Category Archives: Remodel

Resumed Work

After about two weeks of no activity, I finally got through to Ed and he notified me on Monday that work would resume on Wednesday 11/18 (yesterday). Unfortunately, the railing material didn’t get delivered yesterday, and all that managed to happen was that I met up with Jose in the morning to walk through the punch list of remaining work items.

This morning Primo was at the house around 9am (about the same time our pest control guy showed up) and he started painting the hallway bookshelves. Jose showed up a little while later and was walking him through the punch list as I left for work.

When I got home this evening, I saw that Primo had not only painted the hallway bookshelves, but he had also repaired the final bit of floor tile in the center bathroom and painted all the of the kitchen base trim.


The bookshelf paint had dried, so Crystal and I got to work moving the bulk of our paperbacks onto them. As soon as we were done with that, we took advantage of the new empty shelf space in the office bookshelves and put up many of the books that had previously been in overflow stacks.


(For the curious ones with sharp eyes, yes – the Discworld novels are in publication/chronological order.)

Also, I’ve uploaded photos of last night’s work on installing our HTD HD-R80 in-ceiling speakers. I haven’t placed the grills back on them because they have small adjustment switches on the front that can independently add or subtract 3 dB to the woofer and tweeter, and I want to hear how they sound with a variety of music before finalizing my switch settings. (Once the grills are installed, they are quite a pain to remove.) Also pictured is my old Aiwa receiver from college that I ordered off of or back in 1998. It gets pretty warm but it works quite well. We’re in the market for something more energy efficient.


More photos at


When it rains, it pours

Avid readers may have noticed that there has been a prolonged lull in updates… I basically didn’t update anything from the middle of September until now. I apologize for this, with the lame and utterly expected excuse that I’ve been busy. But in any case, your wait is over. (Merry Christmas!)

I have not only uploaded ALL the daily progress photos from the end of September through today, but I have also written detailed blog entries starting from the middle of September until up to Rob & Margaret’s wedding in mid-October. (I still need to do a couple more.) For those keeping count, that’s 13 albums and 19 blog entries, replete with inline photos. On a perfectly beautiful Saturday. Just for you.

Below is a helpful table of the new entries, complete with summary photo.

9/22 – Plumbing trim-out day 2
9/23 – Plumbing trim-out day 3
9/24 – Electrical trim-out, start of kitchen backsplash, and solar tubes!
9/25 – Electrical trim out day 2, backsplash day 2, and more attic demolition
9/26 – Kitchen backsplash day 3, cleanup and prep for flooring
9/28 – Kitchen backsplash day 4 (grout & seal), oven installation
9/30 – Main power turn on (electrical trim out, day 3) and start of hardwood flooring
10/1 – Flooring day 1: master bedroom, kitchen floor hardibacker
(No picture) 10/3 – More work on the upstairs bathroom; dealing with the deck change order
(No picture) 10/4 – Main sink turn on! First dinner in the new kitchen!
10/5 – Flooring day 2 (kitchen floor float), bay window underpinning
10/6 – Flooring day 3 (Guest bedroom floor board finger join), deck skirting
10/7 – Flooring day 4: floating the floor, finger join work in the guest bedroom
10/8 – Flooring day 5: sanding guest bedroom floors, installing kitchen floors
10/9 – End of an Era: removing the plywood barrier between the old house and new construction
10/9 – Flooring day 6 (laundry tile), Trex decking delivery, center bathroom work
10/12 – Flooring complete! (hallway, laundry tile), center bathroom work
10/13 – Installing kitchen and laundry appliances
10/14 – Moving back into the kitchen

Moving back into the kitchen

Dorothy (whom Danny calls “Dory”) was back today, cleaning more glue off the floors in the hallway and kitchen. Jose’s crew worked on the deck today, cutting down pieces of Trex and screwing them into the joists.

In the morning, I had the pleasure of doing my first load of dishes and my first load of laundry.


Later in the day, we started unpacking boxes of kitchen items from the dining room and unpacking them into various cabinets and the pantry. Our friends who were staying with us for the wedding were very helpful in unpacking everything and getting everything moved in.


Installing kitchen and laundry appliances

It’s all starting to come together. A bit late, but better than never!

I worked from home part of the time this morning, but I took time off work to help Jose’s crew move all the appliances into place and finish out the laundry area.

The first thing we did in the morning was to cut a notch in the metal backsplash for our cooktop. Why did we have to do this? Because the dumb plumbers installed the gas line the wrong way. Rather than installing it upwards from the base cabinet, they ran it through the back wall. There’s a reason why the BlueStar’s gas receptacle points downwards…


Next, they worked on installing the dishwasher. Because our previous dishwasher was wired directly into the supply wire, it didn’t have a plug that we could take and reuse on the new one. So, I cut apart a spare computer power cord and Jose wired that to the dishwasher. I also had to get a universal dishwasher supply hose from Home Depot so that it could connect to the hot water line from the supply valve under the sink.

While at Home Depot, I also got a dryer vent duct, and while Jose and his crew worked on installing that, I got to play with the now-functional BlueStar range. Here is range in its final installed configuration, and here is first light, on the center 15k BTU burner:


While all this was happening, Trinity kept a patient watch from behind her gate in the dining room:

Before installing the washer, I recalled our very important lesson about that we’ve learned about the plumbers, i.e. that they can’t distinguish hot water supply lines from cold water supply lines, and I asked Jose to make sure that the water coming out of the laundry hot water valve was indeed hot. They opened one of the casements in the bay window, pointed the hose outside, turned on the valve, and after a brief wait, confirmed that it was indeed the hot water.

After installing the laundry appliances, they installed all of the cabinet hardware that Crystal and I bought at Home Depot the other day. The hardware works really well with the style and color of everything.


Also, the whole time that this activity was going on in the kitchen, Danny’s sister Dorothy was cleaning up the splotches of wood adhesive that Danny had let behind in various spots on the floor. She showed up in the morning and went to work on the master bedroom. She basically finished that today, and plans to finish the kitchen area tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, Jose and his guys moved the fridge back in and hooked it all up. Later in the evening, Brad, Shaown, and Adrian helped me give it a thorough cleaning, inside and out. Every single shelf was disassembled and handwashed or wiped down with 409 or Windex. You can see the array of shelves drying on the island counter in this photo:

More photos:

Flooring complete!

Danny finished installing the last bit of the floors today, and Jose’s crew put grout and sealer on the laundry area tile. They also textured the center bathroom sheetrock, and it’s not ready for painting.


Flooring day 6

I was awakened at 6am by the sound of wind gusting outside. A medium-sized limb fell on our roof shortly thereafter, and then it started thunderstorming like mad.

Around 7:30 or so, a guy from Artisan showed up to apply a second coat of stain on the guest bedroom floor. He had a thick Jamaican accent and said that he would be back on Monday to do a final coat, and that we could walk around on the floor once the stain dries. (At least, I think that’s what he said – it was a pretty thick accent.) The color of the floor is darkening a little bit as the stain soaks more into the wood, but it’s still splotchy.

A big truck from Stock came by in the rain and dropped off all of the Trex decking material. It was surprising to see him slide it all off of the truck:


Also, A representative from Artisan – a guy named Chad – came by in the morning to check out the work and see how things were going. I chatted with him briefly, and he left shortly after checking everything out.

Then the cabinet painters came. Their charge was to paint the bay window bench seats, which were still unpainted and sitting in the garage. Since it was still raining, I told them to go around the outside of the house to the garage, and I met them there and let them into the garage. We rearranged some stuff and created a space towards the back where they could put up painter’s plastic and spray paint.

The rest of Jose’s guys were keeping busy as well. After Danny finished putting down floor in the rest of the kitchen, they laid down cardboard and “protective paper” over the floor and installed tile in the under-counter washer and dryer space:


They also made quite a bit of progress on the center (guest) bathroom. This is the bathroom that had been damaged by rain during the early (framing) part of the project. Today, not only did they manage to demolish all the old paneling and such, they also installed new sheetrock and taped and floated all of it. They removed the old mirror as well. The bathroom is now ready for texture, and then paint.


More pictures at:

End of an era

Lots of things happened today, partly because I had expressed to Cliff and Ed the urgency and how we are completely out of time: Brad is showing up tomorrow, and the flooring is still not done. The master bathroom almost works, except that the water gets cold after 10 minutes, and the center bathroom is a wreck. There’s no way we can have guests staying at our house with things in this sort of condition.

Ed assured me that he would be marshalling resources to get the bathroom in a workable state, and get the deck ready in time. I have my doubts.

But of all the things that happened today, the most psychologically significant was that this morning, I took down the plywood that boarded up the dining room doorway, separating the living and dining rooms (the “old” part of the house) from the kitchen and all the new construction. At one point, during framing, the other side of the plywood was facing the wide open sky. At other times, it was responsible for blocking out noxious paint fumes and tremendous amounts of dust. For the last two months that we’ve been living out of boxes in our living room and sleeping on the futon, this plywood was like a Berlin Wall in our own home, separating us from the bathroom and walling us up in the living room.

But no more. The plywood is now gone.

In its place is now a doorway, through which we can see our lovely new kitchen, and the rooms beyond:


Flooring day 5 – Sanding the guest bedroom, installing kitchen floors

I got up early this morning and started moving everything from the sunroom out into the carport. This included the old vent hood, various cans of paint, and whatnot. I also moved out the plants and planters. I then vacuumed around everything with the ShopVac, and finally I shoved the loveseat out of the way to make room for the two giant armoires. Once Jose’s guys showed up, I enlisted their help to move the armoires into sunroom. The just barely fit under the sunroom’s ceiling fan blades.


Danny showed up and installed the last couple of pieces of floorboard in the guest bedroom, and the rest of the crew from Artisan showed up with their sander and equipment. As I was leaving for work, I could hear they starting to sand everything down.

After returning from work, I saw the fruits of the day’s labor: Danny had installed most of the floor in the kitchen, and the other Artisan guys had sanded and stained the floor in the guest bedroom. The sanding and subsequent stain resulted in a non-uniformity that troubled me somewhat. I hadn’t expected it to look so “splotchy”. I was assured that this is basically what old floors look like, after they’ve been worn, since the floor has varying density based on historical traffic and load patterns. Nonetheless, I was definitely a bit disappointed with the appearance. They still have two more coats to go, but I don’t believe that will drastically change the appearance.


The kitchen floor, on the other hand, looks magnificent! The photos speak for themselves. All the colors work out very nicely, and the grain of the Brazilian Cherry is gorgeous.


More pictures at:

Flooring day 4

Danny spent the day fixing the guest bedroom floor and doing and more extensive float in the kitchen. This incurred, of course, another small change order for the additional float material and labor involved. <grumble> He also finished installing flooring in the master closet and hallway closet.

As he was leaving, Danny mentioned that the Artisan guys would be here in the morning to sand the floor in the guest bedroom, and so we’d need to move the big wardrobe/armoires out of there. This was completely unexpected to me, because in my mind, that was not part of the scope of work. I called up David Bailey at Artisan to confirm this, and then I called up Cliff, who also confirmed it. (I also spoke to Cliff about the shower hot/cold control being reversed, and that it gets cold after 10 minutes. He said he would tell the plumbers to go and fix it.)

I expressed some consternation at this, because:

  1. I thought I had made it quite clear to Cliff, early on, that we didn’t have the money to do any additional work on the guest bedroom; and

If it hadn’t been for Danny casually mentioning it in conversation, I would not have know about it. Jose, if he knew about it, certainly didn’t bother mentioning that we’d need to move the heavy armoires out of the way. Cliff seemed to be quite aware that this was going to happen, but almost certainly didn’t remember that there was heavy furniture in the room still.

So, after dinner, Crystal and I got out suitcases and garbage bags and started packing up all the clothes that had been in the armoires so they would be a little lighter and easier to move. My plan is to enlist a couple of Jose’s guys in the morning to help us move them into the sunroom.

Photos from today’s floating and floor work are at:

Flooring Day 3, Deck skirting, First shower in new bathroom

Last night we caulked the shower/tub area, so this morning, after walking Trinity, we took showers in the new bathroom for the first time! It was glorious! There were only two problems: the water seemed to get cold after about 10 minutes or so, and – wait for it – the plumbers reversed the shower temperature control.

I don’t know why, but somehow our plumbers consistently seem to get this wrong. At this point, I wonder if it’s even accidental…

Jose’s guys showed up as I left for work, but Danny (the hardwood floor installer) had not. Jose said his guys would be working on the deck skirting, so they wouldn’t interfere with anything on the inside of the house while the flooring installer is working.


At the end of the day, I saw that Danny had almost finished doing the finger-join of the floorboards in the guest bedroom. You can see how the floorboards have been shiftdown downwards towards the hallway in the following two pictures. The left one is before, and the right one is after:


The “finger join” refers to the pattern formed at the opposite end of the room from the doorway transition:

As you can see, the staggered pattern of wood looks like interleaved fingers.

Later, after dinner, I installed the speaker and A/V connectors in the laundry area and in the cabinet by the back door: