Ron and Kevin from Ranserve spent today at Emerald Hill cleaning up, moving lumber and cabinets out of the way ahead of what is scheduled for tomorrow — the team from Landers Flooring takes over the house to rip up what is left of the oak planks and then install the new hickory floors and stairs.
Above, Enrique is caulking the train room upstairs, preparing it to be painted after Landers is done.
One year ago today. I’m biking through the traffic circle at Bee Cave Galleria. Car coming in from 71 runs the Yield sign. Doesn’t slow. Doesn’t stop. I brake. Hard. Back tire hits a wet patch of asphalt. Bike twitches out from under me. The helmet cracked when I hit the ground. I blacked out. There was a woman in another car yelling at me when I came to — “he didn’t stop,” she said. And she drove off. I got to my feet. It took a while. I rolled the bike over a curb into the Chile’s parking lot. Pulled the phone out of the back pocket of the jersey. Called Jacquela for help. Apparently I called her twice. I have no memory of that. I do remember wondering why no one was running over to help from the 24-hour emergency care mini-hospital across the street. I do remember being not sure which way was home.
Jacquela arrived. She took me to the emergency room. X-rays confirmed the concussion. No one examined me for other injuries. That would come four days later, after a plane ride to NY for Thanksgiving, when I could not get out of bed and Ellen, my sister in law, and Andy, her brother, both nurses, diagnosed at least one broken rib. Back in Texas, the doctors discovered four.
There was a lot of pain.
It hurt to breathe.
Three weeks later I got the bike repaired. Took a short ride. Kept my balance. Parked it. Two days later, pedaled for a mile and back.
There are days, now, when I’m tired of fighting against the wind at mile 10 or 12. Last week, I did a 20-mile ride — two laps around the Galleria, through that traffic circle, past the church, and around again.
I’m aiming at 30 miles for my birthday. I’ll be 61.
Saturday. Jacquela and Steven visit Emerald Hill to consider the quartz island by daylight.
Above, a close-up without flash of the fine gray veins inside the fairy white quartz of the island countertop. It’s going to take brilliant lighting to properly photograph the subtle threads that emerge from inside the stone — coming as soon as we power up the electric grid and kitchen LEDs.
Here are lines from Little Gidding by TS Eliot that Steven asked to be read when Jacquela and Steven married 20 years ago:
We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.
We come today to where this remodel began. The kitchen. We know it for the first time.
It takes minutes to install a countertop on This Old House and other home improvement shows. Today’s adventure at Emerald Hill debunks those happy breaks between commercials where installers go from demo to granite in before and after shots. In contrast, we began at 9 am and ended about 3 pm — but these six hours are some of the most consequential since ripping down the drywall. We have kitchen counters.
The material is quartz — shadow gray at the kitchen sink and cooktop, fairy white at the island. These are selections that Jacquela and Steven approved 16 July 2015 — four months ago. One of the first decisions we made.
With the cabinets mostly installed, with the countertops installed today, the idea around which the kitchen is organized, the idea that Steven first proposed in September 2014, 14 months ago, drawing sketch after sketch of how to get the kitchen we wanted into this house, that idea is finally made physical. We knew when we bought the house that it needed a new kitchen. We wanted to take out the wall between the existing kitchen and the existing family room. Putting in the new kitchen required that we put in new copper wiring. Several architects and builders advised that the City would require us to rip out all the original aluminum wiring. So … what was supposed to be a new kitchen remodel became gutting the house down to the studs. Which gave Steven the ability to turn the kitchen 90 degrees — from the original east-west axis to, instead, north-south, taking out the wall, uniting the kitchen with the family room — and also creating a walk-in pantry.
Everyone who has worked on this house has worked to make this day possible. Thank you.
Let’s begin the photo tour.
Mind the gap
It took more than five hours to install the cooktop/sink countertop — meticulous and careful work. By contrast, the 5-foot-by-10-foot slab of quartz for the island goes in in less than 30 minutes — no cuts required. This beast weighs more than 400 pounds. Efrem, Marcello and Hazil moved deliberately, rehearsing each step.
Steven ordered from Amazon last night the Schlage deadbolts, door handles and levers, irrigation controller and other items that will soon be needed by Ron Dahlke and team. Buying the Schlage hardware at Amazon saves 30 percent over the same product at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
After discussion with Ron, Steven approved the quote for 26 square feet of red glass tile that will be used for the backsplash behind the cooktop.
Steven visited Emerald Hill three times today while also working from his desk computer and by phone — at 10 am after dropping off Jadin at school, at 2 pm to meet with Ron and before meeting with Renee at ProSource to select tile for the kitchen backsplash and master shower floor, and again at 4 pm after leaving ProSource and before Jadin “walked home from school.” Here are photos from the evolving day.
In between the 10 am and 2 pm trips to Emerald Hill, Steven received the first quote for the two-bay garage door from Cowart Door Systems.
At 4 pm, Kathleen reported by email that Ranserve had received the wire transfer payment of Draw #5 from SouthStar Bank.