Thursday, January 31, 2008

2.5 Rooms Tiled my chips cashed in...

Moving right along now, the two back bedrooms are tiled and the office and master bedroom are about a quarter each done. We'll have half the house tiled by the weekend, yay!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

1 Room down - 5 to go

Tiles are down in the first room, should have one more room done by this evening. The grout (dark matching) still has to go in between, but progress is progress...

Pocket door is framed for the new opening into the master closet. The stud to close up the old opening is also framed.

Chipping out the old master bathroom drain to prep for the new basin footprint

Friday, January 25, 2008

Floor prep

We're finally starting to see some progress today. The floor has been leveled and is in the process of being waterproofed. Some of the tile was also moved inside to be readied for installation. Good thing I stopped by today though, as they stacked the tile incorrectly, which would have made them prone to breakage. They are now restacked correctly.

Also the demo for the shower wall is done and ready to be moved over ~8"

The new opening for the master walk in closet is also opened and in the process of being framed for the door.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kitchen Plans

We had already ordered our kitchen cabinents prior to Christmas, but we never shared the plans.

This is the overhead view. We have since found out that one of the vertical posts on the island side dont support the load of the beam and are safe to remove. So we won't have a beam directly behind the stools of the island, yay!

This is the landscape of the outer wall, as seen without the center island.

Here is the view from the living room, with the island. You can see the wall that remains to cover up the load bearing support and the drain vent. To the left of the wall will be two, side-by-side full height pantries.

View from behind the island, facing into the living room.

View from the side of the island, looking towards the new dining room.

Last view is from the dining room facng in towards the kitchen.

Latest word is that the cabinents will be arriving in just a few weeks. I guess there is some benefit to ordering during a typical slow period for remodeling...

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It's a Whirlpool Weekend

Not much physical progress this weekend, although it certainly seemed like we were active on the planning front. Friday our general contractor started in earnest and measured the floor to see where we need leveling in placing the tiles. We also had an electrical discussion that ended with the agreement that our panel and service would need to be upgraded from 100 amps to 200 amps in order to run the kitchen, master bath and the rest of the house with multiple computers and other various devices.

Saturday we made a quick stop at the house to drop off the Whirlpool warming drawer.

I have always wanted one of these as it makes cooking so much easier in keeping sides warm while the rest of a meal is prepared. I also think it will prove invaluable with the little one and actually being able to eat warm food. While there we also took care of the minor mold issue we had by killing it with a solution of bleach water.

The rest of Saturday we spent shopping for master bathroom items and we think we have found a few items and got explanations on what we need to purchase for the valving in the shower. The shower will be mostly Kohler, with a rainshower for me, a normal faucet for Lorinda and body tiles for both of us. We also will be installing a steam unit and have chosen Thermosol on our neighbor's recommendation and our research into the brand and its quality. The first time we are sick and use it will be worth it. Never mind just relaxing after a long day....ahhhhhh....

Sunday I was stuck working, but at least it was on the couch watching the NY Giants kill it to get into the Superbowl. Too bad I'll be traveling for work when it aires. DVR for me...

Monday we both had off from work, but had to be at the house for more deliveries. This time it was our Whirlpool 36" cooktop and double oven/microwave combo.

Appliances are almost done now, still need a hood and a frig for all our wine. The latter can wait though as we can keep our wine in SF for a while.

We also made it to Palo Alto Glass to discuss our windows and see the Eichler examples. Wow, they know their stuff. The fixed panes are set in wood and look totally frameless, just like the originals, except in double paned, low-e, tempered glass. With the fixed windows so clean, it really draws attention to the need to do the two sliding doors we'll need in the low profile aluminum frames. Yes, we'll loose some efficiency, but these doors keep the Eichler asthetic intact and keep the value of the house higher.

Last stop for the weekend was at Royalite Manufacturing, where we got the grand tour from Dez and figured out what we would need to enclose our atrium with a skylight panel. We got a lot of good info and will be ready when that project gets queued up.

Things should start to speed up now, and hopefully with the contractor working full time now we should start to see some results of all our planning in some measureable progress.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Midweek multitasking

Since I had to travel down to the South Bay to visit a client this morning, I took the opportunity to schedule Dura-foam roofers for an estimate. They were very professional and answered every question I had. We have Abril Roofing come next week and are still evaluating other options like a modified bitumen roof, which our contractor neighbor has on his roof. The Dura-foam contractor also had an interesting recommendation for covering the atrium with skylights. He told us to check out Royalite Manufacturing, in San Carlos. They have prebuilt skylight structures that are built at their facility. When finished the enclosure is trucked in and a crane lifts it into place in one day. Seems like a promising option, one more visit to add to the list for this weekend.

Also lookie what showed up today...the GE Cafe refigerator

Lastly, out neighbor recommended one more glass vendor Argonaut Window & Door to price, so I also had them come out this afternoon. They, like A-plus Windows are Milgard vendors, which means non-distinct vinyl windows. We already have a quote for those, so when Argonaut started hemming and hawing about the size of the Eichler windows, the installation, etc. etc., I knew they were out. We'll most likely be using Palo Alto Glass, as we were impressed with the level of knowledge and experience with Eichlers, competitive pricing and the higher quality product they explained to us. A visit to thier showroom this weekend should check off one more item that needs to be ordered many weeks in advance.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Got Tile?

It's been a semi productive week/weekend. Liam is almost finished with the ceiling, he just needs to come back after his vacation to Hawaii to paint the hallway ceiling. The caulking job came out great, so I think I’m going to have him caulk and paint the outside portion of the roof that overhangs the house.

Life hasn’t been all peaches and roses though, as Liam managed to walk through one of the single-paned sliding doors. Point proved on why these need to be replaced. Luckily he was not hurt, his paint can hit the glass before he did and he just got a few scrapes. Still…I am not too pleased with the door being destroyed. The slider was the door to the office though, and we were going to move the big window in the master bedroom to the office anyway; it just means that we have to order the slider for the master bedroom next week instead of later so the window can be moved earlier. Also, I was disappointed that the old vertical blinds also ended up being destroyed in the painting process. Liam had called me on Thursday, asking if he could take them down, which I agreed, but only if they were taken down with care. We were going to use them in the short-term until we decided on window coverings. Needless to say, Liam and I will have to have a bit more negotiating on final price and payment.

Ok, onto Saturday. The Porceleanosa tile has arrived and it was time to pick it up. I enlisted Nathan’s help, as two SUV’s are better than one. Even with two trucks, the order was four pallets. Nathan is looking a little incredulous here…

At 2200 lbs. each pallet, we needed to make two trips not because of space, but weight. Check out the rear suspension!! While not bottomed out, we were damn close, and every little bump in the road had us bouncing for about 100 yards, SCARY!!! We traveled pretty slow and were ok , as it was only seven miles to the house.

While we were gone, Lorinda had taken delivery from Lowes of the GE CafĂ© dishwasher. It’s a super quiet model, only 59db’s and can take a Costco sized bottle of detergent in one gulp and distribute it as needed over many washes….sweeet. Unfortunately, the refrigerator that was supposed to come with it never made it on the truck. Tuesday they tell me. (rolls eyes)

Once at the house, we now had to unload and stack the tile. We definitely got our workout for the day. We estimated each box at a little over 45 lbs. Check it out, 9,000 lbs of tile, ready for installation. Oh my aching back, LOL.

Lastly, we decided to pull the old insulation out of the dining room and kitchen. As I wrote before, we noticed a bit of mold on the wall and in the old insulation. There are a couple of cement blocks that are pushed up in the wrong direction, allowing water to drain towards the house, rather than away from the house. For the meantime, we purchased downspout extenders to channel the water away.

Once the insulation was out, we could see the areas that need to be treated and sealed. Obviously the corner of the house with the electrical panel has some issues, as there was a plant, yes a PLANT, growing in the wall…

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Ohhh Crap...Thomas Crapper that is!

Last night I was thinking about what else needed to be purchased that I could do research on. Oh yeah - toilets! Toilets always seem to be one of those items that most people don't give any thought to before purchasing and typically buyers go with a name brand that just "looks" nice. We've been guilty of it too in the past, and got lucky with our current master bath and, emm, so-so with the other two baths, even though they are the same brand.

This time I thought better, and set out to find something not only aesthetically pleasing, but also rated for good, cough, performance. Over the past few years through Lorinda and my travels, we always noticed the dual flush toilets, especially in Australia and sometimes in Europe as well. They seem to make sense, one button for #1 that uses less water and one button for #2 giving a full flush. But we never see them in the states...hmmm

A bit of research and we found the Toto Aquia™ Dual Flush Toilet, 1.6 GPF / 0.9 GPF, Model CST414M. It got very good reviews on the web (who knew there were toilet forums??? Kinda scary too!!!) and features a modern style that will go with the house, elongated skirted design, Dual-Max™ Flushing System, Oval SoftClose seat (No slamming the seat down, good for the kid later on).

Even better was that because it uses up to 35% less water than a normal toilet, I thought it might qualify as a "green" product and looked for rebates in my area. Sure enough there was a program through the county which this toilet qualifies, netting a $125 rebate per toilet (Santa Clara Rebate Program) that gets us two toilets we need for the price of one after rebates.

Sir Thomas Crapper would be proud...

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Contractor management

It's been a busy few days. Not much has actually been physically done to the house, yet there has been a lot of progress.

First up was the supply chain. A few weeks ago we had decided on flooring for the house. With radiant heating, it's really important to have as little insulation between the radiant heat in the foundation and the actual flooring to maximize the efficiency of the heating system. Many Eichler owners choose tile for this very reason, while other may choose cork and other stone materials. Hardwoods look very nice, and can be done with some effort. But with the constant expansion and contraction from the heat, it seemed to be more worry than it was worth. So in the end, we chose tile for the flooring. In addition, should something actually go wrong with the radiant heat, the flooring in the leak area needs to be pulled up and redone once the heating is fixed. With tile, it's as easy as breaking the one or two tiles, fixing the heat and replacing the tiles. The tiles we chose however, really "look" like wood. Check them out from Porcelanosa. So over the last two weekends, we've tested out a few styles and colors and we chose the Roble Cognac style, which we think will go nicely with the dark bamboo kitchen cabinets. Plus it sounds like a fine liqour...hah hah! The tiles will hopefully be in by next Saturday, when we will make a few trips to pick up in the Murano. Then the contractor can begin the tiling process.

On Saturday, we brought Liam Reidy, from Liam Reidy Painting (415-860-1854) down to give an estimate to caulk the ceiling groves and paint the ceiling. He will also primer the walls that are already ready for paint and prep the ceiling beams. Liam painted the exterior of our house in San Francisco two years ago and did an excellent job, with on time service and true craftsmanship. We definitely had to call him in to help in Cupertino. Our neighbor, Kevin, who is also a contractor, advised us to caulk the ceiling before we put the new foam roof on, as 48 years of crap would be falling into our newly remodeled space. Liam also pointed out that the manpower needed to strip the beams in the house would really time consuming and expensive, so we are exploring the option of repainting them in a darker hue to achieve close to the same affect without the overbearing cost.

We were also meeting Steven Chu, one of the two finalists for the general contractor bid. He had a few final questions to tweak his original estimate. We really like him a lot, his references are great, but a few areas of his original estimate were far too expensive when compared to the other final choice for contractor. We're waiting for his final quote as well, but we think we're leaning towards Steven for everything except for the tiling. But we'll find out and make a final decision over the next few days.

Liam starts next week, the tiles will arrive and start to be laid the week after, with the general contractor to be starting on the master bathroom simulataneously.

Next up we need to pick out the shower hardware.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Radiant Heat Repair

2008 starts out with a visit from the local radiant heat repair. When we bought the place, Kathy recommended that Lipp Hydronics, Inc. (650-327-1943) come out to test the radiant heating system, since there wasn't much disclosures on it in the package and its an integral part of owning an Eichler. Lipp Hydronics, Inc. has been servicing the peninsula and the Eichlers since 1961, the year our house was built, and come highly recommended.

During the initial inspection, they found a small leak that they said wasn't worth fixing unless we were doing remodeling. Additionally, the boiler needed a modification to make it more efficient. Since we most definitely are remodeling, we asked for some money in escrow from the sellers to fix the leak and upgrade the boiler and they agreed. So with the completion of the floors being up, we have Lipp out at the house today taking care of the leak and upgrading the boiler.

Best news of the day is that now that the flooring is up, Lipp was able to get much more accurate with the testing and the leak was even smaller than expected, so much they could not find one specific area needing repair, thus not warranting tearing up the concrete foundation.

The boiler upgrade is finished, the new thermostat installed and one small but important step is completed, Yay!