Saturday, October 25, 2008

making our house beautiful

It's cold!!! When we finish our house I want to sell it and move to Florida. Just kidding! Seriously, was it this cold in October last year?

We've been working on the band board around the bottom edge of the siding for the past two days. It's going okay. Doug has devised an elaborate system for constructing it which involves attaching the upper drip edge to the shim that goes under the band board. I'll post some photos after it's done. It is going to look excellent, especially now that Doug has realized that my suggestion for how much the drip edge should stick out looks better than what he thought would look best. When will he learn? And what kind of a hopelessly useless question is that?

Anyway, some small blunders have been made from time to time in the looks department on our house. I've had to work really really hard to make sure that some of the ugly looking things weren't allowed to fully develop. There are still things that need to be addressed, but I try to spread them out so that Doug won't be too overwhelmed by my need for an attractive house. Although I'm completely overwhelmed by his need for this excellent of a house at all. Since it costs the same amount in time and materials to do it right, by our standards, why not have it look the best it can?

We are not professional housebuilders, so a lot of what we come up with is based on our limited experience. I sort of feel that I have been paying attention to what kinds of things are attractive on houses and in yards for quite a bit longer than Doug has. Anyone who ever saw our previous backyard undoubtedly knows what I am talking about. I've been doing "research" with my camera for years, to determine what I like and what I don't like. Anyway, this post supposed to be about learning from our mistakes, so here are some examples:

Doug's Gable Box Experiment, conducted while I was away for ten days last fall. He was feeling creative and did this on a whim. He sent the picture to me in Wyoming. I was horrified and considered taking the next plane home. This is not what we discussed at all. Why does experimentation that looks like this need to occur at all?


Isn't this a whole lot better? At least it looks normal.

Then there was the recent Showcasing of the Vents in a specially built nice white frame. Way to call attention to the utilitarian aspects of our house, Doug! Fortunately he saw the error of his ways immediately.

YUCK!!! I knew this would look stupid.

So the new gray vent covers have been ordered and they will look pleasantly unobtrusive, just like these on the front of the house:

And to be fair, I too, made a bad choice. I wanted White Inside Cornerboards instead of the usual J-Channel because J-Channel really makes it look like vinyl siding. Doug wanted to use the special inside corners that Cedar Impressions makes. I was skeptical because I thought they would look fake. So to rub it in, Doug left up the ugly white inside cornerboards for nearly two months:

YUCK!!! I'm so embarrassed that I suggested this.
Finally, today, he replaced them with the Cedar Impressions inside corners. Thank you so much, Doug, you were right and I was wrong. And I've been urging you to change it for nearly two months. I'm so happy that you finally did it because it looks so much better now....... or does it?

Hopefully my next post will include photos of the completed bandboards and perhaps some outside cornerboards as well. And maybe even the front porch trim? The house is shaping up!


Anonymous said...

OK first, I didn't realize you have been doing this for FOUR YEARS! I'd be a widow by now as I would have killed Mr. SLS. LOL!

That said, this looks really gorgeous. I did, however, like the white corner thingies, I thought it gave a really finished look.

How much longer before it's done?

Cyndy said...

I'm hoping Doug will manage to not kill himself for at least as long as it takes to finish the house! In many ways I'm happier about this ridiculous situation than I was four years ago - this was not a 100% mutually agreed upon project, by a long stretch. Mostly I'm happier because the end is much more in sight than it's ever been. We are stuck doing it ourselves now due to numerous issues. I have to help because it really does speed things up. I keep telling myself that what doesn't kill us will make us stronger - both as housebuilders and as a couple!

I agree with you about the white cornerboards in that one spot, but in the context of the whole house, which the pictures here don't show, I thought there might be too many white vertical lines, considering the porch and everything. We'll see.... maybe I'll drive him crazy and decide I want those white cornerboards back on in another two months. That would be funny because he's the one who changes his mind all the time about everything.

I have no idea when we'll finish - as soon as possible, but we still have to finish the outside trim, do the wallboard, floors, inside trim, and paint. It's all stuff that makes it look good so it's going to be somewhat more enjoyable for me from now until the end. (When I sell it and move to Florida)
Ha Ha Ha Ha!

Thomas Hardman said...

Wow, this is actually pretty cool.

Cyndy, could you give me any information about "carbon footprint" or ozone depletion effects of using the particular foam core materials? In terms of energy savings, it seems to be pretty useful.

Feel free to drop in at "Earth Operations Central Commercially-Earth-Friendly Wiki and add a Wiki entry, if you feel it's worthwhile. Link to your blog or any others, I don't mind, I'm just trying to collect information on "Earth Friendly" everything.

Cyndy said...

All of the foam core insulation is completely enclosed once the the house is up so it should not have any additional detrimental effect. The vinyl siding, on the other hand, apparently gives off some kind of residual gas, so it is a less than ideal material to use from an environmental standpoint. It wasn't my choice but it seemed like the most practical thing given all of our numerous and unfortunate circumstances. It is my hope that energy we will be saving elsewhere will more than make up for this one infraction.

In addition to the amazingly fantastic insulation, we have an air-to-air heat exchanger, and a thing where the waste water going out preheats the water coming in from the street, and a whole bunch of other energy-saving things. But since we are building this house ourselves, which is pretty overwhelming in and of itself, I haven't really had much time to ponder the environmental impact of our house recently other than to enjoy the fact that I won't ever have to paint it and we will save tons of money heating and cooling it.

Thanks for the invitation to contribute to your website. Perhaps after we move back in I will have a chance to add an entry. I think most of this stuff is pretty searcheable though.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cyndy!
Enoyed the blog! Wow, a lot has happened since I last saw your house (1992). Looks great.
I'll have to make the trip from NJ next time I'm in the States to see you and the house first hand.
Regards, Everett.

Cyndy said...

Hey Everett! How is life in Sweden? Our house would do well there because it's so ridiculously well insulated. I guess the house is completely unrecognizeable now. We had to tear down the little music building out back and the fire destroyed the front, so all that's left is the addition, which wasn't there yet in 1992. It would be great to see you - maybe the house will even be finished by the time you come!

Unknown said...

Lot's of work Cindy....Looking great though.

Ingrid L said...

Hi, I really like how you did your window trims and I'm actually thinking of using the same trim for a house that we're currently building. I'd like to seek your advice on the trim boards. Did you use trim boards with the integrated j-channels? We are thinking of siding with vinyl (monogram and cedar impression shakes) and azek trim boards around the windows & doors but don't want the J-Channels. Thanks!

Cyndy said...

Hi Ingrid,
We didn't like the look of the J-channels either so we just used trim boards over the siding. I think Doug did alot of custom shaping in the back to get the contours just right. It's also really important to do everything you can to make sure that water cannot get in behind or underneath the siding. Flashings and well-maintained caulking are good ways to prevent that from happening.