Sunday, December 12, 2010

Chapter 32 – Walls, Stairs, Paint (Day 126)

We’re still on schedule for a mid-February move-in date but things seems to be moving a little slower these days, or at least uneventfully, which is good news by the way. So the posts have been a little spaced out since I figure people don’t want weekly posts of “we got the doors”, “the closet is built”, etc. But here’s a quick recap of the past 3 weeks:

November 23rd: Walls.
They’ve started putting the dry-wall in and our master bedroom is the first one to be completed as they wanted to get the recessed lighting nook built first. The dry-wall comes in boards which are screwed to the studs and I can’t imagine how much time this must have taken in the past to build without handy power tools.


While the interior is being worked on, a different contractor finished painting the exterior stucco walls which is a sandy color.


November 30th: Stairs
Now that the walls are done, the carpenters move to crafting the stairs which are made of white ash which is extremely sturdy.

The photo on the left are the stairs leading to the 2nd floor. One aspect I did not anticipate was how much light we’d get from above which is a nice surprise. Another surprise is how much space we’d have under them. You can almost fit a sofa under there but we figure it will be a great place for the cat’s scratching post and beds, as well as a nice small tree. The right photo are the stairs to the loft which I had concerns about being too steep. We created the platform to reduce the angle and you can comfortably go up and down without needing a ramp though we will install one for safety. Note that both stairs are skeleton stairs which allow for more natural light.
IMG_0354 IMG_0397

December 11th: Paint Verification
So I think we’ve discovered the Japanese propensity to have white walls in most of their homes….because it’s a major pain in the neck to figure the coordination between flooring, furniture, drapes, etc. We spend about 6 weeks going back and forth on shades, accent colors that it felt like a major milestone once we finally decided a few weeks back, but we still needed to check the samples on larger pieces than just strips of color. So we requested larger boards from the paint maker and tested our selections in different light. Left are the colors of the family room (White ceiling with Blue-Grey, with a light neutral sandy) and right are the colors of the study (white ceiling with red-orange).

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There’s also the flooring and the beams to decide on and we will go with light pine finish for the floor and a clear finish for the beams which will became darker with age.IMG_0357


  1. Painting.... We have a different color in every room! We only had to have one room repainted due to the fact that the color on the sample boards just wasn't as overwhelming as it was once in was on an entire wall!

    We also found that painting here isn't quite up to the standards we would expect back home... They did tell us this in advance though, so it was basically Ok. Still, you might find that the walls will look Ok initially, but when you start living there you will begin to notice things. It's hard to see from these photos, but make sure they use the drywall that is specifically for painting and not the type with the small V grove when you put them together. It should have a wide, gradual, about 5cm recess leading to the edge of the board. If you don't have this the wall will show cracks at the joints.

    That said, it's great to have painted walls and not wall paper! Easy to clean and easy to change or repair when accidents happen!
    (from Ken)

  2. Hi Ken,
    Pretty much every room has color too including the children rooms. The girls chose blue and pink for 2 of their walls (sigh) but I guess it's easy to re-paint.

    As far as dry-wall is concerned, not too sure if it's a special for paint dry-wall, but in any case I don't think we can change our mind on this as it's all in at this point. There are small groves between them but this doesn't differ from dry-wall I've seen in Canada which basically fill with compound, tape it up, smooth it out, etc.

    I noticed on corners that they install plastic edges to make sure they don't chip. It's the type of detail work that inspires confidence.