02 August 2012


Fifty-six days after moving into our house, we've been granted permission to...move into our house. Today we  finally received our Certificate of Use and Occupancy. While this news might seem a little anti-climactic, it means that our project is officially complete, just over thirteen months after breaking ground (and just under six years after purchasing the property). 

Even though it's a big day here at 1 Locust Ave, there's still a lot more work to do (painting, decorating, landscaping, etc). I'm not ready to call it quits on this blog, so I'll try to post some updates as we complete tasks around the house. In the meantime, we've really appreciated all of your interest in our project, and I've enjoyed writing to my small, but dedicated audience. Thanks for reading, and keep checking in with us!

30 July 2012

Monday morning

On Thursday, Brock went by the county office to speak with the head of inspections, who agreed that there was really no reason to pave our driveway or to upgrade it in any way. Just now we received an email from him in which he told us that he will sign off on our building inspection tomorrow morning. Just like that, we saved a lot of time and money, and as of tomorrow, we should be legal occupants of 1 Locust Ave.
Kids and dogs on the front stoop
Happy Monday!

25 July 2012

Counter tops

Our counters arrived today! 
Truck with counters
Close-up of counter tops during installation
Finished product!
Another angle 
Good riddance to all of that plywood. I have a project in mind to reuse it all, so if I ever follow through with my plans, I'll post some pictures. 

Moving on to less exciting developments...here is the sand filter I mentioned in the last posting: 
Big, useless pit with PVC pipe
Useless pit covered with erosion mat
Yes, truly exciting stuff. It passed inspection, which only leaves the driveway to contend with. We've been getting some quotes to have the whole thing paved. Although the plans say tar and chip, paving will also satisfy the county.

Here's the picture of the shower glass I promised. This bathroom is seriously crying out for some color. 
Master bathroom shower

16 July 2012


Today Brock asked me if I'd given up on the blog, so I wanted to post in case anyone else was wondering the same thing.

We still haven't had our final inspection, which is a bit discouraging. We're being held up by the driveway and a storm water management feature. The engineer wouldn't budge on the tar and chip, so I guess Mark is dealing with that. Supposedly someone came by today to assess the driveway for an estimate. I'm not really sure what the timeline is on that.

As for the storm water management...it's like worrying about managing storm water on a beach. Our lot is sand, and all of this monkeying around with rain gardens and sand filters is because the county requires it, based on poor engineering plans. Brock has been digging a giant trench in the backyard for the sand filter. I thought it looked like a grave, and Brock suggested we throw some inspectors in it. 

Moving on...here are some new pictures. 
Magnus posing in the living room
We shopped around this weekend for a living room rug, without much luck. We did find a couple of door mats. Louie immediately made himself at home. 
Louie on the door mat
Here's the kitchen viewed from the front entryway. 
Kitchen and dining area
As you can seen, we are still dealing with plywood counter tops. Brock decided that he's tired of building stuff, so, unfortunately, that means no concrete counter tops. Instead, we ordered some granite which should be installed shortly.

Granite sample
It looks pretty nice, so I'm getting over my disappointment. I think we'll be happy with the results. Once they're installed, we can start to think about putting some color on the walls.

Speaking of building stuff, Brock's been busy assembling more shelving from Alan. Here's what he's been up to in the garage:
All the stuff in the foreground should give you the idea that there's still a bit of organizing to do, but it's a great start, and I think maybe I'll be parking my car in the garage by Christmas!

Finally, here's the first floor bathroom, which now has a curtain rod and shower curtain. Next time I'll put up some pictures of the upstairs bathroom. The shower glass was installed, which looks really nice, and Brock put in some fun LED lights behind the mirror, which look great, too.

26 June 2012

Final Inspection (part 1)

Good news: everything inside the house passed the final inspection today. Bad news: the driveway failed.  That's probably about the last thing that we thought we'd have trouble with, but the engineer had specified in the site development plan that it was supposed to be tar and chip instead of gravel. Mark is scrambling to figure out what to do about it. At least we won't have any more inspectors nosing around inside the house any more.

To be continued...

25 June 2012


I'm back! It's been a long time, but we've been on vacation. Or, rather, we were supposed to be on vacation, but we spent the two weeks working on the house instead. I wouldn't exactly say that it's been relaxing, but then again, our vacations rarely are. 

We started out by visiting a few nurseries and acquiring some greenery. Once again, the trailer came in handy, as we hauled home our loot.
Trailer full of plants
Here are the kids pillaging our new blueberry bushes. Not sure if it's their voracious appetites or Brock's and my black thumbs, but these bushes haven't yielded much fruit since this picture was taken.
Kids and blueberry bushes
We planted a few trees...
Maple and Hemlock trees along the driveway
Natchez Crepe Myrtles on the side of the house
and a few shrubs:
Coastal Leucothoe in front of the house 
Finally, a few items for our rain garden. There's a story here, but I'll save it for another time.
Rain garden plants
I guess I forgot to take a picture of all of it together. As you can probably tell, it's still a bit sparse, but we're taking a break as we evaluate our ability to keep this stuff alive. Oh, and speaking of sparse, maybe you noticed our grass in the above pictures? It's trying.

Moving inside...here's our loft fence, which is still not complete, but kid-proof, anyway. We continued with the goat fence theme, and used up some extra wood that was left over from our steel shipments last summer.
Loft fence
With limited closet shelving there was only so much that we could unpack (as an example, we had to resort to stacking food on a book shelf in the pantry), so last weekend we hauled the trailer down to Brock's dad's house to pick up some leftover closet pieces that he generously donated from his closet-design business. Yesterday Brock finished the master bedroom closet, and we've started to move in:
Closet shelves and drawers
More closet shelves and drawers
The remaining closet shelves are currently decorating our living room floor, but will hopefully turn into pantry and linen closet shelves shortly. 
More closet pieces to assemble
Now for Brock's biggest project over the last week or so: connecting the hot water heater to the floor heating system Since I don't really understand what's going on here (other than that I'm going to have warm feet in the winter), I'm not going to try to explain it, but Brock would be happy to, if you ask him. In the meantime, you can just look at all of the buttons and knobs and gauges and tubing, and be impressed like I am. 

We had our final plumbing inspection late this morning. Technically we failed, due to a missing piece of paperwork from Sam the excavator, but Brock and Mark took some measurements and filled out a form which might have taken care of it. Mark went by the county this afternoon to drop off the paperwork, which was going to hopefully keep us from having to be re-inspected, but I'll have to update you when I find out the result of all of that.

Tomorrow the glass for our shower is supposedly going to be installed (forgot to mention that when they brought it by two weeks ago, it wasn't cut right, so they had to re-order it). We're also hoping to have our final inspection, which would grant us our Use and Occupancy Permit. That's right, we're still squatters, but maybe not for long. 

10 June 2012

Day 172-173

We've moved! I haven't posted in a while, since we haven't had internet here until this evening, but this past Thursday (Day 172), we spent our first night in the house. It's not exactly legal, since we don't yet have a certificate of occupancy, so basically, we're squatters in our own house. 

Mark started work on the loft railing on Thursday:
Mark building the loft railing
The electrical work finally passed inspection on Thursday. Brock and I did some cleaning, and then he cut and installed B's grass rug before the kids got home from school that day.

That night, we had our first meal in the house. Here are the kids enjoying some Chinese take-out:
Forks and chopsticks
The walls aren't really blue; not sure why it looks that way.

Anyway, here were the fortunes from our cookies:
"You will have no problems in your home."
 This one was for Brock:
"You would make a good lawyer."
As we drove away after dinner to head back to the old house for more packing and cleaning, we saw a rainbow. Lots of good signs, which we generally don't put too much stock in, but these were too nice to ignore.
On Friday we finally finished moving. Mark worked more on the loft railing which isn't quite finished, but it's safe enough so no one can fall through. Up next: plumbing inspection, glass for the master bathroom shower, landscaping, and building a rain garden. 

It was a nice weekend here at 1 Locust Ave, capped off with a little celebration for Baby's second birthday.