When I took a break, I didn’t mean for it to last so long. I am pleased to share with you that Brad has built our house–there is no more “building” to do. A few light fixtures are on backorder and the pulls/knobs and a couple of towel racks have yet to be installed, but the construction is done. We have our “Certificate of Occupancy” and have begun the arduous task of moving. We will be full time residents at our new address on August 1, 2010.

The new address:  1050 Tourmaline Cove, Oak Point, Texas 75068 

Following are some pictures taken since my last update. 

Week of May 30 — 

Painters stained the front door


and painted interior


Stained Front Porch Ceiling


Staining front porch


Selestino (and crew) stain the veranda


another view


Staining tombstone


and garage door


We picked out light fixtures and fans. It took several trips and phone calls, but we’re happy with our choices. 

Week of June 6 — 

We started off the week meeting with “Todd” the hardware guy for a walk thru and “Debbie” from Passion Lighting and “Sandra” from Mak-Redy Tile–so many decisions to make. 

Granite and sinks for the kitchen are delivered


and installed.


 The following day the granite for the hutch, the island, the laundry room and the bathrooms were delivered and installed.  





Laundry Room


Guest Bath


Master Bath


Don filled another trailer with trash this week and took it to the landfill–another 2.10 tons. Hopefully, this was his final load. Delancey removed chunks of concrete and leveled off the front yard. 

Brad oversees the Delancey cleanup



Look any better?


We took the weekend off. Mom and Dad came to stay with us this weekend to celebrate our nephew Alex’s high school graduation. Yeah Alex! Good visit, fun weekend. 

Week of June 13 — 

The tile setters tiled the kitchen/dining area. 





Brad put up braces on the veranda (he calls them “hooties”) and also started building the bench in the mudroom. The stone masons built our mailbox. 

The Two Jerrys (Sr. & Jr.)


They also finished out the doorways with brick trim and redid the columns on the front porch. 


Brad did cosmetic work on the front door (replaced paint-grade wood trim with stain-grade wood). 


The tile setters laid tile in the mudroom and started in the bathrooms. 

View from mudroom with powder room on left, dining straight ahead


Guest Bath


Master bath


They grouted all tile areas and made shower pans.  


The propane tank was delivered and installed on the west side of the house, nestled in the trees and not visible from the street. 


The hardware and light fixtures were delivered. 


Brad installed doorknobs and locks and we locked our house that night for the first time. The tile setters tiled the powder room and shower floor and the master bath shower. Brad put up mantles on the indoor fireplace. 

End of the day Saturday -- June 19


Week of June 20 — 

Sunday was Father’s Day so all the guys got the day off. This week Bob, the electrician, and Lee, the plumber were there off and on. Lee installed the toilet in the powder room and the fixtures in the other two bathrooms.  

Toilet in Powder Room


Faucet in Master Bath


Shower fixtures in master bath


Bob and his helper “Gary” installed the air conditioner compressor. The garage door opener was installed. 

Garage door opener


Brad worked on the windows in the garage door and the vent covers. The “Vent-a-hood” was installed. 

How many men does it take to install a vent-a-hood?



Bob hung the light fixtures and Scott installed the marble around the master tub and in the shower in the powder room. Brad built cedar shutters for the front windows. Don and I met with Patt at Dallas North Builders Hardware and chose our knobs and pulls. On Saturday, Don picked up trash (the trailer is temporarily parked at our house, soon to be moved to Brad’s home site) and cleaned up after the electricians (they’re a messy group). Brad worked on the trim inside. 

Week of June 27 — 

Sunday we were checking out the new hardware, etc. and Don went into the guest bathroom and locked the pocket door–bad mistake. It would not open. A call to Brad saved the day (and it was a hot day–no a/c yet and no windows to open). Brad took the door casing off, opened the door and Don emerged. We ordered new passage hardware without a lock. The outer bathroom doors have locks which should take care of privacy issues. 



OK now, how does this thing work?


We don't need a lock on this door--let me out!


Selestino and his crew did touch up painting and staining. Lee installed the kitchen faucets. The electricity was turned on–yeah! We have air conditioning. 

Hooking up electricity


I met with “Lida” who works for JCPenney to discuss window treatments. She gave us some ideas and measured all the windows so now that we have that information, we can do a room at a time at our pace. We only have 30 windows! The granite was installed on the master bath window ledge.

Selestino caulked. The first clean up crew came. The range, the microwave and the dishwasher were installed. 





Lee finished the plumbing fixtures and Selestinio did more touch up painting. The mirrors in the master and guest baths were installed. The shower doors in the master bath and powder room were installed. The refrigerator was delivered and Brad patched the ceiling where we moved the location of our pendant lights over the bar. 

Week of July 4 — 

This week Selestino and his crew sanded and stained the hardwood floors. Bob finished the electrical work. The propane gas man inspected and activated all gas appliances. Brad put up the shutters and the shower door was installed in the master bath. The inspector for the indoor fireplace said the mantel had to be moved up so Brad made some new korbels/brackets and moved the mantel and I think it actually looks better. 

Week of July 11 — 

This is the final week of construction. The crew came back and textured the wall in the master bath and did a little patch work around a light fixture. Selestino did touch ups on the paint and stain and caulked. The final cleaning crew came and did their magic. I met with Lida again and we discussed the window treatments and cushions for the bench seat. Glass was installed in the garage door. Brad built more shelving for the pantry (a small unit for canned goods). The inspector came out and we passed final inspection and received our “Certificate of Occupancy.” The floor crew applied the final coat of poly urethane on the hardwood floors. The appliance guy converted our gas range to propane. Cabinet hardware was delivered–we’ve got plenty to keep us busy (200+ knobs and pulls). We’re also waiting for three pendant lights to be installed over the bar. 

Lots of activity this week








Now we are packing and moving and cleaning up the rent house. We’re moving our things in to give it that “lived in” look.  Don rented a U-Haul Wednesday and hired the neighbor across the street to help him move boxes and small furniture. The movers (“Little Guys”) will be here Friday morning to move the big and/or heavy items. We’re going to have a “moving sale” this weekend for some furniture and other items we aren’t taking to Tourmaline. 

I guess that about concludes the actual construction of Oak Point Manor.  Of course, we have many more opportunities to work on at The Manor–“Man finish house, man dies.”–Confucious 

 Brad built us a fine house. Be sure to come see us and our new home–just give us time to unpack. I’ll post new pictures when we get set up at our new home. 

Love to all … 


Finally, I’m back to writing my blog — I hope you haven’t given up on me. Since my last entry, we’ve been in a whirlwind. 

On May 11, the painters started painting the exterior trim. Brad hung more doors and worked on trim. We went back to Lowe’s and bought three more half-pints of stains (difficult decision)and picked up the powder room toilet we ordered. With all the cabinets installed, we took a count of knobs and pulls we need (79 knobs and 77 pulls). 

On the 12th, Brad finished the ceiling beams in the great room. He organized all the window trim in each room, and is waiting on the sills to be delivered. On the 13th, the sills arrived and so Brad started the window trim with help from good friend, lumber salesman and neighbor, Mike. He also helped Brad hang my beautiful front door. The painters are still painting exterior trim. Don filled another trailer with trash. On the 14th, Brad and Mike worked on trim all day. It rained 1.5 inches that Friday. 

Painters painting exterior trim


Exterior Siding and Trim Colors


Another siding view


Brad finished beadboard and beams on the ceiling


End of day Wednesday (May 12)


Saturday was a work day and the painters caulked on the inside. Brad worked more on the trim and installed the French doors in the great room  

Brad installed French Doors


Brad works on the trim in the dining room


Trim work done in the sitting area of the master bedroom


Another view of the trim in the master bedroom


Trim in the office


Trim in the guest bedroom


Brad installed the front door


Trim in the Great Room


Sunday was a work day for Brad. He finished the trim and installed the remaining doors. He really did above and beyond what we expected on the trim. He even put trim in the tiny little “safe” room. He saved us a lot of money by doing it himself instead of hiring it out to a subcontractor. He did all the beadboard work himself too. 

Brad finishes the window seats


Beadboard on the Kitchen Bar


An outside view of the front door


 On Monday and Tuesday, May 17-18, the painters caulked and prepared the inside for staining and painting. They covered all the windows and the fireplace. Tom, the cabinetmaker, brought the new and improved island and installed it. Don cleaned the work site (note trailer is full again) and worked in the back yard. He raked dirt and put out grass seed and netting (“seed blanket”). 

Don and Selestino discuss stain options (note trash trailer is full again)



Trim or no trim?


End of day Tuesday (May 18)


 On Wednesday, Selestino (owner/crew chief of the painters) brought a helper and they worked all day (about 12 hours) staining the ceiling and cabinets. Don worked again on seed blankets in the yard. The electricity workers laid underground lines to the house, inadvertently cutting the phone line to Neighbor Jim’s telephone. 

Crew to lay electric service cable


Brad and "Neighbor Jim" supervise


Digging the trench


Selestino starts staining ceiling


Oops!! Electric crew cuts Jim's phone line


Kitchen cabinets stained


Master bath cabinets stained


Ceiling stained


Entertainment center stained


 On Thursday, Selestino and his helper sprayed sanding sealer on stained surfaces. The garage door was delivered and installed, and the phone company fixed Jim’s telephone line. 

Garage door arrives


Insulated cedar clad steel garage door--Bring it on!


Installing the door


Meanwhile... on the other side of the garage, the phone crew splices the cut phone line -- Jim supervises


7' x 18' Garage door installed (sans trim)


On Friday, Selestino and his helper continued their quest. The guttering was installed. Saturday, Selestino and two helpers prepped the interior for painting. 

Here is an “end of the day” picture with the front door closed, the garage door closed, and the gutters installed. 

End of the day (May 23)


We picked out granite for the countertops on Monday while the painters started painting the interior. The painters have had the house to themselves this week because the paint fumes are so strong, nobody can stay  for very long. I don’t know how they do it. They work all day without any protection from the fumes. Brad said they’ve done it for years. Looking forward to the end of the painting phase. 

Selestino and helper


Interior colors


Don is working on the gutters adding flexible tubing at the end and under ground that diverts water away from the house. Lots of sweat involved. As of today, Memorial Day, he’s completed four of the seven gutters. (Note: Some of the newly seeded grass had to be sacrificed.) 

Gutter Extension


It’s Memorial Day and Selestino and his workers are back painting, staining and removing paint from the hinges on the doors. 

We’re about four weeks from completion. Scott, the granite guy, will be installing our countertops on Friday (June 4). Our next step is to pick out tile and hardware and lighting. I bought three more magazines yesterday with ideas to explore. We’re having fun now–lots of opportunities! 

More to come in June.

The last week of April was a slow week. No subs were here. Most of the week Don spent cleaning up the front yard. He moved the leftover stones off my fancy driveway. The masons will be back to build our mailbox with these (and a few leftover bricks).  


We went to Lowe’s and looked at sinks for the powder room and toilets for all the bathrooms. We took a little trip to Allen, Texas to see a vaulted beadboard ceiling that Brad put in for a friend of his, similar to the one we’ll have in our house.  

On Wednesday, Don filled the trash trailer and took it to the dump. Thursday, Darrel helped him out with his front end loader and they loaded a bunch of leftover concrete, mortar and stone out of the front yard.  






On Friday Don took the trailer to the dump again and it weighed in at a whopping 5.02 tons (10,040 lbs.)–this was just the debris they loaded on Thursday. I don’t know why the tires didn’t blow. I guess Don’s truck is getting a work out, I know the driver is. The previous loads have been less than 2 tons. This one was his personal best. It was an Advil kind of day.  

Brad set up his saws and moved wood and doors to get ready for installation and made some rough cuts on the trim.  

End of day Friday (April 30)

Saturday we took the day off and went to Sulphur Springs to celebrate our great granddaughter’s third birthday.  

Aniston is 3 years old.

Sunday was a day off.  

Monday (May 3) Brad started putting up trim inside the house and beadboard on the ceiling in the great room. Mike, a friend and neighbor–and the guy Brad bought our lumber products from, helped Brad handing him wood and tools while he was on the scaffolding working on the ceiling. Mike lives across the street from Brad so he comes over often to help and check on our project.  

Lumber and doors from Mike

Southeast side of ceiling in great room (before beadboard)

Southwest side of ceiling in great room (before beadboard)

Beadboard for the ceiling

Tuesday was a continuation of Monday’s efforts. Brad and I planned the closet configurations and Brad started hanging the interior doors. Don went to Lowe’s and bought the sink and pedestal and ordered the toilet we picked out for the powder room. Brad is still working on the ceiling in the great room and it does look great.  

Brad putting up beadboard

Mike ("lumber salesman") and Brad

Wednesday was a big day. The custom-made cabinets were delivered and installed. The three installers arrived about 10:00 a.m. in two trucks and a trailer. They finished about 7:30 p.m.  

34 Oaks Fine Cabinetry

Unloading the trailer

The cabinets are beautiful. Tom is redesigning the island because of a space issue and changing out one of the cabinet doors on the entertainment cabinet, so he will be back. (Brad took his in-laws “striper” fishing, so Don was “in charge” that day, at least until Brad got back late in the afternoon.)  

Entertainment Cabinet


Master bath

Chests in our Closet

Laundry room (Note: Door to our "safe room" in the background will open from the other side.)

We need to decide on stain(s) for the ceiling, the cabinets, the floor and the front door. We went to Lowe’s and bought seven half-pint cans of different colors to choose from. We’ve got scraps of wood to play with (pine, oak, cedar + we have a mahogany door). Thursday and Friday Brad worked on the ceiling and hung a couple of exterior doors. He put up braces on the front porch and worked on the closets.  


Braces added to the front porch


Saturday he worked on the shelving in the pantry and broom closet and in the bedroom closets. He finished the beadboard on the ceiling and is working on the beams. He’s still working on the interior trim. I think he doesn’t like doing the trim work (it’s kind of boring to him), so he does a little at a time between the fun stuff.  


Our Master Closet

Robin came to visit us for Mother’s Day and we got to show her the Manor. She hadn’t seen it since it was a lot full of trees. We’ve made a few changes since then.  

Robin gets the grand tour

Bye Sunshine–we sure enjoyed your visit.  

Have a safe trip

 This was probably way more information than you were wanting, but I was feeling a little verbose tonight. We’re looking forward to this coming week’s opportunities.  

Later …

A week of subs

April 25, 2010

 On Sunday, April 18, we had 0.3″ of rain, but it was a day off and didn’t really have an impact, other than a little mud. The sheetrockers came on Monday and put on the final skim coat. As soon as it is dry, it can be textured. Brad painted samples of the paint we selected on the siding and we still can’t decide what we want. We went back to Lowe’s and bought a couple more sample cans. 

On Tuesday, Tom the Cabinetmaker came to confirm his measurements and brought a couple of samples of the unfinished cabinet doors. They are solid wood and we are really happy with them. 

Unfinished cabinet door (sample 1/2)


Unfinished cabinet door (sample 2/2)


 The texture workers were here and sealed up the house and textured in an “orange peel” finish. They even textured the garage–Don was impressed. 

Machine that blows texturizer on the walls


The stone masons finished putting stone on the garage. Brad put up korbels on the outdoor fireplace and ordered the interior doors. 



Finishing the garage


End of day Tuesday


Wednesday the stone masons finished the wing walls and started rocking the fireplaces. They started the stone boxes around the cedar posts on the front porch. The picture below is of the “two Jerrys” starting the outdoor fireplace. That would be Jerry Sr. in the dark hat and Jerry Jr. doing the physical labor. Jerry Sr. had five strokes which left him physically unable to lay brick, but he’s the brains of the outfit and he’s on the job every minute, telling his son and the other workers what to do. Thankfully, the strokes didn’t affect his mental abilities, he’s pretty sharp and knows his craft. They’re a good team. 

The Two Jerrys


Almost halfway up the fireplace on the veranda


Brad making korbels for the indoor fireplace


Wing walls and stonework on the posts


On Thursday, the masons continued their work on the fireplaces and the stone around the posts. The exterior doors were delivered and Brad installed the front door unit. 

Front door panels -- Stone work on posts


 On Friday, the masons finished the stone work. 

Indoor Fireplace


Outdoor Fireplace


And the hardwood floor workers and supplies arrived. They had two panel trucks like the one below full of men and wood. They started and finished installing in one day. They will be back to sand and stain later in the project. 

The hardwood floors arrive


Laying hardwood


Fast workers



Is this a great room, or what?


End of day Friday


This weekend (April 24 & 25) was a non-working weekend so all we did was visit the place, just checking on things. And we had to say “hi” to neighbor Jim. 

From the King and Queen of the Cul de Sac


Have a good week.

Work, work, work

April 15, 2010

On Thursday and Friday (4/8 and 4/9), Brad applied the foam insulation. He has a special trailer (about 12′ long x 8′ wide x 9′ high) just for this purpose. Inside is a generator, a compressor and pump, two 55-gallon drums of chemicals, lights, hoses, etc. He backed this trailer close to the house and donned a special suit with a full-face respirator and sprayed all exterior walls and rafters in the attic with a mixture of the two chemicals. The two chemicals are mixed at the point of contact and a chemical reaction causes it to expand to hardened foam. Any surface in contact with the outside has a 6″ layer of foam insulation. Darrel (Brad’s dad) monitored the equipment, helped move the hoses and shaved off excess foam to fit inside the studs and spaces. Brad and Darrel are partners in the foam insulation business.    

Inside the trailer

Another inside view

Outside view

Brad can't escape the phone

Darrel monitors the equipment

Brad in action



On Saturday, Brad cleaned up the excess foam and removed the trailer. Lee connected the water to the master bathtub. Gary hooked up the air conditioning vent and added a junction box in the soffet on the northwest corner of the house.    

Sunday was a well deserved day off. My mom and dad came to visit for a couple of days and we had a celebration for my dad’s 90th birthday. My sister and her family were here as well and we all went to Oak Point Manor for an unofficial “open house.” This was the first time any of them have seen the new house since we broke ground.    

On Monday, the stone masons arrived and started “laying” stone and brick on the exterior. (I guess that’s the correct terminology–I know they “lay” brick, I guess they “lay” stone too.) Don and Dad were there to oversee their work. The roofers finished the roof, patching up the vent holes left by the plumbers and the hole for the chimney left by the framers.    

The Senior Supervisor observes



Sizing (or chipping) the stone to fit

Mom checking things out

Men at play

On Tuesday, the masons worked until they ran out of rock. The estimate was a little short and more had to be ordered from the Austin area so they’ll have a little break. The inspector was there and gave his approval to begin sheetrocking. Mom and Dad went back home to Midland so Don has to supervise alone once again.    



End of the day Tuesday

On Wednesday the sheetrockers were there and they began and finished the dry wall in one day. Six of them worked about 12 hours and cleaned up. They were so organized, it was like watching an assembly line.    

View from the front doorway

View from the back doorway

In the garage

End of day Wednesday

 Thursday (4/15), the skilled laborers took the day off (at least they didn’t work on our house). Don and Darrel took the trailer to the dump and got rid of the sheetrock trash. (Is that considered “skilled labor?”) After the debris in the house was removed, this is what the some of the rooms look like.   

The Great Room as seen from the Kitchen/Dining area

The Kitchen/Dining area as seen from the Great Room

Master Bedroom

Master Bath

Kitchen with Pantry on the left and Mudroom on the right


Utility Room and Safe Room


 Friday (4/16), the crew that does the taping and bedding was there. (What do you call them, “tapers and bedders?”) They worked most of the day.

Putting on the mud

Rounding off the corners

Master bedroom

 A couple of guys from the framing crew showed up and finished the chimney. Cutting the “hardy plank” creates a lot of dust. It’s a concrete product.

Cutting the "hardy plank"

Trimming the chimney

For the ladies

 Saturday (4/17) the taping and bedding continued until mid afternoon. The rain started about lunch and continued through the night. Our rain guage showed 2 inches on Sunday morning. We’ve got mud again, but at least we have windows–no doors yet. Don and I went to Lowe’s and looked at exterior paint colors. The next big decision–color of the siding and trim. We drove around Emerald Sound and got a few ideas. We’re looking forward to the coming week.

Every day is an adventure.

Exciting Times

April 7, 2010

Wednesday (March 31) Bob and Gary continued wiring. 

Bob the Electrician & HVAC Specialist

Gary the Helper

Don went to town and bought a new DR Mower/Trimmer. Here he is out in the backlands breaking it in. 

The DR Experience


On Thursday, April Fool’s Day, Bob and Gary are at it again. They continued wiring and started installing the HVAC system. 

Electrical panel

(Note: This is pre-wired and pre-plumbed to support a propane fueled generator, to be purchased at a later date if circumstances dictate the need.) 

HVAC Installation (day 1)

The framers framed the outdoor fireplace and chimney. 

Frame for Outdoor Woodburning Fireplace

Notice we still have one more window to be installed, just to the left of the fireplace. 


On Friday, we met with Brad and Tom the Cabinetmaker. We discussed the arts and crafts and shaker style cabinets we want and decided to use oak cabinets throughout the house. 

Tom Cabinetmaker

On another note, here is a picture of Brad and Don showing me where a keypad will be. (Note: Brad’s got a new tool belt!! Now his tools won’t fall out when he bends over or squats.) 

"Over here"

Bob, Gary and another helper continued with the wiring and HVAC installation. 

HVAC Installation (day 2)

The outdoor fireplace was installed and the sheetrock was delivered (far right). Also, the window to the left of the fireplace was installed, no molding yet. 

Outdoor Fireplace installed

We got 0.3″ of rain around lunch time, but since we have a roof, we’re dry. It was a busy Friday. All the days seem busy at this stage. 

On Saturday, Bob and Gary and another helper continued working on the HVAC and ductwork. The nameless helper arrived earlier than Bob and Gary via a motorcycle. The Oak Point Police showed up at our new house shortly thereafter to check out the motorcycle at our building site. Don was in the back and told him he was part of the electrical crew. It’s good to know Oak Point’s finest are around and aware of what’s happening in the neighborhood. I don’t know if he was on patrol or if one of the neighbors called. 

Don burned the remainder of his brushpile down in the backland. It was really hot back there, not much wind and it was down in a valley so the heat just accumulated. It took him all day. He looked like he’d been “rode hard and hung up wet.” 

Sunday was Easter, the tradesmen took the day off. We went to Denton and bought a refrigerator to be delivered to our new address sometime in June. 

Monday (April 5), Bob and Gary finished the duct work and wiring. Lee finished plumbing the gas lines and installed the water filter. The bathtub for the master bath was delivered, as well as the rock and brick for the exterior. 

"Brown Sugar" Rock

with "Rustic" Brick Trim

After the workmen left for the day, Don and I were doing our walkthru and I looked out the mudroom door. Don was in the garage and I called him quick–this was about 6-8 feet away from the doorway. (And remember, we have no doors!) 

Diamondback Water Snake (according to Brad)

Don borrowed a hoe from our neighbor, who was quick to lend it but didn’t come over until after the snake met his demise. I guess the snake came from the creek–should have stayed there. 

Fearless Warrior

Nobody knew what kind of snake it was and we couldn’t find one like it on the internet. We told Brad about it the next day and he looked at it and immediately said it was a diamondback water snake, a non poisonous, but nasty snake. Brad doesn’t normally kill snakes he finds (he plays with them), but he said this one needed to go. The snake measured about four feet long and was about as thick as the garden hoe. 


Don took the body back to the creekbed for nature to take care of. 

Last rites

Just as our heart rates were returning to normal, an Oak Point policeman appeared on our back porch. Officer Clark Boley introduced himself and asked if we were Don and Pam. I guess we’re officially on their patrol route. We had a good visit and as I said before, we’re glad they take such an interest in the neighborhood. This was a busy Monday. 

Tuesday Lee connected the water filter. Badger Backhoe installed a septic pump and electronic controls. They elevated one of the sprinkler heads. 

Badger Backhoe

Septic pump and electronic controls

The sheetrockers put sheetrock on one side of the stairwell and one garage wall (which are considered outside walls for foaming purposes). 



Lee started installing the bathtub in the master bath but had to stop because a nut for the combination overflow valve/plug was missing. 

Lee Plumber

The painters were there and started caulking the siding. 

Painters caulking


Gary came by to clean up the electrical mess left behind. Don cleaned up and swept. Brad came by after the workers left. He used his blower to get rid of a lot of the sawdust, sheetrock dust, etc. and then we did another walk thru. A lot of people were there today. 

Wednesday (April 7) was not nearly as active. The painters finished caulking and the inspector came and noted what needed to be done and his approval to insulate. 


 (NOTE: All anchor bolts were previously installed as required in the vertical wall studs. They aren’t visible to the inspector because they are located between the windows and doors which require a triple wall stud, hiding the bolts from view–I refer you to Don for further explanation. I didn’t want you to think the walls weren’t bolted to the foundation–they are.)

Don spent the afternoon mowing the lower backlands again. This rainy season has really affected the flora, it looks like a tropical rainforest. I think the fauna are thriving too (except for those venturing too close to the house). 

And now you know …

Trade Work

March 30, 2010

Monday, (March 22) Lee “Plumber” installed ventstacks and drains. Our fireplace was delivered and installed in the great room, along with the vent for the chimney. Brad worked in the attic, affixing the decking to the floor. Don picked up scrap lumber and trash and loaded it into a trailer to be taken to the landfill.


Lee the Plumber

Installing the fireplace

Fireplace in the Great Room

Don's "Trailer Trash"

Tuesday Brad worked on the attic decking. Thirty-one windows were delivered, of which we returned two and ordered another of a different size; so we will end up with thirty windows. We did a walk-thru with Brad and made decisions on lighting and doors. Don spent his spare time picking up scrap lumber.     

Window delivery


29 and counting ...

Wednesday morning the framers installed the windows. Brad finished the decking in the attic and worked on the safe room, reinforcing the walls. Lee Plumber finished the water lines and installed a bathtub in the guest bathroom. We met our cabinetmaker Tom and he sketched plans for the cabinets in the kitchen, bathrooms, the great room and foyer, linen closets, etc. I was so impressed with his drawings, can’t wait to see the finished plans. Bob Electrician and his helper installed switch boxes and plug boxes.     


Busy day

Our new "prairie windows"

View from the kitchen/dining area

Another view of the kitchen/dining area

View from Great Room

New bathtub for guest bath

Reinforced side wall of safe room

Stairs to the attic (also serves as one wall of safe room)

Don is so proud of his new attic. He can actually stand up and walk around. A little different from the attic space we had in Dallas. Brad will foam all the rafters and sides of the house creating an envelope which will keep the temperature within 4-6 degrees of the inside reading. So Don really will have a cool attic.     

Don's domain

Big plans brewing

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Bob continued wiring and Don continued cleaning up, picking up brush and whacking weeds.  I have to give my working man a lot of credit–he’s keeping up with the trash the workmen leave every day. (He’s also saving us some money–we don’t have to periodically hire a clean-up crew.) He’s my “Trashcan Man” (for all you Stephen King fans).      

Brad put up sides on the trailer so Don would have room for more trash.

Sunday, everybody took the day off.      

Monday, March 29, Bob continued wiring and Lee continued plumbing. The water heater was delivered and placed in the attic. The Delancey crew did grade work on the yard and it’s looking better. Brad moved the trailer offsite and it’s ready to go to the landfill. Don and I went to Farmersville and picked out a bathtub for the master bath–to which Brad commented, “it’s got everything but disco lights.”      

Water heater and decking in the attic

Tuesday, Bob and his helper are still wiring. Lee started plumbing gas lines. Don worked on the yard. That’s about all the action today. Looks better without the trailer; however, those big chunks of concrete in the right foreground have got to go.

End of day Tuesday, March 30

Until next month …

Early Wednesday morning  (March 10) the truck arrived with lumber and the framers started building our home.

Trucks, trucks, everywhere

Wednesday morning delivery

Framers at work

Brad discusses the floorplan with one of the framers

This first wall is up and is now the east side of the garage. This is a big moment–it’s really going to happen. We’re building our home.

The first wall

You can see the second (and the longest) wall under construction laying on the slab on the right hand side of the picture. It is the back of the house and includes the great room, the dining area and a shower. All of this (except the shower–no window) overlooks the back yard so it is the south wall.

The longest wall

 This was done before 10:30 a.m., at which time it started raining. Surprise, surprise!

Grab the tools and get in the trucks ...

The framers are taking an unscheduled break and waiting in their trucks.

Rain delay

 We got half an inch of rain in less than an hour, also some small hail.

A quick hard rain

 The sun was back out around lunch time and the guys were back at work. Note the electrical cords and the wet slab.

Back at work

And we're muddy again

 –but hard at work.

Heavy load

 An eventful day. By quitting time it was starting to look like a home was being built.

End of the day Wednesday

Thursday morning started where Wednesday left off. They built temporary scaffolding around the perimeter of the house. You couldn’t pay me enough money to get on it. Here they are putting up cedar beams on the front porch. 

Temporary scaffolding

The entryway

 Here’s a picture of Brad putting up sheathing and doing the cornice work.

Brad taking pride in his project

End of the day Thursday (Note--No driveway yet)

 After our “end of the day walk through,” Don and I were walking to the truck and it got cloudy and big raindrops started to fall. Only a few, but they were big. We looked up at the clouds and this is what we saw. Hopefully, this is a good sign and means dry weather for awhile.


Friday is a beautiful day. Another load of lumber was delivered for the rafters. Three cement trucks were there early in the morning to pour the driveway, sidewalk and one of the wing walls. The other will be poured later as it is in the  “construction zone” and unreachable at present.

Wood for the rafters

Concrete for the driveway

As seen through our garage

These concrete guys are designing our driveway and sidewalk by individually pressing large and medium size chunks of rock salt in the wet cement. There is a chemical reaction and it “pits” the cement. After the house is finished, they will stain the concrete and put a coating on it and then we will have a designer driveway and sidewalk. We saw one at a model home and it looked good. We thought since the driveway is going to be in the front, we might as well make it unique.

Designer Driveway

Concrete guys at work

What a view!!

End of day Friday

Saturday the framers worked half a day and continued framing and putting up rafters. Don tackled the briars and cut down a few trees.

End of day Saturday

Remember–this is what it looked like 3 1/2 days ago —

Wednesday morning

Sunday was a welcome day of rest.

Monday the framers were there bright and early. They continued the framing, started building the dormers and worked on the cornices. Below Rico, the framing foreman (in the foreground), and one of his workers start building one of the dormers.

Building the dormers

End of day Monday (3/15/10)

Tuesday the framers had another job across town so they only worked a couple of hours on our house late in the afternoon. They continued building the dormers and working on the cornices.

End of day Tuesday

Wednesday the framers decked the roof and finished the dormers. They started putting up the siding. Don “Yardman” whacked weeds.

Siding in the back

End of day Wednesday

Thursday the roofers came and worked until dark. The framers continued working on the siding. Brad, with help from the framers, began putting beadboard on the porch ceilings. They installed the attic stairs. We’ve made a few changes and, so far, Brad and Rico haven’t thrown anything at us.

Felt paper and shingles


End of day Thursday

Friday the roofers finished, the siding was up and Brad finished the porch ceilings. The framers cut another window in the sitting area. Don Lumberjack cut up felled trees in the backlands.  — Try to imagine what this view will be from a multi-level deck behind the house. That’s the plan but it may be awhile before it’s a reality.

View of the back as seen through the Great Room and Dining Room

Dormers and Entryway

Front porch (Note: beadboard on ceiling)

Sitting Area in the Master Suite

End of day Friday (March 19, 2010)

No work was planned for the weekend, which is good because we got 1.1 inches of rain on Saturday morning.

Colorful mud!

Happy to have a sidewalk

It snowed Saturday night into Sunday morning. We had about 4 inches of snow when we woke up.

We have our roof so we are considered a dry site and indoor work can continue, even when it’s muddy. Rico said he will install windows this week. Lots of decisions ahead.

Busy, busy, busy…

It rained off and on all day Monday, March 1. According to our rain guage, we had 0.7 inches. The ground was so saturated, walking on the grass felt like stepping on a wet sponge.

Tuesday the sun was out and it was windy and cool. We drove over to the lot and the driveway was a muddy pond. We didn’t get out of the car.

This is our future driveway. Inviting, huh?

We met with Brad later and he said he had just come from the lot and he’d actually waded through the mud and walked up on the pad. He said the ground was mushy under the plastic covering the foundation. He was so muddy, he had to take off his shoes and roll up his pants legs to come in our house. 

Wednesday Brad worked on the trenches in the morning, scooping and pumping water. By noon he had done all he could and we’re just waiting for this sunshine to do its job.

Brad with a hand pump

Thursday, the concrete guys were here and it was dry enough to finish out the forms.

Brad Builder, Juan Foreman and one of his workers studying the floorplan.

The foundation engineer checked it out and gave it a green tag, the inspector passed on it and it is ready for the concrete. The cement trucks will be at the lot Friday morning at 7:30 to begin pouring. We just barely made it this week because they are predicting more rain Sunday and Monday.

(Note of interest: Don found a copperhead sunning himself behind our building site Thursday. He showed it to Brad who promptly picked it up and took it to the rear of the vacant lot next door and let it loose. GREAT! Wouldn’t want to move him too far from my home! Of course, we are probably building in his home.)

--Watch where you step--

On Friday morning, 1050 Tourmaline Cove was “Action Center.” The owner of the concrete company (Delancey Concrete) is also named Brad; he’s been in the business for 28 years. Here is a picture of Brad Concrete, Brad Builder and Darrel, Father of Brad Builder. They’re salivating in front of the big pumper truck. Don would be standing with them, but he’s taking the picture. Darrel lives on Tourmaline, a few houses from our new home and is always around the building site when there are big machines or big trucks involved.

Men salivating

Ready, set, go ...

 We had cement trucks coming and going or lined up on the streets from Highway 380 to our lot–thirteen of them. The concrete company had a man in a hard hat standing in the street and his only job was directing traffic. There were a lot of moving vehicles in the cul de sac.

Waiting in the wings

Ground Traffic Controller

They were pumping concrete sometimes two at a time. They finished by lunch time.

Two at a time

Boom operator

Using the screed to even out the concrete

Pumping concrete

Last cement truck of the day

The concrete sets up really fast and they polished after lunch. I don’t know what this machine is called–I call it a polisher. They had two of them. When they finished the foundation looked like an ice rink or a mirror.


After the trucks moved out of the way, they set the forms for the driveway and the sidewalk. They will be poured sometime next week, depending on the weather. The inspector has already been out and given a green tag.

Packing down the driveway

Don’s brother, Barry, stayed Friday night with us and we took him to see The Manor on Saturday morning.  I think he was impressed with the progress made, in view of all the rain we’ve had. It was dry so we were able to give him a full tour of the lot and the neighborhoods of Emerald Sound.

Touring The Manor

The picture below was taken on Tuesday 3/9, after almost an inch of rain on Sunday and Monday–quite a change in a week’s time.

Driveway and sidewalk are ready for concrete

 It’s Tuesday and the weather forecast is good. Hopefully, the framing will begin this week. Meanwhile, we’re going to try and decide which rock and brick we want on the exterior. We’ve decided to go with the natural stone, instead of cultured. So, we’re off to look at rocks …


 From Oak Point Manor

Life is good

Slow progress …

March 1, 2010

Sunday we got half an inch of rain. Water was standing in the trenches again.

On Monday Brad said he was going to let it dry for the day and tomorrow he would get the remaining water out of the trenches. He constructed a special tool for this after spending a day last week pumping water out with a hand pump. The new device consists of three 2×4’s of various lengths nailed to a large plastic Folger’s coffee canister.

The plumbing inspector was there on Tuesday and the foundation guys started their work on Wednesday. They cleaned out the trenches and leveled the site.

A blustery morning

Brad and a crew of 10

Brad's water scooper in action

Brad put his sign out and the electric service was connected. I guess 1050 Tourmaline Cove in Oak Point, Texas is now bona fide.

On Thursday the workers smoothed out the pad and put sand on top of the foundation. My resident lumberjack worked on the land behind the homesite clearing briars. He had scratches and puncture marks on all four limbs, like maybe he tried to bathe a cat. He wore gloves but I think he could have used some heavy duty canvas or “brush popper” clothing.

On Friday morning the workers laid and connected the cables to the foundation forms. They covered the sand with plastic and left for lunch.

We haven’t seen them since. The weather was awful, in the 30’s, windy and misting–muddy, cold, miserable. Don went to the site mid morning and came home for lunch. He didn’t go back that afternoon either. Nobody worked this weekend. Weather.com is predicting 100% chance of rain tonight and/or tomorrow, so we’ll see what progress we make this week. Hopefully, the foundation will get poured. I heard the weatherman say we should all prepare ourselves for an exceptionally wet spring–isn’t that grand timing.