New Photos

allison0704April 29, 2005

Cate Co, here are the photos you asked to see. I seem to have trouble taking photos of the house when the sun is shining. Today it was cloudy and still trouble!

They have almost finished bricking the house. Working on the arches under back veranda today. The mortar coating won't be brushed on for 2 weeks. There is a sample of the color in one of the photos - brick isn't finished nicely in that photos since dirt will be pushed up to wall edge.

The stonemason's did a fantastic job! Thank you Marlin, Craig, Mike, et al. We capped the retaining walls with 2" thick flagstone. Front veranda was also done in the same stone, but a little thinner.

The brickmasons are also THE best! Thank you Phillip, Todd, Joe, Phillip, Mike, Charlie, et al.

My DH is trying to convince me to leave the brick 'as is' and not wash...but it totally looses the look I'm going after. The back of the house is beautiful, as is. Looks like an English Tudor. But the front, with the stone is suppose to have the european cottage look - without the brick washed it just doesn't work for me. (Opinions/comments will be appreciated.)

The retaining wall with the stone columns isn't dried. The section closest to the camera has been gone over with a 'stone' to knock off extra mortar. The rest of wall will also receive this treatment.

Notice how we chose not to do limestone lintels over the windows and used the same stone as the Carriage House. The brickmason's did a great job on this too!

Also notice the copper chimney. My GC jokes that the price of a penny has gone up to 2cents since I have so much copper on the roof!

I will miss everyone when they are gone! I have enjoyed watching them work their magic!

Here is a link that might be useful: New Photos

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Thanks for the photos, Allison. I love your house!! It's really something special and will be stunning. Such a beautiful setting, too. I've never seen a complete copper chimney... very cool! What does 'washed' brick look like? Does it take away most of the color and make it look old and antique? I guess I've never seen that done, but sounds interesting and would go along with your beautiful stone and give that old European look you're after. Keep posting your progress pics. Thanks! Cate

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 1:37AM
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Thanks, Cate! Washed brick is merely putting mortar over the brick. Some masons refer to it as stucco. It has to be done by someone who knows what they are doing or it ends up spotchy/uneven after it dries.

There is a sample of what it will look like, photo #9. That was done on the inside of the retaining wall, so the mortar between the brick isn't finished out since dirt will cover it. The house mortar is cut and flush (not cut back between the bricks, not squished). You will still be able to see the brick/mortar outline on the house, just as in the sample wall.

You know how in Europe, the old houses have layers and layers of stucco holding them together with some parts of the house made of stone? That's the look of our house...but without the cracks!

One of the first things we ditched was a solid masonary fireplaces. Saved 30K (12' lower level, 22' peak in Great Room, 14' above roof = 48' of labor/materials) so we couldn't use real stone on the chimney. We looked at the faux stone, but it's as heavy as real stone. With the chimney above our bedroom, DH was afraid it would end up in bed with us...ending us! GC jokingly suggested copper. The cap was already going to be copper, so why not? Not much of it shows from the front of the house and once it ages some, it will blend right in with the roof. ARC states any metal on chimney other than copper must be painted, so copper it was. Cost almost the same as faux rocks (they are expensive!) so we didn't save any money doing it this way.

I did find a photo of one on the internet that looks very similar to ours (but a different top). I would rather not have had the seams, but it was too large an area without denting/crimping the sheets. Plus the sheets are not as large as the sides, so it would have had irregular seams lines in it. (sorry so long!) Allison

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 10:39AM
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Ok, I see what you're talking about! That treatment does give it more of a cottage look. Can't wait to see the end result! We went through the same dilema with the chimney. I wanted it to be the same stone as the outside, but they said way too heavy. So, we ended up with stucco, and it will have a two row brick ledge at the top with a copper chimney cap. I love copper when it weathers to that warm brown, and your chimney is gorgeous. Re your dormers, on a previous home we did the same treatment on them that we did in the other front windows. On that house it was plantation shutters, so we put shutters in the dormers too. In this house we're not doing plantation shutters, so they just put a wood treatment on the dormers instead of a window.

Are you putting those exterior full length shutters on your front windows that he shows on so many of his homes? I just love those! Especially with a rubbed off finish.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 11:15AM
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I emailed you a rendering of the original house design. It will show shutters, etc. Allison

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 1:40PM
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Thanks for the rendering! I do see it shows the shutters I like ... very nice. I think the brick is a good choice over the siding, like you said much easier maintenance. I'm anxious to see your brick after the mortar wash. Looks like everything is coming along nicely for you.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 5:44PM
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Your home is beautiful. I have several Jack Arnold portfolios and love looking at them for ideas.

What kind of wood did you use for your kitchen beams? Are they solid wood and attached using hangers?

We are supposed to have false trusses in our great room. Our finish carpenter doesn't handle solid beams. He will make box beams out of 1x material but we were hoping for solid beams. So, now we need to find someone to build them and get them up on the ceiling...and make sure they won't fall down!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 1:00AM
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We used solid cedar beams everywhere - kitchen, great room, master bedroom, the verandas.

We had them installed by our framers before putting up the sheetrock so that they wouldn't ever come down! They are attached from the top with many, many looooong wood screws and the ends of the ridge beams in the great room/master bedroom sit on supports inside the walls.

I can email you shutterfly photos if you want to see house "guts" while it was being built.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 9:18AM
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Thanks for the information. I'm going to try to hold out for solid beams. If you have time, I would love to see the house "guts" regarding the beams.

Was your contractor worried about shrinkage with green wood? We are considering kiln dried doug fir, hoping to avoid some wood movement. (Our span is 21').

We are getting close to drywall and if we are going to have solid beams, we need to decide yesterday :)!

I love your front entry with the stone steps and landing! Charming, interesting and fun!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 1:55PM
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I've sent you an email, ownerbuilder.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 4:30PM
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Updated photos from today.

The brickmasons and painters finished up outside yesterday. Mortar is still wet in places. Allison

Here is a link that might be useful: Update Photos 5-7-2005

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 8:37PM
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Gorgeous!! I sent you an email. The washed brick looks great with the stone. Your brickmasons did a wonderful job. You must be really pleased!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2005 at 10:48PM
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Thanks, Cate. All our subs have been terrific. The brickmasons, stonemasons and framers were all father/son combos not to mention some of the nicest folks to be around. Always asking what we wanted or what we thought, etc.

Happy Mother's Day. Allison

    Bookmark   May 8, 2005 at 8:20AM
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Beautiful home! I grew up in Alabama.....your home reminds me of houses in Birmingham. When we visited a couple of years ago, we saw the unwashed (kind of smeared) mortar in a place called "Mt. Laurel". We loved it.....have not seen it done here in VA. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 8:35AM
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Thanks, soofriver. We're moving to a gated community about 5 miles down Hwy 41 from Mt. Laurel. IMO, my house is a lot different from those in Mt. Laurel. They are all in the Craftsman style. There are a few mortar washed houses there but with a heavier texture than we used.

Where in AL did you grow up? Allison

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 8:39AM
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I grew up in Homewood, went to the OLD Shades Valley (before there was a Homewood High and Mt. Brook High). My parents moved to Mt. Brook my freshman year in college.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 7:57AM
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We've lived in MB for the past 20+ years. Not far from the firestation on Overton Rd (Brookwood Forest area). We moved here for the school system, of course. The place we're building is about 1 mile past Shoal Creek/before Smyer Lake.

I just looked at your "My Page." Great house! You must be proud of your children! I have 'artsy' kids too. Two in college, one going next fall.

Hope you're still having a little spring-like weather. It's gotten hot here this week.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 10:26AM
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My parents lived on Belle Meade Way. When my Dad died, my Mom moved to Somerby. We probably know some of the same people! Your house is is hard to beat the quality you get in the B'ham area. Birmingham has the most beautiful residential areas of most places we have been (which may be a surprise to most people). I miss the BBQ most of all, though :-)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 10:33AM
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That's Cherokee Bend, right? Somerby's nice. We thought about moving my g'ma there, but my g'dad needed to go somewhere else so she went to Fairhaven. He was suppose to go to, but never made it. They're both gone now.

I know! You almost hate telling someone you live in Alabama because they think you are poor, stupid and uneducated! Traditional Home magazine featured several Birmingham/Mountain Brook homes a few months ago. Did you see? Very good articles on antique shopping too.

Jim N Nicks has THE BEST bbq, IMO. Try their catfish next time you come to town. SO good. The Fish Market just opened new place downtown right behind where they use to be and another location on 280 between 119 and Hugh Daniels Dr. Both JnN's and FM have locations near new house, so we'll go there often. BBQ anywhere else just isn't the same....just like sweat tea!

Homewood's Hollywood section should be featured in a magazine. I don't know how long ago you lived there, but from the looks of your children's ages you're a bit older than me. Families are re-doing the Spanish style houses on and off the main drag.

Did you ever eat at The Buttery in Mtn Brook Village? We use to drive all the way from Bessemer to eat there when I was little. It was located on Canterbury Rd (behind Gilchrist).

How long have you lived in Va? My uncle is a retired Navy Captain, last job was at the Pentagon. They lived in Fairfax while the kids finished school. Now he lives in Upper Marlbora, MD. (sp?)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 3:10PM
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Hey Allison,

I can't seem to get your pictures and I'm dying to see them. When I click on any of the small pictures or the "view slide show" nothing happens. What am I doing wrong?

Thanks for your help,

Terry :)

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 2:26PM
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I sent you an email, Teresa.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2005 at 2:47PM
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Hi allison,
Do any of your home photos show your interior doors with the emtek handles? I read your recent posts concerning the Greely entrance piece and the Medici levers and type 11 rosettes you used. These are the same ones that I am planning to order this week. I was also considering the Tuscany Style #16 plate to go with the Medici Levers. My home in Pennslyvania has a old world look to it also. I have seen your pictures before but at that time wasn't worrying about what door handles to use so didn't look for this in your photos. Are you happy with your Greely style entrance piece? Does it look old world?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2006 at 10:05PM
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I can't see them either :(

    Bookmark   June 30, 2006 at 4:39PM
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Can't see them either...sounds beautiful!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 5:03PM
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I am not able to see your exterior house pictures. I am interested in doing the whitewash/limestone on my brick. I am curious how it looks.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:52PM
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