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 ???



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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The Mailbox Post and Mailbox Get Installed

Dave Barlow made me a custom, mahogany mailbox post to hold the copper mailbox I bought. It is a furniture grade box and slides right over the installed 4x4. I made the numbers out of glass because I couldn't find any I liked that would contrast the dark background.

Craftsman mahogany mailbox post Craftsman mahogany mailbox post ready to install
Craftsman mahogany, copper, and glass mailbox

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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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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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Next Page

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