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 ???



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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Neighborhood Church Annual Yule Parlor Parade Homes Tour

Today is the first of two days for the Yule Parlor Parade. Several months ago we were asked if we would consider our house for the homes tour. We agreed and now we have 1200+ people coming through with little blue booties. It's a lot of fun! You can see the pictures of the decked out house just before the people came in listed in the Photo Gallery under Finish Pictures.
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Dining Room Table Being Built

A month before Dave Barlow was finished with the interior woodwork, I asked him if he thought he could build a dining room table out of mahogany and ebony from plans that I saw in a woodworking magazine. After a few weeks of studying the drawings, Dave said " Do you want it exactly like the plans show?" I asked him why and he told me that he could make it better. So we started. Below are a few pictures of this table being built. It took 5 months to complete.
The table is modeled after a table in the Robinson House, another Greene and Greene design. With both leaves in, it can comfortably seat 14, without the leaves it can easily seat 8. It weighs in at about 150 lbs for the base and 150 lbs for the top. The extensions are wood sliding on wood, there are no metal sliders. Also notice that your knees won't hit anywhere around the table.


IMG_4536 IMG_4537 IMG_4538 IMG_4539 IMG_4540 IMG_4541 Craftsman mahogany and ebony table Craftsman mahogany and ebony table IMG_4546 IMG_4547 Craftsman mahogany and ebony table top Craftsman mahogany and ebony table edge is raised 1/16 Craftsman mahogany and ebony table. The edge is attached with many biscuits and adhesive. Craftsman mahogany and ebony table extension sliders Craftsman mahogany and ebony table clear coating Craftsman mahogany and ebony table stops Craftsman mahogany and ebony table top pins Craftsman mahogany and ebony table finished Craftsman mahogany and ebony table

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The Mailbox Post and Mailbox Get Installed

Dave Barlow made me a custom, mahogany mailbox post to hold the copper mailbox I bought. It is a furniture grade box and slides right over the installed 4x4. I made the numbers out of glass because I couldn't find any I liked that would contrast the dark background.

Craftsman mahogany mailbox post Craftsman mahogany mailbox post ready to install
Craftsman mahogany, copper, and glass mailbox

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Sanded and Stained Front Door and Garage

With the sun beating down on the garage door, the mahogany was getting bleached. I decided to have the garage door and front door sanded and stained. The garage door took three weeks to do. What a job!

Craftsman front door is sanded and ready for stain. Craftsman garage door is sanded and ready for stain.
Staining the mahogany Craftsman garage door The stained mahogany Craftsman garage door

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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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Garage Floor Upgraded with RaceDeck

Now that I am moved in, it's time to take care of some details. I want to be able to keep the the garage floor clean and dry but I wasn't crazy about the idea of putting epoxy paint on the floor. After a bit of research, I came across RaceDeck. This floor is used in showrooms and looks perfect for what I want it to do. I bought the Freeflow type as it allows water and dirt to fall through to the floor underneath. When I rarely need to clean it, I just vacuum the floor and everything below comes up.
The pieces snap together like a puzzle making it real fast and easy to complete. The hardest part was emptying and refilling my garage. The installation below took all of 2 hours.

RaceDeck installed in the garage

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Construction is Complete But Who Is The City Forester?

September 24th was the 2 year anniversary of when we broke ground!!!
• Most everything is done now and we are in the process of moving in. In this city, to get signed off, the City Forester must sign off the inspection report. He came over, pulled out his spray paint and put this circle 7 feet off the street in the middle of my front yard and said you will plant a 24" box, Japanese Cherry Tree a.k.a. Pink Cloud. Since this is in the City right of way, I am basically giving the city a gift per their direction. In my opinion, there are now too many trees in the front yard as it was perfectly balanced. Time will tell how it all fills out.


• Code states that glass doors must be put in all interior fireplaces. There is a fireplace store in town that rents doors for 30 days to get through inspection for just over $200. It's one of their standard services!!!

Temporary glass fireplace door


• All that is left to do is minor stuff; low voltage lighting, seal the fence and new gates, make the stained glass for the front door, kitchen, and entertainment center doors, etc.
• There is one more thing I forgot. We had the rear patio fireplace stone redone to get rid of the seam at the 45 degree bend in the wall. While that was accomplished, the rest of the stone was redone but not to my satisfaction. I'm going to redo the opening and face of the fireplace again.
• I am hoping to have the final pictures online by Thanksgiving. There are a lot and I still need to categorize and annotate them all.
And last but not least, there is a third child on the way that is due at the end of November. There is a struggle with my gym being turned into a baby's room. For now, we are going to share it as I will not give it up that easily and the baby will mostly be in our room for the next couple of years. Maybe by then I will have to remodel to add another room! Just kidding....you can put a fork in it because this house is done!!!

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Another Painting Lesson Learned, Stair Railing Being Refinished, Electrical Done, Pond Built

When will it end, you ask? Within a month is my latest prediction. Here's why:
• Skim-coated all walls in house in preparation for paint. Individual patching of blemishes was not working and we needed to overhaul all walls.

LESSON LEARNED: An eggshell finish is great for a house with kids but it's also great at pointing out every imperfection in the wall. If you don't have kids then definitely use a flat paint. We are using a flat paint for the ceilings.

• Painting is all that is left with the walls. Stefan is continuing and 3 more painters come in next week to finish the place out.
• The stair railing has been fit and will be sent out for refinishing.
• All data, phone, and cable has been hooked up and patch panels installed in garage.
• All exterior wall sconces installed.

Craftsman wall sconce with a peacock filigreeCraftsman wall sconce with an oak filigree

• Office is 100% complete.
• Backyard is fully powered.
• Pond is fully operational with fish, snails, and tadpoles.

This pond is about 600 gallons and contains fish and tadpoles.


• Spa is being filled.
• Trees have been ordered.
• Front pathway is complete.

Craftsman walkway in front yard made of stone.

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Painting Lesson Learned, Stairs Almost Done, Landscaping Going Well

No....not yet! I hate saying this as I haven't been right yet but I expect us to start moving in by mid-July.
• We are still painting rooms. Probably for another 3 weeks. The problem is that all wall and ceiling surfaces need to be skim-coated. My GC was trying to keep the costs down by spot patching the walls and in hindsight it looks like it ended up costing me quite a bit more because it takes forever to spot fix these walls with all of the wood trim everywhere.

A MAJOR Lesson Learned here is plaster the whole house or go in with the plan to skim coat over ALL drywall surfaces. The bottom line is drywall may be faster and cheaper if your building a bunch of condos but it ends up costing a lot more if you are trying to do a good quality job. About half of the screws popped out with all of the hammering due to woodwork finishing.
• Dave Barlow has finished the stairs and wainscoting and is now working on the staircase railing. After that, he should be done. He's been with us 1 year now, did all of the interior woodwork, and was only hired to do the stairs. Unbelievable!

The risers and treads fit together like a puzzle in this Craftsman staircase Ebony plugs in the Craftsman staircase siding


• Landscaping is going pretty well. The front driveway is complete, the front pathway is just about done, sprinkler valves are in, final grading and irrigation starts next week, and the waterfall/pond will finally start next week.

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Next Page

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