Friday, December 31, 2010

Home Addition: Carpet and a chandelier

Real quick post to show you that we have carpeted stairs to the basement now...

 that was laid by our teammate Ryan from a high-quality remnant piece he had, saving us a couple of hundred dollars or so.

And finally, we have a dining room chandelier. I had wanted a hanging light fixture here for five years, so when the electrician was wiring the new spaces, I had him remove one of the cans and put a box for this chandelier, which Drew and I hung a couple of weeks ago.  It has its own dimmer switch to make for romantic dinners at home.

Home Addition: Kickin' back on the deck.

We just got another 4-6 inches of snow, and yesterday Drew and I were snowshoeing in thigh deep powder, so it hardly seems the time to talk about outdoor living.  But I'm trying to get caught up on our renovation pictures, so here are some pictures of the progress on the back of the house.

Way back in July, the back of the house looked like this.

This was the state of things on October 22.

You may notice the lack of one lovely piece of greenery as seen in the July pictures. We had to remove the Catulpa tree that we planted four years ago.  We hated to do it, me especially, since it is my favorite kind of tree.  It had been destined to give us a large amount of dense shade on the back of the house, which faces south, and I love the large tropical feeling of Catulpa, but the landscaping plans and lot design have changed just a wee bit since we planted it, and there was no room for it anymore.  I tried to sell it on the online classifieds, but no takers. I finally ended up giving it away to someone who planned to plant it in her yard, which at least saved us from having to dig it up and hopefully saved its life.  Goodbye, Tree Friend.

On the very last nice warm two days of the year, I sanded the redwood deck and put a coat of stain on it.  Being only a couple of months old, you wouldn't think I'd have had to sand the entire thing, but after the deck was built, we didn't have time or want to stop contractors from working on the project, so the brand new deck got dirty.  Enter Lucy with her belt sander and dust mask. 

Turns out, the belt sander didn't work great on the slightly cupped deck boards, so carpenter Brian lent me his random orbital sander.  That thing rocked!  I asked for one for Christmas, but Santa apparently didn't think I had been a good girl.  I'll have to just go buy one myself because I am not taking on another sanding project without one.
Anyway, the deck looked good by October 27.

We have not had time to go out and enjoy the wilderness this fall because of this stupid project, but who needs to go animal watching when you have creepy crawlies right in your backyard.  I found this in our compost pile showing a roll of masking tape for scale.

Check out the size of that grub!  I'd say that's over 2 inches long.  I thought it might be a sphinx moth larvae, but an internet search did not confirm.  It didn't have a cocoon like a praying mantis larvae either.  What insect that lives in Utah has a larvae that big*?

*Update 2014:  While gardening in the backyard this fall I saw a 2-inch long, slender brown beetle with really long antennae.  Google leads me to believe the beetle I saw was the California prionus beetle, a.k.a Prionus root borer (Prionus californius), a very large type of long-horned beetle.  More information here.  The larvae of these beetles can up to 4 inches long and feed on tree roots, and they seem to be partial to stone fruit tree roots.  The area I found both the beetle and this grub has a pin cherry tree.  

I also uncovered a black widow.  I know they are dangerous, but I just think they look cool. So spidery and evil.

Work inside the house continued, slowing progress on the deck, but by
November 19, we had railings on the upper deck and stairs! Glorious stairs!

For 4 months we had been accessing the back door by means of the chicken run you can see to the right of the new stairs.  It was pretty aweful and with fall rain and winter snow coming up, it was bound to put somebody on their backsides in the mud.  The new stairs are made of the same rough cut fir that the pergola and railings are made of. They are wide and sturdy and have hand rails.  It feels like a luxury.

The railings was a group project. I sourced the lumber and picked some of it up with the van. Drew and I stained the fir by setting up a painting tent in the garage to keep the temps high enough to allow the stain to dry. 

Drew cut the hog panel fencing, and Brian installed it all.  We were going to do Trex railing to match the decking on the upper deck, but it was going to be really expensive and probably wasn't going to look that good.  Drew came up with the idea to use the rough cut fir on the railings to tie in with the pergola over the hot tub (will be on the right hand side of the deck) and the outdoor room we put up farther back in the yard.  I was skeptical, but I love how it turned out.

The white railings on the right side are temporary to meet code.  We need to install the hot tub in there, so those will come down when we get to that point. Also notice the trim work around the tops and bottoms of the columns.

I wanted something to break up the 15 foot line of the tall columns and make them look like separate columns and posts. The seams in the Hardi siding you see midway in the column will have to be filled with Bondo and sanded before we paint next spring.

Getting the trim installed was a major hassle.  The builders could not understand what I wanted, so I had to source the materials and show them what to do. Richard started it back in September, but made mistakes and didn't finish. Adam said he would finish it, but after we gave him the last big installment in October, he was nearly impossible to get to come back.  The last time we saw him, he was working on this trim, but said he had to run off for a couple of hours. He left his compressor, compound miter saw, cordless circular saw, and a couple of nail guns in our driveway, along with the pile of sawdust and pieces of trim.  He never came back, and doesn't return our calls.  If you need a builder, we know who not to recommend.  Brian finished installing the trim for us and did a good job. 

In early December, the last piece of outdoor work did before the snow flew was having the copper gutters installed around the back deck.

Capitol Rain Gutters did a great job. 

And this is how it looks now.

We have to finish the tops of the columns and continue the paint scheme next spring, but for now, were done with the exterior.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Home Addition: All the Trimmings

 Here are a few photos of the trim work.  The trim on the main level is painted white and looks sharp against the orange paint.

The salvaged French doors we used for the laundry closet pocket doors are painted and partially hung. We haven't taken the paper off the panes yet. My plan is to find some cool fabric to put on the back sides of each pane. The thing on the wall above the pocket doors is a mini-split air conditioning and heating unit.  Because our existing furnace and AC unit were not big enough to heat and cool the new spaces, we installed these super efficient and no-duct-work-required units in the main floor and upstairs.

The baseboards are in too.
In the main level, we were trying to match the existing trim in the old part of the house.  We were unable to find the same 100-year old tall curvy profile, so the general contractor (GC) custom routered the bottom part of the baseboard out of MDF. The top curvy piece is chair rail that we had to rip down to make it similar to the old part of the house.  It isn't an exact match, but when you come to visit, you'll probably be fooled. :-)

Our GC was too busy going back to school >-( to finish our job, so we asked him to hire a crew of finish carpenters to get going again.  He was unable to get any carpenters to work for him, so we went out and found our own.  Our teammate Ryan had an associate, Brian, who does fabulous trim work.  

He finished the narrow spice cabinet I designed. Now I have alphabetically organized spices AND a place to put the step ladder.
The trim upstairs is vertical grain fir.  The GC thought it would be more cost effective to buy it in the rough and plane and router it to our liking.  By the time we paid Brian to plane it 

and found yet another contractor to router it, we're thinking it might have been cheaper to find it finished, but at least this way we got the look we wanted and lots of sawdust for the compost bin! 
We were going for a simple mission style.

We are going to stain and seal it ourselves, after we get done managing contractors.
We reused two of the house's original doors that we removed back in May for the master bath and closet doors. 

We haven't finished stripping 100 years of paint off them yet.  Add that to the to do list.

Home Addition: We like orange, part two.

We hired the painting done way back in October, but not until the holidays did I get a chance on long airplane rides and while waiting in airports to get caught up with some pictures. 

The first step was for us to pick out the paint colors.  We had a pumpkin color in mind for the kitchen and new main floor room.  We tried four different shades and even had the Sherwin Williams guy try to “make” us a shade before, under the advice of our designer friend Rhonda, we went back to our first try, "Tigereye".

The bedroom upstairs was harder.  I wanted a neutral color because we have a vaulted ceiling and I really don't want to have to paint again soon.  We started with these three samples.

But none of them really excited us, so we got a few more samples.

After two weeks we were up to nine (9!) different colors.   

Finally, again on advice from Rhonda, I put up another coat of one of the first three we picked out and we decided that although it was basically tan (read: boring) it looked the best with the trim, the stone for the fireplace, and the hickory flooring, and would allow natural light to bounce around the room.  "Colony Buff" it is.

Then there was the bathroom.  All I wanted was something neutral that wouldn't clash with the travertine, limestone, and pebble tiles.  Before Drew knew it, I was up to eight (8!) samples in the bathroom.  Good grief.   

None of the greenish or peachish shades we thought looked good with the tile samples did anything for us when we put the samples on the wall, so we ended up going with a darker shade of the ceiling and trim paint, "Dover White".   We'll have to add pops of color with the accessories. 

The painters spent days and days preparing the trim for paint,

 during which time Drew painted the laundry closet,

and meanwhile we were hurrying to get all the trim up that was to be painted.  About a week before this stage, the general contractor (GC) ripped off the 2x4s that were being used as temporary stair treads and put down the oak treads. It was then that Drew and I noticed that the upper flight of stairs seemed to be out of level. The GC said "no problem, that's an easy fix" and he would be out the next day to fix them. A week later, as the painters were closing in on spray day, GC came to fix them.  It was then that he and I realized that the rise and run among all the stairs was not equal.  Not only is this very annoying and a trip hazard, as you no doubt have noticed if you've ever walked up or down a flight of stairs that is uneven, but some of the steps were outside the 3/8th of an inch difference allowed by code between the rise of each stair. By a long way, like, by over an inch! So all 23 treads had to be ripped off, shimmed up, re-glued, and nailed down again by the GC.

This all happened on the same day the painter told us that he couldn't make the risers look good because the joints between the risers and stringers were not tight enough (even though we had asked him numerous times about that very thing), so we had a high-priced, last-minute carpenter there tacking up trim strips to cover the joints.  That was a bad, bad day.  We were angry with the GC for screwing up the stairs in the first place, panicking to design and source materials for the decorative trim before the painters got that far, we knew it was costing us more than it had to, and we were starting to worry about the quality of the GC's work if he had screwed up something as important and code-stringent as the stairs. 

But the day passed and soon we had primer on the walls.

And in a couple of days we had color!

 See, we love orange!

The upstairs tan color turned out great.

And brown glaze on the textured accent wall brings some visual interest to the wall that will be behind the bed. 

The bathroom white turned out fine and doesn’t take away from the fabulous tile, but apparently I did not find it picture worthy.

I am more or less happy with the way the paint turned out, but I was never so happy to see a contractor leave. Not only did the painter mis-quote us and ask for more money, he was annoying and just plain rubbed me the wrong way.  We got to the point where Drew was the only one allowed to deal with him because I could no longer hide my irritation. If anyone needs a painter, I know who not to recommend.

Anyway, paint is up and the next post will highlight the trim work.