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 ???



Kids Arts & Crafts Area

Now that the palm tree is gone, we have a big space (4.5' x 9') that can be used for something. After looking at the space for about 6 weeks, we have decided to turn it into a kids' Arts and Crafts area. I just bought the lumber yesterday and will be building it over the next few days. Stay tuned.

The palm tree that was just removed made for the future Arts and Crafts center.

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We Won the Pond Competition!

Back on May 13th, my post talks about how we were cleaning up the koi pond for the pond landscaping competition. Well, I just found out that we took first place for small ponds under $10,000. As soon as I get a picture of the award I'll post it here.

Landscape Award for Forte Craftsman House

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The Yard Store is Open!

We are pleased to announce the opening of The Yard Store; our new landscaping and gardening tool area. Through our partnership with WORX Yard Tools we are able to offer their complete line of innovative outdoor power tools that make yard work easier.

They have taken that simple idea and tried to offer something even more... like products which are high-quality, environmentally friendly, and recognized as being the most ergonomic tools on the market today. My favorite thing is that all of these tools run on interchangeable battery packs! Click on the picture below to be taken to the store.

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The Palm Tree Was Removed

Southern California Edison has been trimming my palm tree every few months for the last 8 years. During that time, I have been trying to get them to underground the power lines before my tree reached them. The last trimming was one too many as they topped off the palm tree resulting in its quick demise. Here are some photos I took of the removal.

The palm tree right before it was removed. The tree trimmer is getting readt o cut the top off the palm tree.
 
 
The remaining palm tree stump. The stump grinder was brought in to remove the stump at least 1 foot below the grade.
 
 

The palm tree has been removed and there is no trace of it.

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Koi Pond Gets One Last Update Before Landscaping Contest

The koi pond has been entered into a pond landscaping contest for the LA area during June 6th to June 8th. Due to its size, the pond was entered in the small category of under $10,000.

In preparation, Cor van Diepen of Paradise Landscaping, came over with his assistant Cesar (see April 16 blog post) for one last touch up before the judges come over this weekend. They spent time on details like making sure no rubber trim was showing and that every rock was in its place. There were a few bubbles showing at the waterfall that he called 'foam' and said we would lose some points if that was there when they came by. I'm going to see if I can find something to get rid of it tonight.

Cor thinks we have a really good shot at first place! I'll let you know next week. Maybe I'll get to stick a sign in my front yard. :)
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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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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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Next Page

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