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.

It Really Is Nearly Done

I’m starting to see the end of this project. I am so tired of living in such tight quarters. As I’ve acquired things for the addition when on sale, all of the small stuff (light fixtures, faucets, etc.) is stored in my kitchen. and I really have about a 2 to 3 foot wide path anywhere I go in my home. I had hoped to be done a couple of months ago, but I should have taken the delay before the panels even shipped as an omen of more to come. And the delays did keep coming. I’ve gotten almost as jumpy as my cats with all the people wandering around outside my home. It will be so pleasant to just relax and enjoy the quiet.

We needed to add to the septic drainage beds, and that was done in one day, approved by DHEC, so only final inspection remains after the rest is done. I hired a local company from Townville, A2B Contracting, and they did a great job.

last big excavation, extend drainage beds 45 feet

All the water lines have been filled in. They did work on grading around the driveway, to hopefully prevent rainwater from running down to the front of the house and causing problems. We want it to follow the other side of the drive to the end of the house, then downslope.

Yard graded and grass seeded behind the house

Inside, the crew has completed taping and plastering the seams – and there are a lot of them with all the triangles all the way up to the top. They’ve sprayed texture to the walls at the end of last week. It dried over the weekend and was primed yesterday. It took over 12 gallons. The walls are looking good. It’s called a knock-down finish. Since I already have that in the original dome, and like it with a semigloss paint, I chose to continue in the addition. I have selected paint colors I had in the house in Roanoke and found to be comfortable for me. Sage in the living room, to the top of the dome. The bedroom will have that top of the dome as its ceiling, but the walls will be a dark forest green. The hallway and powder room will be yellow, as will the window wall in the kitchen (pale gray will remain for the rest of the kitchen).

after plaster texturing, priming, ceiling painted. Inside living room walls will be painted later.

other side of living room 

The master bath is getting two colors on its walls, yellow and terracotta (a mix I liked in a bedroom in my other house), and tile on floor, tub surround, shower wall, and sink back splash. It has been delayed by different crews on different schedules, then by illness, but it is coming along.

bathroom with progress on tub and shower, floor leveling compound down before floor tiles

Sharon and I completed another project the past 2 days, met the new owners for her final 2 puppies, for delivery as surprise Christmas gifts for the children. We met at a central location that worked out to be Roanoke, so I got to see a couple of friends and load up the rest of my fragile kitchen items which were stored in my friend Phyllis’s basement. Of course, the boxes may live in the car for a week or so….

Water Lines Are Done

This was a slow week, with illness playing a part in some delays. Not good with the weather turning cold this weekend and through next week. That’s just too easy to pass along viruses to others. As with most of the South, we have a winter storm passing through. I hope we don’t have as much as the 1 to 3 inches accumulation that are predicted.  Snow started late here.

view of back yard from patio door – big flakes

Anyway, the crew got the water line connected, so both Sharon’s house and mine have a new line running from the meter to each house. We swapped meters to keep things less confused in the (distant) future when one house gets sold. I now have a line running to the original dome, plus a t-connection taking the line around to the addition. A few extra feet, but it doesn’t run under the house. Sharon had a few addition lines run to allow her to add irrigation in her garden areas.

Water supply to old and new parts of the house split off here. The meter is about 200 feet from here, into the trees. This parallels the new gas line.

The lines for the air conditioner units have been installed, running out the back from the small loft over the bathroom, down to the A/C unit outside. I’ll decide later if I want or need to cover it. It does sit on the south side, might want more insulation.

The taping and finishing of sheet rock seams is coming along, with expectation for later next week to work on the texture coat of plaster. I’m keeping it the same as I have in the original dome. Then painting can happen.

The wall between the living room and bedroom ends without a ceiling, so the crew will put some sort of finishing cap on it to prevent it filling with dust and dirt.

That will leave installation of light fixtures and any other electrical finishing, and plumbing fixtures. And besides tiling the master bath, flooring will be installed. I have ordered an engineered cork click and lock flooring. I just need to stay calm a little longer and face the next delay. I will be moving in before long.

Busy Week and Visible Changes

view from Sharon’s front yard (my house sits well off the road)

This has been a busy week, the gas line was finally run to my addition. It goes to a utility building behind the actually living space. I am still quite pleased with my decision to have the gas water heater and boiler located where leaking gas or carbon monoxide, even open flames, will stay outside.

new gas line, well covered and neat

At the last bit of fill work, the gas excavator guys snagged the internet cable, so another day without.

new white utility building, also sidewalk around back of house

On Monday we also had concrete delivered for the utility building floor, the front entry pad, and the sidewalk around the back. It looks great. With all the external work, I have to be careful where it is safe to walk/exit, or park this week.

New water line marking from meter near bench, down between two garden tables. That’s about a third of the distance to my house.

Thursday was water line day – the crew rented a ditch witch to dig a new line to both my house and Sharon’s house next door. We plan to swap water meters. Since we are not really expecting others to join us soon on our retirement property, we are trying to straighten out utilities and such for future when one of us dies and the other may want to sell the other house. The actual line will be put in Friday, and I guess both houses will be without water overnight while glue dries, unless they use clamps. This time we have a long feed of flexible polyethylene pipe (much better than the polybutylene used about 1975-1995) instead of pvc pipe that I know had to be glued, and joints which failed too often for my happiness. I have spent quite a bit of time Googling water supply lines.

The plumber should be in either Friday or beginning of next week to install drain lines for the mini-split air conditioning units. He’ll need to do a small adjustment on the shower drain to fit the new shower pan. Then tiling starts next week.

Another inspection passed and things are moving along

view from old dome, sheet rock up around new electrical panel

The inspector passed our framing, electrical, and plumbing, with just four small items to fix. I sent pictures (it is so much easier now that everything is done online) of the changes. So, things are getting covered. The wallboard is nearly finished, still need to cover the end of the hallway that used to be exterior concrete. The door will be removed at the end of construction and an archway finished off. The angles around doors and windows in the hallway have been a challenge, but they are quite an interesting look. I like it.

my roommates, cautiously exploring the new hallway

The glass block for the shower was delivered last week. All in good shape and I am excited that the bathroom tile and stuff will be started next week.

future reading nook between bedroom and front door

master bedroom from closet doorway

bedroom toward bath, living room to right








Now they have insulation around both the master bath and powder room, ceiling done, wallboard up inside the master bath, and seams taped and ‘mudded’. I like this kind of mud much better than the red clay mud outside. The crew is also framing up the sidewalk and foundation for the utility building. Next week I will have a sidewalk all the way around the back, (front is driveway) hopefully helping to keep the red mud outside. Remembering from the initial build, there was a sea of red clay around the house for months. I think it’s going to be too cold by the time it is done to even hope to start grass seed.

view from back patio to new back door, forms out for sidewalk and pad for utility building

Another item finished is a pressure wash and paint of the old dome to match the color on the addition. I have white around glass (both windows and doors) to brighten the interior, a golden tan everywhere else.

exterior paint complete on old and new domes

The gas line will be run in this week, the utility lines have all been marked with flags and paint. There are so many flags in the area I have been using for a driveway that I need to go through the yard and out the real driveway, for fear of puncturing a tire.

Aww! So Cute.

Just a short note with pictures. Sharon has puppies available:

Souls’ Ease Goldendoodles has puppies available now for the holidays. We are a GANA Blue Ribbon member in Upstate SC, breeding only multi-generation health-certified parents. Both male or female pups are available and are expected to be 25-35 pounds with straight or wavy coats. See our FB page Souls’ Ease Goldendoodles. https://segoldendoodles.com/

2 girls and 2 boys, ready to brighten your holiday!