The addition now has certificate of occupancy, I am so happy! The floors and all the tile grout were sealed last week, so I hope to have good weather this weekend for moving furniture (and me) into the new section. There is still quite a bit of work to do, including removal of door between the old and new, but this is the biggest milestone.

view of sealed floor from old towards new front door



No new pictures today, just news that we did not pass final inspection. Nothing major, mostly electrical work to bring it into accord with fairly recent code changes. One thing I am about as happy about as child proof medicine caps is tamper resistant outlets. I have one in my kitchen, and on days when my arthritis is acting up it is hard to get the plug into the outlet. Now all the new outlets need to be changed to this. This is not senior friendly.

Anyway, approval is quite close. He had some good suggestions and he did say I could move furniture into the addition.

Lots of little bits of progress

Water line has been connected to the addition. Gas line and meter connected, and on-demand water heater connected. The tub faucet has been installed. Sinks, toilets, shower, and tub have been checked, only had a problem with dirt on one line blocking water, now gone. Just need the grab bars installed. I have working bathrooms!

Inside utility building, water heater side

Exterior utilities. I bought an exterior water heater instead of interior, because I could not find a difference in the literature available, so for venting reasons it has to be mounted on the outside of the building.

The input and output lines for the radiator loop have been run under the hall floor and holes drilled into the original domes, as there will be two radiators installed there, too. Since I have heat via the ductless A/C on reverse cycle, the radiators can be last on the list.
The rest of the cork flooring has been installed in the hall, with just tile work waiting until later. The two electrical outlets in the living room floor are installed, and the crystal chandelier has been hung at the new front window (I just need to find where I stored the bulbs last May when it was removed from the kitchen window). The wooden strips between sections of flooring have been installed. Baseboards are installed.

The county building codes inspector will be out on Monday for what I certainly hope is final approval for occupancy.

The biggest projects left are: removal of the door between old and new, with the opening being finished with plaster. This will also wrap around to the kitchen to finish plaster around the windows installed before the other construction began. All of the grout and tile needs to be sealed. We will use the same waterproofing product on the cork flooring. Of course, radiators will need to be installed with the boiler system. Another problem that has to be solved is the leak where the old and new structures meet. It has been reduced, but not eliminated. I’ve ordered an adhesive rubber membrane that is wide enough to cover the old overhang, which is where I suspect the water is collecting under a concrete patch from a couple of years ago. If this works, I hope the strong elastomeric paint will sufficiently cover it and seal it from future leaks.

My tiler has been called back to another job for 7 months, but I can wait on the sink backsplash for both bathrooms. I hope he’ll have some time to do the end of the hallway during that time. So far, his expected 30 – 40 hour weeks are now 50 – 60 hours, so he is lining up others to do his other jobs. I sure hope he doesn’t work himself sick.

Most of the paint touch-ups have been done, except for the master bathroom. The end of the hall and kitchen will need paint.

I assembled one of the three cabinets that will go into the hall and am waiting until the floors are sealed before I do the rest. These are going to be nice storage.

We are looking at landscaping now, making Sharon happy that I can finally change my focus to it. She is anxious to make my house bloom as well as hers. Of course, this is what she sees from her back windows, and naked foundations offend her.

muddy parking, no landscaping yet

As finances allow, I will be putting down more stone in the driveway, plus drainage. I want to put river rocks around the drain on the upside of the house beside the driveway.

I can hardly wait for enough space to get back to making jewelry. My creative urges have been cramped for too long.

Still Waiting

Well, I am getting so impatient about getting moved into my addition. I’ve been squeezed into my approximately 600 square foot home, with a lot of stuff from my house in Roanoke for almost 16 months. The furniture is stored in a small shed, but a lot of boxes are inside with temperature control. The shed will probably be like a clown car when we unload it, it is so stuffed.

For some reason, the various crews are not communicating well, not only with each other, but also with me. I mediate and try to get things moving as I find problems, but things have really slowed down as of the beginning of the year.

The original construction crew has mostly left for other jobs. The plumbing is being done by my HVAC company, but it’s a small department and they have some large jobs so are allotting a certain amount of time per week. Of course I have chosen some non-standard items, like wall-mounted toilets, which take longer. The tile is going up as fast as possible, but gravity dictates how many vertical rows can be done until the thinset dries. My tiler is also painting and is keeping things tidy. I find I am relying on him for odds and ends, but his regular spring and summer job is starting up very soon. He is planning to work on days off on my place.

The concrete sealer that I got to mix into the wet mix looks to be doing a good job. With the elastomeric paint over the top, the new section has only had a leak around the solar tube and the connection between old and new. Unfortunately, we did a power wash of the original dome before repainting it, and apparently they were too enthusiastic and unsealed some cracks that we’d finally fixed. Now those need another coat of paint, but are not too bad. We are in the midst of frequent rainy days, so are working on the join between the old and new sections as weather allows.

I’m glad I have a concrete patio to step onto!

The cats are feeling cooped up, too, as I have started to hear a lot more growling and spitting recently. So, I have been taking them for a tour of the addition each evening. My girl loved it from the start, meowing her way around the living room. I think she liked the echoing she was hearing. The boy is easily scared, and has taken quite a long time to venture around the living room. He has now even gone through the bedroom and master bath. They’ll both adapt easily once my old familiar furniture is moved in.

The radiator lines should be a completed loop tomorrow, allowing us to finish the cork flooring in the hallway. We will put the tile flooring down there after the old door is removed. They plan to install the on demand water heater the next day, so I hope to have water to the plumbing then.

After the cork laminate flooring was down in the living room, one of the crew mentioned it had not lasted at his in-laws home. So I’ve been looking into a sealer. By chance the grout sealer bottle was spilled on the cork, and we found it is not discoloring, and it is waterproofing. It should do the job, plus it will dry much faster than a polyurethane.

soaker tub just needs faucet and water

shower with tile and glass block about done

The bathroom is going to make me happy once I am moved in. Most pieces are done, including the glass block shower, but no water is connected yet. Grab bars in both master bath and powder room, a little wall touch-ups.

powder room, sink side (blue is protective covering)

powder room, other side

The biggest project outside of the heating system is removing the door between old and new. It can’t be rushed, because we want most inside work completed first – I’ll need to turn up the heat, lock the doors at night (this means getting up earlier than normal to let workers in), and block the cats from the work zone.

Getting Close to the Finish

I know it’s been a while since I posted anything, but my excuse is that I’ve been sick – not flu, but a couple other things going around. Still not completed, but the addition is looking like I’d planned.

The floor has been installed in the living room, bedroom, and powder room, just waiting on some HVAC work to complete the hallway. The tile floor is done in the master bath, and I’ve decided to use tile for the hall floor from the doors to the original dome. With tile a small distance up the wall on one wall, it will be a mudroom entry and a spot for litter boxes that will be easier to clean than the cork floor.

cork floor and baseboard in living room

The sinks have been hung (wall-mounted) in both bathrooms, although we had to add plywood reinforcement behind to make sure the weight would be supported. The sinks are both a high-glass white with a solid surface sink top in white. My color is the painted walls.

The A/C air handler units are mounted, with only about an hour of work left to make them functioning. This is a big milestone, as it means I can use them on reverse cycle as heat pumps to heat until the radiators are ready. Sooner to get occupancy approval!

master bedroom is painted and air handler is partly installed

The shower pan is tiled and actually the back wall is tiled about three feet up. Gravity prevents it from all being set at one time. Now the floor tile is covered in paper, so I decided I wanted to show the mixed beige and brown tiles, as the beige wall is not exciting. It’ll be better when the decorative glass tile stripes go in.

shower pan has tile completed

The soaker tub has caused a little delay, first with a non-flat part that required a little removal of tile and wood in two spots so it would sit even on the surround. I expect it will be completed in a couple of days. I am so looking forward to a hot jetted soak.

tub is unpacked and waiting in the living room

The master bath toilet is nearly complete. The plumber wants to reinforce behind it, so it won’t pivot into the sheet rock. Other than that, it is supposed to support 700 to 800 pounds, so should hold up well. I have my short wall in place, with switches on the outside. I have very neutral colors in fixtures and tile, so I can be a bit crazy with saturated colors – two walls in an orange terracotta, and one wall in a buttery yellow. I’ve combined these before, so I know I like it, but paint is also the easiest thing to change if I do tire of it.

master bath commode (wall color changes with each angle, it’s not quite a dark as the back wall looks)

Both cats followed me into the new living room this afternoon, my Leo is getting braver. Kinsey insists she needs to explore every day.

Happy New Year to All

For those who want to see the house plan, I’ve posted this before, but it might be hard to find.

general idea of the layout for the addition

I’ve stayed with the design, mainly because it was exactly what I requested. A few details have changed, like a pivot door instead of a pocket door for the powder room. I had not heard that term before, but found one in a Lowe’s brochure. Actually my brother’s home has one for the downstairs bathroom. The door is split in the center and both sides are hinged. It allows a wider (and safer) path in the hallway outside if someone opens the door unexpectedly. I found one that has opaque glass to allow more light into the small room with no window.

I also have an open walkway between hall and living room, although the plan shows walls with a doorway. It will have the back wall of the powder room and a divider to prevent anyone from walking into a cabinet on the other side, otherwise open.

I also decided to use glass block for the shower, to allow more light into the far corner of the master bathroom. The size is about the same, just a little tweaking to have the opening on one side rather than the front. This was to give me a barrier-free opening.

I had always planned to have a short wall beside the toilet in the master bath, just did not bother to specify at design time, figuring it was an easy addition. This gives me something for leverage to stand, in case I need it. (I have, after 2 surgeries a year apart – repairs, not too serious). I will also have the switches for 3 lights and the fan on the side of the wall, handy from the command seat, kind of like the Star Trek captain’s chair. And this is all right inside the door on entry to the room.

I am actually going to create a small wall with bookcases, placing two back-to-back and perpendicular to the wall, right beside the living room door to the bedroom. I will have a small nook for a recliner, table, and lamp – a reading spot right inside the front door. This will also give a little privacy by blocking a view from the driveway and front door into the master bedroom and bathroom.

I am not putting in a closet next to the back door in the hall, as I already have a closet just inside the original dome. I plan to use that space for cat litter boxes, unless a better spot is found.

I believe we made the bedroom closet a little smaller, no problem for someone who is retired and never dresses up any more. I’ll have more dresser space for my casual clothes.

Here’s a link to an early version of the entire house. (You may need to click twice to pull up a picture, as it’s a pdf, not a picture.)


And this weekend I’m assembling sink cabinets from Ikea. It’s a job I like.

There Is Light in the Addition

lights in hall

I have spent most of the past week fighting a cold.  The crew has put in electrical outlets, light fixtures, and exterior door hardware. I found a light that goes into the 22 inch solar tube in my living room, nice idea for night illumination. I had to order a special bulb to get an equivalent to 100w in LED. Since it is 9 feet or so up, I sure want the long life of an LED. The bulbs today are more complicated, but some superior choices to the old incandescent bulbs.

flooring spread to acclimate

The flooring has been ordered and picked up, and was to start to be installed today. Actually need to acclimate to the humidity level in the house for 72 hours, so will start next week. Sub-floors have been scrubbed, in preparation.

closeup of cork flooring

The A/C mini-split units can be mounted on the wall now that plaster and priming coat has been applied. I understand I can run them as heat pumps until the radiators are installed. The radiators in the new dome can be installed soon as flooring is down (although last I heard they had not arrived at the HVAC company). I’m having 2 radiators installed in the original dome, but I will need to move some of the stored items that line the walls.

The powder room will be plaster walls, maybe tile backsplash on the sink, so it will finish fast after the sink and toilet are installed. It will have the same flooring as the hallway, no need for tile.

The master bath has the most work, with tile on floor, tub surround, shower pan, and back wall of the shower, then glass block for the front wall of the shower. Ceiling and the rest of the walls will be painted plaster. The tub will be set into place after the surround is tiled. So far the floor is done except for a few odd-shaped pieces, and the tub surround is partially done, since only half of the vertical surface can be done at a time (gravity pulls the tiles out-of-place). Picture looks messy, but the spacers will soon be out and grout applied. I am very happy with the light neutral tile with the copper glass tiles for accent.

tub surround in progress

One of the final items is to put up sheet rock over the end wall of the hallway that is concrete, used to be the exterior around the front door. The door will be removed and an archway will be finished instead. This will have to be well-timed, as I don’t want the cats out in the way, and the door is what is keeping them in the original part. Plus, that’s still not heated except by space heaters to dry stuff overnight and I don’t want the noise with the door gone until only a small amount of work remains. There is also work to finish around the 2 larger kitchen windows that were installed in May, then paint. Of course, I have to move stuff away from the windows where I’ve been storing sinks and smaller stuff.

There will be things to work on after approval for occupancy – moving my furniture from the small shed into the new space; putting down sheet vinyl on the concrete floor in the old dome, after I move things out and can really scrub the floor; I will be able to set up my large pantry area next to the kitchen and hope to start cooking more, with a freezer to hold stuff; I will have quite a few Ikea items to assemble, but I’m pretty good at that; I have a list of to-dos for the crew, but cannot get to these until I move stuff from the old to new area. Spring will be busy for me.