Category Archives: cabinets

Continuing to punch-list the kitchen

1-dsc_3693Bani, left, and Chris are back, continuing to work through the punch list for the kitchen cabinets. Above, they clamp a new piece of trim under the oven and microwave — one long piece to replace two shorter pieces that failed after the glue gave out.

The utensil storage at the utility drawer between the sink and cooktop is now correctly cut, installed, and functional. Earlier, one of the four stainless steel bins did not fit correctly, due to a hole drilled 1/8 of an inch out of place.
The utensil storage at the utility drawer between the sink and cooktop is now correctly cut, installed, and functional. Earlier, one of the four stainless steel bins did not fit correctly, due to a hole drilled 1/8 of an inch out of place.
Bani and Chris unwrap a replacement cabinet panel.
Bani and Chris unwrap a  cabinet panel. It replaces a similar panel that was defective at manufacture.
Chris screws the replacement panel into position.
Chris screws the replacement panel into position.

 

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Punching it

Last week, Ron and Odell from Ranserve walked the house with Steven to organize the punch list.

Two days ago, Odell and Cris began adjusting pocket doors and experimenting with how to fill the holes around the balusters.

Today, Aaron arrived with Chris and Bani to begin working on the kitchen cabinets — smooth edges, filling holes, adjusting drawers and slides. Aaron remeasured for replacement panels.

Above, Chris, left, and Bani, right, adjusting utility drawers between the cooktop and sink.

1-dsc_3678-001Chris arrived from Granite Security to install the glass break sensor missing from the ceiling in Steven’s office — outlined in the black box in photo above.

Chris also added “water bugs” at the washer and both tankless water heaters — sensors that alert us if the washer and heaters overflow.

Chris positioning the water bug at the upstairs tankless water heater.
Chris positioning the water bug at the upstairs tankless water heater.
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Graduating to the dog station at the end of the cabinets

We designed one run of cabinets in the kitchen to end with a shelf for the dog bowls. This was intended for Reboot. She never got to use it.

Adobe is now 25 pounds and tall enough to reach. The water and food bowls come up off the floor. She took to it instantly.

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Kitchen punch list: Step 1

Aaron Pratt from Central Texas Custom Cabinets visited today. He walked the kitchen cabinets with Steven, taking inventory of all the punch list items flagged with blue tape. He also spotted a couple of doors and drawers that are misaligned. After this, he builds a plan and schedules a day or two of corrections.

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Intense Friday

This day began with Odell and Steven in the mudroom bath at 8 am, talking through how to correct issues with the sink drain. We conclude that the P-trap comes off, the drain line in the wall needs to shift x inches left — and, after this surgery is performed, a T-trap will mount perpendicular and plumb correctly under the sink drain.

The Time Warner techies arrived about 815 am — first Erich, then Cory, then a team in hard hats to string wire from the telephone poles, then a supervisor. Everyone parked their own trucks, with orange cones. Steven should have charged for parking. They wrapped about 130 pm with TV, phone and, most important, Internet up and running — even WiFi. This milestone enables Steven to work at the house without tethering to his phone.

Steven dropped Jadin at school about 845 am.

Steve the electrician arrived to install the whole-house and telephone/cable surge suppressors. The whole-house unit was a 15-minute slam dunk on the exterior of the back wall of the garage. Done. The tele/cable suppressor required research, with Steven struggling to learn more electrical science. We convened a conference — Steven, Steve, Erich and Cory — on the driveway, alongside one of the Time Warner trucks. Erich and Cory advised that the tele/cable suppressor is not needed, because the Time Warner equipment comes with suppression/protection built in. Steven decides: He will return the tele/cable suppressor for a refund.

The HVAC team arrived from Austin Air to determine how and where to install the make-up air system demanded by the Austin Green Build program. This has to be wired to operate when the exhaust hood in the kitchen switches on — the exhaust system blows out, the make-up air system brings in replacement air. The system requires ducting, and a motor to pull in outside air and blow it into the kitchen. Planning is critical — where to put all of this stuff in a house that is nearly complete? They worked at first with Cris and Odell from Ranserve, then roped Steven into the conversation. Everyone climbed up into the attic over the garage to map out one route into the kitchen. Cris sketched the install on the back of piece of drywall leaning against a garage wall. Then we shifted into the kitchen to look at where the duct might mount — near the kitchen-side door. Then we explored a second option — cutting open the kitchen ceiling to route the motor and duct into the cavity under the roof eaves. This second route would leave a huge grille in the kitchen ceiling visible from everywhere. The better location is over the door. With that decided, Cris cut open a section of mudroom ceiling between the garage and the kitchen — see photo above — to confirm that we can route the duct intake at the eave outside the garage, into the garage attic, connect to the motor when it is installed in the attic, run duct above the mudroom, through the framing between the mudroom and kitchen, to the grille above the kitchen-side door.

Why was all this not done when the house was gutted down to studs?

Brett Grinkmeyer arrived to conduct the architectural inspection required when Ranserve requests a draw payment. Steven and Brett barely got time to speak, because it was time for Time Warner to sit Steven down on the upstairs hall floor, laptop propped on boxes, to configure the network, create a Time Warner customer account complete with passwords, sign off on the install.

Victor Martinez arrived to discuss landscaping — using the dirt piled up on the driveway and mulch piled between the trees to fill in around the concrete pavers and spaces made bare of grass by nine months of construction. Steven requests a plan he can submit to Austin Green Build — and a budget.

At 2 pm, approximately, Odell returned from an offsite meeting to review the mudroom plumbing — he thinks he has it figured out; it will require opening up a wall to shift the drain pipe to the proper location. And the routing solution for the make-up air system. And the rough plan for the week ahead.

Steven called Kristin at Harway to ask why the cooktop does not fit absolutely flush to the quartz countertop. There’s a gap about 1/16th inch between the induction cooktop and the quartz countertop — guaranteed to trap food and spills. Late in the day, Kristin responds by email to report she will visit to inspect.

230 pm — lunch break.

Steven comes back from lunch at 3 pm to discover Bassam working on the kitchen cabinets.

At 330, Lance from Time Warner calls to close out the install ticket.

At 345, Steven departs to pick up Jadin from school.

Observation — at several times today, especially in the morning, the questions were firing in, one on top of the other, stacking up over Newark. Each issue required thought and discussion — where to put the tele-cable surge suppressor, for example — it can’t mount outdoors, so why does it mate to the whole-house suppressor that does mount outdoors, is it needed? How to address the drain for the mudroom sink — that took at least an hour, on and off, back and forth, testing ideas, researching options. It was intense. Everything was way above Steven’s pay grade — he’s not a plumber, not an electrician, not an HVAC installer, not a cable tech, not a cabinetmaker, not a landscaper. Steven misses Ron, who seemed able to work through any stress, calmly, expertly, guiding with advice. In his first 48 hours on the job, Odell is quickly coming up to speed. But, damn, we have not had a day like this in a long time — not since Steven and Ron climbed into the 120-degree attic to unravel the botched HVAC ducting.

 

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Notes, 10 Feb. 2016

Steven arrived at Emerald Hill about 230 pm to learn that the City of Austin chopped down a tree in the neighbor’s yard to clear obstructions from the power lines. The company hired to do the job — Asplundah — left the branches behind in Steven’s back yard, photo above. Ron Dahlke says Asplundah will be back Thursday. Asplundah has been working all over Northwest Hills, clearing trees from power lines up and down nearly every block.

Ron Dahlke and team cleared the original two-car garage of his desk, a tool box, and more. This is what might be described as a bittersweet milestone -- Ron is preparing to move out of Emerald Hill and the remodel is coming to an end. It is, also, a mile marker for how close we are to done -- and moving in.
Ron Dahlke and team cleared the original two-car garage of his desk, a tool box, and more. This is what might be described as a bittersweet milestone — Ron is preparing to move out of Emerald Hill and the remodel is coming to an end. It is, also, a mile marker for how close we are to done — and moving in.
Team Ranserve installed the window screens today. Hard to see in this photo. Ron and Steven walked the house. There are six screens not yet installed that need to be delivered.
Team Ranserve installed the window screens today. Hard to see in this photo. Ron and Steven walked the house. There are six screens not yet installed that need to be delivered.
Rodriguez from Gilsa Construction hacked away today at the remaining form and hardened concrete spillage left over from pouring the foundation for the new garage bay.
Rodriguez from Gilsa Construction hacked away today at the remaining form and hardened concrete spillage left over from pouring the foundation for the new garage bay.
Elite Air Conditioning began swapping out the straight registers for curved -- as required by the Austin Green Build program.
Elite Air Conditioning began swapping out the straight registers for curved — as required by the Austin Green Build program.
Steven began assembling and test fitting the Ikea Stuva cabinets in the mudroom -- confirming that one of the baseboards will need to be trimmed for the cabinets to fit left to right.
Steven began assembling and test fitting the Ikea Stuva cabinets in the mudroom — confirming that one of the baseboards will need to be trimmed for the cabinets to fit left to right.
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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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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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Bracing for the countertop, done correctly

After the debacle of the first attempt to brace the island countertop, Ron Dahlke from Ranserve opted to ask the cabinetmaker, Central Texas Custom Cabinets, to install the heavy metal braces that the quartz maker requires to support the island countertop as it bridges across the five-foot-long gap between the cabinets at one end of the island the shelf at the other.

Chris arrived this morning. He spent all day — measuring, cutting, grinding, thinking, working step by step, brace by brace, tool by tool.

Steven observes: Of all the contractors, subcontractors and craftsman working to save Emerald Hill from itself, thinking is the one skill that gets the job done correctly.

Chris marks the cut he needs to make in one of the four metal braces
Chris marks the cut he needs to make in one of the four metal braces

Outside, using the forms for the concrete pavers as his workbench, he grinds and cuts off from the metal brace a rectangular piece of steel that the countertop installers attempted to install by cutting up the island shelf cabinet -- until Steven intervened to top the assault.

Outside, using the forms for the concrete pavers as his workbench, he grinds and cuts off from the metal brace a rectangular piece of steel that the countertop installers attempted to install by cutting up the island shelf cabinet — until Steven intervened to top the assault.

Here's the brace with the underside cut away, creating a flat extension that does not require slicing up the cabinets to add a vertical channel.
Here’s the brace with the underside cut away, creating a flat extension that does not require slicing up the cabinets to add a vertical channel.
After 5 pm, Chris is almost done. He used nearly every tool in his toolbag to do this job correctly.
After 5 pm, Chris is almost done. He used nearly every tool in his toolbag to do this job correctly.
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