Wednesday, August 11, 2010

week 70: phase 2: prepping the bath floor

I swung by Bliss Restoration to pick up the newly powder-coated heat floor vent. They did an excellent job at the fraction of the cost of a new vent cover. I am glad we reused the old cover as we prevented more landfill and did not have to go through the hassle of making a new custom cover. If we had left the cover as is, it would look very dilapidated against the new floor tile.

Brian of Anctil Plumbing arrived to remove the pedestal sink and toilet. He’ll return after the tile is set to reinstall the fixtures.

Yuri of Art Touch Construction spent a whole day removing the old floor tile and sanitary cove base. It took some skill to leave the newer wall tile and millwork intact. It is amazing to see the original lath at the walls and the screen on the floor. Wow!

Unfortunately, we pulled the trigger a little too soon on the tiling. Pratt & Larson was having some quality control issues and did not have the tile ready when promised. Although we appreciate their high standards of their exquisite handmade tile, it did cramp all of our schedules. Still, their tile is so beautiful, it’ll be worth the wait.

We weren’t able to locate one of our bath hooks after the painters left, and ended up ordering a new replacement pair. Unfortunately, they are not in the desired finish. We’ll have Bliss Restoration plate them in Polished Nickel to match the other hardware in the bath.

Something else that seems to be missing is a closet door strike plate. Finding the right door strike is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. The strike needs to fit the mortise lock on the leaf side as well as the precut holes on the jamb side. We stopped by the Rebuilding Center and Rejuvenation with limited success. Next, I’ll try looking for them at Old Portland Hardware or Salvage Works. While we’re at it, we are also in the process of making sure that the rest of the doors properly latch close.

We’re getting really close now. Besides the tile and hardware from Phase 2, we are awaiting some final paint touch-ups and warranty work to be completed from Phase 1.

Tune in next time for tiling the bath floor and arrival of the armoire!

Monday, July 26, 2010

week 67: phase 2: interior painting done!

Leo the painter of C++ Construction and German his assistant spent a couple days prepping then applying two coats of no VOC paint on the ceilings and walls of the two bedrooms, hall and bath. They reassembled all the cabinets and doors and hardware. The last day they removed all the tarps, paper and plastic and cleaning. The rooms and cabinets were spotless when they left. Their work, effort, care and cleanliness cannot be beat and are truly appreciated. Thanks Leo & German! We’ll see them in a few weeks after the floor tile is done in the bath as the walls will need to be touched up. In the meantime, we are currently refitting and looking for some of the window, door and cabinetry hardware. We’ll post another round of after photos when the new armoire from Falcon Designs arrives next month.

Tune in next time for tile prep of the bath floor!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

weeks 61-66: phase 2: interior paint prep & some phase 1 items

Leo the painter of C++ Construction stopped by to test if we had lead paint. It was more of a formality, as we all were fairly certain of the presence of lead. He and German took one week to remove the two layers of wallpaper and paint, and skim two coats of mudset on the original plaster walls in the baby’s room. The second week, Leo & German prepped the walls and trim of the two bedrooms and hall. It seems like the work is taking longer than usual, but Leo insists in making the area safe for us and his workers. Although this is now mandated by code, not all companies are certified to do lead paint abatement or sincerely care to take the necessary precautions. We truly appreciate the level of attention Leo has with this toxic substance.

Yuri the tile setter of Art Touch Construction also stopped by to measure and calculate how much tile was needed. I then promptly ordered the tile from Pratt & Larson, a local tile artisan. The tile work will need to wait until next month as the tile has a 6 week lead time. I forgot that this tile is made to order. Drats! Below are the before shots of the worn tile. We were on the fence about replacing it at this time. When we realized that we would not have another opportunity to do so for the next six years, we decided to pull the trigger.

Dana the finish carpenter of Guillory Construction spent a day finishing up some of the Phase 1 items. He installed the elbow catch at the kitchen cabs and changed out a broken pane in the casement. He also completed the easier Phase 2 tasks of installing picture rail in the baby’s room, truing the cabinet doors and drawers in the existing hallway built-ins and planing the door to the baby’s room so that it fit better. He’ll return to do more finish carpentry in a bit.

Aaron of Portland Metro Electric also swung by to complete the last of the Phase 1 work. He inverted an outlet in the laundry room so that the irrigation plug could more easily be hidden as well as installed a larger light in the master bedroom closet. Now, there’s only painting left in Phase 1. I think Phase 2 may be completed before Phase 1. The race is on!

I dropped off the bathroom vent grate at Bliss Restoration for powder coating. It should be done in a couple of weeks. It would look very grungy next to the newfloor tile had we left it in its worn condition. I am looking forward to having it look brand new.

The county appraiser stopped by to reassess the property. He was surprised that work was still going on. As I was just on my way out the door, I could not let him in, but he was able to assess the home from the exterior. He also remeasured the porch and deck, even though we only had cosemtic work done on them. The paperwork should be done in the next couple of months, and we should be paying our new taxes by next quarter.

Tune in next time for the completed interior paint!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

weeks 54-60: phase 2 has begun!

Even though we have not finished Phase 1 completion of the basement, we’re rolling right into Phase 2. We had planned to wait a couple of years between phases, but decided to get things done sooner rather than later. As the tasks and scale are minor in scope, we opted to manage this portion ourselves.

We secured bids from the subcontractors: Tom Anctil of Anctil Heating & Cooling came by to price out the AC condenser install. During Phase 1, we had prepped the electrical for the AC unit so the install should be easy. And it was easy. Jeff of Anctil has already come out and installed the condenser. Scheduling during the off-season meant they were available immediately. Tom also made sure we got a great deal. We are now set for the summer. Thanks so much, Tom. We love you and Anctil Heating & Cooling!

Pete of Classic Sash & Door also returned to fix the last two sashes. We should have had him fix them while he was here the first time and fixing the other sashes. When he was leaving, Pete noticed that there were only 2 of 4 screws holding the escutcheon to the front door and promptly fixed it. He also tuned the lock and oiled the hinges with Tri-Flow. Remember to NEVER use WD-40 or liquid graphite on the hinges.

Dana the finish carpenter of Guillory Construction will install the
picture moulding in one bedroom, spiffy up the built-in cabinets that have settled over the last 100 years, build a tall wood fence for privacy and an enclosure to screen the AC condenser from view, make an end table out of an existing log, install more built-ins and cut a cat door into the laundry room for the recently rescued “Benicio del Gatto.” We thought long and hard how to “hide” Benny’s entry and still keep the charm of the place. Stay tuned…you will be surprised!

Leo of C++ Construction will remove the last of the wallpaper and paint 4.5 rooms.

Yuri of Art Touch Construction retile bathroom floor on the main floor.

I have been busy selecting interior paint colors, tile, electrical fixtures and cabinet hardware, and hope to have everything specified by mid-month. Goodness, I better get cracking! We were able to take advantage Rejuvenation’s latest sale. We saved a bundle on lighting, cabinetry and electrical hardware. Thanks, Rejuvenation!

Most of all, we are excited to have Robert Theiss of Falcon Designs make our custom cherry armoire for the Master Bedroom. Several years ago, he made the dresser, bed and night stands. We are looking forward to having him craft a matching armoire. Robert has already begun and anticipates completion by the end of July. How exciting!

Sadly, our bathroom remodel did not make the cut for HGTV’s "Bang for Your Buck." Better luck next time.

Tune in next time for final material selection and the start of demolition, we hope!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

weeks 50-55: still going…sort of

There’s been miscellaneous work that has occurred recently. Shiloh of Classic Sash & Door stopped by to fit the wood screen replacements. If you recall, one of them was defective and had to be remade. Another arrived too short. While he was here, Shiloh also fixed a couple of the misattached screen hooks and loosened the storms that had been painted shut.

Vitally of Aspen Painting came by to pick up the new screens so that he can paint them in his shop. He’s already dropped them off, so we can change out the storms to screens when it gets a bit warmer.

Daniel of Premier Plus Construction, Inc. installed insulation in the floor under the stair landing. This space had originally been a porch that had been enclosed over the years. We completed the finish work when we transformed it into the new stairwell.

Erik of Ostmo Construction secured the insulation into the ceiling joists at the unfinished storeroom and caulked the threshold at the exterior door to the Mudroom.

Phase 1 took much longer than anticipated. Originally, we were told that it would take 4-5 months to construct the basement. So far we are at a year and six weeks. We are currently waiting on some of the final carpentry, electrical and painting. There’s really not a whole lot to do now. Honest!

Tune in next time for the start of Phase 2!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tour of Remodeled Homes 2010

Each year, the Home Builder’s Association hosts the Tour of Remodeled Homes. This year, we were honored to be one of the 18 homes open to the public for the weekend. There was a steady stream of people both days. I was impressed that some had planned to get through all 18 homes, a feat to be sure. Oddly enough, we were the only basement on the Tour.

Overall, there was twice the number of attendees as last year, but not as much as in years past. Still, 8 hours straight on your feet and schmoozing took a lot out of me. I was very flattered to hear so many compliments. By 6pm, I was ready for bed each night and slept 10 hours on Sunday.

There were a couple of nibbles, but no substantial leads. Sometimes, it takes time for an interested tour-goer to pull the trigger and become a client. The economy is still soft and people cautious. Projects tend to be smaller in scale these days.

Tune in next time for an appearance HGTV’s "Bang for Your Buck" we hope!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

weeks 43-49: prepping for the Tour of Remodeled Homes

There’s nothing like a deadline to get things done. For us, the HBA’s 2010 Tour of Remodeled Homes was a great kick in the pants to try to take care of the last few construction items, or at least most of them.

In seeing the house come together, the yard was looking a little worse for wear. Knowing that several hundred people would be visiting shortly caused me to hire a landscaper to redo the front and side yards as well as the parking strip and clean up the back yard. He took out the sad-looking magnolia, ceanothus, azalea, smoke bush and mossy lawn, resculpted and moved the camellia, resodded, planted stepables and stepping stones and redesigned and installed the entire front and side yards. John Catandella of Catandella Landscaping did an excellent job, worked fast and hard, was easy to work with and was able to fit us in on short notice. He is awesome! He will return in the summer to help us revision the back yard.

Chuck of ecohaus refloated the floor where the engineered hardwood was not sitting properly. We decided to forego fixing a second section that was also giving us trouble, as it was too difficult for him to do. Chuck was able to reuse all the millwork, flooring, cabinets and threshold. Dana reinstalled them and Vitaly of Aspen Painting caulked and painted, and the Wet Bar was as good as new.

Johnny of Laurelhurst Fan Company installed the blades, nose cone and back cover for our vintage bath fan at no charge. He also camouflaged the galvanized ductwork. Now the fan really sings!

Ron of Stellar Cellars put the finishing touches on the wine cellar. It is now perfect!

The concrete guy came out and patched some of the driveway, curb cuts, egress wells and door jamb.

Erik our contractor of Ostmo Construction spent a whole day attaching various knobs and the dryer vent. It had been dumping hot, humid and dusty air into the laundry room. I was wondering why it was so muggy and linty. My husband leveled the washer and dryer as Erik was having difficulty with that task. Erik was here the day before the Tour attaching the upstairs thermostat, Rainbird (irrigation timer) and adjusting the height on the under counter refrigerator.

We finally got the door hardware back from Bliss Restoration. They had replated some existing door hardware that we had wanted to reuse. Sadly, once Dana the finish carpenter of Guillory Construction had installed them, we decided that removing the door was best. Oh well.

Shiloh of Classic Sash returned with our two screens only to discover that one was the wrong size. Looks like one screen will need to be remade. Doh! He was able to reseat the window hardware though. Pete tweaked the screen door hinge, rescreened the door and installed a closer.

The new kitchen cabinet doors finally arrived from Crestwood and were fitted in the full-height cabinet box. These were replacements for the warped ones.

Alex returned twice to do some quick aesthetic fixes on the neighbor’s garage. Yay! It no longer looks shabby chic!

Pablo and Pancho of Aspen Painting returned to paint the last few cabinetry items, touched up a couple of interior & exterior surfaces, matched the existing dark stain on the main floor and painted the neighbor’s garage. The garage faces our house, so we were happy to finally have this done.

Ben Aldred and Scott Foster of the Hollywood A-boy assisted in selecting a fan for the upstairs bath. The conundrum was whether or not we wanted to vent the adjacent powder as well using an inline fan or just stick to a regular fan venting just the main bath. We opted for the latter then realized that the former was the better decision because it would provide better ventilation and be quieter. C’est la vie!

Aaron of Portland Metro Electric returned to install the under cabinet light at the Wet Bar, sump pump receptacle, office light fixtures and an exterior outlet. He came back a second time to install a light in the master closet and a new fan for the upstairs bath and replaced some oddball receptacles and plates. He also reattached the grounding wire to the house.

Dana, our savior, reinstalled the millwork at the wet bar, installed the replated door hardware, fixed the squeaky powder room door, changed the exterior door hardware to the correct ones, installed a couple of cabinet hinges, a latch and the robe hooks, adjusted the screen door knob, fixed the door sweepers and attached the under cabinet lights at the Wet Bar with a stud gun.

There’s STILL some work to be done. The original 4 month project has taken nearly a year to finish, and now will run into the start of phase two of the remodel. Tune in next time for the last 1% of the original project, we hope!