Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pockets and closets

I dropped by today, knowing the crew had been out there yesterday, and found the full trim crew working hard and fast.  I really did not expect to see them here, but they are trying to get done with all the trim work before the end of business today.  The painters are scheduled to return on Monday and the trim work must be finished.  We have one hiccup -- the double-doors to the MBR were not delivered.  A lot of painting can get done while we wait.

We have the shelving in all closets completed, with additional horizontal support trim added to the shelves.  Most of the pocket doors have been installed as well.  The kitchen beams had already been installed when I arrived today, and the beams in the foyer were a work in progress.  The team leader told me that they would complete the beams in the Great Room today, also.  That is quite a bit of work left to do, as these are "faux beams" constructed from cedar into long rectangular "boxes".  Because the beams attach to the ceilings, they must be assembled in-situ in order to keep the mass safely manageable.  The effort and quality of work are high, and appreciated deeply by the homeowners.

Here are the pictures:

Taken from the "coffee station", one can see the faux beams of the kitchen
looking toward the Great Room's window mosaic.  They add dimension to
room, and warmth.

The faux beam in the foyer being constructed in-situ shows the challenges
of working up high.  Each beam is constructed one piece at a time, and are
being constantly measured to make sure they get it right the first time, as
there is almost no extra material.

This is the pocket door between Pam's
office and the bathroom, and the first one
I noticed as being installed.
My closet, with shelves installed but not finished out, and
the pocket door peeking from its new home.
This close-up of the shelves show the support front trim which is being
added.  In the previous picture, the support trim was not yet installed.

The main subject in this photo are the shelves to the right of the fireplace which, during the Christmas season, will be
home to Pam's Dicken's Village collection.  The wiring in the shelf area is installed to facilitate this use.

This is our first look at our cedar mantle.  One like it will be installed on the lanai fireplace.  It is exactly what we wanted.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


We are at a materials logjam right now, in that the lack of materials have stymied progress.  We had only 21 of 31 doors shipped (somebody needs their backsides booted), we ran out of mortar (how can these guys not know they were running out of mortar?  Oh! Squirrel!), and we are still waiting for the thin-cut stone for the chimney (No Virginia, we cannot slice large stone blocks like salami at the worksite).

However, we did get crowned, and that is progress.  It is a step which needed to be completed, and if it is not completed at this moment, then it is at least 90%+ completed.  At some point in the near future, the cement board/wall tile of all forms/sink and bathroom fixtures trades team will come, but whether it is done before or after painting I do not know.  My guess is "after".  Shelving is not quite done, but 10 of the 14 closets are built-in.  The next few days could be very interesting or very boring, but for now, here are some pictures of the crown molding:

The crown molding applied to the dining room, accenting a tray ceiling, which is featured throughout the house.
Here is the crown molding in the Conservatory, showing the piano nook and
closet.  The Conservatory is opposite the dining room and features a tray
ceiling as well.

The master bedroom and its trim of sills, frame, and crown molding.  There
is a tray ceiling here, also.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Hearths and shelves

At this phase of construction, progress is measured in small steps Most of the outside work is done, so there will be no dramatic WOW! visual moments going forward, with the possible exception of the fireplace and its associated shelving and cabinetry.  Nonetheless, details are important, and we are glad to be moving ahead with them.  It is always exciting to see things progressed from concept to reality no matter how small the detail.  Today's pictures are all about the small details and the excitement of them representing steps not only toward the completion of the house,  but expanding our visualization of how things will be.

Pictures of the lanai hearth in progress.  From the corners of
the hearth as shown, the stone will drop at 90 degrees to the
edges of the lanai.  The extension in front of the fireplace is
20 inches (51cm), and at the sides will be 12 inches (30cm).
Pam's walk-in/dress-in closet gets its first shelves.  There will be a built-in
chest of drawers in the middle (if it were there, I would be taking this picture
over it) of the closet.  She will have plenty of room for clothes and shoes. 

This is Pam's closet immediately to my right from the previous picture with
more shelves and a nice hang-up area.

This is the "Christmas Closet", which is in the main hallway leading from
the Great Room toward the MBR.  Its first shelf is rather high, owing to the
fact that the Christmas tree, it its canvas storage container, will be kept here.

This is the pantry, and yes, the blank space at the right is as it should be.
We will be putting a refrigerator in the pantry for additional cold storage.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Moving along on the inside...

Today was a good day as the trim carpenter was there to hang doors and install shelves, and window sills.   The work continued on the inside fireplace, but it is going slow. They have also started working on the hearth for the outside fireplace, the one associated with the lanai.

 The trim carpentry team has 21 doors and shelving to install for 18 closets and two pantries. In their first five hours of being on duty, they had fully installed 6 doors. By the same time, they had also installed many windows sills. The team seems to be making good time, and should be finished with their task by the end of the week. Once they have completed their jobs, the painting team will return.

Here are some pictures from today:

The fireplace in the Great Room is slowly creeping upward...

Meanwhile, the Conservatory gets its French doors (the windows on the
door have a protective material on them).

Once inside the Conservatory, one can see that the window sills are installed.
Many of the window sills have been installed throughout the house.

This is the linen closet off of Bedroom #3,
which is the left bay window bedroom.  The
doors are hung and shelving completed.

Returning to the Great Room, the window sills are installed on the window
mosaic, and framing has been added to the previously installed door.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Everybody must get stoned..." (Rainy Day Women #12 & #35)

Even though the title is from a Bob Dylan song, circa 1966 from the great double-album "Blonde on Blonde", it was NOT about getting high or "stoned" on drugs.  If you listen to the lyrics, it is talking about something more closely akin to the Biblical version of "stoning".  Today; however, I am talking about "none of the above", what I am talking about is associated with masonry.  They started on the inside fireplace today.

Here are a couple of pictures of the fireplace in progress, as well as a couple of other "stoners":

They began work on the fireplace this morning, and this is their progress
to lunch.  Taken from the foyer entrance to the Great Room.

This is taken from the kitchen, and gives some context for the work at hand.
One part of the stonework which is slow and slows the mason is that of
hauling the stone into the room.  It is big enough that only one piece at a
time can be carried by one man.

Not exactly stonework, but because the
electrician did not run the wiring to this
floor outlet earlier, a little jackhammer
was required to correct the error.

This is similar to a picture I took the other day, but as the stone and brick
all been powerwashed, it is easier to the dramatic effect of the clean-up.

The photo above is taken in the porte-cochere from the main house to the
two-car garage.  The colors are much more vibrant after the powerwash.

All "stoner" on this one, focused on a section of the wall in the

Taken from the street, through the pines and oaks...

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Sunny Day

Yesterday was another stunningly beautiful day.  It was in the upper 70s (~25C) yesterday, but when we stepped into the house, it felt like the morning air, which was in the low 60s (~16C).  This speaks very well of the home's insulation.  The exterior of the house is 99% complete, with a little painting remaining, as well as some stonework (waiting on material).  This week, the focus moves inside, as two trades will be active: texturing and trimming.  We have rain in the forecast for late this week, but it should have no impact on our progress.

On to the pictures...

Sunday has become the only day to capture the front of the house without vehicles blocking the view.  We are grateful
for the work the crews are doing on Saturdays, which is normally a day-off.  Everything about this house is large, and
crews want to finish as soon as they can.  The masonry work is now complete on the front of the house.

This is the view as one enters the Great Room from the foyer, and it never
gets old for me.  The design of the house is such that the breadth and height
of the window mosaic is visually captured even at the front door.

Angling toward the breakfast nook and kitchen, one can see that some
texturing has already been applied.  The texture is applied via spray
methods, so even a house this large will take less than two days.

There remains some painting around the bay window and below the window
mosaic in order to complete the exterior.  One notes the chimney is in need
of its stone, which is a thinner cut version of what was applied on the house.

The lanai is mostly complete, lacking the construction of a raised hearth on
the fireplace.  Its chimney awaits stonework as well.

Friday, October 16, 2015

A beautiful day and a variety of pictures

Yesterday was a gorgeous day -- absolutely cloudless, dry, about 91 F (33C).  The last reminder of summer before the temperatures drop next week.  It was a good time for pictures at Leaning Oak, and I have a variety to post -- a variety of perspectives captured...

This is a panorama of the back of Leaning Oak, sweeping from the utility room porch on the left across the back of
the main house to the lanai, with the two-car garage sneaking in, and then the five-car garage and casita at the right.

This is a picture of the casita taken from the woods.  The casita, like the
main house, has a ten-feet deep porch.

This is taken from the entrance of the casita (note its stoneworks) and
capturing the back of the main house.

The fireplace on the lanai is almost finished, only lacking the construction
of its hearth and the hanging of its mantle.

Here are four of the slots in the five-car garage, sporting the same high
ceilings (10 ft, 3m) as the house.  Lots of space...

And speaking of space, here is the fifth slot, which will actually be my shop
area and storage area of lawn vehicles.  The hole in the ceiling is the attic
access.  I plan to add pegboard on the left wall.

The two-car garage is all stone, giving a stone cottage look and feel.  We
have talked about adding ivy to grow on the solid wall.

This is the front of the two-car garage, which forms a porte-cochere with the
main house.  The windows add to the cottage look.

We finish the photos with a different perspective on the Great Room.
This photo shows the cathedral ceiling, which peaks at just over 19
feet (5.8m).  The top of the window mosaic reaches 14 feet (4.3m).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ladders are for sissies...

I finally got to capture the "stilted action" going on a the house.  The pictures below show how the pros go about installing everything from ceiling electrical to sheet-rock installation to taping and floating the same.  I have seen as many of four guys working like this during the sheet-rock (drywall) installation:

Monday, October 12, 2015

This and that...

The pictures today are a bit eclectic, as we have two trades working now -- one outside and one inside.  The stonemasons are still working, and have 13 more columns to stone, in addition to the outside and inside fireplaces.  The sheet-rock crew came in WHAM, put up the sheet-rock in the main house.  They were amazingly quick.  It took them less than 3 days to complete the main house, which is ~4700 square feet (~440 sq. m.), walls and ceilings.  On Saturday, when these pictures were taken, the "corners man" was there installing all the corners in preparation for "floating" the sheet-rock (applying tape and mud).  He finished his tasks before we left.

Here are the pictures:
The perspective shot: I am building up a slideshow to show the morphing of the house from this perspective, 
but from here one can see that the stone is almost complete (except for the left bay window), and that the two-car garage is now complete.  The columns still need their "tables" added to the top of the stone (the two
 on the right are finished, the rest are not yet finished)

This is a daytime shot of the entrance, and the contrast between the 
brick, stone, and wood is more clearly seen.

This picture of the casita is taken from the vantage point of where the
sidewalk will land at the lanai from the entrance of the casita.

Looking out my front door....

Looking out the MBR windows and door...

Looking out my back door (grandson playing in the dirt).

The Great Room's window mosaic and ceiling, in sheet-rock.

Fireplace in the Great Room -- it will have the same stone as the outside.

Dining Room showing the entrance to the wine grotto (rounded door)
 and the passage to the butler's pantry and kitchen.  At the back of the 
room is a nook for the sideboard.

Looking from the kitchen area into the Great Room.  The hall 
to the MBR is to the right of the shelf inset.

This the conservatory, which looks onto the front porch.  The back wall will contain built-in bookshelves, 
cabinets, and a place to hang guitars.  Moving to the left, the nook for the piano, and then the closet for 
storage of music-related kit.