Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hostage rescue and fork throwing--another week in the Sandlin remodel

I've got a bit of catching up to do. It's been 2 weeks since my last posting so there's quite a bit to bring everyone up to speed on.

First, the addition has been walled in. It looks a little funny without windows and with the old door to the garage. My beautiful wall of windows should be going in sometime during the week of 08/17. Still working through details on the back door, but it will be glass and very pretty. Not sure when we'll work through that one.

You can't see it from this angle, but the addition has also been roofed. So that should effectively deter any and all rain showers. Sorry about that one.

The walling in was to make way for probably the most dramatic change yet: breaking down the wall between house and the addition. Just completely opened things up and shows just how huge the impact will be. I'm really, truly going to have a proper size kitchen! You can see the faint line on the floor--that's where the outside wall used to be.

Other fun framing last week included the new pantry and repositioning the water heater into the garage:

Getting all this framing done let Sean, the cabinet man, come get final measurements and finalize his drawings. It was a tense week of decisions. The laundry room in particular was the source of much anxiety. It's a bit of a brain-teaser, but I think we came up with a good solution. The thing that threw us into meltdown was how to position the broom/vaccuum closet and still have room for a utility sink. The irony of such emotional discussions about my vaccuum closet given the fact that I vaccuum about 2x a year has not escaped me. Much hilarity ensued as I went to measure said vaccuum to ensure that the closet would be large enough, but I wasn't really sure where it was after the move. But, my vaccuum should appreciate it's elegant digs as it spends LOTS of time in there, rarely seeing the outside world. (Thanks, Annie, for saving me from having to actually ever use my vaccuum. I am spoiled and lucky indeed)

The other bit of cabinet anxiety was over the material. Our initial plan was to go for maple--hard, durable, minimal grain or knots, takes stain well, looks good in modern applications. But then we went to Sean's shop in Pflugerville and I saw a cabinet he had done in vertical grain fir that was just simply gorgeous. Tight, barely visible grain that makes the wood look textured but not like oak. With just a clear lacquer, it's just a beautiful, natural yet modern look. Jemima and I were literally drooling over it.

The only problem is that it's softer than maple. And, given my son, visions of scarred cabinets swirled in my mind. So Sean sent us home with a few samples of maple and fir so we could test whether it could withstand the rigors of Henryville. We went at them with forks, keys, pennies and other pieces of wood. The tests revealed that if we attempted to pierce the wood with a fork thrown at the wood at close range, it would in fact leave an impression. But, since it's a clear lacquer, the only way to detect the ding is by feeling the wood.

While we were cogitating, Sean came up with a way to run the grain horizontally, for a really just incredible, one-of-a-kind, custom look. I also did a really thorough inspection of the vgf cabinet he has in his shop, and it looks great. Surely Henry can't cause any more damage than a bunch of cabinet-makers. I mean we only let him use his circular saw and nail gun in the garage.

So we took the plunge and will have vertical grain fir, running sideways (horizontal vertical? vertical horizontal?). And Henry will have to limit all fork throwing to the garage now as well.

The other exciting moment of the past two weeks was the arrival of the appliances and the re-emergence of our South Austin dodgy bloke. We were quite excited to receive word that the appliances were all at the warehouse and scheduled for delivery on Monday, August 2. It worked out perfectly as the bank inspector was coming to review the framing and release the funds to pay the framers. We tacked the appliance inspection on to that to receive those funds from the bank.

August 2 came and went with the bank inspector...but no appliances. Bennett called about 5:30 and received a song-and-dance about the truck being in the shop and very vague assurances that everything was fine; our appliances would be there first thing Tuesday morning. Tuesday, 2:30: no appliances. He calls dodgy bloke and someone else says: "I don't know where they are. I'll call you back in 30 minutes." 3:30 and no phone call, Bennett's getting suspicious about the whereabouts of our appliances. And to make things more tense, the bank inspector won't release the framing funds without the appliances there. So he calls builder Tom and they plan on taking a truck down to the warehouse with the crew and either get our paid for appliances or take whatever they can get their hands on (Tom needed the framing funds so he's willing to mount a hostage rescue posse).

Unable to contain himself, Bennett drives down to the warehouse on Tuesday afternoon to get a straight answer. Yet another person there says: "Oh yeah, the appliances are on the truck. You'll get them today."

Bennett is now completely convinced that our appliance check was used to give dodgy bloke a nice vacation in Cancun. He's planning out his legal strategy when...6:30 pm appliances show up.

Sigh of relief:

Slightly anti-climactic as we were all ready for a hostage rescue and then just had a bunch of boxes to look at. And I was a bit disappointed to not be able to post a photo of dodgy bloke being dragged away in hand-cuffs. A perp walk would have been prime-blog material. But at least they are here. And the bank inspector released the funds which made everyone very happy.

That action all took place the first week of August. The second week of August has been a good deal less dramatic. Slightly frustrating, but we probably needed a week to take a deep breath after all that fork throwing and hostage rescue activity.

We were shooting to have plumbing, electrical and HVAC all complete last week so we could move onto drywall. The plumber finished up his work, but the electrician couldn't make it out and the HVAC guy disappeared altogether.

So, Tom has found another HVAC guy and the electrician is supposed to make it out this coming week. Hopefully we'll regain momentum.

Also had a slightly frustrating flooring meeting. We're going with very lovely cork tile. The contract estimated about 800 square feet of flooring. But somewhere in the mix it turns out we really need about 1100 square feet of flooring. At $7/sq foot that makes a pretty big financial difference. I think we've got it all worked out, but it's probably best that we had a week away from the job site to let everybody reconoiter and get their bearings.

So, on tap for this coming week: put down deposit on the flooring, get some inspections, see the light through our new windows and....get monkey man ready for kindergarten. It's really never a dull moment is it?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

In the blink of an eye

A bitter-sweet week.
First, the sweet. The roof is up! We have a proper addition.

Skylight? This was the view from inside the house before the new roof structure went up in the back. All those in Austin who appreciated the rain we had last Thursday can thank me for it. 3 months of no rain, and the 1 morning I had no roof, we got rain. Luckily Eric and the boys scrambled to get the roof deck on.

Max and Sid on the roof doing some lickedy-split work to beat the rain:

New addition with roof deck on. Post rain. Don't worry--I need to wash my car this week, so we should get a bit more rain...

This was a bit of a framing tour-de-force (not just beating the sudden rain storm). Initially our plans called for a shed roof. It would have looked fine, but suspicious eyes could have detected it was an addition. But my crack team of carpenters figured out a way to join apex of the new roof into the pre-existing one so it looks like it was built this way from the get-go. Go team!
Other progress this week included getting the electrical outlets, switches, recessed cans, etc. placed. Had many in-depth conversations pretending to come into the house with a bag full of groceries and wanted light switched to be in the correct spot. Here's what I think: architects and electricians rarely come home with a bag of groceries. They are in the right spot now. :)
And now for the bitter-sweet part. Monkey man Henry turned 5. Here's a picture from his 1st birthday party invitation--just a few months after we moved into the house:

And here he is, 4 years, one addition and one haircut later, my 5 year old at his birthday party. I SWEAR it was just yesterday he was getting his chubby legs into that chair!

On tap for next week:
Finish out electrical and get ready for that inspection. Plumber should be doing some stuff as well. Appliances should arrive tomorrow. We should be knocking down the old outside wall as well sometime this week (the one that is currently running down the middle of my new kitchen).
Stay tuned.