Sunday, March 28, 2010

Contract Signed & Another Search for Lights

Well, yesterday Jim and I finally signed the contract with the contractor!  Turns out we're going with the design/build firm.  We negotiated some things to keep it in the price range we needed, and turns out that we'll have to do the siding ourselves, but it will be a relief for Jim not to have to do the GC-ing.

Now I guess there's some permit approval by the town or something, and then they start the work.  Michael, the architect/contractor, thought it would be within 3 weeks.  Jim is not quite sure he will be able to stand the impending waiting! 

Meanwhile, he has been condensing the basement to fit the garage stuff in there in preparation for demolition.  The basement already has our regular basement stuff - laundry, pellet stove pellet bags, table saw and woodworking bench, assorted tools, and leftover project suppies.  Then when he got out of his rented hobby shop, the basement also got packed with all that stuff - tires, car  parts, ... well, frankly, I'm not exactly sure what all he put down there, but it is definitely PACKED.  And now we'll have to fit all the garage stuff somewhere - bikes, gardening supplies...  I think the lawnmower and the snowblower will just be put under a tarp outside.  Yep, it's going to look a bit like shanty town at our house for the next few months.  That's ok, though, it will just match our neighbor's assortment of carports.

I got put in charge of finding exterior lighting.  Well, of course, I found some fantastic lights!  I saw an ad in TOH magazine for a place called Barn Light Electric.  I love, love, love their stuff!!  Maybe it's the renovator in me combined with my factory working engineering side... but they have a great mix of vintage and industrial in their lighting.  Heres a few of my favorites of their outdoor lanterns:

But take a look at this one (referred to as Owings Mill) - how perfect would this be?!

Mmmmmm nice!

Ah, but they are not cheap...  And with all the cost cutting on the garage to get it within budget, it's not very likely these will be the first lights to go up, unfortunately.  But they are my dream lights.  We may have to go with a Homer special for the short term, but I REFUSE to put that black trapazoid lantern up.  You know the one - it's the one everyone seems to have...

I'm not sure why, but I just hate that light - and all the variations of it.  Well, I'll probably have to find something I can live with...  This one from Lamps Plus isn't too bad, and it's about a third the price. 

But it is still not as nice as the Owings Mill...

Oh, and I salivate over these carts from Barn House Electric too:

I'm pretty sure I've seen them elsewhere... maybe Restoration Hardware or something.  But they are so great.  Maybe we need one in the new garage?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I'm Back, the Little Guy, and plans for a Garage

Yes - I AM alive and well...  and thankfully, the baby is also alive and well!  The last post was when I went on strict bedrest, and it was definitely needed.  The unfortunate news is that I actually delivered 8 weeks early, on the day after Thanksgiving.  It was a little scary for us for a while, but Morten made it through, came home just before Christmas, and is surviving and thriving now! 

I have been off work: 6 weeks of maternity leave (mostly spent while he was in the hospital), 4 weeks of vacation, and now I am in the middle of 12 weeks of FMLA.  It is so awesome to be home with him.  It's a little strange to me, however, to not actually have time to do any projects!  I might be able to, if I can figure out how to do it in 15 minute spurts during naptimes...  that must get better, right?  Or maybe it gets worse?  Any other home renovators with children out there have advice?

The big thing for us (and primarily for Jim) is still the garage project.  It has changed and morphed quite a bit since my last entry.  We had a design-build firm work up architectural drawings both of the current Phase 1 garage, and also of a Phase 2 that connects the garage with a mudroom, rebuilds the kitchen, and adds a master suite on the 2nd floor (beginnings of "the dream" coming to life).  Here's their drawing for the Phase 1 garage:

In past posts, we were debating on the location - straight at the end of the driveway, or behind the house, with a right turn at the end of the driveway.  You can probably tell with the location of the garage doors, we chose to go straight at the end of the driveway.

And here's a section drawing, so you can see that there is a second floor:

The first floor will hold our two "daily drivers", Jim's project car (currently a 36 Ford), a lift for working on the project car, and his toolbox and supplies.  The second floor is planned to be a workshop area, so we can get the table saw and other woodworking tools out of the basement.  I'm sure there will be car stuff up there too.

Jim is still doing some negotiating and pricing to determine if we're going to go with the design-build firm for the build, or if he's going to sub it out himself.  We're on a pretty strict budget, but still want to make this look like it fits the house, and of course, be quality work.  If we can get it into a reasonable price, and Jim thinks he's just about there, we should be able to start this project this spring.