Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Machine For Living

While we wait for the return of sunshine and blue skies (which should arrive in the next couple of days) and an opportunity to take some more definitive photos, here's a little something to pass the time.

The Minnie House is a completely and utterly beautiful machine for living, perfectly suited in design and orientation to its spectacularly serene location; quite, warm, cosy and well thought out; shiny on the outside and calm on the inside. It's a wonderful living monument to my mum, Mina Rapport, and a credit to its architect, Rocio Romero; to its site architect, Ben Hidalgo; to its contractor, SEA Construction; and to each and every (mostly Latino) man whose labor and toil enabled this silver box to rise from this Pacifica hillside.

My criticisms notwithstanding, I'd like to thank my contractor, Steve Albert, and his project manager Rich Alfano (who has become a good friend over the course of construction), who went to bat for me when this project was at its shakiest, and shepherded it through the construction process while helping me to keep the budget from going through the roof, which is no mean achievement when building on a California ocean-side slope.

Many of the little remaining jobs are now thankfully complete, including the guardrail on the retaining wall and the handrail on the stairs. The leaking fire sprinkler line has been replaced with a new roll of copper pipe, and once it's flushed and hooked up I can once more invite the fire marshall on site for his final inspection. Once he signs off, Chai the City Inspector can come back and, hopefully, grant my certificate of occupancy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Art of Being Heard But Not Seen

Apologies if you've been waiting for news with bated breath, but yes, I successfully moved into The Minnie House last Saturday, with gratefully accepted help and muscular assistance from esteemed friends and colleagues Steven, Jovanny, Tony and Melissa.

The reason it's like a dream come true is because, well, it's a dream come true. The house is a veritable wonderland of modernism, with clean lines and a simple color palette, adorned with a melange of iconic mid century and more recently designed furniture that share a spare, elegant aesthetic (all IMHO, of course - your mileage may vary). My geeky side is also well represented with music in every room, courtesy of the Sonos Digital Music System, big screen TVs on the walls, and a beautifully organized media closet to keep all of the goodies functional but invisible, which should perhaps be christened The Art of Being Heard But Not Seen.

Naturally there is still much to be done, particularly on the outside. The driveway is a still a muddy mess, not helped by the poorly plumbed fire sprinkler line, which is leaking water into the backfilled trench. A solution has so far been elusive, but keen minds are working night and day (not really) to fix it so that we can, finally, at long last, pour some concrete and complete the construction phase. There are also several interior jobs that the GC has been sadly and maddeningly unable to complete in a timely manner, and it's unclear to me when, if ever, these tasks will be moved from the 'to do' list to the 'done and dusted' list.

The weather has been miserable for the most part, preventing me from shooting definitive photos of both the interior and the exterior, but fear not, architecture and design aficionados, photographic delights will be presented to satisfy your visual appetite in short order.

My Top Ten Favorite Things About The Minnie House (in no particular order):
1. The Hans Grohe Pura Vida shower head, for the best (solo) showers I have ever experienced
2. The stairwell, which I'm certain has magical powers beyond my comprehension
3. The luscious and divine African Roma walnut floors
4. The Norm 69 and Phrena pendant lights, both of which glow magnificently
5. The anorexic Samsung plasma TV hanging on the living room wall
6. The four majestic aluminum and glass doors from Sliding Door SF
7. The quietude of the glorious oceanside location
8. The welcoming friendliness of my new neighbors
9. The overall aesthetic impact of my spectacular silver shoebox on the hill
10. The view. Duh.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Light Fantastic

The Norm 69 pendant light, designed in 1969 by Simon Karpov, installed today over my dining table. Gorgeous.

I Could Murder A Cup of Tea

I'm still hoping to move in on Saturday. Of course that depends on Chai the Building Inspector. Everything's frantic and frenetic as I try to get everything finished. Thanks to the loan of a neighbor's butane stove I was able to brew my first cup of Tetley's Tea at the house on Tuesday, when I spent my first night here, camped out in a sleeping bag on a crappy air mattress while a vicious howling wind threatened to huff and puff and blow the house down. I was freaked out and couldn't sleep, but the house was still standing in the morning!

The finish plumbing was completed a couple of days ago, and the photo above depicts the very moment that water first flowed through the house. The gorgeous Pura Vida vanity faucet from Hans Grohe was next to go online, and now all that's missing is hot water. PG&E is supposed to come tomorrow morning to install the gas meter, and after that I should have every service up and running.

Today the house is a hive of activity: the guys from Crawford Satellite are completing all the wiring in the media closet, the guys from The Sliding Door Company are installing the bathroom and office aluminum doors, the guys from MC Electric are wiring the cooktop and pendant light and fire alarm and generally wrapping up their work, Bobby from Coastal Plumbing is beavering away in the basement to complete the radiant heat work before gas is turned on, and Dan the Carpenter is nailing in the final pieces of baseboard, mounting toilet paper holders, adding the valance trim below the wall cabinets and attaching the plinths, or toe kicks, to the floor cabinets in the kitchen. Busy busy busy.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"And this is my number two..."

I'll spare you graphics and details, but suffice to say, big jobs in the new house. A moment to savor.