Under Construction

Adventures in Home Ownership

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Okay, team. Here they are. Pictures of the house in all its beautiful glory! Hooray!
The walkthrough was a success... I have decided that a girl will never feel more important than on the day of her walkthrough, and here's why:

It was supposed to begin at 10:00, and when I arrived promptly early at 9:45 (because if you're not 5 minutes early, you're late), notebook, pen, camera, nightlight (for checking outlets) in my hand, ready and raring to go! I was met by three men, Joe, Joe, and Ryan, who were immediately apologizing before they even told me what was wrong. Turns out the cleaning crew had shown up late, so they were not quite ready for me -- it was going to be another hour. I said, "Oh," not knowing what else to say immediately. Then they were offering to buy me breakfast to make up for it, or buy me lunch after the walkthrough to make me feel good about my experience. I was a little thrown off by all this, and finally convinced them that in order to make me happy, they just had to buy me a Frozen Lemon Tea at the Homesearch Cafe and then pick me up when the home was ready to be walked through. So one of the Joes (this one a man who had been working at the community one block over and was called in for the end of the quarter to get all the work done) gave me a ride to the cafe, and en route, I asked him how they had gotten so much work done on the house since Sunday. He informed me that they had crews working at our home -- and our home alone -- until midnight on Tuesday night, and then the crew arrived at 5:30 AM on Wednesday, and had been working straight until I arrived. He apologized again, bought my drink, and left me to look over my checklist and call Buckwalter to tell him how excited I was.

Anyway, eventually the same Joe picked me up, and we began the walkthough. The other Joe, a very funny and knowledgable man, showed me around the house. I was very impressed with his standards -- it got to the point where I would begin to look at the windows in a room to see if they opened correctly, and when I turned back around, he would have 13 pieces of blue tape (marking deficiencies) already up on the wall. He was very thorough. Please view his tape marks on some of the pictures! Luckily, I was able to find a few things that he hadn't seen, so that made me feel useful! :)

The house from the outside looked wonderful. We have a tree! We also have a drip irrigation system that I learned all about that feeds the tree.

Later that day, Buckwalter and I went to check out the home together. This is our Sesame Street Stoop Picture. What a lovely stoop!

There it is! Our Darth Vader kitchen! Although I must say, we are both quite happy with our selection of countertops and appliances -- they really look striking. See all the blue tape? Most of those things are for touch-ups.

The little table where Joe and I went over many papers and our warranty when we were finished. You can also see the Gatorade they bought for me later in the day. There's the carpet (this is the living room, by the way).

The kitchen view where you can see the tiles a little better. They really look nice, although we found out that they do not seal the grout. We have to do that -- although Joe explained to me what we would need to do the sealing and how to do it -- it does not sound too bad. Or bad at all. Just time-consuming.

Our master bathroom. We have a ghost door on the toilet nook right now -- a ghost door meaning the door just slowly opens unless you shut it tight. That is one thing they are currently fixing. I tried out the water in the shower, and it was really nice pressure!

And our lovely patio, with Buckwalter modeling. I should end this post by saying two things:
1) We have the reinspect where everything will be fixed on Monday afternoon. I have been assured that they will have everything complete. And 2) We are so happy with the progress they have made on the house, and I was really impressed with their attitudes and helpfulness on the walkthrough. We are really excited to move in! And we can't wait to see all you prospective house guests out there! :)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Endgame

With just fifty or so hours before The Madame arrives at the homesite for the "dusty-shoe walkthrough," everything looks to be coming together. Even though we were just at the house on Wednesday morning (and Mr. and Mrs. Buckwalter The Elder drove by on Thursday morning), much has changed. The most notable change to the exterior is the addition and completion of roofing tiles, as you can see; The Madame is highlighting the fact that our house now has a number!

In this picture taken from the large window in the master bedroom, you can see a little more clearly that the tiles are a sort of dusty yellow-red. It makes a delightful combination with the exterior color coat.

Inside, there are two major changes: first that the parts of the house that were to have tile floors have been tiled. The tiles are large and are a little bit on the brown side of beige. They look outstanding in person. The picture above is taken from the living room landing and features the tiled entryway.

Here, you can see the other major interior change: the cabinetry has arrived! Although it's not pictured, all the lower cabinets feature built-in interior drawers for better organization.

Along with the kitchen cabinets, they installed the bathroom cabinets and our lower-level built-ins, both pictured above. I didn't think to take a picture of the built-in desk, but it's also been put into place.

The progress is remarkable, but we're curious to see if they can actually bring the home to completion by the end of work on Tuesday; the carpet needs to be put in, the exterior stone needs to be set, and the front-yard landscaping needs to go in. And, of course, we will also require a garage door, kitchen appliances, kitchen counters, and deadbolt locks for all the doors. Did I mention mini-blinds on the windows? Those too. We'll see what happens, but they've done such a fine job so far that I'm optimistic about the outcome on Wednesday. We'll let you know how all that turns out....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More! More! MORE!!!!

This house...it's like it grows by itself. Check it out...

First of all, there are all the light fixtures. We didn't even think we were getting a chandelier for the dining room (which, admittedly, we thought was a little cheap of them) but it turns out that we are. And it's pretty too!
The light fixtures are up in the bathrooms, also, like this beautiful cloudy glass and brushed silver number from the guest bathroom. We didn't turn it on because of my paranoia -- there were people working on the roof, and who knows what kind of electrical mayhem our one switch flick may have created? Yikes!


This isn't our roof, but is taken from our master bedroom window. And that's a mirror image of what was happening on our roof at the same time. Poor guys. I'm sure it's quite hot up there! Luckily, it was almost time for their lunch break. The chow cart came by with it's sing-song horn.

And here's the cabinetry, all boxed up and ready to go. By Sunday, I have a feeling this house is going to look quite different. Crazy! It's like a weed, growing and growing and growing....but a pretty weed like a dandelion. Or maybe a day lily.

And here were our first house guests! Beth and Steve gave us some very good pointers on the walkthrough, pointing out little things that would only take the builder a moment to fix, but would be a pain for us. I plan to catch every single one, and take up all of the foreman's time when I go in next week. If anyone else has some pointers on walkthroughs, please send them my way! Good advice is always welcome...just make sure it's good. :)

Monday, August 14, 2006


We leave the construction site alone for 4-5 days, and suddenly, it begins to actually look like a house! We brought the Taos-anians along for the tour, and it was quiet stimulating.

First of all, they've started to paint the exterior! Now, the gray areas at the bottom of the walls near the garage are where the stone will be going. The tiles are all waiting patiently on the roof to be firmly cemented on. Also, the big blank square under the rectangular window (which lights in over our bathtub!) will be filled with some not-for-use shutters. And there are doors now! It's amazing how some doors can really make you feel like it's a home!

And, as I'm modeling here, they've put in the banister. The natural wood parts still need to be stained, but it's very solid and lookin' good! They have also painted all the walls on the inside. So, it looks like mostly some trim around the door, tiling and carpet, countertops, cabinetry and appliances, and lightswitches are all that's left. Oh yes, and the air conditioner. Very important that they not forget that.
But the walk-through is scheduled for next week, which means they feel they'll be mostly done by then. Craziness.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Stucco-ed on You

It turns out that when you leave a home that's under construction alone for a week, it looks completely different when you return. Homebuilding in Las Vegas is done in a very regimented way, and believe it or not, our home is set to be completed ahead of schedule! Not surprising when you see how far along they are. So without further ado....

Definitely the biggest change since we saw the place last is the addition of stucco. Now it actually looks like a real house! This delightful shade of pantheon gray will soon be covered over by the color combination in the previous post; the end is near indeed.

Aside from the walls (which you will see presently), the main change to the interior space is the addition of tile to the shower areas. The picture is of the second bathroom, but the master bath has been given the same treatment. There was a guy in the master tub doing the tiling while we were there, otherwise we would have gotten a picture of that too.

When we were inside the home last, the drywall had been "finished" but the walls were still smooth. It's hard to see in the picture, but they have now been kissed with what I am told is referred to in the business as "burp texture." It's the same kind of texturing that we have right now in our apartment; it's lovely.

Oh yeah. They make you wear a hard hat while you walk around the site. The one I'm wearing says "Safety First!" The Madame got a much more fashionable, hand-lettered chapeau which, in addition to the go-fast flames and Lennar corporate logo, featured the simple motto "I Care." I had expected to see "Es tiempo de matar al jefe blanco," but let's not split hairs here.