Friday, January 26, 2007

Fickle eyes

Mmmm....really liking the textile colors that Dwell is featuring at the moment. Honestly, who would ever stack pillows like this picture? The crazy thing...I actually really like it!

And while I can not imagine myself ever making a life-long commitment to the following chest (from Graham and Green), it is absolutely breathtaking. Am I the only one who finds this inspiring?

It will be very interesting to find out what the house will look like in nine months time. It may just be what appeals most at that particular point in time...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Trusting your instinct

Mr. Big regularly sees the computer on my lap and asks "What in the world are you looking at?". It's actually very easy. Wireless internet + mac laptop = frequently distracted Mrs. Big. Usually my distraction relates to USC football, but sometimes it branches into far more appropriate subjects, such as home matters.

A few weeks ago we saw a great hanging lamp at ZGallerie but we decided to think about it a bit. When I went back to visit our friend online, I gasped as this beauty flashed on the screen. unique! It's a bit modern (sphere-shaped and monochromatic), delicate (made out of capiz shells in the form of lotus flowers), and intriguing (lots of texture). I loved it in the photo, although I was hesitant about the gold color and exactly what it would look like in person. At $259, it seemed to have a fairly reasonable price tag for a bit of pizzazz above our dining table. My instinct told me that it was a home run, but I hesitated... imagine my excitement yesterday when I came across the following on a home design website. (enter hearts and xxxxooooo's here). Sheer perfection!

These are virtually the same as the ZGallerie lights, but they come in three different sizes and a lighter, more delicate capiz shell. (more hearts and xxxsoooo's). Oh be still my heart...I think I am in love.

Hopefully my internet searching abilities won't be in vain. I've yet to convince Mr. Big that our home just won't be the same without this find...but I'll keep trying!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Looky loos

Mr. Big and I have been known to wander through "in process" homes out of curiosity for what it will eventually become. Sometimes, the homes are those of friends; sometimes they are not (trespassers we have been....).

These days, we typically spend 2-3 hours on Saturday afternoons at the house enjoying drinks with the workers. It's a really nice time to decompress and enjoy the progress over the week. The last two weekends, we've noticed a really nice trend of friends popping by for a quick peak. It's so fun! We get the opportunity to share our plans, hopes, etc. on a completely impromptu basis. And more that anything, it's really nice to catch up with others...hopefully this will continue even after we've moved in!

There is just a whole bunch of good news to report this week. The second floor slab was poured (a week and a half earlier than last week's estimate) and the second floor walls have started. Rewinding to the start of construction, they said that we would have only the first floor slab done by the end of January. Seriously now, who in their right mind would have thought that we would be a whole MONTH AND A HALF ahead of schedule at this point?!?

It's really starting to look like a house. And our house! They are even saying that our roof might be started in two weeks. Unbelievable.

And in addition to all of the work on the house, the garage is motoring up as well.

It needs to be mentioned that there are certainly momentary panics, such as "we have no air conditioning piped in for the upstairs portion of the garage and the concrete is being poured in an hour", but all in all, we are very fortunate to have a great team looking out for our interests. My hat goes off to them because the construction industry would be far too stressful for the likes of me.

The window and roof tile orders will be placed soon. I mention soon because it is surprising, even if you thought you had everything sorted for the house, that there are inevitably good, valid questions and concerns that are raised. (Just yesterday we increased the tred on our stairs from 10" to 11.5" to accomodate a certain tall guy that we all did we not catch that earlier?) You think that you've thought of it all, but then you realized, we are only human afterall...

So when you are "looky loo-ing" through a home in the future, imagine the owners frantically scrambling around, getting answers, in order to get that home to the stage that it is in. And then remember just how happy they are on Saturday afternoons enjoying a Corona (or Red Stripe in our case...) decompressing before it starts all over again...

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Caribbean custom is to sprinkle rum on the foundation as it is being poured. Mr. Big and I were out of town when the main house foundation was poured, but the garage will be going down tomorrow. We thought today was the perfect opportunity to catch up.

So here we've got the special bottle of rum that we decided to use. I had gotten it as a gift on a business trip to Anguilla last year and thought that the name was great (PYRAT = pirate!). Very Caribbean!

And of course, we enjoyed a glass ourselves along the way. In any case, our visitors can now rest well knowing that the house has been properly blessed!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I think I may have a crush...

...on our house. Yes, it's true. I sit here writing with a giddy, stupid feeling inside. It's just so much better in 3D than we could have ever imagined. I'm happier after visiting it and I'm always eager to see the next bits of progress. This would seem to qualify this as a full-blown 7th grade crush! Here are the most recent progress photos:

We can't really start the photos this week without a full shout-out to the fantastic guys who are working day and night at the site. They are there 7:00am to 4:30pm Monday through Saturday. It is completely humbling how hard they work. It has certainly put a lot into perspective. It's such a treat to visit the site and be greeted by such huge smiles as well. They are single-handedly building our dream...and we couldn't be happier to have them involved.

So onto the house and the garage, which is detached. It's difficult to see here, but the garage is in the foreground and the front of the house in the rear. The moulding for the second floor concrete slab has started, but it is barely visible here. The blockwork is up to the ceilings and the outdoor columns are starting to take shape.

You may recall last weekend's post about the building discrepancies. Ironically, besides clarifying our wishes with our builder, we noticed that the exterior wall to the dining room was significantly blocking a view of the canal. This wall was originally planned to accomodate a large painting, but in the end, we decided to change the design. Although the exterior wall is in the wrong place in the first photo, the following images show the "before and after" views. The structure for the 2nd floor slab is in place for the second photo so we can now get a good feel for what the room will feel like. I think that it's a significant improvement:

And I thought that I might leave this post with some photos of the front and back:

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Room and Board

At the suggestion of a good friend, Mr. Big and I found our way to Room and Board, a fairly contemporary furniture store in the US. It was very consistent with the styles that I like, but I was astonished to find Mr. Big not wanting to leave the store. Score! For the files, these were a few items that we were impressed with:

A neat and different bed for the guest bedroom

Options for couches in the great room

Really cool chairs for the great room (in a different color)

They are worth a look if you are in the market for furniture. With a good shipping policy, it seemed fairly simple to order from them. Thanks to a great buddy for the tip!

Waiting for Christmas morning

I had so much anticipation on December 23rd that it was probably driving Mr. Big insane. Usually I would be asking 20 questions about the the gifts to come...does it have a color? how big is it? can I touch it? does he have the same questions back to me? (at which time he usually rolls his eyes...)

But alas, this year it was all about the house. You see, a good buddy of ours called on December 23rd to tell us that we had walls. Walls! After planning and planning and planning, it was so exciting to know that we would return to walls! The rest of the two week holiday was great, but there was a certain eagerness to see the house.

Well my friends, behold above the sight that we saw as we drove up to the lot today. This is the view of the front of the house. Not only were the walls up, but the slab of the garage should be poured any day. Great news!

We quickly circled to the back of the house (above) and hopped up to the slab to check out the interior. What a great sight!

That is, until we noticed that a wall was placed in the wrong place, the piping for a bathroom was off, a french door was incorrectly aligned, and a window was the wrong size. ? All of this in concrete. Yikes. In the two weeks, we (or more appropriately I...) didn't consider that things will go wrong. For a while, it felt that Santa left us a lump of coal.

In the end, we spent a good hour with our general contractor (who was out of town when the above occurred) at the site. He reassured us that everything would be taken care of at the builders cost and that he would carry forward some other logistical queries that we had. It really reinforced the importance of face to face communication. We all seemed to leave the meeting in a much better place and on the same page.

Throughout the planning process, we received many "words of wisdom" by others who have built homes. "Things will go wrong". "If you can make it through building a home, you can make it through anything." And the list goes on. It appears that we encountered our first serious stumbling block and good communication got us through with flying colors. Mr. Big is adamant about communicating well and he was right as usual.

Before leaving, we sat at the "future front door" feeling very good about where everything is at. We're still way ahead of schedule and the modifications won't put us behind. Most importantly, our builder reassured us that we can always share our concerns with him throughout the process.

So the anticipation didn't leave use with the equivalent of a Christmas tree and twinkling lights, it wasn't coal either.


A hypothetical question: You're cruising down the street when you come across model homes. Are you a person who obliviously passes by or are you like me and keenly wonder what decorating secrets they may hold within? I suspect that I'm not the only one that falls into the later category, but I wonder how many of us are out there...?

Mr. Big and I had the opportunity to wander through model homes over the holidays. There were loads of different ideas that I thought I would share here. But one recurring observation was that decorators accent model homes with BIG accent pieces. This creates a very cozy but uncluttered feeling. Imagine the impact of seeing four 2'x2' paintings on a bathroom wall compared to the single piece that I would probably hang. It certainly is more dramatic.

In any case, I was with a friend's six year old daughter who scurried in each home to find the "kid rooms". They had some very creative ideas that I thought were worth sharing:

This first room was my favorite for a boy room. Besides the chalkboard and overall football theme, look closely and see that the border mimics the laces on a ball. So easy, very clean looking, with lots of impact when you walk in the room.

The second was for a teenager and had a peg border around the entire room. In this case, they had purses, frames, and other fun "girl" stuff to decorate. Of course, the pillows were all custom made to match the theme of the room, but the peg border was really smart. It would also work well in a teenage boy (or grown boy for that matter...)'s room to hang baseball hats.

The final room did an amazing job of tying in the walls with the bedding. How cute is that large pillow? It was actually hand painted to match the walls. Something to file away for the future...

So here's a question to those of you who enjoy looking at model you think that they are actually livable? Or are we all being suckered?

And yes, I realize that there is a high probability that I am being suckered... :)