Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Still plugging away

We are almost done. Well, that's what I said last post. I had to go on a short jaunt overseas, and was hoping to arrive home to a finished house. But it was not to be. They did make a lot of progress, including: putting the final coat on the hardwood and sealing the stone floors, which are now finally visible; installing the outside deck railings which turned out very nice indeed; finishing installing most of the recessed lights; and other minor little details like the doorbell and door chime.

The big remaining thing is the inside stair railing. They had installed the railing upstairs, but the bottom of the railing sticks out too far into the stairway, which looked dorky and posed a hazard. It turned out that this was the original design, but it had been modified back in July. The architect sent the change over to the fabrication place, but they claim to have never received it. Although they have taken the railing back to the shop to fix it, there is a big question as to who will pay (answer: not us). The railing should be fixed soon, and then they'll be back to install in a week or two. So we'll final the project in October.

Tomorrow the cleaners come, and hopefully the electricians. Then Friday the alarm folks come to complete their installation. And then we wait for the railing guys to come and we can final! There are still a few odds and ends that will need to be done like finishing the breakfast nook bench upholstery and installing the few missing odds/ends for our cabinets, but once we get the final inspection, we can move back into the rest of the house!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Let there be light!

Today the electricians came and installed most of the remaining plugs, some of the remaining lights and did the light test. We now have light in the house! The office is lighted, the living room is lighted, and the downstairs guest bedroom is lighted. (The other rooms are lighted, but the switches aren't turned on yet so we can't yet use the lights.)

The fan also works, and I had it on all evening to lend a cool breeze.

We have to "burn in" the Artemide Ventanas... basically, we have to leave them on for 100 hours before we can dim them. I'm not sure if we're burning in the lights or the bulbs (I suspect the latter). The remaining bulbs arrived today so that the Ventanas now all work.

The oven receptacles turned out to have the wrong configuration, so they'll install some replacements tomorrow. By the evening we should be able to use the oven AND the instant hot water. Just in time for me to leave for Geneva. Oh well, I'll have hot coffee Wednesday morning from our instant hot water dispenser.

The refrigerator was installed on Friday -- I'll try to get a picture of that soon. The AC guys installed the air conditioning compressor today. So really, it's almost almost almost all done.

Tuesday: remaining custom kitchen cabinets will be installed + electricians will come back to complete the lighting (the GrafikEye controllers probably won't be installed until after the final). The painter may come to do some final touch ups, and the alarm installer should be here to finish the alarm install. The home theater installer is coming to install the speakers in the kitchen.

Wednesday: railing guy comes to do final measurements

Thursday: floor guys come to do final coat on hardwood and seal/finish the stone

Next week: railing guy installs railing, and then we FINAL!

In the meantime, Kurt is a little upset that Coda has taken over what was supposed to be his office, and that I've co-opted the breakfast nook for my office. And I do think that will be my permanent office now, as it's such a lovely little spot! Well, I'm sure he and Coda will figure out how to share :)

More nighttime pictures are available from Kurt's picture site.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

A minor victory in a long campaign

The city planner came this morning, on time, as planned. (I guess that's why he's in planning!) After showing him the yard, and the view of our neighbor's house below from the upper story, he agreed that planting another tree, a stipulation from the planning dept. at the beginning of the project, was unnecessary. Hooray! It's really not that expensive to add another tree, but it is a hassle, and so silly, so I am glad he agreed with us.

The electricians were here first thing this morning, and they finished installing the ceiling lights and a few other electrical odds n' ends. I think they'll be back again tomorrow. Some of the electrical receptacles for the kitchen are still on order (they match the Caesarstone so they're a custom color), but hopefully it won't hold up the final inspection.

Our contractor moved a bunch of his tools out, a clear sign that we're almost done. When they install the house numbers and the mailbox, then we'll really be on the home stretch.

What's left to be done at this point?
  1. Install the reefer -- this had been waiting for decisions on the undercabinet lights and then a wire to be fished out through the drywall.
  2. Finish the alarm install -- alarm guys are supposed to be here tomorrow and the next day to finish
  3. Finish the remaining electrical -- install a few switches, finish remaining recessed lights downstairs, test the system, and connect up and programming the GrafikEye
  4. Install the AC compressor
  5. Install the door hardware on the sliders
  6. Install the railing on the stairs and on the outside decks (this is the biggest remains-to-be-done step)
  7. Install the doorbell and door chime
  8. Install drawerpulls on the downstairs vanity
  9. Install TP holder and hand towel bar in downstairs bath
  10. Add final coat to stone and hardwood floors
  11. Clean!
Piece o' cake.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Watching grass grow

The last little bits of a remodel are like watching grass grow. The house is getting polished, bit by bit, but the changes are small and not as evident. We have also had some trouble getting the electricians out to finish as they're completely booked solid, so the electrical finish work has been moving more slowly than expected.

Last week, the contractors installed the awning between the two floors. This was an expensive piece of decoration required by the city to break up the 22' vertical wall of windows. It's made of stainless and Trex (reconstituted garbage, just like the deck), and it turned out very nice! It did add something to the look of the building, even if the only people who can see it are in our back yard.

Our server room is now fully outfitted with the patch panel, and all the rooms are hooked up with ethernet, telephone and cable. Some of the rooms also have audio. This has come in real handy, as I was finally able to hook up my printer where I wanted it since we have ethernet everywhere in the house. (Two wireless routers as well.)

The office door got installed too. This is a sliding door on an exposed track, so it slides against the wall rather than into a pocket. It's made out of an acrylic by Knoll, and is essentially a piece of fabric pressed between two pieces of acrylic. It looks very nice.. it's very understated, but its opacity allows you to hide the (anticipated) clutter in the office, while its transparency lets natural light from the office into the hall.

Today on Labor Day, two of the electricians came out and worked all day, and now we finally have the track lighting in the living room and the Artemide Ventana lights in the kitchen. Judging from the grunting and swearing, they were every bit as much of a pain to install as well as they were to order correctly.

I spent a couple of hours assembling the track light fixtures, just to have something to do, and to hopefully save some of their very valuable and hard-to-come-by time. There is one more piece of track they need to install (over the stairs) which is going to take a bit of creative scaffolding and nerve to do.

So now, there are really just a few outside lights to install, and lights to test. They have to finish installing the GrafikEye system (I can never misspell it properly), but they might be finished as early as tomorrow. I suspect there will still be a few little things to do after they leave tomorrow.

Tomorrow the city planner comes and I'm hoping to convince him not to have us plant the additional tree we're required to plant before we get the final signoff.

The only things left to be done before we can final the project besides finishing the electrical are: installing the ever-so-important stair and deck railing and installing the air conditioning compressor. We have a small bit of custom cabinetry to be installed in the kitchen and then undercabinet lights to be installed, but that shouldn't hold up the final signoff (I hope).