Thursday, December 31, 2009

Windows finally being installed...


A very merry Christmas to everyone! Below is a new set of pictures from a recent visit to the house. Our windows have been delayed due to various reasons up until now, but all windows have finally been delivered to the site and are being installed. When Molly and I and my brother (he's in town again for Christmas) visited, roughly 2/3 of the windows had been installed.

Other subtle but major items that have been completed: electrical rough-in, plumbing rough-in, and the rough-in of the duct work between floors.

(Click any image to enlarge)

A front view of the house. Not a lot different exterior-wise (except lots more snow), but you can see some installed windows. That's our day-to-day project manager, Andy Olberg from Chuba Company, walking near the garage.

Here's a composite of two images that shows the house from a diagonal angle (with more installed windows on the South side).

The kitchen windows have been installed!

The location for the refrigerator (left) and the framed-in pantry (right). Locating light switches on the beam in the center was a challenge for the electrician, but he just did get them in there.

Duct work and electrical wiring in the ceiling of the kitchen. The exposed duct opening you see near the electrical wire hanging down is the vent for the range hood, which will be located over the gas range on the kitchen island. Locating this vent opening accurately at this stage of the process (with the island not yet present) was just yet another of our daily problem-solving challenges.

The view from the kitchen (near where the main sink will be) all the way down through the family room. This shows one of the many sight-lines my brother used in the architecture of the home, where you look through the home and out a window (at the end) to the outdoors beyond.

The same view from the opposite end in the family room, looking down towards the kitchen (and out the strategically placed window).

Installed windows on the East side of the dining room (with my brother standing to the right).

A similar set of installed windows in the the East side of the school room.

The window wall in the family room and library. The openings for the sets of windows have now been cut-out (heightened) to their final size close to the ceiling in preparation for the window installation. My brother and Andy are going over a few detail questions on the prints in the foreground.

A set of windows for the window wall, ready to be installed. It was extremely cool to see these for the first time. The windows on the upper right and lower left (on this set) are the operable casements, while the other two windows are fixed. I cannot wait for these to be fully installed!

At the top of the stairs to the second level, looking up at the fixed window on the West side that brings light into the staircase. I like this picture because it look like there's some sort of bottomless chasm in the home :-)

The two small stairs that lead to the area with the nursery and master bedroom.

Looking into the nursery/guest bedroom.

Over in the master bathroom, the plumbing lines for the dual sinks. We are having somewhat unique faucets that come right out of the wall, and you can see the valves and pipes that have been installed for the faucets and the hot and cold controls on either side.

Looking through the master bathroom to the installed window in the shower and tub area (another sight-line).

The master bedroom windows installed.

A closer look at the pair of windows above where the bed will be, which are awning windows that push out from the bottom so we can have them open when it's raining at night (our favorite :-)

Looking back across toward the kids' rooms.

On the other side of the house, a view down the hallway towards the girls' room at the end.

The girls' bathtub/shower unit (including control valve and tub faucet) have been installed.

Lastly, one cool development we hadn't thought of (but definitely should have). Duane, our main general contractor, was doing a walk-through and was thinking that the space above the girls' bathroom and the girls' and boys' closets would sure be a great space for a loft for more storage room or even a play room for the kids. Here's the print of the girls' and boys' rooms...

And here's the space Duane was referring to (all of which is capped at a 9 ft. ceiling, meaning there's dead space above up to the roof trusses)...
There's actually also a space like this above the master bathroom and master wardrobe that could be used for storage space.

Duane noted that our kids would probably thank us in the future if we turned the space in the pic above into a lofted room :-) It was a great idea, and even though we didn't feel prepared to act on it now (we'd rather decide how we're going to use the room and then design it properly, and also didn't want to have to figure out a ladder situation to get up there), we did go ahead and have the builders put a plywood floor up there and wire two light fixture locations in the ceiling. The view from the girls' room is below...

And looking above the closets from the boys' room...
None of the walls are load-bearing up there, as the roof trusses bear all the load. So whenever we decide to in the future, we can have that lofted room finished (also an easy DIY project) and put openings in the right locations for some sort of ladder access to the room.

Another reason to wait on finishing this lofted room: Aidan is likely (no... certain) to think it a marvelous idea to launch himself from up there and on to a strategically placed bed below. No need for occasions of sin (or occasions of severe injury :-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another new life in the Koop family!

(Brendan and Molly)

This is well overdue, and not news for our immediate family (or Molly's Facebook friends), but for those who only keep in touch with us via our blog... we're pregnant! The new baby is 8 weeks along (due July 29), and we would definitely ask your prayers for its health and safety and for the Lord, if it be His will, to allow us to keep this one for a while (a long while). Molly has already had an ultrasound so that her doctor could make sure the baby is doing okay, and though we were very nervous about it, it couldn't have gone more perfectly. The baby already has a strong heartbeat and is progressing normally. Here's a picture!

We very much look forward to this baby occupying the nursery of the new home!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New construction update...


If you don't live in Minnesota, I can inform you that the past week has been bitterly, bitterly cold. Once in the past week I went to the house to drop off a sink for the plumbers and planned to take pictures for a blog post, and it was so cold (near 0 deg F) I just got the heck out of there without bothering with the pictures. Today it was mercifully warmer (20 deg F, heat wave!) and so when Molly and I stopped by the house I jumped out and did a quick video walk-through. A video walk-through is really the best way to see progress on the house at this point; still images of interior framing make it hard to get a grasp of what you are looking at.

Windows are set to arrive Dec. 16th, with completion of window installation by Dec. 21. The workers are very much looking forward to getting the radiant heat turned on!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Henry Blaise Koop, December 1, 2008 -- We will always remember...

(Brendan and Molly)

Today is the 1st anniversary of the day that changed our lives forever; the day that placed a rupture in our family that will only be healed in heaven; the day that our precious Henry Blaise was born and found to have been taken by Our Lord to be with Him. Henry is more alive than we are, for he sees God face to face, and contemplates His beauty for all eternity. Henry is a vital member of our family, interceding for for his family that remain here in the world, along with his brother Jude Thomas who also was taken by Our Lord to be with Him this past summer. We know that our time here on earth is the tiniest fraction of all the time we will spend together in heaven, and we offer our sufferings from this time of separation to the Lord for the salvation of souls and for a continual increase in holiness in our family.

It would honor us if you would join in remembering Henry through this video...

A special thanks to Joe Clarke and Anjanette Conway, who took pictures for us at Henry's funeral.

We know that Henry's death was God's will, and were comforted in a special way by the Lord blessing us with a very direct sign of this. This previous post by Molly explains, and we continue to be grateful the Lord blessed us with this knowledge.

Thank you for your continuing prayers and support. Praise God for the beautiful gift of Henry in our family!