It’s starting to look like a house. A month ago, the addition to our daughter’s house seemed to be progressing at a snail’s pace. The stucco had been torn off the back walls and forms were laid out for pouring foundation walls, but it still didn’t look like the marvelous new bathroom and the bedroom and kitchen expansions we envisioned. It was just holes in the ground, with wood frames waiting for concrete mud to be poured in and hardened to a strong base for the new walls.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Now, suddenly, we can walk from room to room. The interior walls are still just 2×4 studs, but there are drains–“this is where the new steeping tub will be!”–and outlet boxes and cans in the ceiling rafters (joists?) for new lights. Exterior walls and the roof are sheeted with plywood, so we can feel where the new rooms will be. Within the next week or so, the new exterior will be secure, with doors and windows and roof in place, and the old exterior walls in that section will come down. At that point, finally, we’ll be able to see that the tiny kitchen has doubled in size, the bedroom has space to actually put the bed in a different position, and the closet will hold at least half her shoes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Construction is always a slow process, at least when seen from the homeowners’ eyes. We knew when we hired our contractor, whose company is not one of the large, slam-bang types, that we were giving up a certain amount of speed in favor of hands-on work. Hubby has a lot of construction experience, so he knows what to look for in the work, and we drive over to the house and check out the progress every day. It’s nice to be able to talk to the contractor on-site when we have questions or changes we want to make.

It’s getting exciting now. It isn’t any longer a matter of choosing paint colors “pretty soon,” but of choosing paint colors NOW. The stucco contractor is measuring and hinting that he has to know the color, the texture, the trim, NOW!. Hardwood flooring, linoleum, tile, kitchen fixtures, bathroom fixtures, blinds! So many decisions, and they are all upon us (mainly upon Darling Daughter) NOW. So far the only thing we’ve actually made a firm decision about is the roofing material. One down, a million to go.

Some of the choices are dictated by available funds. We decided to splurge on the steeping tub–an absolute delight for those of us whose guilty pleasures include reading in a warm, bubbly tub–but cut down the number of skylights to a couple in the darkest parts of the interior. The big bathroom gets lovely brushed nickel faucets; the small bath gets polished chrome, at about half the price.

We’re pleased to find that new materials and processes these days mean that you can get the look of stone tiles in vinyl sheet flooring, which is much softer and warmer underfoot, as well as being fairly reasonable in price. The choice of counter tops for the kitchen is practically limitless. At this point we’re graphing Beauty against Cost, and seeking a point where Gorgeous meets Affordable; it’s getting closer all the time.

Meanwhile, we’re trying to convince Darling Daughter that her “new” place will be more comfortable and more beautiful if she can give up some of her stuff. (You know about stuff, right?) I’m convinced that she could live without the rag doll her grandmother made her when she was a baby; she’s not at all sure about that. We’re working on it, though.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.

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