Thursday, 29 September 2011

Some recent purchases

I've been doing some buying for the red brick building this week.  First of all, I ordered a bed for our master bedroom.  This was huge as I really haven't had a proper bed since childhood and for some reason choosing one feels like a huge commitment.  Also, the one I'd been eying (and which I finally bought) is non-returnable, so there's no easy out if I change my mind.  Plus there's a 6-8 week wait between ordering it and receiving it, which feels like an eternity for furniture.  The bed I settled on is the Chesterfield Upholstered Bed with no footboard from Restoration Hardware:

I got it in the color shown, "Natural", and chose their antique velvet fabric.  Since I like to read in bed, an upholstered headboard really seemed like the way to go, though I love the look of antique wood or even patinated metal headboards.  Can't stand footboards because they make me feel hemmed in and I'm always banging into them.  Love tufting.  Plus I think the Chesterfield style reads a little masculine and our bedroom needs a few "guy" elements so it doesn't degenerate into a girly princess space and make my fiance feel less than totally manly.

My next buy was a chandelier, also for the bedroom.  It's fully returnable with no restocking fee (unlike on almost *all* lighting websites) so if it looks cheap in person, back it goes! 

I like that it keeps the intricate brass theme going.  (The walk-in closet has a brass and crystal chandelier and the entryway to the master suite has a brass flush mount.)  It seems like the right size, which was unbelievably difficult to find, since our room is longer than the average bedroom but with a  9 foot ceiling that most wider chandeliers won't accommodate.  Plus it will give off a lot of light: 6 bulbs, up to 60 watts each.  I also like the idea of the pleated shade, which softens the hardness of the metal, warming things up for a bedroom.  It's less expensive than many of the other chandelier options I'd been considering, too, so the price doesn't feel bad.

My old oriental rug that's currently in our dining room is too small for the space and I think the colors will look better in our bedroom, so I'll be moving it upstairs and replacing it with a natural fiber rug.  Since I first saw photos of them on the floors of English country estates, I've loved the look of traditional English apple rush rugs.  Unfortunately they're really expensive for natural fiber rugs and since we're splurging in a lot of other places (the rug in the living room, for starters) I want to try to get the look for less.  So I found this flat braided jute rug, with has extremely good reviews and is fully returnable if I don't like the look or quality when it arrives:

And I'm not complaining that it's 2/3 the price of a similar Pottery Barn item.  I think it might be a nice bridge between the rustic feel of the kitchen and the fancier look I'd like for the living room and dining room.

The last purchase was the numbers for the outside of the RBB:

I bought them in the zinc finish and plan to spray paint them black and affix them to the brickwork above the entry buzzer/intercom plaque.  The font isn't anything to write home about but I like the scale (6" tall and looks deep) and I really needed to pick something because the fire department made us put up temporary numbers and they look super sad.

I also found some mailboxes for the front entryway:

Getting the right dimensions and finding something with character was very challenging.  Everything that was close was 5 or 6 inches deep and we can only have up to 4 inches, since I'm planning to hang them under the handrail that's just inside the front door, and I don't want them to stick out past the railing.  These are 3 inches deep.  They're out of stock but expect to have more within a couple of weeks, so I plan to order them then.

Lastly, not a purchase but we're getting close: When we were in New Orleans last weekend we visited dozens of antique stores in search of chandeliers, especially for the living room and dining room.  One store had several we liked, though they're expensive.  Maybe we'll be able to settle on something from there.  It would be really great to have some lighting in those rooms when we move in.

A first look at the kitchen island and shelves

Our cabinetmaker dropped off the kitchen island and shelves on Tuesday.  Here's a first look at the base of the island:

Obviously, it still needs its pull-out shelves, its electrical outlets and the wood countertop that will be wrapped in copper.  The carcass looks good, though, and it's nice to see our old ceiling joists re-purposed.  For reference, it's five feet long, which my fiance was worried would look massive in the space but which turns out to feel just right.  I'm not a fan of big, dominant kitchen islands. I like the idea of more counter space but I want it to blend in with the rest of the room like any other piece of furniture, not commandeer all the attention is the space.

Here's a photo of the pantry, where they started installing the shelves.  You can see where the rest of the pantry's shelves are destined to go if you look at the little unstained wood strips (including the one that's half fallen down).

Ultimately, the pantry is going to have a curtain to close it off, rather than doors.  (Softer/warmer and potentially more opulent, I'm hoping.)  Here's a look at the open shelving to the right of the range hood (the area to the left of the range - with the painted exposed brick - will be left completely open.  I might hang some art there):

The cabinetmaker is supposed to do some more installation work tomorrow, though his part won't be completed until next week.  Then the copper worker comes in to wrap the tops, so we still have a way to go!  I'm most excited to see what the pull-out shelves look like - and to put the wicker baskets on them.  I hope it's cleanly and elegantly executed and think it will be, having seen the quality of the rest of the work.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Tile in the guest bathroom

Despite my sparse posting, work continues in the red brick building.  Mainly it involves things being tweaked, so there hasn't been much worth photographing.  But one exciting development is that the tile arrived for the guest bathroom bathtub area and it's in the process of being installed.  Here's a peek:

As you can see, the wall by the window needs to be finished.  The edge of the tub deck also needs to be done.  Then everything gets grouted (white).  The tub skirt is going to be a wood panel with molding, since we need a removable access panel in case there's ever a problem with the airjet tub's motor.  You can glimpse in the corner of the first photo of the arch over the tub, which was recently built and which now needs to be plastered and painted.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

We have a loan!

We finally closed on our loan today - after operating in limbo without one since June 15th, when our construction loan agreement expired.  It's a huuuuge relief to know that our funding is secure and that we aren't going to lose the red brick building after all this work.  Big sigh of relief.  Now it's on to finishing strong, which means crossing little unfinished items off our punch list until it's blank.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

We got our Certificate of Occupancy!

I can hardly believe it has happened but this afternoon the City granted us our certificate of occupancy!!!!!!  That means all the inspectors (fire safety, life safety, plumbing, electrical, building) have signed off that our building is safe and complete and habitable!  So no more hoops to jump through in terms of satisfying regulations and we're able to move in whenever we like and rent out the apartments just as soon as they're finished.  More importantly, we're out of the limbo we've been in with the bank since June 15th when our loan with them expired.  They wouldn't issue the new loan until the building had a new status (the C of O) since the new loan is a different kind.   Essentially we've been running on their good grace for 3 months. 

We have had so many last minute hitches and problems the past couple of weeks on the way to the C of O: not a single one of the inspectors passed us on his first visit and several wanted us to change things that seemed impossible at this late date and stage.  Worse was that a few were difficult to get in touch with to schedule for a return visit - and they have to come in a specific order, so you can't move on and come back to meet with an earlier inspector his schedule is booked.  Anyway, we did it...we made it...and I am so incredibly relieved!