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Building a home, week 11: Wood floors and fence are installed

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This week was one of ups and downs, hectic schedules and frustration mixed with anticipation. We ran the gamut from nothing happening to lots happening in week 11 of this ongoing series chronicling the home building process. To read the series from the beginning click here. Otherwise, on with the week:

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June 8: We thought we had settled on a carpet for our staircase a couple of weeks ago, but at the urging of our builder, Steve Lecas, of Gander Builders, we visited Carpetcrafters in Alsip, Ill. to look at other carpet samples. This all means that we will likely throw out the carpet choice we made in Building a house, week 9, and start over. We found three carpets that would work and brought home samples. We won’t get a quote until they send out someone for an accurate measurement.

June 9: Visited the house and learned of a major snafu with the fence being installed by Mokena, Ill.-based K Brothers Fence. Too complicated to even go into here, but suffice it to say, it is enough to raise your blood pressure. We’ll be working to get this situation resolved.

Carpetcrafters sent out their guy with the tape measure and I met him at the house. Meanwhile, the planks for the rift and quarter sawn white oak character grade floor were delivered. It will acclimate for a couple days and installation will start Wednesday. While that was going on, the Stampcrete front and back porches were sealed, which meant we had to access the house by a ladder up into the back door.

June 10: We were told the Butterfield Color® stained concrete floor samples in the basement sealed yesterday were ready for our approval. They didn’t look sealed when we were there last night, so we revisited them again today. We wanted the stained concrete to work, but so far, it doesn't look very good and not durable at least when using a waterbased sealer. If a urethane or epoxy sealer was used, it might look like all the photos we’ve reviewed on Houzz but as it is, the floor samples don't look like it will hold up to kids and dogs. We could upgrade the sealer, but that would also mean closing up the house while the work is done and we don’t want a delay.

Also disappointing is that we are at the house at 11 a.m. and no one is there working. There is utter silence. Lecas assures us that we are on schedule, but it is frustrating when you feel so powerless; your new home is far from ready and your current home is more than halfway packed and it is summertime and the living is far from easy.

Wanting to do something positive, we went to Century Tile in Matteson, Ill. to check out alternative floor coverings for the basement. We found a great product called Karndean Loose Lay vinyl flooring. We liked many of the wood plank styles as well as the tile. This flooring goes down without any adhesive and it doesn’t interlock. If a piece gets damaged, you can pick it up and replace it. If you get water in the basement, you can pick up the floor and dry it out. It sounds too good to be true, but all online reviews seem positive. We are going to pursue this. Check out the slide show to see examples of the flooring.

June 11: Apparently, yesterday was the calm before the storm. At the house, the activity level is the total opposite of the day before. Everyone is there. Upstairs, the tile setter is grouting the bathroom and laundry room floors.. On the main floor, the wood floor is being installed. Outside, workers are framing in the screened in porch. Also outside, K Brothers Fence is working on rectifying the problem we encountered earlier in the week with the fence install.

I had a very productive meeting with Drapery and Blinds by Donna in Mokena, Ill. We met at the house so she could see the windows and then we poured over numerous fabric books over a cup of coffee. In about 90 minutes, we had finalized the fabric for the great room, dining room and kitchen valences, all of which will coordinate; the foyer valance, which will complement the great room; and we chose a material for the valance for my office. For privacy, we decided on vintage style shades (using a modern clutch mechanism versus the spring rollers) with scalloped edge and cloth ring pulls. The only decision remaining is determining the opacity of the shade. We are looking to schedule a date for measuring once the windows are trimmed.

Back at the house that evening, the cabinets were delivered and all but a small portion of the fence was completed. The last pieces will go in after the landscaping is complete in another few weeks.

Next week, the countertops are measured and the trim carpenters start doing their thing, starting with installing the cabinets.

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