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 ???



Foundations and Rain

The first stretch of dry weather is finally here. The last 2 1/2 weeks have been nothing but rain, about 10 inches worth. The outside trenches have water in them but on the other hand, the demo guys are having a field day. There are now 10 guys working on the site. Five of them are under the house digging a massive trench for the foundation reinforcement. Things should happen quickly now.
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Roof Stays Due to Rain

It started to rain so a last minute decision was made to not remove the roof.
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Structural Engineer Needs to Redesign to Save Tree

No footing here. The tree will die.
We ran into a little snag today. A footing (~8 ft. deep) can't be put in because it is adjacent to the date palm tree. The contractor called me over to the house and by 9AM he was on the phone with the structural engineer for a redesign. Since we can't put the footing in (kill the tree) or move the tree (block the view), we are going to put in a 22 ft steel beam (1200 pounds) to cantilever the upper deck.


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Save the Hardwood Floor?

With all of the cutting away of the floor for the foundation reinforcement and the rain we have been having, today we decided that it is more trouble than it's worth to save the hardwood floor in the living room. This is 2 1/4" quartersawn oak at about $12/sq ft installed. With all of the holes in it, it would be very hard to match new to existing wood without seeing where it was patched. Also, the wood is only 1/2" thick instead of the standard 3/4". This just complicated the problem.


The middle of my living room floor is being cut so the foundation can be reinforced.
Living room cut open to reinforce foundation

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Contruction Permit Issued!

The Art Jury finally stamped the drawings allowing the City to issue the construction permit.
It only took 22 months and $40,000 just to get to this point! Now let's build it!
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Art Jury Reviews Final Details

The Art Jury finally reviewed the final details for a wall cap, roofline, and chimney. That was what they were holding up the permits for. All of these these items are aesthetic and located at the top of the house. None of these items would have impacted the foundation permit.
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Structural Plan Check Cleared/Partial Foundation Permit Issued

The structural plan check was cleared today with the City building inspector.
The City also issued us a partial foundation permit. It was partial because the Art Jury wanted to see some aesthetic details before allowing any work on the patio or front porch foundations. Total overkill in my opinion!
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Start Demolition

With our temporary demo permit in place, we can start demolition. Now we aren't planning on tearing the entire house down but rather save as much as we can and do a minimal amount of changes. A full set of pictures with captions can be seen in the Photo Gallery.


Fireplace Demolition
The brick fireplace was just demolished.

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Partial Demolition Permit Received

Well we got a permit to allow for a partial demolition. The Art Jury is holding this up saying that they want to see some details on the plans.
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School District Construction Fee

I hope this is the last one.
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Next Page

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