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Building a home, week 9: Life interupts the process

Building a home is a long process and in the meantime, life happens. So this week when we had a family medical crisis, everything took a back seat, including the house. Fortunately, we have a builder, Steve Lecas of Gander Builders, who kept things humming along. Unfortunately, he doesn’t manage the rest of our life, which is in disarray.

A stained tongue and groove ceiling was installed in the front porch.
Cheryl Dangel Bartolini
The carpet runner for the stairs had to work with the great room as well as the basement. We think this carpet will do the job.
Cheryl Dangel Bartolini

Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, wrote in the novel: “Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.” Such is the case this week as we faced with the inevitable death of my mother. Nevertheless, time marches on and the house did, too, in this ongoing weekly journal, "Building a home."

May 27: Bright and early, we had Joel Pohrte of C&J Maintenance come to our current home to disassemble two built-in bookcases in the family room. He took them down and delivered them to the new house for reassembly in the basement. Now that it is done, maybe it wasn’t the smartest move because we have some repairs to make to the wall and floor before we can put our current home on the market. In hindsight, maybe we wouldn’t have done it.

At the job site, it seemed like everyone was there. The electrician was pulling wires, a stained tongue and grove wood ceiling was being installed in the back porch and installation of the stairs continued.

Because of all the commotion, when we walked through the house, we couldn’t help but feel in the way. Nevertheless, we were there on business. First up, a meeting with Carefree Sprinkler Systems about installing an in-ground sprinkler system similar to the one at our present home. Next, we talked about our basement flooring. We are going with stained concrete. We chose our colors but haven't finalized them. Because all concrete reacts differently, there are so actual samples to review. Instead, the installer will come back next week and lay down our color choices in the furnace room, so that we can see exactly what we’ll be getting. Finally, we wrapped up the day with a meeting with Mark McClure of Beary Landscaping and finalized the hardscape and landscape plan.

May 28: More activity at the house. Everyone who was there yesterday, made a return appearance as they continued with each of their tasks. Today, the front porch ceiling was installed and masonry work continued.

May 29: Before 9 a.m. we learned that the tile we chose for the laundry room isn’t available, so I made a very fast run to The Tile Shop in Tinley Park to pick out an alternative. Fortunately, I found something similar quickly and was out of there in less than 20 minutes. Later at the house, we saw that the barbeque grill alcove had been clad in stone veneer. In addition, WonderBoard was laid in all the bathrooms and the laundry room prior to installing the tile.

May 30: Tile was installed in the upstairs shared bathroom and the mudroom. The big surprise was seeing the floor of the screened in porch. It is a stamped concrete porch, tinted to match our trim, and one of the most realistic I've ever seen. The stamping mold came from an old covered bridge in Pennsylvania and it looks amazing. To see it, check out the slide show.

But as good as it looked, even this exciting news receded into the background. This isn't a personal blog; it is a journal of the home building process. I'm a private person and I keep my personal life off Facebook. That said, as mentioned, building a home takes time and during that time, things change and life brings its heartache. I spent most of the week sitting by my mother's bedside; everything else in life became secondary. My mother knew that we were building this house but will never see it. She passed away this morning.

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