Archive for November, 2009

Working with Murray Windows and Preparing to Pour Concrete Tomorrow

Monday, November 30th, 2009

We have been working with Carole Murray and Annie Rouse of Murray Windows & Door, Inc.  Carole and Annie came to the job site today to review where we are and do some field measurements.  Also, today is the final preparations before we pour concrete in the lower level tomorrow morning.

Carole Murray and Annie Rouse Visit Our Job Site

After meeting with Carole and Annie in their offices in Campbell, Bryan suggested they come to the job site and review the openings for the sliding doors and windows to see the issues first hand.  Although we have computer renderings of the house from various angles, there is no substitute for seeing the scale and connections in person.

Carole has suggested that we change the bifold patio door system that is at the back of our house to a large sliding glass pocket door.  This pocket door will go behind our feature concrete wall in the dining room.  We need to confirm the details on how this will work.  In addition, we will have to submit revised plans to the City of Monte Sereno as this will increase the size of the house by approximately 12 square feet.

Carole Murray (right) and Annie Rouse (left) reviewing the job site.

Carole Murray (right) and Annie Rouse (left) reviewing the job site.

Annie taking notes.

Annie taking notes.

Final Preparations Before Pouring Concrete Tomorrow

it seems there are always last minute things to do before pouring concrete.  Or, it seems like Bryan leaves things to the last minute.

The two remaining items were for Bryan to (1) insulate the PEX where the supply and return lines come together near the manifold; and (2) take photos of the PEX that will be embedded in concrete. 

Insulating the PEX increases the performance of the system by allowing the supply line (hot) to be insulated from the return line (cold) so the hot water in the supply line is not cooled by the cooler water in the return line.  This important task was easy to do and only took a few minutes.

Taking photos was simply a matter of going around the perimeter with the measuring tape and camera. 

With these two items completed … let’s pour concrete!

Lights on, looking left ...

Lights on, looking left ...

Looking center ...

Looking center ...

And, looking right.

And, looking right.

 

PEX in place by the Snack Area (exit sliding door on the left).

PEX in place by the Snack Area (exit sliding door on the left).

Insulated PEX in concrete in Nik's Room/Lower Powder Room.

Insulated PEX in concrete in Nik's Room/Lower Powder Room.

 

PEX coming into manifold in the West Air Handler room.  Note the insulated PEX.

PEX coming into manifold in the West Air Handler room. Note the insulated PEX.

 

 

The

Installing Temporary Railings on Our Bridges

Sunday, November 29th, 2009

The site needs to be safe and the railings need to go around the entire perimeter of the atrium, including both bridges.  This was the task today – get the railings in place so the site is safe.

Cutting the Decking

We still needed to put the plywood decking over the bridge going to the master suite.  Paul and Laura were going to San Francisco for the day so David Staab agreed to help Bryan for a few hours.

Everyone had fun helping cut the plywood and then Bryan was able to complete the posts and railings by himself. 

Our good friend and Eichler mentor, Jerry Ditto, dropped by at the end of the day to review our progress.  He approved.

And, yes, it was another beautiful, blue-sky California day.

Bryan and Paul planning their work.

Bryan and Paul, standing on the bridge deck (with no railing), planning their work.

The boys are ready to go to work ...

The boys are ready to go to work ...

Measure twice, cut once ...

Measure twice, cut once ...

Starting to cut ...

Starting to cut ...

Finishing the cut.

Finishing the cut.

Having fun before Paul and Laura leave for San Francisco.

Having fun before Paul and Laura leave for San Francisco.

The decking, posts and railing are completed on the bridge to the master suite.

The decking, posts and railing are completed on the bridge to the master suite.

Bryan has the posts in place on the bridge.

Bryan has the posts in place on the bridge.

Bryan has the first railing on now.

Bryan has the first railing on now.

Jerry Ditto dropped by to review our project (and, he approved).

Jerry Ditto dropped by to review our project (and, he approved).

We're done!  The bridges are now much safer with the decking, posts and railings in place.

We

Putting a Deck on Our Bridge and Cutting Christmas Trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Thanksgiving is steeped in tradition in our world.  Paul Marcaccio has joined us to celebrate Thanksgiving every year since 1996.  Black Friday is the crazy shopping day where we struggel through the lineups at Fry’s Electronics.  And, this will be the third annual Christmas Tree event in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

After a dreary day yesterday, it was a beautiful, blue-sky California day today.

Spectacular …

Putting a Deck on Our Bridge

With the concrete in place on the ground floor, we needed to put the deck on the bridge over the atrium.  This will be a temporary deck so we can use the bridge during construction.

Paul, Nik and Bryan went to the job site and were busy cutting plywood for the decking.  A good project for them, prior to the annual Christmas Tree event.

Our mission for the morning - put a plywood deck on the bridge from the Foyer.

Our mission for the morning - put a plywood deck on the bridge from the Foyer.

Mission Accomplished - Bryan and Nik standing on the deck on the bridge.  Yeah!

Mission Accomplished - Bryan and Nik standing on the deck on the bridge. Yeah!

Cutting Christmas Trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains

As in prior years, Jo-Anne sent an e-mail to our group of friends in the Silicon Valley, inviting them to the ‘Christmas Tree Cutting’ in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  We met at Mike Calise’s house in Los Gatos and then made our way up Highway 17 to Summit Road.

We have used the same location at the Christmas tree farm for three years now.  It has a flat area close to the road where we set up tables and chairs to relax and enjoy the afternoon.  (Some may describe the event as a ‘tail gate party’ in the Santa Cruz Mountains.)  Everyone had fun and the children were able to run around, virtually unconstrained.

This year, Bryan brought our project pickup truck and brought Christmas trees back to Los Gatos that people had cut.

Cutting Christmas trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Cutting Christmas trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Note the group of people amoung the trees,

Everyone enjoying the fine afternoon.

Everyone enjoying the fine afternoon.

Note the beautiful, blue-sky California day we had.

Note the beautiful, blue-sky California day we had.

It was a bit cool so we had some hot food to keep us warm.

It was a bit cool so we had some hot food to keep us warm.

James Fulton (right) holding the tree so Nik could cut it.  This tree will be perfect in our house.

James Fulton (right) holding the tree so Nik could cut it. This tree will be perfect in our house.

Nik takes care of the trees in the back (only to the gate).

Nik takes care of the trees in the back (only to the gate).

Shipping Our SIPs and the Walters Visit Our Site

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Bryan received a call today from Bill Edwards of Insulspan.  Bill apologized for interrupting our tool shopping on ’Black Friday’ (we bought an air compressor and a DeWalt miter saw) as he wanted to advise us that our SIPs will arrive at our job site on Wednesday morning (12/02/09) at 8:00 am.

Shipping Our SIPs

Bill explained that there will be three trucks; two truckloads full of SIPs and the third truck will have the remaining SIPs and all the hardware.  He sent the photos below to show us what to expect.

We need to ensure we have a crane ready and waiting, and that we have space to store the SIPs until we can place the SIPs on the structural framing.

Once we have the SIPs, the house should come together quickly.

Our SIPs in Delta, BC (Vancouver) loaded and ready to go on Friday, 11/27.

Our SIPs in Delta, BC (Vancouver) loaded and ready to go on Friday, 11/27/09.

Back of the truck.  Note the reference numbers on each panel.

Back of the truck. Note the reference numbers on each panel.

Truck #2, with more SIPs.

Truck #2, with more SIPs.

Front of truck #2.

Front of truck #2.

The Walters Visit Our Site

It was a great Thanksgiving dinner last night and, yes, we discussed our project several times.  Worth and Lena Walters were at the dinner with their two sons, Bjorn and Andreas.  Everyone, except Bjorn, has visited our project site and, during a lull in their Black Friday shopping, they called and said they would drop by.

Jo-Anne wanted to verify the progress so she joined us, too.

The Walters inspecting progress since their last visit.

The Walters inspecting progress since their last visit.

The lower level is looking fine - we need to pour concrete!

The lower level is looking fine - we need to pour concrete!

Celebrating Thanksgiving (After Finishing the PEX)

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

It was great to celebrate yet another Thanksgiving with good friends.  We went to the Staab’s to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.  We’re planning (hoping?) to celebrate Thanksgiving in our house in 2010.  Before enjoying dinner, we had some work to complete.

Finishing the PEX

Bill Brown’s team completed placing the reinforcing steel in the lower level so we went to the site to finish the PEX.  Our good friends, Paul Marcaccio and Laura Watson, were visiting from Toronto so Paul joined Bryan and Nikolas at the job site.

Bryan instructed Nik on how to use the nylon ties and then how to clip the excess off.  Nik was a fast learner and was soon ‘picking rice’.

Bryan instructing Nik on how the PEX needs to be positioned and attached to the steel mesh and the reinforcing steel (rebar).

Bryan instructing Nik on how the PEX needs to be positioned and attached to the steel mesh and the reinforcing steel (rebar).

Nik working on the PEX ('picking rice').

Nik working on the PEX ('picking rice').

Bryan tying PEX to the wire mesh and rebar.

Bryan tying PEX to the wire mesh under the rebar.

Paul bringing 'two bottles' of wine to the Staab's for Thanksgiving dinner.  A Rombauer Chardonnal and a Ridge Zinfandel (2004 Geyserville).

Paul bringing 'two bottles' of wine to the Staab's for Thanksgiving dinner. A Rombauer Chardonnay and a Ridge Zinfandel (2004 Geyserville).

Our smiling and very gracious hosts, David and Pia Staab.

Our smiling and very gracious hosts, David and Pia Staab.

David bringing the bird out of the oven - looks delicious!

David bringing the bird out of the oven - looks delicious!

The girls - Laura Watson, Donna Calise, Jo-Anne Sinclair and Leanna Staab.

The girls - Laura Watson, Donna Calise, Jo-Anne Sinclair and Leanna Staab.

Pouring Concrete in the Garage

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

It was a great day to pour concrete.  Everything went well today – Hector from Larson Steel was on time this morning as was Chris from Clausen Electric.

Completing Trim Work in the Basement

We needed to cut the excess bolts off the baseplates in the lower level, which hold the steel columns in place.  Hector Guerra was on time early this morning and Bryan helped him to cut the tops of the bolts off.  As well, Chris from Clausen Electric came by and installed the conduit and fixtures in the lower level by the exposed concrete wall.

It was good to stroke those two items off ‘the list’.

Hector cutting the bolts from the plates supporting the steel columns in the lower level.

Hector cutting the bolts from the plates supporting the steel columns in the lower level.

Done.

Done.

 

Chris puts the electrical fixtures and conduit in the floor.

Chris puts the electrical fixtures and conduit in the floor.

Pouring Concrete in the Garage

We poured the ground floor in three sections.  First, we poured the section at the front of the house, under the master suite which will be covered by hardwood flooring.  Then, we poured the rest of the ground floor, except for the garage.  Today, we poured the garage, which is 20 ft by 20 ft.  All of this concrete contains 70% slag.

The Graniterock truck showed up right on time and we ‘tailgated’ the concrete into the garage.  It was poured within 30 minutes and then Bill Brown’s team finished the concrete. 

We decided to use colored concrete so it will match the rest of the house (i.e., Harvest Gold).

The Graniterock truck arrives and is ready to 'tailgate' the concrete into the garage.

The Graniterock truck arrives and is ready to 'tailgate' the concrete into the garage.

Ready to pour concrete in the garage.

Ready to pour concrete in the garage.

Pouring colored concrete.

Pouring colored concrete.

Within minutes, we're half way done.

Within minutes, we're half way done.

Tailgating requires a bit more manual work than using the pumper truck ...

Tailgating requires a bit more manual work than using the pumper truck ...

We've got the concrete in place so the truck can clean up.

We've got the concrete in place so the truck can clean up.

Starting to 'screed' the concrete in the garage.

Starting to 'screed' the concrete in the garage.

Screeding is tougher than it looks as everyone has to work together as an integrated team to move the concrete and produce a flat surface without grooves or tracks.

Screeding is tougher than it looks as everyone has to work together as an integrated team to move the concrete and produce a flat surface without grooves or tracks.

Back to the lower level, and this photo shows the end of the loop in the atrium.

Back to the lower level, and this photo shows the end of the loop in the atrium.

The PEX is looking good in the lower level.  Our plan is to pour this next week.

The PEX is looking good in the lower level. Our plan is to pour this next week.

The completed concrete in the garage is looking good.

The completed concrete in the garage is looking good.