Tuesday, December 23, 2008


At long last the construction on the house has resumed! The insulation went in last week and now drywalling can begin. It looks like we won't be going up until 2009, but here are some pictures of the cool Icynene insulation.
Looking into the dining room
The master bedroom
Looking into the master bathroom
The bonus room

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pictures in the snow

It's been over a month since we've been up north. In that time the construction has been held up by inspections but they finally have permission to proceed. Insulation should begin by next Tuesday with drywall following soon after. Since there isn't anything new to see I've begged for pictures of the house in the snow. Down in southeast Michigan we've barely gotten an inch or two but up in Traverse City they've had a lot. (I'm terribly jealous.) Here are some of the pictures the builders sent:
The front of the house in the snow
The west side of the yardThe snowy view out of a pool room windowThe house in the snow from the road in

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Choosing tile and a first look at the exterior paint color (at the end)

After a long dry spell with no pictures, we travelled up north on Tuesday (after voting of course) to see the house. When we arrived at the house the large mudroom patio and it's retaining walls were finished, all of the siding was up, exterior doors were in and the painters were prepping to start the exterior painting. During our days up there I spent my time looking at tile while Alex and John got to romp in the forest. There was some sticker shock after seeing the initial tally but we found alternatives for some things and kept my favorites. I'm pretty happy about it right now though I haven't seen a full recalculation yet. I hope to have gotten the total much closer to the budget allowance so I can afford to have flooring in the bonus space.

I'm really excited about using some blue Pewabic firehouse sale tiles I'm been saving for years in the foyer mixed in with slate. They are a gorgeous collection of glaze test tiles and samples in various sizes, finishes and shades of blue. I bought them around four years ago with the hope that I'd find a way to use them. As John can tell you, I take them out to look at every six months just wishing for the perfect place to put them. Now finally they will have a home! My other favorites were some green marble accent tile I'm using in the master bathroom and the Meredith Art Tiles I plan to use on the fireplace and kitchen back splash.

Now were home and they will hopefully have the rest of the exterior painting done (weather permitting) and drywall will be installed inside. Here are pictures from this trip:

The driveway is in!The front walk The front door
More exterior doors in place, this is the patio off the master bathroomOur first look at the siding and exterior doors on
the south east side of the house, this door is to John's office.
The west side retaining wall is finished
The patio off the mudroom on the top of the retaining walls,
it has a fantastic view!
Around the corner where the mudroom patio ends,
I think this would be a perfect spot for a brick bread oven.
Since we couldn't return the windows we changed in the kitchen
we added them to
the pool room. The hallway behind them is so much nicer now with natural light.
The window is in place on the breakfast nook side of the pool room.

Just before we left, we got to see the paint color up. I love how cheery it is!
I think it'll look wonderful with all the white trim.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kitchen Details

I posted about the new kitchen on my foodblog here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More pictures from our latest trip

Here are a few more pictures from our visits to the building site on Thursday and Friday. I have to do some reading on how to take better forest images because I'm at a complete loss as to the camera settings, light and angles to take the pictures and the woods are so beautiful right now! The violent reds of the sumac, the cheery golds and oranges of the maples, and the deep rich green of the white pines captivate me.
The south side of the house The north side of the house with siding and the front walk
The patio outside the master bathroom door
The patio outside John's office and the pool room The retaining wall with more work done
I'm thinking this spot would be perfect for a trellis. The forest where I planted the morel spawn
My soon-to-be morel patch (expertly hidden)
The blazing colors of staghorn sumac

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Patios, retaining walls, siding and a fabulous sunset!

We went out to the building site around dusk today. The afternoon was crisp and sunny and created a gorgeous sunset. If you look closely at the center right side of the photo above you can see our house nestled into the woods. This view is from up higher on our road in but still on our land. You can see Lake Leelanau and the rolling hills covered with fall color. I hope someday to have a little gazebo or grape arbor up here to watch the sunset.

At the house they've continued adding siding and look to be more than halfway done. The small patios outside of John's office and the master bathroom are both poured. The front walkway is also poured and I love it's shape and placement. Again my mind is filling with gardening plans. The two nooks on either side of the front porch will be a lot of fun to design and plant. I even have several large rocks found in the excavation to place in them.

We'll be headed home tomorrow. I did get a chance to plant some of Papou's quince and my morel spawn on the property. The medlar my father brought back from PA turned out to not have formed seeds, though there was a codling moth larva to surprise me inside! I may try and convince John to let me buy some discounted saplings to plant before we leave tomorrow.

The siding continues to the front of the house The beginning of the retaining walls

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Siding and window progress

We're up north to choose the light fixtures and do a recheck on the electrical placement. When we came into town yesterday we headed to the property despite the chill and gloomy skies. We arrived at 5:30pm and were surprised to see the excavators at work redistributing topsoil. I am extremely pleased with how good our topsoil looks. It is far richer than I expected for this area. I can't wait to start planting! The progress on the house seems great. Almost all of the windows are in place, the shingles are all on and they've started adding siding. There are trenches dug and bricks delivered and the retaining walls should be started tomorrow.

We decided to add a window on the large wall that the breakfast nook looks onto. The hole for the window has been framed and it really improves the view. I can sit in the breakfast nook and see into the pool and even through the pool windows into the east side of the backyard. One glitch is with the windows over the kitchen sink. We had them as four double hung windows to match the rest of the first floor but unfortunately with how far forward the kitchen sink is it's nearly impossible to open them. We decided it was worth the money to swap them out for sliding windows and since we can't return them they'll go into the downstairs hallway. Having windows on that hallway was part of the original plan but was cut to save money. It'll be nice to have the natural light back in that hall.

We're staying two more days and the weather looks to be a lot nicer. I hope to get some pictures of the fall color which is spectacular right now. I also have to plant my morel patch, a quince from Papou's tree and a medlar that my father brought back from a park in Pennsylvania. I'm so excited about how nice the topsoil looks that I just might make John stop at a nursery and pick up a few other things to plant. We do have 16 acres to play with after all! If I have my way it'll be an arboretum with one of every species that can grow in Michigan. Here are some pictures from yesterday:
The south side of the house from the valley
The west side of the house with some siding
The east side of the house with some siding
Alex loved climbing on the freshly spread topsoil.
He had two pounds of it in his boots by the time we left! The living room windows
The kitchen sink windows that will be swapped out with sliders
My improved breakfast nook view
The southern view from the attic with some skylights in place and the colorful maples
The view from the north facing window on the attic level The pool room with windows and some of the skylights in place
The pool room doorwall and windows to the living room Alex in the field where the septic system is buried The master bedroom with windows, I love the views of fall color from here!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


We're back down south (southeastern Michigan that is) and I already miss the new house terribly. Before we left for home on Friday we had an electrical walk though. Trying to be decisive about placement of fixtures and switches is much harder than I thought it would be. As we were doing the walk through the first of the windows arrived! There are several windows covered over with drain paper and it'll be great to be able to see out of all of them the next time we're up. The well drilling was finishing up and next week the septic system goes in. I've got to get final picks for lighting, ideally by next week. I'm also going to look at tile and mantles for the fireplace surround.
The doorwall from the downstairs family room to the pool room, before installation
An orb weaver web in the corner of the pool room doorway
A praying mantis, it could have been from the egg cases we brought up earlier this year.