Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Flooring options abound!

We went to eco flooring on the east side of Madison today. It was a very productive flooring visit/education session. The woman who owns it was very helpful and it went much better than our visits to some of the traditional flooring stores in Madison. It was a very family friendly place which I also appreciated.

At this point we are leaning towards cork in the bedrooms, reclaimed slate tiles in the hall/entry and perhaps master bath, and some sort of wood in the rest of the main floor. Wood actually is probably the most diverse with options of many solid reclaimed varieties, engineered reclaimed, and new FSC (forest stewardship council) certified wood. All of this is markedly more expensive than the non certified wood available at your local mass lumber yard.

I think we are going to skip the bamboo as it looks to clean and perfect for me. I like things a little more rustic and less smooth. We are also going to skip the wall to wall carpet given concerns about air quality and off gassing. The only good carpet choice seems to be 100% wool which is very expensive.

We learned about a wood floor coating called "Rubio Monocoat" which sounds less maintenance than waxing the floors but is largely made of natural components and has 0% VOC. It sounds promising and if anyone has experience with this we would appreciate input.

We will await our bids and then go from there. This should be interesting!

Off to bid

We're submitting these plans to three builders for bid. They all seem to be able to deliver the kind of house we want. Just how much of that house we can get is pending the outcome of the bids.

By the way, if any one needs to print large plots Engineering Repro on E Wash saved us a ton over Kinkos: 14 cents/sq.ft. vs 75 cents/sq.ft. If only the builder's quote would come in that low!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Plan alternates

Jon got back to us with some alternate plans and elevations for the middle bedroom on the second floor.

We're also still tweaking the site of the house. We both wanted it closer to the northern property line, but just how far east past the hill we go might need to be determined with a surveyor. It's very hard to say just how far past the top of the hill we want the house. Even armed with a 200' tape.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Plans and Elevations

More plans and elevations. It's not as exciting to get these plans as it once was. I guess I'm becoming more accustomed to the whole process. I guess the next big thing will be digging the hole.

Comments on the plans below the pictures.

  1. The dog door is supposed to just be a dog door. On the exterior drawings it looks like a real full size door.
  2. The hall windows on the second floor (and thus the first floor) have not been moved so that the interior windows in bedroom 1 actually get some exterior light and not just a view of the hall wall.
  3. On the exterior drawing from the south view the two corner windows are still missing.
  4. The back gate for the garage breeze way is missing. We talked about putting this in so the dog/kids etc... couldn't just run out the back.

Other questions/issues.
  1. It looks like it is way further south on the property than what we thought from when we were out there. It was our impression the north side of the garage was pretty close to the north side of the property line.
  2. Please put the door to the master bedroom/WIC back in. I think we will just put a small AC in our room and Bedroom 1.
  3. Still not happy with how bedroom 1 looks in terms of bed and windows. Can the windows be moved over? Or better yet, a small square/or long thin window be put where the head of this bed is? Maybe even like one of the window's in the master bath? Another idea of how to get a window near the head of the bed for ventilation and natural reading light would be much appreciated. A little ventilation and lighting is what I am going for but I am not sure how to best achieve it.
  4. Joe wonders if we are not making a mistake by putting a bigger closet in bedroom 1 along the west wall. I kind of like it how it is but want to make sure there is enough storage. How big are those closets? Big enough that we could change the doors to more standard folding/sliding closet doors in both?
  5. Can we put a window, or 2 window wells, in hall of granny shack? That hall looks dark and long.
  6. I didn't buy my dining room table and matching chairs/bar stools and now the one I picked out is gone and I cannot find another I like which is the same size. The replacement table I found is shorter but wider. 104 x 47. Can you see if this will fit in the space or if it needs to be wider to be comfortable? Do we still need the bump out at this length? Once we see how it looks in the plans I think I am just going to buy the one I know found so we don't have this problem again.
  7. Do you think there should be a window at the far east end of the long hall to master bedroom? So when you enter and look down you don't see a wall?
  8. We think the door from mudroom to breeze way and breeze way to garage should line up. Unless there is a reason they shouldn't.
  9. I know the driveway is very preliminary but we were hoping we could get the circle a little tighter and a more symmetrical circle in front of the entry.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fine-toothed comb

Tasha and I did some serious thinking about the plans tonight. It really seems like we're getting down to the tiniest details. I suspect that once we work over these details we'll be narrowing our focus even further.

Here's what we came up with:

1. Living room - there doesn't seem to be a place for any storage of blankets, games etc in this room. Also there doesn't seem to be any place to stick a piece of furniture which could accomplish this goal. Is there enough room in the house/room to put a row of under window storage along the east wall? Like a very long window seat with pull out drawers?

2. Dining room - there isn't a place to put a piece of furniture or built in to store table linens, bar ware, and liquor. Can you help find a place for this? Do you think something like this could fit in the southwest corner of that little bump out?

3. Study- much smaller desk, just under the window with room for computer and little desk top work space. Then built in book cases around the rest of the room. Although we needs some filing cabinet space too. Maybe tall and in a corner? This space also needs some place to hide linens for bed, pillows, and maybe small space for guest clothes. Could we make a little more room with a pocket door (see door question below)?

4. Master bath- is there a way to arrange this so the bathtub is not so enclosed on 3 1/4 sides? Or would this mean giving up the closet or the 2 sinks. I really would prefer two sinks but I am not sure I am willing to feel so crammed in for this feature. Also I would like to talk about less windows/less conventional windows in here. Maybe something small and horizontal at bath tub height and then another one much higher at eye sight?

5. SMALL window in walk in closet so we are looking in the mirror under partially natural light?

6. Can we make the whole interior wall from the second half of the study through the WIC thicker so they are all just pocket doors to the study, WIC and bath?

7. I know you are going to think we are crazy but we really think we want to get rid of the door in the hall to the master bedroom/WIC. We think we would probably want to shut it twice a year. Could we put in a heavy curtain or some other sort of pull down/out barrier? I am thinking a thick velvet curtain. I am sure you think this is a bad idea but to us it seems like a waste of space and a door when it would just be propped open.

8. I would like to turn the bed in the master bedroom so the headboard is against the WIC and the view is out the doors/porch. Then put the chair in the north east corner, perhaps plants by the southern windows, and lose the two windows on the north wall and put a single smaller window that was centered to line up with the southern facing windows.

9. The door in the basement that leads into the family room has to be moved as far west as possible. I can't figure out how otherwise we could place furniture without blocking one door or the other in that room. I really don't want to walk around furniture since we will probably have a lot of stuff stored in the unfinished part of the basement and it interrupts my sense of balance/flow.

10. What is there room for on the sleeping porch? Will hammocks fit? A futon? I don't want to end up with a space too tight to fit anything in that we could actually sleep in. I am not sure if we would sleep in hammocks but they sound cool....

11. Since we are kind of tight on space is there another way to use the space to the west of the stairs on the second floor. If it is going to be a reading space or something it would be nice if it had a little window with some natural light. Does the one to the south from this space see anything but metal roof?

12. Kids bedrooms- did something else happen up here? We thought in the old drawing it was a little different. Would this work? Make bedroom 1 a little smaller and move the bathroom a little farther west and thus make bedroom 2 a tad bigger. This would allow the bed (FULL SIZE) in bedroom 2 to be centered on the back wall and still have room to open the closet. (I feel like we keep talking about these beds being full but they look like twins in the drawings.) We would like to have two smaller narrow windows on either side of the bed on the north wall. These still have to open. Also, it looks like the south facing windows in this room are also missing from the floor plan.

Then, in bedroom 1 not make the closet so long but have it stop with enough room to place the head of that (FULL SIZE) bed in kind of a bookcase cubby with the head against the bathroom and the long axis against the north wall. Then, we could have a waist height dresser along the south wall with some interior windows to the south hall. Then we could perhaps make the north facing windows a bit smaller in this room? I think that would give room in both bedrooms to have a twin size trundle pull out from both beds. In bedroom 1 it would pull out of the end/bottom of the bed and in bedroom 2 the side. It would be tight but it would make for extra sleeping space.

13. Do we need so many windows into the north side of the garage? How about the awning since we will rarely see our house from this side?

14. On the exterior views... I think the corner windows are missing from the south end of the house that are on the floor plan. Correct? Also is it some sort of artifact that the east porch looks like it is sitting on solid stone rather than stone pillars?

15. I think we should price/bid it out with stone on the screen porch and entry way. Unless we think of some creative way to make this look better I don't think I like it all just sided. We can always scale this down if it is too expensive.

16. When do we talk about the interior feeling and bringing the outside in, like having some exterior elements (stone, siding, or timbers) visible in the main living space? I am sure this figures into cost.