It’s been a week or two, so it’s time for another Bobcat Lair update. The holidays and technical issues slowed down the progress of the renovation, but we did at least get some stuff done.
We Love Permits
The main slowdown was that somehow we’d only gotten building permits for the upper floor of the house. Oops, we are adding space in the bottom. So, this being Austin, Texas, the capital of permitting delays, we hired an “expediter” to do all the slogging around to various offices to get things accomplished. And, hooray, this time it didn’t take a year and a half! But, we got to pay a hefty fee. Of course.
But, now we just have to wait for our turn for the concrete mixers to come, then the general contractor gets to figure out how to get that concrete in the basement, where there is not a level surface to place a truck. It will all work out. They build houses on hills every day around here.
Shelving, Modern Shelving
While things were slow, our contractor and his son-in-law (Ruben and Tony) saved us some money by building shelving units. I think I showed one last time I posted about Bobcat, and they made a similar one that will go in the bathroom toilet room (it’s bigger than most). They got some new tools that let them really make nice looking stuff. The wood is really nice, and will look very sophisticated painted the same warm gray as the kitchen cabinets. It will all look like we planned it. I guess we did…
I’m very impressed with the design that Ruben came up with in the living room area. We’d originally planned for built-ins with cabinets, and glass doors up top. Instead, the bottom units are floating shelves that are open, and the top units are also wide, open spaces. They look very modern and current. We considered putting a tile backsplash between the lower and upper units, but I had the idea of using some of the flooring we will have left over as an accent instead. We think it’s going to look great, and warm the room up.
Electrifying the Hearth
While we were being creative with the living room shelving, we decided to design the hearth area. The gas fireplace has a nice limestone (Austin Stone, they call it) chimney, which is the room’s focal point. We didn’t want to put the television on the shelving on the other side of the room, because that would have created competing focal points. We want the television above the mantel. But, how do you get electricity and cable cords in those rocks? Working together, Ruben, Anita, and I came up with the idea of a larger mantel than is there now, one that wraps around the stone area. It will be hollow, so the cable and power cords can run through it. We’ll wrap it in wood that matches the floors (dark), for a nice contrast.
There are new windows on either side of the fireplace (replacing one of the numerous doors and an old window that had rotting siding). We plan to put built-in shelving under each window, so the cable box and DVR will have an unobtrusive home. We may even make seat cushions for extra seating in the room, once we figure out what fabric to use in the Roman shades we’re going to have.
I’m excited that the vision for the house is coming together. We also decided to put a fairly large hanging light fixture in the stairway, since it’s what you see when you first walk in the door. I am hoping that we can find a smaller but similar one to go over the dining “room” (which is not really a room, thanks to ye olde open concept).
(I got all misty looking through the before photo. If you want to see others, there is an album on my Facebook page that shows you what a lovely 80s home it was. The blue kitchen counters actually looked OK. I really wish we could have saved those floors and those draperies. They must have been SO expensive, but leaking windows (which have been replaced) ruined both.)
And Hooray for Plumbing!
Moving on to the master bathroom, Ruben found a nice faucet to use with the big bathtub, which should look elegant. It’s one that stands on the floor rather than coming out of the wall. They also roughed in the shower, which has a big bench, and will also have a nice, big cubby to hold toiletries. It’s going to be a good size, but not so big that you get cold if you step away from the stream (this happens in our ranch house, and the Villa Park casita). I’m pleased!
Next week there should be lots more action downstairs. We will keep you posted, since these updates also serve as records of the progress on the house.