Before the interior walls and ceiling go in it is necessary for the insulation to be in place. The exterior walls have a blown-in recycled cotton-like product (shown on the picture right) which provides a R30 rating. A plastic wrap is used to contain the blown-in insulation. The interior walls use a fiberglass insulation product (shown on the picture left) which is installed by hand. See the Insulation Gallery for pictures.
An important aspect to building an house is the selection of materials. One of the more challenging tasks is the coordination of the great room floor, kitchen countertops and kitchen cabinets. The consensus view from talking with others is to select the kitchen countertop first as it is easier to find cabinet colors and floors to match the countertop than vice-versa. But what should drive the color selection of the granite countertop? The answer for us came when we saw a vineyard ceramic tile painting by local artist Shannon Ray (see Materials Gallery). We purchased the tile painting to be used as the backsplash above the kitchen cooktop. To match the blue, brown and gold colors of the tile painting we selected Persa granite for the kitchen countertop. Our chimney will have a stone facade which has similar colors to the countertop granite. We will have a tile floor (still to be selected) which is a good conductor for the radiant floor heating. The kitchen cabinets will have a cocoa stain.
With the interior studs in place the in-wall electrical and plumbing must be completed before the drywall goes up. Wiring is required for lights, switches, plugs and Direct TV. Plumbing is required for the bathroom sinks, showers, toilets, bathtub, interior sprinkler system and radiant floor heating. Ducts are installed for the HRV ventilation system. This system exchanges stale inside air with fresher outside air. The Interior Gallery contains more pictures.
With the exterior framing completed the windows are installed next. We selected Milgard vinyl windows that are tan on both the inside and outside. The only other inside color option was white which we felt would not go with the floor and furniture. The Window Gallery contains pictures of the house with the windows installed.
Driving by the lot one morning we noticed that the excavator had returned and was digging up the back yard for the septic system. The septic system consists of the concrete septic tank and green wastewater treatment tank. The treated wastewater disperses into the soil via the leech field. I did not appreciate the size of the system tanks until I saw them in the backyard. System installation pictures are the Septic System Gallery.
When the concrete slab was poured the garage floor was not poured. The reason was to wait until the rest of the house was framed so as to minimize possible damage to the garage floor during framing. After the garage floor was poured the upper driveway was also poured. Once the garage floor cement had set the storage room and wine room were framed. Check out the Garage Floor Pour Gallery for more pictures.