Archive for March, 2011

Finalizing Our Madrone Hardwood Flooring in Bonny Doon

Friday, March 25th, 2011

 

Our house is (will be?) ultra-modern.  We are using concrete, glass and steel and very little ‘trim’ so it will have a clean, bold look.  This could result in a somewhat ‘harsh’ feel so, at the same time, we need to soften the boldness with wood and make the house more gentle.  Of course, the materials must be from California …

With our ceiling being made of the reclaimed Redwood from the original house in 1969 (it is a remodel), we thought the hardwood flooring could be extremely complimentary if it was made of Madrone.  The native forests in the Santa Cruz Mountains are mainly Redwood, with some Madrone sprinkled through.

We investigated Madrone hardwood flooring and came across Out of the Woods, which is a local producer of native Caifornia hardwoods and is located close by in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Bonny Doon, to be exact.

We have been working with Dave Merchant, from Out of the Woods, in order to use Madrone hardwood in our house.  Dave has been very patient with us as it has been an exceptionally long ‘sales cycle’ with us.   Bryan first toured Dave’s operations on May 20, 2009 (see Touring the ‘Out of the Woods’ Operations in Bonny Doon).

Knowing where we are with our project, Dave called Bryan and invited him to come see the pallet of Madrone hardwood flooring that Dave had allocated to our project.  If the wood meets our needs then Dave would like a deposit on the wood until it is delivered to our job site.

Bryan drove to Bonny Doon and reviewed the Madrone hardwood …

Dave has a shop that is located on a unique property, which overlooks the Pacific.  It was a rainy, damp day in the Santa Cruz Mountains so the spectacular view of the Pacific were hidden.

Dave has a shop that is located on a unique property, which overlooks the Pacific. It was a rainy, damp day in the Santa Cruz Mountains so the spectacular views of the Pacific were hidden.

This pallet of wood looks like it is ours ...

This pallet of wood looks like it is ours ...

Yes, it is ours.  The tag reads, 60 Bundles, Bryans Flooring, 1,520.8 sq. ft.

Yes, it is ours. The tag reads, '60 Bundles, Bryans Flooring, 1,520.8 sq. ft.'

The wood looks good - nice and dry as it has been cut, kiln dried and then seasoned for more than a year.

The wood looks good - nice and dry as it has been cut, kiln dried and then seasoned for more than a year.

View from the end of the pallet.

View from the end of the pallet.

Reviewing Progress on Our Red Front Door

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

It was a full day today.

Al continued working on the roof, trying to stay in front of the forecasted rains for tomorrow (100% probability).  Bryan met with the City of Monte Sereno to review our preliminary lighting control plans, John Rider dropped by to see how the project is developing, Bryan and John met with Nathan Merrill to review the progress on our red front door, and Shane Lothrop provided instructions on how we could make an opening in one of our shear walls.

And our daughter, Kate, was on the winning team for her first AA baseball game with Los Gatos Little League (Kate plays hardball).

Reviewing Progress on Our Red Front Door

During John Rider’s quick walk-through of our project, Nathan Merrill called Bryan and asked if he could move the scheduled time of 2:00 pm forward to noon for Bryan to to review the progress Nathan was making on our red front door.  With John having to go back to his office, it was perfect!  John followed Bryan in his truck to Nathan’s shop on Dell Avenue.

John Rider has worked on our project since July 2008.  John is a LEED-accredited professional and is now accredited under the LEED for Homes program.  John dropped by to say that he wants to complete the preliminary rating review on our project and finalize the plans so we can proceed.  Darrel Kelly, our Green-rater under the LEED for homes program has been encouraging us to schedule another integrated project meeting to complete our preliminary rating.  John is with Jrider + Design.

Bryan introduced John to Nathan Merrill, of American Ornamental Iron and then Nathan took us into his shop.  Nathan had our door hanging from his shop forklift, so he could work on it. 

Nathan explained that he is planning to have the door powder coated and asked Bryan to sign off on the colors for the frame and the door.  Nathan has the original red front door in his shop and will take it to the powder coating firm so they can match the color.

John was impressed with the Valli & Valli hardware and Nathan showed John the details where he will not only be meeting the specifications and finish by Valli & Valli but exceeding them.  For example, Nathan is ensuring that all the edges of the door have the same rounding radius (.0625 inch) and that the stainless steel recessed machine bolts are brushed as per the Valli & Valli finish.  Detail is key …

Making an Opening in Our Shear Wall

The recent earthquake and resulting tsumani in Japan shocked us and underscored the importance of exceeding the local seismic requirements.  Since our objective is to live in this house for the next 15 years, we don’t want to meet code requirements – we must exceed those requirements.  We believe strongly that the San Francisco Bay Area will experience a 7.5 or greater earthquake in the next 15 years.

For our lighting control panels, Bryan reviewed locations in the house and then met with our Building Official at the City of Monte Sereno, Howard Bell, this morning to discuss our proposed locations.  Howard reviewed the alternatives with Bryan and recommended that we make an opening in our shear wall in the upper laundry room to do so.  If we go with that location then Howard requires us to review the opening with our Structural Engineer of Record, Shane Lothrop of Innovative Structural Engineering.

Shane reviewed the proposed location and then sent Bryan written instructions on where and how to make the opening.  Those instructions included requirements on the opening so it will maintain the structural integrity of the shear wall.

John Rider (right) and Nathan Merrill discuss our red front door (hanging from the forks of the forklift).

Nathan Merrill (left) and John Rider discuss our red front door (hanging from the forks of the forklift).

The door, including sidelights.  Nathan is fabricating the components around the door.  Note that the piece at the bottom of the door is a brace that will be removed before it is installed.

The door, including sidelights. Nathan is fabricating the components around the door. Note that the piece at the bottom of the door is a brace that will be removed before it is installed.

The door opens in, using four Soss hinges (invisible hinges).  Nathan explained that the door will need some cycles to get the hinges working smoothly (the door weighs 246 lbs).

The door opens in, using four Soss hinges (invisible hinges). Nathan explained that the door will need some cycles to get the hinges working smoothly (the door weighs 246 lbs).

Close up of the Valli & Valli hardware exterior hardware.

Close up of the Valli & Valli hardware exterior hardware.

Close up of the electrified mortise lockset.  The Valli & Valli logo on the inside door handle can be seen, just barely.

Close up of the electrified mortise lockset. The Valli & Valli logo on the inside door handle can be seen, just barely. Nathan's logo and the serial number will be on the top of the door.

Jig for making the wine racks.  There is a left and right jig as we will require 76 of the individual supports to be manufactured.

Jig for making the wine racks. There is a left and right jig as we will require 76 of the individual supports to be manufactured.

The other half of the jig.

The other half of the jig.

The first of some 24 vertical pieces in each of the three wine racks (left, center and right).

The first of some 24 vertical pieces in each of the three wine racks (left, center and right).

Alan holding the first component of the wine rack in the wine cellar.  Note the clearance at the top of the rack, by the ceiling where the radiant cooling will be installed.

Alan holding the first component of the wine rack in the wine cellar. Note the clearance at the top of the rack, by the ceiling where the radiant cooling will be installed.

Shear wall by Upper Laundry Room.  The framed area to the left is for one of three art niches; the stud bay to the right is where we would like the opening in the shear wall.

Shear wall by Upper Laundry Room. The framed area to the left is for one of three art niches; the stud bay to the right is where we would like the opening in the shear wall.

Shear wall from Upper Laundry Room, showing where we would like the opening for the lighting control system.

Shear wall from Upper Laundry Room, showing where we would like the opening for the lighting control system.

The electric cables for the lights in the ceiling will be run up these posts.  We will drill through each post to bring the electricity to the exterior fixtures that will light the underside of the upper flat roof.

The electric cables for the lights in the ceiling will be run up these posts. We will drill through each post to bring the electricity to the exterior fixtures that will light the underside of the upper flat roof.

In order to bring the electric circuits from the West side to the East side, we will have to drill eight holes through this beam.

In order to bring the electric circuits from the West side to the East side, we will have to drill eight holes through this beam.

 

Our daughter, Kate Mekechuk, in her first AA game catching in the second inning.  The Manager and coaching staff are by the fence, with photographers behind them.

Our daughter, Kate Mekechuk, in her first AA game catching in the second inning. The Manager and coaching staff are by the fence, with a photographer behind them.

Continuing with the Yellow Cedar Shakes

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

While Al continued with the yellow cedar shakes, we haven’t forgotten about our red front door.

We made progress on all fronts today.

Our Red Front Door

The last step in the fabrication of our red front door is to paint it (designing and fabricating the red front door has been quite a project in, and of, itself) .  We wanted the new door to match the color of the original red front door, exactly.  During the deconstruction of our house, we sold our red front door to another Eichler homeowner, who lived in Willow Glen.  That was fine as we had a tin of paint from when Bryan and his father, John, painted the red front door in 2002.  After moving between two rental homes, we can’t find the tin of red paint.

Bryan searched through his archive of e-mails and found the correspondence with the person that bought our original red front door in September 2008, including his telephone number.  Bryan called Brad and explained the need to match the color of the original red front door.  Brad said that he could get a paint chip from the door as it is in his garage, and hadn’t been installed yet (hey, it’s only been 2-1/2 years – we understand completely!).  Bryan asked if he could simply come by with the truck and ‘borrow’ the door for a while.  ‘No problem, come by anytime,’ said Brad.

After picking up the red front door, Bryan took it to American Ornamental Iron for Nathan Merrill to match the color with.  Nathan explained that he would take the door to the shop that will be powder-coating the steel door so they can get a perfect match.

Cool … way cool. 

That door is getting around.

Jerry Ditto Drops By

Our advisor, Jerry Ditto, dropped by unexpectedly today to check on our progress.  Jerry has been involved with our project since inception (he spoke at the public hearing for our Site Development Permit on July 16, 2008).  Jerry subscribes to our e-mail updates and had seen the recent postings on the roof.  Since he was in the area and had a couple minutes, he dropped by.  It is always good to see Jerry.

Jerry thought the roof looked fabulous.  He noted how prominent the yellow cedar shakes are from inside the house.  We have had a number of unsolicited positive comments on our yellow cedar shake roof, which is very visible to traffic going North on Winchester Boulevard.

Jerry did ask about the completion date …

The original red front door from our Eichler home, which was built in 1969.  Nathan will take the door to the firm doing the powder coating so they can get a perfect match on the paint.  It is, after all, a remodel ...

The original red front door from our Eichler home, which was built in 1969. Nathan will take the door to the firm doing the powder coating so they can get a perfect match on the paint. It is, after all, a remodel ...

The final row of yellow cedar shakes are going onto the West side of the East gable.  Note the standoffs for the solar photovoltaic panels.

The final row of yellow cedar shakes are going onto the West side of the East gable. Note the standoffs for the solar photovoltaic panels.

The remaining bundles of yellow cedar shakes in the garage - we will have sufficient shakes to complete the roof.

The remaining bundles of yellow cedar shakes in the garage - we will have sufficient shakes to complete the roof.

Completing the South Gable

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Each gable of our roof has two sides, and we chose to complete the South side of the South gable first.  We did this because (1) it was easy to complete (no penetrations, solar mounts, valleys, etc.) and (2) we wanted to show visible progress.

The tough part with this decision is that our progress appears to have slowed down.  We’ve been focusing on completing the non-visible parts of the roof now.

We completed the North side of the South gable today.  The other gables are coming along nicely and we are making good progress.

Unfortunately for our construction project, the winter rains are returning to the South Bay this week.  There was a solid 90 minutes of rain today and more rain is forecasted in the next 10 days.  When that happens, we’ll get back to completing the wine racks inside the house.

The North side of the North gable is completed.  When all the gables are done, we will put the ridge shakes.

The North side of the North gable is completed. When all the gables are done, we will put the ridge shakes.

Close up of our yellow cedar shakes on the gable.  Al noted that the yellow cedar sheds the water much better than red cedar.

Close up of our yellow cedar shakes on the gable. Al noted that the yellow cedar sheds the water much better than red cedar.

View of the West part of the North side of the South gable.  This is the FINAL layer (except for the ridge shakes, which will be completed soon!).

View of the West part of the North side of the South gable. This is the FINAL layer (except for the ridge shakes, which will be completed soon!).

The braces were very helpful in putting the yellow cedar shakes on the 12:12 gable roof.

The braces were very helpful in putting the yellow cedar shakes on the 12:12 gable roof.

More progress on the South side of the North gable.  The remaining rows of shakes should be completed this week.

More progress on the South side of the North gable. The remaining rows of shakes should be completed this week.

There are some 10 rows of shakes that need to be completed on the North side of the North gable.

There are some 10 rows of shakes that need to be completed on the North side of the North gable.

Al Debeauclair attaching shakes on the West side of the East gable.

Al Debeauclair attaching shakes on the West side of the East gable.

Ordering Our Nissan LEAF

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

While Bryan was in his C-Bus Basic Training session on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, we received an e-mail from Nissan notifying us to select a Nissan dealer from which to order our Nissan LEAF.  Mike Calise, EVadvise, was driving Bryan home from San Jose Airport (SJC) on March 1, 2011 when they saw their first Nissan LEAF driving in the Bay Area.

Ordering Our Nissan LEAF

We reserved a Nissan LEAF on July 31, 2010 and now we are in the queue to actually order the vehicle.  On Tuesday, March 8, 2011, Nissan sent us an e-mail to notifiy us to visit a dealer and order our vehicle through that dealer.  Although we met with Stevens Creek Nissan on Sunday, November 21, 2010, we decided to order our LEAF through Premier Nissan of San Jose.

Bryan drove over to Premier Nissan and met with Wilson Bui, who is responsible for internet and fleet sales.  Wilson walked Bryan through the vehicle options and showed us that our application had been approved to participate in ‘The EV Project‘ and to have a Blink Home Charger installed in our garage.  As well, our LEAF will have a quick charge port included at no additional charge (normally $700) so our LEAF can be charged with a 400 volt DC device, which can fully charge a LEAF in under 30 minutes.

Given the massive earthquake in Japan, we are concerned that it will delay the manufacturing and delivery of our Nissan LEAF.  Of course, that is irrelevant to the thousands of people that died and have had their homes destroyed by the earthquake and resulting tsunami.

Meeting with Wilson Bui at Premier Nissan of San Jose

Wilson was very helpful and, after Bryan confirmed his order with Nissan, Wilson provided some interesting data on electric vehicles in the Bay Area.  First, Wilson showed Bryan a video clip on electric vehicles that aired on ABC News Channel 7 on Friday, March 9, 2011.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=8004657

(Wilson appears at 31 seconds in the video).

ABC News Channel 7 compared the Nissan LEAF to the Chevrolet Volt in this episode on February 28, 2011:

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video?id=7986727

Bryan asked about the sales volume and the timing from reservation, to order, to delivery of a LEAF.  Wilson explained that we are the 101st customer to place an order for a LEAF with Premier Nissan.  Also, he provided delivery statistics, which shows that 2 LEAFs were delivered in February and that 4 will be delivered in March, 20 in April and 25 in May.  (The video clip from ABC News Channel 7 showed the delivery of the very first LEAF through the Premier Nissan of San Jose dealership.)  After going into the on-line system, Wilson said the timing will be accelerated with the April and May scheduled deliveries being pulled into March and April.

Interestingly, Bryan spotted a friend in Los Gatos, Marc Jenson, who should receive delivery of his LEAF at the end of March.  Marc and his wife, Monique, attended the EVent hosted by Mike and Donna Calise on September 18, 2010.  (Mike is with EVadvise.)

Wilson described an additional benefit of purchasing a LEAF in San Jose – the City of San Jose provides free parking for 100% electric vehicles (e.g., Nissan LEAFs) at all of its public parking locations.  These parking locations include garages and metered parking on city streets.

Finally, as Bryan was leaving the dealership, Wilson showed Bryan the two electric vehicle charging stations in the parking lot and explained that Premier Nissan provides free electric vehicle charging 7×24 for its customers.

Way cool …

Two port electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot at Premier Nissan of San Jose.  This charging station allows for free charging of Nissan LEAFs.

Two port electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot at Premier Nissan of San Jose. This charging station allows for free charging of Nissan LEAFs.

Bryan demonstrates how to use the electric vehicle charging station.  Photo credit - Wilson Bui.

Bryan demonstrates how to use the electric vehicle charging station. Photo credit - Wilson Bui.

Making Progress with Our Yellow Cedar Shake Roof

Friday, March 11th, 2011

After returning from the 3-day training course in Palm Desert, it was time to see how much progress we had made with the yellow cedar shakes on our gable roof.

The roof looked fantastic!

We should complete installing the shakes by the end of next week.

Progress on North side of South gable, showing scaffolding system used to protect roof while attaching shakes.

Progress on North side of South gable, showing scaffolding system used to protect roof while attaching shakes.

The East side of the East gable, showing the cooktop vent penetration.  The yellow cedar shakes are lined up nicely.

The East side of the East gable, showing the cooktop vent penetration. The yellow cedar shakes are lined up nicely.

When you walk into the house, you will see the shakes on the South side of the North gable.

When you walk into the house, you will see the shakes on the South side of the North gable.

This photo shows that we have six more rows of shakes to complete the South side of the North Gable.  The standoffs for the solar mounts are visible in this photo.

This photo shows that we have six more rows of shakes to complete the South side of the North Gable. The standoffs for the solar mounts are visible in this photo.

View of the valley between the North and East gables (from the upper flat roof).

View of the valley between the North and East gables (from the upper flat roof).

North gable, showing solar mounts.

North gable, showing solar mounts.

There are three more rows to complete the North side of the South gable, and then the ridge can be completed with the ridge shakes.

There are three more rows to complete the North side of the South gable, and then the ridge can be completed with the ridge shakes.