No Show

The Foreman came back from his unfortunate trip to El Salvador because of his father’s death. The contractor and the foreman call on Monday saying they will be over at 2PM with the carpenter to go over a few things. Nothing heavy going to happen.
3:30 rolls around and no one has arrived. Wait, is this DirecTV? I call. “I will be there in 30 minutes,” he says. And at 4:00 he does arrive. Alone. I guess the carpenter couldn’t make it.
I give my condolences, tell him about the electrical fiasco. He tells me he, the carpenter, and his crew will be over tomorrow, Tuesday, at 11AM to drop off some lumber for framing. They will also be demoing the wall between the Master and the closet, plus taking out the master ceiling, where they are going to build a tray ceiling. They will also take care of our electrical needs. Great! See you then.
Tuesday comes and goes. No show, No call.
Today is Wednesday. 10AM. No show yet, no call yet. Is this what I can expect in the future? Two days with no activity, and going on a third?
They were anxious to get started, and now, as they say, we are in. We are at their mercy.

We are not electricians

So on Sunday, we get this crazy idea to replace the ceiling lamp in our bedroom. Throughout the house there were these southwestern clay ceiling and wall lamps made by Fabby USA. They didn’t fit in with the architecture of the house, but we never replaced them. Actually, if you go to the web site, they don’t look southwestern, but they seemed it to us. The thing is, they are expensive — almost $200 each! We saved the ones from the other side of the house and we wanted to take the remaining three down so we could sell them on ebay!

this is our bathroom fabby.

So we turn off the power on the electrical panel. Good first move, then we take down the Fabby, no problem! Then we install the ceiling lamp from our Master Bedroom. This is easy! We know what we are doing! Afterall, we installed our dining room chandelier, so what if it flickers irregularly!
Then we turn the power back on and turn on the lamp. Everything was perfect except sparks flew out of the lamp and landed on the bed and burned little holes in our duvet cover. Oops!
We turn the lamp back off. Hmmm. Did it get a little dirty from sitting in the attic a few days? Probably. That was it. Let’s turn the lamp on again. It works! YAY!
DzzzzT! Pow! Dzzzt! Was that smoke? Yes. This can’t be good.
What should we do?
Maybe not think we know what the bleep we are doing.
Turn off power, take down lamp. Notice the fried wiring. Notice the hole in the metal of the lamp base.

damaged goods
see the hole circled in red.

And now we have 75 year old wire hanging out of the ceiling and we dont know if the lamp switch is turned off or on.


An electrician is coming out today.

Five Days Later

I must say, despite yesterday’s unfortunate event, things are looking pretty good. Our architect came over just now and is very impressed with the progress made. He is also impressed with how clean they are managing to keep everything.
Upon inspecting the opened up walls, he doesnt see any surprises that will prevent us from carrying out our plans. Sometimes there can be support walls you didn’t count on, or other such roadblocks. So that there are none so far is a blessing and a surprise.
We are also intrigued to see little glimpses into the house’s past.
Here, you can see two doors the previous owners sealed up. The right one is from the bedroom to the sunroom. When the house was first built, this was a door to the outside. The left door was to a master water closet. We think it must have been a half bath.

doors of yesterday
You can see the two doors. Sunroom in the background.

This is the master bedroom from the other way.

This is the closet wall which is coming down. The large header beam indicates where the new wall will be.

Here are a couple more closeups of the cement floor. The bedroom / closet wall will be built on this seam.

closeup of floor

closeup of floor

You can already see how the living/sun room is opening up. In the first picture, you can see the wall and doorway involved in my freak out yesterday. And you can see the plywood barrier placed in the doorway to the dining room. Also, you can see a covered up window that looked from the dining room to the sunroom. It was covered up probably at the same time the master door was.



Here is the plywood from the dining room.

the new den

Underneath the tile was a cool looking jagged brick painted white. I couldn’t get a picture of it because it was so dusty. Oh well, it’s gone now. Now that it is demoed down this far, our architect took exact measurements for finalizing the stone and bookshelf elevations.

the naked fireplace

My First Freak Out.

This happened yesterday. There I am happily working in my office, thinking that this isn’t going to be so bad. The dining room is actually cozy. The noise isn’t driving me crazy as warned.
How silly.
I suddenly smell dust. Not so much a smell as a sensation. But a plaster particle invading my nose sensation. Wait! How is dust getting way back here? Hmmm… Let’s go investigate!
One of the guys who was taking plaster off the sunroom wall shared with the dining room got to the plastic covered doorway and took down the plastic to continue his work!
I repeat, he took down the plastic protecting our part of the house so he could get at the doorway. What the heck!!!
“Stop everything!”
I hated to yell at them since I can’t communicate in Spanish, but what were they thinking? I tell them not to do any more work until the plastic is back up. I call the foreman and the contractor to advise them of the situation. The foreman was in El Salvador due to a death in the family. The contractor says he will be over in 2 hrs.
I leave to get some fans so that at least there will be some airflow and the dust will be carried out of the house. Lowe’s was out. Linens and Things was out. Target was out. Great. I get back and they were hammering away, and the plastic they put up was riddled with holes!
“Stop everything!”
Time for micromanagement. I know demo is not skilled labor by any means, but I guess some people need supervision doing anything. These guys were not thinking. (Which reminds me, I need to comment on the labor and how it fits into the larget economy.)
I told them to put up plywood and get it taped up and also got another door taped.
I got my scotch cloths, used for my computer equipment, and dusted the dining room. It could have been much worse had I not been there to catch it quickly.
By the time the contractor arrived, I had it under control. But good grief. I told him it was important to me to have consistency in labor. I want the same people coming so we dont have to reeducate people everyday. He apologized profusely and took me to lunch, so all was not lost.

The Demolition Begins.

Our contractor told us that they were going to just drop off a few things. Maybe do a little work, nothing heavy. Well, I got news for ya. BOOM! By 8:30AM, the place looked like a bomb went off.
They show up at 7:00AM. Eager and ready to go. I think they really want to get a job started, because as soon as the first thud hits, you are commited. There is no going back. I liken it to getting on an airplane. You are on, and you can’t get off until the flight is finished.
Because of the DirectTV debacle, we hadn’t moved any of the furniture from the Sunroom to the Dining Room. After all, we could not miss the Series Finale of “Six Feet Under.” So the first thing they did, was help us move our furniture into the dining room, our new living space.

The new living room
Moving stuff out.

the old sun room
And moving it in.

Plastic went up to protect our side of the house from dust.

plastic goes up
Keeping the dust out.

And then all hell breaks loose!

We were thinking we could leave a few things in the Bedroom #2 for a few days. Until they really got going.
Uhhh… No.

The closet was here.

And now it’s here.

The old master bath / new hall bath gets a beating.

the original door
You can now see thru the original door for this bathroom to the hall. The entry hall is in the background.

And the hallway is opened up.

And while all of this is going on, there are still clothes hanging in the closet! And I have no where to put them. I go running out to Target to buy some racks and some more sterlite bins. And get everything outside before it’s too late!

A lot of our clothes ended up in my office. We ended up giving a lot to the Cancer Society store and to Out of the Closet. It’s one thing to have crappy clothes you never wear hanging in a back corner or your closet, it’s another to have them hanging in your office right in front of you.

The sunroom gets a beating too.

lots of dust

My camera was getting dust in the lens, so I decided to stop taking pictures. Dust was everywhere.
Yesterday and Today, the demo is going even further. I will post those pix tomorrow.

The hedge gets a haircut

Of course the day to day maintenance goes on. Today the hedge got its six month trim. I love seeing the guys walking up on top of the hedge. It’s like a scene out of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”.

Right before we start.





Around the Outside of the House

I wanted to show you the yard. In the three years we have lived here, we have devoted a lot of energy to the yard and the foliage around the house. We installed a brand spankin’ new sprinkler system. Outdoor lighting, which looks spectacular at night. We completely relandscaped the front yard. It used to be mainly camellias shaped like lollipops and azelias and begonias. We wanted it to look more modern and concentrate on varying textures rather than blooms.
Below are pix of the front of the house:

from the street
Here is the house from the street.

the walkway
Here is the walkway to the front door. We installed all the lighting and none of these plants were here.

And below are a couple more shots from different angles.

This is the garage door. We are getting a new one made to match this one. During the rains this past winter, it became so waterlogged it wouldn’t stay open.


On the north side of the house, we have a garden. So many tomatos!



The below pix are of the backyard.
One thing our predecessors did right was the pool. Gotta give them credit for that. It’s a salt water system, so the dogs love it.





This is the outside shot of the patio looking into the sunroom.



Below is the office, RemodeLogue international headquaters, from the outside. You can tell is was an add-on. Being on a slab at ground level, it flooded a little in the rains last winter.

office from outside

office from outside

Below is the arbor we put in on the south side of the house. It helps keep the office cooler in the summer.

South side arbor

So that about wraps it up.

Getting the DirectTV moved

I called DirectTV to get the receiver and the TV moved from the sunroom to the dining room – our livingroom/den for the next few months. the dish needs to be moved from the arbor it is on to the one on the other side of the house. They are coming sometime Sunday from 1 to 5. Love those 4 hour windows. It will cost $49.95 for the dish and $49.95 for the receiver. And the installer gets to charge extra for “custom work” — whatever that means. I hope that doesn’t include going under the house into the crawl space, because that is what needs to happen.

The House Tour Part II

Now let me show you the part of the house we are not working on in the first phase. That is the dining room, kitchen, Bedroom 3, and office. All of these rooms will be demoed in phase 2, so get a good look now!
Again, here is a floor plan of the existing house. It is the demo plan, actually. The dotted walls are being torn down.
Below is the dining room with the kitchen in the background.

Dining Room

Below is the kitchen. The first picture looks out to the patio, the second picture looks in the opposite direction. Notice this is where the washer and dryer currently live.



Below is the office. Yes, I know it is messy. It is also an add-on to the original footprint of the house. We think it started out as a work shed. It is like a shack stuck onto the back. It is also’s international headquarters! When we first moved in we ripped out some lovely wall to wall carpet and probably 35 years worth of tiles and linoleum to the cement and then had the floor tiled with slate. Keeps it a lot cooler in the summer.


Below is bedroom #3 which will be our home for the remodel. It is on the other side of the house from the other rooms.

Bedroom #3

Bedroom #3

Below is the 3/4 bath. It will be our bathroom for the remodel. Notice the cheap vanity. The last owners, laid the tile floor, which extends into the kitchen, around it so we could not remove it without doing some major floor work. Another mistake we bought with the house. So this bathroom will not be remodelled but destroyed! But that will have to wait until phase 2.

Bath #3

Bath #3

The House Tour

I guess now is a good time to give you a tour of the house so you know what this project will entail. The house is a 3 bedroom 2 3/4 bath ranch style house. Other rooms include the Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Office, Garage, and what we call the Sunroom.
Here is a floor plan of the existing house. It is the demo plan, actually. The dotted walls are being torn down.
We are dividing the project into two phases. The first phase is the right portion of the house. The master bedroom, Bedroom #2 or den, Foyer, Living room, Sunroom.
Here are pictures:
Below is the foyer looking in from the front.

Foyer from outside

Below is the living room from the foyer. You can see the sunroom on the right.

Foyer from outside

This following pictures are of the sunroom. You can see the old window separating the living room from the sunroom. Originally, the sunroom was an outside space that was covered by the roof. It was later screened in and then finally enclosed. the sunroom is on a slab, while the living room is on a foundation. We are creating one large living room by joining these two rooms together. We are also replacing the windows in the sunroom with telescoping sliding doors that will open up all the way to give a greater in/out flow. They will have the same divided light look that you see here.

Sunroom from Living room

Sunroom from Living room

Sunroom from hall

The following pictures are of the master bedroom. It is an enormous room. Too big really. It will be getting a little smaller. Check out the “I Love Lucy” closets!

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

These pix below are of the Master bath. We call it our Dynasty bathroom. Can’t you see Crystal getting her hair pulled out over that sink? Everytime we shudder at the thought of living through this, we remind ourselves that if we lived with those gold and chrome faucets for three years, we should be able to tolerate anything.
This will become the hall bath and we are creating a new master bath between the Master Bedroom and the Living room.

Master Bath

Master Bath

Master Bath
This is some cheesy plywood shelving. Gonzo.

This is Bedroom #2 or the den on the demo plan. Not much is happening to this room except the closet is being rebuilt with stain grade cabinetry. It will look more like an executive office than a bedroom. Though it will still be a bedroom technically.

Bedroom 2
This is some cheesy plywood shelving though. Not worthy of Crystal or this house.

Bedroom 2

This little bathroom is going to be turned into a laundry room. It makes so much sense to have the laundry room near the master. So you don’t have to constantly schlep clothes all the way accross the house.

Bath 2

Bath 2

The bad add-on

When you purchase an old house, you are purchasing a lot of mistakes of past owners. One such blunder of this house is the addition of the master closet. While we love the size of it, the way it was added greatly complicated our desire to replace the sliding glass door. When they added on, they used cement flooring instead of continuing on with hardwood flooring. This meant that hardwood throughout the house ended in the middle of the bedroom. In an odd but very real way, this floor joint is what led us to the large scale remodel. Because it is the beginning of the domino chain that reaches all the way to the other side of the living room.

the hardwood floor stops in the middle of the bedroom
The hardwood floor stops in the middle of the bedroom.
So we couldn't take out the carpet
So we couldn’t take out the carpet

Nice Carpeting, huh? We were able to take it out of the other bedrooms and expose the beautiful hardwood, but not the master. This complicates things. Can we rip out the cement and continue the hardwood? No. Do we put different hardwood on top of the cement creating a little step in the middle of the room? We could, but we felt that would be awkward, and also didn’t think it would be a pleasing look. We did decide on a solution, stay tuned.

The addition from the outside.
This is the addition from the outside.

Notice the siding. the rest of the house is stucco. We are going to have the siding taken down and have it stuccoed so it looks like the rest of the house.

Up close.
A little wear and tear.

When you get upclose, the closet addition is looking shoddy.

The Sliding Glass Door

It all started with the sliding glass door in our master bedroom. It is the cheapest door made by the biggest company US. It gets stuck, comes off the track easily. The lock mechanism is broken.

from the outside
This is a view from the outside.
View from the inside
And here is a view from the inside.

We sprayed WD-40 on it. We sprayed silicone on it. Nothing worked. Who would put a door this cheap into a house with such good bones? We know — they sold us the house. What started out as a simple door replacement blossomed into a full fledged remodel because as with any house 66 years old, replacing the door would not be so simple. It had the result of a chain reaction that would lead to the other side of the house.

The first entry

Okay — we signed on the dotted line. And in two weeks from today, on 22 August 2005, construction will begin on our house. It has taken one and a half years to get to this point. Drawing up plans with an architect. We are excited and nervous.
Against everyone’s recommendations, we are going to live in the house as the remodel is going on. Why? Because we have no choice. We know it will suck, but we dont have an extra 2 grand a month to rent a one bedroom apartment.
This site will include pictures, lessons, headaches, freak outs, reflections, realizations, and revelations.
While this blog is not starting until the actual work is beginning, we will be doing backstory entries on all that went on during the past 18 months.
We hope you enjoy it. We hope you learn something from it. And we hope to learn something from you!