Friday, August 31, 2012

Design details


Another design meeting with our architect(s) to cap off the week. It is getting very exciting. Our team is growing and we are now working with two architects, the owner and a staff architect. We got to see actual pictures of the interior today and it was the first time I could really visualize the interior and what it will feel like to stand in the kitchen, dining space, master bedroom.

The Hufft signature "H". Everything these guys do is infused with design, detail, thought, energy. I am amazed at what they create each week. Even more amazed to imagine that I will be living in that space someday.

I get it now. I get what it means to have an architect-designed house. Every detail and aesthetic is considered, every design element is beautiful and serves a purpose. I never truly understood that before. I could appreciate good design when I saw it (or when it was pointed out to me by my architect husband) but I didn't truly understand what that meant for a living space. The light is now turned on.

And big news - Hufft will be able to oversee the construction management of our house. This is something they offer and routinely do and what we have been hoping would happen. But another (much bigger) project had been delayed and they thought they might not be able to take on the management of our project at the same time. But, the timing is going to work out and they are not only going to design the house, but oversee all of the construction. We feel like this is going to ensure the detail and vision is truly captured in the final product. Oh boy!

App shopping

Appliance shopping, that is. Wow, talk about overwhelming. Ryan did his best to explain our kitchen layout and what we were looking for to the salesman . He never got it and he drove us absolutely crazy. We will be trying a different showroom this weekend.

We spent several hours in the showroom looking at ovens, ranges, hoods, refrigerators, and dishwashers. Having owned one house where we didn't do much to the kitchen, and rentals before that, this was an all new experience for both Ryan and I. While overwhelming, it was also really fun. Imagine - an oven that doesn't burn one of my cookie sheets, a dishwasher that actually cleans things on the top rack, and a clean, untouched frig just waiting to be neatly organized (I do like a clean frig, simple joys!). I can't wait.

Red nobs? We're thinking about it - but they come with a hefty price tag. Plus, then you are committed to red for like, ever and ever. Not sure we want to pledge our undying love to the color red in our kitchen, even as just an accent color. I have seen these ranges with blue we're talking.

Charlie has been taking his scooter with us outside for our 'dog runs' and Izzy joins in by bringing her baby stroller. That means getting the dog, both kids, a scooter and a doll stroller down the back steps of our building without any major falls or crashes. Nothing to it.

Meeting with our architect again today - can't wait to see what new changes we'll see on our house design. A relaxing holiday weekend is on tap with hopefully one last swim in the pool, a family reunion, and hanging out at home. Happy Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The biggest show and getting glam

We went to the circus last weekend! Gram's circus, as Charlie called it. The circus came to town to raise money for Backpack Buddies (Mom is the Director of the Leavenworth program) and of course we had to go. It was totally old school, with a big tent going up in an empty lot and a midway full of games, snake viewings and tall men on stilts.

There were lions and tigers and we were very close to the cage. I was hoping it was really well put together.

There were several families with kids in the show - a traveling circus family. Can you imagine? I was impressed by the unicycle display. Little known fact: I can ride a unicycle! I had one as a kid. I think I secretly wanted to join the circus. I had as much fun as Charlie at the show. Everyone gets to be a kid at the circus, no matter how old you are.

Meanwhile, our own two-ring circus...

We learned the hard way with Charlie that it really does pay to go to one of these kid-themed hair salons. They are tricked out with dvd players at each station, with cars and jeeps and motorcycles to sit in. The kids are so distracted they have no idea anyone is touching their hair. Izzy has been with us to get Charlie's hair cut several times and she was excited to get her turn this time.

First haircut? Eh. I've got peeps to call and places to go!

Not to be outdone.... 

And because she looks so grown up in the haircut picture, I like this one because she still looks more like a baby - chubby legs, tiny toes and all.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Downtown days, new rituals

When we get home after school/work each night, the first thing we have to do in our new place is take Roxie outside. Ryan usually isn't home yet, so the kids have to go with me. We make quite a sight (and sound) heading outside, with or without a balloon.

Izzy knows where the doggy bags are and she picks one up as we head out the door and down the stairs. It's amazing how fast they take to new routines.

 Izzy and Roxie know just where to go. Izzy has her drink with her in case this takes awhile.

She also knows what to do with the bag. As tempting as it is to let someone do this for me, I don't let the kids help.

Charlie is carrying a sippy cup with milk, a doggy bag, and a balloon. They know to walk carefully and watch their steps in the gravel lot. I'm so proud of my city kids. How will they ever adjust to the burbs now?

I cut Roxie out of the picture so as not to embarrass her, but Izzy is pointing for a reason...

Could this empty lot look any worse? It looks like we live in a third world country. It's all part of the experience and I'm loving every minute. Come February, I will be longing to let Roxie out the backdoor to our new, big grassy lawn in the burbs and our stint in the city will have silenced my urban dreams. That's the plan anyway.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Design, take two

We're meeting with our architect once a week to keep the pace moving forward on our remodel and I find myself really looking forward to the meetings. As much as we think about the space between meetings, our architect will still come up with new twists and ideas we never would have dreamed of. I guess that's why we pay him the big bucks!

This week, the conference area was filled with our design ideas, wall to wall. We've been putting pictures on a design website called and compiling all our ideas in one place. The architect has a link to our site and can look over all the pictures. He printed quite a few of them out and had them pinned to the walls with notes scrawled here and there: "Outdoor fireplace?" "Need a fence?" "Lighting for stairs" "Tile for fireplace."

Clearly, my personal architect is enjoying the process. I was amazed at how many more details were incorporated this week from our first meeting. It is a lot of work! Although we're still tweaking the design and the overall space, we can begin to visualize how the house will look. We talked a bit about the exterior finishes this time, too. It will be so different from how it looks now.

The architecture studio is a creative and interesting space. Lots of natural materials and examples of their work here and there incorporated as art and structure.

The owner has two large weimereiners that roam the office, Coltraine and Blue. One of them was hanging out in the conference room during our meeting.

Pondering exterior finishes...

 Industrial or residential windows? So many gets overwhelming by the time we're done.

They gave us a copy of the preliminary designs to take home this week. We hung them up in the apartment so we can brainstorm and think about different aspects we like, would like to still change, etc. Its proving very helpful - it is drawn to scale so we can easily see how large the kitchen island is, or compare the closet dimensions to what we have now. Designing our own closet from scratch - can you imagine? Everything will have its place. I can't wait.

We went over to the new house this weekend to try to visualize the space with the dimensions they've given us. Ryan had some help taping off the floor to denote the new kitchen space.

The kids love to run through the new house, play hide and seek and hear themselves echo when they yell. They can be as loud as they want and there is nothing they can break.

After visiting the house and measuring out some of the rooms, Ryan dusted off his drafting tools and went to work making some changes. It pays to have your own personal architect!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weekend update from my iphone

These first pictures are actually from two weekends ago, at the balloon fest. Charlie loved the balloon that looked an awful lot like Nemo, though wasn't officially called Nemo due to some copyright issues.

She didn't get in a brawl, but clearly there was some negligent parenting going on here. With all the moves, multiple homes and chaos of the last month, we consider ourselves lucky that things didn't get worse than this. Happy to report that her her sweet, flawless face is back, good as new!

We attended a pre-season KU pep rally on Friday night. There was a huge turn out and Charlie really enjoyed his glimpse of the Jayhawks. Next year we can bike over to the rally from our new house.

Wearing crimson and blue and with a sunflower in her hair. Kids need to be told good from bad. Otherwise their Missouri grad daycare instructors might steer them wrong. Can't have that.

Watching the band and the Jayhawks. Why so serious C?

We went to our first T-Bones game Saturday night with some of my lab crew. A good time was had by all in the unseasonably cool weather. It was so kid friendly, with a playground just behind us to pass the time when the kids got restless.

Sunday morning, we had a little miscommunication about our in house pancake recipe (interpret as you wish) that required us to go out for breakfast. Lucky for us, Gratitude Cafe is just down the street. This cool vintage shop Thistle is right next door. I'm sure the owners love to see these four little hands coming - there are only a million tiny objects to knock over and handle. They were closed Sunday morning, bummer.

So instead, these two decided to hijack the yellow pages from some unknowing apartment dwellers. They will never miss the soon to be land-filled paper.

After breakfast we escaped to the country for Macy's birthday party. Charlie was in  heaven cruising in his cousins' John Deer tractor. He got the hang of it pretty quick.

By far one of our most popular weekend activities, or any day for that matter, is train watching. Lounging in their chairs, with drinks at the ready - what more could a toddler ask for?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Girl power

Whew. It's been a whirlwind week and I'm glad it's over. I am part of a women's group at work that Ryan likes to teasingly call my "Girl Power" group (here we are). I don't mind the title, it makes me laugh. We are all about girl power, actually. It is a networking group for women at my institution and it covers everything from the occasional yoga class and coffee meet and greet, to holding annual conferences, funding scholarships and promoting each other for new awards and career opportunities. We're serious and we're fun.

I've been a part of the group for the last 2 1/2 years and it has made a huge difference in how I see my job, how I feel I fit in there, and has been the first opportunity for me to make real friendships at work. I am so grateful for the organization and the women in it. We had our annual dinner last night and a half-day working retreat today. I feel energized and excited, full of new ideas and encouragement. The chancellor came to our dinner (a big deal!) and the women's head basketball coach gave a really inspirational talk. So cool. I'm serving as President of the group this year, my term officially started last night. I was nervous about taking it on, both because of the work load and I wasn't sure I was ready to lead such a big organization. I have to remember the positive energy from the last 24 hours and know it will all be worth it in the end.

Myself and two of the other officers had a fun photo shoot the other day and these pictures make me smile, laugh and remember not to take myself (or my job) too seriously!

 A "W" for Women!!

KUMC Angels (or not)

Brenda, Phd (current VP) and Julie, MD (current Pres) grooming me (current Secretary) to be the new President...

All in a day's work, really. Don't you want my job?

Have a great weekend!