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Building a home, week 7: Storms, delays and countertops

This was a week filled with storms and almost as many disruptions to what has been a relatively smooth six weeks in the homebuilding process. That said, there were occasional glimpses of sunshine in this, week seven in the ongoing process, “Building a home.”

If all goes as planned, this is the color palette for the kitchen: white cabinets, green slate island, black walnut countertops, copper tile backsplash and a cranberry stove.
Cheryl Dangel Bartolini
We plan on staining the basement floor. Bufferfield Color offers an array of colors to choose from.
Cheryl Dangel Bartolini

Here are details on this week’s ups and downs:

May 10: The day was bright, sunny and warm. It was the perfect day to work outside and everyone was. The soffits were installed. A load of James Hardie trim was delivered and ready to be installed on the exterior. Meanwhile, Chris Kahne of A and A Masonry of Tinley Park was having his crew dig four-foot deep footings for two brick pillars and a barbeque alcove in the backyard. These features will match the brick on the house that Kahne installed.

May 12: Heavy thunderstorms went through town the night before and continued into Monday. By the time we got to the house, there was a fair amount of water in the basement. Steve Lecas of Gander Builders explained that one of the workers inadvertently disconnected the electricity to the sump pump and the ejector pump overflowed. Pump is back on and now we just have to wait while the basement dries up.

The storms flooded the garage as well as the four-foot deep footings that were dug over the weekend. Boards are now on top of the footings to prevent more rain from getting in. But nothing could help the garage, which, according to the calendar, was supposed to be prepared for the concrete. Due to the weather, no concrete will be poured this week, but while disappointing, it won’t impact the schedule too much.

May 13: Stopped by the house early to check on the basement. As expected, it was still wet but there was a heater blowing hot air out to try and dry it up. Meanwhile, workers were taping the drywall throughout.

Back at my office, we had a major setback with our countertops. We love Craft-Art Wood Countertops, which we have in our current home. Our authorized Craft-Art installer did a great job, however, due to a change in policy, we received an email from them saying they were unable to do this job for us, leaving us to find another installer.

May 14: Craft-Art’s inside sales rep, Lamar Donnell worked diligently to help out and put us onto The Countertop Factory in Addison. Donnell is trying to work out some of the other details so that they can be installed without holding up our closing date. Back at the job site, we found Kahne checking on the house. He’s filling in for Lecas, who is out of town. Finding Kahne there was very reassuring. He’s the one who brought the heater and he proved he’s on top of the basement situation. We noticed that the Hardie trim was installed on a curved portion of the roof line, giving the home a very distinctive character.

Meanwhile, a ceiling fixture that we purchased in New Orleans (that was lost in transit last week) was supposed to be delivered. When it didn’t arrive, we learned it never shipped. It had been discontinued and is no longer available. The shop in New Orleans promised to send out their floor model.

May 15: Anne Tunison from The Countertop Factory touched base. We are very happy to know that everything is on back on track and that The Countertop Factory is so responsive. An evening drive by the house resulted in happy surprise and disappointment. We found that the front porch posts had been finished with Hardie materials in a dark brown. The posts looked great but made the stain around the mahogany windows and door appear mismatched. We debated our options and decided that the stain on the mahogany, as much as we originally liked it, needed to go darker to complement the house trim. (To see how the colors turned out, view the accompanying slide show.) Amid all this, we’re debating the pros and cons of an asphalt versus a concrete driveway with radiant heat.

May 16: The plans for the closet organizers came in from Don's Shelving. We made a few adjustments and will meet with owner Don Esler over the weekend to finalize the plan.

It's official. We're going to change the stain on the front windows and door. We will meet over the weekend with the painter to make that change happen.

Next week, we'll be choosing light fixtures and the drywalling should wrap up. Other big changes to the interior are also planned. Check back to find out what's coming next.

To read this journal from the beginning, click here. To read the next installment, click here.

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