Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kitchen Emerging

It's quite the fabulous thing, seeing the kitchen take shape after a year of washing dishes in the bathtub and eating out all the time. I've installed 8/14 cabinets now, and got two or three others ready to put in tonight. Should be done with all the cabinets by the weekend - or early next week, and then the floor guys can come finish the kitchen and family room floors. The prospect of having a modern kitchen after (no joke) ten years without one is really, *really* looking good.

I owe you all photos, and believe me, I've been taking them. The entire downstairs is drywalled and (nearly) ready for paint. We've been focused on the kitchen/family/bathroom upstairs, 'cause we're hoping to get "temporary" occupancy on those rooms while we finish downstairs. All in all, it's moving along (never fast enough, but moving along.)

We really need a kitchen.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Emerging Family Room

We got setback on the drywall about a month, but it is in and done and taped. Before that the insulation and soundproofing were all installed. I have a ton of pictures to go through and put up, but until then here are a couple pics from this weekend:

This is how the entire downstairs looks now - drywall taped and ready for paint. We needed to get the family room (and kitchen) ready for the floor guy - who started this morning. This was the state of the family room Saturday morning.

Here it is again just 2 days later. We needed a coat of primer, one coat of paint for the light ceiling, but two coats for the darker walls. We cleaned up the windows and installed the electrical. We have two of those fan/lights, but the other one is missing a couple important pieces =(

More updates soon!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Exciting news: we passed our close-in inspections day-before-yesterday! It was a huge push, but I managed to finish the plumbing (both DWV and supply), gas (which required a ton of fixing what the plumber was supposed to have done), electrical (I racked, stapled, and organized a million wires that the electrician left - both figuratively and literally - dangling), and got all the low voltage (CAT-6 and cable) tucked in and complete.

Only thing that didn't pass was the framing - due to some missing blocking on the staircase. I'll get that done this weekend and have the insulation guys in next week! Excitement-city: we should be drywalled by the end of the month!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Anemic Updates DO NOT Imply a Lack of Progress

It's been a long haul, and we're closing in on ... well ... closing in. The next big milestone - one that we hope to reach within the next week - is our close-in inspection. This is huge. It means that we can put up insulation and sheet rock and everything else is "just" finishing up. Ahem. Ahyhow, here's the proof.

Exterior view showing how it's all come together. Everybody just gushes about how wonderful the house looks - but now that the neighbors aren't suffering, we are. It's been a hard year living in 4 small rooms with one, sometimes-fully-functional bathroom and no kitchen. I'm sad this picture misses the tree in the front yard - it's looking really good.

Now isn't that just the cutest little gate/arbor you've ever seen? It's all redwood, and the three 2x2's were intended to compliment the handrail on the porch. We'll probably continue this design into the back yard arbors and the one over the driveway (someday.)

I realized I had shown the torn-up version from the backyard, but had never shown how it came together. You can see our fabulous window and our beautiful doors (that will open onto the patio) and trim and everything here. We'll need to prune those trees.

What are you seeing here? Let me explain. This is what we call "low voltage." This is almost all the ethernet and cable we're installing throughout the house. Anything grey or green is CAT-6 ethernet, black or white is 3500mHz cable. Yes, there is a lot of it. No, I don't think there is too much.

Everything comes together somewhere. Our house seems to come together in the laundry room. In this one picture you can see: The main electrical panel, the 200-amp supply lines (in conduit) for it, the many (yellow, white, orange, black) circuits leaving it, the low voltage system (green, grey, white, black) mentioned above, the fire sprinkler pipes (orange), the gas supply lines are black steel, the water supply lines are copper, the drain/vent system on the left and bottom edge in white PVC, the ventilation system for both the dryer (far left - square aluminum) and the room (galvanized pipe in the center), some can lights over the washer/dryer (we didn't use many of these), and if you look really hard, a tiny bit of the old electrical system, the last bits of which got removed this weekend.

Here you can see the intricacy of the DWV (drain/waste/vent) system we had to build on our own. This wall is where two bathrooms and the kitchen collied with the main sewer line. To make matters more difficult, this isn't new construction - we had to fit this into the walls and make it work with the old house above.

Can you feel it? Can you see the arbor along the driveway wrapping around the finished slate patio? Can you see the nice chairs and the open double doors making the sunroom-patio a perfect indoor/outdoor space? Can you see the large garden box against the back of the house and the jacuzzi at the near-end of the patio in a "gazebo" by the driveway? Oh yeah, I can.

Sorry for the stretchy image. I'll try to get an old-new comparison up here sooner or later, but the significant thing about this side of the house is that the electrical meter has been put inside the wall, the plumbing has all been moved inside the wall, the back room has been integrated with the roof and window line, the downstairs "fits" with the upstairs, the levels are correct - there are about a billion things right with this picture that most of you will never notice - and that's the point. That's what all the hard work does: makes you just see it as a thing. Don't mention the little hole that needs to be patched where the old meter went into the house, or the shingles that need to be stained where they were patched in, or the vents that need to be painted, or the cable and phone lines which need to be moved into the roof. All that will happen because I'm just like that.

I'll try to get the next update up sooner. Promise.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Overdue Update

The front of the house this morning. Can you dig the purple steps? We had intended for them to be brown, but that's one of those colors that went a different way when spread out over a large area. A future coat (and believe me, it's going to need future coats) can tweak the color back towards the brown for which we'd hoped. Take note of the awesome handrail action.

I'm seriously overdue on an update to this blog, but not to worry: much progress has been made since the last update: exterior paint is done, downspouts have been upgraded and finished, Shannon and I have gotten about 60% of the electrical in, the fire sprinkler guys have gotten their stuff in and inspected, I've been drilling in vents and working with a plumber (Chuck) and we're grinding away at that now. I'll need to have Shannon back to finish up the electrical, I need to get the electrical service upgraded and moved, and have to figure out and install all the network, phone, cable, upgrade the upstairs electrical, and others(?) - and then drywall. We've purchased and received our kitchen cabinets, the vanity for the kids' bathroom, the washer and dryer, and hopefully the master bath vanity this weekend. With any luck, I'd say we're about 4-6 weeks from drywall.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Brief, Pictureless Update

Just a quick note to say that the windows are in, the shingles are done, one last piece of trim is about a half-day from completion, the painters are working (when dry), my friend Shannon came up and helped get about 30% of the electrical in, the fire sprinkler companies are submitting bids, I need to get the plumbing rolling, we need our downspouts and some dirt moved before it starts raining, it's already raining, and it's National Novel Writing Month.

It's a good thing I have all this extra time in which to write my novel.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Permit? Check. Handrail? Check.

I'm happy to report our upgraded plans which include the new family room were approved last Thursday. We had the inspector out (for the main house) last Friday and we'll see him again on Thursday to inspect the family room as well, thus freeing us to complete the roof and outside. Only the windows will hold us up now.
On another note, we're also gearing up for Hallowe'en as well.
A better wrap-around shot of the kitchen. We cleaned things up so the inspector could get around and I figured a clean pic was in order. It's all about plumbing and electric (and the missing window) in here now.

The (covered) furniture was moved back into the center of the family room. Sorry about the missing tile area (boring anyhow), but I think this panoramic does a good job showing just how great this room will be. It's cleverly tied to the kitchen with double french doors to separate, or tie these two living spaces together. Waiting on inspection for the roof and windows...

My crew put in the much-needed retaining wall in the side yard. This feature will permit us to improve the side yard drainage and plant some citrus bushes. Of course it's gonna make scaffolding in that area a bitch. Hmm.

Can you believe it??!! A handrail! On our house!! With this "small" deatail, we're only lacking a few small bits of trim and paint before the front of the house is done. Exciting.

Here's the view from the street. We cleared that last pile of dirt this weekend, so this is already out of date a little.