It’s been over two months since the last time I shared an update on our home construction project. While I was off enjoying the experience of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and in the weeks since my return, a tremendous about of work has been completed on the house. We are clearly in the final weeks before occupancy and there is significant progress to report, so let’s get to it…
While in Tanzania, I got frequent updates that showed a lot of progress on some of the major exterior work and interior installations. The most visible changes to the outside were the installation of the vinyl siding, shakes and shutters, plus the addition of the decorative stone accent on the front of the house. Additionally, the stone floor for the screened porch was laid, adding a nice, finished look to this outside space that we expect to use quite frequently. Finally, excavation was completed to set and bury the septic tank, distribution box, and perforated pipes for the drain field; while a 500 gallon propane tank to fuel the furnace, fireplace and stovetop, was buried and the gas lines were connected.
Inside, the wide-plank engineered-wood flooring was installed, followed by delivery and installation of the kitchen and bathroom cabinets, and countertops. Work also continued on some of the interior trim, particularly the fireplace mantle and the built-in bookshelves and cabinets in the living room. All in all, there was a lot accomplished during the time I was away.
In the five weeks since my return from Kilimanjaro, many of the last major pieces have been completed and it is clear that we need to begin focusing on packing and moving. We opted to add blue porch ceilings to both the front and screened porches. This distinctive feature, popular in the south but widely seen throughout the mid-Atlantic, originated with the Gullah/Geechee people (descendants of enslaved Africans who were brought to Charleston, South Carolina in the 1500s). The Gullah believe in wandering spirits, called “haints” that are lost souls that might wish evil on the living. According to lore, a blue porch ceiling, meant to resemble water, brings luck and protection to a home by warding off the lost souls since they are unable to cross water. The soft blue often used on porch ceilings is commonly called “haint blue,” which really isn’t a color. Since only one blue option, called “Savannah blue” was available for the vinyl soffit, we went with it and are really happy with the subtle hue it adds to the porches. Now we have our own “haint blue” ceiling to protect the house… I figure we’ll take all the help we can get!
Upon completion of the porch ceilings and siding, the electricians returned to install all the interior and exterior lighting. The era of energy efficient LED lighting means that we needed to think about the “color temperature” (measured in units of Kelvin) of the LED light bulbs used throughout the house. Generally, LED lights can range from color temperatures of 2700K to over 6000K. The higher the number, the brighter and whiter the light. We opted to keep all of the lighting in the 2700K to 3000K range to ensure adequate brightness, while avoiding an overly stark and bright illumination.
After the lights had been installed, the plumber returned to install all of the faucets, fixtures and toilets; while the trim carpenters measured, cut and installed the quarter-round trim on the baseboard molding, along with all of the door handles. Outside the gutters were installed and our excavator returned to dig the trench and lay the piping on the long run from the water meter up to the house. Once this was buried, all that was needed was the final connection to the water supply lines inside the house, which occurred a couple weeks later. With the completion of the water line, all the major excavation work was complete. Subsequently, several loads of gravel were delivered and spread to smooth the driveway, and the final grading and seeding of the yard was done. Now we are truly hoping that April showers will result in May flowers (grass) on Hope Rise!
With the addition of insulation on the bare-concrete basement walls, and the anticipated installation of appliances this week, the construction team has begun to focus on punch list items to take care of the final details prior to the occupancy inspection. We hope to have the occupancy permit near the end of the month and are excited about our pending move!