Saturday, June 13, 2015

It's Starting To Feel Like Home!

June 12th

Well, it is really starting to feel & look like home now. When Victor told me it
would be done in 16 weeks I didn't believe it. Every time he said it would be done the 2nd week of July I didn't believe he's saying July 1st final walk through...WOW!

The exterior is just about done, we have a driveway. The tile is almost done & I'm ready to move in.

Victor told me that today the electrician & plumber will be there to install the AC, water heater & easy water (ionization system), fixtures & faucets. The garage door is also supposed to be installed today. Victor
had expected the door last week but because we ordered an insulated door it had to be ordered.

We drove by at lunch time today & saw that they had delivered the block to build the wall. I guess that is supposed to be done next week & then they can start grading & landscaping.

After the Friday BBQ & Pot luck we drove over to the house. It appeared that most of the light fixtures were installed & some of the light switches. They also installed the bathroom & kitchen faucets & connected
the plumbing. We didn't go around back to check out the AC but will do that tomorrow.

I knew we ordered all the faucets & fixtures to be in brushed Nickle but I didn't know what the ceiling fan & light fixtures would look like. The Dining Room light fixture is actually quite pleasant as is the one in the front entry way. The bedroom, office & other fixtures are nothing special but functional. The ceiling fan in the living room & master bedroom are wood & actually match the cabinets quite well. That was not something we planned!

Week of June 15th

Busy day over at the house but a lot is getting finished. Victor is hoping that the house is finished next week but a lot depends on people showing up to do the
work & mother nature since there is a threat of a big storm.

Since a lot of the work this week will be stuff that won't be significant we are not going to go over every day & inspect & will wait until toward the end of the week & look at it.

Today they are doing the final coat of paint inside the house & putting up the wall on one side of the house. 

Over the course of this week they will be doing a lot of things to finish off the inside including the pantry door framing, installing the light switches, plate
covers & lots of odds & ends.

The electrician will be running all the electric lines to the transformer & installing the AC.

The insulation will be blown in to the attic, the yard will be graded & then landscaped. The cedar fence & gate will be put up on the other side of the house. All the trees, plants & bushes that we are buying will be picked up or delivered by the end of the week.

Once the interior is finished then the kitchen appliances (all except the refrigerator which we bought) will be installed.

When the work is done Victor will go around the house & blue tape things that need to be fixed before we can do the final walk through.

June 18th - Week 11

Jaime (CFO of Esperanza homes) is anxious to close on the 30th so I arranged to meet with Victor this morning to discuss what will be happening over the next
10 days.

Victor is optimistic that he will be able to get everything done & be able to close on the 30th (2 weeks early).

The exterior of the house is finished except for adding the stucco to the front & back wall & then putting up the cedar fencing in the back. Yesterday they added the wooden Corbels (a structural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry a super-incumbent weight, a type of bracket) under the eaves in
the front of the house (we also have them under the granite counter in the kitchen island. They also have the electric meter installed & the electricity will be on today. Once the power is on Victor will start going around & blue tape anything he finds that needs fixing. He will do this 3 times until everything is as close to perfect as he can get. The photo on the right shows Corbel's under a kitchen island. It is not ours but it will give you an idea of what they are if you don't already know.

What was happening today: The ladies were in there today doing the 1st go around cleaning. They will do 2 more before closing. They sprayed the
insulation into the attic. Exterior doors & hardware are being installed, the painters are going around the house to do the final coat of paint. Electricians are finishing up & the AC will be up & running. They will be installing the towel bars & ring's & of course the TP holders in the bathrooms.

What will happen between now & closing: The cable will be hooked up, the stucco will be applied to the walls, cedar fencing will be put in the back, The appliances will be installed, the yard will be graded, planter beds laid out & the trees & bushes put in. Victor will do more walk thru's checking for things that need fixing, the house will be cleaned 2 more times & I'm sure I'm missing something ;)

Are we getting better believe it!

June 23rd - Week 12

Ok, we are really getting close now. Carol & I met with Victor this morning to talk about weep holes. She's have a bit of a problem with water in the back yard
so Victor is going to add more to her back yard & will make sure we have extra added our backyard so he doesn't have to come back & fix it later. We also talked about where to plant the trees. Carol has a palm that has to be put in that was removed when they started extending the wall & we are having an ash tree put in the front yard. So, we all decided it would look good to put her palm tree in front of where our 2 planter beds are going to meet & we will put our ash on the other side of the driveway. That will make everything look nice.

The stucco was being applied to the new wall as we were standing there & it is
starting to look nice. Right now the color looks different but that will start darkening as it dries.

Next Victor let us come in & look around inside. The inside is just about done other than a few odds & ends & the last 2 times cleaning. Here's what we saw...the appliances (other than the refrigerator we buy) has been installed & is working. I wanted a gas stove & it is REALLY nice! Victor also had an extra hole drilled in the kitchen sink for our new RO unit.

The pantry door & frame are now finished & you would never know that they
installed a narrower door than it was framed for.

All electricity is done & we have lights. Now I can actually visualize the house filled with our furniture.

The photo on the right shows the front gate & wall leading into our courtyard. Because our lot is pie shaped it widens as it goes back so we have a really nice area behind the wall. Directly in front of the wall will be landscaping & behind it will have a long planter bed filled with all kinds of different flowering bushes & a queen palm.

Due to all the rain we have had it might cause a slight delay in closing but we are ahead of schedule so I'm not worried. Victor had planned to close the 2nd week of July so I'm not concerned but I would love to get in there sooner but frankly I hadn't planned on it so I won't be disappointed if we don't. We've had some rain the last few days & there's a lot of mud which will make it difficult to fill the ditch where the electric was run & then start grading. Victor said he'd let me know on Thursday if there will be any delay in closing.

June 25th

Not a lot of progress due to rain but we are still moving along. The inside of the
house is just about done. The gas company has to come & turn on the gas so that we can do our final walk thru. The electrician has a couple of things to fix & the cabinet guy is coming over tomorrow. Victor is planning to have the 2nd cleaning done tomorrow & the final one the day before closing.

Today Julian was working on the front yard, grading it & laying out the planter beds. He did plant our very first tree today in the front yard. Tomorrow he will be installing the irrigation lines out front & then plant the bushes in the front planter beds.

The closing date is still up in the air because of the rains we have had. They are trying to remove the wet soil from the back & replace it with dry soil. Victor has to call the sod farm to see if he will have a problem cutting sod.

So, maybe we will have an answer tomorrow. The VP of the loan department called me to go over some things & he's trying to get everything done on his end. 

The survey has been complete. The city has done the final inspection & declared that the house is ready to be lived in. The only hold
up is the landscaping. They will be doing the front landscaping but the back is the problem because it doesn't get much sun & it's not drying out. If Victor says they can't do the grading tomorrow but perhaps they can get it done on Saturday (before Sunday's threat of rain) then he will make sure they work on Saturday to get it finished.

Victor is confident we can close next week, which day is what is up in the air! So, everybody say some prayers to the sun gods so we can get the house closed on the 30th so we can start moving things in & arrange for the refrigerator & furniture to be delivered. I am going to work on my "sun dance" tonight...cross my fingers & toes that all goes well tomorrow!

June 26th

My sun dance rain! They were able to put in the planter beds in
front & back & they spent all day hauling out wet dirt & hauling in dry dirty. 

Jaime came over to look at the house & talk to Victor & I was there so we discussed closing & they both agreed that the house would be finished on Monday & ready for closing on Tuesday....2 weeks ahead of schedule.

Julian & I went over the planter beds before I left to run errands & they got the irrigation in to the beds & all the plants put in the ground & they look very happy to be in the ground.

I worked on all the final arrangements for closing & then we headed out to run errands for last minute things for the house. Lowes is delivering our refrigerator & upright freezer on the 3rd & on Monday I will call the furniture store to arrange for delivery of the furniture. Al is working out the arrangements to move the washer & dryer to the new house & hooking it so the freezer can be installed next to it.

This evening we went over to look at the yard before our Friday night Happy Hour, BBQ & pot luck. We had a great time! Now it's time to rest & recover from a very long week. Only a few more days & it will all be over & then we get to move again...LOL

Monday they will finish the grading & the sod will go in. Julian has to extend the planter bed in the courtyard area which was supposed to extend to the edge of the house & then I wanted it extended an extra 8 feet for things I might want to plant (like the pineapple I've been growing in posts)

Monday, June 1, 2015

It Really Looks Like A House!

June 1st

This marks week 6 of construction (after the concrete was poured). They start the phase where they are turning the inside into a house. I'm not sure how they
can get the house finished by the 2nd week of July but Victor keeps saying "trust me"....I do!

First thing this morning we met Victor to talk about a couple of the doors. One was installed opening in rather than out but that had already been fixed by the time we got there. The door to the pantry was going to pose a problem because the refrigerator is quite deep. So, we agreed to put in the narrower door that was sent in error & that would solve the problem. We all agreed it would be fine...well I wanted it to swing the opposite direction but I was the minority vote so the guys won ;).

Stopped by this evening & cabinet doors & drawers were not done but they have installed the all the closet shelves & rods. Stain will be done by the painters when they do the cabinets. They finished installing the interior doors & started work on the pantry door. It required the framework to be made smaller, fill in the space & add sheet rock. They also started installing baseboards.

More work on the exterior. The trim around windows, garage, etc are almost all up & they started applying the fabric & base coat of stucco on the trim on the garage. I had no idea how they made the trim but they actually cut & shape it from a dense foam then apply a fabric & cover with coats of stucco. Pretty kewl!

June 3rd

We didn't get to see the progress last evening because the doors were locked.
So, we got up early & went over at 7 am. Victor was there & showed us the progress. I also got a bit of education on the stucco process. Victor said that most builders in the valley only use a step step process & the stucco is applied in 1 day which is how the builders in our community in New Mexico did it. Here in Retama the 3-step process takes about 30 days to complete. The way they make the forms for the trim is also a process not used by most builders because it's time consuming & costs more. So, once the foam is mounted to the house they apply the fabric & base coat before the finish coat of stucco is applied. Victor was also very proud of the fact that the people he uses for the stucco & concrete are the best in the valley...nice to know!

The kitchen is really starting to take shape & I can almost envision myself preparing dinner ;) The linen closet is similar to what we had in our home in Arlington, TX. It has 2 laundry bins at the bottom & shelves on top.

So, in addition to watching this process I am learning a lot about it from Victor.

The cabinet guys have installed many of the cabinet doors, the window sills, baseboards & wine rack that will go over the refrigerator. The rest of the doors & drawers will be installed today & then the painters will be coming in this afternoon to start painting the doors, walls & staining cabinets. Victor told me that we will get a kit when we close that contains cans of all the paint & stain & a sample door front. Very nice!

June 4th

The painters were there all day. I met with Victor in the morning because the sample cabinet door was left for us to look at last night was stained & it was
VERY dark. Victor had the painters get some other stains & they made some samples for me  look at. It seems that the sample cabinet doors in the design center probably discolored & faded with age so they were not accurate & the color we chose (to coordinate with the furniture) was not what we got. Victor, the painters & I all agreed that we needed to switch the color to "Warm Chestnut". I had to get to Cinderella to work on meds so Victor said he would call me when they had a sample door done with the Warm Chestnut so I can approve it. He called when it was ready & I drove back to check it out It was just right!
Doors that had been painted yesterday & were standing in the middle of each room in the house had been installed by the time I stopped by in the morning.

Late this afternoon we stopped by & had a look at their progress. The painters ended up staying late but we got to see how the kitchen cabinets looked with the new stain. They will be back tomorrow to finish the cabinets & then hopefully Saturday work on the walls.

The guys working on the stucco started applying the final coat & it looks
fabulous. We opted for a "mocha" color with beige trim. Right now all that is finished is the left side of the house & the part of the back.

The photo on the right is one that Victor took & emailed to me yesterday evening. You can see the guys diligently working on the finish coat of the stucco.

The photo on the left shows the same wall after the finish coat had been applied over the entire south side of the house.

There was also a ditch that was dug today that ran around the south side of the house to the back. Victor told me that was for the electric & that they will start running the power into the house next week. I'm assuming they will dig the trench around the rest of the house after the stucco is finished. We will know tomorrow!

June 5th

Today was another busy day! The cabinets have all been stained except those
doors that were missing. The closet rods were also stained. The photo's really don't do the cabinets justice. Between no lights in the house yet & glare from the windows you can't see the true color but it is beautiful. A very rich warm brown with a nice grain showing through! The Clearcoat is a nice satin finish so it looks very nice.

The painters were leaving when we arrived & the lead guy kinda gave me the lowdown on what comes next for the house. He talked about the tile, electric, etc. He said it is going to go very fast. He said they still had 2 more coats to apply to the walls & ceiling & that doesn't happen until the floor tile is down. It's already looking better every day.

Hector from Budget Blinds took final measurements of the windows. He brought color samples of the paint for our walls & trim & we made the color selections for the Plantation Shutters. They were ordered today & they should be in shortly after the house is finished.

It looks like the finish coat (Stucco) has been applied all around the house but we didn't double check that. It still needs paint but it's looking good!

Some of the tile has been delivered & Victor informed me they will start doing the showers tomorrow.

June 6th

I didn't go into the master bath yesterday so I didn't see the doors that were
installed in the closet. I hadn't really paid much attention to what they were before & since this floor plan had never been built before I had no way of knowing whether it would be a single or double door. None of the walls or doors have the final coat on it yet but it already looks nice.

Today the guy installing the tile started work in the master bath shower. He didn't stay long but he did install all the concrete backer board in the master bath shower. That is installed in the wet areas instead of sheet rock. Al said that that most builders don't bother with this because it's expensive & they either use sheet rock or moisture resistant board (aka green board or MR board) because it's cheaper.

This is another example of the quality of the work they do here. The average person (like me) would have no idea of what was being used in the wet areas. I do remember a house we bought in WA that we had to gut one bathroom because the walls were rotted. Al said it was because moisture had gotten in behind the sheet rock & rotted it out. If the builders had used at least MR board that probably wouldn't have happened but because it's just "resistant" it wouldn't prevent the rot. The cement backer board would make it impossible for the wall to rot out.

In addition to the cement backer board being installed he has also started installing the tile in the shower.

The electrician was also there today installing the base plate for the meter, the cover for the breaker box & they starting to work on the under cabinet lighting in the kitchen.

All this & it's Saturday....

From what I've heard from Victor & the painters, from here on things really start rockin' & rollin' which means things are going to move fast...of course not fast enough for me! Shadow & I are ready to move in NOW!

June 8th

Today they were working on the exterior stucco & trim & it looks like they are
almost finished.

Inside the house the tile in the master bath shower is almost finished. Looks like only the seat & the floor still need tile installed. The floor tile has been laid out through most of the living room, dining room & kitchen area.

We had to be VERY careful walking in the living area
because the tile is not secure so we stepped very lightly & didn't careful not to turn our feet while stepping on the tiles.

Once the tile is all laid out it has to sit for a few days before they can do any grouting. Looking at all this time I am not rethinking why we are having tile throughout since we will have to apply a sealer to all the grout before we can even move the furniture in.

Due to poor lighting it doesn't look very spectacular but it really does look nice. I probably won't add anything to the blog for a few days since I doubt there will be much to post until the tile is done.

June 10th - Week 10

Today I was told that the house was going to be done before the 2nd week in
July. By the middle of the day I was getting texts from the mortgage company, the title company & Jaime from Esperanza Homes. They were aiming for June 30th but then Victor said he was planning the final walk through on 7/ panic is setting in & time to ensure the furniture & Refrigerator get delivered in time.

We stopped by & talked to Victor this morning about the landscaping & we will be meeting with him tomorrow morning to go over the layout, etc.

While we were there he showed us the progress...tile is almost installed throughout. The shower & bathtub are both completely tiled but the floors in there are not quite finished. They will start the grout tomorrow. The exterior trim was being painted while we were there this morning.

The first few pictures were taken in the morning when Victor showed us the progress. 

After we finished with Victor we went to next door to visit with Carol. She gave us the grand tour of the house. She has made a lot of progress getting settled in & it looks really nice.

After we left we stopped at a couple of nurseries that Victor recommended to look at bushes & the Dwarf Phoenix Robelenii palm (also known as a pygmy date palm) I want in front. It will be the focal point of the planter bed & then small perennial bushes with color around it. We picked out
the bushes we want & will discuss the all landscaping with Victor tomorrow.

After dinner we stopped over & not much more has been done but there was more progress on the tile & the exterior trim is all finished except where the gate is going in the entry way. They started cleaning up the mess from the painting & stucco work & the scaffolds have all been removed. That is a good sign that the exterior is almost done. Now looking at the courtyard we are trying to figure out how gutters can be installed. The roof line is so different in the courtyard & no place to really run the down spouts. I guess we will have them come & look it over to see what can be done.

June 11th

The bathroom tile has been finished (except for back splashes) & the granite
counters & sinks have been installed & I'm ready to take a shower!

Change in plans for the bushes & trees we are going to have planted. We switched the tree in front to an Arizona Ash. We went to the nursery where we picked out several bushes & then after a couple of calls to Victor we selected all the plants that we are buying. We are buying the plants for behind the front wall which will be along the wall facing the courtyard & the extra planter bed in front. I opted for 2 of the Robelenii palm's & then low growing perennials in the middle & along the front with "color". Then across from the courtyard there will be LOTS of color & fragrance....

We got most of the plants at one nursery & they are holding them until next
week. The palms we got elsewhere & he gave us a GOOD price so we paid cash & took them with us. Next week we head to the other nursery for the Knock Out Roses & we will have everything but what Victor is getting. Victor will do all the planting for us (on our nickel of course).

Tomorrow should be a very busy day with lots of stuff happening! Looks like we will be closing before the 2nd week of July...I can't wait!!!

I know the dogs are chomping at the bit to be in their new house...of course they have no idea they are getting to move into a really nice house with a doggie run just for them.