All posts by Steve

Shower/tub kits vs. custom

We’ve been debating custom showers/tubs vs. kits.

I did the math yesterday with Michelle, budget czar at Ranserve.

Using round numbers and bath 2, shower only, as the example:

Custom pan, including mudding $800
Labor, floor pan, estimated at $7 psf $150
Labor, tile the walls, estimated at $12 psf $983
Tile for floor, estimated at $6.50 psf $800
Tile for walls, estimated at $6.50 psf $700
Total, estimated $3,433

Requires backerboard and Redguard waterproofing, included, because this is something Ranserve has done before.

Kohler Groove pan, 60×32, left hand drain, mudding not needed $414
Kohler Choreograph wall kit, 60x32x96, corners included $734
Kohler 9-inch shower locker, aka soap/shampoo shelves $206
Estimated labor to install $700
Total, estimated $2,054

Still requires backerboard and waterproofing, included in “estimated labor to install.” Ranserve has not built a solid-surface shower kit before, which means there is a learning curve.

Today, at Emerald Hill, Ron and I rolled out a plan set on the back of his truck and talked through all the product options.

He’s opting to research construction methods and product specs with Ferguson, the supply house. And we will circle back.

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Meet Freddy

freddyJadin looked up one day into the grove of trees off the kitchen deck and spotted an owl in an owl house built, we suspect, by a prior owner.

Everything has to have a name in Jadin’s world.

The owl is now called Freddy.

Freddy supervised today when Miguel and Luis from Davey Tree were setting up to trim the oaks at the driveway to create dumpster clearance.

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Making way for dumpster

rings

I am about to make a cut and ask your permission.

As a kid, I planted saplings around the house. The pin oaks today are now 70-90 feet tall, and my mom lives surrounded by a forest. It’s reverant.

So I am not in the habit of cutting trees; I plant them.

But we have to cut clearance to get the dumpster up to the house, to begin the remodel. Which pains, because we bought this house, in part, for the forest of trees it inhabits.

Here’s an example of why.

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This limb extends 30 feet out over the patio and driveway, five to six feet off the ground, held up by a vertical post, and then up and over part of the garage. It’s your skull — or a thwacking. They can’t deliver the dumpster with that in the way.

Our goal is to trim, not destroy.

Ranserve recommended Davey Tree, a certified arborist — a City of Austin requirement. Jeff Cisneros came out, walked the lot with us, showed us what he recommended cutting in phase 1, to make way for the dumpster, and in phase 2, to remove branches that hang over the roof, for safety. Along the way, we learned there is an American Elm in the back yard. That’s opening a Cracker Jack box to find a prize.

miguelandluisMeet — from Davey — Miguel, left, cutting, and Luis, right, about to drag a limb to the chipper.

Here’s what it looked like taking down the limb that extends over the deck and driveway.

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Belaying ropes. Safety glasses. Hearing protection. Just like on “This Old House.”

That’s an eight-foot chunk of limb hanging by rope.

Count the rings. Miguel thinks the oak is at least 50 years old.

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Design & budget meeting

30march2015.planning_budgetMeeting at Ranserve to review and revise construction plans and projected budget. Everyone left with homework to do. From left, Brett Grinkmeyer, architect; Mark Rehburg, president of Ranserve; Michelle Hastings, estimator and budget whip at Ranserve.

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Bluebonnet fields

bluebonnet1 bluebonnet2

It’s spring in Texas. Ten years ago we built a house. Then we planted a field of wildflowers. Here are some of the bluebonnets of March 2015.

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