...or perhaps the demesne? The seat of House Hightower? The Dominion of House Hightower. Adequately pompous and douchey if I do say so myself. And I do be do be do.
Now that we have that out of the way (for today, at least) on to updates. This part will be really short. There aren't any to speak of, not really. We did have a meeting with Ben the Builder on Monday to discuss changes to the back patio. Our original request was based on the home theater extending towards the backyard and thereby providing a longer wall to put the outdoor kitchen/fireplace against. When we changed the direction of the home theater towards the left side of the house, we lost about 10 feet of wall. Unfortunately no one (including RC) thought to have another look at the outdoor kitchen and what affect the shorter wall would have.
With only about 10 feet of wall to work with now (there's a door in the corner), it would have been ridiculously tight to have the countertop, sink, barbecue top, and fireplace all in that space. We settled on having RC create a square pad at the outer border of the covered patio to place the fireplace, giving us 10 feet of space for the sink, countertop, and barbecue grill. That way we will maintain the view (for what it's worth) out of the living room and keep everything flush (ish) against the left wall. The fire place angles out at 45 degrees to cover the main seating/table area that we intend. Our porch isn't overly spacious at the moment, but it will be adequate for us two and the dogs, and it should be okay for entertaining.
We envision expanding the patio size outwards and adding some landscaping features over time. These are mostly upgrades that we intend to tackle ourselves. If we do expand the patio with concrete or equivalent, that is one exception where we might hire someone because we hear it's more cost effective if you are going to pour a large amount of concrete. I'm not sure how expansive we will want to go at this point. We will definitely want more space, and we're thinking about a hot tub at some point in the future as well. I don't see a pool happening, neither one of us would use it enough to justify the expense.
That is one nice element of having the one acre plot and well water. We can see eventually adding a koi pond and some japanese/asian influenced landscaping (I'm especially fond of their minimalist approach that engenders multiple interpretations) but still being able to maintain a big enough yard for the dogs to do their thing.
The other "update" is that we will meet with RC on Saturday morning to discuss finishes/colors (brick, flooring, countertops, cabinets, paints, orangutans, breakfast cereals, etc.). We have a good idea of what we want, now we just need to find out if we can afford it. Our price already includes granite countertops in all areas except the laundry room, and hardwood floors in the office, library (dining room), and living room. The relative quality level of the finishes will affect the price however. I don't think we necessarily care about the fu fu level (real estate term) on the cabinets, but we do want nice countertops and ideally we would like one of the more visually striking very light (almost white) colors to offset our dark cabinets & floors. I have a feeling that won't be available in the level 1 list. As I understand it there are 3 levels of granite countertops (at least for RC) and we were quoted the price for level 1s as part of our overall home price. Hopefully we can find something we like without adding to the budget.