We visited the LeanArch offices for a design meeting last week. Cool office space, but no air conditioning! It was hot.
But now on to more relevant points. I guess I was kind of expecting one of those HGTV design boards with all the sample colors and tiles neatly arrayed. But it's never quite that easy, is it? James had tons of cool samples, and told us we have to decide if we're going with natural colors, or synthetic.
Hmmm. My kitchen (orange, lime green and blue) is definitely synthetic. JP and I have decided that the exterior of the stair tower will be orange. And that will be carried over into either the front door or trim. We want the master bath to be calm and spa-like. So, do orange exterior and spa interior equal a natural theme? I guess there are things in nature that are orange, right? Like leaves changing color! Oranges, of course. And... sea anemones or something.
We're 99% decided on going with the solar panels. There was a great article in the LA Times this weekend about how solar power adds to resale value in Southern California. Getting our energy bill yesterday helped, too. Plus, according to the BP Solar website, it's the equivalent of planting an acre of trees and will eliminate the production of thousands of pounds of CO2.
It's just the right thing to do.
Oh, and lastly I just want to give a shout out to our contractor, JD. Nothing rattles him. Thank god. As you've read, there's enough drama from all the subs, so it's nice to have the guy in charge be unflappable. Plus there's nothing he doesn't know. I'm glad he's on the job, even if I'm worried about his cellphone earpiece becoming permanently attached to his head.
Here is a new fisheye panorama of the current framing upstairs. These were taken from the master bathroom, and I've added handy labels so you can tell where things will be.
Click and drag the image in all directions to take a look.
The solar energy will be connected to the grid in a scheme called "net-metering", which means you don't need batteries. Instead, you still draw from the grid if your consumption outpaces the amount of solar electricity generated. If your solar output is greater than your consumption your meter spins backwards. This energy is bankable throughout the year, but resets to zero annually.
The heat here in Los Angeles (108 degrees!) has clearly slowed down the rate of construction. The framing looks to be 95% finished but it's taking a while to get that last bit done. We see the framer for a few hours in the morning and then he never returns from lunch. Is it the heat? Does he have another job to go to? Is he waiting on some part to come in? Or is it that his feelings are still hurt from the drama with the plumber?
We weren't home for this, but we've learned from a couple of sources that the framer and the plumber nearly got into a fist fight a couple of days ago. One of our neighbors said they were screaming profanities at each other with such vigor that she heard them from inside her house. She came outside and reminded them that there are kids on our block who shouldn't be learning that kind of vocabulary just yet.
Things are humming along pretty well with the framing. They've been putting up ceiling boards on the second floor, so it looks like actual, closed-in rooms up there now. I think the only change that's coming is that the lowest of three windows on the stairwell needs to be moved or resized, since a few inches of staircase intersect it right now.
We're having a design meeting with James in a week or so to see what he's been cooking up for some interior ideas. Here's an approximate exchange from our last meeting:
"So, do you have any ideas on exterior paint colors, James?" I asked.
"Yes," replied James.
I love the mystery! Is it that he can't reveal the colors until he thinks we're emotionally prepared for it? Is there a method of presentation that transcends simply blurting out "Sea Foam!"?
The framers are starting to run out of wood, so a second wood drop has arrived.
I talked with the plumber this morning. He recommends that we use two small flash water heaters. This way neither one is positioned too far from a faucet. He wants to do an exterior mount on the "hidden" side of the house. Our architect, James, refers to this as "scabbing" things onto the outside, and would prefer to have them mounted in the attic or under the stairs. I side with James for aesthetic reasons, but the plumber alleges that there will be considerable money saved by going with the barnacular approach. Not sure which way we'll go in the end.