Sunday, April 26, 2009

week 4: heating & cooling

The third week, we had a little respite from the initial whirlwind of activity. We used the time to select the AV equipment, created the wall framing plan and details for the TV & speakers, respecified the wine cellar racking and cooling unit, refined the exterior paint scheme, and reexamined the interior colors and interior lighting.

In looking at the lighting, I had become concerned that the new ducting for the two-zones and the lighting would conflict, but as soon as Tom Anctil of Anctil Heating and Cooling arrived with his team at the start of week four, all my fears melted away. Minh and Ron reviewed the locations of the ducts with us, making sure that the supply and returns did not interfere with any lighting, cabinetry or architectural accents. They also installed the new ¾” gas line. Hopefully, in a little over a week, the new high-efficiency furnace will be fully installed. Relocating the furnace from the center of the basement to an exterior wall opened up the plan, improved the flow and increased the ceiling height where we needed it. We are very pleased with the work by Anctil Heating and Cooling.

Daniil of Anctil Plumbing, Inc. returned to reroute the existing plumbing and Ben installed the new water service. Lucas and his team from Rose City Contracting, Inc. removed the asbestos-covered ducts in half a day. Things were buzzing along.

The inspector stopped by and pointed out a few minor things from a previous remodel that will need to be addressed during construction. Yes, that is correct, the city inspector made a house call. This project is a part of Portland’s Field Issuance Remodel (FIR) Program. In this program, the inspector comes to the home before the start of the project to review and approve plans and troubleshoot potential code issues. On the subsequent visits, he performs the inspections and issues the permits. This single point of contact with the city allows for greater efficiency and project continuity. Ultimately, the FIR Program encourages code compliance in remodels and additions because the process is so smooth, easy and less costly for the home owner.

We also consulted Ron Cowan of Stellar Cellars about storage racks and a cooling unit for the wine cellar. We liked Ron because he is very knowledgeable of cellar systems and design, is extremely helpful, has an eye for detail and quality and is right here in Portland. Ron explained cellar design, lighting, insulation and weather-stripping, wood specie selection, millwork connections and detailing, cooling unit positioning (and camouflaging), among other things. The other companies we talked to were just area sales reps who did not really know the ins and outs their products.

We celebrated Earth Week by de-nailing and cleaning up the TNG boards for one friend so he could reuse it in his home and for another friend for picture frames. With the ample help of our buddies, we were able to salvage 2000-3000 lineal feet of the CVG Douglas Fir TNG v-groove board. Thanks guys, you are the greatest!

Tune in next time for framing & more rough-in plumbing!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

weeks 1 & 2: deconstruction & rough-in plumbing

The deconstruction team from Premier Plus Construction, Inc. came out (the day after contract signing, no less) and gingerly removed the CVG Douglas Fir TNG v-groove board that lined the walls and ceiling. It took Daniel and Nick three days to remove nearly 4500 lineal feet. We gave it to a friend who will reuse the material in another improvement project. We are very happy it will go to a new home rather than a dumpster or as landfill.

The concrete slab was cut by Antonio and Jordan of Brothers Concrete Cutting, Inc. in a couple of hours, and the rough plumbing was installed by Andy and Daniil of Anctil Plumbing, Inc. in three days. After the rough-in was inspected, the concrete was poured by Michael Stearns and Gene of Accu-Pro. All this in two week’s time!

I am STILL tweaking the design and fine-tuning finishes. Architects make the worst clients. Granted, the design rework was due to an excellent idea that came about during the bidding phase and the reselection of some of the finishes was an effort to maximize aesthetic effect per dollar, but it makes me nervous to be doing this during construction as I do not want to adversely affect the schedule. Dawn Strout and Marc Stumpf over at ecohaus and Hilary Noah of Dal-Tile were extremely helpful in the selection of materials that give the most bang for the buck. Thanks, you guys are the greatest!

The one item that delayed the project was the window selection. I had a difficult time settling on a product style, but in the end selected Marvin’s Ultimate Wood windows. Mark Bell and Andrew Haslam of Classic Sash and Door Company did a marvelous and thorough job, and patiently explained all the available options. I don't know how we would have done it without all their assistance.

We are also looking at how to best layout the AV equipment, something that should have occurred much sooner, as it potentially could affect the framing plan. We talked at length with Teri Inman of Stereotypes about AV equipment and their requirements, and feel certain that everything is in order. Teri, you rock!

Tune in next time for the new furnace installation!