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RE: Taking possession a week from Fri...any advice? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: bevangel on 08.16.2011 at 12:33 pm in Building a Home Forum

It is probably late for this advice but you need to spend at least a full day at your house looking for punch list issues and making a written list BEFORE you meet with your builder for your "pre-through." And you need to be able to do this while there are no workmen there so they are not making noise or getting in your way. There are just too many things to look for to try to do the checking WHILE walking thru the house with your builder. Even if your builder gives you a full three or four hours for the walk-through, that is simply not enough time...especially if builder is taking time to write notes about the things you mention. And it is possible your builder will attempt to rush you because the fewer things you mention, the less work he has to do. Better to go with a list in hand (with a copy for builder) so that your walk-thru with builder is just a chance for you to show him what each note on the list refers to.

On your list, for each issue indicate EXACTLY where the problem is located.... What room, what wall, Where on the wall, what the problem is, and what needs to be done. Eg., 1) Living room; on north wall, 4 ft from east wall & 18 inches above the floor; there are gaps in sheetrock around electrical outlet; need to patch gaps, smooth patch (or texture to match wall texture) and prime and painted to match wall. 2) 1st floor powderroom, floor 20 inches from west wall & 2 ft from south wall; cracked tile; remove and replace with good tile, regrout - make certain replacement tile is set level with surrounding tiles and that grout matches surrounding grout. The more detailed you are, the more likely the fixes are going to be done satisfactorily. So, a laptop with an excel program can be helpful for making your lists because you can copy and paste the correction instructions everytime you find yet another electrical outlet with gaps around it.

So, if it were me, I would ask to postpone the walk-thru with builder until after this weekend - even if that meant postponing my move in date by a week or so. Then I would take a couple of very persnickity (sp??) friends with me to the house over the weekend and spend several hours going over each room and making lists of punch list items. People seeing the place with fresh eyes will see problems that you noticed months ago, that your builder promised to fix, but then somehow never got around to doing. Keep a copy of your list and then check issues off as they are corrected. Otherwise, chances are, half the stuff you point out will never get corrected. Don't rely on your builder putting sticky notes on walls. Sticky notes have a way of disappearing without the work ever getting done!

Some things you need to check:

Whole House
_ Turn every light switch on and off.
_ If you have ceiling fans with multiple speeds, check that they work on every speed.
_ Test every electrical outlet (both top and bottom as we've actually found that on a number of outlets in our current house - which was purchased from a previous owner - only one half of the outlet has power and the other half is dead!)
_ Check that both heating and air conditioning work, and that you have an adequate flow of air from every register. This will require turning the AC down so that the house gets extra cold and then, after checking AC, turning the heat on to make sure that works. While it'll be a bit of a waste of energy, you don't want to find out that the heater isn't working the first night that temps suddenly dip below freezing.
_ Open and close every window. Make sure they open easily and close and seal completely. Look for any light entering around the edges of window (between the sash and the jambs.) If light can enter, so can water! If your windows tilt out to clean, check that function on every window as well.
_ Open and close every door, interior and exterior.
_ Check that all doors are plumb and square. The crack around an door should be even on all sides when the door is closed and you should not be able to see light coming from the other side except at the bottoms of interior doors.
_ Check that exterior doors close and seal completely. You should not be able to see any light coming in between the door and jamb or the door and the sill AT ALL.
_ Lock and unlock every lock
_ Check that walls are plumb and flat, that there are no nail pops and that the texturing and paint is even. BTW - nail pops are where the nails holding sheetrock to the studs back up slightly. You see them as little round bumps in the paint. You should not be able to tell where the edges of sheetrock panels are. Nor should you be able to notice any dips or high places in the walls where they taped and floated the sheetrock.
_ Check walls carefully around all outlet plates to make certain there are no gaps where the cuts in the sheetrock were made too large and then never fixed.
_ Check every piece of molding looking for cracks or gaps where two pieces of molding meet. Check the paint or stain on molding - particularly cut ends.
_ Check floors. Tiles should have even and straight grout lines; hardwoods should not have gaps between boards; seams on vinyl flooring should not be noticable; carpet should be tight and should not show seams; etc.
_While the house is quiet (late night is best), walk up and down the steps and across all portions of any hardwood floors. There should be no creaks or squeeks.
_ Check ceilings. You should not be able to tell where the edges of the sheetrock panels are.
_ Check stair spindles, balusters, and handrails to make sure they are solidly installed. No shakiness.
- Take a sprinkler with you and set it so that water falls down against your windows (simulating rain) and check for leaks on the inside. You should not see ANY water on the inside. (Caution - don't spray water UPWARD against your windows as you may drive water through the drainholes, set the spinkler so that water falls downward against the windows.)
_ If you get lucky and it happens to be raining while you are there, go into the attic and look for leaks.
_ Check that smoke detectors are working.
_ Turn everything in the house off and unplug the refrigerator, then check the electric meter. It should no longer be running. (Be sure to plug appliances back in afterwards!)
_ Make sure all water spigots are turned off and that your water heaters are full, then check your water meter. It should NOT be moving. If it is, you may have a leak somewhere in your plumbing system...possibly even under your slab.
_ If you have a real wood fireplace, build a very small but smoky fire (damp wood and newspapers) and make sure the chimney draws properly.
_ If you have a gas fireplace, light it and make sure all the vents work properly and that the flame heights are as you would expect them to be.
_ If you have natural gas or propane, find the inside gas cut-off valves. (NOTE that these should not be hidden behind an appliance - you need to be able to get to them easily in case of a fire!) Make sure the gast cut off valves turn easily. Light the appliance then turn the gas off at the cut off valve. The flame should go completely out. If it doesn't, the cut off valve is working properly.

Kitchen/Laundry Room/Pantry
_ Check that every appliance is working properly
* Refrigerator
* Freezer
* Dishwasher (run thru a cycle to ensure no leaks and that it actually cleans dishes. We bought a house once where the dishwasher seemed to work when we tested it but when we actually tried to wash dishes, they never got clean. It turned out that the water had never been attached and the little bit of moisture we were seeing was just moisture from the air!)
* stove top - check every burner
* vent hood - make sure it is actually hooked up and venting to the outside.
* oven
* microwave
* garbage disposal - put some garbage in it and make sure it chops it up.
* washer (again, run a cycle to make sure its not leaking and that it doesn't dance around)
* dryer (run a cycle with some clothes to make sure it doesn't dance. Also, make sure the dry vent is hooked up!)
_ Open and close every cabinet and every drawer to make sure they function properly.
_ Look inside each cabinet and drawer to make sure it is finished properly, that there are no missing shelves, etc. Also, look for scratches, nicks, and stains. Once you move in, you builder will assume that you made any mars on your cabinetry.
_ Turn both hot and cold water on at the sink. Fill the sink with water and then, after a while, check under the sink for evidence of leaking. Check around the sink to make sure that it is properly sealed to your countertop.
_ Check the countertop for flaws. Check the edges of countertops especially carefully as these can easily get chipped or scratched (depending on the type surface) during the building process.
_If you have a granite countertop, inspect it carefully. Run your hands over every inch feeling for any rough spots. Also, get down on your hands and knees and look across the granite from a height just an inch or two above the surface - places that are not properly polished will be more visible.
_ Inspect every light fixture installed by builder to make certain it was not scratched, dented, or marred in the process of being installed.

_ Actually step into shower stalls and bathtubs to make sure they feel solid underfoot. Acrylic tubs and shower bases that "give" underfoot will crack over time.
_ Run water in every sink and bathtub and make sure they hold water without leaking. (Look under the sinks for leaks).
_ Run the showers.
_ Make sure you get hot water when you turn on a hot water spigot. Try it at every sink, tub, shower, and in your washing machine.
_ Run water at several locations at the same time to make sure you have adequate water pressure.
_ Test that bathroom fans work.
_ Flush all toilets several times to make sure they STOP running when the tanks refill. (Having a bunch of friends out for several hours also means your toilets may actually get "field tested" to make sure they really flush adequately... which not something you are likely to test while doing a walk thru with your builder!)
_ Make sure toilets sit solidly and evenly on the floor and are properly bolted down. There should not be any "rocking" motion when you sit down.
_ Have someone flush a toilet times while you run hot water in the shower and feel it. Flushing the toilet SHOULD NOT cause the shower water to suddenly get noticeable hotter.
_Make sure shower faucets are grouted properly so that water does not get into the wall behind them.
_ Check the cabinetry the same as you did for the kitchen.
_ Make certain that mirrors installed by the builder don't have flaws in the silvering.
_ Test that toilet paper holders and towel bars are firmly affixed to walls.

_ If your builder installed blinds or operable shutters (inside or out) make sure they work properly.
_ Check that you OUTDOOR water spigots work.
_ Check all outdoor electrical outlets as well. These often get over-looked.
_ Check your garage door openers. Also make sure that, if something is in the way of the door as it comes down, that the door stops and goes back up.
_ If you have an attic access ladder, pull it down and make sure it works smoothly.
_ Climb into the attic and make sure you have the amount of insulation you are supposed to have.
- If you're really lucky and it rains while you are checking out your house this weekend, go up into the attic with a flashlight and look for roof leaks.
_ Make sure gutters are fully attached to walls and designed to drain water away from your house. Pull downward gently on the downspouts and make sure that there is no movement where they connect to the gutters. If downspouts have not been properly connected to gutters, they can fall out.
_ Check that ground around the house has been graded so that it slopes away from the house.
_ Get as high above the ground as you can safely manage and look to see if your roofing shingles appear to be flat and tight against the roof.
_ Check all exterior concrete for cracks.
_ Check the siding on the house to make sure everything that was supposed to be painted has been painted.
_ Check that exterior sprinkler systems work and that landscaping plants are alive and appear healthy.

This is all just "off the top of my head." I'm sure if you think about it you can add dozens of other things to check for. And, no doubt other posters will chime in with other things to add to your check list.
Ultimately, you don't have to insist that the builder fix every little tiny thing. If something won't bother you - or if you can fix it easily yourself and don't mind doing so, point it out to your builder anyway and, once you've gone over everything you can cross those items off your list as a way to show you're being reasonable but that the rest of the list IS important to you.


clipped on: 08.16.2011 at 12:43 pm    last updated on: 08.16.2011 at 12:44 pm

Some of the best advice from the braintrust on this forum

posted by: gsmama on 02.05.2011 at 11:25 am in Kitchens Forum

I was googling gardenweb and advice last night and came across a great thread that is no longer open but that had been bumped up a few times since it was started by justadncr in 2007 by asking everyone to share the best advice they'd picked up on this forum.

There are a bunch of gems I hadn't run across and wouldn't have even thought to ask or google ( don't know what you don't know). Plumgold? Never MT? All news to me from reading the thread. I consolidated the info so that I could print it (it would have been a breathtaking 41 pages had I tried to print it straight...) and thought I'd share for other newbies and to maybe get any other additions...

The biggest tip I learned and did as a result was that lumberyards sometimes carry mainstream cabinet lines for less. The place I ordered for carries Dynasty Omega, Shiloh and Meridian and the bulk of their business goes to contractors which helped with the pricing in my case vs. going with a custom cabinet maker--I got a variety of quotes.

With thanks to the OP and everyone who shared, here is their wisdom (please pardon the bullets are reading as diamonds with question marks. Oh well.):

Best advice I got from this forum:

� lay the kitchen out on the ground outside with all the measurements and walk around it to see if it felt right. I took my measurements and scraps of wood and laid them out in the various plans I had come up with.
� check out the sound of the fan in the new ovens. I would have been pretty steamed to spend a bunch on a new range and have that sound come blaring out each time I used the oven.
� putting Blumotion on the cabinet doors. This is my favorite feature in our kitchen and the cost was cheap to add these on after the cab install.
� "zones" on this forum, and designed my kitchen around them, with a tremendous amount of help from my forum friends. In my old kitchen, the dishwasher opened across from the island (right into the backs of my legs). Now, the cleanup zone is on the peninsula, the prep area is between the fridge and sink, etc. It's really wonderful.
� No air gap -- most modern dishwashers don't need them, so you don't have to have that extra unattractive "thing" on your countertop. Easy way around that if you need to pass code inspection is to drill the hole for air gap... pop it on for inspection and when they've gone take off the air gap and pop on your soap dispenser. Then put the loop in the hose at the back of your dishwasher...
� Advantium
� Miele dishwasher
� Test tube rack for spice storage
� Lay it out with tape to double check
� advice for setting up a temp kitchen
� Measure from 3 points wall to wall. Had I known this when we remodeled the entire house in 1990, I would now have the room to put in a pro-style range. As it is, I am exactly....1/4" short. Talk about frustrating! Our cabs are in great shape and I love them, but I'm stuck with the 29-7/8" width on the range.
� I really like this that I stole from Dmlove--- I love not having all those cords on my desk/countertop! So best advice from this forum... details make the difference! for now my phone sits over the hole
� pull down (rather than pull out or side spray) faucet
� Bluestar, after asking about the best 30 inch slide-in range
� batch-feed garbage disposals
� adding outlets
� Galaxy Tool Supply for our sink
� NeverMT
� Plugmold
� Wide / shallow cabinet for William Sonoma ultra-thin step stool.
� Airswitch on disposal. Never minded the wall switch, but now that I have a nice backsplash and an island
� Floodstop on icemaker and washing machine.
� I put power into the back of 4 drawers, so each family member has a place to charge the cell phone (or camcorder or whatever) out of sight.
� I also have a false panel behind a niche so that the power / wallwarts / phone wire / wireless access point is hidden. Only the phone sits out exposed. Similar to the idea above, but using depth.
� Don't pack your booze prior to remodeling (this is VERY important! VERY IMPORTANT!)
� Lacanche
� caulk on change of planes verses grout...look at the underside of your cabinets
� plugmold for under the ends of my island so I didn't have to cut outlets into my beautiful cabinets
� integrated drainboard cut into the countertop
� raising the countertop for my wall oven - which gave me a bonus "standing desk" for my laptop
� never thought I could get talked out of gas. So, that is the best advice so far
� I'm a single sink convert, based solely upon the reviews on this website.
� Dh and I made a "never mt" out of tubing bought for $0.46 at Lowes. It's really not very exciting, though. It's clear tubing (like the kind you see on aquariums) attached to the bottom of the soap dispenser thing, and then extends down through the lid and into the bottom of the bottle of soap. (We just drilled a hole in the top of the bottle and shoved the tubing down.) So low tech! The tubing is something like $.23/ foot and we bought 2 feet. Super easy.
� Landing space between appliances
� Aisle clearances
� Wait until its right - the right plan, the right time, the right appliances.
� instant hot water heater
� Getting a 36" range
� baking center
� online resources for sinks and faucets
� the importance of putting functionality first in all design decisions
� how to test granite for durability
� remote blower for hood fan
� single deep fireclay sink
� lots of great online resources for sinks, faucets, etc
� Never NEVER NEVER!!!! Leave your construction site to go on vacation ::scary music:: I MEAN NEVERRRRR!!!!!
� the best (and most costly) is don't settle. You have to live with this kitchen for quite some time. Don't settle! (Even if that means you scrapped the cabinets today, called of the GC for 8 weeks while you order new ones, and you can't live in your home so you have to find somewhere else to live for three months). And maybe Santa won't know where you live!!!
� Pegasus under-cabinet lighting here. Slim, good-looking, very energy-efficient, and reasonably priced.
� I was convinced of the superiority of the Miele cutlery rack
� do not rush..get a good plan in place. Pick what you love ..NOT what the designer loves
� Brizo Floriano/pulldowns in general
� xenon lighting
� Venting
� Tapmaster
� take pictures of everything while your walls are open. It is very helpful to have that photographic record of where electric, pipes, studs etc. actually are. Also, plan for where you want to install pot/wall racks, shelf brackets, etc.--and add extra framing in the walls before they get closed up.
� Get your floor plan right!
� The Franke Orca sink ... to die for.
� Inexpensive but quality Ticor sinks for laundry and prep.
� Plugmold giving me a crisp, clean and outlet-free backsplash.
� The personal, real life stories shared here gave me the confidence to push back at the stoneyard and insist on marble for my island. It pairs beautifully with the soapstone perimeter.
� Bertazzoni range
� White America Quartzite to go with SS
� LED undercabinet lights
� internet and ebay vendor recommendations
� Hancock & Moore leather furniture (from GW furniture forum)
� Microfiber cloths for cleaning SS and granite.
� we had scaled drawings, pictures, and sketches taped to walls and cabinets all over the kitchen. A sketch of the island layout, a drawing with dimensions for light fixtures and switches, a sketch showing the spacing of shelves, a picture of how we wanted plugmold installed - you name it, we had it on a piece of paper and taped on a wall. When we would discuss anything with the electrician, plumber, etc., usually we would show them a drawing or sketch so they would know exactly what we were looking for. Then we would post it on the wall in the kitchen. It may have been slightly annoying to those working there, but it was amazing how much it helped. A number of times after someone screwed something up I would just point to a drawing and they would immediately have to take the blame and offer to fix it. There was never any chance to claim that we never told them or that we had said something else. It was right there on the wall the whole time.
� undercounter light switch for undercounter lights
� tilt-out shoe storage cabinet
� Get hardwoods instead of laminate. Once I investigated I couldn't believe at how little difference in cost between the two (good decent laminate vs. hardwood)
� This is AWESOME! I now have a list of things I had never even heard of to check on...and I thought I was on top of things!
� posters here are willing to share their good and bad experiences so that newbies like me can have a smoother reno.
� Something that I'm slowly realizing as I continue to read the posts here is that, despite the best of planning, something (or things) likely will not go as planned.
� Buy appliances available locally (so service is available), from retailers who will actually stand behind the sale instead of shifting all blame and responsibility to the manufacturer - even when they shipped a defective product. Just finished reading a long thread about someone that bought from an internet retailer, and it was shocking to see the attitude of the retailer. Forget the pre sale promises and assurances from some of these disreputable internet companies who won't be there if you have a problem and just get them locally. No small percentage of savings is worth it if you end up with a defective product shipped and the retailer says it isn't his problem. If you must buy via internet, make sure you get in writing that the product will be shipped defect-free and if there's anything wrong with the unit at all - IMMEDIATELY contest the charge with your credit card company. Don't rely on promises that a minor (or major) problem will be promptly repaired by a service company.
� learning all the lingo was great. When the contractor asked if I wanted plugmold I didn't go "huh?" I think by being knowledgeable before talking to the contractor it helps a lot.
� Knobs vs. Pulls. There have been several discussions of knobs vs. pulls. Some comments:
� Knobs on base cabinets can catch on clothing (and rip sometimes).
� Cabinets/drawers w/pulls can usually be opened w/one finger...even the pinky finger.
� Susan Jablon glass tile. Everyone who comes in my house walks up to my backsplash and has to touch it. I had just about given up the idea of a glass tile backsplash before finding out about her site on this forum. The price of her tile, even with shipping, was about half of what I could have bought it for locally and it is gorgeous!
� No sockets/switches in backsplash (under cabinet plug strip)
� Toe kick on trash pop out BUT... ADD a second spring to add power to the pop (thank you for whoever mentioned this ingenious bit of info)
� Double layered cutlery drawer (secret drawer within a drawer)
� What to look for when choosing undercabinet lighting eg... reflection, spread of light, color of light, heat...
� Benefits of a large farmhouse sink
� Miele dishwasher � superb
� Thermador cooktop and all the controversy about the popup draft and how I could get away with not having one. THANK YOU!
� Miele warming drawer FANTASTIC and thank you for making me realize that it doesn't have to be on the floor under the oven!!!
� PLAN YOUR STORAGE SPACE. measure boxes, measure food processer, mixer, stack of plates etc. etc. then make a note of contents in the drawers or cupboards on your plans or diagrams or in your notes.
� Plug strip under center island.
� ARE NOT ALONE- PEOPLE WHO CARE ABOUT YOUR CD FRIDGE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU and it's OK to really take your time with your decisions
� Orca single sink
� Pot rack in upper cabinet (I think this idea was from loves2cookfor6??)
� Electrical outlet inside a drawer for a charging station
� filling in the gap between the fridge and the cupboard above it with some leftover filler and a piano hinge. Cambro...where did you see this idea? Just yesterday we discovered that we might have a significant gap b/w the top of the refrigerator & the bottom of the cabinet above. Our contractor is just going to use filler to hide the gap, but if we put it on hinges it would actually become usable space!
� knife drawer (I hated that block)
� gel stain
� Getting rid of my ugly phone jack and getting a phone that doesn't need one!
� How to get rid of the drip inside my oven door - with a hanger and a sock going up through the holes at the bottom of the door. Worked like a charm!
� Get a spine when talking to GC about his version vs. my version of cleaning up the jobsite each day (aka our home).
� Use masking tape and a measuring tape and make a mock up of where your new cabinets will go. This is a biggie!
� Dimmer switches! I put them on ALL of the new lighting, including the patio lights adjacent, and have not regretted it once.
� how great Silgranit sinks are to live with. Never even heard of one before GW.
� Buying Sources
o Ticor sinks: Ticor Sinks at Galaxy Tool Supply:
o Tapmaster�:
o Never-MT: Never-MT:
o Pop up Outlets: Popup Mocketts:
o Plugmold�/Power Strips:
o Angle Powerstrip:
� Our Vac Pan. Ours is hooked up to a wet/dry vac in the basement because we do not have central vac. The idea came from this forum and our electrician and contractor figured out how to make it happen.
� DIY on gel stain. Thanks Celticmoon and Projectsneverend.
� Soapstone, getting it, finding the right fabricator right here, and caring for it
� where to find a deal on saddle stools
� Kohler Vinnata
� Not to put my cooktop on my island.
� best advice I got was around my budget and how to make the hard decisions on what should stay in and what should go (that was from Beuhl).
� What is not that important to me and doesn't add functionality? [Candidate for elimination altogether]
� What can I do at a later date? [Candidate for deferring until a later date]
� What can't be done at a later date and I can't live without? [Candidate for keeping and doing now]
� This forum helped me see which terms are worth using, and which can be saved for later. This forum helped me get clearer communication going. Resistance could be expressed when I raised ideas; it all helped to refine the concept.
� This forum helped me justify personal innovations. This forum confirmed ideas.
� Tweaking and innovating. I tweaked everything in my kitchen along the way.
� I don't know if I would have a remodeled kitchen if it weren't for this forum. I would have still been looking at the dreadful old one wishing it was nice and not knowing how to get it nice. Even the ideas & photos of things I didn't want for me helped to define what I did want.
� I have to give credit to my carpenter, too. There was a time when his eyes rolled when I said, "but the people on the kitchen forum say......." But I had photos and conversations printed off to show him what I meant.
� Lisalists organized drawers where the dividers go from front to back or side to side so you don't have to nest objects-and you can fit so much stuff in. Easy, easy access. No nesting. Yay
� Layout, efficiency. This has to be the most important thing I've been learning here. What tasks do you perform, what zones will you organize them in, what items do you need close at hand in each zone, how does traffic between and through zones flow. etc.
� Styles, materials, looks. People here have great ''eyes'' for style and looks. My eyes have been opened to these looks, and I've learned the vocabulary to describe them.
� Specific ideas/features I learned about here that seem like they'll be useful: prep sinks, base cabinet drawers, counter top materials other than granite, true convection ovens, unfitted kitchens, under-counter refrigeration.
� Many things, one of which is using a 13-15" depth cabinet for inset cabinets, as 12 is not sufficient.
� Carefully placing all the appliances and storage thinking about what you use with what. For example, I moved the microwave to be next to the refrigerator because we use it mostly for reheating leftovers. I have fridge, prep sink, prep area, range, more prep area on one side and on the other I have prep area/ landing zone (across from fridge), main sink, prep area / dishwasher (across from range, but offset so both people can work) in the island.


clipped on: 06.13.2011 at 03:13 am    last updated on: 06.13.2011 at 03:13 am

RE: LOOKING for: Crockpot beef stew with ginger ale (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: marigene on 09.08.2006 at 11:04 am in Recipe Exchange Forum

This one isn't done in a crockpot but it does have ginger ale in it. It was posted by Angelaid.

No Peek Casserole

This is a recipe that my family literally will fight over. It makes a delicious gravy (what they fight over) and absolutely nothing to making it.I double the recipe and there is still none left at the end of the meal.
No Peek Casserole
2 lbs stew meat (I use 3 lbs)
1 can Campbell's Chicken Mushroom Soup
1/2 cup Ginger Ale
1 pkg Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 4 oz jar mushrooms, drained (optional)

Preheat oven to 300. Combine ALL ingredients (DO NOT brown meat and DO NOT dilute soup with water) together. Mix well. It will be lumpy before it's cooked. Pour into a casserole dish and cover. Bake 2 1/2 to 3 hours. DON'T PEEK!! Serve over pasta, rice or mashed potatoes. The smell as it's cooking is WONDERFUL


clipped on: 12.22.2010 at 04:38 pm    last updated on: 12.22.2010 at 04:38 pm

Positano's Finished Costa Esmeralda Kitchen!!!

posted by: positano on 10.17.2010 at 02:33 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hi Everyone!
I am so happy to finally post my finished pictures. We were done with mostly everything in spring of 2009, but it took me so long to pick out a backsplash.I am glad I waited and got to live with the kitchen a bit. I chose a very neutral tile, so I can spice it up with accessories. I love to change my colors with the seasons. This is my fall kitchen with orange as the accent. For Christmas I add red, and for spring turqouise and yellow. I make inexpensive window treatments with fabric so I can change that out too.I didn't have time to do an orange window treatment before I took these photos. And I have to work on that wall with the black just feel down so it looks a little off!

I want to thank so many out there for your help!!! I couldn't have done it without you. If you can believe it I really wanted the marble, soapstone and white cabinets kitchen, but this one really goes with my home beautifully. Some of my inspirations were Mamadadapaige, GGLKS, Erikanh, blakey, and so many others!
This was done on a budget since this won't be our forever home. We took down a wall between a small kitchen and small dining room. Everyone said don't do it and lose your dining room, but I am so glad we did. It really changed the way we live in this house. We have a relatively small island and it is the most used piece in the kitchen. We love it!

Some of the details-
Costa Esmeralda granite
Adelphi cabinets in eggshell
Kitchenaid french door counter depth fridge
Kitchenaid dishwasher
Kitchenaid wine fridge
DCS gas 5 burner range
Kobe Range Hood
Delta Victorian Pull down faucet
Kichler undercabinet lighting
Island Pendants- Kitchler Industrial
Backsplash- Sonoma 2x6 tile in Krazy Krackle
Behind the range- Herringbone mosaic Krazy Krackle
Grout - Laticrete Antique White
Sink- Kindred
Harvest Pedestal Table-Pottery Barn
Parsons Chairs- PB
Bar Stools- 2 Schoolhouse and 1 saddle from PB
Drum Shade over table- Veraluz Tweed Shade
Floors- Oak with Minwax Special Walnut Stain
Paint- Crown Point Sand- Benjamin Moore

I have found my choice to be so easy to take care of. The granite hides things and doesn't show fingerprints. The stainless just needs a wipe with a wet microfiber every now and then followed by a dry one. And the wood floors have been much better than the white vinyl we had before.

Thanks again!! Maybe I will post more pictures thru the seasons when I change it up. There are lots of pictures, I tried to add some befores so you can see the change!
Click on the album for even more.

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

From Positano's Finished Kitchen

Here is a link that might be useful: Positano's Finished Kitchen


clipped on: 11.21.2010 at 12:44 pm    last updated on: 11.21.2010 at 12:44 pm

RE: Please show me your two story foyer lights (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: brickeyee on 11.15.2010 at 05:18 pm in Building a Home Forum

If you have any pendant lights in a 2-story high room make sure you have a lift installed for them.

Lights on the wall can at least be reached with an extension ladder, but lights in the middle of the room will be an issue.

A manual lift is just fine, the power ones are complete overkill.


Might need this on back stairwell if we cant reach lantern
clipped on: 11.15.2010 at 08:38 pm    last updated on: 11.15.2010 at 08:38 pm

RE: What is your opinion on pocket doors? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: brickeyee on 10.19.2010 at 09:36 am in Building a Home Forum

I have been installing pocket doors for almost 30 years now.

The only hardware you want to look at is made by Johnson Hardware.
The 111PD hardware is excellent.

You need to be aware of clearances for electrical boxes.

Unless the wall is built thicker you cannot install any electrical boxes were the pocket is located without going to low voltage controls.
There is not enough clearance from the face of 1/2 inch drywall to the door itself for the boxes.

The only other issue with Johnson Hardware is preventing door sway when the door is closed.
The plastic guides they supply will scratch the face of the door.

A groove in the bottom of the door and a small piece of aluminum angle on the floor of the pocket work far better.

Any minor scratching is inside the groove were it doe not show.
If you stop the groove before the exposed edge of the door the entire groove is hidden.

For bathrooms stops can be placed opposite the pocket on the jamb.


clipped on: 10.19.2010 at 10:24 am    last updated on: 10.19.2010 at 10:25 am

How not to build a pantry

posted by: bmorepanic on 09.24.2010 at 06:06 pm in Kitchens Forum

First, always have a plan - this was mine.

1. Above all, don't transfer the marks for the studs onto your newly installed drywall. This enables you to make a cool home built tool from a wire coat hanger called a "stuff finder". Cut the straight piece of wire off, bend a triangle on one end leaving a longish piece of straight wire.

2. Take your photos of the framing and try to find something with your stuff finder. You'll use it to poke holes in the drywall to find your stuff in the walls. Try not to worry too much about electricity - after all, if you can't find the studs, the odds are just as good that you won't find the electric lines either.

3. When you find one thing, poke some extra holes to be sure of what you've found.

4. Draw the thing you found on the wall as shown in the photo.

5. Transfer your plan onto the wall and find out it won't fit. Change the plan at the last minute - always good for fun.

6. Do a test assembly of one wall. Haul it upstairs. Be brave and get out some test items - even tho its just put together with a couple of finish nails and not even attached to the wall. This doesn't have all of its parts yet, but you get the idea.

7. Test assemble the other wall and haul it upstairs.

8. Meditate on the differences between ideas and reality when you realize there is no possible way to assemble the two sections to each other. The Tao of two large objects that nest together in a tiny space. Haul it all downstairs.

9. Change the plans in mid-do. Thank the deity of your choice that its just put together with a couple of finish nails while you take it all apart, shorten all the shelves slightly and rip the unseen back corners off the long uprights so they will be able to twist into place.

10. Change the plans one last time for that one shelf spacing issue that was bugging you. Haul it all back upstairs

11. Retest the assembly of the two wall shelf units to each other. Haul it all back to the basement.

12. Take it all apart and screw it all back together.

13. Add the under shelf support trim and screw to shelves.

14. Haul it all back into place and make sure it still fits.

15. Pre drill the supports for the screws that will permanently attach the units to the walls. Haul it all downstairs.

16. Apply primer and wish you didn't have to now sand it all.

17. Realize that the piece of 1 x 8 you have left for the tippy top shelf is too short by 1 inch.

18. Quit for the day.


clipped on: 09.25.2010 at 08:39 pm    last updated on: 09.25.2010 at 08:39 pm

RE: How to install a flat screen tv without showing the wire clut (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: david_cary on 09.24.2010 at 02:02 pm in Building a Home Forum

Don't worry - your low voltage person will know how to deal with all this.

Smurf tube is far cheaper than other options. The more clean install is HDMI jacks in the wall. The really bad thing about what some LV guys do is 1 HDMI jack. Well - most people have DVD and cable box - you can switch it in the built in but that requires another piece and isn't as nice as changing the input on the TV. Everyone has different needs so I'd really recommend smurf tube (esp 1.5 in). Feeding the wire later is a bit of a pain however.

You need IR repeating but that is a whole another can of worms.


clipped on: 09.24.2010 at 03:54 pm    last updated on: 09.24.2010 at 03:54 pm

Poof! Marble etches gone! (pics)

posted by: niffy on 09.05.2010 at 12:17 pm in Kitchens Forum

I have mentioned before that with our honed marble, I am able to remove etches with a green Scotchbrite pad (the plain, thin pad, not the back side of a sponge). Last night my daughter got lemonade on the marble and it etched, so I decided it was an opportunity for a "demo." Hopefully this will be helpful to people (like me!) who hesitate about marble due to the etching issues. The general consensus seems to be that the sealers prevent stainining (ours does) but that etching remains an issue that you have to be able to live with. I don't live with them - I remove them. Voila!

Below you should be able to spot 2 circular etches, with the second one being far fainter, just above the first.

I used a little spray of granite cleaner and my green Scotchbrite pad and... gone.

Marble etch removal.jpg

I am a 100% happy marble owner:)


clipped on: 09.17.2010 at 08:23 pm    last updated on: 09.17.2010 at 08:23 pm

RE: Show me your soap/shampoo niches! (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: rookie_2010 on 09.10.2010 at 04:47 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I went to a local fabricator's yard with my tile and scoured the yard for remnants that matched. The fabricator made the niche insert and delivered it in one piece ready for the tile installer to set.
Here's it is:


clipped on: 09.12.2010 at 08:21 pm    last updated on: 09.12.2010 at 08:22 pm

RE: Do you Grill on your Range Top? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: amcook on 08.25.2010 at 06:59 pm in Appliances Forum

Personally, I would say 600cfm over a 36" range with grill is a bit under powered. I'd go 1200cfm but you can probably get away with around 900cfm. If you only grill veggies, then maybe 600 would be enough but with meat especially nicely marbled steak you'll have more smoke than a 600cfm blower can handle I think.

Good luck.


clipped on: 08.27.2010 at 11:32 am    last updated on: 08.27.2010 at 11:32 am

RE: Finished! White, Statuary, and Aqua Grantique (Follow-Up #60)

posted by: niffy on 06.11.2010 at 11:22 pm in Kitchens Forum

Wow- everyone is so complimentary! We are still doing some behind the scenes tweaking with our cabinetry (some doors and drawer fronts being repainted or remade - so currently missing!) - so it is nice to see the big picture again through your kind eyes.

To answer a few of your questions:
rhome and ejbrymom- a few more pics below(sorry I don't have more family room ones at the moment).

lynnhb3 and irishcreamgirl - counter stools (yes they are counter height) are the "Laura" stools by Little Bird Furniture. You can find them online. We just got our side chairs from Little Bird also - the "Anna". They aren't in the photos. NOT inexpensive, but honestly, the most comfortable counter stools you ever could imagine. LOVE them!

kellykath- my perimeter countertops are just shy of 25" deep total (1" shallower at the X cabinet, as that area is slightly recessed to make it stand out from the rest). 24" cabs with a 1" overhang.

aokat - the fridge/freezer columns are each 30", plus the bookshelf/drawer area between them is 24". There is a 3" area of cabinetry on either side of fridge and freezer, so total area is about 90".

OK, more photos of kitchen and nearby areas....

View of kitchen from family room (ignore the missing "feet" on the fridge freezer area. They're coming!):

kitchen office desk area (actually just around corner, and attached to mudroom, so as to avoid the Junk-on-the-Island syndrome that has plagued us our whole lives). Middle of the upper cabinet has AWESOME mail and magazine slots that we designed to organize incoming and outgoing personal and business mail etc. Color in here is SW Sea Salt btw...:
Office desk wall

Opposite wall of kitchen/mudroom office. Contains file drawers, garbage pullout, second garbage pullout with built in shredder, 4 charging drawers for each family member, and then lots of places to organize the kids school papers, etc behind those big doors:
office wall storage

And.... the mudroom. One locker per family member, plus a big closet (not visible - on opposite wall). Almost forgot to design a sink in here- that would've been a disaster!


clipped on: 08.23.2010 at 12:13 pm    last updated on: 08.23.2010 at 12:13 pm

Finished! White, Statuary, and Aqua Grantique

posted by: niffy on 05.22.2010 at 02:09 am in Kitchens Forum

Egad, I think it is done - well except for the dinette chairs that are on a container somewhere in the Pacific, and the base moulding for the fridge/freezer. Done enough, anyway....
I owe GW a great debt for many things, but a special thanks to all the marble lovers out there whose kitchens convinced me to go for it. I almost became a Virginia Mist convert, too, until I happened upon this brushed Aqua Grantique which fulfilled all my soapstone/marble/but low maintenance fantasies.... Margieb2- if you are still around, thank you for your arch! We had the half walls/columns on our plans, and once I saw yours, I knew EXACTLY how ours needed to be trimmed. We owe you big time.

So details....
Cabinets: custom, antique white. Island is maple stained dark walnut with a dark glaze or something.
Hardware: Polished nickel pulls and knobs, through cab company
Island countertop: statuary marble, honed
Perimeter countertop: aqua grantique (a granitic gneiss, apparently) - brushed finish
Backsplash: statuary 12x12 cut down to subways, statuary herringbone, and cut statuary slab
Floors: Brazilian walnut
Walls: SW Silvermist
Chandeliers: Schonbek New Orleans mini
Appliances: 30" Gaggenau fridge/freezer columns, GE Monogram Advantium 240 oven, GE Monogram Convection single oven, Wolf 36" induction cooktop, Miele La Perla dishwasher, and GE Monogram microwave (in end of island)
Sinks: Rohl 30" and Kohler Irontones for prep
Faucets: Rohl Country in polished nickel (avoid the burgundy felt "protective" bags. They stain when wet - stain things like new white marble. Don't ask how I know. Bags. Are. Evil.)

Hood/cooktop wall:

Sink wall (well, part of it anyway):

Fridge/freezer wall:

Perspective on location of pantry/butler's pantry:

Breakfast room and Family room:

Breakfast room hutch:

Aqua Grantique Close-up:

Countertop and Backsplash:

Cooktop backsplash:

Built-in Pantry (across from butler's pantry cabinets/counter)


clipped on: 08.23.2010 at 12:11 pm    last updated on: 08.23.2010 at 12:12 pm

RE: Am I missing anything? meeting with electrician tomorrow (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: sis3 on 08.18.2010 at 09:31 am in Building a Home Forum

"a lot of 4 light switches/switch plates for almost all my rooms so I could add something!" _ I don't really understand this one. The wiring would already have to be inside the walls to the 'thing' you would be wanting to add. Just having a switch/switchplate with extra capacity would not enable you to do this. Am I misunderstanding here?

mythreesonsnc - we buried a pvc pipe beneath our drive so that we would be able to wire anything we wanted to add in the future. We ran lengths of string through the pipe (to help us pull wire through in the future)and capped both ends.


clipped on: 08.22.2010 at 11:16 am    last updated on: 08.22.2010 at 11:16 am

Am I missing anything? meeting with electrician tomorrow

posted by: robinson622 on 08.17.2010 at 11:38 pm in Building a Home Forum

I've compiled a list of ideas from this forum over the years for electrical wants/needs. Forgive me if some don't make sense, they were copied directly from previous posts. Add any ideas you may have & let me know if there are any in the list that you find really unnecessary. Sorry for the repeats, there are quite a few.

-Attic fan & whole house fan
-outdoor speakers
-outdoor uplight landscaping lights;
-outlets placed in the floor of my family room so I could have a light placed behind the sofa on my sofa table;
-all four corners of the home with motion sensor lighting; connected to both back doors and master bedroom as well as front door sconces
-TV/Cable/internet in my kitchen; under cabinet tv
-low voltage-xenon under cabinet lighting wired to switch on dimmer
-wire for outlets above cabinet for rope lighting connected to a switch in kitchen
-a lot of 4 light switches/switch plates for almost all my rooms so I could add something!
-carbon monoxide sensors
-surround sound in rec room & playroom
-Place outlets in my mantle
-Wired for Cat 7 whole house audio.
-We knew in advance where we were planning to hang the plasma televisions, so we wired the wall where they were hang so there wouldn't be any visible wires.
-Outside outlets
-outlets inside bathroom cabinets such that hair dryers can be plugged in and placed inside a drawer rather than being draped over the countertops.
-'boogie-man' lights switch and switch to room lights by the bed
-outlets on either side of the front door for Christmas decorations wired to interior switch
-outlets in ceiling of porch above pillars for decorations
-switch for gas fireplace starter
-Outlets under roof eaves/soffits for Christmas lights wired to one switch inside foyer closet
-Outlets under inside of windows for 'candle' lights
(and place them on switches as well).
-Where are you going to put your Christmas tree?
Place an outlet in that corner controlled by a switch!
-Place an outlet at front of the side base for a lighted garland up the staircase.
-Place outlets on every exterior wall for landscape lighting or yard work.
-Several outlets in walk-in pantry
-Outlets on both ends of island
-Place an outlet adjacent to telephone jacks for cordless telephone base.
-GFI outlet under the sink for the instant hot water dispenser and garbage disposal
-If you are putting in a security system or intercom
(or are just pre-wiring), be sure to provide
electrical service to these areas.
-Light switch in hall, etc. for attic
-For furniture placed in the middle of a room,
place outlets and fixtures directly above or below exact location.
-Place outlets in convenient locations at bathroom vanity inside drawers for razor, electric toothbrush, hairdryer
-For a home office, fully consider computer, scanner, printer, answering machine, lamps, chargers, radios...need I say more?
-Do you need a plug-in for a laptop computer? Where?
-Where your TV is located, don't forget the DVD, VCR, CD...
-what else did I forget?...oh, yeah...satellite receiver? Dvd and all other peripherals in cabinet and wired to tv
-In a bedroom, don't underestimate the number of plug-ins at your bed stand: alarm clock, cordless phone, lamps. A quad outlet may be needed. Put outlets on opposite walls too in case room is changed around.
-Add outlets in exercise room closet for treadmill & elliptical
-Wire for flat screen tv in exercise room
-Remember that your dishwasher also needs an undersink (usually) plug, so you might want a 4 receptacle outlet -- of course, GFCI.
-dimmers on every entry point to kitchen, living, rec, foyer and mud
-Quad outlets in study for printer/wireless router/etc. and kitchen
-Outside closet light switches.
-I think running 3/4" or 1" PVC conduit for comm wiring is probably the smartest thing to do. That way, you're pretty much ready for anything that the future throws at us.
-Floor outlets in middle of family room
-Dedicated circuit? Outlet in master closet for ironing and outlet for charging cell phones
-Step lights on front porch, up stairs and in area under stairs
-put a motion sensor on the wall next to the door to the deck so we can carry stuff out there from the kitchen and the lights will go on automatically.
-lights for our deck along the top rail
-rope lights under bathroom vanities
-lighting for backyard
-outlets for cable and electric behind the tv
-sconces next to entry to study and family room, sconces in hallways - upstairs and on sides of mirrors in bathroom
-quad outlets rated for 20A in front storage area for air compressor, etc.
-wire for lighting in storage area
-interior switch to exterior outlets
-light in area under stairs
-run 2 inch pvc pipe from attic to first floor/crawl space for future wiring purposes
-bedside lamps wired to switch
-outlet and gfci outlet for future bar area near kitchen
-make sure all outdoor lights arent only on one switch so they can also be turned on individually instead of lighting up the entire outside when not necessary
-outlets in storage area set at 4ft height
-switch for lights above island on the island

My kids have closets with bifold I need a light in those closets?

Rope lights under vanity? How do you feel about them? Just for the kids' bathroom if at all?
I know I'll forget something, but I'm waaaaay better off than I would have been if I didn't have GW.

Thanks in advance!


clipped on: 08.22.2010 at 11:14 am    last updated on: 08.22.2010 at 11:14 am

RE: Foaming roof rafters or higher SEER A/C (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: david_cary on 08.17.2010 at 05:49 am in Building a Home Forum

Athens - 2 things.

If you rarely get below freezing then you don't really need NG at all. My NG is locked out to come on below 35 degrees. So if you rarely get there, you probably don't need it. What I find is that if you are heat pump only, then you want a good system with at least a variable speed fan. You also want a good install so that you never know the system is on. I'd recommend returns in all bedrooms for instance (I think that is good either way) so that you never have issues with air flow under doors. This usually isn't an issue downstairs since there are much less doors in a typical open plan.

2nd - ok I have 2000 sq per floor (roughly). Foamed windows, doors; R-40 in attic; Energy star (which has a couple extra small requirements); and my total was $4k - I only put this because I saw your number in another thread. That included basement walls, interior sound for powder and master bath. I highly recommend foaming the plumbing runs for sound proofing. We have cast iron downpipes (the quieter option) but with modern good toilets (low water use but enough force to not get plugged), the water rushes really fast. You will want to quiet that rush. It is one of those regrets that my builder never brought up. I may even retrofit it and Ill do it in the basement.


clipped on: 08.17.2010 at 07:53 am    last updated on: 08.17.2010 at 07:54 am

RE: Anyone doing brick pavers? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: nutherokie on 07.31.2010 at 03:29 pm in Building a Home Forum

Hi stayin2busy!

I'm doing pavers in my entry, dining room, kitchen, mudroom/laundry, and back hall bath. I can't say I've had a lot of encouragement. At first all the naysayers made me really nervous and I considered doing something else. Finally my rebellious streak kicked in and dang it, I'm doing brick floors come Hades or high water!

There are two or three folks on the decorating forum that have them and love them. From one of them I learned about Ring Brick Floor Sealer and I plan to seal my floors with that. I'm also planning to do a mortarless install so there shouldn't be a "grout" issue. I'm going with full-sized, tumbled pavers that I hope will have a soft, vintage look. I say, stick to your guns -- but, of course, I don't have mine yet!


clipped on: 08.01.2010 at 09:04 am    last updated on: 08.01.2010 at 09:04 am

RE: How deep are your mudroom lockers? (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: bigkahuna on 07.30.2010 at 11:52 pm in Building a Home Forum

Width should be as wide as you can get them LOL. 24" is good. But as you plan the dividers you may consider 16" plus any frame. They are usually made of plywood and a 48" wide sheet will yield 3 dividers and keep waste to a minimum. Good luck


clipped on: 07.31.2010 at 10:27 pm    last updated on: 07.31.2010 at 10:27 pm

RE: Consumer Reports and Cabinets (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: bluekitobsessed on 04.26.2008 at 07:23 pm in Kitchens Forum

August 2004. To save you some time & trouble, Omega was rated very, very high, then Fieldstone 1/2 inch, then Diamond Platinum and Ikea, then Thomasville and Shenandoah...Kitchen Classics (not Select) was ranked far, far lower than anyone else. Also, CR has a brand new kitchens specialty issue available right now on the shelves.


clipped on: 07.26.2010 at 10:55 pm    last updated on: 07.26.2010 at 10:56 pm

RE: Explain the Point of Dish Soap Dispenser at Sink (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: cat_mom on 07.22.2010 at 10:10 am in Kitchens Forum

One absolute for me when we did our kitchen was having a soap dispenser. No more moving a bottle of dish soap out of the way, or knocking it over, or trying to balance it on it's cap when the bottle got low--hooray!!! Would never go back to not having one.

We got the Never M-T (thank you GW!!!) so I never have to refill a little bottle with dish soap. Using a big bottle (or warehouse store sized jug) of dish soap means I don't have to replace that more than a few times a year.


clipped on: 07.23.2010 at 10:43 pm    last updated on: 07.23.2010 at 10:44 pm

RE: how strong an exhaust fan for Wolf (or any) cooktop? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: amcook on 07.16.2010 at 02:13 pm in Appliances Forum

Rule of thumb is total BTU divided by 100 equals total CFM. That means if you had a range with 4 18k BTU burners, then you should plan for around 720CFM (18000 x 4 / 100). Of course you can just take the kBTU and multiply by 10 (18 x 4 x 10) to reach the same number which is easier math.

That said, it's just a rule of thumb. Total CFM required depends on the type of hood you use, your install situation, and the type of cooking you do. Long duct runs reduces the net CFM rating of the hood so a 600CFM hood might only be moving 400CFM of air if there is a long duct run or many bends. If you do stirfry, indoor grilling, or heavy saute, that would up your spec a bit as well. Also, nearby windows and doors that are likely to be open during cooking can be a source of drafts that can carry smoke away so they need to be considered as well. Typically, get the most you can afford and can fit in the space. Sometimes getting a larger hood to increase capture area can actually do more than increasing the CFM.

Some would argue that since I never have 2 burners going at the same time that it's ok to have a smaller hood which is reasonable but does reduce your buffer. IMHO the "rule of thumb" already accounts for less than full capacity usage since I doubt 900CFM would be enough if I had 4 full power saute or stirfry pans going. In other words, I would not advise going lower unless you think your usage will be less than "average".

Good luck.


clipped on: 07.19.2010 at 09:36 am    last updated on: 07.19.2010 at 09:36 am

RE: Not-so-smart fireplace question (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: macv on 07.07.2010 at 08:02 am in Building a Home Forum

An fireplace insert is a factory built metal fireplace that fits into a pre-existing masonry fireplace.

An open gas fireplace has a single walled B-Vent flue through the roof and takes it's combustion air from the room or through an optional outside air duct to the side of the firebox. A direct vent fireplace has a double walled flue, takes its combustion air from outside, has a fixed glass front, and can vent through a wall or a roof.

An Isokern fireplace is a field assembled fire box of factory built modular masonry elements. It can have a masonry or metal chimney for wood burning fireplaces or a metal B-Vent flue (to the roof) for an open gas fireplace (model IBV). It can have an outside air duct to the firebox side wall. The unit can sit on a combustible floor (reinforced for the weight) but the bottom of the firebox will be 4.5 inches higher than the structural subfloor. For a flush hearth the firebox must be recessed into the floor structure and the required clearance must be met at the perimeter of the unit.

I am not sure of the advantage of building a modular masonry firebox for a gas fireplace. It would be virtually indistinguishable from a metal factory-built gas fireplace.


clipped on: 07.07.2010 at 09:10 am    last updated on: 07.07.2010 at 09:10 am

RE: Do I go tankless water heater or wait for 75-gal gas heater? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: chisue on 06.25.2010 at 02:52 pm in Building a Home Forum

How about two water heaters? (We have two 50-gal. Unlikely both would quit at the same time.) If you want instant hot water, get a circulator. I LOVE not standing around waiting for the hot water to reach whatever sink I'm using.


clipped on: 06.25.2010 at 04:17 pm    last updated on: 06.25.2010 at 04:17 pm

RE: Brickmould by window manufacturer? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: macv on 06.02.2010 at 04:22 pm in Building a Home Forum

The trim provides low maintenance with traditional detailing. If you're going to that expense I highly recommend adding a PVC sill nosing under the sill so that the jamb trim has something to sit on just like a traditional double-hung window.

Here are the trim elements shown as they will probably be installed:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Here is a link that might be useful: ATW PVC sill nosing


clipped on: 06.02.2010 at 04:56 pm    last updated on: 06.02.2010 at 04:57 pm

RE: How deep are your mudroom lockers? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: hollyh3kids on 05.23.2010 at 01:59 pm in Building a Home Forum

I LOVE LOVE LOVE our mudroom cubbies! They are 26in wide and 20in deep. We have a hook on the back and hooks on each side. So each cubby has three spots to hang stuff. You need to really think about the width because in the winter you have thick puffy coats that need room to hang. We have no problems with room. We also love NO 'bins' underneath for shoes. We are a family that loves to kick off our shoes rather than have to 'pick' them up to place them on a ledge or in a basket. Works great for us and keeps them out of the walkway. Here is a pic:


mud room hook placement
clipped on: 05.25.2010 at 09:45 pm    last updated on: 05.25.2010 at 09:46 pm

RE: doing whole house audio (Follow-Up #36)

posted by: tracey_b on 05.18.2010 at 10:14 am in Building a Home Forum

I'm about to order my audio stuff and had a few more questions:

David--which of the intermediate's controllers did you get? "Watts" don't mean that much to me--a non-audiophile, so if I go with the MCA-66 amp/controller w/ 60 watts/zone do you think that'd be good enough? Those w/ external amps offer more watts per, but at a higher price. Don't know if I'd miss the extra or not?

Also, which Monoprice speakers can you recommend?

And, anyone know how you hook together 2 amp/controllers? We're going to end up with more than 6 zones eventually. I know I can use 2 amp/controllers, but how do they share the same audio sources? Splitters from the sources out to the 2 controllers?

Many, many thanks!


clipped on: 05.18.2010 at 08:27 pm    last updated on: 05.18.2010 at 08:27 pm

RE: doing whole house audio (Follow-Up #37)

posted by: david_cary on 05.18.2010 at 02:10 pm in Building a Home Forum

Tb. Just get the cheaper intermediate unit. You're right, you don't need the power. You can buy splitters for the audio sources, I think the manual explains hooking up 2 amps.

I just got the cheapest monoprice speakers. There are 2 channel speakers that are more expensive and used when you have one speaker in a room (usually a hall or bath). They also have other more expensive options that you don't need. I went with 6.5 inches inside and 8 inches on a high ceiling screened in porch.


clipped on: 05.18.2010 at 08:25 pm    last updated on: 05.18.2010 at 08:25 pm

RE: Whole house LED recessed lighting (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: thull on 05.16.2010 at 09:19 pm in Building a Home Forum

I'm all about supporting new "green" technology to build demand and reduce prices for the future. But, for just your lighting, $6k is some serious opportunity cost.

I also agree that the payback is probably longer than you're coming up with. The Energy Star website has some calculators, but I spent a minute looking at one and had a hard time believing the 2-year payback it was calculating (

The little bit I know from my experience- I haven't looked at the LED downlights at all. We replaced MR16 halogens at my office in accent lights with LED bulbs. We were able to get good light color with these, but the light output isn't comparable.

In my house, we put in insulation contact airtight (ICAT) recessed cans and used off-the-shelf CFLs in them. My conservative guess is that the cost for these is about $20 each w/ bulb. We finished the remodel 4 years ago, and I can count the number that I've replaced out of ~25 fixtures on one hand (IIRC, it's 2).

I think making sure the cans are sealed up is more important to your energy bill by a long shot. The money you're contemplating spending would go a long way toward upgrading some combination of your HVAC, insulation, and/or air sealing of the building envelope.


clipped on: 05.16.2010 at 10:35 pm    last updated on: 05.16.2010 at 10:35 pm

RE: doing whole house audio (Follow-Up #30)

posted by: david_cary on 04.04.2010 at 07:48 am in Building a Home Forum

I don't think I realized you were local.

Slick but annoying website - don't know anything about them. Look high dollar. The pics are a good reminder that you have to plan for wall mounted flat screens if that is what you want. Not slick to have a wall mounted tv and then a visible cable box or wires. This is where a whole house video system comes in handy.

I got monoprice's speakers despite decent reviews from HTD and the discount if you got them at the time of the system. I can't remember why monoprice but I suspect it was because of 100s of good reviews and they are super cheap.

Templating.... What drywall people want is brackets - which are not always available and are ridiculously expensive for what they are (like $20+ for a piece of plastic). I really think they are more than the speakers sometimes. Why an 8 inch round speaker is not an 8 inch round speaker, I'll never know. I guess there is 7 15/16 and 8 1/8. But either way, you are supposed to use matched brackets. A quick check of prices showed from $5 to $50 a piece for the brackets.

Check out for some cheap good speakers (and really good prices on everything related to LV). I personally don't think a ceiling is a place for $350 a pair speakers. It is a fantastic place for $50 a pair speakers. We have some 8 in monoprice on our screened in porch with the HTD system and they are plenty loud and sound really good. 6.5 inside with 9-11 ft ceilings


clipped on: 04.05.2010 at 07:35 am    last updated on: 04.05.2010 at 07:35 am

RE: Extra Insulation (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: worthy on 03.25.2010 at 01:37 am in Building a Home Forum

Yep, no chemicals, in cellulose insulation from recycled newspapers. LOL

Water-blown polyethyelene foam contains no HFCs, VOCs or CFCs and, were money no object, would be my first choice. Still, the conclusive answer on safety is not in yet on spray foam either.

So make sure either type of insulation is well-sealed off from living spaces. And those people with special sensitivities should maybe look to other types of insulation.

As for insulating a garage in a warm zone. Unless you plan on cooling or heating your garage, don't bother. What you should insulate is the ceiling of the garage if there is conditioned living space above it. The best choice for that is cc spray foam.


clipped on: 03.29.2010 at 08:41 am    last updated on: 03.29.2010 at 08:41 am

RE: doing whole house audio (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: david_cary on 03.28.2010 at 09:09 am in Building a Home Forum

Yes - you do need cat-5 to all control locations. It may not mention it on the surface but you absolutely need it.

Internet radio - best solution is logitech squeezebox duet. My non techie wife uses it daily. You control the station, can fast forward (and rewind depending on source), change volume. I use Pandora and the interface is awesome. It uses wi-fi which for me works in all 5,000 sq feet and in the yard/porches/decks. It has an LCD screen with song and artist info. Sonos is a more expensive competitor. Check the logitech site and you will be impressed - it is about $350.

You can just do straight computer to receiver location but the logitech interface is sweet and you don't have to have the computer on. The device uses 5 watts total....


clipped on: 03.28.2010 at 09:41 am    last updated on: 03.28.2010 at 09:41 am

RE: confused about aluminum-clad windows (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: mcsbldr on 07.29.2008 at 08:55 pm in Windows Forum

Please be sure to check your local resources, as there are extruded aluminum, clad-wood, window manufacturers that build double hung type windows within your dimensions, as standard product. These standard products also conform to hurricane codes, which may be prevalent in your area. Contrary to your inital post, the Pella product is not all extruded, as the sash are roll-formed aluminum, and thus are a weak point in the product. This may be a reason why the unit size is not avalable for you, as the structural rating would be downgraded from that of a company that produces a much stronger window with all extruded aluminum. Therein lies the problem with roll-formed aluminum clad windows, and the reason we do not use them for our building material requirements.

Regardless, I believe some other manufacturers also provide the dust-less blind system. Check with Andersen, Eagle, Kolbe or Marvin. Although Andersen does not provide an extruded aluminum product, the others do and certainly would be able to provide the size you are requesting without manipulating the opening or using a different type of window assembly.


Window manufacturers with extruded aluminum
clipped on: 03.26.2010 at 09:46 pm    last updated on: 03.26.2010 at 09:46 pm

RE: windows -- Pella, Anderson, or other??? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: pps7 on 03.21.2010 at 05:25 pm in Building a Home Forum

ooops sorry for the typos. Was on my iphone.

We only looked at extruded aluminum clad and if I remember correctly Pella is a rolled aluminum, not extruded.

Others we looked at:

Marvin Ultimate casement and Kolbe were the nicest and most expensive.

Jeldwen has 3 lines. Custom Wood (formerly Pozzi)-was too expensive. Premium (formerly Norco) was cheaper, but not that much cheaper than Marvin and I felt the Marvin was far better. Jeldwen Builder's series is rolled aluminum cladding.

The Windsor was cheaper than all the above. We felt it was good enough. My husband and son have bad allergies so we don't open windows that often.

May want to look at Marvin Integrity as well. I would get quotes from all of these.

Here's the house so far, obviously we haven't moved in yet, so can't comment on quality yet. My SIL used Windsor for her build 6 years ago and doesn't have any complaints.



Also BiltBest
clipped on: 03.21.2010 at 08:40 pm    last updated on: 03.21.2010 at 08:41 pm

RE: Please help.... we have closed and now the issues start (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: jimandanne_mi on 03.14.2010 at 10:54 pm in Building a Home Forum

We sealed our bonus room (over the 3-car garage) floor, knee walls, and ceiling with foam, and then insulated with cellulose. My daughter and grandson sleep there, and it's the warmest room on the 2nd floor. Be sure they seal EVERY crack between the garage ceiling and the MBR/bath floor with the foam.

In my previous home (a condo), I had a long wall crack and some tie rod form holes that had popped leaks sealed with some kind of soft white goop--done by a company called Mr. Sponge. Their web site is, but they are only in Michigan. They have some kind of proprietary sealer that they inject, but maybe if you look at the Fox News explanation posted on their web site, you can figure out what to ask someone in your area about for your leaks. 25 years later, when we had to take out the finished wall paneling to fix a different leak, these patches were still as dry as a bone, and the goop was just as resilient as the day it was put in. The walls are repaired from the INSIDE.

Our present master bath is on 2 NW facing outside walls plus a garage wall, has a 9' ceiling, and is too cool for me--it's also at the far end of the heating run from the furnace. We just use a small space heater sometimes in Nov-Mar, and it is fine. However, with your "HUGE bathroom with very, very high cathedral ceilings", if a space heater doesn't solve the problem, you may have to make a choice between tearing up the floor tile and putting in radiant, or dropping the ceiling down quite a few feet. We put radiant in our lower level bathroom, since my mother was supposed to spend several months down there. As it turned out my daughter uses that bath to shower, but even though it can be cool during the winter (we're still in the process of adjusting our ducts throughout the house, since when we use the woodstove it throws off the house thermostat), she doesn't use the radiant since it takes a while to warm the floor, and she doesn't pre-set it.

We got a Brookstone sleep therapy machine similar to the one linked below to block out the noise of our 3 very young grandchildren (early risers) who live with us during the week. Maybe something like this might help you adjust to the noise from your garage door opening under you. You don't have to spend this much--DH likes his gadgets! We chose a New Age sounding music from the 12 choices, and like that it goes all night.

I can empathize with how tired and discouraged you are right now. We were owner-builders, so when we moved in, there were quite a few things that still needed to be finished, and we certainly had our share of unexpected things to be fixed as we went along. We've been in for over 2 years, and our list is getting shorter. Life is finally getting to be more enjoyable now that we're past our major hassles and most of the extra little jobs! The unexpectedness of your need for some major fixes, plus having to spend more money after saving for so long, when you thought you'd move in and love it must be a real downer. I'm sorry you're having to go through this. Part of the difficulty and discouraging part is not knowing how to fix everything.

Good luck with it all--they are fixable problems, and I hope some of these suggestions will work for you.


Here is a link that might be useful: Brookstone sleep therapy machine


clipped on: 03.16.2010 at 04:08 am    last updated on: 03.16.2010 at 04:09 am

RE: Foam insulation is saving us a bundle in heating $$ (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: emilynewhome on 03.12.2010 at 03:34 pm in Building a Home Forum

We are in S.E. Louisiana, we installed foam also. The winters are usually mild, a bit colder this year, although nothing like you folks up north! Summers are very hot and humid. Our heating and A/C bill averages just under $100 month for 3000 sq ft home
Yes expensive initially, but well worth the monthly savings!


clipped on: 03.12.2010 at 05:35 pm    last updated on: 03.12.2010 at 05:35 pm

RE: Cost-Plus or Fixed Price? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: macv on 03.04.2010 at 12:20 pm in Building a Home Forum

A clarification of contract terms may help. A Cost of the Work contact should always have a Fixed Fee but that Fee can be based on a fixed percentage of the billed Cost or it can be a fixed Lump Sum amount paid in installments. Both fees are considered "fixed" to distinguish them from the Cost of the Work or the Budget prepared by the builder.

A Cost of the Work contract should have a well itemized Budget established by the contractor and the contractor should frequently update it as the work is bought-out, performed and paid for so you can know how you are doing (you can do this yourself but it's quite a bit harder since you have to get the information from the contractor in a timely fashion) Without that management service, a Cost of the Work contract can lead to serious cost overruns without sufficient warning for you to do something about it especially if the Budget was not accurate or the documents incomplete.

It is possible to receive competitive bids for the Fixed Fee or a Guaranteed Maximum Price along with proposals for management services and to then award the contract on that basis, but not on the basis of the proposed Budget since that price is not binding. Guaranteed Maximum Prices are rare in home building because there is no upside profit possibility if he keeps the cost down.

Cost of the Work contracts are not for inexperienced owners or builders unskilled in project management unless, of course, there is no project cost limit.


clipped on: 03.05.2010 at 06:08 pm    last updated on: 03.05.2010 at 06:08 pm

RE: Calling all serious cooks! (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: loves2cook4six on 02.03.2010 at 08:04 pm in Kitchens Forum

1. Zones
2. Storage, in some cases like salt, having it in the baking and prep zones
3. Appliances for efficiency not design
4. TWO Dishwashers but we're a big family who entertain a lot.
5. PLANNING. Cannot stress this enough. Take inventory of what you will want to have in your kitchen and plan where it will all go when you are done. There shouldn't be any surprises.
6. PLANNING. When you have a working layout, label where you will be storing everything from pantry staples, to pots and pans and then walk through a couple of your favorite recipes and see if it still works. Tweak as necessary.
7.PLANNING. When you are walking through all those recipes, think about small appliances. Where will they be stored? What about electrical outlets? If you're using plugmold, what will be "permanently" plugged in? You may want to consider a few strategic outlets to hide those dangling cords.

Honestly, I don't think you can overplan a kitchen.

Make conscious decisions based on an informed basis means that even where you make choices that aren't optimal, they have been done with thought. Ours was choosing form over fnction in locating the DW/prep sink. We didn't want the sink visible from the front door.


Plug mold vs. a couple of standard outlets for cords.

Use cable and electric outlet (dual) for television.

clipped on: 02.04.2010 at 10:10 am    last updated on: 02.04.2010 at 10:10 am