Steven arrived at Emerald Hill about 330 pm. Pedro has already tiled the kitchen floor and pantry. He is troweling cement onto the slab in the mudroom, laying tile.
Pedro speaks little English. Steven speaks un pequito Espanol — points to his head and says “this is what I imagined the kitchen floor would look like. It’s beautiful. Gracias.” Both men smile. Pedro goes back to laying more tile.
Steven sets foot on his new kitchen floor for the first time.
Above, looking across the kitchen floor, completely tiled, from the family room.
Where do we put the center line? Where do we cut tile?
Above, Julian and Pedro calculate the center line of the kitchen. Samuel observes. Look closely at the concrete floor. The squares of dark lines are ghost images of the first floor installed when Emerald Hill was built.
Jacquela and Steven have narrowed to two the candidates for the red glass tile that we will use for the backsplash behind the cooktop in the kitchen.
The original plan called for back-painted glass. Red. One sheet, from countertop to ceiling. But it’s ridiculously expensive and the fabricator will not warranty it against breakage or cracking. So we shifted gears to glass tile.
Candidate 1 is NOT a perfect 4×12. Neither is candidate 2. But #1 is slightly smaller than #2 lengthwise.
To Steven’s eye, #2 is a slightly richer red. By a hair.
Jacquela computes the cost for the 20 square feet that we need and nominates #1 as the first choice.
One of the things we learned experimenting with tile patterns — grid or brick, north/south or east/west — is that the kitchen tile comes in two very distinct designs — almost three.
It’s porcelain tile. The designs are printed on the porcelain slab using ink-jet printers. It’s a relatively new application of ink-jet technologies. Here’s an article about it — warning, commercials and subscription boxes will appear in your browser.
Almost anything is possible. Your choices are mind-boggling.
Months ago, Jacquela and Steven pored through hundreds of photos of different tile, mostly on Houzz.com. We filtered down to a gray/black/white palette — modern yet calming — to organize the tile floors at Emerald Hill.
We further refined that palette to large grey tiles for two key rooms — kitchen floor, and the floor in Jadin’s bath.
On a visit with Renee at ProSource, Steven collected several samples where the tile closely resembles natural granite.
The first design used in the ink-jet printed tiles is lined with long bands of color — almost veins.
Which induces sleepless nights stressing over choices.
Ron Dahlke and Steven spent part of Friday afternoon opening every box of the kitchen tile to sort through the two designs.
Steven hopes to use the two different designs in very specific locations.
Ron and Steven stacked the linear pattern in the kitchen for use in that floor. They stacked the mottled design in the garage, along with a pile of “transitional” tile that includes both designs, for use in the mudroom and pantry.
Heavy tile. Dusty. Sweaty work. Steven has new respect for the muscles of tile setters.
Sorting the tile was Ron’s idea. A very good idea. Don’t ask the tile setters to separate wheat from chaff. Sort and stack the tile to show the tile setters precisely what Steven has in mind.
Above, two stacks of the linear design staged atop the wood platform for the kitchen island installed the other day. Steven processed the contrast and lighting in this picture to help see the horizontal banding. Unfortunately, the exposed concrete slab is also gray and dirty — and it almost blends with the tile designs.
Above, Steven swept up and collected these “bullets” left behind by Basem as he installed the platforms for the kitchen cabinets. The empty shells have been fired. The shells with tips are still “live ammo” capable of driving the pin nail at right into the concrete slab when hammered with a nail gun. We will not be leaving these lying around.
Julian and his crew of tile setters arrived about 9 am. Steven walked the tile patterns and layouts with Julian. One open question is — there are apparently two distinct designs in the tile selected for the kitchen floor. One is linear. The other is mottled. Steven hopes there is enough linear to cover the kitchen floor, and enough mottled to use in the mudroom, mudroom bath and pantry — to help delineate the spaces. We won’t know until Julian opens all the boxes.
Kyle from Cowart arrived about 930 to teach Steven about garage doors. We might be able to save and refurbish the existing door, at several hundred dollars. But it still needs a new motor and remote — Steven is holding out for wi-fi and Internet access to the garage door controls. Kyle reports this can all be packaged with a new door, with full warranty, for about $1,000, total. Steven and Jacquela will continue this conversation Saturday when we meet with Kamla.
Basem is back from Central Texas Custom Cabinets to install the cabinet bases that were delivered yesterday. By late afternoon, the base for the microwave and oven is installed on the east wall of the kitchen. The base for the cooktop and sink is installed on the south wall. Bases for the cabinet for plates, glasses and cutlery, and for dry storage, are installed on the west wall.
At top, Basem lays out the first base for the island. He levels everything, several times, from all directions, checking, rechecking. Get the platforms level and the cabinets will be level; miss by a hair and it cascades across the run of cabinets. At the back of the photo are red glass and porcelain tiles that Steven and Jacquela are considering for the backsplash at the cooktop.
Aaron Pratt from Central Texas Custom Cabinets today delivered the base platforms for the kitchen cabinets, putting them on the floor in roughly the positions that cabinets will be installed.
The microwave and oven will go into the kitchen atop the platform at far right of photo. The cooktop, sink and dishwasher will go atop the platform at far left. The island will be located above the platforms in the middle of the photo. At the back of the photo, leaning up against the wall, is the platform for the cabinet where we will store plates, glasses and cutlery. The L-shaped platform is the base for pantry and storage cabinets.
Steven observes: We spent June, July, August, September and the first couple of days in October taking crap out of Emerald Hill. This delivery today shifts perspective — we’re starting to bring the kitchen to life, the heart of the house. Emerald Hill has a pulse, growing stronger.
So how did Christopher Columbus “discover” America if Native Americans already lived across North, Central and South America, in civilizations thousands of years old?
That’s today’s conundrum.
Back at Emerald Hill …
Ron Dahlke and Steven took inventory of the doors delivered by BMC West. We believe half the order is still to come.
Ron and Steve triple-checked the count of passage, privacy, dummy and pocket door handles; Steven can now order the handles.
Steven scheduled a meeting for Tuesday with Victor Martinez to talk about cutting off sprinklers where the garage extension will be built, and installing a new sprinkler control system — when it’s time. It will soon be time.
Ron met with the roofer, who reports we will need to vent the garage roof with either a “mushroom” or a ridge vent as part of the garage construction. There is already one mushroom vent, but the enlarged space will need more ventilation. Luckily, we have three mushrooms stored on the driveway waiting for donation to Habitat. More details to come.
Kevin Rehberg continued to chip out the existing oak flooring, which cannot be saved.
Ron reports that the kitchen cabinets might arrive as soon as next week!
When the drywall went up on the ceiling in the kitchen, Steven discovered that the three 4-inch ceiling cans for lights above the island were not equidistant from each other.
Ron said, don’t worry, we’ll fix it.
With the drywall install done, Ron and Cris took down the sheets of ceiling drywall over the island, exposing the cans and ceiling joists.
Ron and Steven dragged a 10-foot-long sheet of drywall into the kitchen, propped it up on two garbage cans, to simulate the location and size of the kitchen island.
Then we used three paint cans to approximate the location of the lights on the island, to confirm that the only way to center the middle recessed can would require cutting a ceiling joist and restructuring the two adjoining joists — a process that would also require inspections and approvals from the structural engineer.
Ron suggested an alternative approach — adding a fourth can, dividing the four cans into two pairs, and installing each pair to mirror the other. This requires no cutting of lumber, no structural engineer. It does require the electricians to add the additional can, but that’s easy.
Ron and Cris from Ranserve installed the duct for the kitchen exhaust hood inside the kitchen, foaming all around the metal duct to insulate it and the exterior wall, then sealing up around the duct with drywall.