And the road goes on forever...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Brimming With Ideas

We’re still dealing with lots of winter here and Marc just got off to more of it this week in North Dakota as he oversees his projects there. You can tell what Munchkin thinks of it all…er, wait; this is what cats always do right? 

We closed on our additional acre lot last Friday and I’m hopeful to make some progress this week on making some selections so we can start the process of working towards a price quote on part of the house. I will meet with Jenny at Blenker’s, in their nicely done showroom where we’ll go over selections of things like roof color and material grade, windows, siding, interior doors and millwork, and most important to me, kitchen cabinetry and counters. We intend to stick pretty close to basics, hoping to hold price down as much as possible, figuring we can always upgrade later to better materials as we can save the money for it. Marc is insisting upon a high grade of roof and some decent windows though since those are difficult to trade out later.
I’m very excited to finally be at this stage but I feel as though in my mind’s eye I have been at it forever. I have a computerized idea book that is bursting with photos and ideas but which causes me to constantly second guess my choices. Do you ever find that about modern life—that there are just too damn many choices anymore? I mean, how does one chose from thousands and thousands of wall paint colors for instance? Have you had the need to check out flooring lately? Not only are there too many choices in materials, within each category there then are too many grades and categories and finally, too many patterns and colors. It’s enough to drive a person mad! 

We can say we are fairly certain of our floor plan however. This is the stock plan and we’ll be making some changes to it. The plan is small but sports a few really nice features, like the screen room right off the main living area of the house which will make indoor/outdoor living a breezy convenience. Marc will have a full on basement which will effectively double the square footage but it won’t be finished off at first.
We have the idea to move the laundry closet to the hallway by the master bedroom since we can get by with less room in the master bath. We only need a shower and one sink in a smaller vanity so we can eliminate the tub and larger vanity with second sink. The former laundry closet will then open on the kitchen side becoming a large pantry closet. We also don’t have any need for a large dining area (preferring a really long island/eating bar instead) so we plan to move kitchen cabinetry farther into that space giving room for a built-in wall oven and microwave where it shows the current pantry cupboard. This will also serve to enlarge the kitchen to the professional size with lots of counter space that we desire. We’ll be moving the cook top from the island but not sure just where as yet, and hope to have it topped with a statement custom hood/vent that will be the focal point of the kitchen. 

Finally, I am being drawn strongly to a very different type kitchen cabinet, done with a specialty stain that resembles coastal driftwood in color. It’s called Appaloosa and after thinking long and hard about it I think I can make it pretty striking by accessorizing with coastal colors and white, using a very pale grey wall color. Here are a couple photos of the model kitchen showing it on cherry; it’s also available on rustic alder and maple. So I’m fairly certain I have the color chosen; now to choose the door style and wood species. This is just the beginning folks; stick around!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bone Chilling

Marc arrived back Friday from his latest trip to the icebox of North Dakota and oversight of his projects. It’s become a very long, boring drive for him at this point but with many more on the horizon there won’t be any breaks. 

Saturday we decided to get some exercise on our lot despite temperatures that started in the minus realm. We also took time to obtain a post office box in the Waupaca P.O. and I was charmed to see the old boxes. We love the historical details of many of the buildings in this area.
We have a new and necessary toy for this climate—a snow blower—and Marc wanted to make sure I would know how to run it. He’s trying to keep a trail to the empty shed and a driveway cleared out so he finished up while I enjoyed standing in the cold sunshine. It was just nice to be outdoors and see it beaming.
For this year we have decided to place our garden in the mostly already fenced area adjacent to the shop. We figure even though the fence is short, it is solid so should keep rodents at bay and hopefully deter deer as well. We just have a little while until the snow melts to planting time….Meanwhile however; our apple trees look to be getting to the point where they may need pruning. We discovered a third one out front so we should be very well supplied with fruit come fall.
While we were working, we were approached by the owner of the two contiguous lots to the west of ours who is interested in selling. He is willing to take a sizeable loss since he purchased during the boom years and offered excellent owner terms at zero interest so we will likely buy the one immediately adjacent to ours, which is another full acre. It has an approved perk test and we figure we could do a well share with our current well so utilities should not be that onerous to install. If nothing else, at a giveaway price, it will serve as a good buffer for no close neighboring house and if things work out in the future it could give us development possibilities for either a spec house build or building a rental property.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Closing

Our closing on the lot was last Friday, while Marc was still in North Dakota overseeing his projects. Modern technology meant everything could be done through PDF and email; in fact, there was a mere two signatures required on our part. We’re now the proud owners of a piece of Wisconsin—once we get the chance to truly see it when the snow is gone! 

We spent yesterday moving the things that Marc brought back from Yuma into the shop and since it was very cold and even spitting snow, we just did a general dump and run. Marc did purchase a new snow blower, lumber and some insulation since he intends to slowly insulate the shop and improve it with plywood walls and new shelving. He’ll also re-wire the electrical but that will be a warm weather endeavor.
We’re dealing with quite a bit of snow in spots where it has drifted up. It seems as though I have become the “defacto” snow shoveler at the apartment complex—I’m one of the few here who don’t work out and I actually like the exercise and chance it provides to get outside at least for 15 minutes at a time. The temperatures are miserable enough, with many days featuring minus wind chill factor, that I do nothing else outside excepting running quickly from my car into any shopping I do. I spend lots of time on the computer researching things for the upcoming house.
We are still determining favorite floor plans and the next step will involve meeting with Marc’s employer to see what they can actually build it for. I would suspect we won’t be able to actually start until April since there is a lot of snow to melt off and it won’t be until then that we can determine the final outcome of the septic system. The testing showed that it passed for a new system but the engineer suggested he could do an evaluation when snow is clear to see if can repair the current system at much less cost. Where that system lies will determine where we can place the house. 

There are things I can get done in the meantime however, contacting the town and obtaining a new address is first on the list. Originally this was part of a 40 acre farm (the farmhouse burned down but we now own the original shop) which subsequently was subdivided into one acre lots and the current address is actually for that no-longer-existing home. Our ingress will have to be off one of the new subdivision streets rather than the county highway as previously, so that will require new mailbox placement, etc.

Common' old man winter, get on out of here soon so we can get busy!