Getting Started with the Stone Fireplace.

The stone moved to the backyard.

After the tile guy got the stone into the backyard, we showed him the picture of what we wanted. We made several copies to tack on the wall and put with the plans. Made a couple extra for whoever would need to see them.

This is what we want. We showed this to the contractor and the foreman before we signed the contract and the foreman was with us when we bought this rock with this picture in our hand.

We leave them alone for the day. I had not been around for most of the day. I came back just as they were leaving.
I asked “How’s it going?”
“Good. We have almost finished laying out the stone. We can start putting on the wall tomorrow maybe next day.”
Wow. I thought. That was fast. They take off and I go in to take a look. This is what I saw.

It was like they didn’t hear a word we said. They obviously didn’t get it at all. Also, it looked like they were picking up the first stone they saw and fit it in somehow. Without looking at each individual piece. They will be able to do that with the tile, but not with this stone.
I am worried.
And look at what they do to the windows before they left! They screwed a screw into it to keep it shut! I am dumbfounded!! These are friction hinges! There is no reason for that. These windows need to get sent back and fixed and they are destroying them. I think they did it so that their equipment would not get stolen. Unfortunately, a theif would simply rip out the screw and really damage the window frame. Ughhh.

A Letter of Apology/Explanation

The foreman comes by and we talk about the windows. He says he got a letter saying that everything is the distributors fault. He is eager to show it to me. We go to my computer and he gets this document from his hotmail account. It is a MS Word (with company letterhead) attachment on an email from the Salesperson, so it seems kind of real. I saved it to my computer.
Here it is.

To: [Contractor's DBA]
Dear Mr. [Contractor,
In regards to the order on [our address] when we originally quoted the job in late june2005 all windows and doors were specked out as dual glazed with low-e glass. Unfortunately when the order was placed in September windows and doors were ordered as dual glazed clear glass. I do take full responsibility for the error and will take the necessary steps in order to solve this problem.
In regards to the error on the sizes of two of the double casements there was a typing error from JT Windows that I did not catch. I do apologize for these delays. Hopefully this will not create any problems with your client.
P.S. JT windows will stand by there product on any reglazing and the full warranty applies.
Thank you,

Yet more bath prep

This is a lot of work! Every layer has to dry before the new one is applied.
Despite finding out the tile guy did not do the stone on the house we were sent to, he seems like a nice guy and works hard. They are here all day. So I guess we’ll cut him some slack. It wasn’t his fault the foreman sent us on the wild goose chase.

Master Shower.

Master shower looking good.

Clean lines

Prepping the floor.

Master Floor.

The corner in the master shower needs a little touch up.

More bathroom prep

Here are more pix of the bathroom prep.

Hall shower soap niche

Hall shower.

Master Shower

Master shower opposite side.

Hall shower.

Hall shower. The port hole will go between the 2x4s on the left. The tub will go to the left of the shower. you can see the rough plumbing for the faucets.

This is the cement they use. The mix is with water.

A pile of it taken out of the bags.

Master shower.

More master.

Fireplace Niches

The framing for the niches is done.

The three niches will be 1 foot by 2 feet.

A straight on view.

The three niches are on the left, and the bookshelf is on the right. They will both be stained birch.

Bathroom Tile Prep

Meanwhile the Tile/Stone guy is prepping the bathrooms for the tile. He is putting cement up which is what the tile will go on.

The tar paper on the bench in the master shower.

First goes the tar paper and then the mesh which will hold the first layer of cement.

The mesh is tight. This is better mesh than traditional chicken wire, which is still used. This is the master niche being cut out.

This is the first layer of cement in the master bath. It is given a rough surface so it can hold the second layer.

The wheelbarrow where they mix the cement.

This is a temporary support in the laundry rooom for the soap niche in the master shower.

Hall bath niche

Stone Guy Story

Last week we asked the foreman for some sites where we could look at some of the stone guy’s work. He gave us an address of a house in Encino.
On Sunday we go check it out. The house is a McMansion, but the stone work is not bad. Not the style we are looking for, but it looks like care was put into it. So we are satisfied that we will be able to work with the stone guy: after all this was a much bigger project than ours.

The stone was delivered yesterday while the tile guy is doing prep work for the bathrooms and the showers (next entry). Doesn’t seem like enough, and it looks like it might be all utah blonde. Half is supposed to be Moonstone. We will have to check.

Vendida means “It Sold”

I am in the office working and the foreman calls me on my cell.
“Hi Dana. Let me speak to the tile guy.”
I take the phone over to him and they speak.
I find out the foreman wants the tile guy to move the stone into the back yard. Why should he do that? It’s heavy and he is the tile guy not the stone guy.
So I ask, “Why does he want you to move the stone.”
“Because I am doing the stone.”
“We went by the house on Woodley yesterday. Good work.”
Blank. “Woodley?”
“The house on woodley? Big fireplace? You did that, right?”
“No, Sir.”
I call the foreman. “What’s up with the tile guy also doing the stone, and not having done the house on Woodley?” I am kind of in disbelief. We had made it abundantly clear from way back that we wanted a tile specialist and a stone specialist to do each. I even asked the question, “are they different people?” “Yes” was the answer.
Can I go one day without wondering what these guys are up to?
“Let me speak to him.”
“But what is up with it?”
“LET ME SPEAK TO HIM.” he yelled. I touched a nerve. Is this the caged animal the contractor mentioned?
The foremen proceeds to scream at the tile guy — I could hear it coming out of the phone. Tile guy (stone guy too?) was visibly shaken. Stuttering, explaining.
Why is he yelling at tile guy? Oh, right, because tile guy got him caught in a BIG FAT DECEPTION!!!
Tile guy gives me back the phone and I go to talk but foreman has hung up. I go back to the office.
It is only 3 in the afternoon, but I could really use a drink. A big drink.
I go to Carter Hardware to pick up our shower drains and chromed disks to find them incomplete and marred. Finish it, do it over.
I go for a swim and swim faster than I have in months.
After the swim, I get a call from the architect. He had spoken to the contractor about the windows and then the contractor tells him he is mad that I preempted or compromised the tile guy.
Don’t lie to me and there won’t be anything to worry about.

The Low E Situation.

I called the architect and told him about the low-e thing. He emailed the contractor copying me.

Dana called [Window Company] this morning to make sure that the windows have the low-e coating that we specified on the window schedule. They do not. It is inexcusable that this window order has had so many problems, and this needs to be remedied ASAP. Dana should be included on any communication between you & [Window Company] so that he has peace of mind that the low-e coating is actually there. He had been told numerous times that these windows have the coating but that information was false.

This is the email the architect sent everyone regarding their subsequent phone conversation:

Per my phone conversation with [contractor], he

The Correct Ceiling Fans Went In

The first ones did not have a heater as specified on the plans, so they had to get correct ones and have them installed. Do it right or do it twice. Seems like they are doing that a lot these days. Because of the heater element, they put each fan on its own circuit in the sub panel.

Window Fiasco Gets Even More Fiasco-er

I just called JT and found out the windows were not even ordered or made with Low-E glass like we spec’d, but with clear glass. I feel like I just got punched in the stomach. I noticed on the stickers, they said dual clear, but thought maybe that meant not tinted or something. This is just astonishing and outrageous!
I specifically asked the foreman last week and again on Saturday if the glass was low-e and he said yes.

I don’t know what this means yet, but it may get quiet around here if all these windows need to get remade.

Slider Surprise

So I thought I at least knew how the sliders were going to be installed. In recent days, I had been asking him to get the kit on site, so we could check it and make sure all the parts were here. He shows me the hardware and it is not what I expected. It is rollers that will bear the weight of the door. They are in a box labelled “World class hinges” which is not what these things are so I can’t even do research on them.

I thought we were going to hang the doors from rollers as we discussed when we planned out the window order in July. We had settled on top hanging Henderson Hardware Kit number 290. It is for straight sliding wood doors up to 300-400 lbs. But the foreman had another idea: he was going to put the rollers on the bottom and have the door roll on tracks. We didn’t want this. And this is yet another disconnect and unexpected surprise. I actually lose my temper at him in front of the architect. he says he doesn’t remember agreeing to the top hanging doors.
“We were sitting outside with the contractor and we picked out the system down to the number!”
He explained that the hanging system would not work for weather proofing the exterior doors. The hanging system was for interior doors. The architect agreed with him. It’s just that this is another surprise in a time when I don’t need any surprises. We are going with the bottom rollers. I am reluctant about it because I want to minimize the tracks on the floor. It should be comfortable to walk on them barefoot.
The architect and the foreman figured out a way (I think) for the tracks to be sunken enough to walk on, but not enough so that dirt and water will get caught in the ruts. We will see.

The Master Bath Window Has to Go Back

Upon closer examination, the master bath window is not only chunkier than we envisioned, it doesn’t line up with the doors in some critical ways. So back it goes, and who knows how long this will delay things.
But the foreman did agree with us, that if we noticed it now, it would bother us forever. He must agree that the window company made a mistake because he did not try to talk us into keeping it.
Here is a slider and a master bath window next to each other. With the top mullions lined up, the bottom mullions do not, and the bottom of the bottom panes do not. They are supposed to for a continuum accross the back of the house. Sigh.

Master Bath Window Shows Up

Getting a little closer in the window department. The reason this wondow took so long is when it was first made, the bottom two panes were one piece of glass. This mistake was made by the manufacturer.
It looks a little boxier and chunkier than we thought it would. We envisioned it looking more like the sliding doors, but the panes are smaller, a lot smaller. It also has screen on it, which we thought we weren’t getting. Hmmm… I guess that’s good.

Two Windows Get Installed

It’s a start. They put in the two 5 ft windows we have today. They look good! Although I wish they would prime them before installation. I ask them to and they shrug saying it doesn’t matter. I point out that there is a sticker with a big “IMPORTANT! Seal these windows as soon as you can!”

Kiss Up Email

The contractor sends me an email yesterday morning:

Sorry for the problems on the windows. We will fix them as fast as we can. [foreman] has the fans and will install them. He said that you wanted them installed before inspection.
We will call for the inspection next week.
I had a thought to remind you to tell [stereo installer] to leave us whatever wires we will need for phase 2 in the attic.
I will be at the hospital for some exams today, I am not sure if I get cell service but if need be leave me a message.
Thanks for your understanding,

I don’t remember telling him I understood anything in yesterdays phone call.
And this disingenuous “We will fix them as fast as we can … ” is just more of the same. I already know there is nothing anyone can do to make these windows come in any faster. The order was placed three months later than originally promised. It was placed incorrectly