Saturday, November 21, 2009

week 34: final inspection

We have been moving things from the main floor and garage into the nearly completed basement. We cleared out the basement prior to construction and lived among boxes stacked waist–high and things piled on the floor while the work was being done. After eight months, I was glad to have things finally put away in their proper places. Now, if I could only remember where I put everything!

One of the things that struck me this week was that it is key to include storage space when remodeling a basement. We saved one small corner of our basement as an unfinished storeroom. Many times, clients want all of their basement to be converted to finished space and forego storage, and then get into a bind when there is not enough places to put their belongings. I was a bit nervous during design when we made the storeroom smaller and moved the furnace and sump pump into it. I feared that we had made our storage too tiny. However, with shelving racks from Storables, we were able to maximize and make our storage room extremely efficient. We have one half-height and five ceiling-high racks, with space for one more full-sized rack.

Now that the project is mostly complete, there are a lot of blank walls. We are redistributing what little art work we have, but will soon need more art. I framed more diplomas around the corner at the neighborhood store, Pratt’s Custom Picture Frames. We also need more furniture. I hope the sectional from Z Gallerie arrives soon.

I thought some plants might help the new spaces feel warmer, lived in and less bare. I visited Garden Fever for some plants and pottery, and came away with a Christmas plant, an airplane plant and a croton. More importantly, they told me how to care for the greenery.

I also found this fabulous little table and bucket at Shogun’s Gallery. They had their warehouse clearance sale this weekend.

The big to-do this week was the final inspection. Our contractor is a member of the FIR program here in Portland. Our inspector came by the house and checked out compliance for all egress doors and windows, electrical plugs, other items pointed out earlier during construction, as well as the head height, width, and the rise and run of the stairs. After about an hour, he signed off on the final permit. Thankfully, Erik, our contractor remembered to secure the gas hose before the inspector arrived. Hooray!

Tune in next time for the last of the plumbing, cabinetry and painting!

Monday, November 16, 2009

week 33: tropical beginnings

This morning I was happy to see the port-a-potty go, as it is proof that the project is near completion.

The guest bed arrived, and I promptly put on the new linens. The room will have an island tropical theme with a little bit of kitsch. So far, we just have the linens and the one requisite hula picture.

Dana of Guillory Construction installed the linen cab chain stops, tweaked the med cab and water shut off doors and attached magnetic stops for them, fabricated one more AV shelf, made a finish piece for the laundry chute, installed the mail slot, re-sat the screen door and fine-tuned the screen door hardware. He installed a floor stop that mimics the shape of the light shade overhead. What made us happiest this week was the new adjustable shelving Dana made for some previously underutilized built-ins. With all the new cupboard space, we now have ample storage space. The finish carpentry is now done!

Daniil of Anctil Plumbing installed the spigot to the irrigation. We now have to determine how to bypass the backflow valve in order to drain the irrigation lines before winter comes.

We heard from the HBA that our house will be on the 2010 Tour of Remodeled Homes, so mark your calendars for the weekend of March 6 & 7, 2010. You too can see this project and many others in person. It should be an exciting tour.

Tune in next time for the final inspection!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

week 32: the blinds are in!

Erik of Ostmo Construction took care of more punch list items. He attached the gutter elbow to the downspout, switched out couple of electrical cover plates, installed the last light shade in the cellar, replaced the filters fabrics for the vents and cleaned up the job site. We are getting there!

We are eagerly awaiting word from ecohaus about fixing the floating floor at the wet bar. The concern is that with the holidays upon us, this issue might easily fall by the wayside.

On a more positive note, we were lucky to have a stretch of good weather. Vitaly, Pablo and Pancho of Aspen Painting, LLC stained the back deck with a solid color stain. It looks like new!

Did you notice the light in the above photo? Aaron of Portland Metro Electric installed the exterior lights. Now that it gets dark earlier and earlier, we really appreciate it. I am glad that we got wet-rated fixtures, as the rain has already demonstrated that the weather can indeed reach the lights. As for the interior lights, Aaron could not install the under cabinet lights at the wet bar because the fixtures were not the best quality and were not fully functional. It looks like it’s another trip to the lighting store for me.

Peter of Classico Marmo returned to install the wine cellar counter, remove a stray glob of epoxy grout from the wet bar counter, and seal both granite counters. Peter did a fabulous job. The stonework is now finished!

Wendy of Bolliger Window Fashions and Interiors was most helpful with our window treatments. She was very knowledgeable, prompt and wonderful to work with. John Kennedy did a great job with the installation. I especially like those mitered returns on the valances. Thanks, Wendy and John, those new blinds do certainly put the finishing touch on the windows.

Tune in next time for tropical bedroom furnishings!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

week 31: moving in already???

Now it gets difficult as a homeowner because the project is close to being done, people are not here everyday and you want to move in but can’t because work still needs to be done. I guess our contractor, Erik of Ostmo Construction, felt sorry for us as the project is taking much longer than originally planned. He let us start moving in while working on the punch list. We were very glad to start putting things near their intended locations, clearing out our over-stuffed garage, and cleaning up and filling the storage room. Thank you very much!

Erik also put in a temporary light on the front porch as it has been getting dark of late. This fixture will eventually go on the garage. He dropped off the cabinet pulls for the wet bar, which I installed. I tried to match the adjacent appliance pulls and found several options in all price ranges. These give the most bang for the buck. And check out the soft-close toilet seat cover. Very nice!

We had a bit of bad news this week. The floating floor at the wet bar is deflecting so much in two spots that it voids the manufacturer’s warranty and will have to be replaced. The trick will be to minimize the collateral damage to the nearby cabinets, painted walls and finish trim. Erik is coordinating with ecohaus who did the installation. Hopefully, the matter can be resolved in a timely manner.

Dana of Guillory Construction put in a bead at the medicine cabinet door to mimic a more traditional way to hold the mirror in place. I don’t know why, but I have an aversion to those plastic little mirror tabs. He also put in the cutest little magnet catch at the electrical panel. Although tiny, it is very strong.

Daniel and Ralph of Premier Plus Construction, Inc. started the fixes on the neighbor's garage. It was a little worse for wear, as seen in the "before" photo (lower left). They’ll get the wall back onto its foundation and strengthen the structure a little before the cosmetic fixes and painting are done. They also rehung one of our sagging gutters. The elbow still needs to be attached.

Pablo and Pancho of Aspen Painting, LLC touched up the interior paint. We spent a good deal of time scanning the walls, ceiling and trim looking for dings and slight imperfections. It’s not that they did a poor job initially; walls, ceiling and trim get bumped during the project and need to be touched up at the end. It looks fabulous now. They also spent some time removing the paint drips from the driveway and egess window wells. Thanks guys!

Tune in next time for the window blinds installation!