Saturday, January 30, 2010

dirt + plants

Our landscape architect friend, Scott Pascoe, gave us some advice on how to amend our clay soil. We had 20 yards of Cedar Grove Compost delivered Friday and I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the mound. It was a lot. Most of it is now tilled into our front and side yard. What a difference in color.

I've been a little overwhelmed with what to do about the yard. I've been doing lots of reading and looking around at other projects and even met with a landscaper. We might have him do some of the work, but funds are tight, so I'd rather pay for more plantings and plant ourselves. To get some visuals, I've been stopping by local nurseries. We have a garden shop, City People's, around the corner from us. That's where these photos are from.

I was thinking this heather would be a nice ground cover along the walk to the house. The red color in winter is beautiful.

Above is "Little Heath" and below is "Royal Princess."

I spotted this lovely garden after lunch in Columbia City yesterday.

Friday, January 29, 2010

moving in

There's nothing like moving into a new home to realize your current linens and furniture are inadequate. Especially our bedding. Okay for now, but definitely need to go shopping. And my furniture needs some polishing up. Last weekend I had movers bring in the furniture and 20 boxes of books...I know that sounds like a lot, but that's probably a third of my collection. The other thing about moving is it forces you to really see how much STUFF you possess. Neil is a bit of a minimalist and his wife is more pack rat. Actually I don't think I'm that bad. Mostly books, clothes, plants, pottery and lots of files & notebooks full of inspiration and articles. Oh, and all those starts of projects that I think I'll someday find the time to finish.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Karina - final inspection!

We passed our final inspection yesterday! Electrical & Plumbing finals were passed on Monday...those were needed to sign off on the final and plumbing had been held up by our counter issue. So finally we can now wrap things up with our construction loan. The hard part of the construction loan process is that the work needs to be completed before they give you the money. In the beginning of the process that is the end of it is challenging. I started moving furniture in on Sunday so will try to upload some interiors soon.

Neil put up the trim that goes around the back porch. If you look closely there are some recycled glass tiles in one bay. I need to order some more to wrap the porch with.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

aia seattle january open house - part two

Here is the continuation of the house tour. We liked the exterior. It is just hardi assembled in a brick pattern with a wider gap between them. It also appears they attached hardi in a similar pattern to the garage door. Very clean, simple look.

Next up on our house is the landscaping. I'll be posting more on that later, but have been keeping my eye open to how others have done it. It always looks so bare at the beginning, but I know it only takes one good season for it to take off and 2 to fill in.

This is just a wood door with a nice paint texture. The door hardware is Emtek - Mode lever".

Monday, January 25, 2010

aia seattle january open house - part one

Every other month tha AIA Seattle Chapter collaborates with Seattle Magazine's Northwest Home+Garden with an open house of an architecturally interesting home. This month it was over in Kirkland. These tend to not be my best photographs, because I don't like using the flash when so many other people are around and they are usually detail shots, for the same reason. The magazine has much better photos and more information about the home.

Friday, January 22, 2010

ode to blue tape

Okay...I didn't really write an ode, but I was looking at my recent posts and there's a theme of blue tape. Blue tape is the builder's post-it. I will know the house is complete when there is no trace of blue anywhere. Typically it's used as masking for painting, but Neil has also used it here to mark where the recessed medicine cabinet will go. In other places it designates where a bit of touch-up paint is needed.

The bathroom counter was finally installed yesterday. That was a mishap that threw us a week off schedule. Even though the counter people had the sink and faucet, they still miscalculated and drilled the hole of the faucet too close to the sink. Oh well...they redid it and it looks fabulous.

Here blue is holding the mirror in place as the glue dries.

Not the best picture, but Neil installed our blinds in the skylights. Next up is ordering the blinds for the rest of the windows.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Karina - carpet

The carpet was installed yesterday and I love it! On our cottage projects at Ross Chapin Architects, we have always put carpet in upstairs. Neil and I had discussed whether to go to wood flooring, because carpet tends to get a bad rap when it comes to indoor air quality. The problem with wood, though, is it's noisier and in my opinion not as cozy for bedrooms...even with area rugs. That's why we decided on wool carpet. It's a natural material that some studies have found to actually help purify the air. Ecohaus, our local environmental home center, describes wool as "'green' by nature. Sheep can be shorn every 9 to 12 months, and wool is biodegradable. It needs none of the chemicals that must be added to synthetics to enhance their performance." We went with Godfrey Hirst's Torquay series, color: mushroom. It's 100% New Zealand wool.

Another thing to note about indoor air quality...because we have been so careful about the materials we have used to reduce the toxic chemicals building the home, we want to be diligent about what we track into the home. Since the carpet went in, there is a NO shoes policy upstairs. Eventually, it will be shoes off entering the home, but we still have cardboard down protecting the floors. If you really think about it, it's the only way to go. Do you really want to be tracking into your home all the places you have been walking?

We used a local family business to purchase and install our carpet, Vogel's Carpet. We HIGHLY recommend them. We originally went to a big outfit, Great Floors, but felt they weren't being upfront with us about the cost and when we questioned their calculations they actually were a bit hostile. Our experience with Vogel's was the opposite and they worked with us even as we kept postponing our install date. Not sure why I had forgotten that's best to stick with local businesses that have been around for years and who you can trust.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Karina - counters

The kitchen counters are in! They came on Friday and installed the counters and kitchen sink. Here you can see how we wrapped the backsplash around and used stainless steel up the back of the stove. I like all the play of grey and stainless. Neil was installing the garbage disposal over the weekend.

The living room wall is about finished...just another coat of paint around the inset. The mantel turned out well. We had debated whether to paint it or not, but like the natural will go well with the floors.

At least someone is enjoying our mud pit of a yard....