We're midway through March and there's a team down at the beach house, pushing hard to get it over the last few hurdles toward completion. It's agonizingly close now and I so wish I could be there. (Due to the rules of the PCS lodging program the whole per diem thing would get really complicated if I took leave though, and without a three day weekend any time soon the flight time wouldn't justify a two-day trip. Sigh.)
So far this week, the intrepid team has put together the entire Ikea kitchen (except the two cabinets that need to be swapped out due to a combination of the Ikea software awfulness and user error on my part). The appliances have all been ordered and almost all either picked up in person or delivered already. They finished the last of the painting, which I think looks fantastic - well done team! And, one of my favorite parts so far, the flooring, is going in pretty much as I type. They did manage to pass along the below photo where you can see the first few feet of flooring in place. I think it looks great, which is a relief since none of us really had a great sense what it would look like in person.
There've been two big themes to the construction - both this week specifically, and just in general. First, things not quite working out as intended. For example, the Ikea placeholder microwave I planned the cabinets around turned out to be a "mini" microwave, so we had to scramble to find another that would fit in its place and still hold a reasonable amount of food. And the range which I was so excited to find turned out to have the tallest backpanel ever. You can see it sticking up above the back of the island in the first picture below. Sigh. I'd swap it out but it was a great deal and absolutely the only induction range we could find in our price range (we can't use gas since the neighborhood isn't set up for it, and both glass top and coil top ranges got the veto from everyone we spoke to). We'll need to eventually raise the back wall by maybe 6 inches to cover the back of the range. In the meantime we might just add a back panel.
Second, everything has required more time and money than intended. I forget when our original plan to finish the house was - by December maybe? But needless to say, it's not quite there yet and there are still quite a few small steps to go. This has been a bit frustrating and even though we tried to factor in plenty of fudge time in the end the process has eaten into that time budget and then some. And speaking of budgets.... I should really do a whole separate post on dealing with cost overruns. Even with a contractor that I would trust with my life (hi Dad!) I'm glad that I had set aside a bunch of money 'just in case'. I was halfway thinking we'd need a cushion for the construction - and halfway planning to spend it to furnish the house. Let's just say the cushion is getting a bit thin. I'm just hoping we can find some serious areas for savings in the rush to the finish line. Otherwise it's going to be furnished with whatever we can find out by the curb!
Still to come if you're keeping track: finishing the flooring, tiling in the bathrooms, installation of all the rest of the bathroom fixtures and finishes (which have to come after the tiling), interior trim carpentry (notice the unfinished look of the door and window frames in the photos below), countertop installation, railings and screens on all four porches, some electrical finishing, hooking up the appliances, probably lots of things that I'm forgetting, and then of course a huge rush of purchasing and delivering all the things that will take it from being an empty shell to a house - couches, beds, lamps, art, rugs... my pocketbook is getting nervous just thinking about it.
Here are a couple pictures to enjoy - faces blocked for privacy of course.