Saturday, November 28, 2015

More lights, bath tile, and flatwork begins...

Another good and productive week closes as the electrical trim is 90% complete, the shower and bath tile is done, and the flatwork has begun with the gravel base for the asphalt.  The long missing-in-action/absent-without-leave bedroom doors were finally installed, and baseboard installation has begun.  The low-voltage trim is progressing.  "Low-voltage" refers to TV cable, data lines, security sensors and cameras.

This coming week will see the completion of the electrical trim, completion of baseboards, crown molding, and doors, and the granite should arrive for installation on Friday.  Following the granite installation, plumbing trim can begin.

Pictures gathered over the last couple of days...

The front porch lights are installed, as are the fans (hidden by the facade).  The lights provide nice light, not great for
reading, perhaps, but great for enjoying.  The fans are powder-coated, which should provide significantly longer life.

The lights on the five-car garage, with one other to the left (out of picture).

This is the hanging light at the entrance to the casita.  The same kind of light
will be hung in the same manner at the entrance to the main house.

The kitchen lights are almost done (three more can lights to install).  This
picture highlights the pendant lights over the kitchen continent.

The MIA/AWOL MBR doors installed.  The electronic panel to the left
is for security (I am standing in the MBR to take this photo).  The
fans in the house feature an upper accent light in addition to the large
lower light, and the lights and all speeds of the fan are controlled at
the plate below the security panel.

The walk-in shower in the MBR.  The color
is a bit off in this photo.  This is the area
opposite the shower heads.

This is what one sees upon entering the
shower, with places to store whatever
needs to be stored! 
This is the garden bath in the MBR, and the tile here is much closer to the actual color.

Before the flatwork prep begins...

This heavy-duty "weed-block" material is used to keep the gravel from
sinking into the mud.  A single layer was used here, and a double layer
was used between the garages (see below).

The prepped-for-asphalt driveway as it passes in front of the house.

The area between the garages has been a wet mess for quite a while and
offered our biggest challenge to prep.  That is why the material was doubled.

The area after the prep-work.  One can walk on it without sinking and/or
collecting a lot of mud on their shoes -- even when it is raining.

The driveway divides here and passes through the porte-cochere to the right and then wraps around the two-car
garage to the motor court between the garages.  We will landscape the area in front of the windows shown here.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Let there be light! (and fans)

This week has been mostly about turning on the lights.  This involved two teams: the team from San Bernard Electrical Co-op, and our electrical trim team.  SBEC came out and trenched, ran two lines of 4/0 cable, disconnected the temporary power, moved "the can" to the main house, connected power, and viola!  The house has power.

The electrical trim team busied themselves with installing outlets, switches, lights, and fans.  I guess I had a brain malfunction in not getting any pictures of the power line being installed (which only took the morning), but I do have pictures of some of the electrical trim:

This is the dining room chandelier.

This is the fixture for the breakfast nook.

This hanging light is in the wine grotto,
and is the same as the ones which will
hang in outside entrances to the house
and casita.

Bathroom #4, near the lanai.

The fixture over my sink
The foyer hanging light

Lights and fan in the Conservatory

Fans and can lights on the casita
porch area.

Our first night being lit...

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Changing of the guard...

The floor tile and cabinet people are done, and we will be ready for a new set of trades tomorrow.  I snuck into the house while the floor tile people were finishing the grout and got a few pictures of the cabinets and floor in context, and mostly clean.

Tomorrow, we will welcome the electrical trim (outlets, switches, fans, etc.), trim carpenters (baseboard, crown molding, doors), air-conditioning team, and last but not least, the granite countertop people will come in and measure the cabinets for their respective tops.

Here are the pictures from today:

The Great Room as one enters the house, complete with the long window
seat.  I took the picture in the morning so that we would have better light.

The kitchen and most of its cabinets (missing only the sink, which is out of
the picture to the right).  The island (ahem, continent) adds a lot of storage.

Pam's side of the master bath showing the basin area (to the left in the
photo) and her make-up table area.  The garden tub is in the background.

The casita was the first area to get baseboard, and we are please as to how
well the colors are coming together.

Wash basin and linen closer for the casita,
taken while standing in the shower.

The guest bedroom adjacent to the
master bedroom has a Murphy bed
installed.  There are shelves on the
left of the Murphy bed, matching
the ones on the right.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

We have cabinets!

A very exciting day today as the cabinets were delivered and installed!  Yes, all "40-11" cabinets and the Murphy bed were installed today -- in one day -- the same day as delivery.  (for the uninitiated, the term "40-11" refers to a figuratively large number of otherwise unknown magnitude).  The cabinets will be measured for their respective granite counter-tops, which will take a week to deliver.  It is amazing how much character and form cabinets add to the house.  Here are some pictures from this afternoon:

The first three pictures are from early in the day.  The crew showed up at
08h30 and went to work -- two teams, actually.  This is the picture of the
Conservatory, one of the first rooms they attacked.

This is the dining room, which is actually not getting any cabinets or
built-ins, but it is full of the built-ins for the wine grotto and butler's pantry.

The kitchen, after the initial cabinets are hung, and other cabinets await.

The Conservatory later in the afternoon, almost finished.  The bar you see
bridging the shelves will be used to hang six of my seven guitars. 
The wine grotto taken from outside the door

Another photo of additional storage in the wine grotto.

Linen closet in the master bedroom

The kitchen is complete with what some would call the "kitchen island", but
I think it is more accurately referred to as the "kitchen continent".

The only "treatment" the window mosaic will receive: a window seat which spans the mosaic, with multiple storage benches.  The tops of the window seats lift on piano hinges.  It will be nice sitting here enjoying the view.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Working inside, raining outside.

The end is in sight for all the tile work -- both floors and bath areas.  To be sure, it will take all of their efforts and full days to make the Wednesday evening deadline, but it looks like they will make it.  The detail work in the shower areas are the slowest.  It requires a lot of smaller tiles and lots of cuts.  The big fairways of the floors in the main house are almost completed, leaving a couple of bedrooms and simple bathrooms (unlike the master suite, which had lots of cuts and angles).

And it rained today.  The weather reports call for many days of sunshine starting tomorrow, but not high temperature.  This means the evaporation of the puddles will be slow.  I think the construction manager is going to have someone come out and smooth through the puddles, leveling the pad area, and in doing so, help the water evaporate more quickly.  I added some rain pictures just for fun.

Tile completed: Conservatory, to the right as you enter the foyer.

Tile almost completed: dining room, to the left as you enter the foyer.

Great Room, straight ahead from the foyer.  We designed the foyer width
so that one, upon stepping across the door threshold, could view the window
mosaic in its completeness, top to bottom, side to side.

The fireplace, in context: the detail tiling with the needed cuts still remains
to be completed.

The breakfast bay area (completed) and kitchen (almost done): the vent loop
to the left is in support of the sink which will be installed in the kitchen island.

Finally!  The master bedroom twin doors
have been found!  They have been AWOL
since the other doors went in, then they
shipped the wrong one, and now it is home.

The shower in the casita getting its tile, and
one can see the center diamonds above the
darker border.  These will have a tile inserted
of a complementary color.

It rained today -- a lot.  If one enlarges this picture, the elongated drops of
rain can be seen.  This is looking across the casita entrance.

The puddles are large and numerous.  Fortunately, at least five days of
sunny weather are supposed to follow.  Maybe we'll get the flatwork done.

Looking from the lanai to the entrance of the casita.  There will be a sidewalk
connecting the two homes.

This is just an "art-shot" from under the canopy of the lanai toward our
trees and the rain.  We look forward to sitting out here during rainy days,
enjoying its soothing sounds and the freshness of its air.

The sweeping floor

The tile continues to move quickly across the floor.  Once the tile team hit the big fairway of the Great Room and foyer, the area they covered in a day sped up considerably.  Even though the tile is dirty and tracked-up at the moment, we like the look it gives.  

This is a porcelain tile which looks like wood.  The porcelain tile is colored through-and-through, so any chipping would reveal the surface color.  Ceramic tile does not have through-and-through color.  We like the look of wood, we like the ease of care of tile gives.  

Further north, one might be worried about having the entire house in tile, as the floor would be very cold in winter.  While this is true in the northern regions, here on the Gulf Coast our biggest energy spend is on cooling, so keeping the floor cool year-round is a good thing.  I expect the floor to be cool in summer due to the fact that the greater mass of the slab is two feet  (0.6 m) in the ground.

This picture isolates the finished Great Room and fireplace, in which
some imagination now gives way to some reality: millwork yet awaits.

This picture from the foyer shoots across the Great Room to the breakfast
bay.  The bay is almost complete, and if one compares pictures from previous
days, and realize the Great Room is almost 29 feet (8.8 m) deep, one can
appreciate the speed at which the team is working.

A shot of the Breakfast bay from across the kitchen near the butler's pantry
(no, we do not have a butler).  The windows of the breakfast bay and the
Great Room will be left open -- no window treatments.

The Conservatory a couple of days ago....

The Conservatory a day later, and work began on the dining room (the
corresponding room of equal size (23x13 feet, 7x4 m) opposite the this room
across the foyer..