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 ???



Soapstone Counter Installation

The soapstone countertops were installed in the kitchen and laundry rooms today. The templates were made on Tuesday and the countertop was installed on Thursday. Soapstone West has great service!
Below is a play-by-play of the installation.


These guys drove in from Arizona, and within 2 days measured, fabricated, and installed the soapstone countertops.

These guys drove in from Arizona, and within 2 days measured, fabricated, and installed the soapstone countertops.

These slabs are HEAVY at 20 lbs/sq ft.

These slabs are heavy!

There is a 3/8" overlap of the sink. The holes for the faucet, soap, drinking water, and vent are drilled.

Kitchen soapstone is being installed around the sink.

Black epoxy is mixed up to join the soapstone pieces and fill in any voids.

Black epoxy is mixed up to join the soapstone pieces and fill in any voids.

A ding is repaired with the special epoxy. After it dries you can't even see it.

A ding is repaired with the special epoxy

Even through the talcum powder layer you can see the caramel vein showing through.

The soapstone counter pieces are being bonded together.

Soapstone installation is messy work.

Sanding soapstone is messy work.

Soapstone is much denser than granite and can't be stained. However, it is soft enough so that hand sanding can be accomplished to smooth the edges.

Soapstone is much denser than granite and can't be stained. However, it is soft enough so that hand sanding can be accomplished to smooth the edges.

This kitchen corner's soapstone installation is complete.

This looks gray now but wait until it's oiled.

Kitchen soapstone is installed

The range will slide in between these two pieces.

I oiled the soapstone with mineral oil. It's shiny because it's still wet. When dry, it will have a matte finish.

Freshly oiled soapstone in kitchen is shiny.

The counter looks great! The door to the laundry room has a "Delta" pattern in it.

Craftsman kitchen with freshly oiled soapstone

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The Finishes are Going In

Lately, I have been overwhelmed with the number of things going on at the house and though I have been taking pictures, I have not had time to annotate and post them. They will arrive, just a little patience.
• The master bathroom has been tiled and looks great!

Master bathroom is tiled in glass, slate, and seagrass limestone.


• Cherry cabinets have been installed in the kitchen, master bath, and laundry room. Unfortunately, the kitchen sink cabinet was 3/4" off center from the window. The cabinet had to be shortened by 3/4" on both ends to keep it symmetric and centered on the window.

Kitchen sink cabinet is off center.


• I have purchased the soapstone slabs for the kitchen and laundry room from Soapstone West in Escondido, CA.
• Brazilian Cherry floors have been ordered from Dutko Hardwood Floors in Lawndale, CA and will be installed the first week of December. Talk about a backlog.
• The fireplace mantel has been installed and stained. Plaster will go above it and Moonlight flagstone will go below. It will be cut into manicured blocks of varying size.

Craftsman Mahogany Fireplace Mantel


• Actual work has started on the staircase. There was a lot of planning to get to this point.
• The hot tub has been delivered. We're just waiting for power now.

The hot tub has been slid into place


• The Golden Busckskin flagstone has been installed on the front and back patios.

Golden Bucksking Flagstone has been installed on the patio


• The green slate has been installed on the balconies.
• Paint samples are all over the walls. I hear they will start within 2 weeks with the paint.

Paint samples are on the walls


• Interior doors are installed and stained.

Interior Craftsman door with Delta glass

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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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Staircase Design a No Go

Bad news today on the staircase. The building inspector will not allow us to create the design shown in an earlier blog . If you scale it out, the design has openings of up to one foot. Code is no more than four inches. We'll have to come up with something else. Whatever we decide on I can guarantee you that it will be spectacular. Stay tuned...
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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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Exterior House Work, Shingles May Be Too Colorful

• Got back from vacation and the house was all white instead of black when I left. It's covered now in a Tyvek waterproofing layer.
• The water table was installed. This separates the shingle siding from the stone base.
• Window trims are being installed.

Tyvek, shingles, and trim are installed on the house exterior.

• The drywall is almost complete. Inspection of the screws should take place this week with taping to follow.

Drywall before taping

• MAJOR ISSUE! The shingle siding is being installed and the color variation is a bit more than expected. On its own, it looks great but when the stone siding is added it may be too busy. We called Cabot Stains and asked them what we could do and they said we have to wait 1 year before we attempt to paint a different color stain on it. Oh well, live and learn.

Craftsman cedar shingles are very colorful

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Survey Says...Move the Fence!

I have finally uploaded the pictures for the last 2 months.
• Today I went to the neighbor over my backyard fence to inform her that a survey was done and the fence needs to move about 10 feet onto her side. She said do whatever I need to do. Now wasn't that nice? I told her I'll landscape her side of the fence.
• The roofer has started to cover the black paper with a rough asphalt paper.
• The front door jamb has been installed.
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Cabinets, Plumbing, Electrical, Insulation, Surround Sound, Roof Work, Shower Mopped,.....

I have been really busy and haven't had time for updates. I have finally organized the new pictures since my last posting on 4/16/05. I will load them up sometime this week, I promise. Here are the latest issues.
• All plumbing and electrical in the master bathroom has to shift to the left by about a foot since we had a designer lay out the cabinets.
• All insulation has been put in.
• I installed in-ceiling speaker brackets for surround sound in the living room.

Ceiling Speaker Bracket Installed


• Copper flashing is going on the roof.

Copper Flashing Installed on Roof


• The shower has been hot-mopped. We were told to pick out all bathroom tile and balcony and laundry room flooring this week.

Hot Mopped Shower


• Skylights have been framed.

Framed Skylight


• The kitchen range vent has been put in place. One of the joists had to be moved over and plumbing rerouted to make room.
• The Thermador range and Thermador dishwasher were delivered last week. I found a place in Alabama (Fredrickson's Tire and Appliance) with amazing prices through eBay. They were clearing out a supply of Thermador appliances from a warehouse that closed down. They bought everything up and were liquidating at wholesale prices.
• With the extended garage roof you now hit your head when walking around the corner. So, we dug down about 2 feet around the garage to lower the grade.

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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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Next Page

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