Monday, January 26, 2009

Last weekend Ed built this platform, the top of which approximates where the floor will eventually be. The south west corner of the house will most likely be two feet above grade (street level), and the north east corner will be eight or nine feet below grade. The basement ceiling height will be eight feet, and the garage door, which will be located under the kitchen, will be seven feet high x twelve feet wide. The driveway is a bit of a problem, as it's not supposed to slope more that 16ยบ, but I think it will work out OK.

Still no word yet from PG&E, but I'm hopeful that they'll let us do what we want - not that my optimism is based on anything other than, well, optimism. Only about 6% of the square footage is under the power line and the easement, so what the hell? As you can see from the site plan, the house angles dramatically, facing NNW, towards the ocean view. Anything less would be a shame, don't you think? After all, it's all about the view, isn't it?

After talking to a structural surveyor, the $400,000 budget's not looking too good. I have a $5000.00 line item for engineering, but the quote's going to be over $12k, so that's looking hopelessly naive. Something's got to give!

Next steps to keep thing puppy moving: get the OK from PG&E to build on our preferred spot; complete the designs for the basement/garage, stairs and deck; send those plans to the engineer; get the wet-stamped structural/foundation plans and reports; get the California Title 24 energy calcs; get a grading plan. Then we can think about taking everything to the City of Pacifica, and starting our permit application process. Can we do all of that in two weeks? Sounds a little doubtful, eh? Still, onwards and upwards.

This week's playlist:
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Bruce Springsteen - Working on a Dream
Grizzly Bear - Yellow House

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Where Am I?

Time for an update, I think.

• I'm waiting to hear back from PG&E about the easement. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they won't object to us building with a small part of the house sitting under the overhead power lines.

• I flew to LA on Tuesday just to look at Jeld-Wen Premium Aluminum sliding patio doors. A little crazy, perhaps, but apparently they hardly sell any of them here in the Bay Area, and I don't want to spend $18,500 without at least seeing what I'm buying. So I like what I saw, and I don't think I can do any better for the money. I'll be going with the 9 foot high sliders with LowE 366 glass for the back of the house, with no transoms, and Jeld-Wen Windowmaster 500 windows all around.

• Looks like the kitchen will be the IKEA Akurum cabinets with the white gloss finish, as per Rocio's design. At $4500.00 for the complete kitchen, there's really no contest. If money was no object I'd go with an Ernesto Meda kitchen. Maybe next time... I think I've also decided to eliminate the small wall in the kitchen. I'll just go with an open kitchen with an island. Here's a 3D version of the kitchen:

I was always planning to get a black electric ceramic cooktop for the island, but then I saw stainless steel gas cooktop that architect Renzo Piano designed for the Smeg, and I think I have to have it (incredibly, it's actually cheaper than the cooktop I had been planning to buy...):

For the countertops, it's going to be Slate black Paperstone from EcoHome Improvement in Emeryville, for around $4000 including fabrication and installation. It's niiiice, I like. And even though it's black, it's very green.

• I've been trying to find fixtures and fittings for the bathroom, and at the moment I'm leaning heavily towards a Philippe Starck designed freestanding bath, vanity, sink, and mirror cabinet from Duravit. All immensely white and sexy, in the je ne sais quoi manner of French designers. Merci moi.

• We're quite a bit closer to lodging our building permit application. A student of mine who is an architect is working on the garage and basement plan, the site plan, and the deck plan. Once he's done we have a structural engineer who can do the foundation plan and the calculations, and then I think we'll be good to go. Once we file, it should take about 6 weeks to get the building permits, if everything goes to plan.

• Tomorrow - Sunday - I'm meeting Ed the Contractor and Ben the Architect at the lot. Ed's going to build a platform that will approximate the elevation of the living room, and I'll be able to pretend I'm standing in my house looking at the view. If the weather's as good as it has been lately, the resulting photo should be pretty spectacular. As in pretty, and spectacular.

So, you know, that's where I am. Here's one more 3D rendition to be going on with: