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 ???



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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Disaster Strikes My iPhoto Database

I'm still working on my disastrous photo database problem. I'm in the process of re-identifying the 1500 pictures with keywords so I can upload the new pics. Here is what happened. During an upgrade of iPhoto, I messed around with some file I shouldn't have and all of the keywords and captions associated with each picture was trashed. This will take months to get back to where I was.
Stay tuned...
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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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Eaves and Rafters Stained Today

Craftsman eaves and rafters were stained.
The eaves and rafters were stained today using Cabot Stain's Bark color. I had everything brushed so it would reveal the grain better and give it an older look. It worked!!! When the painters first started, they were spraying and we had to stop that fast. Instead of seeing the grain like in this picture, everything looked solid brown.
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Next Page

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