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

Add/Review Comments (20)


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

Add/Review Comments


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. :)
Add/Review Comments


Koi Pond Cleaning

Today I had the koi pond cleaned out. There was a bunch of muck on the rocks and it just seemed like the time since it has been 2 years since it was installed. They started draining the water before taking the fish out. Once there was only a few inches of water left, they started to catch the fish and move them to their temporary house; a large trash can. After Cesar caught all fish he could, he drained the pond completely and even sopped up the remaining water with a sponge. The troubling part to me was that 4 fish were in the rocks flopping around. I could here them but there was no way to get to them. I was told not to worry.

With only a few inches of water, Cesar starts to catch the fish. The koi were placed in a trash can for temporary housing. Cesar is catching fish in the rocks. As Cesar catches the fish, he puts them in a bucket for transport to the trash can.

While Cesar scrubbed the rocks, Cor cleaned out the biotic filters. The picture below shows the lava rocks that sit in a bag at the top of the waterfall. There is bacteria living in those rocks so they get a superficial cleaning.

IMG_8162

You are probably wondering what happened to the four fish. Well, after about 30 minutes of no water, the pond was refilled and the fish swam out of their holes. Amazing!

Add/Review Comments


Next Page

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