Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Colors!

Last week I bought this beautiful, happy painting from local artist Emily Dysinger. One day it will hang in the kitchen of the Minnie House.

A Hiccup

Well, rather more than a hiccup, actually. Yesterday, I finally heard from the Bank of Marin (with whom I have been working since last September) that my construction loan application had been rejected. Their major fear is that, as I am self employed, I may not be able to get a mortgage at the end of the construction process. Unfortunately, nothing I do or so will convince them otherwise, despite my stellar credit rating and despite the fact that I am financing 50% of the entire project myself. Crap.

So as far as financing is concerned, I'm right back where I started, at square one. Now I'm working with a loan consultant at Chase (which is both my business and personal bank) who used to be one of my Kickboxing students. Not sure if that will help, but I'm sure it can't hurt.

I still intend to push ahead with the building permit application. I was hoping to submit the application this morning, but I still haven't received my stamped construction plans from Rocio Romero. In fact, I got a strange phone call from my project manager early yesterday morning, informing me that he couldn't FedEx the plans to me until I had paid all of the associated fees, including the engineers fees. That's more than a little odd and unpleasant, considering that THEY HAVEN'T EVEN BILLED ME YET! Oh well, this is just one more obstacle for me to overcome.

No worries. It's a beautiful sunny spring day in San Francisco, and I have faith that everything will work out OK.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Status Update

We're almost ready to submit our application for the building permit. I was hoping to that next Thursday would be the big day, but we won't have the grading plan by then. If we need that in order to submit, we'll have to wait a few more days. Still, we now have the site plan, the structural calcs, the structural and foundation plans, the soils report, the topographic survey, the letter from PG&E, the permit application form and a big fat check to the City of Pacifica. I don't have my hands on the Title 24 report yet, but we should get that in a couple of days. So we're THIS close!

The rear of the house has changed a little (again!) since my last update. Current thinking is that we'll have one 10' wide x 7' high slider, and one 10' wide x 7' high fixed window, which means we can do all of the basement in concrete, with a 3.5" x 3.5" steel post between the two windows. There won't be any windows for the garage, but maybe I'll upgrade to the Clopay Avante garage door, which will have cool looking opaque windows.

I splashed out this week on a Fagor stainless steel oven that had been on display in a kitchen showroom that is going out of business (a bargain at $450!), and on an LG combo washer/dryer (the same one that I currently have at home - it works great!) from Craigslist. I'm looking for bargains every day, and there are plenty to be had at the moment.

One big obstacle to this entire project is, you know, the funding! I have been talking to the bank for several months, but as of this moment I still don't have approval for my construction loan. I'm running on faith alone, figuring that I'll plunge ahead with the permit process, and then if the bank says no I'll just have to spend more time looking around for someone else to lend me $350,000! I'm thinking that may take a while, though...

Oh, I am also buying a painting for the house. It's a lovely colorful abstract, painted by a local artist named Emily Dysinger. I think it will look stunning on the kitchen wall.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

Another beautiful Sunday in Pacifica, and there's plenty of color on my lot. This is going to be such a gorgeous place to live!

Random Notes

The picture above is something like how I want the house to look... white walls, as per Rocio's design, and a chocolate-y hardwood floor (at the moment it's a toss-up between Ty Pennington Sambuca Bamboo from lumberliquidators.com, or Yanchi Ebony Stained Strand Bamboo from buildirect.com. The latter is slightly nicer, but it's also more expensive).

In other news:

1. Received my letter from PG&E, granting us permission to build underneath their easement. Thanks, PG&E!

2. Met with Randy the Engineer and Ed the GC, and I think we have agreed to ditch the Simpson hangers and go with a regular floor system, with the joists sitting on the foundation wall.

3. It now looks like the rear basement wall will be wood above and below the windows and the patio door, and we'll run the 3.5" x 3.5" steel posts all the way down back of the house. We'll have to delete them from the LV kit, and get them made locally. The advantages of doing this are twofold: first, we get the exact same gap between the windows downstairs as we do upstairs, which will look good; and secondly, it leaves open the possibility of knocking out the wood and replacing the windows with patio doors some time in the future.

4. The rear deck will be cantilevered out using steel beams. I like the sound of that, although we'll have to get them galvanized or somehow treated so that they don't rust.

5. Hope to be able to file for the building permit next Tuesday, March 17th.