$72/sq foot!!!!!!!!

I thought I had done it: checked off one item on my to-do list. Find shower floor tile. Check.

Until, I get a sweet little email from I think a really nice lady telling me that this mosaic tile is $72/sq foot. Seriously. $72/sq foot. I almost fell of my chair.

The crazy part is that I saw this on the counter in a showroom and it had belonged to the previous client. One was labeled boy's shower and the other girl's shower. Hello megamillion dollar house in Marin.

I think I'll head to Lowe's…or at least the internet and see what this resourceful clever girl can find for about $10/sq foot.


It's the little tasks...

Yes, we have a a great architect.

Yes, we have great contractor.

One charges $150/hr and the other charges $65/hr.

So when the tiler needs to know floor tile direction in order to create a proper proposal,  instead of passing this 30-40 min task onto someone who is going to bill me for it, I do it.

Cute little drawings, huh?


Lighting. F'ing lighting.

It just got stressful. Or tense. Or something uncomfortable that I can't really describe. It actually started last week when we opened the electrical can of worms. And as you can see from the electrical page of our plans, it's pink worms to be exact.

Lighting. It's getting the better of me.

I know it matters but I don't totally understand the implications. I know what I don't like. And I know that I really dislike bad lighting.  But what makes bad lighting? And what makes good lighting? And what makes energy efficient lighting? And I get why most people pay a professional for this kind of thing!

It feels important and expensive. And if you make a mistake there is paint and drywall and all kinds of stuff that you have to get through to fix it. So the pressure is on getting it right and getting it right now, not later.

So there you have it.

And over the weekend, while Uncle Robin again entertained our children, we walked and talked lighting and came up with this outrageously comprehensive addendum to our lighting plan:


ADD: 8 LED cans in 2 rows as discussed with John
LOCATION: First row of cans should be in the second bay from the right if you're looking towards the mountain right
DISCUSS: Center row of cans with wide angle light dispersion and row of cans close the stairs spotlight set up
ADD: Track light 18-24" from left wall
ADD: Cans to be on the same switch the and the track light to be on its own switch, switch located at corner in dining room
ADD: For Phase 2 hallway to the bedrooms, add 1 cans centered in "hallway" and one can in the small little hallway
ADD: For Phase 2 stair, add 2 cans centered on future landing (get placement and dimensions of landing - layout TBD)
VERIFY: Existing ceiling light in entry stays the same as does switch
VERIFY: Raise the existing/new outlets to accommodate future raised floor in entry
VERIFY: Switch locations


CHANGE: Fan/Light combo to Fan only, no light
CHANGE: Move fan to the corner above toilet
ADD: beauty plate in the center of the room for a ceiling fixture
ADD: Ceiling fixture to same switch as vanity light (ADDITION TO SCOPE)
VERIFY: Outlet location next to light switch
A/P: Choose vanity light fixture (TBD)
A/P: Choose ceiling light fixture (TBD)
ADD: Track light running parallel to long countertop/cabinet (ADDITION TO SCOPE)
Place track near double joist in the ceiling or at the end of the second bay if you are looking towards the mountain
CHANGE: Only 1 LED can instead of 2, centered in doorway (CHANGE TO SCOPE)
VERIFY: Location of switch for 1 Can and 1 track light on wall behind barn door
VERIFY: outlet under window and near sink
A/P: Choose track/lights (TBD)

A/P: Choose light fixture (TBD)
ADD: Box with cover for exposed wire for under shelf wire (ADDITION TO SCOPE)
CHANGE: Framing for duct to give one more shelf in pantry
ADD: Water source to outside for hose


ADD: Wiring for 60 inch track light in ceiling at sub panel wall about 18 inches away from wall
ADD: Wiring for 60 inch track light in front of the wall with barn door
ADD: track light that starts at the left side of the laundry door, in line with the door at the ceiling
ADD: Switch for ALL track light on inside of the desk nook
CHANGE: Move all cans toward the center, location as discussed with John
ADD/CHANGE: 4 LED cans per row instead of 3, use light in laundry as starting point
CHANGE: second can from the wall on the left side if you look to the mountain to be centered over the barn door entrance so that the two cans there will be in line with the can in the laundry room
CHANGE: The rows of cans should respectively be moved closer to the center of the room by approximately 6 inches VIF
ADD: Beauty blanket for ceiling fixture center of the room (use kitchen pendants as guide)
ADD: Switch beauty blanket to switches on wall with the sub panel

STORAGE CLOSET (ADDITION TO SCOPE - forgotten on plans, Anne's mistake)

ADD: 2 outlets, location discussed today with John
A/P: Choose light fixture (TBD)


CHANGE: Do not have Landscape lighting switch in master
A/P: Discuss where to set up landscape lighting closer to kitchen

VERIFY: Location of Switch for existing island lights
VERIFY: Location of Switch for existing kitchen cans

ADD: Stair tread/riser illuminating lights on the wall without railing (ADDITION TO SCOPE)
A/P: Choose small LED lights for stair risers (TBD)


VERIFY: NO double hot outlets in sitting room (no switch powered outlets)
ADD: Track lights on 2 ridges and ridge of hallway
A/P: Choose track fixture (TBD)


DISCUSS: Placement of landline in kitchen, near microwave
DISCUSS: Door bell placement?
DISCUSS: Set up for future alarm system

  1. Can we run HDMI cables as well as coax cable up through the wall to the TVs? This will allow us to connect the 2 quart shallow cables together.
  2. How much would it cost to run the neutral wire to the outlet next to the kitchen door?
  3. Are the different track systems standardized so that different light fixtures will fit?
  4. DISCUSS: Using 2 circuit track lighting instead of just 1 track for flexibility
  5. In 2 circuit track do standard fixtures fit there and they just get adjusted or do you have to buy very special fixtures?
  6. Can you cut tracks to length if there longer than you need them?
  7. DISCUSS: Reattaching outdoor electrical outlets
  8. Is there anything you need to do differently to set up for going solar?

And there you have it. 


Seeking validation

Are you good at making decisions or bad at making decisions?

I used to be good. In fact I felt like it was one of my strengths. Whether it came from some sort of inner clarity or ability to prioritize, I often felt like I was pretty good at reaching a decision and then accepting whatever the outcome was. I didn't over think but I also didn't act carelessly. And I have no regrets.

But it has gotten harder for me. Maybe the stakes have gotten higher. Maybe the cost has gotten higher. Maybe the anxiety to get it right has gotten higher. I don't really know.

So what do I do - I ask for advice. I seek validation. From everybody. Yesterday I felt like I wanted to ask the woman making my chai how she felt about track lighting. I mean seriously.

What is happening right now with this project haus is that the sheer quantity of decisions needed has sky-rocketed into the thousands. And all are connected and all cost money and all have ramifications for the future. And many don't lead to immediate satisfaction because in making one decision you create ten new decisions that need to be addressed. And there are two of us who have equal say.

And yes, these are cosmically unimportant decisions. The are humanitarily (which isn't even a word but it should be) unimportant decisions. The location of the shower head in bath #3 is universally not important. But if the decision is not thought out, it will affect someone's shower experience potentially everyday. Again, not hugely important but important. And holding that can take over your brain and your heart and your whole body. No wonder people saying remodeling/building a house is so taxing on a relationship.

But we had said we wanted to do it differently. We had said we would not let this house cause a divide or extra pain - because it is just a house. It is just a house. It is just a house. Please forgive the repetition, I needed to write that for me just now. It is just a house.

It is just a house.


Windows and One Fancy Door

Our windows are here...


A new kind of date night

We need to start doing something fun.



Vacation, then home, then Tahoe, then Christmas, then back home. And then boom.

We landed in decision making madness.

All those decisions that were floating patiently somewhere in the future suddenly bolted into the present moment and exploded onto my to-do list.

All in one day, I started with plumbing fixtures...

then got distracted with tile for the shower floors….

then got derailed by the size and necessity of a cold air return at the top of the stairs for the new upstairs furnace…

and then had to approve the new location of the old cold air return which meant deciding between the cheaper location and the right location which meant cutting a few beams and floor joists in the crawl space…

and finally landing in appliances at Home Depot after 2 hours of research with my husband over the weekend while our kids were with their uncle (thank you Robin). And happy to say that the 2 hours of research basically landed us back to the place where we started, which was this LG set.