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 ???



Foundation Snag

Major issues today. The city building inspector came by and said that we can't build a second story on a foundation wall that is only 6" wide (six inches is standard for one-story houses here). So he decided to stop the concrete pour before we started. Rich had to run to the city engineer to have all of the calculations reverified per the city. That apparently was not good enough so luckily we got the engineer to come out to the house and visually inspect the footings. Everything was OK and we got to pour on Monday. That cost us a few days.
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Windows and Doors Ordered

Loewen windows and doors were ordered today. They will be push-out, french casements in a cranberry color.

On a completely unrelated note, I was told that the concrete for the foundation under the house will be poured on Friday, 1/21/05.
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Timber Reused When Possible

Timbers reused in construction
Much of the large timber frames from the demolition were saved for reuse during the project. For example, several 2 x 6's were used to reinforce the floor joists. Rich Wright prides himself on being able to save the wood and reuse it whenever possible. Several very large beams from the living room will most likely be reused in the new living room.
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Trying to Get Ideas in Pasadena

Today we drove around Pasadena to look at various color combinations on Craftsman and Bungalow houses. Click here to see them.
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The Steel Beam is Installed

Steel beam installed to support balcony.
The 22 foot, 1,200 pound steel beam was put in place today and nobody got hurt. ;o)
This beam was put in to support the second floor balcony.


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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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Next Page

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