In case you don’t know what this is, it’s the same as a Blue Ribbon, an A on a Final, a call from the Accountant saying, “You’re getting money back,” or the biggest compliment you’ve ever received.  It’s the indicator tag that says the house passed inspection for framing, electrical, mechanical and plumbing!!  I met with the inspector at 10:00 this morning, and he took less than a half hour to comb through all the new mechanicals before reaching into his pocket and pulling out the green!

I haven’t written for a while because we’ve all been so busy.  After the demolition of most of the interior walls, ceiling and stairwell—and all of the innards of a house that make water come out of the faucets, toilets flush, showers rain, thermostats give you the temperature control of Mother Nature only kinder, lights turn on or outlets make your vacuum sweeper work—we had to have the Town Inspector come by to decide if it meets all the building codes.  Having a wonderful architect and superb subcontractors who know their jobs should make that easy, but I have heard horror stories where that didn’t happen.  There’s even a show on HGTV (Holmes on Homes) where the host finds nightmarish problems that somehow got a pass the first time around but will cost the homeowners a bundle to fix.

So, here’s what the Inspector took a gander at this morning. Look what goes in the walls of a bathroom! Plumbing, electrical and venting for the ceiling fan and stackable washer/dryer that will be in the bedroom closet on the other side of the wall.

Here’s the outlet where our Masterpiece Chandelier will hang.  It’s 5’ in diameter and 5’ in height with aircraft cable suspension of 79”.  It has 18) 25W bulbs (of course we’ll swap out LED at 4W each) so we’ll have 430W of light (at full brightness—that means the dimmer is all the way up—and bright enough to perform surgery) that we take down to 72W of energy consumption.  And instead of replacing those bulbs every 800 hours (we’d get about 1600 with a dimmer even at 90%) the LEDs will last 25,000 hours.  In the incandescent case, we’d probably get a few years.  Since LED works the same way as incandescent with lamp life and dimmers, these bulbs won’t have to be changed for 50 years.  And while you’re at it, check out that ceiling.  Nobody’s better than Bacera Construction/Isaac.  Pure art! And with those open 14’ ceilings, we’re going with a closed-cell foam. The advantages compared to open-cell foam include its strength, higher R-value, and its greater resistance to the leakage of air or water vapor. We saved what this insulation will cost in not having to sister all the 2 X 6’s to accommodate thicker insulation, had we gone with an open cell, needing ventilation.

We’re still deciding if we want to drywall this ceiling, downstairs.  It’s only 7’, so if we leave it open and spray everything black, we’ll get almost 8’ and—according to all the design books—it will look much taller.  One painter who bid the job told me I’m crazy for leaving it open.  He said it would invite spider webs and be a constant invitation for bugs.  His bid was low enough that –if it won’t cost too much more to drywall it—we’re leaning that way.  Nobody in my client’s inner circle is over about 6’, so she perked up at the notion of a light, closed ceiling.

Here’s what we had to accept, if we wanted adequate heat upstairs.  Chicago winters can get pretty harsh, so there was no discussion.

The four windows that will completely change the look of this room and make it look like it was always a modern two-story open concept (instead of a 1940’s bungalow) are the reason to always hire an architect!  Between these four and the opening created by the removal of a vent in the former attic—which, because the architect just happened to be there that day and suggested “glass there, too”—we’ll have another architectural element on this wall.

This was my brainstorm.  I like to go to the house in the afternoon, after everyone has left, and just look at the rooms and imagine them complete.  Originally, the bathroom ceiling was going all the way up, too.  As I sat here, I got the idea to have an 8’ ceiling on the bathroom (saving a ton on tile) and creating visual interest for the homeowner, when she’s in her bedroom.  The 10 X ’10 space above the closet and bathroom, give the feeling of doubling the space of the bedroom, exposing all five transom windows and offering a wonderful view of some very cool angles.

And what have I been doing all this time?  Ordering the contents of this house. Rugs, beds, sheets, towels, dishes, furniture, lighting, cabinets, appliances, tile . . . everything.  Too nervous that some critical item would be on backorder (they never tell you till you order), I decided to start, and I kept going.  And, because I don’t have a warehouse, guess where it’s all going?!?  I’ve been a bit of a wreck, lately, and don’t even ask me to itemize what I bought.  I shopped till I hit the budget #.  I told my client, “You’ll be able to take a shower, sleep like a baby and have a party.  Beyond that, I don’t know.”  I wake up about three times a night remembering something I forgot to buy.

I’m also doing two collages: One on her bedroom wall and the other on the wall where the coat closet used to be.  I bought a very cool metal bench for that area and five coat hooks for the wall.  It’s going to all be very open, so I’ll use furniture to designate “rooms.” I’ll spare you the picture of my garage, full to the rafters!  I couldn’t take a chance things wouldn’t arrive on time, so I took delivery early, rather than late.  Living Room/Dining Room furniture, kitchen cabinets and appliances will come to the house upon delivery, since they are still a few weeks off, and Isaaac will pick up the tile from the store, where they have been gracious enough to hold it for me. Here are the inspirations for the art walls.

Stay tuned for insulation.  I have six weeks to completion.  There’s a VERY GOOD chance I’ll make it!!  Insulation, drywall, paint, tile, cabinets . . . and the jewels as I call them: lighting, plumbing fixtures, furniture!  

I told my client I’d go to the grocery store for her, too and have a hot meal waiting!  I think I’ll cook it here, though!