Saturday, May 31, 2014

Waconda: The windows

When George Fuller originally built the cottage that we are renovating, he named it Waconda after a Native American story. It means "Great Spirit of the Water". I'm pretty sure that Spirit is just messing with us now.

The house is coming along. It took a while for them to finish the roof, allowing the spring rains several opportunities to marinate the interior, but it's done now and the shingles look great. We did an initial walk through with the electrician and mapped out where our outlets and canned lights should go. Rough plumbing is underway, the basement floor will be poured this week, and the windows were installed.

Ah the windows. They're beautiful. They offer stunning views of the lake. And they are totally wrong. You see, the windows are supposed to match. What we wanted was double hung windows with mullions (those little slats that divide the window into squares) in the top half. Even though the windows differ in size, the mullions should be the same proportion from window to window. And the dining room and the master bedroom each would also have a large picture window to allow for unobstructed views of the lake. What we got was a mish-mash of mullions. Some are big, some are little, some are in-between. A few cover the full length of the window and some reach three-quarters of the way down. The bedrooms each have casement windows instead of double-hung, which we learned were required to meet local building codes for egress (apparently the average Michigander is too fat to fit through the bottom half of a double-hung window in an emergency). And in our half bath, the window is off center, so the trim disappears into the corner of the house.

Our builder said the window company made the mistakes, and contacted the representative. They've assured us that we will personally meet with the rep to review each window before ordering the correct replacements.

I'm not sure how long it will take to get the problem fixed, but at least it doesn't hold up any of the other work on the house. Someday we'll laugh about this whole process. For now, I just hope George's Great Spirit has had his fill of practical jokes.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Waconda: Tomorrow, Tomorrow

So blogging about Waconda isn't fun anymore. It's just too depressing. It's been about a month since my last update, and we're only about a week ahead of where we were then. Our builder's mantra has been "tomorrow".  

  "When will the modifications to the trusses be finished?"
  "When will they be delivered?" 
  "No trusses yet. When will they be delivered?"
  "Still no trusses! When will they be delivered?"
  "Where are the trusses!? Seriously, when will they get their act together???"
     "Tom--" Well, you get the idea.

This went on for a couple-three weeks, until finally we had trusses! Which then lay on the ground for another week or so, because it was too cold / wet / windy / dark / swarming with locusts to finish prepping them and put them on the house. Then they told us the crane broke. So they fixed it. And it broke again. 

But just like Broadway promised, sure enough the sun finally came out. The crane showed up, the trusses went up, and progress was made. We stopped by to watch for a little while and it was pretty cool. And then the crew actually worked again yesterday -on a Saturday!- to begin putting the plywood on the roof.

In the meantime, we HAVE been having some fun picking out finishes. We looked at flooring samples, deciding on an engineered hardwood in hickory. We are still getting quotes to keep that under budget. We also spent a great afternoon wandering around a huge warehouse looking at slabs of granite, marble and other stones. Toby had suggested a couple for us to focus on, and we fell in love with a beautiful soapstone that will look fantastic in the kitchen. Now we can start looking for the kitchen backsplash and bathroom tile, while the framing crew finishes up. Their next big steps on the job are to finish the roof and install the windows. I figure they'll be done tomorrow.