Courtyard grooves

Is this a patio or a courtyard or some other name? Who cares! All I know is that I'm overjoyed that it's finished.


Is the end in sight?

J.D. called me yesterday to talk about the schedule. He is putting off a firm date until next week, after he can look at the list of remaining items. He did, however, guess that we should be finished by the third week of May! As it turns out, four projects that he's working on are all at the same phase of completion, so his resources are spread thinly. But he says that starting next week he's going to focus them on our place to get it finished. Hurray!

Here's what else is going on:

  • Painters have been doing the prep and paint in the interior of the addition, as well as a second coat of orange for the stair tower.
  • HVAC registers were installed this morning.
  • Melesio and his crew have been prepping for the concrete porch, fixing/laying sprinklers, and digging to widen the driveway. I saw him drive by with a cement mixer as I was on my way to work this morning.
  • Sandblasting the concrete floor is scheduled for Friday.
  • The AC compressor was installed yesterday.
  • Baseboards and more paint will start next week after the floor is sealed.
  • Hardwood for the upstairs has been delivered.
  • Glass for the showers will be installed next Wednesday.
  • Severio and his crew will finish the tile after the glass goes in.

Things are really building up a head of steam. Nothing quells my anxiety about the house quite like seeing swarms of subcontractors doing their work.


Bathroom vanity is finished

Our master bathroom vanity has been built, and now needs to be hung on the wall and have the sink dropped on top. I just got these photos from Jim Lengel of Christopher James Design (you can see more on my Flickr site if you click this one).

He built them out of FinnForm, which is a kind of plywood used in concrete forms. The deep brown color is inexplicably called "Eggplant".



We met with James and J.D. last week. I asked for an end date (or even an estimate) to the project so we can get ready to have our lives back. They said they'd let me know Monday. Yesterday came and went, but we still can't get J.D. to give us an end date. Patience is wearing thin.

There is always the problem of one sub-contractor needing to finish something before the next can get started, but unfortunately, the guys hanging the doors are working our place as a side job. This means that they only appear in fits and starts, mostly on the weekends. J.D. told them to finish hanging interior doors by this past Sunday, so painting and floors can happen. They aren't done yet.

James said they are really trying to wrap things up, but they can't get the subs to prioritize our job, since they are paying them less than their usual rates. Hence, The Triangle. There are three points in the triangle: time, money, and quality. We could only pick two of them. We've chosen to have a high quality job done for a moderate amount of money. That means it takes a long time (demo started May 1st, 2006). I'm beginning to wonder if we chose the correct two points.


We sprang a leak

There was a pretty serious amount of water coming out of a pipe at the back of the house after the driveway got jackhammered last week. Thankfully, our unpleasant plumber was out of town, so the concrete guy, Melesio, came to fix it instead. He's awesome, and a very nice guy.

He fixed the leak in the back, but the backpressure of shutting off the water created another leak at the water main/valve in the front yard. So, he borrowed some bread from us to plug the pipe. Huh? Yes, apparently this is what plumbers do to slow a leak enough to heat the pipe with a blowtorch when soldering a joint. Seems like there'd be a specific product for that. Nope. Wonderbread or Bimbo does the trick every time. At one point, Melesio asked me for another slice of bread, as someone on his crew got hungry and ate the other one.

We've hired Melesio to lay sprinklers and sod in the backyard, as well as pouring the concrete for the driveway and patio. If I could get him to finish everything left on the house I would, and I'm pretty sure we'd get our Certificate of Occupancy in half the time.



Erin says:
I am fully aware that the following is due almost entirely to my frustration at being without a yard for a year, but I've come to terms with it.

We ordered a swing-set. A custom, wooden one, complete with rubber mulch underneath (I still have my qualms about the health implications of that, incidentally). This is JP's rendition of what it will look like. There's also a sandbox underneath the fort.

We bought it from Play-Well, which is a local company that's been in business a long time. My sister-in-law convinced us to go for three swing slots (we ordered a trapeze for the third space); her kids have used their set for six years now. It's going to be delivered in early May, so we're really pushing to have the back yard completely done by then.


Embrace orange

Erin says:
Reaction to our orange stair tower has been mostly positive, but one of our neighbors didn't hold back today. As we were chatting over our low wall, she held her arm aloft, fingers crossed, and said, "That color is just a primer, right?"

Luckily I think it's hilarious that she doesn't like it. Just wait until she sees the orange front door!


Hot Slate-on-Floor Action

I know, I know, I'm getting a little too excited about the master bathroom. But, seriously, I'm crazy about this floor!

They're going to be applying the grout (grouting?) today -- the colors will be matched pretty closely to the slate and tile, so it won't provide too much contrast.


Tiling is happening

The tile crew is awesome, and they've been making quick progress in the master bathroom. Here is the slate on the tub surround (the same that'll be on the floor) and the green 4" tile that'll be everywhere else. We really went round and round trying to choose bathroom tile and I'm overjoyed by the way it's turning out. It's a shame we ran out of money and will have to use those buckets in the corner instead of a proper toilet.

The day the power meter stood still

They fired up the solar panels and the regular power consumption meter slowed to a crawl. Hurray for solar! Hurray for planet earth!!

Also of interest: the solar power meter/inverter/box/thing is from Germany and its name is Sunny Boy. We still haven't figured it all out, but it has a digital readout for how much energy you've produced from the sun that day and over all time. If any clever engineers out there can figure out how I can get a live feed of that info onto a web page I'd love to do so.


Bring in the subs

Awesome! J.D. put the pressure on the subs -- going on at the house when I left this morning:
  • Painters have half of the original house exterior painted. What a difference going from evil powdery blue (why did we live with it for seven years?) to beautiful "Drifting".
  • Painters are pulling down the old gutters.

  • Tile guys have the downstairs shower tile in and are starting to grout it.
  • Electricians are putting in the receptacles and switches in the new part of the house.
  • Plumber has shown up to begin spewing profanities and yelling at the tile guys. Perfect!

  • phc_subway01


    Smooth stucco looks smooth

    It's still drying in this photo, but I love the texture it has. Makes me want to hug it.

    Scaffolding has been freed

    The stucco guys wanted their scaffolding back, so they finished the job and cut the ties that bound it. I suppose if we held an expensive piece of equipment hostage from each of the subcontractors everything would get done more quickly.

    Guest shower prepped

    This is going to be white subway tile -- in fact, I think they're there putting it up right now.

    Tub position

    We have to decide if this tub is going to be pushed all the way back against the wall (photo right) or centered. The tub faucets are deck mount, so we need enough room for that at the front, but would we also want a small deck at the back? What do you think?

    Should the tub be centered or pushed all the way back?
    pushed all the way back
    Free polls from Pollhost.com