After the siding was finished, the gutters and gas meter were installed before painting. At this point, all exterior painting is complete pending some touch-up work.
On the interior, all drywall work is complete with texture and first coat of paint on. After next steps (cabinets and flooring), we’ll have another coat of paint to ensure good coverage and to capture any damage from the flooring/cabinet installation.
The driveway is being prepped for pouring and the yard has been prepped for sod and landscaping. We met with the landscaper POC last week to discuss our plans for the yard. I suspect we’ll have the driveway poured within a week and landscaping will follow a week after that. This leaves us with finishing up the interior over the next four weeks — installing flooring, cabinets, counters, light fixtures, and the air conditioner. We’re still on schedule. Seeing as we’ll be moving from a small, single bedroom apartment, our next few weekends will be focused on appliance and furniture shopping.
Over the past month, we’ve had the roof, windows/doors, garage floor, wiring/electrical, plumbing, and most of the siding added.
Our outdoor room is starting to shape up with the fireplace being installed. I was hesitant about the loss of interior square footage due to the outdoor room but I have to say that as it comes together, it’s becoming one of my most liked features of the house.
As the electrical and plumbing work wraps up, the next steps will be to finish the siding and putting up the drywall. Our move day is still planned for late October; we’re right on schedule.
We met with the builder on Sunday to settle on the final aspects of our build/fixtures/exterior facade and met with our realtor today to review and sign the purchase agreement. At this point, we’re in contract and awaiting permits from the city to start construction. Depending on the length of the permit process, we hope to start construction about five weeks from today and take the keys on October 26th.
We struggled with picking a location but ultimately decided to go for a larger lot located at the end of the street. Wooded areas surround two sides, a protected wetland sits in the front across the street, and we’ll have a neighbor on one side.
Panorama of our lot (several lots neighbor ours)
The final rendering, floor plan, and house placement on the lot:
After living in a ~550 sq/ft apartment in downtown Seattle for close to two years, we decided to accept the commute and take the plunge into home buying. We used Redfin to book several home tours (~30-40) over the course of several weekends. Our experience was that it the Redfin associates were hit and miss. Some of the associates went above and beyond, knowing the neighborhoods, comps, and even doing a lightweight inspection of crawlspaces and attics looking for signs of fire/water/rodent/structural damage. Others sat quietly aside while we walked the house. In the end, I’d recommend Redfin to those window shopping, familiar with neighborhoods/location, or veteran home buyers. I appreciate that they’re not paid on direct commission so their feedback is more honest and real than the conventional real-estate agent. The downside to this is that Redfin associates may not be as driven to find the right house for you.
After touring countless homes and driving around for hours every weekend looking at open houses, we came across a builder with model plans available to tour. Immediately after seeing the models, we knew we’d found what we’d been looking for. A few more open houses later (for due diligence), we decided to go back to the builder to see if we were still as excited by these homes as we were. At this point, we engaged a realtor to ensure we had someone giving us the right advice and counseling. We compared floor plans and locations for hours on end before reaching full agreement on all aspects of our build.
Exterior rendering of our build
Tomorrow morning, we’ll take our first step by putting up some earnest funds, confirming our build site, and agreeing on the details of our build with the builder. Here’s hoping we’ll break ground around April 10th!
It’s been a slow couple months between the holidays, travelling, and work. I did manage to accomplish a few things with the Home Dashboard project, though. I redesigned the UI to move away from an exclusively mobile interface as the amount of data and type of data I’m including in the project now simply don’t all make sense to squeeze into a mobile UI. Sometime in early January, the system broke the 2 millionth record milestone — I’m unsure what I’ll do with some of the data I’m collecting at this point but I’ve learned a lot through collecting it and I’m sure I’ll learn more analyzing it at some point in the future.
This brings the list of events I’m collecting to:
- Indoor temperature and humidity
- Amazon Echo music events
- DirecTV program and DVR information
- Cell phone location and status details
- Local fire and police emergency events
- Home lights and other Wink hub events
- …and now home network information
Analyzing home network information
The biggest change was the addition of network event logging. After seeing that a foreign IP was accessing my LAN, I started logging each request to or from my home network until I was sure I had fixed the vulnerability. After that, I found the information interesting so I just kept logging it. For example, I was able to discover that an app on my phone was making repeated calls (~2,000 per day) to an app monitoring service (New Relic) which wasn’t doing my phone’s battery life any favors.
Collecting additional phone data
After launching Location to HTTP, I’ve been tinkering with additional data collection from my cellphone such as Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, battery, and screen status. After collecting this information for a month or so, here are some useless data points from the most recent 30 days:
- I’ve actively used my phone for 104.5 hours (3.5hrs per day – I need to cut back on the work email…)
- Average battery level: 61%
- Average free memory: 516MB (12.6%)
- Average location accuracy: +/-31FT
- Average altitude: 154FT
- Average speed: 1MPH
- Average uptime: 153.3HRs
- Maximum uptime: 437.4HRs
I also improved the location history mapping to show different color map markers depending on the age of the record and phone details at the time the record was made:
Improved home climate visuals
I added some simple graphs of MoM temperature and humidity and also updated the heat-mappings for the daily climate information. These are a bit easier to read that those I had in the previous UI. It’s interesting to see the effectiveness of thermostat automation and our daily routines.
More detailed emergency event
Lastly, I expanded on the emergency event information to surface the top event types and the total number of events by type:
Seattle has a pretty awesome approach to data availability and transparency through data.Seattle.gov. The city has thousands of data sets available (from in-car police video records to land zoning to real-time emergency feeds) and Socrata, a Seattle-based company, has worked with the city (and many other cities) to allow developers to engage this data however they like. I spent some time playing around with some of the data sets and decided it’d be nice to know when police and fire events occurred near my apartment.
I setup a script to pull the fire and police calls for events occurring within 500 meters of my apartment and started storing them into a local database (Socrata makes it so simple – amazing work by that team). While reading it from the API, I check the proximity of the event to my address and also the type of event (burglary, suspicious person, traffic stop, etc) and trigger emails for the ones I really want to know about (such as a near by rape, burglary, shooting, vehicle theft, etc). I decided to store all events, even traffic stops, just because. I may find a use for it later – who knows…
After I’ve scrubbed through and sent any notifications for events I care about, I display the data in a simple table in my existing home dashboard and highlight red any rows for events which are within certain square area of my apartment.
To add a nice visual, I also plot the most recent events on a map using the Google Maps API. Police events are noted with blue pins, fire events are noted with red pins:
Clicking the pins will give us some details about the event:
All told, it was a pretty simple project which helped me gain some experience with the Google Maps API and also poke around with some of the data the city provides. I’m sure I’ll be doing a bit more of that in the future. These two projects have been integrated back into my home automation dashboard so I can continue to build on them in the future.