Saturday, June 17, 2017

House Build Progress: Exterior Updates



Since nothing too exciting has been happening on the interior of our farmhouse build lately, today I'd thought I would share some updates on the exterior. It's hard to believe we are at the point of picking out paint colors but yes--it's true!



Since my last post our builders have finished the siding, all exterior trim, the front and back/screened porch flooring, and they installed the roofing!





I love our new roof--it's a "5 V-crimp" metal in the standard silvery galvalume finish. In addition to being very durable and economical, I really think it fits well with the farmhouse look as most older farmhouses in our area have metal roofs.



The hardieplank (cement fiber board) siding comes standard in a grey color but we plan to paint it and the trim white. I never tire of classic white for a farmhouse--and it really makes the windows and brick foundation pop. With the dark exterior window sashes, the white will definitely give the house that "modern farmhouse" look. Currently most of the house has been primed already--and all exterior painting may be finished by next week!



The porches will have painted or stained floors but their trim will also be white. If we don't like the paint--as my husband says--we can always paint over it later. So glad that he has this attitude :)  I'm really looking forward to painting the ceilings of our porches a robin's egg blue color--an old tradition that was said to mimic the color of the sky.



Other than the front porch steps, the carpentry work for the porch posts, lighting, and the screening for the back porch, all of the exterior work is complete for the most part. The interior has had all plumbing, electrical, HVAC, gas lines, and a fireplace installed. The next big project for the interior will be installing drywall and making the cabinetry for the kitchen and bathrooms--it has been a little overwhelming trying to plan the layout and design for all the cabinets but by keeping things simple it hasn't been too bad. We are so fortunate that our builders make their own high quality custom cabinetry--it is their specialty--and for extremely reasonable prices.

 Every week it is so fun to see what has been done --it's really starting to come together!


Thursday, May 25, 2017

House Build: Windows



A lot has happened in the last few months on our farmhouse build for our 11 acre homestead--we now have all framing completed, sheathing, wrapping, plumbing and HVAC, some siding, trim, a fireplace, and WINDOWS!!!







Let me just say if you all only knew how much we debated over our choice of windows for the house--I mean this was a HUGE point of contention between my husband and I. The windows were the ONLY thing I was set on and not really willing to compromise. Yes, my husband was frustrated :) But there were plenty of other choices and desires that I have conceded in order to stay in budget. The windows? Nope--I was stubborn and did not budge!



I think that's because I'm naturally a lover of old houses which have amazing often times old wood, double-hung, true-divided light gorgeous windows with original casings and surrounds. Windows in historic houses are classified as "character-defining features," meaning they have a major impact on the look and feel of the building. I wanted this for our new house too but it does present a problem--to get something like the wonderful windows of old is very difficult, expensive, and the window by itself wouldn't be as energy efficient. You simply cannot make new windows like the old anymore anyway unless you are using reclaimed old growth wood and producing reproduction-quality sashes.



So, I settled on something that I know I will like that still provides some of the same features as a traditional wood window: an all-wood window, double-hung, with aluminum-clad exterior and as close to true divided lights as we could get with a dark brown spacer in between the two panes of energy efficient glass. Most of our windows will be two-over-two sash and we will have three six-light casement windows in the kitchen.



We vacillated between going with Sierra Pacific and JELD-WEN, but ultimately chose the JELD-WEN "Sightline" because it was the company that our builder's supply warehouse is most familiar with. It certainly is a top-of-the-line window and made up a good portion of the overall house budget but I know it's something that will last a very long time and adds so much character to the house. I'm pretty sure I'm going to ditch doing any window treatments--I'm leaving these beauties bare and enjoying them!



My husband not only scoffs at my insistence of this particular window type but he also can't believe that we have 31 of them in the house! That's a lot of windows!! The exterior aluminum cladding color we chose is a dark bronze and we plan to paint the interior of the sashes white to match the surrounding casings and interior trim.



Our front door has four lights to match the sash pattern of the windows and the pair of French doors leading to the screened porch will have six-lights-over-one-panel. I love tons of natural light which was another reason why I chose for our doors to have plenty of glass.






The only thing that surprised me a little about the windows we chose was the "reflectiveness" of the new glass (low-e) they are using in windows these days. We were just unaware (in certain kinds of light) how tinted and mirror-like the glass actually looks. The upside is that it actually provides a little bit more privacy since one is less able to see inside. Other than that, we are extremely happy with how the windows turned out and look forward to enjoying them.





Friday, May 12, 2017

Mothering in Decades Past



Have you ever wondered how mothers did it all 50, 100, 200 plus years ago? I do--all the time. I think about how stressed, overworked and struggling to juggle so many different responsibilities the mothers of today often are. I wonder if the mothers of yesteryear felt the same way--not to say mothers back then were not stressed out too--I'm sure they were. But it just seems like they had a better handle on things.

I struggle to get through a day without yelling at my girls, I let them watch too much TV, and I let them eat far too  much processed junk than they should be. I often feel frazzled when I'm home with them all day and it makes me want to scream when I get a fun project set up for them (that they requested) and then they don't even want to do it for 5 minutes. I need grace and forgiveness in this area--parenting is. so. hard.


My priorities are often pulled in so many directions--even at home. I work part-time (partly from home), so work duties are constantly calling me. Then there's the homemaking chores and the homesteading and the gardening that all take time. I feel guilty enough not spending much time really "playing" with my girls but I just don't have that luxury a lot of times.


For one, I think because a majority of women in decades past did not work outside the home (or perhaps they worked on the farm), work-life balance was not as much of an issue and the childcare situation--at least financially--was taken care of somewhat. Two, those that did engage in pursuits outside of home life were privileged to have help in the form of nurses, nannies, or relatives that served as caregivers for young children. It seems that in order for one class of mothers to have the necessary help needed to care for their children, another class of mothers--namely servants--would have sacrificed their family life.


Oh how I would love to ask the advice of those mothers long ago who were able to juggle the responsibilities of home and farm and raise up multiple children without the help of modern conveniences. Because this mama needs a lot of help most days. To do everything that society expects of a mother in today's world as well as a professional in the workplace requires us to be "supermoms"--is that really sustainable and healthy?



So what is the solution? Is it impossible for moms these days to both work and raise a family and do a fine job at both? Would love to hear your thoughts.