Brian Einsweiler

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Brian Einsweiler, etc.

Cabinets and appliances

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Today I took some time away from work to solidify a lot of the internal details of the new house with my builder. Our first stop was at Brooks Brothers Cabinetry in Monument to discuss the kitchen and bathroom design and what cabinetry I was going to need for them.  I choose a nice knotty alder wood with a square raised panel detail. The finish will be a color called nutmeg, which is a medium dark brown with a hint of red in it. It looked very nice in the sample kitchen they had set up with that combination. The drawers in the kitchen will be soft-close buffered drawers and I'll have a couple of slide out shelves in some of the cabinets near the stove as well as a pull-out container for the recycling bin. I choose to have the cabinets go two different heights across various features in the kitchen to help it look a little more interesting. I didn't opt for a lot of other fancy features other than a well-built lazy susan for the corner cabinet since we're definitely stretching the limits of my budget. It should look very nice, though!


After the stop at the cabinetry company, we went to an appliance provider that my builder works with regularly. He was able to work with me to come up with some very nice appliances that are within my budget (well, okay, I had to stretch it a little bit, but it was close!). Here are the appliances that will be going in my new kitchen:

Range - GE JGB810SETSS 30" free-standing gas range with center burner and convection oven.



Range hood: Zephyr Gust AK7100AS


Refrigerator: GE GSHS6LGBSS 25.9 cubic foot side-by-side with in-door ice and water dispenser


Dishwasher: Kitchen Aid Superba KUDS30IXSS super quiet


Microwave: GE JES1656SRSS



I'm not a big fan of over-the-range microwaves with vents built in, so I went for a separate under-cabinet range hood and a counter-top microwave. However, the lady at the cabinet place said they can design a nice microwave shelf that will give it a built-in look for not a lot of money, so that's the plan for now.

After the appliance store, we stopped by a tile and countertop place. I got a lot of ideas, but no firm decisions yet. I need to decide on a lot of things -- kitchen tile backsplash, kitchen countertops, bathroom tile floors, bathroom countertops, tiles for shower enclosures... I'm a little overwhelmed by all the options, but it's fun in a way!

My builder clarified the process for approval from the county and city, and it looks like it's going to be a lot faster than I expected. There is a possibility that building can actually start in somewhere around 2-3 weeks from today! (well, really, the first thing is demolition of the old foundation and driveway, then the actual building will start)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 October 2012 17:01

Rebuilding after the Waldo Canyon Fire Update - September 24, 2012

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Well, it's been nearly a month since we kicked off the floor plan and elevation drafts for the house, and today I finally have a design that we're submitting to the Parkside HOA for approval. I'm very happy with how the design turned out. I fixed a lot of the things that I didn't exactly like about the old house and made some changes that make the window and room placement ideal for my specific lot and views.

First, here's the site plan that shows how the house sits on the lot. It's in the same position as the old house. Due to the narrow lot width and setback rules, the house is the same width, but we ended up adding about 8 feet in depth. Two feet of this is in the garage, and the rest is in a larger family room/dining room/kitchen area. The front of the house faces north-northwest, and Flying W Ranch Road passes at the southwest corner of the lot. (There's a giant tree right at that dot in the southwest corner that survived and I'm very happy about that!) As you can see, I had a comfortable margin to fit the new, slightly larger house. A lot of my neighbors in Parkside aren't so lucky and are pretty limited with their rebuild options due to the small lots and odd shapes. I ended up going from 2200 finished square feet to just shy of 2800 square feet. Oops.



Now, without further ado, the actual floor plan:

First, the main floor, which is reminiscent of the old house, but I moved the kitchen from the center to the left of the rear area and opened it up completely (and made it a little bit bigger). The family room features a nice big panoramic window that overlooks the city of Colorado Springs and Cheyenne Mountain. I'll also have a gas fireplace instead of the wood fireplace I used to have. My deck is quite a bit smaller than the old house (it was 34 feet wide and 8 feet deep, but wasn't very usable because of the shape), but this one will be much nicer with composite boards and more decorative railings.


The second floor features an enlarged master suite that will include a jetted tub and separate water closet for the toilet. I added a loft in place of the old house's vaulted area, which made up a bit of an increase in the square footage of the house. The loft will take place of the office/den from the old house. It also has a nice vaulted ceiling. There's a second floor laundry closet to save trips up and down the steps, and the second and third bedroom are nicely sized now.


Next, the basement level. It ends up quite a bit bigger than the old house since I'm not leaving a crawl space near the front of the house. That part will remain as unfinished storage, though. There will be a full bathroom, bedroom with walk-in closet, and a nicely-sized rec room with lots of windows. Outside the sliding door will be a simple concrete patio, but in the remaining area behind the house I plan to have a nice little rose garden or something.


And finally, the renderings of the exterior elevations of the house. It's nothing too fancy, but we did make the front a bit more interesting than the old house with decorative soffit vents, a stone facade, and railings on the front porch.






Doing a full-custom home has turned out to be a very interesting, and sometimes difficult process. My builder is making it pretty easy on me, but the sheer number of decisions that must be made is overwhelming at times. I still haven't settled on the wood for the floors, the cabinets, counter tops, carpet, etc. Though, I do have a good idea of the types of styles of those that I'd like. Now, doing that within my budget will be the tricky part!

Last Updated on Friday, 20 June 2014 14:21

Rebuilding after the Waldo Canyon Fire Update - August 28, 2012

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Well, the debris has been cleaned up from my lot for several weeks now. There's not much to look at besides the foundation, which is covered with burn marks and stains from when the ashes were soaked by rain after the fire. There's no question that the foundation is destryoed -- the fire was hot enough to melt re-bar inside the concrete, and you can run your hand on the edges and brush away chunks of cement.

We've all been lacking input from the city and our HOA for some time, but a few useful bits of information have come forth through official and unofficial avenues. I made the decision a couple weeks ago to sign with a builder, go ahead with the project, and just put in the applications for approval and see what happens. I have chosen a full-custom home building company that is run by a friend of mine, Dave Ito, that I've known for several years from playing hockey. He runs Acordia Homes, which is known for building some pretty nice luxury houses. I approached Mr. Ito and asked if he could take on a smaller budgeted project like mine, and he immediately gave me confidence that he was the right choice for the job.

The first item on the agenda was to have Mr. Ito quote out what it would have cost to rebuild my old house as it was before the fire. The insurance company gave me an estimate of this shortly after the incident to get the process started, but the estimate was incorrect and incomplete in many ways. The new estimate is about $25,000 higher than what American Family had initially quoted. (Mostly they left out things like permit fees, utility reconnection, site supervision, etc...) I fired that off to the insurance company and am waiting while the adjuster chews away at the new numbers.

In the meantime, I met with Mr. Ito this past weekend and discussed what's on deck to do next. I gave the go-ahead to go full speed and get as much done in parallel as we can during the pre-construction phase. First on the agenda was a soil test to see how expansive the soils in the area are and what kind of engineering and construction will need to go into the new foundation. Soils in this area are generally expansive, so we'll need the soil test to ensure we build the correct type of foundation footer for my lot.

Additionally, we will be involving the home designer to get started on the draftwork of the floorplan, exterior elevations, and engineering drawings. I have a good idea of what I'd like to do with the new house. After looking through about 2,000 different floorplan options, I settled on a main floor from one house, and the upper floor from another.  My lot limits how wide I can build (about 34 feet), but I can still add many feet to the rear of the house before I start hitting problems with setbacks. The new house will probably be about 6 feet deeper than the previous house.

The main floor will be inspired by this floorplan:

Main floor inspiration

I've requested a few modifications to it, of course.

  • Mirror the layout since my garage has to be on the left due to the way my driveway approaches
  • Remove the steps from the garage and front porch leading into the house
  • Swap the kitchen and great room (should improve traffic flow and allow better placement of windows for the views on my specific lot)
  • Stretch to 9' ceilings on the main floor
  • Add a couple more windows (one or two small ones at the end of the great room, one more in the flex room, one on the side of the garage)


The upper level will be based on this floorplan:

Upper level inspiration

But with the following changes:

  • Mirror layout as with the lower level
  • Remove Bedroom 4 and make bedroom 2 and 3 a bit bigger and have a larger open loft ("tech center") area
  • Add a vault to master bedroom ceiling
  • Rearrange master bath to put in an oval soaking tub (with jets!)

The basement will be finished with a rec room, 4th bedroom, and a 3-piece bathroom. I'm going to have them excavate the full basement -- my old house had about 1/3 of it unexcavated and left as crawlspace for some reason. I've decided to build with 2x6 framing and extra insulation for energy efficiency reasons. It will be a few thousand extra up front, but should pay for itself over time. (Won't it be a treat to be able to turn the thermostat up to a reasonable temperature in the winter without worrying about a giant bill?). I'll probably be getting central AC as well, depending on how much it costs (probably sounds weird to those not from the area, but the old house didn't have it).

The exterior will be upgraded with fiber cement siding, 50-year architectural asphalt class A fire-resistant shingles, and a composite surface deck. These are all things the old house didn't have, but are newly-required by the building code covering the burn area. It should be more fire resistant, and definitely a lot easier to maintain. The new deck will be quite a bit smaller than the one on the old house. There was a massive two-story 34' x 8' deck previously, but now I can take the insurance money from that behemoth and apply it to energy efficiency upgrades -- I only really used about 1/4 of the old one anyway.

I'm anxiously awaiting what the home designer does with my requested changes to the floorplan, and curious to see how the exterior elevations will look. That's probably a few weeks away, though.  Once that's completed, we submit the exterior drawings to the HOA for approval. I've actually heard from one of the members of the HOA's architectural control committe, and it sounds like they're not going to be as picky as I had feared initially. Not that I was planning to build anything controversial, but I think we should be able to get a pretty quick approval for the plan. After that, it's off to the city's regional building department for approvals and permits. I think they're trying to make things go smoothly for those of us rebuilding, but we'll see!

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 17:09

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