Category Archives: stairs

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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Notes, 13 Feb. 2016

Noemi and her team began cleaning up Emerald Hill, getting it ready for Jacquela, Jadin and Steven to move in.

We are about to start the move-in countdown.

Noemi and her team took the protective cardboard off the stairs, cleaned up the construction mess, to reveal a work of art -- hickory risers and treads, steel balusters and handrail, stair lights recessed into the wall.
Noemi and her team took the protective cardboard off the stairs, cleaned up the construction mess, to reveal a work of art — hickory risers and treads, steel balusters and handrail, stair lights recessed into the wall.

In this Saturday chapter, Jacquela and Steven:

  • Donated more boxes and bags of stuff to Goodwill, continuing to clean out Sea Eagle.
  • As we sorted, we set aside a notebook in which Jadin drew pictures of Reboot. We miss our dog.
  • Assembled the wire shelving for the pantry at Emerald Hill.

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  • Visited Lowe’s to check out ceiling fans.
  • Discovered bumpers for the steel shelving in the pantry at the Container Store — along with plastic liners for each shelf.
  • Began boxing up artwork, taking down shelves and patching walls at Sea Eagle.
  • Came up with a potential solution to hide the tankless water heaters — a shoji screen or ceiling-mounted sliding door for the mudroom, and a ceiling-mounted folding door for the laundry room.
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Notes, 9 Feb. 2016

David and Kevin from Brian Chilton Design arrived to complete the stair balusters. That’s David at left, in photo above, talking Ron Dahlke through the timeline to take off the clamps.

Steven assembled the Ikea cabinets for Jadin's closet, test fitting different positions with Jacquela.
Steven assembled the Ikea cabinets for Jadin’s closet, test fitting different positions with Jacquela.
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Notes, 26 Jan. 2016

Above, Luis from Landers Flooring is back to remove and replace one stair tread. The balusters for this tread were drilled in the wrong place. Today, Luis removed the balusters and existing hickory tread, then fitted the replacement. At the end of the day, he clearcoated it with polyurethane.

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Mauricio and the team from Gilsa Construction today began to install the heavy steel edging for the deck off the kitchen door.
Mauricio welds the straight metal edging to a rebar post he sledgehammered into the ground.
Mauricio welds the straight metal edging to a rebar post he sledgehammered into the ground.
Joel from the City of Austin inspected the boxes and location for the new residential electric meter. Steven called Dispatch to ask the City to install the meter.
Joel from the City of Austin inspected the boxes and location for the new residential electric meter. Steven called Dispatch to ask the City to install the meter.
Binswanger Glass today delivered and installed the obscured glass door to the water closet in the master bath ...
Binswanger Glass today delivered and installed the obscured glass door to the water closet in the master bath …
and the second door to the shower in bath 2, Jadin's bath -- the panel at right, with the long chrome handle.
and the second door to the shower in bath 2, Jadin’s bath — the panel at right, with the long chrome handle.
The tankless water heater is installed upstairs in the laundry/utility room.
The tankless water heater is installed upstairs in the laundry/utility room.
Ron Dahlke asked Steven to start a "punch list" of items that need attention. Here's the first one -- this is one of the showerhead fixtures in the master shower. It's missing an escutcheon. As a result, the cutout in the tile is exposed.
Ron Dahlke asked Steven to start a “punch list” of items that need attention. Here’s the first one — this is one of the showerhead fixtures in the master shower. It’s missing an escutcheon. As a result, the cutout in the tile is exposed.
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Catching up, stairs

Steven is back from a week away at the Consumer Electronics Show. He walked Emerald Hill today with Jacquela.

Steven observes: Ron put in a productive week, playing in the house without Steven underfoot …

Above, the metal handrail is installed at the stairwell. And the balusters are going in.

This vantage is just so cool that it's worth repeating without the "featured image" overlay that obscures part of the bottom of the photo above. The inspiration for this was a photo Steven found of a stairway in a remodel. The metal balusters ensure safety; they look like jail-cell bars, but, compared with a conventional approach of wood railings and Newell post, the vertical metal web opens the entry space wide. And it's DRAMATIC!
This vantage is just so cool that it’s worth repeating without the “featured image” overlay that obscures part of the bottom of the photo above. The inspiration for this was a photo Steven found of a stairway in a remodel. The metal balusters ensure safety; they look like jail-cell bars, but, compared with a conventional approach of wood railings and Newell post, the vertical metal web opens the entry space wide. And it’s DRAMATIC!
Looking up to the second floor from the stair landing, handrail and balusters in place.
Looking up to the second floor from the stair landing, handrail and balusters in place.
Baluster installation is not yet complete.
Baluster installation is not yet complete.
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“Goodness,” says Jadin

Steven turned over Emerald Hill to Ron Dahlke from Ranserve while traveling all week to Vegas for ShowStoppers @ CES. Jadin and Jacquela visited the house today. Jacquela said “wow.” She and Steven plan an early visit Saturday to catch Steven up on a whole week of progress without Steven sticking his foot and hand into everything. Can’t wait.

In the interim, Jadin took these photos.

Dad to Jadin via text: “What do you think?”

Jadin via text: “Goodness.”

It looks like the exhaust hood is installed over the cooktop. Is the cooktop installed under the protective styrofoam? And look at that killer red backsplash.
It looks like the exhaust hood is installed over the cooktop. Is the cooktop installed under the protective styrofoam? And look at that killer red backsplash.
That's the oven to the left and the microwave in the middle. Where's the storage drawer that is supposed to go under the microwave?
That’s the oven to the left and the microwave in the middle. Where’s the storage drawer that is supposed to go under the microwave?
The balusters and handrailing are installed! This is the plan that Steven imagined and architect Brett drew before we started demo -- made real!
The balusters and handrailing are installed! This is the plan that Steven imagined and architect Brett drew before we started demo — made real!
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Notes, 11 Dec. 2015

Steven visited Brian Chilton Metalworks today, delivering the metal mask that will be mounted over the fireplace. Brian will design a mount for the mask and match the patina from the mask when he finishes off the stair balusters and handrail.

These are the heavy metal brackets that Ron will slide under the quartz island countertop to support it across the seating bridge.
These are the heavy metal brackets that Ron will slide under the quartz island countertop to support it across the seating bridge.
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Sealer + Polyurethane =

Luis finished sanding last night by vacuuming up the sawdust and then sealing the hickory risers and treads. Today, he applied the first coat of water-based polyurethane, let it dry, and is sanding it down, by hand, not machine. There’s nothing better than fingers to discover rough spots that need more attention.

What the stairs look like with one coat of sealer and the first coat of water-based, clear polyurethane -- with Luis working his way to the landing as he sands each step.
What the stairs look like with one coat of sealer and the first coat of water-based, clear polyurethane — with Luis working his way to the landing as he sands each step.
The water-based, clear polyurethane.
The water-based, clear polyurethane.
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Treads and risers

Luis continues building the stairs — riser, tread, riser, tread. This is craft. This is skill. And artistry. And passion. Luis pulled out his phone, scrolled through photos of his work to show Steven an octogon he built from six different species of wood, alternating colors into light and dark-banded orbits, gluing everything up, then assembling it into a large insert that was inlaid into a larger wood floor. This is the expertise and experience he brings to building the stairs at Emerald Hill.

By early afternoon, he’s about halfway up the staircase. He expects to finish cutting wood tomorrow, then start sanding and applying polyurethane.

A detail of how the riser and tread meet -- squared edges, with a 1/4-inch overhang for the tread.
A detail of how the riser and tread meet — squared edges, with a 1/4-inch overhang for the tread.
A second shot to detail the overhang.
A second shot to detail the overhang.
A third detail shot -- the squared nosing around the first stair up to the landing.
A third detail shot — 45-degree cuts to frame the squared nosing around the first stair up to the landing.
It takes a lot of tools to build stairs -- which is one reason Luis commands the house this week, with all the other trades distanced  from the stairwell.
It takes a lot of tools to build stairs — which is one reason Luis commands the house this week, with all the other trades distanced from the stairwell.
Luis closely checks the fit of a riser ...
Luis closely checks the fit of a riser …
He rasps away paint from the subfloor tread, because wood glue will not adhere to paint.
He rasps away paint from the subfloor tread, because wood glue will not adhere to paint …
Trims away the raw and uneven end of a plank of hickory that is to become a tread ...
Trims away the raw and uneven end of a plank of hickory that is to become a tread …
Test fits the 1/4-inch reveal of the tread over the riser ...
Test fits the 1/4-inch reveal of the tread over the riser …
Applies glue to the subfloor tread ...
Applies glue to the subfloor tread …
Drops the hickory tread into the glue ...
Drops the hickory tread into the glue …
Rechecks the reveal to seat the tread ...
Rechecks the reveal to seat the tread …
Taps the end of the tread to seat the plank tight against the skirt board along the wall ...
Taps the end of the tread to seat the plank tight against the skirt board along the wall …
Nails down the tread ..
Nails down the tread ..
Outside, Luis trims a narrow strip of hickory from a tread that is being used to fill gaps between the tread and the riser ... for this, he's working on a slightly larger, slightly more powerful Dewalt table saw, not his lightweight Black & Decker ...
Outside, Luis trims a narrow strip of hickory from a tread that is being used to fill gaps between the tread and the riser … for this, he’s working on a slightly larger, slightly more powerful Dewalt table saw, not his lightweight Black & Decker …
He taps the strip of hickory into position, test fitting it ...
He taps the strip of hickory into position, test fitting it …
During the test fit, he marked the wood to length. Here at the chop saw, he cuts the shim to proper size ...
During the test fit, he marked the wood to length. Here at the chop saw, he cuts the shim to proper size …
Applies glue between the back of the tread and the subfloor riser ...
Applies glue between the back of the tread and the subfloor riser …
Taps the shim down into the slot and glue ...
Taps the shim down into the slot and glue …
And nails the shim tightly against the tread.
And nails the shim tightly against the tread.

Repeat as necessary, riser and tread, riser and tread …

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