The Big Addition: Finishing

In the last phase, we made huge progress on the bathroom, the Swisspearl siding, tiling, painting, woodwork, and doors. We also passed the 1 year mark on the estimated 7-month project. Now into July 2008, we're seeing the finish line, but we still have a ways to go. Swisspearl and tiling will be completed. We'll put finishing touches on paint work. The scaffolding will be dropped so Ethan can rebuild the rear deck. The railings (inside and out) will be installed. Electrical work and the carpeting will be completed. Then there's the septic system project. And about 1000 other details.


Sub Rotation

Early July saw a return of the smoke from California wildfires. A heatwave brought temperatures between 98 and 102 for several days (Of course, the A/C picked that day to fail. It was fixed just in time for the heatwave to break.) Still, there was major progress. Harbor Tile finished the decks around the 8th. Oh, we're sure to see Enrique back for an adjustment or two, but it looks great. The last of the above-deck Swisspearl panels were installed around the laundry room, office wall, and the underside of the treehouse. Andy took a few days off to catch up on the 1000 details - cutting in vents, some electrical switch swaps, painting, and supporting Team L as they finished up the 'pearl. The vents are clever - we are just using the rainscreen vent cavities rather than pushing all the way through the Swisspearl. The last panel went in on 7/10 and the tent came down. There's still some finishing work to do here, but it is basically complete.

As Harbor Tile and Lentz phased out, RCR Fabrication arrived with the stainless steel railings. Inside, a 3x1 rectangular cap will be welded on top of the posts and later, glass panels will be placed in the clamps (already welded on the posts by RCR months ago). Outside, the holes in the posts will be filled with 5/8" pipes, and the same rectangular cap will be welded on top. The outside cap presents a challenge: about 42 holes need to be drilled in the underside for LED lighting which we will add later.

Tiling and grout basically complete by... The vertical detail in the corner came... The detail under the windows and into... East side deck. Time to get the grates... Swisspearl nears completion. The laundry... Wider shot to see the office wall.... Above, the bathroom windows are framed... Under the treehouse, the panels are set.... Measuring for the corner of the... Nearly done...... Last area to work on will be below deck... Railings! RCR starts the  layout of the... Welding the rail to the post. He's... The rail with the cap welded to the... Outside, the 5/8" stainless steel... With Lentz's tent gone, we can get a... Railings in progress. This is 7/10. The... Cutting some pipes... A look at how the rails go together.... Further along...... Some of the holes need minor adjustments... Mobile metal shop. To the left, there's... Full view of the progress early morning...

And the walls came down

Temporary walls, that is. It was a busy week preparing for carpet on the main floor. Lots of touch-up painting had to be done around the glass wall while the rolling scaffold was in place. The temporary wall was removed at long last. At the same time, RCR finished the fabrication of the railings and Harlan completed the electric service. The Swisspearl installation was completed as flashing was installed in each of the horizontal spaces. Then, the carpet guys returned to do the main floor. After which, we moved into our new bedroom. A little wierd being upstairs again after a year.

On the 21st, the scaffolding was removed. Planning for the deck rebuild and a septic upgrade began. We also need a shroud for the chimney. And downspouts. And a nice piece of wood to cap the wall adjacent to the front deck. And the garage needs to be painted, and phones and network cables need to be completed, ... Towel bars and a shelf need to be installed in the bathroom and the vanity needs some trim pieces. Just a sample of the little details left to go.

Last coat of grey and touch-up on the... Harlan wrestles with big wire and hooks... Ripping out the last of the temporary... Look Ma, no hands!  ... Beth is strategically located upstairs... And the wall is gone, ready for carpet.... Let's rip up the old ... In the great room, the tile border is... So that's what the original floors... Roll out the padding.... Then the carpet... And basically done.... Looking into the great room.... Looking back at a sea of carpet.... Espresso tests out the new carpet and a... With the scaffolding down, you can... The complete west side. Needs a good... The front with the complete railings....

Where's the water?

Finishing a project like this takes a huge amount of patience, which neither of us has much of anymore. Things were a bit slow at the end of July and beginning of August, but there was measurable progress. Brint plumbing returned to finish the outside spigots. The rear deck rebuild got underway. We dug up and replaced all of the drainage installed by you know who on the west side of the house. Perforated french drains are not intended to be hooked up to roof drains. The water just leaked out of the pipes and flowed up to the surface. Andy replaced it all. Alameda roofing returned to finish the downspouts. We got towel bars and such installed in the bathroom, and chased after electrical gremlins. The most significant event was a drywall delivery for a downhill neighbor gone wrong. They crashed into our driveway retaining wall. Estimates are in the works to get that repaired.

They say a miss is as good as a mile. Well, we tried to install our handrails for the greatroom stairs. Seems simple, right? It would be if someone had put the 2x6 blocking in the right place. It helps to measure FROM THE FINISHED FLOOR HEIGHT and to CENTER the blocking on the MIDPOINT of the allowable height. So now we have some new blocking in the right place, and some sheetrock patching to do. Doofus!

The deck took a while, but it did get built. And the trim which makes the transition from the front of the house to the new was installed. It's a rough redwood board, and was much more difficult to create than it looks. At the same time, we got started on the retaining wall rebuild (paid for by the drivers' insurance), started the septic project, built some Alder shelves in the bathroom, sanded out the back deck rail cap, got a screen slider installed at the laundry room door, and 100 other things.

Where's the water? Perforated drains... A closer look at Andy's fine PVC work.... Large sheetrock delivery truck meets... Didn't think we'd see one of these... Ethan's command rig.   His guys get the... New joists 'sistered' on to the old.... Viewed from the other side.... Redwood cap for the wing wall. This... Here it is finished, with the downspout... A puzzle. Where do these deck boards go?... The other side of the puzzle. You can... One handrail installed. To do so, blocks... The blocks were cut in from behind (in... The upper hand rail was not so easy... Once these are patched, we can finalize... Corner trim at the opposite corner. Also... The deck basically rebuilt - one board... Another view of the back deck. Some... Septic work begins 8/21 with cutting the... Retaining wall gets started. Knocked... Progress - all of the holes are dug - 6... By 8/25, all of the posts are in and set... Also on 8/25, digging the trench for the... It's tough to tell, but that trench is...

Home Stretch?

We're racing to get this project over and done with. The septic work and the retaining wall rebuild went faster than expected. Both were done by 8/28. We're working on finishing touches - chimney top, caulking, trim, paint in the garage and store rooms. The back deck staining has begun but will take another weekend to finish. Still lots of electrical work to do, a handrail to install, gutter screens, a new street sign, and lots more.

Into September, we got the glass into the guard rail for the stairs and the stair lights are in. And the upper handrail is finally mounted, the wall is repainted, and we can call the stairs done. We got some great room furniture and we're experimenting with layouts. The deck staining is done and the garage is almost ready to paint. We had one inspection; one more to go, then final. End of the month? We're trying.

We built the new street sign with materials to match the exterior: Swisspearl and stainless look-alike numbers. And at long last, after many hours pulling wires, soldering, and 6 other steps the LEDs are in the railings.

The retaining wall is done. As usual,... Excavation is a dusty business. Bob... The entire trench is dug out. The... The trench is filled up to about the 10... Then the drain pipe is set in place,... Finally dirt and more rock.... The finished product with cast iron... The glass for the railings is in. You... Here's the handrail with the lights on.... Furniture arrives. This is one... We bought some solid Alder for the... Deck staining is complete.... Still a little wet.... We  restored the curve that had been... "De-splopping" the garage... And it's clean.... New street sign. Metal numbers (coated... Here's a handful of LED's.... Viewed from under the rail, you can see... Completed railing. Nice to see it... Here's what they look like lit up at...


We worked hard in the last weeks of September to get ready for final inspection. Ethan did a walk-thru with us, and we found a few things which we took care of the weekend of the 27th. On September 29th, we passed our final inspection on the first try. This does not mean that we're done. We're just legal. Woo hoo!

The punch list is getting shorter. Beth built some Ikea wine racks, and Andy built redwood doors and added wire mesh to make them mouse proof and earthquake resistent. Outside speakers went up, and audio distribution wiring was zipped up. We installed a glass shelf in the new bathroom which matches the mirrors. And we finally put up the real outside lights in front and back of the garage, and outside the patio doors. Our chimney shroud showed up 10/10. Andy worked with Ethan's carpenter Jeff to get it installed. There's a bit of work to do on the garage stainless flashing, then we can finally peel back the protective wrap. Then we'll hose off the house, and we'll post pictures of the finished product.

There's still some caulking and painting and touch-up to do, some decorative steel brackets to install, and we need to move into the garage. By the time we're done, it will have been 16 months. Quite a journey. Someday, we will revisit the few parts of the project which were cut - repaving, solar power, and sun shades on the south and west sides. Someday. Meanwhile, we're just going to kick back for a while.

It's been about a month since the last post. In November, we were busy getting the garage and underhouse storage in order and getting rid of the onsite storage unit, which left on 11/26. A few remaining trim items were started. The punch list is getting shorter still...

The wine room. Racks by Ikea, built up... Speakers and data - finally finished... A little shelf to match the mirrors in... The real lights on the front of the... A closer look. Medieval meets craftsman?... By the patio doors, the same lights as... On the back of the garage, a little... What? Cars in the garage? Yup, we... Jeff sizes up the chimney shroud. Wow,... It's two pieces. The  chase cover  goes... It fit! After 2 hours or so, the chase... The shroud installed. A little touch-up... The shroud in the big picture. If you go... With all the ladders down... Now we just... A little art shot from the driveway.... Sayonara to the storage unit!... Work table  made out of a Swisspearl... Looking the other way, shelves are in... In the utility room, new shelves are... Both sides.... Finally trimmed out the mullion between... Finishing touches - steel bracket... With the plastic peeled back, you can... The back of the house, with the new... The back door.... From the hillside above the treehouse... This one really shows off the...


Hey. It's been a while. About 6 months. It's June, 2009, and we've finally got the garage organization done. But more important, we've revisited the wavy garage edge flashing. It has been replaced with the same material as the roof edge by Alameda Roofing. Maybe we'll get the driveway repaved in the late summer...

... which we didn't do until the summer of 2010, then we sealed the new driveway in May 2011, and refinished the front and back decks, as well as the cedar siding on the front of the house. We're building a flagstone path alongside the garage to the back deck. And we might put in solar in 2012. A neat picture of the house at dusk is here, and you can also find it at Architectural Record, under Top Ten photos for June, 2011. In September, 2011, we finished the flagstone path around the back of the house and a planter at the end of the driveway.

New trim around the garage, matching the... Dan's cool dusk shot of the house that... Path as seen from the back deck... It goes all the way under the stairs and... We should have had Jose do this when we... He also built us this planter box at the...