Saturday, February 27, 2010

She's a brick.... house

The outside is coming together.

If you don't make the expansion joint, it'll be made for you. I wish they'd done a little more subtly, though.

'round back.

Not quite done this side.

There's a coat of wall texture.

Here's the afternoon light coming through the master bedroom windows.

Jessica's vanity (it's next to her closet).

My vanity.

For some reason we couldn't do the same brick as outside, but I don't remember why.

Kitchen cabinets are here. This is the side wall; you can see where the double ovens will go (I think that's excessive, but that's just what they do). I'm pretty pleased with the ones we chose, but I'm not sure how it's going to work with the countertops. We'll just have to see.

The main set of cabinets. You can tell where the stove will be.


The other side of the island. The vacancy is for the dishwasher.


Some of the modern conveniences.


Sunlight from the upstairs. We switched from a half wall to an open railing to make sure that light wasn't blocked.


Tiny vanity in the small upstairs bathroom.

Big bathroom vanity. We're going to have 2 sinks here, since we're planning on putting the kids right next to each other.

Part of the subfloor came up a bit. I wasted no time telling them. All in all a less dramatic week than most. Maybe tomorrow will bring something exciting (although the cabinets and brick were pretty cool). Well, it'll bring it to me; I doubt you'll see it so soon.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Test Your Knowledge: Common Materials

Explain what the following materials are:

  • concrete

  • fiberglass

  • gasoline

  • plastic

  • steel

We all discuss and think of many things with a lot of familiarity, but we don't necessarily know a lot about them.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Ho hum sweet ho hum


Looks basically the same.


Wait, what's this here?


Gotta make some holes.


The back is done.


Not this side, though.


Mind the gap. Anyone know why that's there?


That looks like the final door (to the garage).


The walls! They're dry!


Extra freezer space (or a closet if we want to go that way).


The children's punishment hole (under the stairs).


A graceful curve (from the family room to the hallway by the master bedroom).


Insulated walls, visible here because there won't be drywall in the shower. It wouldn't stay dry.


Kitchen is drywalled.


Niche for the electronics and such. I find it amazingly decadent that we build these in to houses now.


Industrial style railing. We were looking for something a little different.


Patio door looks like the real thing, too. Who'd do a construction door with glass like that?


More drywall and industrial railing upstairs.


Insulation over the front patio, as that's the floor of one of the upstairs bedrooms.


A little window into the dining room; I guess they needed a support pillar there.


I don't recall if these windows by the front door were there before.


A nice graceful curve going into (and out of) the dining room.


Drywall and insulation in the small upstairs bathroom.


Ditto for the bigger one.


The ceiling over the breakfast room from above (see the can lights?). This is all going to be covered with blown-in insulation.


Lots of insulation in the unfinished media room.


More ceiling, this above the master bedroom. Dunno why I thought you needed 2 pictures like this.



More conduit? How did that get there? And why is it different? Ssshh...

It's definitely different with the drywall in. Duh. I think we're going to have to work on getting some natural light in some rooms. When the light comes freely through the walls and ceiling, it's not apparent how dark some rooms will get.

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Christian Nation, Finally?

If the key principles that define America were derived from the Bible, how come it took 1500+ years of so-called Christian nations for a nation like America to happen? The Roman Empire was pretty Christian from the 4th century on. There was the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the various highly religious medieval nations like Spain and Poland, etc. All those were supposedly Christian nations, and yet all of those were wildly different from the United States of America. If the principles that define America are really in the Bible, and they're so obviously derived from the Bible and not, say, the Enlightenment philosophers, the Magna Carta, etc., then you'd think at least one of the many Christian nations over the 1500+ year history of Christian nations might have gotten there first.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010


threadache, n.: difficulties one encounters in programming software with multiple threads of execution.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Sights of spring

Like clockwork, it seems, the first week of February brings the first buds of new leaves on the trees of my soon-to-be-former neighborhood.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

1 week for the price of 2

This past week was mostly inspections, so there's only really been one week's worth of work.

On the plus side, there's been an update in Google's maps. They are now aware of our street number, though they misplace it one house over. They also updated the photos. These must have been taken some time at the end of November or the beginning of December. That's when they had the forms with the fill in place. If you look closely, you can see that the distance from the forms to the lot line is the same on either side of the house; that was not what it was supposed to be, and it got moved. That makes it even easier to pin down the time of the photographs (though this post is going to be wrong the next time they update).

View Larger Map

The maps update also shows the new elementary school they built that will serve our neighborhood (and others). It's the large building just south of point B. The big construction site east of that is a new athletic complex that will serve a large part of the school district. East of that (outside the frame, but you can pan) are the middle school and high school.

View Larger Map


Starting at the front as usual. I don't think there's any visible change.


There's some more stuff sticking out the side of the house. Oh, I discovered that those insulated copper pipes are not for condensation. Well, they're not for the traditional kind; those will go out to the condensers for the central air conditioning.


Backyard hose bib.


I don't think the door was painted before.


Got stuff sticking out over here, too.


Like this. I have no idea what this is for.


Water coming in and another hose bib. Not sure what the black and blue wires are, and the wire coil at the top is of course still power entering the house.


This here is something interesting. Texas is generally a warm place, and that means critters. Nobody likes filling their house with dangerous chemicals, plus it's inconvenient.

This a new thing that some builders are doing to avoid that hassle. This thing here is the access point to a pesticide distribution system. From here, the pest control company can inject whatever critter killer is necessary. It gets distributed throughout the house via a network of these little tubes. The best part? It all stays inside the walls. There's no need to spray the living areas or drill into the walls or anything like that. Of course, this house is going to be a lot more tightly sealed than the house we live in now, so hopefully, there will be less need, but if and when, this'll keep it convenient and precisely targetted.


I asked them to set aside any big rocks they found for landscaping purposes. They're obliging.


Here's the pest control tubing coming in.


We con-du-it, yes we con. Ok, so I don't much trust wireless networking. Wired is much more secure, not to mention a lot faster. But which wired? And where? As I've mentioned a number of times, we plan on living in this house for a long time. 20 years ago, nobody would have foreseen wiring a house for Ethernet. Doing that kind of thing after the fact is a big pain.

In anticipation of that, I've had them install numerous runs of conduit. They go from a low access point up to an accessible area in the attic. Then I can run whatever wires (low-voltage) I want to back to the structured wiring panel. I figure if it saves me just 2 rewiring jobs, it'll have been worth it.


There it goes into the attic.


Notice all the caulking in the seams. This builder constructs all their houses according to the Energy Star standards, which, among other things, means making sure the house has as few air leaks as possible. Throughout the house, they have sealed all the cracks and joints between exterior structural members, as well as filling in around any wires, plumbing, and ducting penetrating the exterior walls or ceilings.



Conduit in the front study.


There's a whole lot going on over the utility room. Note all the sealant. Those metal plates are there in case I get reckless with a hammer; they're there to prevent accidental penetration of electrical wires or plumbing. I have no idea how they decide where to put them.


The white wires are for the security system.


Connectors for the washing machine. Also more stupid homeowner plates.


Oh, I think I'm figuring out the system. They do it where these things intersect with the framing, figuring that I'd be most likely to nail or screw into the studs.



This is a conduit run in the wall shared between the master bedroom and the great room. That side of the great room has a niche for an entertainment center, as well as all the wiring for surround sound etc. Over the master bedroom is an attic space, which will be accessible via the unfinished media room (need to consult the plan again?). So it's up that wall, then there's easy access to the conduit run to the structured wiring panel (as shown in the previous update) on the other side of the master bedroom.


Those grey things are baffles to prevent the loose fill attic insulation from covering the soffit vents.


There's the conduit run from the structured wiring panel.


Master shower with bench. It has water in it for two reasons. One is to make sure everything is sealed properly. The other, as told to me by the construction superintendent, which I thought was clever, was to prevent workers from stepping inside it.


Double shower, along with more stupid homeowner plates.


Gas hookups for the stove.


The connections between the central air and the external condensers.


Ducting over the entrance to the partially-finished media room. They've since framed that in at an angle; you'll never even notice it. Well, you will notice it because I've pointed it out, but the average person won't think of it.


Conduit from the upstairs game room into the attic.


Bath tub in the main upstairs bathroom.


Bath tub in the smaller upstairs bathroom.


So this is an interesting thing. That was supposed to enclose the fireplace exhaust* all the way to the top of the house. The installers for the exhaust pipe realized they could vent out the roof over the first floor which saved on ducting and avoided having to penetrate the roof at the top. As a result, there's a lot of empty space there. I asked if they could build a niche or bench or something there, but it's too late to do it without a lot of hassle. I'm going to remember that empty space, though, because it seems like a great place for a little closet.

I hesitate to call a metal outlet for an electronically controlled integrated gas fireplace a "chimney."


Lots of wires over the master bedroom. The white ones are for the security system, and the blue and/or black ones are phone (I think).


Gas connectors in the attic. They're conveniently labelled.


Part of the home security kit: a board with nails in it. Don't mess with Texas.


Ending on an especially boring note, the furnaces have gas connections now.

For the record, if anyone knows how to post this many pictures through Blogger without it being a complete pain in the ass, please tell me. This post took 45 minutes.

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