Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Home Addition: Cabinets and final granite pick.

Another big step; the cabinets were installed last Thursday.  They look really nice.  Here is the fridge and range wall.
Here is the sink wall with the ultra cool farmhouse apron front sink set in.

Here you can sort of see the cool dentil moulding we added to the crown.

Cabinet maker JP Cabinets from Heber, Utah will come back to put the doors on after the countertops go in next week.  Then they'll really look fabulous.

And did I mention countertops?  Yes! We finally made a decision on the granite: Volcano.  This was by far and away the most important and angsted decision of this remodel.  I am, after all, a geologist. Rocks matter.  Finally, after 3 or 4 trips to each of three different slab yards, countless picture views on my computer, lots of discussions with friends and blog-o-sphere companions, and one failed attempt to put a hold on the Specrtus slab that I liked almost as well but that was a bit cheaper but that someone had secured one day earlier than my phone call, we made a decision.  We chose the very first one that I liked and the one Drew instantly liked as well.  The problem was, we wanted 2 cm thickness (for aesthetic reasons regarding the farmhouse sink and height restrictions under the kitchen windows), but the only supplier that carries this rock in Utah was Arizona Tile, who only carries 3 cm.  They did however have some slabs at their Anaheim, California showroom.  Great! They sent me a picture of the slab, and it was nice.  After consulting with our installer Matt at Center Point Stone for about a week, we decided that Anaheim slab would work.  I called up to have it sent in, but wouldn'tcha know it, that slab was gone.  No worries, they had a few more at their Anaheim stone yard, and, bonus, they were bigger and looked even more beautiful in the picture.  That was it! Let's get it to Utah.

Last week we went to view the slab.  Oh my heck, it is amazing!!!!!!!  The slab manager said this slab was the talk of the showroom when they brought it in.  It is really a very beautiful slice of the earth. Here I am in front of the slab that will be in our kitchen.  I am loving it so much I am hugging a chunk of it.

Here is a picture of it in a show kitchen.

If I were a better petrologist, I could tell you the specific rock classification. It is from Brazil and has lots of biotite mica, plagioclase feldspar, quartz, and a fair amount of pyrite. It looks to me like a gneiss because of the banding.  I'll have to have some rock geek friends over to analyze it.  If you can't tell, I'm excited about this part of the remodel.

We've also settled on some natural slate tile for the upstairs fireplace

and the master bathroom floor tile.

So things are really happening around here and I just keep trying to believe that soon all this mess will be just a horrible memory.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Home Addition: Trim and Floors.

Real progress now!

Some of the trim is starting to go up.  Since they don't make the same kind of trim as we have in the old part of the house, I have been stripping old trim pieces so the carpenters will be able to cobble enough old stuff to finish out the dining room with original trim. For the new rooms, we are trying to get as close as we can by stripping and refinishing some parts for the non-painted trim rooms upstairs and making others out of MDF for the painted-trim areas downstairs.  I think it will look good. It better; it is taking me a long time and a lot of missed glorious biking days to strip the old stuff.

I've also been busy stripping old woodwork in the hallway so that we could put new flooring there.  Five years ago, before I moved into this house with Drew, the hallway looked like this.

Isn't that the most lovely shade of teal carpeting?  Gross. I convinced Drew we should tear it out right before I moved in... 

thinking we would get flooring put down in the next year or so.  Like I said, that was 5 years ago.  Since we needed to have a hardwood floor installer patch a few inches of the dining room floor with 2" unfinished oak flooring to match the existing dining and living rooms, we had him do the hallway last week too, which is why I had to strip the baseboards so the new finish on the flooring wouldn't get messed up when we do get around to stripping the rest of the woodwork.  If that sounds confusing, don't worry, this house is a jigsaw puzzle; you have to put 200 pieces together in just the right order before you can see the big picture.

I didn't think it would be so wonderful to see, but coming home to this after a day at work made me hoot and holler for joy.

The finish will be put on it in a few weeks when they come back to do the other patch and the new stairs.

The same day this hallway was done, they laid the pre-finished rustic oak 3.25" flooring in the kitchen.  Here is how it was looking when I left for work that day.

I don't have an after picture because we covered the floor with cardboard and rugs to protect the finish during the cabinet, countertop, and appliance installation.  It looks good though!!

Drew has been working a ton to try to pay for all of this, so even though he gets to miss out on some of the paint-stripping and contractor-management fun, I still wouldn't trade places with him.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Home Addition: A slow-moving monster

It has been a long time since I've had a spare couple of hours to sort through photos and post our progress.  We've both been slammed trying to get things ready for various parts of the finish work plus holding down jobs and acting as quasi-general contractors.  No biking for us.

A friend saw what we've been doing and said, "that remodel is a monster." Add to it the pace of the workers lately and it seems to be a slow-moving monster.

The last couple of days we've seen real progress, and I'll post pictures of them in a day or two, but I've got to get you caught up to date. 

Here is the finished product of Drew's one-afternoon AC compressor screening project reported in our last post.  The neighbors hopefully should not mind looking at this.

Also in our last post, the drywall was going up.  It took quite a while and many boxes of mud.

  Ramone here was back a half dozen days to do the mudding.

But eventually it looked like this. These are stairs going to the upstairs suite.
Here is the master bedroom.

So the 'rock was on, which was great, except when I realized that the blower motors for the fireplaces were missing.  I knew I had seen them sitting on top of the fireplace, behind the framing. Uh oh.

The morning after the sheetrock was up, Drew and I pulled off one piece and sure enough
 the cardboard box containing the motors was still sitting on top of the fireplace.  Can you say fire hazard!!!  We took off the rest of the drywall on both fireplaces to find the insulation hanging down and exposing the exterior wall (can you say not energy efficient!) and an electrical wire touching the flue.  I totally flipped out.  I couldn't even talk to the contractors so I left for work and let Drew straighten things out.  He is much more level-headed in these type of situations than me.  He would make a good airline pilot.

But dang doesn't he make a good construction worker?

This shot was taken at the second building supply place he went to to track down more siding shingles. The wrong ones had been delivered to our house.  See what I mean about being our own General Contractor?  But eventually the siding was put on,

and the decking on the master suite patio is partly on.

To keep an eye on the workers, I find things to do around the house.  Our exterior paint job is not complete (going on 6 years now) because many of the windows are peeling badly, so I removed the old paint off one sill with our heat gun and prepped it for new paint. 
Check out how thick the paint is in this photo below.  The thickness of the metal blade of the paint scraper (right) compares to the paint chip/wedge (left).  That is some thick paint.  Probably 100 years worth. 

So anyway, things were moving slowly along. Some of the trim arrived.

and we picked up the flooring to allow it time to acclimate before installation.

We're getting closer everyday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

State Fair 2010

We've been absolutely up to our necks in trying to get the house done, but I bought discount tickets to the State Fair last month, and we could not let them go to waste (Scottish!) .  We took a few hours to experience the Utah State Fair.

We saw my friend Elena's blue-ribbon winning painting

And of course the animals


as usual. But there were some nice surprises this year like a cool activity center for kids 

called "Super Science: Family Fun With Physics" that was well attended.  I was trying to be the beer-swilling roll-model scientist in this picture.

Another great addition to the fair, or should I say subtraction, was that the whole event went smoke free except in designated smoking areas, which were uninviting and not well attended.
Some things I really love about Utah!

We topped off the night with a stroll along the midway

and a look at the butter sculpture.

It was a nice little break for us.