.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What a week!

The guys have been busy at the house.  The geothermal system was completed and the pipes were buried.  The stone was installed on the front of the house.

The rear exterior siding was painted. 

The interior walls were pre-primed and are now ready for texture, priming and painting. 

In the meantime, I've been looking for furniture ideas.  We have a small budget and plan to make do with most of our existing furniture.  However, I have found a few key pieces of furniture that will look great in the house and some other accessories that will modernize our old pieces. I've also been obsessed with looking at patio ideas and just forwarded some additional photos to Andy for him to consider in putting together his design. 

We've got about two and a half months to go until the parade.  There's still a lot to be done, but things are looking good!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Under contract!

I guess the stress was relatively short-lived.   We received a very clean offer this afternoon from another family for closing on June 15!  Our counter offer was accepted!  We're hoping for easy inspections and the buyer's mortgage approval in short order! We're so grateful for a contract that won't require us to move out of our old house before the new one is ready.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Other House

The most stressful thing about building a new house is selling the old one.  We placed our current home on the market on March 1.  In the last 14 days, we've had 12 showings, including three potential buyers who came back two times each.   Despite stating that the house would not be available until June 15, we got word today that one potential buyer is interested in the house if they can close in 4-6 weeks.  That would leave us homeless for about two months.  The thought of living in temporary housing is depressing.  The thought of losing an interested buyer is equally depressing.  I suspect they're just feeling us out to see if we'll be flexible.  I suspect they're also getting the hint that I'm not feeling very flexible.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


 Drywall work is done.  The walls look nearly ready for paint.