We are now all moved in and could not be happier about it! It has taken a week to unpack and get settled, but it is really starting to feel like home sweet home. We are so glad we decided to take the new construction route as each and every decision in the house is reflective of us – from the floor plan and material choices, all the way down to the door hardware.
We are also thrilled with our location. Each of our commutes have been cut in half and the number of insanely delish local restaurants and coffee shops within a stone’s throw is incredible. Not to mention all the wonderfully welcoming neighbors we have met so far! Our block has a great sense of community and we are excited to become a part of it.
The next few weeks I will be going through room by room and detailing all of the finishes and the process so that you can nab some ideas for yourself.
Now that all the tile is installed (!!), we had to head over to the house to choose the grout colors that will be poured next week. Here is a glimpse into the master bath (as it currently stands).
The photo on the left is a corner of the Master Shower, which I am very excited about. We wanted to create a calm oasis, if you will, and this arabescato carrara marble seems to do the trick. The photo on the right is a view from the entrance. The shower sits in the nook at the top left of the photo, with a tub (that we will never use) centered as the focus. Not seen: a window over the tub, which seemed like a great idea during the planning phase (yay natural light!), but in reality is a front row seat for our neighbors to hang out on their balcony and get a free show (note to self: make appt with a window treatment company immediately). The tile on the actual floor of the bathroom is an Eleganze Varese tile, which is meant to look like poured concrete. This should look pretty cool (fingers crossed) contrasting the hard and industrial concrete look against the soft and elegant marble. Next up: choosing the hardwood floor stain!
While we had a great meeting with our contractor on Monday, we left feeling a bit apprehensive as to when the actual construction would begin because of two factors: 1. The building permit had not yet been approved at the time (the City of Chicago is not an easy place to build) and 2. the weather (with recent newspaper headlines scaring everyone about the return of the Polar Vortex next week, our chances were looking slim).
Low and behold, the foundation was actually poured on Thursday and to our luck – my brother, the civil engineer/concrete specialist, happened to drive by the lot just as they finished. Here is what he taught me about concrete that you are more than welcome to steal for tonight’s party conversation starter – I mean, right? Knowledge is power!
Pouring concrete is actually a chemical reaction of the water mixing with the concrete and, therefore, the temperature has an effect on the reaction. The lower the temp, the slower the reaction/crystallization, the weaker the concrete is.
Thus, you do not want to pour concrete if the weather is under 40 degrees or you will have a pretty crappy foundation. We sneaked by on Thursday with a 43 degree temp – huzzah!
After two hours of curing (drying), concrete can hold the weight of a human.
After ten days of curing, it can hold 90% of the structure’s intended weight.
Concrete does not fully cure until months later.
Based on the reinforced steel bars sticking through the foundation walls, this will be what is called a “two part pour.” I know you will be on the edge of your seat to see what THAT looks like.
So please keep your fingers crossed that this polar vortex does not show its face for at least another eight days. Hey, the more you know…
Happy Friday, y’all! Now Imma go get me a new winter coat.
After getting the world’s cutest wedding gift from my new groom, it became apparent very quickly that we were going to need more space. Our two bedroom condo in Lakeview – although wonderful – was not going to cut it for the Wagner fam anymore, because True Life: I am a Crazy Dog Mom (look no further than my instafeed for proof…)- and what my princess Nellie wants, princess Nellie gets. So began our hunt for a house with a yard that turned into our version of Homer’s Odyssey (Matt says I have a flair for the dramatic).
We tried to convince ourselves that we were only shopping around for a deal, you know, casually looking, but after few months we were already under contract for an adorable 1898 arts & crafts home in the Graceland West neighborhood of Chicago. A three bedroom home with tons of charm, an updated kitchen, and a HUGE yard for the Nell. We could not believe our offer was accepted and we started making arrangements to move and put our place on the market. The house passed the inspection with flying colors and we started moving our “excess” stuff into storage to magically make the condo look bigger. Two days before we hit the market, we got punched in the gut. The listing agent had been shopping that adorable house around while we were under contract (not legal) and got a higher offer. It got ugly and tears were shed, but by the end, we didn’t want that house because of all the bad blood that was shed – oh and the listing agent would be our new neighbor. No thanks.
So continued our “casual” search. After losing the first house, we really wanted to move and were determined to find an even better spot (we compromised on our ideal location anyways, right? that upstairs was never going to work. it’s totally for the best). So a million house offers later – ok, 10 – we were still in our condo with not enough yard for the princess. We found ourselves competing against developers who seemed to just be floating on cash and we couldn’t get a W. Even bribing the sellers with freshly baked cookies didn’t work. So ten months later, when we stumbled upon the opportunity to build a new construction house in the area between two of our favorite neighborhoods, we knew we had to jump on it.
So here we are. Our plans are currently with the city of Chicago for permits and within a few weeks we will be breaking ground on our new digs, so it is safe to say that I am no longer the girl who cried house. Friends are always asking me for help in designing their spaces, so after some encouragement, I thought it only appropriate to start this blog to document the process. So, huzzah! Let’s do this thang.