A Progress Report at the Half Way Mark--Will I Get Steamed?


If it takes a year to build a house, then the calendar on the wall tells us we are just about 50% complete. So our glass is both half full and half empty. Let’s take a look at where we are, and where we still need to go.

Work on the outer shell of the house is well beyond the midpoint. The concrete with additional waterproofing? Done. The wood framing with the green Zip System sheathing? Done and done. Masons are progressing well with the exterior stone; the roof shingles are more than 90% installed. All the sleepless nights (Barb’s, not mine) worrying about the best stone and shingle to choose have paid off, the colors and styles blend beautifully.  And for those of you following since the beginning, the muntons look swell too.

The interior framing of the house has been completed for weeks. A few walls have been shuffled, with a larger powder room appearing here, a closet melting away there. The design for the stairs leading to the loft space continues to perplex, with Ham and Jeff (you remember our architect Alexander Hamilton and builder Thomas Jefferson) going five rounds in a UFC cage match before agreeing on how many steps need to be above the middle platform and how many below. Working with designer Betsy Ross, we all agreed on a creative “slat” effect for the top of the stairs. We like the way it will allow light from the picture window in the loft to filter down the staircase.

PVC and copper pipes have sprouted on all levels, and sheet metal HVAC ventilation shafts are blooming as well. Routing the ventilation has led to some redesign in the office and the basement, but the changes are improvements, not defects. We also did the first half of our walk through with the electrician, placing outlets and switches. Although these were all on the original blueprints, furniture placement has required some variation. No sweat at this point.

As we toured the master bathroom with the electrician, Barb said to me “This is your last chance for a steam shower. Are you sure you don’t want it?” After a ten minute exposition by designer Betsy on the merits of steam on aging bodies (ours, not hers,) I caved and agreed to go for it. But when  Ham and Jeff did some back of the hand calculations and whispered in my ear the cost of adding steam to our shower, I decided I had no problem with a few aches and pains as I age. The steam shower was vaporized.

So here we are, six months down, six months to go. All the behind the scenes work Barb has put in will start paying off soon, as the flooring, light fixtures and appliances that have been selected begin to appear at the construction site. Add in a little landscaping, and we will be partying with all our new, friendly, neighbors before you know it.

The first drink will be on me!


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