Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I went to Bedrosians this morning to pay for the bulk of our tile order. We'll be using Mediterranean Beige Medium Standard travertine in most of the tiled rooms -- we purchased amost 1000 sq ft of it. In addition we ordered most of the accent tiles there.

On the way back from Bedrosians, I went to check out Golden State Flooring. Their showroom wasn't very useful so tomorrow I'll try to visit The Wood Floor Company.

This morning we also went to Da Vinci Marble to purchase a few of the glass tile accents which Bedrosians doesn't carry.

In the afternoon, I met with Brad at the job site. We talked about the schedule for the next week.
  • The rest of this week, the drywall installers will be finishing their work.
  • On Monday, Phil will be spraying a coat of primer.
  • On Tuesday, the city will be installing our gas line which is great news because then Brad will be able to heat the house. That will help dry the mud on the walls.
  • Mid next week the finish carpenters will start on the mouldings.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

This morning we met Ernie at the job site. We went over each of the rooms and took measurements for all the tiles.

Later in the afternoon we received a fax from Maria at Bedrosians with the tile order. We looked it over and made a couple of changes and corrections. I'll go down to Bedrosians tomorrow morning with the updates and pay the invoice. We were told that if we place the order by 1 PM on a Wednesday, we'll receive our tiles by the end of the next week.

We were also expecting a tile order from Da Vinici Marble, but we haven't received it yet.

On another note, Tony, the wood floor installer was also there at the job site. We talked to him about pricing on the hickory wood floors. If it's going to be hickory, we are leaning towards a 5" rustic hickory because of its character. But right now, we're not sure hickory is the right wood for us, because it's color variation gives it a log cabin feel.

Monday, January 29, 2007

This morning Brad called to say the drywall installers were starting to texture the walls!

He had told them to put on an old world texture, and he wanted us to go by the job site to see if it looked okay. We were able to see the work-in-progress later in the morning and it looked fine.

Rick and Brian from KC Construction were there too, working on the panelling for the ceiling of the back patio.

We also stopped by Dana's workshop this morning and finalized the stain color for the kitchen cabinets. I emailed him the final door and drawer details so that he could start on the cabinets. We selected the Greenland M88 door with a J panel from Dutchman Doors.

Paul, the flooring contractor, dropped off a sample of hickory for us to see. I went back to the job site in the afternoon to take a look, and it is beautiful. It has lots of character with all its grain and knots.

Friday, January 26, 2007

We made another trip to Bedrosians this morning. We looked at accent tiles and slabs. Here's a picture of the accent tiles we're planning to use in the master shower.

We also chose a ceramic tile for the mud room, pantry, and laundry room.

Last night I sent an email to Dana asking him to go ahead and start the kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately I forgot a bunch of details, so he replied back with a few questions. Hopefully we'll have everything finalized by this weekend.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

We met with Brad at the job site this afternoon. On his board, he had a list of items we need to focus on, including:
  • Kitchen cabinets
  • Tiles
  • Garage door
  • Wood floors
  • Stairway and lightwell iron railings
  • Exterior paint colors (body & trim)
  • Shutters
While we were there, Phil, the painter, came to take a look at the job site. We asked him to suggest a white paint color for the exterior trim so he fetched his box of paint strips and selected a color that best matches our windows. He chose a Kelly-Moore color called Frost.

Brad's flooring contractors, Tony and Paul, also showed up. We told them we like the look of walnut (Brad has a sample of it in his job trailer), but in a lighter color. Unfortunately that sample is not stained -- walnut is naturally dark. Paul suggested we use hickory because it is less expensive, stains nicely to almost any color and is readily available. He's going to get us a sample so we can see what it looks like.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

We had another busy day today. This morning I went to Sousa's Garage Doors and got some information about Carriage House wood garage doors.

I also stopped by Union Stone to look for a floor medallion for the entry area. I didn't find any interesting medallions, but they do have pre-fabricated marble countertops with bullnose and ogee bullnose edges. They're about eight feet long with edging on the front and either the left or right sides. The prices are very reasonable, and I might be able to use them in the workout room and storage room -- places where there's just a simple, straight row of cabinets.

We made yet another trip to Bedrosians to work on the final details of the tile designs and picked up a few more samples of accents. We had sent a spreadsheet to Claudia describing all of our choices for each of the rooms. She said she'll take a look at it tomorrow and get back to us.

This afternoon we stopped by Dana's workshop and took a look at our (almost) finished cabinets. They look awesome! This first picture shows our guest bath vanity doors (left) and master bath vanity doors.

Here's a picture of all our cabinets stacked up ready to be installed.

And this is a picture of our jacuzzi tub front. The fluted, angle piece turned out really nice.

At the job site, the drywall installers from Alliance Drywall continued to attach bullnose corners and apply mud to the screw heads and joints. I brought our box fan (Brad brought heaters) to try and warm up the house and help dry the mud.

Outside, the contractors from European Lathing & Plastering started applying the brown coat. This is the second of three coats of stucco.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

When we arrived at the job site this morning, Brad was meeting with Parker and Anthony from Sunnyvale Lumber. They were discussing the interior doors and all the mouldings -- base boards, crowns, and door and window casings. There is a small issue with both the powder room

and the guest bathroom

because the HVAC vents in those rooms are located high up on the walls, too close to the ceilings and where the crown mouldings will be. We'll have to come up with a work-around.

We met with Claudia at the job site this morning and spent a very productive two hours with her, going over the tile designs in all of the rooms. At this point we are probably 90% done with the tile design, and it looks like we'll be using Mediterranean Beige Medium Standard travertine throughout most of the house with different accents in each of the rooms. We still have a few details to think through and a couple of ideas to run by Claudia before we're completely done, but we are making great progress.

Umberto's crew from Alliance Drywall was working all day on the bull nose corners and putting mud on the screw heads. Unfortunately, because of the cold weather, the mud is drying very slowly. Brad needs us to bring over whatever fans we have, and he's going to get some heaters in there to help.

Brad wants us to get moving on the garage door. I'll try to make a trip down to Sousa's Garage Doors tomorrow.

Also, Dana called this afternoon and asked how we're doing on the kitchen design. I told him we're focused on the tiles right now and that we'll try to get back to him by the end of the week. He said that tomorrow he'll have stained cabinets (master bath and guest bath) for us to see, if we're interested. Of course we're interested!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Over the weekend we went down to Bedrosians and spent a couple of hours looking over their natural stone and tile offerings. They have a large selection of travertine at a very reasonable price. We picked up a bunch of samples and started working out the details of each room. We'll probably end up using travertine for most of the tubs, showers, and floors.

Today we made another trip to Bedrosians and met Ernie there. He gave us some tips on how to select granite slabs. We picked up some more tile samples.

I met with Esmeraldo at the job site this morning, and we walked through the house discussing all of the items in his quote. He had some good ideas for the pony walls and the shower thresholds.

I introduced myself to Umberto this morning. His drywall installers from Alliance Drywall were there, putting sheetrock on the new kitchen soffit.

And they were taping joints and starting to add the rounded corners.

Later in the afternoon, we brought some of our tile samples to the house to see how they look with the natural lighting in the rooms.

The city utility workers were there with a huge circular saw to cut the asphalt and concrete in preparation for our sewer line. They'll be back in a couple of days to dig up the street.

Friday, January 19, 2007

We met with Ernie, from Tile Plus, at the job site this morning and spent about 1-1/2 hours with him going through each of the rooms that will require tile work. Talking with him was very helpful because he gave us a lot a good tips and ideas.

Ekrem, and another electrician from CB Electric Co, were there adjusting a couple of the can lights in the kitchen because of the new soffit. But before that, they had hooked up the main panel to the temporary power pole, and wired up a few circuits. We now have some working lights and outlets!

The drywall installers were back too. They were fixing some of the cutouts they had missed. Also Brad was unhappy with the quality of their work in the coved ceilings in the bedrooms, so they were redoing them.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

When we arrived for a meeting with Brad, the carpenters were already there working on the soffit in the kitchen. They also finished a couple of other items, including cutting out the mail slot and raising the height of a pony wall (so that we can accomodate a 36" vanity with a 4" backspash). Also they were able to locate that "missing" switch box that had been hidden behind the plywood near the window seat.

Brad had gotten his gas inspection signed off this morning so the contractors from Alliance Drywall could start taping. Brad also showed the drywall installers where all the missing cutouts were so they could fix them.

Outside, the stucco contractors were finishing up their scratch coat.

During our meeting with Brad, he re-emphasized the need to finish our tile selection and start ordering the tiles. We told him that we have been meeting with a designer at Tile Source all week and will continue to do so, until it's all done.

For the interior tile and cabinet work, his plan, in sequential order, is:
  1. Tile the tubs and showers.
  2. Install the cabinets.
  3. Make the granite templates and start cutting the slabs.
  4. Install the floors.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

This morning the stucco contractors from European Lathing & Plastering began applying the scratch coat. They started with the second floor and worked their way down to the first floor.

In the afternoon, we met with Brad and Dana to talk about the soffit. Even the soffitting solution to our kitchen cabinet-crown molding problem has several options! We could soffit the entire kitchen, or just the areas where there are cabinets, or just the areas where there are pipes and ducts that need to be hidden. I told Brad we would discuss the options tonight and send him an email.

After Dana left, I went over all of the missing cutouts with Brad. In my walk-through, I found over a dozen missing cutouts. I have pictures of most of them so it's easy to figure out where they should be, but one in particular, will be difficult to find. I'm 99% sure it's hidden behind the drywall and the plywood that was added around the window seat for structural support.

An inspector from the city arrived later in the afternoon to check the drywall installation. I didn't follow him and Brad around but I think everything went well. The only problem I'm aware of, is the inspector wouldn't let Brad start taping because the gas inspection wasn't signed off. But an inspector had already checked the gas installation in early January -- he just forgot to sign the inspection form, so Brad called him and he'll sign it first thing tomorrow morning.

When I finally returned home, I was pleasantly surprised to find two boxes of plumbing fixtures on our door step -- one from FaucetDepot and one from FaucetDirect -- with most of our plumbing fixtures inside (I'm still waiting on a couple of backordered items, but they should arrive in about two weeks).

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

One of the best solutions to our kitchen/crown molding design problem is to soffit and remove the upper-most wall cabinets. So last night I sent Dana an email asking him how much we might save by eliminating those cabinets from our kitchen plan. I stopped by his office this morning to give him the contract for the craft room cabinets and talk to him about the kitchen design. The new design for the soffitted kitchen, without the double row of wall cabinets, looks much cleaner.... it's not as busy.

This morning we had our first meeting with Denise at Tile Source to start working on tile selection. We designed the laundry room and basement bathroom. Tomorrow we're meeting with her again to see how far we can get with the other bathrooms. It will probably take a few more sessions to finish all of the tile selection.

I met with Esmeraldo at one of his job sites in Hillsborough this afternoon and looked at their finished product. Then we drove up to the Imperial Marble warehouse in South San Francisco. We picked through their remnant pieces and found ones we liked.

Brad called and we talked to him about Imperial Marble. He's very uncomfortable about bringing on a new subcontractor, someone he knows nothing about. But if Imperial Marble has a compelling price, I think I can convince him to give them a try...

We also talked to Brad about soffitting the kitchen. He's going to try and schedule a meeting tomorrow afternoon with Dana and Gary.

Now that all the drywall has been hung, I need to check the remaining rooms for any missing cutouts (why am I doing this? :-), and give a list to Brad.

Brad gave us an outline of what's happening in the next few days:
  1. Tomorrow he's going to have the drywall inspected.
  2. Also tomorrow, he'll have the stucco contractors start the scratch coat.
  3. On Thursday he'll being the carpenters back to frame the soffit.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Although we worked with Michelle to pick all of our plumbing fixtures, I was able to find great deals on some of the fixtures on the internet. She couldn't come close to the prices at FaucetDepot and FaucetDirect for the Hansgrohe fixtures we selected for most of the bathrooms. Tonight I ordered those fixtures on the internet, saving almost 20%.

In some of the other bathrooms we selected California Faucets fixtures, and for those I haven't been able to find a suitable source on the internet, so we'll be buying those from her, along with our jacuzzi tub and probably our bathroom sinks.

Friday, January 12, 2007

I went to the house this morning and checked the sheetrock that has been hung in the basement and first floor, looking for any missing cut-outs. I found four of them so far:
  1. Romex for the wall mounted light in the closet next to the utility room.
  2. One of the two large panels in the wiring closet.
  3. An outlet in the kitchen to the right of the refrigerator, below the counter.
  4. An outlet in the guest bath on the right, above the vanity.
I need to let Brad know about these next week. I used the pictures I took of the walls last weekend and printed them out so he'll be able to locate the missing cut-outs.

We met with Dana at his office this afternoon. He was receiving a shipment of our bathroom vanity doors when we arrived, so we had a chance to look around in his workshop at our completed cabinet boxes. We met with him to work on the craft room and kitchen designs, and we were able to finalize the craft room cabinets.

Unfortunately, we have to solve a design issue with the kitchen. The problem is the transition from the crown molding on the cabinets to the crown molding in the room. Because our cabinets will extend all the way up to the ceiling, the crown at the top of the cabinets will intersect with the crown in the room wherever the cabinet starts or ends. One is stained, and the other is painted. One will be custom-made by Dana, and the other will be a standard, off-the-shelf crown. Bottom line: we need to figure out how to make the transitions not look too goofy.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Yesterday afternoon Esmeraldo Santos, a sales consultant from Imperial Marble Kitchens & Baths, stopped by the job site and gave me his spiel. He claimed to have a great price for marble fabrication, so late last night I sent him a bunch of information about our granite needs. He called this morning to ask for a few more details. He should be sending me a quote in the next couple of days.

Last night I also sent Dana our kitchen appliance specs and a marked up drawing for the craft room. He seems rather eager to get started on the kitchen cabinets -- I suspect because he'll be done with the laundry room cabinets in a matter of days!

In the morning we met with Claudia at the home in Redwood City again. This time we brought our wood samples and some granite samples to compare. This time we also had our camera so we could take pictures of the tile designs we liked.

In the afternoon we met with Brad at the job site. He told us he received a call from the city inspector, very early this morning, about the solar panel installation. The inspector met Brad at the job site and was satisfied with the modifications that Sebastian (SolarCity) had made, so everything is good to go now.

The sheetrockers were back again today. They've now finished the basement and more than half the first floor. Brad said they'll be working Friday and Saturday and should be completely finished by next Wednesday.

Brad gave us the plan for the next few weeks:

1. Next Wednesday and Thursday the stucco contractors will put on the scratch coat. Brad will let it dry over the weekend.

2. The following Monday and Tuesday they'll put on the brown coat. Brad will let that cure for a couple of weeks.

3. At the end of January after all the sheetrock has settled, he'll tape and texture.

Brad urged us to really get going on the tile and slab design. He wants us to have all of the tile ordered by the end of the month.... and he wants us to be aware and careful of any tile that has a long lead time because that could become critical path.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This morning I drove down to Cornelia's and picked up two Mountain Plumbing waste and overflow kits for the two Kohler Villager bath tubs. On the way back up to the job site I stopped by Dana's office and dropped off the signed contract. He has already finished building all the boxes for the vanities and the jacuzzi front and started working on the laundry cabinets! While I was there, Brad called to tell me the sheetrockers had started their work! Wow!

I pulled up to the job site at the same time as Victor, the plumber, and gave him the waste and overflow kits for the two tubs. He and his assistant got right to work, installing the basement tub and working on the hot water recirc for the second floor.

The sheetrockers had started in the basement, and by the time I had arrived, they were about half way done with the basement.

Sebastian and his crew from SolarCity were also there, continuing to install the solar panels. He said they're putting up 16 panels, but I just checked our contract and it's says 18 panels, so I need to follow up with him...

I talked to him about where to locate the DC disconnect switch. We decided, that rather than putting it in the attic, a better place would be tucked in the corner of the back balcony. It may not look great, but at least it will be accessible.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The job site was bustling with activity today. The insulation installers from West Coast Insulation started early this morning. By the time I arrived around 11 AM, they had already completed most of the first and second floors. Brad said they would be done by the end of the day!

This next picture shows that proVent baffles from ADO Products were installed. They provide an air channel between the insulation and the outer plywood, something the inspector will be looking for during the insulation inspection.

Where there isn't enough room for a baffle and fiberglass insulation, they used solid foam blocks.

Sebastian and his crew from Solar City were also there today installing the photovoltaic panels!

Brian from Bonanza Heating and Air Conditioning and Dave and Dan from CB Electric Co. were making some last minute fixes to the furnace and electrical wiring, respectively.

Dana also came by to take some final measurements in the lanudry room. Late last night we gave him the green light to start on those cabinets, and he jumped right on it!

Later in the afternoon, a couple of inspectors from the city showed up to make sure all of last week's issues were corrected. Everything was okay, but one of the inspectors brought up another issue. Because Solar City used metal clad (MC) cable to run the DC power through the walls to the inverter, the inspector wants a DC disconnect located as close to the solar panels as possible. He also said he would have preferred to see metal conduit inside the walls instead of the MC cable. Sebastian is going to protect the MC cable, wherever possible, with a metal bracket. I think the inspector will be coming out again tomorrow. Brad said he wants to have the shower pans inspected.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

I spent the past two days taking photographs of the insides of the house. This is one of our last opportunities to record where all the pipes, ducts, and wires are located before the insulation is installed and the sheetrock is put on. Tomorrow, I'll use a camcorder to record a video too.

This evening I also spent some time using my shop vac to dry out the floor in the basement. I sucked up about 30-40 gallons of water and dumped it into one of the light wells so the sump pump could pump it up and out of the basement. How cool is that!

Thursday, January 4, 2007

It rained last night so I went over to the house today to check for leaks. I called Brad around noon to tell him the house was dry, except for a plumbing leak in the basement (a stopper in the sewer line is not working very well) and a leak where a downspout drains near the sewer pipe. The plumber is supposed to show up today to seal around the pipe.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The contractors from Waterproofing Associates were working early this morning touching up the balcony. Because it had been raining when they first applied the material, they wanted to come back and make it look nice.

Later in the morning the low voltage installers showed up to finish running a few cat-5 wires. The plumber was also there fixing the shower heads and adding the hot water recirc lines to the first and second floors. And the roofers were there finishing up the roof.

In the afternoon we met with Brad. The city inspector showed up a little later for the rough framing inspection. Some of Brad's subcontractors were also there, including Rick from KC Construction and Jeff and Dan from CB Electric Co. The inspector noted a few items including:

1. We'll need to use unfaced insulation in the dining room soffits.

2. He couldn't find where the vent for the guest bath or power room. I think Brad will check with the plumber.

3. We need a smoke detector in the basement near the stair landing and in the first floor hallway. Also smoke detectors need a trailing wire so they all go off at once.

Note to Brad: The electrical boxes mounted high on the walls in the basement hallway and the first floor hallway... they are for the secondary smoke detectors (for the home security / home automation system), not the primary system. That's why they don't have the trailing wire.

4. The laundry room joists need to the strapped because of all the ducting that cut through the existing joists. Rick's going to take care of that.

5. The inspector wondered why we had a grounding strap by the jacuzzi. He pointed out that modern pumps are double-insulated and that if they are gounded, it defeats the purpose.

6. We need more clearance around the attic furnace as well as a wider walkway. They'll have to move the furnace over a few inches. I think Rick will work on that too.

7. Some duct work was damaged by the roofers and needs to be repaired.

8. We need a bunch of nail plates in various places.

Here's what the house looks like with the roof completed. I need to call SolarCity to let them know they can start installing their panels any day now.

It's supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow morning -- we'll soon see if we're completely water tight!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

This morning we met Claudia at a home in Redwood City that she staged. She showed us several examples of bathroom tiles and accents, and we got some really good ideas.

At the job site, the stucco contractors from European Lathing and Plastering finished putting on the building paper and wire mesh. The sheet metal installers from Bonanza Heating and Air Conditioning were also there, finishing the roof above the window seat.

Tomorrow morning the low voltage installers from Dave Bengel's crew should be working on their final touches. And (I think) the roofers should finish installing the second floor roofing tiles.

Brad has scheduled a rough framing inspection for tomorrow afternoon. If we pass, then he's giving me the weekend to take pictures of all the interior walls. He'll schedule the insulation contractors from West Coast Insulation to start their work on Tuesday morning.