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.
Jacquela and Steven spent the weekend packing boxes. There’s a lot more to go. Steven also began taking down Ikea cabinets that will be transplanted to Emerald Hill — and filling holes in the walls with spackling compound.
Today, Steven delivered to Ron Dahlke the short post for the ceiling fan in the family room — Steven pulled and saved a collection of left-over fan parts from ceiling fan cartons — and the transformer and low-voltage puck lights he purchased late Friday from Lights Fantastic. The puck lights will go into the entry-hall display niches.
Ron and Barry from Custom Plumbing today dispatched Steven to a plumbing supply house to purchase one chrome “Tip Toe” finger-press lavatory drain, one chrome slip joint and one chrome P trap — all for use in the mudroom bath. Chrome replaces the white PVC and dresses up the exposed pipe under the sink. The drain solves a problem — it’s impossible to fit between the faucet and wall the conventional pop-up connector rod that you would pull or push to close or open the drain.
Steven also purchased a shower fitting that comes with a thick, round, modern escutcheon. We put the shower connector into the parts bin. Barry, Sean and Noah used the escutcheon to cover the exposed copper pipe behind the pot filler at the backsplash.
Barry, Noah and Sean today began to install the Navian tankless water heaters in the mudroom downstairs and the utility room upstairs. There was drama. The blocking behind the drywall is insufficient. Steven suggested “paneling” the wall with 3/4-inch plywood. Ron and Barry purchased plywood. Genius!
Above, Sean applies fittings to the bottom of the mudroom Navian unit.
Kris solved solved a mounting problem with the air button at the sink that switches on and off the disposal. Working from underneath, he carved out a wider hole in the undermount stainless steel sink to slide the stem of the air button into, pushing the escutcheon for the air button tight against the quartz countertop.
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.
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.
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 …
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 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.
Billy and Charlie late yesterday continued to install glass doors to showers.
Billy and Chris arrived today from Binswanger Glass to install the glass doors in bath 2 and the master bath. They were not completely successful.
Above, a toolbox full of parts needed to install glass shower and bath doors. Billy and Chris also deployed drills, bits, shims, aluminum, a table saw, a framing square, protective pads, ladders — and a deliberate pace that proves they’ve done this for 12 years, speaking in shorthand.
The team from Custom Plumbing is back to continue “top out” — installing all the fixtures.
Along the way, Barry and team also identify punch list items to correct or wrestle.
The last week of December, Steven put on hold the install of the Toto toilets in bath 2 and the master bath to solve installation issues. While traveling, Steven received additional guidance from Jonelle at Ferguson and approved the installations. Today, the fix arrived at Emerald Hill.
Above, Barry shows Steven the $45 plumbing adapter that Toto makes to extend the water line below the tank, through the hole in the porcelain at the back of the tank, to make it easier to connect the water line to the bidet seat. It features a proprietary design that only Toto manufactures. It has to be specially ordered. That takes time. Today, Barry delivered two — one for each Toto. There will be a bill for this …
Barry also delivered the two Navian tankless water heaters and confirmed that the electrical plug in the laundry room must be moved if that tankless unit is to be installed — the plug is located directly behind where the tank needs to mount to the wall, making it impossible to plug in the tank. The outlet has to shift several inches up and over to the right.
In the mudroom, the plumbers will switch out the white PVC drain lines for chrome, dressing up the exposed pipe under the sink.
David Bowie, 1947-2016. “Check ignition and may God’s love be with you.”
Commencing countdown, engines on …
Welcome to the Monday launch window at Emerald Hill. Ron and Steven set aside time this day to walk the house together for the first time since Steven returned from ShowStoppers @ CES in Vegas. That was the plan. We did work through a long list of open items — garage lights, framing, electrical, plumbing, pending inspections, drywall seams opening up, why the drywall is cut open in several locations.
Then the install crew for the countertops arrived.
At first, Miguel, Saul and Luis buzzed through the to-do list.
6. Ron left Emerald Hill for a meeting …
4. Matt from Ranserve removed the protective foam from the island countertop …
2. They carried into the kitchen the custom-made L-shaped steel support brackets that the countertop maker requires we use to support the quartz as it bridges the two ends of the island …
1. Miguel and Steven talked in great detail through how to mount the brackets, where to mount the brackets …
Now it’s time to leave the capsule if you dare …
And the stars look very different today …
Steven stepped out of the kitchen to talk with the structural engineer inspecting the garage framing, came back into the kitchen, and stopped the work.
Your circuit’s dead, there’s something wrong …
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Steven called Ron. Twice. Texted a photo of the damaged cabinet. 30 minutes went by. Ron called in from his truck, 20 minutes out from Emerald Hill. We waited. MIguel called Austin Stone, supplier of the countertop. Ron arrived. He put the bracket install on hold pending inspection of the cabinets by Aaron, the cabinetmaker, aiming at tomorrow/Tuesday.
In the interim, the install team removed the brackets, placed the countertop back atop the base cabinets.
Here am I floating ’round my tin can …
Next, working with Ron and Steve the electrician, Steven and Miguel measured precisely where to locate the Haefele electrical outlet that will pop up through a hole in the countertop slab. Steve the electrician doublechecked the outlet and electrical supply. We measured one position five or six times. Steven walked around it, thinking, testing the length of the reach from the end of the island. Too far. We shifted it closer to the end. Steven approved. We triplechecked the position. Again. Steven approved it. Again.
Which is when Steven left, making sure that Ron would continue to supervise.
And there’s nothing I can do …
In this special Sunday edition of the remodel that is almost done, Jacquela and Steven discovered that the dishwasher is installed. We missed it, distracted by all the other bright shiny distractions.
For the first time, we are able to confirm that we will in fact be able to stand at the sink, alongside the dishwasher, pull open the drawer for plates or cutlery opposite the dishwasher, then easily unload the dishwasher straight to the drawers, just a short reach away — almost like we planned it.
The other big activity for this visit … Jacquela and Steven measured the interior of each drawer in the kitchen and all the bathrooms. As a result, we believe we need 230 linear feet of shelf liner to protect the drawer bottoms.