Pouring steps

One of the last big jobs … The team from Gilsa Construction is back on site to pour concrete into the forms they built for the concrete walk to the front of the house from the street, along the front and side of the house to the kitchen door, and to the kitchen door from the driveway.

The mixer is brand spanking new. Not a speck of wear and tear to be seen on that bright white paint job. Tonka and Hot Wheels are drooling.
The mixer is brand spanking new. Not a speck of wear and tear to be seen on that bright white paint job. Tonka and Hot Wheels are drooling.
The walk to the kitchen side door from the garage is already poured when Steven arrives.
The walk to the kitchen side door from the garage is already poured when Steven arrives about 1 pm. Mauricio from Gilsa says his team will be working on the concrete, polishing it, until about 10 pm because of the low temperatures and high winds.
From inside the kitchen door looking out -- walk to the driveway at left, with the team troweling concrete at right toward the 90-degree turn at the front of the house.
From inside the kitchen door looking out — walk to the driveway at left, with the team troweling concrete at right toward the 90-degree turn at the front of the house.
Troweling the pads at left, dumping wheelbarrows of concrete at right. The Gilsa team moves quickly.
Troweling the pads at left, dumping wheelbarrows of concrete at right. The Gilsa team moves quickly.
Wheelbarrows in motion. And that brand new Tonka truck spinning new loads of concrete into wheelbarrows.
Wheelbarrows in motion. Shovels deployed. And that brand new Tonka truck spinning new loads of concrete into wheelbarrows.
From inside the house looking out at the front walk as it takes form.
From inside the house looking out at the front walk as it takes form.
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All Cris all the time

There is nothing that Cris from Ranserve can’t do. Framing. Drywall. Concrete. Electrical. Plumbing. Hang fans. Think ahead, plan how to do it.

Today, above, he’s up on the roof, trimming limbs back to clear the route that the City of Austin will use to connect the house to electrical service at telephone pole behind the house.

15 minutes later, back on the ground, armed with multi-tool, Cris has already trimmed drywall away from behind the vanity counter in bath 2. He will inset the backsplash into the slot in the wall. This allows the faucet handles to turn free, without banging against the backsplace if the quartz were mounted against the drywall, instead of inset into the drywall -- an idea that Ron thought of.
15 minutes later, back on the ground, armed with multi-tool, Cris has already trimmed drywall away from behind the vanity counter in bath 2. He will inset the backsplash into the slot in the wall. This allows the faucet handles to turn free, without banging against the backsplace if the quartz were mounted against the drywall, instead of inset into the drywall — an idea that Ron thought of.
Upstairs in bath 3, Cris deploys the multi-tool to cut around the backsplash. He will remove the drywall from this location, as he did in bath 2, then inset the backsplash quartz into the wall, allowing the faucet handles to swing through a complete arc without obstruction.
Upstairs in bath 3, Cris deploys the multi-tool to cut around the backsplash. He will remove the drywall from this location, as he did in bath 2, then inset the backsplash quartz into the wall, allowing the faucet handles to swing through a complete arc without obstruction.
Before Steven arrived, Cris removed one of the two metal straps bracing the horizontal and vertical framing of the new garage door, turned it vertical, nailed it into position -- per instructions from the structural engineer. The City of Austin requires this to prevent uplift when the wind blows strong -- kind of like today, with 30mph wind gusts.
Before Steven arrived, Cris removed one of the two metal straps bracing the horizontal and vertical framing of the new garage door, turned it vertical, nailed it into position — per instructions from the structural engineer. The City of Austin requires this to prevent uplift when the wind blows strong — kind of like today, with 30mph wind gusts.
Heres' the same strapping change at the left side of the garage door.
Heres’ the same strapping change at the left side of the garage door.
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Electrical inspection part 1, passed

Emerald Hill today passed one of the biggest final hurdles — step 1 of the electrical inspection. Ron and Capstone Electric are now permitted to power up the house — after Steven gets Austin Energy to send its crew to connect power from the pole.

Atop the new roof for the new garage, the City of Austin will connect power to the house at this power pole.
Atop the new roof for the new garage, the City of Austin will connect power to the house at this power pole.
The inspector asked for one correction, according to Ron -- locating the ground screw about one inch to the left.
The inspector asked for one correction, according to Ron — locating the ground screw about one inch to the left.
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Notes, 20 Jan. 2015

Robert the roofer set to work yesterday nailing shingles to the new roof over the new garage. He returned early today to continue. Steven stepped out the side window of the master bedroom, onto the roof, to see and ask questions.

Above, standing atop the new roof over the new garage, looking back to the house, this is the first time Steven has seen the old and refurbished roof from this altitude — all of about 20+ feet above ground. The new cricket is clearly visible at the back of the chimney. The roofers added this to push water away from the brick. There was no cricket when Steven and Jacquela purchased Emerald Hill. When we opened up the walls in bedroom 4, we discovered water damage and some mold traveling between the roof and chimney, down the brick, behind the sheathing.

When Ranserve constructed the new garage bay, we added an oversized cricket atop the existing garage to push water away from the new structure. At a low pitch of 3/12 and 4/12, the roofers opted to put down the heavy adhesive membrane that normally protects flat roofs -- instead of conventional tar paper or felt.
Early in the morning … When Ranserve constructed the new garage bay, we added an oversized cricket atop the existing garage to push water away from the new structure. At a low pitch of 3/12 and 4/12, the roofers opted to put down the heavy adhesive membrane that normally protects flat roofs — instead of conventional tar paper or felt.
Robert outlined with yellow chalk where he will mount ridge vents.
Robert outlined with yellow chalk where he will mount ridge vents.
Later in the day ... with the ridge vents installed, Robert is cleaning up, nearly done. He still has to install drip edge along the high end of the new roof.
Later in the day … with the ridge vents installed, Robert is cleaning up, nearly done. He still has to install drip edge along the high end of the new roof.
Steven went for a stroll, carefully, on the new roof above the new garage.
Steven went for a stroll, carefully, on the new roof above the new garage.
In the kitchen, the quartz countertop is reinstalled to the island. That's Ron Dahlke, supervising his kingdom.
In the kitchen, the quartz countertop is reinstalled to the island. That’s Ron Dahlke, supervising his kingdom.
The structural engineer required Ron to add waterproofing to the lumber at the garage door framing for the new and old garages.
The structural engineer required Ron to add waterproofing to the lumber at the garage door framing for the new and old garages.

Steven received from Cowart the quote for the new garage door for the new garage bay — and approved it.

The glass door kit for the fireplace arrived today.
The glass door kit for the fireplace arrived today.

Ron and Matt started to clean up the garage; it’s almost time to scrape up the old linoleum tiles, acid wash the glue away, and turn the garage over to Steven and Jacquela.

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Headed toward electrical inspection

Ron Dahlke and the electricians are aiming to call for the inspection this week that allows us to turn on electrical power inside Emerald Hill.

Everyone’s pulling hard. We want to turn the lights on.

Above, Steve and Beau from Capstone Electric installed the track lights in what will be the model train room, aka bedroom 3. The light in the center of the ceiling is temporary — inspection apparently requires installation of a fixture, not a blank plate for the owner to come back later to install a ceiling fan, which is Steven’s plan.

All six fluorescent light fixtures are now installed in the ceiling of the garage.
All six fluorescent light fixtures are now installed in the ceiling of the garage.
The wireless doorbell chime from Ring, which works with the wireless doorbell from Ring, is now installed above the closet door in the entry hall. Steve the electrician converted the wall plug into an outlet before installing the chime.
The wireless doorbell chime from Ring, which works with the wireless doorbell from Ring, is now installed above the closet door in the entry hall. Steve the electrician converted the wall plug into an outlet before installing the chime.
Ron and Jacinto from Ranserve installed the lighted mirror medicine cabinets in bath 2 -- Jadin's bath.
Ron and Jacinto from Ranserve installed the lighted mirror medicine cabinets in bath 2 — Jadin’s bath.
And similar lighted medicine cabinets in the master bath.
And similar lighted medicine cabinets in the master bath.
And one more lighted mirror medicine cabinet in the mudroom bath.
And one more lighted mirror medicine cabinet in the mudroom bath.
Ron needed two vanity lights for bath 3. Steven drove to Lowe's to pick up these two beauties; we'll see if we keep them.
Ron needed two vanity lights for bath 3. Steven drove to Lowe’s to pick up these two beauties; we’ll see if we keep them. At least they fit the theme — brushed nickel or stainless steel, and white everything else.
Steve the electrician shifted up and to the right the electrical outlet that Barry the plumber needs for the tankless water heater. Where it was originally located, the outlet would have been directly behind the tankless unit, making it impossible to plug in.
Steve the electrician shifted up and to the right the electrical outlet that Barry the plumber needs for the tankless water heater. Where it was originally located, the outlet would have been directly behind the tankless unit, making it impossible to plug in. See the two exhaust pipe fittings at the top? When the wind blows, these act like pipe organs, generating groans and howls that, honestly, are really annoying. Steven hopes the harmonics will disappear when the tankless unit is installed. We’ll see.
The power pole is ready at the back of the new garage bay to be connected to city service.
The power pole is ready at the back of the new garage bay to be connected to city service.
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Just another Monday

Above, Celis hung drywall on two walls in the garage — the front wall closest to the street, and the back wall around the exit door. This should be the final sheets of drywall to go up at Emerald Hill.

Beau, left, and Steve, right, begin installing track lights to the ceiling in the train room.
Beau, left, and Steve, right, begin installing track lights to the ceiling in the train room.

We counted out the runs of track. There are four 8-footers and two 2-footers for the train room. That’s correct. There are four two-footers for the office downstairs. That’s wrong. Tracy at Lights Fantastic stepped through the paperwork to discover the error. Two 8-footers and two 6-footers will be delivered early next week.

Which means … Steve the electrician and Ron are pushing for an electrical inspection tomorrow. The electrical boxes in the office must be populated with lights. Ron advises he will locate temporary fixtures.

Steve the electrician and Ron dispatched Steve for a run to Lowe's, because the lights purchased from Ikea on Saturday for above the vanity in bath 3 will not install properly with the boxes in the wall. Steven purchased two conventional vanity lights and, because it was on sale and might be needed, one LED ceiling light, along with the blank two-gang faceplate that Steve the electrician needs.
Steve the electrician and Ron dispatched Steven for a run to Lowe’s, because the lights purchased from Ikea on Saturday for above the vanity in bath 3 will not install properly with the electrical boxes in the wall. Different shapes. Different sizes. Different wiring schemes. And way too much exposed wire.  At Lowe’s, Steven purchased two conventional vanity lights and, because it was on sale and might be needed, one LED ceiling light, along with the blank two-gang faceplate that Steve the electrician needs.
If the bathroom lights from Ikea will not work, the Striberg LED strips installed perfectly in every closet. Here's a shot from inside Jadin's closet -- two Stribergs connected with a jumper cable, plugged in at the ceiling outlet to one transformer -- per spec.
If the bathroom lights from Ikea will not work, the Striberg LED strips installed perfectly in every closet. Here’s a shot from inside Jadin’s closet — two Stribergs connected with a jumper cable, plugged in at the ceiling outlet to one transformer — per spec.
Shane and Peter apparently put in time at Emerald Hill over the weekend, nailing up the accent lumber on the exposed wall of the stairs. The horizontal joints line up just as planned with each tread.
Shane and Peter apparently put in time at Emerald Hill over the weekend, nailing up the accent lumber on the exposed wall of the stairs. The horizontal joints line up just as planned with each tread.
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Ikea field trip

Jacquela and Steven arrived at Ikea in Round Rock as the store opened. Steven wrestled two orange, yellow and blue Ikea Family cards from the kiosk in the lobby. Bridgette arrived. She works with Jacquela at Schwab — and is probably just as much a fan of Ikea as Steven; she showed pictures of the closet and desks that she and her husband planned and assembled as we walked the store.

Steven had a shopping list. Long. Detailed.

We configured Pax closets for the master closet and for Jadin’s bedroom. We configured Stuva storage and benches for the mudroom. We picked up the Striberg linear LED lights with motion sensors needed for closets throughout the house.

Bridgette offered to help transport everything to Emerald Hill in her new Ford Explorer. As if we would say no.

Bridgette filled a cart with items on her shopping list.

And then we hit the warehouse armed with “pick lists” and two flatbed carts.

At checkout, Ikea Family saved more than $200 on the bill.

We loaded Steven’s Honda Element to the weight limit. The Explorer got the really long boxes; this is one of the few times Steven misses the old minivan.

We took lunch at In-N-Out, sitting outside. “Vitamin D,” exclaimed Bridgette, showing pictures of the house in Baltimore she grew up in.

At Emerald Hill, Jacquela gave Bridgette a tour, Steven prepped space in the garage, and we built the stack of flat-pack boxes in the photo above and below.

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The clothes rods, baskets and other accessories are stacked neatly in the pantry.

Steven propped each light against a door where it needs to be installed, to help Ron identify precisely what goes where.

Now we need permission from Ron to assemble and install cabinets …

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Week ending 15 Jan. 2015

Ron Dahlke files this week’s summary report:

This week:

  • Set vanity countertops
  • Complete engineer-required framing corrections
  • Complete install on all available light fixtures
  • Set new outside electric panel
  • Set metal brackets on island
  • Started finish on replacement tread
  • Started install on glass doors
  • Started repair on drywall cracks
  • Set all toilets and faucets
  • Set condenser and AC grilles
  • Finish interior trim

Next week:

  • Install front door
  • Finish electrical install
  • Call in for electrical inspection
  • Turn on power to house
  • Install remaining drywall in garage
  • Pour cement into new pavers
  • Install kitchen island countertop
  • Install tankless hot water heaters
  • Start prep on paint of garage

Concerns:

  • Remove bird of prey from exhaust vent
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Notes, 15 Jan. 2015

Chris from Central Texas Custom Cabinets continues to finish out the kitchen and pantry cabinets.

Steven walked the house today with Elizabeth, who measured for blinds — a candidate supplier; it will all come down to budget.

Ron opened up the drywall behind the mudroom shower -- where the tankless water unit will soon be installed -- to add blocking behind the shower panels. This will enable the plumbers to properly screw the shower head fixture tight to the plastic panels.
Ron opened up the drywall behind the mudroom shower — where the tankless water unit will soon be installed — to add blocking behind the shower panels. This will enable the plumbers to properly screw the shower head fixture tight to the plastic panels.

Ron needs an escutcheon at the pot filler on the backsplash wall. Ron also needs a push-in-pop-out drain for the vanity sink in the mudroom — because there is no room behind the faucet for the pull that would normally open and close the drain in the sink. Ferguson does not carry an escutcheon for the pot filler. Steven went to Lowe’s with a shopping list. He found two candidates for the escutcheon. The drain was out of stock. On a field trip to a second Lowe’s after dinner with Jacquela, he found the only two candidate devices. Ron and the plumbers will now decide which one to install. The loser will go back to Lowe’s.

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The owl sure looks like Freddy

Zoom lens to get a better shot of the owl sleeping in the exhaust duct on the exterior wall of the house above the master bath and kitchen.

We’re happy to see the return of the owl that Jadin dubbed “Freddy.” But … we don’t want it living in the duct.

Ron Dahlke is checking with animal control experts to determine how to evict the owl without harming it.

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