Our House Building Adventure

We bought 3 acres of raw land in Wyoming... started clearing it... dug the basement... poured cement... and started framing!

This blog details our house building adventure... building our new home... ourselves!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas...

It's Christmas time! I love this time of year!

I'm dreaming of decorating my new house... next year...
And of cooking Christmas goodies to share.. next year...

And... of Christmas dinner in the dining room... next year...

Maybe even a Christmas party... next year!

But until then, the work continues! Rich is out getting 2x4s to prepare the walls for wallboard in the kitchen.

The dining room is all sheetrocked. And the foyer has quite a bit done!

Today I've been taping wallboard joints... and dreaming... of Christmases yet to come!

OK.. .enough blogging... back to work!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Walls in the front entryway

Inside the house continues to take shape! More walls!

Over the long weekend Rich & Matthew put up wallboard in the front entryway.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I've escaped for a short break...

Wait... Do you hear that noise? NO?

It is the sound of progress!!!!

It's Richard, and our sons, Matt, & Aaron hanging sheetrock in the dining room! Yeeeehaa!

And me? I've covered in mud... Been slinging mud in the boys' bathroom!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Caution... Mud Artiste at Work!

Finish work begins in the Boys' Bathroom
The Boys' bathroom is being mudded... butt joints are disappearing, corners seamed, ceiling blended nicely... Caution... the Mud Artiste is at work!

Much work to still do...

I'd post a photo but my camera is being fixed!

Guest Bathroom Update
The Guest Bathroom now has a toilet paper holder... and a towel rack. The mirror has been installed and a 4-light light bar illuminates the bathroom nicely! This is the main bathroom right now... but it will be awesome when I finish the boys' bathroom... because even now... one bathroom is not enough!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Ah... running water in the Vanity Sink!

Rich has been working on some electrical work on the 1st floor porch. The outlets for the Christmas lights is now working!!!! Time to pick up some more LED Christmas lights!

Guest Bathroom Update
The vanity in the guest bathroom has just been sitting there for a couple weeks. Well today we picked up the couple parts that we needed to do the drain. So... as of tonight... we now have one sink with running water in the vanity.

I ordered a pretty shower curtain from Overstock.com. I chose the Morocco one, isn't it pretty?

We also installed the 4 globe light bar and went to install the bevelled edge mirror... but found that it had a chip in one of the corners... I'm so disappointed... BUT... being able to brush my teeth with running water in the vanity sink... puts a smile on my face!

I'll tell you, I've come to truly appreciate life's simple pleasures... like toilets... hot showers... and now... running water in the vanity sink! Wooohooo!!!

The Boys' Bathroom
Mudding... I got quite a bit done today!!! Tomorrow... more mud in corner joints & ceiling joints...

Wayne, if you're out there.... I'm dreaming of cabinets... installed before Christmas!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Guest bathroom almost complete... and my spotted self...

Today our bamboo stair treads were delivered... and late this afternoon the balusters arrived!

I'm taking a bit of a house building... I mean... finishing... break. After stressing out over the soapstone delivery... I broke out in a massive hive attach... so bad... that I looked like a monster with puffy eyes and mitts for hands. My mother made me promise that I would go to the doctor....

Pushing myself forward... like a spotted lizard with bulging eyes... swollen all over... but full of determination... I finished texturing and painting the guest bathroom!!!

Took my swollen, red-purple, spotted self to the doctor on Monday. The doctor said... whoa... you have hives! 3 medications and two days later... I'm finally looking somewhat normal... well... except for my spotted reddish hands.

Some of the young women from church came by to see me... they were doing a fundraiser... and exclaimed... as they backed away... WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?

So as I wait for my skin to heal... I'm planning my next attack... the BOY'S bathroom!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Painting the Guest Bathroom!

Wow... does this Wagner Power Roller Max work slick! I had to put it on slow speed to keep up with it... no slacking... got to move fast!!!!
Got the painting started! Here's a little video to share with you!

It's time to finish! Bye for now!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Finished priming the walls in the Guest Bathroom

I'm slowly making progress in the Guest Bathroom!!!

I finished priming the walls/ceiling today... even put together my new texture gun and gave it a go!!!

It took a while to cover everything that I didn't want texturized... light switches... lights... outlets... heating vents... the tub/shower... then... I didn't have any light to work by!!!

Well, actually... I made due with one light...

First, I practiced on some odd pieces of sheetrock... then I started in on the toilet area.

Works great!!! Next... need LIGHTING... and finish the texturing of walls and ceiling!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Soapstone Arrives!

Our soapstone is delivered... thanks to the careful forklift maneuvers and Larry the delivery guy running his lift gate!

Man did I stress out over this delivery!!! Why didn't I take this stuff? I really really really needed it!!!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Soapstone is being delivered... Thanks Nash!

Tomorrow our soapstone will be delivered!

A big thank you to Nash of High Plains Roofing for helping us get these heavy pieces off the truck!

Nash installed our gorgeous antique bronze metal roofing... and the beautiful country red siding! Ok... let's just say that he's awesome! We've so enjoyed working with him!

Got my texture gun yesterday!

I got a texture gun yesterday! I'm trying to decide if I should prime the walls first... or texture first... if you have any strong oppinions... please post a comment!

Well, I'll get it figured out!

Here's a photo of the house!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Soapstone is heavy...

Soapstone is heavy...

Our soapstone is waiting for delivery to the house. It's at the local trucking place.

They called to say that they have NO WAY to get it off the truck... and that we're responsible for that part... umm... OK... ya... right...

Dealing with this issue today!

Our soapstone folks, M. Teixeira Soapstone of Denver, have been awesome to work with! I didn't realize that I'd need to have a fork lift to get it off the truck because of the size of our slabs!

Texture Sprayer...
Tracked down a texture sprayer that has good reviews. It's available at Home Depot. Will be going to get it tomorrow.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Texturing walls in Guest Bathroom

I started to texture the walls in the guest bathroom using a roller... ummm... I think that I'm going to track down or buy a hopper gun... and spray it on... will be much easier!

Just posted a great video in the drywall reference section on how to use a hopper gun over there... on the right!

The work moves forward... but for now... bed!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Finishing walls...

Finishing walls... I mean the mudding & sanding... is an art form...

Anyone in this profession... deserves every penny... dollar... bucket of dollars that they earn!

I now dub myself... Mud Artist... there... I feel better now.

Update: Washing machine was just installed with brand new stainless steel lifetime warranty hoses. Yeah!!! Onto clothes washing!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Final mudding & sanding of the guest bathroom?

Well, I'm totally wiped from moving yesterday... and boxes are everywhere...

But, I am a woman... on a mission to finish the walls in the guest bathroom! So!

Back to work I go... a sanding... a mudding... and hopefully... a texturing! Whooohoo!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reporting from the dust cloud within the guest bathroom...

The work continues on perfecting the walls in the guest bathroom.

This is my first time working with mud. I've found out the hard way that "less is more..."

I've decided to lightly texture the walls using a roller.

Back to my dust cloud for now.... soon... drywall primer...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Finishing walls in the guest bathroom... mud work part 1

Got the tiling job all done the other day... now I want to finish the walls!

I know... I know... I'm doing things a little backwards... but at least now... if we want... we CAN install the toilet!

I've picked a sage green paint... so better GET TO WORK!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Grout done in Guest Bathroom!

Just finished grouting the tile in the guest bathroom! Yeah!!! It took 3 buckets of Mapei OptiColor to do the whole bathroom.

I was a little scared to get going on the grouting... it was my first time. But honestly, grouting was the easiest part of the tile whole project!

It looks really nice!

Now... to finish the walls! I had to switch gears and get the tile done so that we could install a toilet.

Back to mudding...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Grout almost done in Guest bathroom!

Wow... I've been putting off doing the Epoxy Grout. OK... I was scared based on what I've read and what my Lowes sales people shared with me.

The most important thing when doing epoxy grout is to make sure that you get all the epoxy off the tiles.

I just applied 2 buckets of Mapei OptiColor epoxy grout. I think that hardest part is the clean up.

The great thing about epoxy grout is that it's waterproof... and the grout color stays.

If you're about to do Mapei OptiColor epoxy grout, you may find this Mapei video helpful... I did!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday... 9/19/09

-Door installed to storage space under porch! Under porch storage

-Extra thinset cleared from between tiles in preparation for grouting.

-Some things moved to new house including 2 cabinets from kitchen.

-Basement organized so that we can move the rest of our things from the rental this week.

I had hoped to get to grouting today, but looks like that's on for Monday!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gas Meter Installed - We Have Hot Water!

The Gas Meter was installed this morning... and now we have HOT WATER!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gas line brought to the house

The gas line is now up to the house... now for a gas meter!

Guest bathroom tile update

This is my very first time doing tile. It's been a great adventure! Lots more rooms to tile!

Just got to thinset down the last little bit of tile... then onto GROUT!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Testing the Gas Line for Leaks

The black piping for the gas line has been installed. Yesterday I chased down parts to create a gas pressure test. (We found this forum answer to be very helpful.)

Today Rich completed the install for an outside gas line to the outside grill on the future deck.

We made sure all the valves were closed... and pressured the line to 15 psi. After seeing that it held pressure... we then tested each joint with "Gas Leak Detection Solution."

Everything is perfect!!!

Tomorrow MDU (our local gas utility) will bring the gas line from the property line over to the house and install the gas meter.

More tomorrow!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Gas Line takes shape

We scheduled with the Gas Company (MDU) to install our gas meter on 9/16, so we've been hard at work installing the gas line in the house.

Gas to the Rinnai unit, our on demand water heater.
The gas line coming into the house.
Running the gas line to the gas stove.

Front Door installed!

We ordered this beautiful leaded glass door over a year ago. And it sat waiting to be installed while we did other more pressing work... like installing windows, electricity, plumbing... sheetrock...

The house has been enclosed for quite a while with a door on the enclosed front porch... but then we had just a big opening into the house. But NO LONGER!

We now have our beautiful front door installed!

It has leaded glass and oak trim (to be stained). It's very pretty!

Rich is installing the handle now...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tiling Guest Bathroom... laying down tile

The Guest Bathroom floor is taking shape! Hope to finish laying tiles today!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Tile Laying has begun in Guest Bathroom!

It took a while to decide on the tile layout, but once I did... I marked it out, then with my nephew's help... started laying tile!

Once I put down a few tiles, I started to get into a "groove."

**Note to myself**
Always start in the back corner... and work toward a door!

I'm a little more than half way done! Will get back to it on Monday.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Dreaming of a toilet...

Today I plan on laying out tile in the guest bathroom. Actually, I got it started last night...

I will get starting laying tile today! I have to check to see how long it needs to set before grouting.

I'm feeling a little leery of doing the grout. Back when I knew NOTHING about tiling except the dream of having tiled bathrooms... the Lowes salesman... based on what I wanted... and because it's a bathroom install... helped me pick epoxy grout. From everything I've read, I'm going to have to be very very careful with it!

If anyone has experience working with epoxy grout, please DO leave your pearls of wisdom in comments!

Anyway, I'm so looking forward to having a toilet here! My plan is be able to have that in place this weekend!

Laying the Ditra was quite a bit of work... I was so tired when toward the end. But, it's done!

Note to myself on Ditra installation:
-Have a clip hand to hold rolled Ditra.
-Have Ditra pieces pre-cut.
-Have other bathrooms prepped with cut Ditra in case of extra thinset.
-Start first thing in the morning!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Ditra installed in Guest Bathroom!

Well... I put it off... and I put it off...

But finally I decided that I've got to have a toilet installed in this house!!! So, with that motivation in mind...

I got to it!

You should have seen me all covered in thin set and sweat! What a workout, I'll tell you!

Guest bathroom now has ditra installed!!! Next step is to decide the tile layout.

Monday, August 31, 2009

1st Floor Drywall continues...

Rich and Matthew have been hard at work installing ceiling board & wall board on the 1st floor... lots to do yet...

I've cut the piece of Ditra for the guest bath. Tomorrow I will apply thin set to the Ditra.
Found some good "how to" videos for installing tile. Posted them on the right column.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Almost done sheetrocking the 1st floor bathroom

Hey Alice! Thanks for following my blog!

Wow... what a difference! The 1st floor bathroom is almost completely sheetrocked. Rich was showing me all the cuts and pieces required... almost 30!! A few more left to go and the walls/ceiling will be all done.

I was amazed at how the light bounces around in there. Hmmmm... what color... what color to put on the walls.... ceiling...

Well, first I need to tape and mud!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I am a mud slinger... First floor sheetrocking continues...

Rich and son Matthew (age 15) continue to install sheetrock on the 1st floor...

We'll be doing sheetrock for the next couple weeks or so depending on how much time Rich can dedicate to house "finishing." Working currently on the 1st floor bathroom.

I am a mud slinger... well... I'm learning by trial & error.
I worked yesterday in one of the bedroom closets... GOAL... perfect inside corners and ceiling/wall joints. Not quite there yet.... As soon as I have developed a "technique" for doing inside corners and ceiling/wall joints, I will finish the guest bathroom.

Add Image

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ordering Stair Parts...

Today, I'm ordering stair parts...

We're going with bamboo treads, handrails, and newell posts and beautiful black satin finish balusters!

HigueraHardwoods.com - handrails, newel posts
Trisha is awesome to work with... by the way...

OnlineFloorStore.com - treads, stair nosing

OK, now for our beautiful satin finish balusters!!! We're going with double twist, single basket.

Trying to see what the best deal is between... www.StairWarehouse.com & CheapStairParts.com...

Whooohooo!!!! Just spoke with Douglas from www.cheapstairparts.com and because of the size of my order... he offered FREE SHIPPING!

Great tools on www.cheapstairparts.com!!!!
  • Stair Design Tool www.cheapstairparts.com has a really cool tool called StairPro, a stair design tool. Way cool... because you can see what your design is going to look like!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

On to the 1st floor

Drywall continues... now for the 1st floor.

Rich had to move the plumbing in the 1st floor bathroom to accommodate the vanity. Then he started looking at walls... with his "drywall" eyes.

Twisted studs... yup... got to replace one or two.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Remote Blower is installed

Installing the remote blower for our oven hood.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Inside corner drywall finishing... grrr...

Grrrr.... I am NOT happy with how my inside corner mudding is going... Grrrrr....

Rich continues to install drywall on the 2nd floor. Working on closets right now. I'm following behind with mudding...

Friday, July 17, 2009

I picked out the knobs/Pulls for the cabinets!

I found these cute knobs and drawer pulls at overstock.com. The price is right!!! I decided to order 1 of each to see if the color matches OK. I love them!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Boy's bathroom... wallboard done!

I'm so happy to report that the wallboard is all up in the boy's bathroom!

I worked on mudding today, mostly in the guest bathroom.

Mudding Tip:
I came to a realization while sanding today... "Less is more..." This is my first time ever doing mudding... I'm learning to apply it sparingly... and smoothly...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Our kitchen appliances arrive!

What an exciting day!

Our appliances arrived this afternoon... and I can't wait to have my kitchen finished!!!!
I'm so excited to cook on our BlueStar double oven range!!!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Finished putting up drywall in laundry room!

Met with the cabinet maker today to go over his drawings. We spent a couple hours together going over everything.

Here's what he's making for us:
-kitchen cabinets
-cabinets in the desk area within the kitchen
-pantry cabinets
-laundry room cabinets
-master bath vanities (his/hers) and make-up area
-boy's bath vanity

I was amazed when he said that he could have it all done in 2 1/2 to 3 weeks! Wow!

We finished putting up the drywall in the laundry room and I put a first coat of mud on all the nail holes... still need to do seaming and corners.

Put up 2 pieces of ceiling board in the boy's bathroom.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Just cut into my roll of Ditra!

OK... just cut into one of my big rolls of Ditra. I was surprised by how easy it was to cut.

I've been putting this job off because it's my very first tiling job. Felt good to cut that first piece.

Now onto mixing the unmodified thin set!!

I am propelled forward by the promise of a flushing toilet!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Laundry room has a ceiling

We worked in the laundry room yesterday. Got the ceiling board up!

Today... walls...

I also did some work on the guest bath walls... some sanding. It's coming out great!

My appliances are coming! They should be here mid-week! No, the kitchen isn't ready to recieve them yet... and the soapstone is still in storage... but NOT for long!

Met with the cabinet guy. So many decisions to make! Good thing that I have a good imagination!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Thursday... mudding day

I'm looking forward to heading up the house into the air conditioning to do some mudding. I'll focus on the guest suite today.

Yes, tiling is weighing heavily on my mind... because as soon as I get that done... Rich can install the toilet!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mudding... the beginning

My younger son Aaron, age 11 and I went to work... mudding!

Neither of us had ever done sheetrock mudding so... we started off mudding the screw holes.

It's Friday... which means we get to spend the whole day working on the house... yeah!

Back to mudding over screw indents!

Rich and Matthew will be putting up more sheetrock today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sheetrock Continues 6/17/09

Toni the tiler..
We've switched gears a bit... yes, I'm still going to get the tiling going... but need to do a Billings run to get supplies. Did purchase the v-notched trowel that I need to put down the thinset between the hardibacker and Ditra.

(photo: this is the tub/shower that we installed in the Guest Bath last week.)

Sheetrock... Guest bedroom/bathroom
Rich and I put up 1 piece of sheetrock in the guest bedroom. One more piece to hang in there.

Put up 1 piece of ceiling board in the guest bathroom. That was exciting... thank goodness for the sheetrock lift.... wow... what a great gadget! If you're going to do sheetrock... you need a sheetrock lift!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Watching the Ditra Installation movie... AGAIN..

Welcome Faye! Thanks for following my blog!

You know when it's the first time you've ever done something... how hard it is to get started... or is that.... just ME?

I'm going to watch that Ditra installation movie again... I posted it on the side bar for reference... because I knew that I'd be needing to see it again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

1st floor bathroom

We worked on the first floor bathroom today... sorry didn't get any pictures yet...

Installed the shower and put down some of the hardibacker boards for tiling.

I found out that the Mapei Ultraflex 2 thin set mortar that I bought from Lowes a while back for my tiling job... won't work with the Ditra. The Schluter Rep said to use un-modified thin set only...on the substrate and to set the tiles...

So... can't start my tiling job until I get my supplies.. which includes returning 24, 50 pound bags of Mapei Ultraflex 2.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm looking for a 1/4"x3/16" V-notched Trowel...

It's not easy...

I'm getting ready to put down some Ditra in the guest bathroom! But as I watched the Ditra installation video... I found that I need a 1/4" x 3/16" V-notched trowel...

Awesome... just called Home Depot in Billings, MT (90 miles away... one way) and they have one!

I'm just a few days work away from a flushing toilet! Yeah!

I decided to call the Ditra tech reps to make sure that the thin set mortar that I bought a while back is OK. The instructions say that I need "un-modified" thin set.

Well.. .this is my first adventure into tiling... and to be honest... I don't know modified... from "un-modified!"


What I need is way cheaper than what I bought!!! Return... return... return...

Another trip to Lowes is in order...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Boy's bathroom

The Boy's bathroom is in the process of having a bathtub/shower installed!

We're just back from a Lowes trip...
Got some drywall tools... so ready to get started on mudding.
Got some tile supplies...

Picked up a book on Drywall & Tiling...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Utility Sink in the basement

Running water inside...
We now have a utility sink with running water in the basement!

Introducing... a shower.. in the Guest Bathroom!

Breakfast room window as viewed from outside... under the window!

Rich working on running PEX water lines. And now... a shower in the guest bathroom!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Cable guys...

Did I ask for a cable box?

Today, unscheduled... the cable/phone/internet company came to install the outside box for our future cable/phone/internet service.

Hmm... they must think that we've moved in already... Must be my beautiful garden out front that's confusing them...???

Guest shower/tub installed!

We installed the shower/tub this past weekend! And put down some of the cement backer board!

Tiling soon!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Water line connections

Connected some more PEX water lines that run thru the kitchen ceiling tonight. Progress!!! It all counts!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

We have water to the outside spigots!

My plants aren't thristy anymore!

Rich got the water lines to the outside spigots all set up for me!

Can't set a toilet until the tiling work is done.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pulling PEX water lines

We're pulling water lines throughout the house!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Running Water lines...

The latest project is running water lines.... oh the dream of a flushing toilet!

Rich is using Pex tubing to run water lines. We have blue & red spaghetti strung all over the house!

The Pex manifolds have been hung.

The town turned the water off for us so that we could make a change in the main water line... (my poor little plants... thristy...)

We ran into a snaffoo yesterday.
The main water line coming into the house needed to be shortened so that it can be tied into the cold water manifold. We went everywhere looking for these special elbows.... all over Lovell, to Powell... then Billings.

Then... we decided to take a different approach. I'm hoping that we can get that fixed this morning and get the water turned back on!!!

I'm thinking about...
Mudding! Got to have my Dad come over and give me some pointers!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Water lines... the beginning

Rich is running water lines. He worked on it all day today. We're using Pex tubing... so it's going pretty fast.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Friday... plumbing... loopy... loopy

Boy, that PVC cement sure makes me loopy!

We worked all day gluing more piping. Back at it tomorrow.

Can't find my camera... shoot!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Started gluing PVC drain pipes

Oh my goodness... that glue can sure make you loopy!

Rich started gluing together the drain pipes. We're about 1/3 of the way done with that.

I'm starting to think about tiling...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Plumbing work continues...

We're continuing to work on the sewer lines. Getting closer now!

A friend from church stopped me this morning when I was out for my walk. He and his wife want to sell their beautiful, "too large for their house" dining room set.

Need to go over and see it!

I will need lots of furniture to fill our new home!!! I'm going to enjoy that process!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scoping out the bathroom in the basement

Rich and I were in the basement last night... It's going to have a full bath... well.. no tub... it'll have a shower stall.

So... we were "scoping" it out... deciding where the piping was going to go... seeing how the spacing would work... you know... with the toilet and vanity.

It's a small bathroom... but it'll be perfect for the boys and their friends! We plan to have some gaming tables down there... and a microwave... and would love a popcorn machine.... or... hmmm... scrapbooking tables... ooooo... sounds like mama might have some fun with friends too! : )

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

2nd floor sheetrocking... continues...

Took supper up the house... spoon burgers and pumpkin pie... fed everyone too well... didn't get too much accomplished.

Joe, Matthew, & Trent continue to work on sheetrock. The 2nd floor is really coming together! They worked on the 2nd floor hall last night.

Rich & I looked over plumbing... and put together a plan of attack for tonight.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Can't wait for a bathroom...

Ah... to dream of such things... as a bathroom...

You can only truly understand this dream when you've been building a new home for at least several years...Ariel 608 Steam Shower with Whirlpool Tub

The master bath will have one of those new fangle steam shower whirlpool tubs. I know... it looks like a time machine!

Ah... I could use that right now!

AND... because I decided that I had to have one... because I've had one for years and years... an antique clawfoot tub!http://www.thetubconnection.com/tubs/new_tubs1.html