Home Sweet Home!

We moved into the house on Saturday, November 8th with the help of our supportive family and friends.  We would have loved to move things little by little, but with the first major snowfall due on Monday, we moved it all that weekend.  Talk about good timing to move into a ultra-energy efficient, super-insulated and airtight home.  The temperature outside quickly plummeted to single digits this past weekend, but we were cozy as could be in our home.  In fact, with all the sunshine, we had sufficient solar heat gain to turn off the heat pump system yesterday morning (Nov. 16) around 10 am, when we noticed the 70 degree room temperature, which was 2 degrees above the set point.  The glazing on the Optiwin windows was doing its job, and bringing the solar heat into the house.  The house stayed warm all day without active heating and the temperature outside was only 12 F.  In the evening we had our family over for Sunday dinner, and turned the gas fireplace on for ambiance.  That was the only active heating for the day.  When we went to bed, the temperature in the house was 72 F.   As an experiment, we left the heat pump system off through the night, during which the outside high temperature was only 7 F.  When we woke, the house temperature was 63 F.  Impressive!  Tim Eian did a great job designing the high performance home and Ryan Stegora did a fantastic job building it!

On a personal note, we feel so fortunate to be able to raise our family in this home.  The design is everything we wanted and we are in the neighborhood we love.  Yesterday, I watched the boys have a snowball fight with 5 other neighbor kids, ranging in age from 4 to 14.  They had a blast with their friends.  Our dear back-alley neighbor, Silke, surprised us with a beautiful evergreen arrangement for our front porch, which she made herself with gold/yellow accents to perfectly match our front door.    After all our searching for the perfect place to build, the spot was right next door the whole time.  Coincidentally, our address changed from 2331 to 2335, and 2335 is the address of my parents' home, where I grew up and have countless great memories.  My parents are no longer with us, but they certainly helped steer us in the right direction.  

Home Stretch

We plan to move into our new Nordeast Nest this Saturday!  Notable progress was made when the gas company finally showed up to put in the new gas connection.  Now our instant hot water heater is fired up, and the gas fireplace can heat the house when needed.  Other finishes have been going in, and everything looks beautiful.  Our inspection for occupancy was last Wednesday, and the city inspector provided a short list of safety requirements before we could move in.  Among these requirements were:  screens on the windows, carpet in the bedrooms, and sod in the backyard.  Needless to say, we absolutely do not view window screens as a safety component in our home.  That said, we planned to have them ready to keep bugs out in the summer, but we don't deem them necessary for any other purpose.  In fact, it's almost heartbreaking to drill holes into our pristine Optiwin windows and cover them with screens.  The carpet went into the bedrooms as previously planned today, and the backyard has the (also previously planned) sod.  Now we will just hold our breath during the (second) final inspection for occupancy this Friday.  

Plumbers under pressure

Just 24 hours before the final plumbing inspection, we had no toilets, wall-mounted sinks, faucets, shower heads, or water-connected appliances installed.  How many plumbers does it take to do all this in a single work day?  The answer is seven.  Everything got installed and the house passed the plumbing inspection.  We let out a sigh of relief after that.  All of the fixtures are ultra low-flow, which caused some confusion during ordering with the supplier.  Apparently, low-flow fixtures are not what they're used to supplying.  That was surprising to me.  Next time you install a new faucet, get the low-flow!  They provide plenty of water and will reduce your water usage and your water bill.  It's a win, win.

Nobel prize winning lighting

The recessed LED lights that we're using in our home.

The recessed LED lights that we're using in our home.

It was exciting to see 3 scientists win the 2014 Nobel prize in physics last week for their invention of blue light emitting diodes (LEDs).  Their invention makes energy efficient and environment-friendly bright white LED lighting possible. Our Nordesast Nest is outfitted with recessed LED lights in the living room, kitchen, master bedroom, bathrooms and basement. They cast a pleasant white light and are controlled with dimming switches.

S14 Clear LED Bulb

S14 Clear LED Bulb

All of the surface mounted lighting fixtures also have LED bulbs.  Some of our fixtures come with the LEDs built-in, but we found that purchasing regular fixtures and using LED bulbs to be more cost effective. They even make decorative LED bulbs for the pendant lights. Here's what we're using for the fixtures where the bulb is visible:


The new LED lights are around seven times as efficient as conventional light bulbs and about twice as efficient as compact fluorescent bulbs. That means big energy savings. It’s just huge — worldwide we could close or not build over 500 large power stations, if everyone used LED light bulbs.

Check out the link to the NPR story:


More finishes! Like icing on a cake.

What's happening at the Nordeast Nest?  A lot of hard work, day and night.  We have the final inspection for occupancy scheduled for October 29th.  We're excited and exhausted at the same time.  This has been a super fun project for us to design and build our family home together, and we are thrilled to be so close to moving into it!  We have LED lights functioning in the living room now, and the air exchanger is now quietly and continuously bringing in fresh air.  The exterior is painted and we await the installation of the metal porch roof.  The quartz counter tops were installed in the kitchen and bathrooms.  The tile in the master bath was completed, and the mudroom cabinets are installed now too.  So beautiful!  This weekend, Ryan installed the Brazilian Walnut flooring in the upstairs hallway, and it is gorgeous.  We look forward to seeing the hardwood go in on the main floor this week.  Hardwood is a slight understatement; Ryan showed us how a strong hammer hit to the Brazilian Walnut barely made an indentation.  We figure it should hold up well in a house with 3 kids.  Our new garage is currently the workshop for sanding, priming and painting all of the trim, and Tarek has been helping Ryan out with this big task.  Next up... priming and painting all the cabinetry doors.  Also, the appliances will be delivered on Wednesday!