Category Archives: The Main House Rough Interior

Outside tile work in January, shower floors, and Insta Hot

20Jan15 – We are being blessed with Spring weather in the middle of January – low 60’s and sunny.  Continuing outside with the main deck tiling while we can.

Also, water proofing the master shower and a fun trip for me into town to Tyson’s furniture to pick out fabric for the sofa & love seat we picked out in December.

Tomorrow Steve and I are getting as much of the last lapboard up on the east side of the house, now that the tile is done there.  Hoping to get most of it done.  We’ll see….

Update:  22Jan15.  Our electricians, Walt & Darlene are here today to finish up the electrical in the kitchen cabinets and island.  I have added an Instant-Hot to my list of appliances since their last visit, totally unaware it needs a “dedicated circuit”.  So take a look at the last pics to see what Steve and Walt & Darlene are doing in the kitchen while I just close my eyes to the kitchen, come to my computer and say thank you, thank you that I will actually have Instant boiling water whenever I need it.

So, we’ve only gotten 3 lapboards up so far…..

Taking advantage of a warm Dec. Sunday…

14Dec14 – We have some nice subs.  Both the stone masons and the tilers came on a Sunday to take advantage of a sunny, warm, 62 degree day to get some outside work done.

Another super weather day tomorrow – yeah!  Get to have more work done outside!

Steve finished up the electrical work to connect the thermostats to the warmboard/radiant heating.  What a project – it’s amazing to me how much he knows.

We found a great site on-line to order our plumbing fixtures – 15% off competitive prices, ( 10% off, an additional 5% off if you sign up for their emails) no tax, and free shipping.  Such a deal!  And the main order came in two days, the back-ordered items arrived within 5 days.  Check it out:  Plumbing Depot

Photos from Steve’s phone….and mosaic tile hexes

06Dec14 – I’ve been taking photos with Steve’s phone and forgot to post them – just a little catch up.

We’ve begun the mosaic tile floor in the Master bath.  It’s coming out so pretty!! We’re using Grecian White Marble 1″ hex tile and then embellishing it with Ming Green Marble “flowers” as a border around the room – very similar to what they did in the original Maple Forest Cottage.  This means popping out the appropriate individual white hexes and replacing them with individual ming hexes – it took all four of us all morning yesterday to get about one third of the floor measured & organized on the bedroom floor first.  We then clear taped all the flower sections (so they wouldn’t fall out) and then moved the pattern one 12″ sheet at a time into the bathroom.  A bit labor intensive, but it felt like being at Summer Camp in Arts & Crafts class.

More like an OCD very ‘special’ class…..

More Floors….

04Dec14 – We’re continuing to focus on floors for awhile.  So great to cover over all the green & orange striped warm board!

Finally bit the bullet and went to the doctor this week.  Darn close to pneumonia:  oops.  Even as much as a naturalist as I am, I am very grateful for Western medicine when needed.  I’m feeling a lot better already!

The tilers started the main deck tile this week and will continue on it whenever the weather is warm enough.  They have tiled & are now grouting bath #2’s floor.  Came out good.  Then Steve & I realized that the same tile won’t work for smaller bath #3 as planned (too dark, too busy).  So I spent a good part of yesterday getting tile substitutes all over Asheville (each in the 60 or so square feet that’s needed),  lugging them home, carrying them up the stairs,  only to decide Steve was right that none of them worked.  That kind’a put a damper on my day.  Back to the drawing board….  I finally found a wonderful substitution on-line at 6am this morning, but the tiles won’t get here for a week.  Oh well, re-group – on to the Master bathroom instead!

Here’s what’s been going on this past week: (somethings wrong with all the photos posting in large format – just click each small photo and you’ll get them all)

It’s time for flooring installation!

04Nov14 – It’s been an unexciting month, visually, concerning our Maple Forest Cottage.  Steve spent a lot of time getting our radiant floor ready for the HVAC people, and then time connecting everything together.  We had heat one week before our first  27 degree night of the season!  It’s working wonderfully well. We’ll be able to work in comfort this late Fall/Winter.

I spent most of the month looking at tile samples, ordering tile samples, returning tile samples, adding borders, subtracting borders, looking at travertine, looking at porcelain tile, etc. etc.  I think I’ve finally got all the bathrooms, basement,  laundry/mud room and outside porch & deck all decided upon and ordered, if not already delivered.  It was quite the learning experience….

Mark & Lewis, our tilers, started work yesterday.  We decided to start in the basement so I might get to organize a real office after the tile is laid in there!  This is the busy season regarding selling real estate in the WNC mountains and working in the back of Steve’s workshop in the garage has not been, ah,  optimal.

Steve & I are laying the maple hardwood flooring ourselves.  All 2300 SF of it.  Honest.          We’re just taking it one day at a time – one section at a time.  But it’s instant gratification – each board that is laid down adds to the beauty of the room.  This is exciting!

Glenn, our cabinet maker has started work on the kitchen cabinets.  We should have them by the beginning of December.  My Christmas present.  It is so much fun fine tuning the Maple Forest Cottage’s kitchen into the kitchen of my dreams.  I’ll have to add our version to the photo gallery below.

I should be posting more regularly again, now that each day there will be progress made with the floors and then…the kitchen!  Can’t wait!  ;- )

See below photo gallery for links to kitchen plans….

Swanberg almost final kitchen 1 of 2

Swanberg final kitchen 2 of 2


Time to check-in and Electrical can be boring….

18Sep14 – Wow – It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  Rest assured, that means not much worth blogging about has been happening.

Steve’s been spending a tremendous amount of time as Board VP dealing with road repair on the mountain.  Things are happening fast & efficiently, but that’s because he’s spending so much time organizing it behind the scenes.  We both decided that this will take priority for the next few weeks and then we can focus more on our Maple Forest Cottage a bit later. So much for a C.O. for the holidays.  Oh well, what’s an additional month or two in the grand “I finally get to move into my dream home” saga?!

So, in between getting quotes, renting big equipment, finding the best deal, supervising road work and actually doing some hands-on himself, Steve’s been putting in over 100 electrical outlets & switches in the house.  We are wired for Broadway!  Electrical/Audio/Visual is a love of Steve’s.  I just stand back and shake my head at the complexity of it all.  When all is done, we’ll be able to set different “moods” for each room at the touch of a remote control/ or our phones.  Our Maple Forest Cottage is going to be a very smart home indeed!

We’re going all LED lighting in the house and we’ve learned that not all LED bulbs are created equal – especially when dealing with dimmers, of which we have a plethora!  We learned the hard way, don’t put almost all of your bulbs in their temporary key-less fixtures and then turn on the breakers.  The first set all buzzed and hummed to the point of distraction.  We re-packaged them to the best of our ability and brought them back to the big box store and the poor customer service employee had to individually tag each one of the 40 bulbs so they could be returned to the vendor.  I’m glad he had a good sense of humor (and shared when all was done, that he had to return those same bulbs himself!).  So, Cree LED’s:  try one first to see how it works for you.

I tweaked the color of the master bedroom because all the light coming in from the main arched window was causing the taupe walls to look light tan.  Definitely not ok.  Since Steve is very particular about his walls, I picked the right moment to approach him on this and got the reluctant go ahead.  I can deal with reluctance – I got my yes.  So now I have a slightly darker, definitely t-a-u-p-e  wall color to wake up to and go to sleep with everyday.  Phew – – that was a good move.

Just checking in…It’s been awhile

10Jun14:  Wow, it sure takes a lot of time and energy building your dream house and starting a new business.  I’m going out on my own to sell home sites and owners’ re-sale lots here on the mountain.  It’s a good business decision.  But what timing!  I must be certifiable to attempt all this right now, in my 60’s no less.

Steve and I put the lapboards up on the terrace level – looks so cool.  We are going to wait to put up the deck and then finish the lapboards on the east side of our Maple Forest Cottage.  We are going to use a slate-like porcelain tile for the deck flooring,  Sintesi:  Cortina Copper.  It goes super well with the house colors.

Steve’s dream is a very smooth, plaster-like finish on the walls , so after we had our surfacer/primer applied, he hand sanded every wall, yes every wall, in the whole house, yes the whole house with a palm sander!  I have never seen such straight, flat, super smooth walls in my life.  He’s getting his wish – after a lot of elbow grease.  Never doubt a man with a mission.

We’ve been torturing ourselves trying to get just the right color/shade of paint for the interior walls.  We’re up to our old antics of special formulas and Ted at Mountain Paint and Decorating has been a doll through all our visits and color consults. We think we’ve decided on a mix of 4 parts Aura Affinity’s Frappe at 50% with 1 part Jute at 50%, with 1 part white base.  Bet you can’t guess how many tries & samples of paint it took to get to this!  It comes out a soft, warm taupe.  There.  Are we done yet?

Toughide and lapboards….

28May14:  Ooooh, it’s really looking like the Maple Forest Cottage now…..

Drywall and Level 5 Finish

14May14 – The drywall sanders are done and used a leaf blower to remove most of the dust that was created.  I missed a great picture of the clouds of dust escaping from the windows!  They finished with a shop vac – pretty efficient!  And less work for me…..

The Level 5 crew arrived today to cover & tape all windows & doors and stuff all receptacles, switches & light plates.  Tomorrow they will take an estimated 7 hours to spray on Tough Hide to give the walls a near plaster-like finish and will also act as the primer.  Steve is excited to watch the process as correct application is everything.

We’ve received our first estimate from a cabinet maker for all cabinets in our Maple Forest Cottage.  We’ll be speaking with a second craftsman tomorrow.  Steve decided he’d rather spend his time on the mill work and leave cabinets to the professionals (although I know he’d do a fabulous job).

We finished a very detailed materials list last night and it looks like – surprise! – we’ll be over budget despite all the planning we’ve done.  Hmmm.  We’ll probably just bite-the-bullet and go steadfastly forward…..and work a little longer before I retire…….We want our Maple Forest Cottage to be as true to the original as possible.

Drywall: Day 2, Day 3 and DONE!

04May14 – Now, I have never seen a team work so fast and so joyously together!  Our Maple Forest Cottage ‘s 4300+SF were dry walled in 2 1/2 days!! (Hanging the panels, that is.) Six young men worked from 9a – 8pm on Friday & Saturday and managed to get every wall & every ceiling neatly covered.  Kudos to them!

The extra drywall didn’t get here until 5pm on Friday, but they worked around that by starting the basement first thing – oops! The main floor was scheduled to be next ~ Steve & I were counting on Friday to get the basement 100% ready for them.  So once again, we are scurrying around, finishing our fine tuning, trying to stay out of their way…  They were very gracious to us owner-builders when I’m sure they would have loved to have us out of their hair!

Our dumpster was filling to the brim (Steve had called the owners to clear it out on Thursday, but said they wouldn’t be available until Tuesday – what?!)  So Steve would periodically go out and use the Excavator’s shovel to compact the discarded drywall to allow room for more.  Ugh. We told the crew at the end of the day that we would handle the rest of the clean-up in appreciation of their work, so we now have neat piles of dry wall pieces filling our DR until we get our dumpster cleaned out in a couple of days….

The Maple Forest Cottage looks great!  I keep thinking “We’re getting closer to the end of the DVD!”  Steve can finally relax a bit and spend time on things that will be more visual when the house is done.  Good bones are essential, but trim and flooring and painting and installing the deck and…….will be more enjoyable about now.  We made it to Dry Wall.  Yippee!!