Thursday, December 30, 2010

Shadows and Light

A Howling Wind

Apparently, last night's storm saw hellish winds whip around The Minnie House, flipping massive pieces of Kynar steel up against the cyclone fence like a kid playing tiddlywinks. It was still wickedly windy today so I did my best to move the unused siding out of harm's way. Tonight promises to be calmer and with any luck the worst has already passed.

Over the holiday weekend we moved many of the IKEA boxes down to the house, and started piecing together the kitchen cabinets. The first six base cabinets went together relatively smoothly, if rather slowly, before the first wall cabinet gave me a headache of epic proportions. To cut a long story (replete with much user error) short, the Akurum cabinet has a Rationell bottom shelf with a built-in under counter light, but when finished that piece was half an inch wider than the top piece. Surely shome mishtake? I'll have to call IKEA tomorrow to figure that one out.

Hector and Alejandro have been dodging the raindrops to get most of the siding complete before disappearing today for an extended New Year holiday weekend, and Hector also found time to cut and install the first of the white LockDry aluminum decking in the porch area. We'll also be using this for the entry ramp, and the rear deck.

The last couple of piece of flat metal, for the corners of the parapet wall, are at the shop being cut to size, and once those, the remainder of the coping and the corrugated metal in the porch are installed next week the exterior siding will be just about complete.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Invasion of the Mud Men

Master Bedroom
No sign of the Mud Men on the Monday after Christmas, but they turned up mob-handed the following day and finished their first pass of the entire house before I even arrived.

There's a lot of mess everywhere now so I won't be able to spend my first night at the house any time soon, but with the first coat of tape and mud complete we should be able to get the house painters in to prime the walls just two weeks from today.

Turns out that, in their haste, the drywall gang covered up at least one light switch, in the master bedroom, so there's a little extra work for them to do on a return trip some day soon, and they still have a couple of other bits and pieces to finish before all is said and done.

Utility Room
Rich the Contractor brought over a couple of electric heaters yesterday to help speed up the drying process, and once the mud is dry - presumably by tomorrow, and if not, by Friday - the Mud Men can come back, do some sanding, and then apply the second coat (of three).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter in a Walking Wonderland

The Kynar siding is now 80% complete
More corrugated steel was added this week
The view from the deck on a sunny winter's day
Sliver Kynar flat panels around the parapet were added yesterday
The post-drywall-cleanup kitchen
The dining room
The living room
The bathroom window
The master bedroom
Bedroom window, from the hallway

Walking in a Winter Wonderland (Pt 2)

Walking in a Winter Wonderland (Pt 2) from Steve Rapport on Vimeo.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Walking in a Winter Wonderland (Pt 1) from Steve Rapport on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

White Christmas

Looking down on the lower stairs
Yesterday's gang of four was today's fabulous five, and with Hector completing the preparations the crew was able to race through the remaining drywall, with the thick sheetrock dust leaving The Minnie House looking like a winter wonderland.

The master bedroom
I bought another can of expansive foam and sprayed the few remaining openings that I didn't get to yesterday, so I'm reasonably confident that the house will be tight and draught free.

Hanging the ceiling in the kitchen
Jose the Installer from SimpleFloors came by for a tour of the house this morning, and a quote for laying the engineered hardwood floor should be forthcoming in the next few days, presumably in the region of $3,000.00.

Master bathroom (left) and walk-in closet (right)
The stairwell windows
The garage starts to look like... a garage
Almost finished in the kitchen

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hail! Hail! SheetRock 'n' Roll!

Sheet-rock! On the basement ceiling!
A big day. The gang of four sheet-rockers showed up this morning and began to power through hanging the drywall. Starting with the garage ceiling and the basement ceiling, they did everything they could to complete the rooms, but as always there were complications.

Hanging sheet-rock on the garage perimeter wall
Hector's crew was supposed to finish prepping the house for the drywall team, but they didn't show up on Friday because of the rain, so the prep didn't get done. The shelves holding the remaining Kynar sheets in the garage need to be removed; the last wooden shims need to be cut out from around the windows and doors, as does the excess sprayed foam insulation. This will now all be done in the morning.

The basement, seen through the sheet-rocked doorway
Since I was on hand while the drywall was being hung, I made myself useful stuffing some of the remaining R19 EcoBatts into every last un-insulated nook and cranny, and using my single can of expansive foam to plug every exposed crevice I could find.

The Kynar at the rear of the house is now 99% complete
The gang of four still managed to complete around 60% of the house in a single day, which to my mind was an amazing feat, even though they said they were working a little slowly because this is a modern house requiring a high level of attention to minute detail.

That door in the middle? The cupboard under the stairs
By the end of tomorrow I expect the entire house to be fully sheet-rocked, and ready for the finish guys to come in to tape and float the drywall.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Simple Floor

I bought one carton to see what it would look like in the house... Nice - I like!
Last week I found out that the flooring I was about to order - Yanchi Russett-Stained Strand Woven Bamboo from Build Direct - was not suitable for installation over my radiant heat. They said I could do it, but it would void my warranty, and I don't want to spend over $5000 on flooring that has no warranty. So it was back to square one.

Even on a truly miserable day it still looks gorgeous
Next stop, engineered wood, which can be glued or nailed down over radiant heat. I tried Lumber Liquidators again, but the Schon Warm Cognac Curupay I liked so much on the display rack in the store looked completely different and rather bland when I was given a sample to take away, so I decided against it.

On Wednesday I re-visited Simple Floors right here in San Francisco, and to be truthful I was quite surprised by how many exquisite species of engineered wood they had on display. My original plan had been for something dark and rich and chocolatey, in keeping with the monochromatic theme of the house, but lately I've been drawn towards something warmer and more inviting, preferably in a cognac-y tone with a reddish tint. And so it was that I found the engineered wood of my dreams - the breathtakingly beautiful African Roma Walnut-stained Acacia that you can see in theese pictures.

Naturally it was more expensive ($4.29 per sq ft) than either the Yanchi bamboo ($3.49 per sq ft) or the Curupay ($2.49 per sq ft), so I was seriously concerned about blowing my budget, but yesterday I found out that Simple Floors has a one-day sale tomorrow when EVERYTHING in the store, including underlayment and glue and accessories, will be reduced by 15%. Hooray for sales!!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rock 'n' Roll

Drywall in the sky, delivered by GradAll
I wasn't expecting to see a GradAll forklift when I arrived on the hill this afternoon, but it was a pleasant surprise as it heralded the arrival of a multitude of materials for sheetrock'n' the house.

The guys from L&W Supply bring home the bacon
Five strong guys were on hand to bring all of the materials into the house, where the drywall guys will presumably begin their dusty job tomorrow morning.

Pabco 5/8" sheetrock
If it weren't for the intervention of the holidays this part of the build process would take a couple of weeks, but since next weekend is Christmas I'm once more not holding my breath waiting for this project to be complete any time soon.

Reflections on a beautiful day
Although yesterday was lost to the weather while it rained cats and dogs, today was a welcome break between storms with blue skies, high clouds and plenty of sunshine. While Hector was working on the Kynar siding I was happily wandering around admiring the many new shiny surfaces.

The north east corner of the house
 On a sunny day this house is a photographer's dream.

The south west side of the house is almost finished...

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Dark Knight

R30 Fiber Glass for the roof
Abraham the Insulator, otherwise known as Battman, spent the day laying insulation in the roof, the sub-floor and all of the perimeter walls. I was hoping to avoid fiber glass insulation, but that's still the most cost-effective form of insulation, and in its R30 form it's what Battman used in the roof/attic space.

Kitchen and dining room, now with added snugness
After stuffing the R30 into every nook and cranny of the ceiling and the sub-floor, Battman also filled up all the perimeter wall bays with R19 EcoBatt, and by the end of the day the house felt warm and snug.

Stair windows surrounded by Wookiee entrails
That comfy-ness was also partly due to the expansive foam that Battman sprayed to seal any and all air penetrations around the windows and doors before he left in the Battmobile.

Corrugated Kynar siding being pieced together
Meanwhile, Hector and his mate were forging ahead with the exceedingly tricky Kynar steel siding. The lower flat panels now wrap around the front and the side of the building, several of the upper flat panels now grace the rear of the house, and the south-west side, which is the bedroom wall, is close to being finished.

Hector expects to complete the installation of the siding by the end of the week, but with rain forecast for both tomorrow and Friday I'm highly skeptical. As my mum used to say, we shall see what we shall see.