Making the house a home

posted by Jeff | Thursday, November 16, 2017, 10:54 PM | comments: 0

The move is very nearly two weeks behind us, and while time flies, it doesn't feel like we've been here that long. Part of it is that the old house isn't totally empty (or sold), and then I was in California last Friday to Monday. The biggest thing though is that a new house tends to need a lot of extra stuff. After you drain your savings to close, then you're spending more money on all of the things that make it more personal. Honestly, this is largely a money saving strategy. The builder will put more stuff in, but their options are limited and the pricing is insane. For example, the kitchen pendant lights we just ordered were $80 for three of them. The builder wanted hundreds for something not as cool.

We've got a bunch of light fixtures and ceiling fans coming to start. In addition to the kitchen pendants, we need a kitchen table light, something for the dining room and ceiling fans/lights for Simon and our bedroom. That's just for starters though, because some of the other rooms probably need something eventually. In order of importance, there's Diana's sewing studio, my office, the playroom and the guest room. Her room in particular is on the south side of the house, where we don't yet have a neighbor, so it's bound to get warm.

The kitchen is a priority, too. The flooring, counters, cabinets and backsplash are easiest to handle with the builder, but their options and cost for hardware is too high. Ditto for the faucet over the main sink, for which they install a cheap, plastic chrome thing. Counting the pretentious butler pantry, there are a total of 32 doors and 19 drawers, which is a whole lot of drilling. We have no idea what we're gonna put there, but I don't feel like two-hole handles are necessary for the cabinets this time (unless they are).

I've done some handy stuff already. My first priority was to get the Ring doorbell installed, which as it turns out is super helpful because my office went from next to the door to as far away as possible. I also put Nest E thermostats in, not so much for the learning they can do (we're always home), but for the remote capability and operating history in light of our desire to be energy efficient. I put Hue lights in a few places for ambiance and festivity, and have some wifi connected light switches to install so we can automate. The house was wired for in-wall/ceiling speakers, but that was it. I had to cut some holes in the ceiling for surround speakers, and then wire a bunch of connectors at the wall. Then there's all of the drilling for curtains, and so far I've only done it for two windows.

We immediately ripped the door off of our laundry room, because it opens inward and blocks the washer, which is stupid. This is going to be my first from scratch handy project, as I'm going to attempt to build a barn door and then hang it. I figure that's a pretty low complexity thing to do, and it'll get me comfortable cutting wood for the first time in 20 years.

The single biggest project on our radar is installing a solar plant on the roof, but we need a few months of electrical usage before we know what we need. We also need to sell the other house, which is where the money for that currently is. Regardless, I've got a Tesla Powerwall going in for free as part of the project, earned from car sales referrals.

Things are coming along, slowly, and I often need to remind myself that it's not a race. Baby steps, like getting a rug to tie the room together, are what we need to do. It'll also help once we've got some pictures on the wall and such.

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