Project Update – December 2013

We checked off several more items on our project list in December, continuing the trend we began in November.

Once the new Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector began shipping, I placed my order and by New Year’s Day we had six of them installed. As was the case with the thermostats, the smoke/CO detectors were ‘plug and play’, with the installation taking about 90 minutes from start to finish, including adding them to our Nest account.

Replacing the toilet seats in all three bathrooms was next on the list. I tracked down Saile seats on the Kohler website right at the beginning of our trip, placed my order and they arrived on January 6th. Having the lid close over the seat so there is now a single seam between the lid and the basin instead of two seams really made a difference – it definitely brought the toilets into the 21st century with this simple swap!

As I mentioned on the Recent News page, Will Heald paid us a visit to perform the annual inspection of the HVAC systems at the Byrne residence. I’m happy to report he found no issues with any of the systems! With almost two year’s worth of hour-by-hour energy consumption data captured in an Excel worksheet, I’ll probably post an update in late February on the types of trends we observed in calendar 2013 vs. calendar 2012.

The landscaping got quite a bit of attention too – while the plants might not be sprouting new growth right now, it is the right time of the year to apply a pre-/post-emergent treatment to the areas up around the house to slow the appearance of weeds and volunteer grasses in the spring. The landscaping company we use arranged to have the treatment done while we were there at the Byrne residence, so we had the opportunity to see the entire two-stage process completed early one morning in late December.

We also took this opportunity to arrange to have Todd Briggs of TRUEFORM Landscape Architecture Studio spend several hours with us toward the end of our visit. It’s been about 18 months since we wrapped up the massive landscaping project described in an earlier post found here, so we thought it made sense to have Todd re-evaluate the site and make recommendations on where additional planting material might be called for, where plant ‘x’ might need to be replaced with plant ‘y’ and whether or not we needed to contemplate adding/replacing any trees or large cacti. We’ll be posting a full update on just the landscaping changes Todd has proposed this spring – probably in April – stay tuned!

Lastly, we’ve decided to go ahead and replace the last of the Kitchen appliances. We installed a Thermador refrigerator and dishwasher two years ago, so it made complete sense to choose a Thermador cooktop, oven and convection microwave to tie everything together. I’ll post photographs once the new exhaust hood is in place and the appliances have been installed.

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