Stone Floor Shopping

We have taken care of the stone for the fireplace, but we still need to take care of the stone for the floors. The area in front of the fireplace and the entry way are going to be stone of some sort.
So we took our floor sample and went to Bourget Brothers and to Home Depot Expo to take a look. We know what we want, yet we have no idea how to describe it or find it. It has to be natural and varied, but it can’t look like it came out of an ancient Greek temple. It can’t be too shiny, but it should be pretty smooth and comfortable on the foot. It can’t be too veiny. No marble. No machine beveled edges. No 12″x12″ tiles — too common. We are not sure if there should be a pattern or if it should be 18″x18″ pieces. If we choose a pattern, what kind of pattern?
My head hurts.
We like the travertine texture and colors, but have missgivings about the holes. Unfilled, they look hard and would be better on a larger scale. Like the Getty Museum. And filled with grout, the holes make the stone look a little hand made. Not sure how to explain it.

Travertine with filled holes.

The fireplace is made of Utah Blonde and Moonlight limestone. Here are some pix of some different samples with the wood floor sample and a couple pieces of fireplace stone.

But what really caught our eye was this Murgiano Opus Limestone. It would be smooth on the feet. It has bevels, but they are minimal. We like the variance in the stones. The texture is nice: smooth yet not polished. The price is good too. The only reservation we have is that it is available in this pattern only.

Trust But Verify

The engineering plans call for another 4×8 spanning the length of the master closet suppported by 2 4x4s on either end of the master closet to support a 4×4 which would in turn support the surprise 6×12, which comes to an end above the closet. Sound confusing? I have no idea what I just wrote. But the contractor had another idea. Support the 6×12 by a secured 4×4 in the wall between the master bedroom and the master closet. The reason being that in the drawings it appears that the big beam would extend 6 ft over the closet when in fact it extends only 3 ft. approximately.

The larger beam does not extend as far as we thought it would. I think this is because of the way the three sides of the roof converge closer to the wall than thought. But I am guessing.

But this whole set up didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Why is the strongest thing in the structure the thing being supported? These wimpy 4x4s are supporting a massive slab of tree. Plus it seemed like the 4×4 was being supported by floorboards and a 2×4. I asked about this and they told me they put wood under the house so all this weight was resting on solid wood.

this is the lower supporting 4×4.

So, here comes the trust but verify part. After getting home from the gym on this Saturday morning, I climb under the house to look at the pieces of wood. I was petrified at first. Were my shots current? Was my underwear clean? I climb into the netherworld of rats and possums feet first.



I have a little panic attack and get out. Mission unaccomplished. #$%^$&#^!
Okay let’s do it again.

I get back to where I freaked before. Hey, this isn’t that bad. I found a little dip so I had some room to turn around and get to a better place to see the new wood. I felt like an archeologist in a weird way.

Ah HA! New wood!

You cant tell it from these pictures, but this wood is jammed in there very tight.

I do not know how it is secured, but maybe since it is in there just pure friction will keep them in place. There a lot of hammer marks so maybe it is not secured at all except by the weight of that massive 6×12.

I feel like I accomplished something by climing down here — going to the dark side and back.

More Pix of what has been done recently.

The contractor told us that things are going to wind down for the next few days until the windows get here. Then there is going to be a big push and a lot of activity. I reluctantly accept this since the windows are supposed to be getting here any day now.
So here are some more pix of what they did in the past couple days. I went up in the attic to take some pix of the tray ceiling from above.

It’s a bummer they had to cut up some of the plumbing they did. It passed inspection and now it’s all cut up!

The finished the sheer wall in the garage. To do this they had to take out some of the ceiling next to the wall because it had to be continuous. Luckily, the joists are going parallel to the wall and not perpendicular to it. That would have made the job tougher.

Tray Ceiling

How did youspend you thanksgiving? I built a tray ceiling in a Master Bedroom. We were kind of surprised they were working on Turkey Day. Makes you wonder about the whole illegal immigration thing and our role in it.

But Not All is Lost

They beam they had to take down they were able to reuse in the bathroom sheer wall. Not sure why they are replacing a 4×4 with this beam at this stage of the game (okay I think I have an idea) but they need a 4×8 support another 6×12 going in.

The beam is now on its end with the hold downs.

I gotta say, I didn’t even know this was happening. I thought I was more up on things than this. This monster beam is supposed to support the roof. But it seems to me (and to the contractor and architect) to be overkill. It seems like it is not holding up much and a lot is needed to hold it up!

I wasn’t so much worried that he couldn’t hold it, but I was worried the ladder couldn’t hold him. The ladder was getting ready to buckle under all this weight. And it was our little ladder, not one of their heavy duty ladders.

Resting on the wall between the closet and the master.

The ladder was seriously about to give. I was stressing.

From the bathroom looking up.

I don’t know how he is holding that beam up. There must be someone behind him.

Getting it positioned.

The beam had to end at that corner point in the roof.

Looking straight up.

Bolt downs

I Find a Major Mistake

I had noticed this a few days ago, but I finally got out the tape measure. The sliding door opening in the master bedroom is off. Way off. And I immediately panic. This is what it looks like:

So the beam is in place, the hold downs are in place and inspected. But the opening is not centered with the landing, and it is too small to fit 4 2’6″ doors. It is only 124 inches wide. And you need at least 128 inches. Story continued below pictures.

The landing is 70 inches wide.

The opening is 29 inches past the landing on the north side.

The opening is 24 inches past the landing on the south side.

123″ is not large enough to fit the doors.

The opening is not centered on the landing.

So I have nightmares all last night. They are going to have to redo so much. How did this happen? I go over the plans and it says the doors are 2’6″ and it says that the doorway should be centered on the landing. From this info, the contractor is supposed to figure out the rest.
I call them and tell them the news and they are both over the next morning in damage control mode. They tried to sell me that the plans were unclear. Standard procedure I think. What the contractor did is measure the space between the wall and the edge of the door on the drawings and scale it up. Not the way to go. He also pitched that he was trying to center it on the bedroom. But it wasn’t centered on the room either! I finally had to walk through the logic stated above. He admitted defeat kind of and then fixed it the next morning. It meant installing a new beam, and turning the hold down around so the posts are on the outside of the hold downs. Thank you-know-who that they did not need to redo the hold downs because that is a chunk of change to get the inspector out to the site again.

They moved the posts so they are on the outside of the hold downs. This is on the south side.

They moved the posts so they are on the outside of the hold downs. This is on the north side.

Shower Drain Story

We have a shower drain story for you.
Call us crazy, others have, but we want a shower drain that looks in the same league as the rest of the fixtures in the bathrooms. We got chrome faucets, chrome shower set, even chrome valves for under the toilet. And afterall, where are you looking most of the time when you are in the shower? Down.
So what is so crazy about wanting a chrome shower drain?
Well it depends on who you ask. Our contractor thought he had heard it all. Our architect has never had anyone request this before. And sales people at Walker Zanger, Ann Sacks, and Design Bath and Hardware were at a loss. The sales girl at Ann Sacks didn’t understand what we were even asking.
We were at Waterworks one day looking at tile when we saw what we were looking for. A big square substantial shower drain. In polished nickel or chrome. But it was $360. Is that a lot for a shower drain? Their tile is expensive too so what did we expect. But now at least, we knew that someone else had thought of this. We weren’t the only crazy folks out there.
So today, while we were at Carter Hardware looking at door knobs, what is the first thing to jump out at us? Big honkin’ square Chrome shower drains! At a fraction of the Waterworks price.
We bought three.

Framing Nearing an End

They added more sheer wall today. Around the edge of the closet. Up in the attic. They peeled back some of the garage ceiling so the sheer wall could go up all the way from the first floor to the roof uninterupted.

Up in the attic.

Up in the attic.

Sheer Walls Go Up

They put up the shear walls in the Master Bedroom and around the master closet.
The bedroom:

And here is the closet:

Shear walls have to have 4×4 every 4 feet and the plywood is nailed to these with nails 2 inches apart. Also they put in nail spacers between the plywood to allow for settling.

Siding Comes Down

The master closet bad add on siding came down today. This is the first time you can see the work from the street. And when you are inside, it feels like you are in a big pop up tent.

As was.




From the back before.

From the back after.

New Living Room Sub Floor

The insulation is in and now goes the sub floor. It looks like they will need to put in a couple levels to get this floor even with the flor in the original living room.

Glue goes down.

The sub floor goes in.

This is the glue they used. “Subfloor sonstruction adhesive.” No doubt what that is for.

We Got a New Dumpster

Here it is. What a beauty!

But did they need to drive all over the front lawn when they delivered it? Whoever did this doesn’t work for our contaractor, but what a jerk. Seems blatant. Talked to the contractor about it and they are going to take care of it.

Insulation for the New Living Room Floor

I guess this goes under framing. In between the sleepers goes some insulation. All new floors get insulation. Old floors don’t have to get it. The foreman asked me to take these pictures and send them to him so he could show them to the city inspector.

The sheets of insulation.

It’s a very hard foam.

Cutting it to fit between the sleepers.

In place.

Pocket Door

They put in the pocket door frame for the Master Bath. Of course, when I saw the kit, I did a little research to see if it was a good one. It is. They are installing the by Johnson Hardware 1500.
I checked to see what kind of hanger they were going to use. the 1120 or the heavy duty 1125 with ball bearings for door weighting up to 200 lbs. At this point, the foreman kind of looked at me trying to figure out if I was for real. Hey man, I just want this door to glide right. Gotta ask the tough questions!

Studs taken out to make room for the frame.

In place.

Channel profile tracks instead of the I-beam track. Using tricycle hangers for even movement.

Recycled Wood

Not sure how I feel about this, but I have checked around and it seems to be okay. In some places they are reusing wood. They are even using wood inside the house that used to be a part of the trellis. Our architect says that this old wood is very strong. It is a hardwood. Plus, back then, a 2×4 was really 2″ by 4″! So if it is okay with the structural engineer and with the city inspectors, it is okay with us.

This used to be above the sliding glass door.

Can you pick out the piece that used to be a part of the trellis?


The ceiling joists over the master bath are recycled too. And splintering when nailed into place. YIKES! (They took care of that with stabilizing piecs of wood, but I didn’t get a pic.

Sheer Walls

The attic is going to be like a fortress. Maybe we should build a panic room?
The new master walls go all the way from the cement base to the roof.
The south wall:

And the north wall:

The Last of the Big Beams

The beam that extends over the master bedroom door is installed.

From the outside.

It’s attached to bolted 4x4s. At the floor

It’s attached to bolted 4x4s. And above.

And the north end of the big beam gets bolted in.