Tag Archives: kitchen

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, 4 Feb. 2016

Ron is back. Yay. Still recovering from the  attack of the nearly-killer virus, eager to get back to work.

Above, photo of the red glass tile that is pulling away from the backsplash wall in the kitchen — discovered yesterday by Steven and reported to Ron by text message.

Emerald Hill did not pass the electrical inspection yesterday in part because baffles and lights are missing from bathroom ventilation. Kevin and Ron began to install these today. Here's Kevin on the ladder in the water closet of bath 2.
Emerald Hill did not pass the electrical inspection yesterday in part because baffles and lights are missing from bathroom ventilation. Kevin and Ron began to install these today. Here’s Kevin on the ladder in the water closet of bath 2.

 

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Door stop

As busy as yesterday — painters, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, team Ranserve, garage door installers — today was quiet. One painter working inside Emerald Hill.

Steven cleaned up a pile of lumber at the back of the new garage, swept the floor clean, assembled plastic shelving, as preparation for moving boxes. He installed LED lights to the outdoor motion detectors and garage motors. Delivered a supply of shelf liner to the pantry for Jacquela’s kitchen. Found a ding in the glass globe of the ceiling fan in the family room, tagging it with blue tape.

The house was quiet. No radios playing. No nail guns firing. No bodies dancing around each other. It’s a preview of what it might be like for Steven to be home, working in the office, with everyone gone.

Above, yesterday, Shane and Peter installed the massive door stops at the back and kitchen side doors. We need these to ensure the doors don’t slam into cabinets.

Speaking of doors, here's the front door, test fitted by Shane and Peter -- Jacquela's red.
Speaking of doors, here’s the front door, test fitted by Shane and Peter — Jacquela’s red.
An empty house with electricity is a place to experiment. Steven worked the kitchen light switches for the first time.
An empty house with electricity switched on for less than 24 hours is a place to experiment. Steven worked the kitchen light switches for the first time. Seven six-inch cool-white LEDs arrayed in a U-shaped pattern over the aisles of the kitchen — one of the seven not visible in this photo. Plus the straight line of four four-inch warmer white LEDs over the island — Aldebaran, Regulus, Antares and Fomalhaut.
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Notes, 30 Jan. 2016

Saturday morning. Jacquela and Steven visit Emerald Hill.

Above, Jacquela set the correct time on the oven. It’s the only appliance that is powered, so far. Along with the GFCI circuits. The electricians are scheduled to arrive next week to test everything, now that the residential meter is installed and power is delivered to the house.

 

Above, we started in the garage, where the painters have stacked trim lumber in two locations -- moving it all to the side of the new bay, clearing obstructions away from where the garage doors are on schedule to be installed next week. We're also creating storage space -- we hope to start moving in and stacking boxes as Ranserve finishes construction. In the photo above, at left -- painter supplies. Lumber stacked along the back wall of the new bay. Ladders leaning against the pole that helps to support the beam that carries the weight of the new structure where it joins the existing garage. Drywall supplies to the right of the ladders. Old lumber taken out of the back wall of the existing garage when it was removed, stacked here in front of the original two-car garage door for removal by Ron Dahlke, who plans to recycle it. That door is trashed after decades of use, and it will be replaced.
Jacquela and Steven started in the garage, where the painters built two stacks of trim lumber in two locations — blocking everyone’s ability to move easily through the garage. We picked up everything and shifted it all to the side of the new bay, clearing obstructions away from where the garage doors are on schedule to be installed next week. We’re also creating storage space — we hope to start moving in and stacking boxes as Ranserve finishes construction. In the photo above, at left — painter supplies. Lumber stacked along the back wall of the new bay. Ladders leaning against the pole that helps to support the beam that carries the weight of the new structure where it joins the existing garage. Drywall supplies to the right of the ladders. Old lumber taken out of the back wall of the existing garage when it was removed, stacked here in front of the original two-car garage door for removal by Ron Dahlke, who plans to recycle it. That door is trashed after decades of use, and it will be replaced.

David Garcia and his team of painters are pulling up the heavy paper that has protected the floors through construction, sweeping out debris and vacuuming the baseboards, then rolling out new, clean paper. It’s amazing to see the hickory floors exposed, however briefly.

The master bedroom.
The master bedroom.
The loft.
The loft.
Rolling out the new paper to protect the wood floors.
Rolling out the new paper to protect the wood floors.
Late Friday, the team from Gilsa Construction transplanted three bushes to the left side of the house. They were located at the right side, where Gilsa built the new walk. Steven soaked the roots. We'll see if these survive.
Late Friday, the team from Gilsa Construction transplanted three bushes to the left side of the house. They were located at the right side, where Gilsa built the new walk. Steven soaked the roots. We’ll see if these survive.
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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.

DSC_9196
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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Notes, 25 Jan. 2016

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.

Here's the upstairs tankless unit, still boxed, with the alcove where it will mount almost ready. Barry and team will add a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood to help serve as mounting and blocking.
Here’s the upstairs tankless unit, still boxed, with the alcove where it will mount almost ready. Barry and team will add a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood to help serve as mounting and blocking.
Gilsa today began busting the wood forms off the concrete pavers. It's almost more work than pouring the concrete.
Gilsa today began busting the wood forms off the concrete pavers. It’s almost more work than pouring the concrete.

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.

 

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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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The missing storage drawer arrives

The microwave, oven and dishwasher arrived last week from Harway Appliance, but the storage drawer to be located under the microwave was MIA.

Steven called Kristin at Harway. Arnold delivered the drawer today, above, set into place temporarily to check the fit.

Arnold screws the storage drawer and microwave together to create a single unit.
Arnold screws the storage drawer and microwave together to create a single unit.
Steven, left, and Arnold, right, lift the drawer and microwave unit off the base cabinets and begin to pivot it 180 degrees, to slide into the cabinet. Ron Dahlke shot this photo using Steven's camera. A first. And ... this is the first photographic proof in months that Steven is actually helping on this remodel, not just standing around taking pix and asking too many questions.
Steven, left, and Arnold, right, lift the drawer and microwave unit off the base cabinets and begin to pivot it 180 degrees, to slide into the cabinet. Ron Dahlke shot this photo using Steven’s camera. A first. And … this is the first photographic proof in months that Steven is actually helping on this remodel, not just standing around taking pix and asking too many questions.
Arnold tweaks the drawer. The alignment of the top corners where the oven, left, meets the microwave, right, was off by a visible 1/16th inch. Arnold added a shim under the drawer to lift the microwave corner just enough and into alignment.
Arnold tweaks the drawer. The alignment of the top corners where the oven, left, meets the microwave, right, was off by a visible 1/16th inch. Arnold added a shim under the drawer to lift the microwave corner just enough and into alignment.
The real reason for Arnold's visit to Emerald Hill was to take out the bow in the chimney stack of the exhaust hood. He discovered it was pushed out of perfect vertical alignment by the outlet in the wall that powers the exhaust hood. Ron is going to work on this with the electricians.
The real reason for Arnold’s visit to Emerald Hill was to take out the bow in the chimney stack of the exhaust hood. He discovered it was pushed out of perfect vertical alignment by the outlet in the wall that powers the exhaust hood. Ron is going to work on this with the electricians.
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Ground Control to Major Tom

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.

10 …

Then the install crew for the countertops arrived.

9 …

At first, Miguel, Saul and Luis buzzed through the to-do list.

They mounted the undermount sinks in the master bath to the countertop with silicon and screws, trimmed the 4-inch deep gray quartz shelf to length and glued it into position behind the vanity ...
8 … They mounted the undermount sinks in the master bath to the countertop with silicon and screws, trimmed the 4-inch deep gray quartz shelf to length and glued it into position behind the vanity …
They mounted the sinks in bathroom 3 upstairs ...
7 … They mounted the sinks in bathroom 3 upstairs …

6. Ron left Emerald Hill for a meeting …

They came back to the master bath to install the gray quartz backsplash ...
5 … They came back to the master bath to install the gray quartz backsplash …

4. Matt from Ranserve removed the protective foam from the island countertop …

3. They slid the 5x10-foot slab of quartz off the base cabinets while Matt, at right, watched ...
3. They slid the 5×10-foot slab of quartz off the base cabinets while Matt, at right, watched …

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 …

Saul routes into the cabinet a wider channel to seat the bracket into while Miguel preps ... the wide
Saul routes into the cabinet a wider channel to seat the bracket into while Miguel preps the undermount bracket at the east side of the island. Plans call for 4 brackets spaced across the width of the island, to disperse and support the quartz, protecting it from collapse and breaking. 

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 …

This is the cut to the cabinet where Steven stopped the adventure.
The install team sliced into the shelf cabinet at the end of the island — and through the cabinet. This is the cut to the cabinet where Steven stopped the adventure.
This is the slice from underneath.
This is the slice from underneath.

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.

Miguel drills the countertop for the electrical outlet while Luis suctions away quartz dust.
Miguel drills the countertop for the electrical outlet while Luis suctions away quartz dust.

Which is when Steven left, making sure that Ron would continue to supervise.

And there’s nothing I can do …

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