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 ???



Maintaining this House is Something Else!

I haven't written in a few months but that's not because I had nothing to write about. We have been in the house over 3 1/2 years now and there are certain things that need fixing. Some are regular maintenance items and others are just surprises. Let me give you a quick rundown of what's going on.

Exterior Paint - The South sides of the house start to fade due to the constant sunlight received throughout the year. On average, we have been needing to paint the South side of the house every 12-18 months at a minimum. For this we are using a clear coat of Varathane on the shingles and the bark-colored Cabot stain on the redwood trim. Just last year I had the garage door sanded down and refinished along with the house as it was fading bad with only a clear coat on the mahogany. I had it stained and recoated. Now it looks like a million bucks.

Tankless Water Heater - Once a year I have to flush the tankless water heater with vinegar. It's not difficult to do but just another thing to do.

Hot Tub Pump - I just had the hot tub pump replaced with about 3 months left on the warranty. Whew! Apparently, it's better to keep the water pH on the high side to prevent corrosion of the parts.

Craftsman hot tub stone door
Stone Facade on Hot Tub Door - I built a wall surrounding the hot tub but needed to leave one side open so it could be slid into place. I had a 3-sided wall and wanted to close off the fourth side. We devised an extremely heavy two part door on heavy duty hinges. When I had to open the doors and put them back for the recent hot tub servicing, I had a problem getting the doors to shut. Apparently they weigh so much (maybe 200 pounds each) that the hinges were bending. With some finessing and a lot of brute force I managed to shut the doors again, however, some of the stone facade attached to the face of the doors fell off and now I have to fix it. Not only that but two fingers were crunched in the doors when they finally shut. Not fun!!! Note to self....get others to help shut the door so you don't create more work by having to replace stone.



koi pond

Koi Pond - The koi in the pond are HUGE!!! I'm glad to see the pond thriving but that being said, I just got through my annual cleaning of the pond. It costs about $650 per year! They take out the fish, scrub all of the algae off the rocks, clean out the filters, check everything, and refill it. I'm sure there's more to it than that. It takes 3 guys about 4 hours. See the koi pond cleaning here. But wait, there's more. The lights in the pond are failing and I have been told that the new lights out now are the way to go and will last for 10 years or so. So there's another grand or so. Stay tuned.



Wood deck around palm tree
Wood Deck around Palm Tree - Do you remember the palm tree in the backyard that we basically built the house around? Well, you may also remember that I had a wood deck built around it in 4 pieces to maximize the patio usage. It was a very nice fit but as the tree continued to grow about 18 inches per year, the base kept getting larger and the surface roots started to lift the deck. Last year I lifted the 4 panels, trimmed the roots around the tree, and enlarged the hole. Well, it's time to do it again. This looks like an annual event.


Now after all of these things, people always say "you wouldn't do it again, would you?" I would do it all over in a second! I love this!!!

Bye for now......Mike

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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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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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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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Next Page

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