Monday, December 17, 2012

The Calm before the Stone...

Just because I suck at posting, doesn't mean things aren't happening.  What I thought was going to be a big week on December 3rd, kind of got kafluggled.  Last week, however brought some big happenings.... Foreman Luke is still promising to deliver by this Friday - - and I'm going to take him at his word.  Today we got "water" in the sink - - which I will post tomorrow when I take some more photos -- but last week the whole thing really started to gel and it looks like a "room" more or less...
The first notable achievement of the week was our big beautiful Chagny made it up from the garage to the kitchen.  Luke and Dan carried her (sans doors and anything else that could be removed before hefting her) around the back and in through the door.  They did this while I went to drive carpool.  I think it was done then so I wouldn't hear them crying like a couple of little girls that, "it's SO heavy!!"  They also brought up the dishwasher - - which you will see in subsequent photos.  They reported that this was lighter and easier to maneuver.  Go figure.

There she is!!  Ready to be pushed back in to her perfect place in the stove nook!

So, after a week of fiddling here and fiddling there -- we sat ready on Friday morning for the boys from fox to come and deliver the counter tops.

Tall wall, minus the fridge and freezer....

Island with our super cool bar block back on top!  Edges protected...

Sink wall (see the dishwasher - - just taunting me now every time I do dishes in the laundry sink downstairs..)

front of island - - see where all the drawers fit in to the bar block?  It even has a place on the far right for our kitchen radio...

The stove wall ready to accept its counter top.  Stainless back splash still covered for protection.  Also, note that the stove hood was recessed in to the upper cabinet as it was intended.  Thanks Dan!

Just before the counters arrived, the teeny tiny cabinets that fit above the fridge and freezer arrived and Dan hung them up.  Can't wait for tomorrow when Miele comes a' calling again to deliver and install the fridge and freezer.  Ooooh-weee!
And then, through the rain came the Fox guys and our stone was here!  I was like a little kid on Christmas morning.  George the Elder and I had already met with them to determine how our VERY large piece of granite would be sliced in to pieces for the counter tops.  Who knew there was very sophisticated software to help you with this?  In the end, they got it just right.  Black splotches positioned perfectly.  Blue twinkley spots shining in the sunlight.  A site to behold.
First slab gets laid down in the corner of the stove nook.

Second slab is glued in to place and the protection is peeled back to reveal the amazing stainless behind it.

The island, the sink counter, and the back splash are all put in to place.
And as the sun began to set here in San Francisco, the boys had all cleared out, and stools that we ordered for the island had just been delivered - - I couldn't help myself, so I removed the plastic morgue door at the top of the stairs and looked down on my emerging kitchen-new....
The first view of our kitchen-new from the top of the stairs.  Love it.  Really Love it!

Note how the radio was the first thing installed in the bar block?  The construction guys love having music while they work!

The protection was peeled back from the stainless and I like how the lights from the stove hood and the under cabinet pucks reflect.  The stove was pushed back in to place and it's looking amazing right there.

Just another view of the island and stove area.  So pretty!

The sink counter complete with our enormous sink and the casing installed around the very very large kitchen window!

More of the sink counter.
 The weekend started with this as my last site of kitchen-new.  We are happy, happy, happy.  Monday morning brings lots of little things being taken care of.  Five days and counting....

Friday, December 7, 2012

If It Can, It Did

Today marked just another day in the life of CMR Phase II where something went wrong...  As Foreman Luke said today, "I think that the project is actually going along pretty smoothly!" To which Dan, our main construction man actually answered, "Yup, for a project where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong - - it's going along pretty smoothly!"  Truer words were never spoken...

As I mentioned yesterday, today the fridge and freezer were supposed to be delivered.   I got the call late yesterday afternoon from Miele concierge telling me that they would be here between 9 and 11.  We were thrilled.  We were excited.  We were wrong.  Wrong enough to want to go back to late October to really get a sense of where things really started to go wrong with the "Great Fridge Freezer Debacle of 2012."

It started November 20th just after the cabinets were delivered.   Foreman Luke called me in Phoenix to "quadruple check" that the fridge and freezer were Miele.  I thought the call kind of strange - - I mean I'd included them on the fixtures list, I had given the electrician and the plumer the spec for them - so I was fairly confident that he didn't need to "quadruple check."   But, I was cooking for 50 and didn't take too much time to dwell on it.  Come to find out that the reason he called was that the panels for the fridge and freezer had been scaled by our kitchen designer (or the manufacturer -- but who cares really?) to suit a different appliance  - - a sub-zero - - Big drag!

Henrybuilt stepped up immediately to quickly rectify the problem - - which included re-sizing and new construction of the cabinets above the fridge - - but the fastest that they could get those in to production and delivered to us would be around the 13th of December.  All good.  Way to go Henrybuilt.

So, 10 days ago I contact Miele concierge to try to get the delivery delayed until the 17th until the panels and cabinets could be delivered.  (Note: I had heard that the Miele warranty would be invalidated if they did not do the installation of the units AND the installation of the panels).  I said as much to Miele and the response I got was - - if I delayed the installation then, the next available date for delivery was early JANUARY - - to which I replied, "Um.....NO!"  I was then told that they would do the delivery on the 7th and it was O.K. that the panels were not here.  Ummmm, OK!

Today I was not at home during the delivery time.  I got the following sequence of phone calls:
  1. "This is Miele Concierge we'll be at your house in about 15 minutes."
  2.  "This is Miele Concierge" we are at your house, but no one here seems to know anything about a fridge delivery"  (They were at the wrong address - - and we are grateful that wrong house didn't realize their windfall and accept units and have them installed).
  3. "This is Luke.  Miele says that they cannot install the fridge or freezers without the panels as it will invalidate your warranty.  Can they just leave them here in the atrium until the panels are here?  They will come back on the 18th to install them."  (Huh?  What?  Did they say the 18th?  Of December?? The 18th??  Why didn't they say that date was available in the first place????  But, fine, whatever, yes, just put them on the porch)
  4. "This is Luke.  Can I verify the freezer that you ordered?  The one that they brought is too big for the space."  (Problem?  The wrong freezer was here.  Wrong as in about 22" too wide wrong.  This problem was not technically the fault of  Miele.  The problem originated at the place where we bought the appliances.  The place where we have never had an issue with before - - so I still love them even though I had a giant freezer I could use still on the truck and a fridge I couldn't install sitting in a box the size of King Tut's tomb on my porch.  Representative of the place filled out the order form incorrectly, then attached it to an email where in the body of the email that units were identified correctly - hence I did not open the attachment assuming that the order form would have the same information as the email -  hence I did not know that the wrong unit was ordered - hence I now only have a fridge on my porch as opposed to a fridge and a freezer - - hence they will need to bring the correct freezer on the 18th when they come to install them with the panels and my warranty will be effective).

And so for the second time in as many months I have a fridge on my porch.  Good news is that this on is not on the back porch, plugged in, holding my food.  Still...

In other news,  Howard the Electrician:

Here's Howard!!

managed to do lots of electrical finish work like put in all our ceiling lights (except for the pendants that will hang over the island where he is standing.  We ordered the lights a while ago and we loved the crystal protrusion as opposed to standard "cans" - - construction speak for canisters...  What we didn't realize but happily discovered was that our crystal protrusions would create a nice soft down light glow in the kitchen (an AMAZING thing considering we are forced by code to use LEDs which are known to be yukky and bright and horrid) but that they also created this amazing mid-century boomerang up light affect on the ceiling.  It's grand.

See the boomerang halos?  They look much better in person.  Hard to capture lights in a photo.
In the end, the bad is pairedwith some good.  We've got cooler lights than we ever imagined and we've got a fridge on our porch.  Cosmic balance.

On to next week.... I'm pretty much finished with this one.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Whaaats Up???

I know, I know....loong time no update.  Things got a little hectic around the end of November.  Went to Phoenix to spend time with LOTS of family for a family reunion.  Spent a week cooking, catching up and generally having loads of fun.  It was so nice to see everyone, and especially for G and H to meet a lot of relatives that they have never met in person.  It was also kind of nice to get away from the day-to-day issues of Phase II I have to say.

But since it's been a while - - here is a very long post to catch every one up on the saga of CMR Phase II:  Kitchen-New....

On Friday the 16th - - this was the BIG news....

Big moving truck FULL of kitchen cabinets sent all the way from Seattle from Henrybuilt!

The stuff was extremely well packed and there was loads and loads of stuff

It was really great to see these cabinets. If you recall we had a CATASTROPHE regarding the ceiling height. Turns out it was a problem with the measurements and the folks that caused the problem stepped up immediately to rectify. Best of all, Henrybuilt came to the rescue, did us a real solid and got everything taken care of with only 1 week delay in shipping! Hazzah!!!

The cabinets came on a Friday and I hustled off to Phoenix the following Monday without a single view of the damn things getting unpacked.  I wish I had a photo of the garage, since all that was left was a wee narrow space for George the Elder to park his Ducati in.  My car was ousted long ago to make room for the stove, but at least you used to be able to walk through it to get to the lower level of the house.  Not so much once the cabinets were unloaded!

After I left - - George the Elder stayed behind a couple more days to work and to keep watch and to take some photos of cabinets starting to go in.  Since I wasn't around I have no idea of the sequence - - but you'll get the gist...
Here is the stove nook coming together.  Upper cabinets hung.  The grayish shiny stuff on the back wall is a protective sealant that is over our fancy schmancy stainless steel back splash that will cover the wall behind the stove!  They've peeled it back a bit below the upper cabinets - - you can see the black backing sort of hanging down.
This big boy actually belongs across the room as part of the "tall wall" - - it is 3 cabinets that sit at counter height and will house appliances, the microwave and, in the very top cabinet, lots of things I will never be able to reach :)
George the Elder, ever the critic, commented that they didn't make as much progress on day 1 as he had hoped.  Go figure.  But on to Day 2 of Cabinet installation...

Upper stove nook cabinets are partnered with their lower buddies.  These sit back a little from their big brothers and will eventually have glass fronted doors.  The uppers will be solid.

In goes the sink counter!  The dishwasher will eventually sit to the far left.  "Tall Wall" will be on the right.

This cool little thing is a nice shelf that will live right under the sink.  Talk about utilizing space that used to be wasted.  I can put dish soap and rubber gloves and all my little scrubby things in there so that my counter top remains free clutter.  Wheee!!

Back to the Stove nook.  This cabinet sits to the right of the stove and will eventually house a wire shelving type unit where we can put oils and what not with in easy reach of the cook top.

It's at this point in installation that George the Elder brought G3 and H to meet me in Phoenix. We returned to SF to see the kitchen-new in a whole new light.  These views will be preserved soley in our memory since I did not take any photos.  In fact, I got lazier than Ian McLazy of the McLazy clan and didn't take many photos for a while....I suck.

This week I finally got out the camera to capture the floor tile going in.  I also got out the camera today to take some photos of what things look like as I sit here here we go...

The stove nook with all the cabinets done and dusted!  Now all it waits for is the La Canche.  She's still downstairs in the garage nestled in her big crate biding her time until someone VERY strong comes to get her and put her in place.  The range hood right now is incorrect, but we are working on changing that.  It's supposed to be entirely flush with the middle cabinets -- but if that can't be fixed, we can live with it as is.  Cause, dang, doesn't it look great?  Dig the wood trim accent at the top.  It's the bomb.

Next up is the sink wall and part of the "tall wall".  Since the cabinets are all "under wraps" while the floor gets done and other big stuff goes on around it - - imagine that there are graphite colored cabinets all underneath there.  Remember the cabinet that was sitting on the floor the first day of cabinet installation?  Here it is right where it is supposed to be....
I have coveted large sinks ever since our time in Japan and Europe where the sinks are only large enough to wash your hands effectively.  This little puppy is HUGE and DEEP and Oh So Very Stainless.  I will NOT miss my pink sink -- nope, not for a single second.

Looking down in to the kitchen-new from the top of the short stairs, you can see that the island is in place and the pantry on the right is installed.  That pantry is Gee-Or-GEOUS and spacious and perfect.  Drawers and shelves inside are a organizational girl's dream!

Ohhhhh, the island.  We are loving the island!  9 drawers on the front, plus a sweet tall narrow cabinet for trays,  A bookshelf on the back to showcase some vintage kitchen items we've collected.  It's fabulous in its current state....But, wait -- there's more!  There's a piece that will sit on the edge of the island closest to us in this picture that makes my heart sing.   It's got drawers for knives, a hidey hole for our kitchen radio, and a junk drawer space to boot.  But it's sitting somewhere secret for now -- just waiting to make it's debut.  I have seen it up already-- but it had to come down while the electrical was sorted out and perhaps will wait for the stone to be put on before it comes out of hiding.  It's A-MAZZZ-ING.
A view standing at the back door.
A view looking in from the dining room.
And now for the tile.  I believe I might marry my tile.  We were looking for something that would give us the same feel as our polished concrete floors in the downstairs - - but that was durable, stain resistance and could clean up like a rugby player on prom night.  We found it....Thanks Ann Sacks!!

We used a big 12x12 square with very tight spacing.

It's all done and grouted already - - had a wee problem with there not being quite enough tile -- but Foreman Luke is on it and it should get here tomorrow.  I didn't get any photos of it when it was done - - and now it is already all covered up.  But, trust me when I tell you it looks soooooo perfect.

And with only a couple of weeks left before we are supposed to be "mostly finished" - - here's what's on the agenda...


See this big space?  See that little radio?  Tomorrow this whole space will be occupied by the new fridge and freezer that will be delivered.  30" of mind boggling refrigerator space!!  19" of crazy cold freezer space!!  We had a minor communication snafu with the fridge panels - - wrong dimensions for another product - - which then impacted the cabinets above the units -- but again, Henrybuilt acted quickly and the problem is being fixed and new panels and cabinets are rushing down here next week. 
George the Elder and I will head over to give our approval for our granite to be cut in to counter tops and island tops and sink wall back splashes.  I wish that this picture could really show the beauty in this hunk of stone.  It's a honed slab of granite -- so no shiny polished swirly stuff for us.  We are looking forward to seeing how this stone complements the graphite color and fir.  We're thinking it's going to be delicous.
There you have it - - a quick walk over three plus weeks of work on the kitchen-new.

I would be lying if I said that the time had gone so quickly that I didn't even notice it -- but then again, it hasn't exactly been dragging either.  We are more than pleased that our team is working so well together.  Problems arise every single day.  Little ones mostly - and some not so little ones - - but they are getting resolved in one way or another.  True that the "one way" generally involves us spending more money - - but that's the nature of the beast.

Luke still seems to think we'll be ready for Christmas.  I am cautiously optomistic.  Still so much to be done - - more drywalling, changing of the stove hood, installation of the roof blower for the range hood, construction on the roof, replacement of the gutters on the back of the house, more tiling, painting, more cabinets to come and get installed, dishwasher and stove to get installed, electrical and plumbing to finish... and the list goes on.  I just had a flash of Ty from "Extreme Makeovers" screaming in to his bull horn - - "LET'S GET WORKING PEOPLE!!!!!!"

Monday, November 12, 2012

Things they are a' changin

Things are a'changin here at CMR Phase II:  Kitchen-new.  I can thankfully report that our major dust storms are over!!  Demolition = CHECK.  Drywall = CHECK.  Most of the shrapnel vacuumed up = CHECK.  Subfloor poured = CHECK.  So now we wait for the good stuff and some of that is already happening!!
Primer completed and chicken wire awaits the concrete....
Underneath all this pretty "ply board" is our subfloor!!  It's level, I've got my 95" ceiling height and it's looking GOOD!

Sorry for the "over exposure" but in a sunny day it's virtually impossible to get a good quick photo in this direction.  It's a problem of too many windows.  A problem I am LOVING to live especially on those foggy SF days.  But here, both doors are open to the atrium so you can see what a large opening it is!

The while ply-board and the white walls make everything look a little larger than life, yes?  But soon, very soon, we're going to have loads of color in there.

So, that's the way things looked this morning at 8:30 when I took the last pictures and headed out to a meeting. It was all quiet on the front. No construction crew. Nothing. I returned from my meeting at exactly 10:00 and looky here!! A WINDOW!!! A Big Beautiful WINDOW!!! Gone is my boarded up hole in the wall. Amazing.

Isn't she a beaut???
This week is going to be a BIG one.  Cabinets are to be delivered and set, stainless steel back splash will be installed.  The sink (which I need to track down) will be set.  And then next week we're on to tiling the floor and cutting the stone for the counter tops.  Foreman Luke still promises that I will be cooking my Christmas dinner in the kitchen-new (of course for those of you in the know - - you understand that we make reservations for Christmas), but still, I will be cooking Christmas pancakes there and pouring loads of champagne.

George the Elder and I picked out some preliminary colors yesterday.  I think we're both happy where we're headed, but we still need to wait for the cabinets to get a final bead on what we want to do.  We really loved our "atmospheric" of kitchen-old - - and I think we've decided to go in a similar direction with kitchen-new assuming that the new-atmospheric substitute compliments the blue of the cabinets.  We won't know until they're in.  We're going to go with two colors in the kitchen (how bold are we?).   One on the stairway walls and another less bold color on the small areas near the cabinets.  Or at least that's the plan.  Who knows??  But, kudos to our guy at "house of color" for using his little color matching gizmo to get really excellent matches of the colors we were looking for.

So, onward to the really exciting parts.  The pretty parts.  The let's really see what kitchen-new is going to look like parts.  Fun, fun, fun!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

We Got Wall

Wiring takes time.  I found that out in week four.  Turns out that dry wall also takes time.  A whole week's worth of time - - and compact car sized dehumidifiers and big fans that make noise in the middle of the night and which make the plastic doors crinkle relentlessly All. Night. Long.  And then there's the dust.  Lots of dust.  Copious amounts of dust.  Haboob size clouds of white powdery dust. Insidious minuscule fragments of chalky hell that get on the bottom of every shoe in the house leaving ghostly footprints all over the place.

Much to my delight, on day three of dry walling they put up additional plastic over all the doors windows in kitchen-new.  This did help to control the Haboob slightly, but it effectively eliminated our "short-cut" through the kitchen.  Therefore, for the past week and a little we have been forced to go outside to get to whatever level of the house you are not in.  This was similar to week 1, so while we had had to do it before, it wasn't any more fun than it was before either.  Luckily, we've had some dandy weather, so there were only one or two wet nights when having to go outside fell in to the "this sucks" category.

I've been told that this is the worst week of remodeling when you are still living your house.  It's the middle of the project, the bloom is 100% off the rose called "exciting new project", you're tired of trying to be creative while making meals in a microwave, the non-stop pounding and hammering and sawing and sanding are on your very last frayed nerve. And now everything is covered in white dust.  Hip Hip Hurrah.  It's a damn dance party in week 6!!!

Ghostly looking railings being protected by plastic.

View from the top of the hallway stairs - - No more raw wood, just lots and lots of white walls.  Oh and many little blue plastic boxes that only hint at the snake's nest of wire behind the pretty white walls.

I think that the actual window will look much better than the large plywood they've got going here now. 

The ceiling required two solid days of work.  The dry wall went up after the ceiling was leveled .  Then the dry wall was partially taken down when foreman Luke and Dan felt it wasn't "level enough."  Since you can get a really good view of the kitchen ceiling from a horizontal view point from the top of the hallway stairs - it's critical that they get it "right" and as far as I can tell - - we now have the most level of all level ceilings!

The blending of the new drywall with the "old" walls that didn't really have to come down for the remodel. 

The stove nook looks more nook-y now that it's got a ceiling above it.   Lots of action behind that wall - electrical and gas and the vents from the very complex hot water radiant heating system - - 

Will get some photos of the remainder of week 6 tomorrow and Friday.  The walls are being primed, the mortar will get put down over the sub floor and the kitchen will be ready to receive all the pretty parts that come next.  Cabinets are on time for delivery next week and our new window is being delivered on Monday!  Week 7 is going to be VERY exciting!!

The last decision looming in the not too distant future is paint color.  This one may not be pretty as George the Elder and I are in two entirely different camps on this.  Oh, and those camps are located in two different states.  May the best man win (that'd be me) hahahah.

Belated Progress Report

Best laid plans and all that...  These photos have been sitting in my "draft" box for more than a week and every day I say, "I'm going to post them" and then things get in the way - - construction folks with questions, kids having to do things that require my attention or my car, oh and then there was (still is) this pesky problem with a little kidney stone.  Who knew a little 6mm piece of somethin-somethin could be so disruptive.  I told George the elder that the last time I felt pain like that they actually handed me a tiny human as a reward.  This time, I got nothin 'cept the promise of more pain to come.  Nice.

But, the show goes on here with the CMR Phase II.  These photos are from the week before last.  And things are a happening....

Sub floor is removed to access the radiant heat and to run new electrical what not to new places.  Much caution was used as poking a hole in one of those orange tubes is a "very bad thing" - - that's hot water running through them and they are what heat the house.

The rough opening for the new GIANT kitchen window is cut out.  That's one big damn hole!!  This photo shows that the old fridge was still waiting for it's new owner (one of our chinese plumbers) to come and get it.  A couple days after this was taken they arrived to get it.  It was in the evening during the final game of the world series, so I paid no attention as to how they got this bad boy out of the back yard. 

New canister lights (a SF code requirement) are lined up and the boxes installed.  Luckily Dan is very very tall.   He is handy to have around for ceiling work when you don't have a ladder!

Another view of the electrical stuff that will shortly be covered up by dry wall and disappeared.  It's really quick amazing how many wires it takes to power up a kitchen.

A view from the doorway to the atrium looking in at my window size from the inside.  It's gonna be a bee-you-T!!!

Onward to week 4.....