In this blog I will do my best to describe the process I went through in turning my 1957 Ranch-style house into a 2006 Craftsman house as inspired by the Gamble House in Pasadena. Please feel free to comment on anything I write and ask questions as it is the only way we learn.

Note: Since completion of the house I have also decided to allow guest bloggers to post articles related to remodeling. This continues the education process.


TIMELINE
Architect Selection - December 2002 through January 2003
Getting a Permit - January 2003 through November 2004
Construction - November 2004 through September 2006
Post Construction - October 2006 through ???



Everybody is Working - Painting, Murals, Library, Stairs, Wainscot, Playhouse, Landscaping

Well it's mid May and I'm not moving in yet. It's quite frustrating and basically comes down to manpower. My new projection is the third week of June. I'm still taking pictures and will eventually get them loaded but I just can't seem to get in the mood to do it. Maybe I'm just lazy. Trust me though....the house is coming out so much better than I had hoped for and I will eventually get the pictures loaded. Once complete I will look into creating a searchable photo database to make it easy to find pictures you are interested in. Well here's this month's progress.
• We have a painter going room to room now. We had a muralist paint this big oak tree with animals in the kids' room.

Mural of an oak tree with animals in the girls' bedroom.

• We are almost finished laying all of the exterior flagstone around the house. The driveway will be poured this Saturday.
• The master closet is complete. Cedar-lined walls and American cherry cabinets.

Master closet lined in cedar with cherry cabinets

• The library is built. In fact, all cabinetry is complete and will be finished over the next few days.

Unfinished library cabinets with built-in Murphy bed. Library cabinets with Murphy bed

• The stair treads have been sent out for finishing. Dave is starting on the wainscot in the bathrooms and the newell posts for the stairs.

Mahogany, bathroom wainscot being installed

• A playhouse was built in the backyard. We used the leftover shingles for siding, shingles for the roof, Brazilian Cherry and limestone for the floors. Scaled down rafters were carved. It looks awesome!

Craftsman playhouse made from leftover materials

• The waterfall and pond construction will start any day now.
• I had almost half of the exterior stone siding removed and replaced by a new stone guy. My first guy is great at ceramic tile but not so when it came to stone.
• I almost forgot....For the past four months, Matt Keyes of Keyes Landscape Design has been implementing the landscape design. It is amazing! So far we have 18 tons of boulders and need another 6 tons. I believe the landscaping will actually finish before the house now. There is a consistent group of guys that work 6 days a week, 8-10 hours a day. They are really good and fast!

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Soapstone Counter Installation

The soapstone countertops were installed in the kitchen and laundry rooms today. The templates were made on Tuesday and the countertop was installed on Thursday. Soapstone West has great service!
Below is a play-by-play of the installation.


These guys drove in from Arizona, and within 2 days measured, fabricated, and installed the soapstone countertops.

These guys drove in from Arizona, and within 2 days measured, fabricated, and installed the soapstone countertops.

These slabs are HEAVY at 20 lbs/sq ft.

These slabs are heavy!

There is a 3/8" overlap of the sink. The holes for the faucet, soap, drinking water, and vent are drilled.

Kitchen soapstone is being installed around the sink.

Black epoxy is mixed up to join the soapstone pieces and fill in any voids.

Black epoxy is mixed up to join the soapstone pieces and fill in any voids.

A ding is repaired with the special epoxy. After it dries you can't even see it.

A ding is repaired with the special epoxy

Even through the talcum powder layer you can see the caramel vein showing through.

The soapstone counter pieces are being bonded together.

Soapstone installation is messy work.

Sanding soapstone is messy work.

Soapstone is much denser than granite and can't be stained. However, it is soft enough so that hand sanding can be accomplished to smooth the edges.

Soapstone is much denser than granite and can't be stained. However, it is soft enough so that hand sanding can be accomplished to smooth the edges.

This kitchen corner's soapstone installation is complete.

This looks gray now but wait until it's oiled.

Kitchen soapstone is installed

The range will slide in between these two pieces.

I oiled the soapstone with mineral oil. It's shiny because it's still wet. When dry, it will have a matte finish.

Freshly oiled soapstone in kitchen is shiny.

The counter looks great! The door to the laundry room has a "Delta" pattern in it.

Craftsman kitchen with freshly oiled soapstone

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The Finishes are Going In

Lately, I have been overwhelmed with the number of things going on at the house and though I have been taking pictures, I have not had time to annotate and post them. They will arrive, just a little patience.
• The master bathroom has been tiled and looks great!

Master bathroom is tiled in glass, slate, and seagrass limestone.


• Cherry cabinets have been installed in the kitchen, master bath, and laundry room. Unfortunately, the kitchen sink cabinet was 3/4" off center from the window. The cabinet had to be shortened by 3/4" on both ends to keep it symmetric and centered on the window.

Kitchen sink cabinet is off center.


• I have purchased the soapstone slabs for the kitchen and laundry room from Soapstone West in Escondido, CA.
• Brazilian Cherry floors have been ordered from Dutko Hardwood Floors in Lawndale, CA and will be installed the first week of December. Talk about a backlog.
• The fireplace mantel has been installed and stained. Plaster will go above it and Moonlight flagstone will go below. It will be cut into manicured blocks of varying size.

Craftsman Mahogany Fireplace Mantel


• Actual work has started on the staircase. There was a lot of planning to get to this point.
• The hot tub has been delivered. We're just waiting for power now.

The hot tub has been slid into place


• The Golden Busckskin flagstone has been installed on the front and back patios.

Golden Bucksking Flagstone has been installed on the patio


• The green slate has been installed on the balconies.
• Paint samples are all over the walls. I hear they will start within 2 weeks with the paint.

Paint samples are on the walls


• Interior doors are installed and stained.

Interior Craftsman door with Delta glass

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Next Page

Be sure to browse the 2,000 picture Photo Gallery for more step-by-step construction details.