assembling at the starting gate...

We've been a whirlwind of price-cutting action the last week - we haven't been able to get the budget down quite to where we'd hoped, but we do have some very likely options (hi, Dad!) and all things going as presumed, actual action - permitting, contract-signing, and work actually beginning - should be underway in a week or so.

We've decided on almost every detail: sink cabinetry, hardware, lighting fixtures, details concerning trim...about the only thing remaining is to decide on a compatible couple of paint colors (we're pretty sure on the main color - an ivory just slightly heading toward a warmish brown tone...amusingly, fairly close to a lighter version of the background for this very text you're reading - and have three possibilities for accent color, all of which are compatible both with our flooring and the bathroom tile).


cancel that order for Argentine wheelbarrows...

Did I forget to knock on a wood product when I mentioned my hopes that the budget would be fine? Because - eek! - Erik (our contractor) e-mailed Rose yesterday saying his preliminary numbers suggested the budget would be...uh, about twice what our actual, real-life budget is.

After several moments of panic (mine more than Rose's - she does this sort of budget-sledgehammering as part of her real job), we realized, well, we have options...but we can't really decide what they are till we get actual numbers so we know where to cut.

So this afternoon Rose met with Erik (I chickened out of being there - I wasn't needed, and I figured I'd probably eat my entire hand chewing on my fingernails from sheer nerves), and...well, first Erik said he'd overestimated the cumulative total number by a pretty significant degree (which means that rather than being twice our budget, his initial numbers were only 1.5 times the budget). However, after meeting, we realized there are a number of things we can do to whittle the budget down to affordability (and reasonability: that double-budget number was not only unaffordable, it was more than it made sense to put into this house, even if we could have afforded it), mostly involving changes in the roofing and insulation systems, which save pretty big chunks of change both in materials and (even more important) in labor.

So we're back to good: we're pretty sure we can shave the numbers down to a dull roar, maybe suh-light-uh-ly above where we wanted to be - but still doable.


I had a moment of panic there - thinking ah hell, I'm just gonna delete this blog as reporting on the non-existence of a non-project would make dull reading. But we - like thunderbirds - are go.

Yea! (Wild moodswings to follow if data does not conform with expectations - I'll ask for the chemical mood-levelers if so...)


it continues...

Stuff's still out to bid - we met with our contractor (also a good friend) the other night for dinner with him and his wife at Alem Ethiopian Village (fabulously yummy!). The flooring we'd ordered arrived over the weekend, so we rented a UHaul (I don't think thirteen 7'x2' boxes would fit in either a Mini Cooper or a Mazda Protege...) and picked it up, as well as dropped off some junk at St. Vinnie's. We went down to BBC Lighting Liquidators to check out some light fixtures Rose had spotted - we're all but decided on wall sconces and ceiling lights for the bedroom and landing, along with being pretty sure about the components of the ceiling fan for the bedroom. The bathroom's still a bit of a mystery - tiling, lighting, and cabinetry are still a bit up in the air. Not in terms of design, but in terms of actual materials. We've got a reasonably good notion of color, but it's sort of like a jigsaw puzzle: when all the pieces are in play, it's very difficult, but once you get a few in place, everything else can follow more readily.

Erik (our contractor) said he's likely to hear from everyone within a week, and we've met with several folks to check things out, from the electrician to the plumber to the drywall guy.

We also had some discussion - probably decided to get rid of one of the ceiling lights as unnecessary, and figured out a few details on the bookshelves we'll be putting up (not built-ins, so it's our work, after all the contractors have done their bit).

Rose is worried about the budget; I'm thinking we've heard nothing to indicate that we're over it (and both the flooring we've purchased and the lighting we've tentatively chosen are below our budget), so I'm not worried. Yet. Once Erik gets back to us, we'll know whether we have to downshift a bit... Fortunately, we have budgetary contingencies: we'll just ditch the solid platinum three-times-scale nude statue of me I was planning for the bathroom and replace it with a simple, life-size, solid gold one instead.