Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Painted lady

Just a couple of quick pics to show our painting progress. The exterior is finished with the exception of a few hours of touchup - which I'll get this weekend.

The atrium walls are ready for inspection, which triggers the tiling. A few more weeks and the house will be done - sans landscaping.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yes, the garage door is dirty

...but look above, the new glass is in from Palo Alto Glass. We got a smoked color so its not as easy to look in, but still allows light into the space.

The garage fire door is in too! Along with the final kitchen cabinet door and shelf repair. Slowly, but surely we're getting there.

The front door will be picked up and installed today as well as the period teardrop light. Then all thats left is to paint the atrium for inspection, afterwards we can tile for the appraisal. In the meantime, I'll have to finish painting the house next weekend - Oh joy!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Full frontal attack

Ahh the serenity of a new house color....but let us start at the beginning

This week, and the past two weeks have been absolute turmoil in the financial markets. The government has facilitated the aquisition of Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch, taken over Fannie and Freddie Mac and is currently allowing Lehman Brothers to sway in the breeze as we digest the greedy real estate decisions over the past 5 years (thanks Greenspan, not!). Whatever volatility these actions have brought into the markets, a side benefit is the appearance of liquidity in the mortgage market, causing rates to finally fall in line with the 10-yr T-bill. Over the past couple of weeks, the conforming 30-yr fix rate has fallen under 6% and now was out time to pounce and refinance. This week the market cooperated and we locked into a 5.875% 30-yr fixed conforming loan, a significant improvement fron the 7/1 fixed ARM at 6.6375% YAY!!!!

The only downside is that we need to be reappraised for all the work we've done, and thus, the house needs to be DONE, FINITE, COMPLETED - - BEFORE the close of the refinancing. Oy vey!!!

The concrete foundation has been poured and we are now waiting for the front door, which should be here next week. The garage fire door is delivered and will go in tommorow, as will the glass above the garage from Palo Alto Glass. After the front door goes in and the inside is painted, we can be inspected again. That will trigger the tiling of the floor and removal of the last single-pane glass. So two weeks or so of work for the contractor and one major task for us to complete.

This giant hurtle is the fact that the house needs to be painted. So I took friday off and made an attack on the painting of the exterior of the house. Lorinda and my mom had picked out colors a month ago and the securing of the mortgage triggered a very long weekend of work. I started Wednesday afternoon by powerwashing the most sun drenched side of the house (aka the peeling side) and scraping the lose paint when dry on Thursday.

Friday morning I primed the stripped areas and the window sills which will change color to the white Swiss Coffee. In the afternoon I tackled the main portion of the wall with the new color. By the end of the day I had this to show for my efforts.

Saturday morning I ran errands and finished the main portion of the glass wall side. Lorinda helped and primed the bare wood that went in with the new windows. We'll paint the posts when we trim the house next weekend.

Steven's crew dug a trench and prepped the gas line extension, while the landscaper prepped the irrigation system. This was a priority so they could pour the remaining concrete squares on the side of the house to replace the ones that were draining towards the house.

They also finally got the right size redwood to rip and install on the inside sill of the windows. Needs a little more stain and a little more cleanup, but we're very happy it finally looks right. The last remaining cabinet door also arrived and is finally the right color.

I finished out Saturday by painting the two front sides of the garage, as we had an early dinner party to attend.

Sunday, I was feeling very weary, but made a concerted effort to push through and finish the front of the house. The entry tunnel was especially brutal, as the siding is twice as high in those three sides. By the end of the day, here is the result...

Lastly, the retaining wall is complete, the cap just needs to be glued on and the open wedges filled in. Next is the rest of the irrigation and completed and the dirt will backfill the wall.

After this weekend - man am I poopered and work will seem like a vacation, hah!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spanish pause

Well... we're heading into the final stretch with the second phase and you know what that means - time for a break, this one courtesy again of the city of Cupertino. The atrium and garage is all prepped are ready for the foundation concrete, but the inspector wants to come back and inspect the rebar before allowing the pouring to commence. Another couple days wait while we have to practice for the NFL to get to the front door.

In the meantime, the landscaper has started the retaining wall and it is starting to take shape. We're now in a race against time, as the interest rates have dropped dramitically since the government took over Fannie and Freddie and we would like to refinance before the rates go back up again. The only problem is that the project (excluding the landscaping) has to be finished before the appraisal. So we have approximately 3 weeks to finish up!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Man cave continued + landscaping

Garage work continues, the old tinderbox of to the garage door has been walled up, as the new garage door is relocated to the atrium area. We'll wait to paint, as there is sure to be more mess made when the old single pane windows and sliders are removed.

Drywall and insulation in the garage is just about done, one wall remaining - but of course this means lets move on to something else and not finish (insert sracasm). Apparently its more important to prep for the garage concrete and the atrium foundation than to finish minor details. I shouldn't be surprised though, the inside is still has minor things being done and redone when done wrong.

Subcontractors ROCK!!! The garage people showed up on time (7am!!) and had the garage door assembled and working in 2 hours, wow!!

Thank god for little things. After three tries, we passed the city inspection, which means they can work on some of the little finishing details inside. The dishwasher vent (unneeded) is replaced with a soap pump.

...and the pendant lights are in - sorta.. We chose a line-voltage pendant to avoid the low-voltage magnetic transformer issue. Only problem is that the two side pendant wires have to run along the ceiling and the contractor didn't think to buy the wire hiding conduit. More finishing work for B&L we suppose.

Lastly, the other subcontractors - the landscapers are ready to start the retaining wall in the back yard and the wall blocks were delivered on Friday.