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 ???



Landscaping is Blooming Well This Spring

The landscaping is filling out very nicely right now. I planted a Concord grape last summer and there are at least 50 bunches of grapes starting to form on it. The Haas avocado, Babcock peach, and Santa Rosa plum trees are full of flowers and small fruit. And last but not least, my little artichoke plant that was cut to the ground about 4 months ago is growing with a vengeance and about 5 feet tall now.

Concord grapes are starting to appear.

Bunches of Concord grapes are appearing everywhere.

The artichoke plant is growing FAST!

IMG_8076


One of my plans was to have wisteria grow up the columns around the house and frame out the different entry ways. I may be a few years off from that but they are growing quite nicely and the purple flowers are strikingly beautiful. I'm going to have to get a small trellis built between the columns as the wisteria will be tall enough to grab on soon.

The wisteria is in full bloom along the back fence. It compliments the Arts and Crafts style brick path. The wisteria is getting taller. Eventually it will go over on a trellis and down the other column.

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Neighborhood Church Annual Yule Parlor Parade Homes Tour

Today is the first of two days for the Yule Parlor Parade. Several months ago we were asked if we would consider our house for the homes tour. We agreed and now we have 1200+ people coming through with little blue booties. It's a lot of fun! You can see the pictures of the decked out house just before the people came in listed in the Photo Gallery under Finish Pictures.
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Dining Room Table Being Built

A month before Dave Barlow was finished with the interior woodwork, I asked him if he thought he could build a dining room table out of mahogany and ebony from plans that I saw in a woodworking magazine. After a few weeks of studying the drawings, Dave said " Do you want it exactly like the plans show?" I asked him why and he told me that he could make it better. So we started. Below are a few pictures of this table being built. It took 5 months to complete.
The table is modeled after a table in the Robinson House, another Greene and Greene design. With both leaves in, it can comfortably seat 14, without the leaves it can easily seat 8. It weighs in at about 150 lbs for the base and 150 lbs for the top. The extensions are wood sliding on wood, there are no metal sliders. Also notice that your knees won't hit anywhere around the table.


IMG_4536 IMG_4537 IMG_4538 IMG_4539 IMG_4540 IMG_4541 Craftsman mahogany and ebony table Craftsman mahogany and ebony table IMG_4546 IMG_4547 Craftsman mahogany and ebony table top Craftsman mahogany and ebony table edge is raised 1/16 Craftsman mahogany and ebony table. The edge is attached with many biscuits and adhesive. Craftsman mahogany and ebony table extension sliders Craftsman mahogany and ebony table clear coating Craftsman mahogany and ebony table stops Craftsman mahogany and ebony table top pins Craftsman mahogany and ebony table finished Craftsman mahogany and ebony table

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Sanded and Stained Front Door and Garage

With the sun beating down on the garage door, the mahogany was getting bleached. I decided to have the garage door and front door sanded and stained. The garage door took three weeks to do. What a job!

Craftsman front door is sanded and ready for stain. Craftsman garage door is sanded and ready for stain.
Staining the mahogany Craftsman garage door The stained mahogany Craftsman garage door

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Adding a Barbecue Island

After living in the house a few months, we decided that our portable barbecue wasn't going to hack it. We also had a concern that the side of our deck dropped off and wasn't safe for people. The result is we built in an extension off the house at the edge of the patio to house a barbecue, ice chest, double burner, three drawers, power, and trash can.

The block was built just off the house. We tied it in using the stone veneer to make it look like one wall.

Barbecue island block wall gets built The stone veneer of the house will blend into the barbecue island


The structure was framed out with aluminum studs. The dark green posts are steel.

Barbecue island structure framed out in aluminum and steel Hardibacker board on barbecue island

The gas line was run in from under the house.

Natural gas to barbecue island comes from house

Golden Buckskin flagstone was used on the top to match the patio and the face is stone. It looks like the barbecue island was here all along.

Flagstone counter is set on barbecue island Appliances are installed in barbecue island
Ice chest and double burned are installed in barbecue island

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Construction is Complete But Who Is The City Forester?

September 24th was the 2 year anniversary of when we broke ground!!!
• Most everything is done now and we are in the process of moving in. In this city, to get signed off, the City Forester must sign off the inspection report. He came over, pulled out his spray paint and put this circle 7 feet off the street in the middle of my front yard and said you will plant a 24" box, Japanese Cherry Tree a.k.a. Pink Cloud. Since this is in the City right of way, I am basically giving the city a gift per their direction. In my opinion, there are now too many trees in the front yard as it was perfectly balanced. Time will tell how it all fills out.


• Code states that glass doors must be put in all interior fireplaces. There is a fireplace store in town that rents doors for 30 days to get through inspection for just over $200. It's one of their standard services!!!

Temporary glass fireplace door


• All that is left to do is minor stuff; low voltage lighting, seal the fence and new gates, make the stained glass for the front door, kitchen, and entertainment center doors, etc.
• There is one more thing I forgot. We had the rear patio fireplace stone redone to get rid of the seam at the 45 degree bend in the wall. While that was accomplished, the rest of the stone was redone but not to my satisfaction. I'm going to redo the opening and face of the fireplace again.
• I am hoping to have the final pictures online by Thanksgiving. There are a lot and I still need to categorize and annotate them all.
And last but not least, there is a third child on the way that is due at the end of November. There is a struggle with my gym being turned into a baby's room. For now, we are going to share it as I will not give it up that easily and the baby will mostly be in our room for the next couple of years. Maybe by then I will have to remodel to add another room! Just kidding....you can put a fork in it because this house is done!!!

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Another Painting Lesson Learned, Stair Railing Being Refinished, Electrical Done, Pond Built

When will it end, you ask? Within a month is my latest prediction. Here's why:
• Skim-coated all walls in house in preparation for paint. Individual patching of blemishes was not working and we needed to overhaul all walls.

LESSON LEARNED: An eggshell finish is great for a house with kids but it's also great at pointing out every imperfection in the wall. If you don't have kids then definitely use a flat paint. We are using a flat paint for the ceilings.

• Painting is all that is left with the walls. Stefan is continuing and 3 more painters come in next week to finish the place out.
• The stair railing has been fit and will be sent out for refinishing.
• All data, phone, and cable has been hooked up and patch panels installed in garage.
• All exterior wall sconces installed.

Craftsman wall sconce with a peacock filigreeCraftsman wall sconce with an oak filigree

• Office is 100% complete.
• Backyard is fully powered.
• Pond is fully operational with fish, snails, and tadpoles.

This pond is about 600 gallons and contains fish and tadpoles.


• Spa is being filled.
• Trees have been ordered.
• Front pathway is complete.

Craftsman walkway in front yard made of stone.

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Painting Lesson Learned, Stairs Almost Done, Landscaping Going Well

No....not yet! I hate saying this as I haven't been right yet but I expect us to start moving in by mid-July.
• We are still painting rooms. Probably for another 3 weeks. The problem is that all wall and ceiling surfaces need to be skim-coated. My GC was trying to keep the costs down by spot patching the walls and in hindsight it looks like it ended up costing me quite a bit more because it takes forever to spot fix these walls with all of the wood trim everywhere.

A MAJOR Lesson Learned here is plaster the whole house or go in with the plan to skim coat over ALL drywall surfaces. The bottom line is drywall may be faster and cheaper if your building a bunch of condos but it ends up costing a lot more if you are trying to do a good quality job. About half of the screws popped out with all of the hammering due to woodwork finishing.
• Dave Barlow has finished the stairs and wainscoting and is now working on the staircase railing. After that, he should be done. He's been with us 1 year now, did all of the interior woodwork, and was only hired to do the stairs. Unbelievable!

The risers and treads fit together like a puzzle in this Craftsman staircase Ebony plugs in the Craftsman staircase siding


• Landscaping is going pretty well. The front driveway is complete, the front pathway is just about done, sprinkler valves are in, final grading and irrigation starts next week, and the waterfall/pond will finally start next week.

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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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Retaining Wall and Fireplace Mantel Complete, Upstairs Painting, Historic Lighting

• The North retaining wall is complete.
• The master bedroom fireplace mantle is complete.

Master bedroom Craftsman, mahogany fireplace mantel


• The painters are starting upstairs tomorrow. They have a lot of sanding to do.
• Su Bacon of Historic Lighting is coming out tomorrow to see the house and advise on entry and stairway chandeliers I'm purchasing from her. They are designed by the craftsman Karl Berry from New York. Su has been a consultant on many big projects. When we went into her Arcadia store, we found out that she was consulted for lighting on the TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I told her about the living room fireplace we were creating based on a picture I saw in a magazine. She knew it well as she was the designer. How cool is that!
• My updated guess on a move-in date is mid May.

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Stairwell Wainscot, Concrete Poured, Work Stopped, Gone Surfing

I received a letter from the City stating that the permit will expire on May 12. At least we now have a target date. I would still like to shoot for final inspection by May 1st.
• We are laying out the stairwell wainscoting. It will be Honduran Mahogany with 6 distinct layers to give it a depth effect. Just wait and see...
• Drainage was put in on the North side of the house.
• Concrete was poured on the North side so we can now build the block wall for the planter.
• Two carpenters and the electrician are surfing and camping at Big Sur for the last two days. My GC is sick with food poisoning and Dave, the finish carpenter is on another job for 2 days. In other words, NO WORK FOR THE LAST 2 DAYS IN THE HOUSE. How in the world will we finish in time when things like this happen?
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Gamble House Lights, Floor Issue, Fireplaces, Ebony Plugs, Kitchen Tile

I have finally caught up with the pictures! I have been taking more than I could annotate and finally caught up today. I am adding about another 500 pictures from the last few months. So let me give you all the rundown.
• I created the stained glass for the light in the December 18th blog post only to find out that half of them were too small. After another week of stained glass work, I finished and my fingertips were raw. I brought the glass panels to Old California Lantern Company for installation and received the lights about 2 weeks ago. They are absolutely stunning!

Gamble House replica light with my own stained glass


• The floors are installed. Lesson learned - make sure the installers verify that the door still opens before the whole thing is laid!!!
• The kitchen, laundry room, and master bathroom American cherry cabinets have been stained with Jel'd Stain Red Mahogany by Wood Kote.

The kitchen cabinets were stained with Jel'd Stain Red Mahogany.

• The walk-in closet cabinets are almost complete.
The walk-in closet cabinets are almost complete


• The master bedroom fireplace is covered with a beautiful Batchelder tile from Mission Tile West in Santa Monica.

Master bedroom fireplace covered in Batchelder tile.

• The living room entertainment center is built and ready for finishing.
The unfinished entertatinment center is ready for stain.


• Dave Barlow is installing the ebony plugs in the scarf joints around the house.



• The living room fireplace is having Moonlight flagstone installed right now. It's a very slow process as each piece is being chiseled to the right dimensions. Look on the left part of the mantel and you can see my sugar cube mockup of the stone corner. I made this to make sure they understood how I wanted the 45-degree angles handled.

The Moonlight flagstone is being installed on the living room fireplace.

• The appliances will be installed tomorrow.
• Clear-coating of the mahogany will start in about 2 weeks followed by painting the walls and ceiling.
• Glass tile from Mission Tile West has been installed in the kitchen. It looks amazing!

Glass tile installed in the Craftsman kitchen.

Well, I'm going to start uploading the pictures now and then I'm off to Kauai for my 40th birthday.

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Wall Sconce Stained Glass, Wood Floors Being Installed

Yes, I'm delinquent with the update again.There are a lot more pictures that I haven't had a chance to put on the site yet so keep checking back. A lot is going on around here.
• I'm really busy now creating the stained glass for some authentic Gamble House reproductions. The stained glass will be different and my own design. I'll tie that into the front door window whenever I get around to it. Go to Old California Lantern Company to see the best Arts & Crafts lanterns. I went in there and 3 1/2 hours later I outfitted my entire house.



• The hardwood floors are being installed right now. It is long-length (8'-16'), quarter-sawn, 5"-wide, Brazilian Cherry. We are having a slight bevel put between the planks to give it an older look. The floor will be stained black, sanded, and then stained with a green dye to subdue the bright reds associated with Brazilian cherry.

Brazilian cherry floor installed in office

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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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Garage Door Installed, Interior Primed, Bathroom Floated, Ceiling Beams Installed

Not much has happened the last month. Vacations and other jobs have gotten in the way. However, the work that has been done is looking really good. So here's the run down.
• All interior doors have been ordered but we have to wait about a month. Expected delivery is 9/14/05.
• The garage door was installed.



• Interior of house and garage has had two coats of primer applied.
• Master bathroom has been floated and is ready for tile.
• The ceiling beams are being installed single-handedly by Dave Barlow. The planning for this was extremely difficult as there is quite a bit of wood and detail in a Craftsman style house. We are designing the layouts on the fly for the ceiling, crown moulding, plate/picture rail, floor trim, wainscoting, and staircase. All of these pieces tie together as one entire wood 'system'. Our design of this is staying about one or two steps ahead of the build. One problem is that we don't have our wood floors in yet so we can't build the jambs up from the floor.

Dave Barlow installs the living room beams

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Camera Broken, Drywall Taped and Sanded, Starting Staircase, Siding Complete

• Bad news. I took a trip and my camera got some dirt in it. It now doesn't work so no pictures. The new camera should be coming in a few days.
• Drywall is sanded and just about ready for primer.

Drywall is taped and sanded. Ready for primer.


• Dave Barlow is working the staircase and will be doing other fine carpentry in the house. He is creating mockups of everything out of MDF (fiberboard) prior to cutting the real wood.

MDF Craftsman staircase mockup


• All shingle and stone siding is installed.

Craftsman shingle and stone siding is installed.

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Staircase Design a No Go

Bad news today on the staircase. The building inspector will not allow us to create the design shown in an earlier blog . If you scale it out, the design has openings of up to one foot. Code is no more than four inches. We'll have to come up with something else. Whatever we decide on I can guarantee you that it will be spectacular. Stay tuned...
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Shingle Siding, Drywall Inspection, and Stone Siding

• The siding continues to go up. I think the variation in the tone makes it look very interesting. Anyway, it can't be stained until at least June 2006 so no need to worry about it now.
• Drywall inspection is tomorrow.
• Stone siding starts to go up this week.
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Exterior House Work, Shingles May Be Too Colorful

• Got back from vacation and the house was all white instead of black when I left. It's covered now in a Tyvek waterproofing layer.
• The water table was installed. This separates the shingle siding from the stone base.
• Window trims are being installed.

Tyvek, shingles, and trim are installed on the house exterior.

• The drywall is almost complete. Inspection of the screws should take place this week with taping to follow.

Drywall before taping

• MAJOR ISSUE! The shingle siding is being installed and the color variation is a bit more than expected. On its own, it looks great but when the stone siding is added it may be too busy. We called Cabot Stains and asked them what we could do and they said we have to wait 1 year before we attempt to paint a different color stain on it. Oh well, live and learn.

Craftsman cedar shingles are very colorful

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Survey Says...Move the Fence!

I have finally uploaded the pictures for the last 2 months.
• Today I went to the neighbor over my backyard fence to inform her that a survey was done and the fence needs to move about 10 feet onto her side. She said do whatever I need to do. Now wasn't that nice? I told her I'll landscape her side of the fence.
• The roofer has started to cover the black paper with a rough asphalt paper.
• The front door jamb has been installed.
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Cabinets, Plumbing, Electrical, Insulation, Surround Sound, Roof Work, Shower Mopped,.....

I have been really busy and haven't had time for updates. I have finally organized the new pictures since my last posting on 4/16/05. I will load them up sometime this week, I promise. Here are the latest issues.
• All plumbing and electrical in the master bathroom has to shift to the left by about a foot since we had a designer lay out the cabinets.
• All insulation has been put in.
• I installed in-ceiling speaker brackets for surround sound in the living room.

Ceiling Speaker Bracket Installed


• Copper flashing is going on the roof.

Copper Flashing Installed on Roof


• The shower has been hot-mopped. We were told to pick out all bathroom tile and balcony and laundry room flooring this week.

Hot Mopped Shower


• Skylights have been framed.

Framed Skylight


• The kitchen range vent has been put in place. One of the joists had to be moved over and plumbing rerouted to make room.
• The Thermador range and Thermador dishwasher were delivered last week. I found a place in Alabama (Fredrickson's Tire and Appliance) with amazing prices through eBay. They were clearing out a supply of Thermador appliances from a warehouse that closed down. They bought everything up and were liquidating at wholesale prices.
• With the extended garage roof you now hit your head when walking around the corner. So, we dug down about 2 feet around the garage to lower the grade.

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Low Voltage Wiring, Electrical, Plumbing, Garage Door Ordered, Issues in the Kitchen

• Still working on updating the pictures. They should be coming within the week.
• There is still quite a bit to do before inspection. We had a telecom installer come out and install phone (Cat 5), cable TV (RG6), and Ethernet (Cat 6). There was about 1700 feet of ethernet wiring installed. It's easier to put it in now than later. For example, it's behind TVs, in the kitchen, etc. I won't be using it but in 10 years or so it may be needed for home automation purposes. It's also a good selling point if I ever go down that path.
• Wall sconces have been wired.
• Plumbing is almost complete. Just finishing up the gas lines.
• The garage door has been ordered from Designer Doors. This is going to be really nice!
• Issues continue to test my patience in the kitchen. There are so many wires, pipes, and ducts running through the ceiling that we are having trouble figuring out how to get a 10" duct from the range hood over about 10" off center to fit between two joists and vent out the wall.
• The ceiling beam patterns are a challenge since we decided to add the kitchen into the remodeling mix. We decided to stop the ceiling beams at the boundary between the kitchen and dining room so the living and dining rooms only have beams. Kitchen ceiling is TBD.
• The remaining part of the block wall on the rear patio was cut down yesterday.
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Roof Papered, Skylights In, Siding Ordered, Ceiling Layouts, Rough-Ins Continue

• The roof has been covered with paper.

Craftsman Roof with Paper


• Velux skylights will be added to the entry, and all downstairs bedrooms. These skylights have remotely controlled blackout blinds built in. I definitely wanted a chandelier in the entry but Amy was saying it was too dark. Our solution is to put in a 24"x24" skylight that is parallel to the floor instead of the vaulted ceiling. Wood trim will be placed around the opening to match window and door trims. From the four corners, wires will be strung to hold an as yet to be determined chandelier. I'll probably have to make it. I'm envisioning a 4-sided inverted pyramid with stained glass panels. During the day it will be illuminated by the skylight above and at night it will work as a regular chandelier, i.e., it will always be lit up.
• The cedar, shingle siding has been ordered from Cedar Valley in Hollister, California.
• Beam locations in the living room, dining room, and kitchen have been identified by string. This allowed rough-ins of plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and central vacuum systems. Inspection should be next week.

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Patio Poured, Ordered Door, Interior Design Starting

• The patio was poured.
• All doors are now installed except for the front door (being built) and the side door (just ordered it). The side door is made by TM Cobb. It is a Stickley model with a mantel from the Greene door.


T.M. Cobb Craftsman Stickley DoorT.M. Cobb Craftsman Greene Door

Edited October 29, 2005: The actual door interior and exterior.


• Hose bib locations have been identified.

INTERIOR DESIGN STARTING
I had no idea that I was going to be designing the interior of this house on the fly.
• Spent the last few days identifying all lighting that was not on the original plans. This includes wall sconces inside and outside.
• Roughly laid out the beam design separating the living room and dining room.

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Windows In, Roof Sheeted, Ordered Fixtures, Lessons Learned

A lot has happened in the last 2 weeks. Here's the rundown.
• For the past week, I was pushing the masons to hurry up and put in a block wall around part of the patio according to the plans. Amy came over to see it that night and we both decided it was too tall and closed in the patio too much. The following day I had the guys tear it out. It wasn't very fun telling them that.
• Installed all windows. Working on doors now.
• Ordered the master bath plumbing fixtures in oil-rubbed bronze (Phylrich Carrara Beige Marble) and the steam shower system (Mr. Steam)
• The roof is sheeted, now it's ready for waterproofing.

Plywood Sheeted Roof


LESSONS LEARNED
• Heating ducts have been a pain in the neck. Multiple small changes have been needed to make the design work. A lesson learned is that none of the subcontractors know how the other is planning on roughing out their lines. As a result, heating ducts start to go in and one by one I tell them why it can't go in a certain spot. A soffit was created upstairs to handle the ducting. Downstairs, ducting is being run without knowledge of the final beam layouts on the finished ceiling. I'm having stuff moved. They wanted to run ducts right where I need my range vented out in the kitchen, etc., etc.
The bottom line is make sure you are on site a lot during the rough-ins to make sure everything works. Only you will know how the end product is going to be used.

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First Window Installed

Today I helped install the first windows. They look even better than I hoped they would.

First Installed Loewen Window

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Windows and Doors Delivered

The Loewen windows and doors were delivered today. There is a scratch on the 8' french doors. Somebody will need to come out and fix that. I'm told it will be after all exterior work is complete.


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Everyone is Working, Picking Fixtures, Designing Landscape, Where's My Garage

• The rough plumbing is going well. Only about 4 more days until it's done.
• The master bathroom shower, sink, and tub fixtures were picked today. They are made by Phylrich - Carrara Beige Model Series. The finish is oil rubbed bronze with the beige marble handles.
• Chose Mr. Steam MS-400T for the master bath steam shower. I purchased it and then found it for about $150 less. Oh well, maybe I'll save next time. This site has everything!

Mr. Steam MS 300T


• The electrician started today and mounted electrical boxes around the house. It seems the code of a box every 6 feet is excessive.
• The garage was torn down today due to wood rot and termites in preparation for the new garage framing and roof. This was not part of the original plan.

Garage Torn Down


• Hired John Bauman, landscape designer and former owner of the Begonia Farm Nursery.

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Fireplace Construction Starts

Pete Ramage of Ramage Masonry has started the fireplaces and the plumber, Jaime, is putting in the gas lines to them.


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Paint Colors Selected and Front Door Started

• Today we finally picked the actual colors of the house. The shingle siding is a clear-coated natural cedar. The window and door trim, rafters, and eaves are Cabot Semi-Transparent redwood stain. The balcony railings and trim are Passion Vine, an olive-green color. All colors except for the siding were actually choices I made after the Art Jury told me what they liked. It was easier that way since it gave me fewer choices.

• Gave Joe Madden of Madden Millworks in San Pedro the go-ahead to start construction of the front door.
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Trying to Get Ideas in Pasadena

Today we drove around Pasadena to look at various color combinations on Craftsman and Bungalow houses. Click here to see them.
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Next Page

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