The building inspector came by last week to do the final inspection of our cabin. He just found a few things that we were able to complete immediately (add house number, install a missing piece of drywall in the pantry) and passed us.
We've been busy putting the finishing touches on our zero-energy cabin, and we're really happy with how it's turned out. Compared to the "big show" of the walls and interior framing going up, this final phase of finish work seemed like it went very slowly.
After getting bumped from our first tiler's schedule, Sy came up from Chelan to install our backsplash and shower pan. We ran into some issues with the porcelain tile we originally chose for the kitchen. Our electrical outlets were placed too close to the top of the backsplash, and the tiles Sy tried to cut kept breaking.
Our cabin is nearly ready for use! Alex, my mom, Leon, and I headed out to Winthrop for a three-day weekend to celebrate my birthday and work on what seems to be a never-ending punch list of little tasks that need to be completed before we start enjoying the house. I spent much of the last couple trips sealing and installing the custom rusted-steel trim for the baseboards and doors. It came out looking really cool, I think, and adds a nice rustic touch to the look of the place. Thanks to our neighbor Michael Guilfoil for the idea.
The house is feeling much brighter and more spacious on the inside now that it has been painted. Our drywall installer sprayed on a very light orange-peel texture and then two coats of zero-VOC paint. We chose to pay a slight premium for this premium paint to avoid the odors and off-gassing of traditional paints.
People often write to me via our blog for our first zero-energy house and ask what we would have done differently with the benefit of hindsight. In all, we're extremely pleased with our Seattle home, located in the Ballard neighborhood. At the time of construction, it was the first net-zero-energy house in the Seattle city limits, and it's been just perfect for our growing family. While it's hard to come up with things we'd like to change that aren't related to wishing we had a bigger budget to buy more expensive finishes and such, there was one area we wish we'd given more thought to: acoustics.