Archive for the ‘Celebrations’ Category

Cutting Christmas Trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

We have a tradition of cutting our Christmas tree in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  It was a great time last year and we were hoping it would be the same this year.  This event provides a great kick-off to the Christmas season, is a great way to use up leftovers, and gives everyone a fantastic excuse to enjoy a party at the Calise house.

This year, it poured rain yesterday so Jo-Anne let everyone know on Friday that the annual event would be held on Sunday this year.  Mike and Donna Calise continued to host the post-party party at their house even though it was a school night.

The central location, where the food and drinks are served, is surrounded by trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  It was clear, cool and surprisingly dry in the tree farm today.

The central location, where the food and drinks are served, is surrounded by trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was clear, cool and surprisingly dry in the tree farm today.

Ram Reyna, far left, enjoying a warm bowl of chili.

Ram Reyna, far left, enjoying a warm bowl of chili.

The boys enjoying a fine afternoon in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  From left, Ram Reyna, Paul Fulton, Dave Cullinane and Bryan

The boys enjoying a fine afternoon in the Santa Cruz Mountains. From left, Ram Reyna, Paul Fulton, Dave Cullinane and Bryan

Jim OBrien called the sunset, noting the amount of light remaining in the day at 22-1/2 minutes.  Thus, everyone was instructed to pack up and head to the Calise house in Los Gatos.

Jim O'Brien looking at the sun dipping over the Pacific Ocean, estimated the amount of daylight remaining in the day at 22-1/2 minutes. Thus, everyone was instructed to pack up and head to the Calise house in Los Gatos.

Gone.  (Next stop is Edelen Avenue in Los Gatos.)

Gone. (Next stop is Edelen Avenue in Los Gatos.)

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Our good friend, Paul Marcaccio, came to California for his 13th Thanksgiving.  Paul has involved with our project from the start, and even has a set of work boots and tool belt here in California.  For example, Paul helped build the temporary deck over the swimming pool (December 7, 2008), identify where the stairs should go (July 26, 2009), and put the deck on the the bridge over the atrium (November 28, 2009).

After picking up coffee and bagels, Bryan and Paul walked through the job site.

Paul approved of progress to date.  He did, as everyone else does, ask about the completion date.

Let’s not go there Paul …

Celebrating Thanksgiving

After reviewing the job site, Bryan and Paul assembled the new turkey cooker that Jo-Anne bought.  She bought the ‘Big Easy Infrared Turkey Fryer‘ from Char-Broil.  We cooked one turkey, with traditional stuffing, in the oven and the second turkey was cooked using the new turkey fryer.

The new turkey fryer worked perfectly!  Jo-Anne gave Bryan and Paul explicit instructions on how she wanted the turkey fryer to be ‘seasoned’ prior to cooking our first turkey with it.  They followed her instructions without any questions.

We had some 16 adults and 12 children to celebrate a great year.  We have much to be thankful for and were absolutely delighted to have so many good friends with us to celebrate.

Next year, Thanksgiving will be at 17509 Via Sereno …

Current state of Guest Suite with plumbing roughed in and sliding glass doors being installed.

Current state of Guest Suite with plumbing roughed in and sliding glass doors being installed.

With the sun very low in the sky, a sliver of sunshine lands on the floor in Nik Bedroom.  Considering that the floor is nine feet below grade, this is amazing.  Of course, when the sun is higher in the sky, the generous overhangs will block the sunlight from coming into Niks Bedroom.

With the sun very low in the sky, a sliver of sunshine lands on the floor in Nik's Bedroom. Considering that the floor is nine feet below grade, this is amazing. Of course, when the sun is higher in the sky, the generous overhangs will block the sunlight from coming into Nik's Bedroom.

During his review of the project, Paul received several telephone calls (it wasnt a holiday in Canada).

During his review of the project, Paul received several telephone calls (it wasn't a holiday in Canada).

The turkey is cooking nicely in our new Big Easy Infrared Turkey Fryer.

The turkey is cooking nicely in our new Big Easy Infrared Turkey Fryer.

A couple of turkeys ...

A couple of turkeys ...

A couple of turkeys ...

A couple of turkeys ...

Ready for Thanksgiviing - Pia Staab (left), Lena Worth (center), and Jo-Anne Sinclair.

Ready for Thanksgiviing - Pia Staab (left), Lena Walters (center), and Jo-Anne Sinclair.

A kitchen full of guys.  Note there are several animated discussions underway, with Worth Walters and David Staab on the left, and Jim O'Brien and Paul Marcaccio on the right.

A kitchen full of guys. Note there are several animated discussions underway, with Worth Walters and David Staab on the left, and Jim O'Brien and Paul Marcaccio on the right.

Getting Back on Track

Friday, July 30th, 2010

We’re getting our project back on track.  We are continuing to working on the roof (so we can install the windows), and also starting to backfill our open trenches (versus digging more trenches).

Agreeing on the Trenching

We wanted to ensure PG&E approved our trenching strategy before digging too much.  Our project coordinator, Nathan, came to the job site and reviewed the electrical conduit that we uncovered.  He saw the water pipe (from San Jose Water Company’s meter, and agreed that it would be ok.

After the City of Monte Sereno inspects the water connection behind the meter, we’ll be able to backfill the trench from the water meter to the cistern trench.  Filling this trench will provide some much-needed real estate.

Identifying the Roof and Floor Penetrations

We can’t put our roof membrane on until we identify and make all of the penetrations through the flat roof.  The penetrations of the roof are for plumbing, dryer vents and exhaust fan vents.  The most complicated are the plumbing vents as we want to limit the number of penetrations of the roof.

Wes Wenger, of Wenger Plumbing, arrived at the job site and walked through the various plumbing fixtures that we will have.  As well, Greg (‘G-Man’) went through all of the penetrations with Wes.  Yup, Wes makes the promises and G-Man has to deliver on those promises.  It was good to establish the vents and penetrations.

We (Jo-Anne and Bryan) need to establish where the free-standing bathtub will be located in the Master Bath, as the tub drain needs to be drilled through the concrete floor.

Also, we need to get Kate’s soaking tub as this drain needs to be established, too.

Finishing the Skylight Curbs on the Lower Flat Roof

Francisco and Carlos continued working on the curbs for our Velux skylights.  This was their second day on this task and they were able to finish it off.  Bryan sent the exact locations of the skylight curbs and dimensions to Leo at Johns Manville so he could complete the shop drawings. 

Leo promised an updated layout on Monday morning, with shop drawings by close of business on Monday.

Backfilling and Compacting the Sewage Trench in Front of the Garage

With the pipe that will take the Lifesource Water Filter backwash water to our cistern stubbed out, we could now backfill and compact the sewage trench immediately in front of the garage.  This trench has been particularly irritating since it limits our movement into and out of the garage.  Plus, it looks messy.

This item was completed today.

Hosting a Friday Night Flamingo Event on Vista Avenue

As with other neighborhoods across the U.S., our neighborhood on Vista Avenue (plus Bruce Avenue and Kavin Lane) has a long-standing tradition of ‘Flamingo Nights’.  On the first Flamingo Night of the year, we signed up to host the July 30 Flamingo Night.

Kate, Sierra and Carli worked on decorations, and Jo-Anne and Wendy hung up our Flamingo lights over the garage.

Our project coordinator from PG&E, Nathan Lee, reviewed our trench from the San Jose Water Company meter to our house.  He approved the location as the trench did not interfer with the PG&E natural gas or electric lines.

Our project coordinator from PG&E, Nathan Lee, reviewed our trench from the San Jose Water Company meter to our house. He approved the location as the trench did not interfere with the PG&E natural gas or electric lines.

Wes Wenger (left) and Greg (G-Man) review the plumbing plans while establishing the locations for the plumbing vents in the SIP roof and the coring through the concrete floor (drains, hot and cold water supply, and vents from the lower level).

Wes Wenger (left) and Greg ('G-Man') review the plumbing plans while establishing the locations for the plumbing vents in the SIP roof and the coring through the concrete floor (drains, hot and cold water supply, and vents from the lower level).

The completed insulated curb, which will have a sloped cover and support the Velux skylight.

The completed insulated curb, which will have a sloped cover and support the Velux skylight.

The backfilled and compacted trench in front of our garage.  Finally done!

The backfilled and compacted trench in front of our garage. Finally done!

Our table is ready to host the Friday Night Flamingo on Vista Avenue.  Note (right to left), Kate, Sierra and Carli are working on the decorations.

Our table is ready to host the Friday Night Flamingo on Vista Avenue. Note (right to left), Kate, Sierra and Carli are working on the decorations.

Jo-Anne found some excellent Flamingo lights several weeks ago, so Wendy and Jo-Anne strung the lights up for the event.

Jo-Anne found some excellent Flamingo lights several weeks ago, so Wendy and Jo-Anne strung the lights up for the event.

Hosting the ‘Grand Floor Opening’ Celebration

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

OK, we’re not finished moving the dirt and the conveyors remain in place but we’re hosting our ‘Grand Floor Opening’ celebration regardless!

We did our best to clean up the site and secure it for safety.  It scrubbed up nicely.

Our First Guests Arrive

Our first guest, the Berner family arrived early as they were on their way to San Francisco for another event.  Mikael and his wife, Karen, are starting a project in Los Altos and wanted to see our site so they brought their two girls.

Jo-Anne with the Berner family (very dressy for the construction site!).

Jo-Anne with the Berner family (very dressy for the construction site!).

Everyone Else Arrives!

A beautiful day for our Grand Floor Opening' event.

A beautiful day for our Grand Floor Opening celebration.

Jo-Anne (left) chatting with Michael Good, who is with Pete Moffat Construction and is building the house at 2180 Bryant Street in Palo Alto.

Jo-Anne (left) chatting with Michael Good, who is with Pete Moffat Construction and is building the house at 2180 Bryant Street in Palo Alto.

Our good friends, Pia (left), David and Linnea Staab.

Our good friends, Pia (left), David and Linnea Staab.

One of the regular attenders at our events, Baby Martin.  He has grown since his appearance at the 'Open Hole (vs. Open House)' event!

One of the regular attenders at our events, Baby Martin. He has grown since his appearance at the

Enjoying a glass of wine by the atrium.

Enjoying a glass of wine by the atrium.

Jim O'Brien (right) chatting with Carole Murray and Phil Murray, who is holding their daughter.

Jim O'Brien (right) chatting with Carole Murray and Phil Murray, who is holding their daughter.

Phil Knopf, Paul Dodds, and Bonnie Knopf with Jo-Anne (holding our dog, Lucky).

Phil Knopf, Paul Dodds, and Bonnie Knopf with Jo-Anne (holding our dog, Lucky).

Bryan and Suzanne Muller, in the Wine Dining room.

Bryan and Suzanne Muller, in the Wine Dining room.

Wrapping Up the Day

After the event ended, we joined the Fultons for an excellent BBQ.

Dave Cullinane on the grill, with Bill Clyne on quality control, at the Fulton BBQ.

Dave Cullinane on the grill, with Bill Clyne (on BBQ Quality Control), at the Fulton BBQ.

Hosting an ‘Open Hole’ (vs. Open House) Party

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

We were delighted to invite all of our neighbors on Via Sereno and adjacent neighbors on Winchester Boulevard to come to our ‘Open Hole’ Party (it is not quite an open house at this phase in our remodel).

Of the other 15 Eichler homes on Via Sereno, 6 neighbors attended so we were very pleased.  We learned that the largest house footprint on Via Sereno is 3,500 sq ft (ours is 3,048 sq ft).  There were several discussions regarding how the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake shook the Eichlers on Via Sereno and how no windows broke in any of the Eichlers.  One question that we will address is to show the actual composition/layers from the finished floor in the lower level to the raw earth.

Preparation and Set Up

Setting up a temporary table using High Load 40 and a tablecloth on sawhorses.

Setting up a temporary table using High Load 40 and a tablecloth on sawhorses.

We set out the concrete stain samples, high density foam samples, and the re-milled original redwood decking for everyone to view and give us comments on.

Samples of concrete stain colors, high density foam and the re-sawn original redwood deck.

Samples of concrete stain colors, high density foam and the re-sawn original redwood deck.

Temporary mounting for corkscrew (gift from Donna and Mike circa Y2K).

Temporary mounting for corkscrew (gift from Donna and Mike circa Y2K).

Kate and Lucky Star, waiting patiently for our first visitors.

Kate and our Toy Fox Terrier, Lucky Star, waiting patiently for our first visitors.

John Rider's iMAC running ArchiCAD v12 showing the full 3D model of the house for everyone.
John Rider’s iMAC running ArchiCAD v12 showing the full 3D model of the house.

Our Guests Arrive!

John Rider (Jrider + Design) explaining the design to our neighbor, Ray.

John Rider (Jrider + Design) explaining the design to our neighbor, Ray.

Our neighbor, Ned, reviewing the site with author Jerry Ditto.

Our neighbor, Ned, reviewing the site with author Jerry Ditto.

Our neighbor, Eric, discussing the plans with John Rider (Jrider + Design).

Our neighbor, Eric, discussing the plans with John Rider (Jrider + Design).

Jerry Ditto and Ned reviewing rendering with Bryan.

Jerry Ditto and Ned reviewing rendering with Bryan.

Our neighbors, Paul and Siri, arriving with their daughter.

Our neighbors, Paul and Siri, arriving with their daughter.

Pia and Bryan discussing rendering.

Pia and Bryan discussing rendering.

David and Pia's son, Baby Martin, enjoying the event!

Baby Martin, David and Pia's son, enjoying the afternoon.

View of the 'Open Hole Party'.

View of the event.

Bryan reviewing rendering with Diane and Bill Brown.

Bryan reviewing rendering with Diane and Bill Brown.

Our son, Nikolas, with his good friend Ryan.

Our son, Nikolas, with his good friend Ryan.

We enjoyed hosting an event so everyone could see our progress.

We enjoyed hosting an event so everyone could see our progress.

Paul, Dave, Laurie and Robert reviewing the site.

Paul, Dave, Laurie and Robert reviewing the site.

The railing was a nice touch, especially when leaving the excavation.

The railing was a nice touch, especially when leaving the excavation.

After securing the site, Robert and Laurie hosted a wonderful, impromptu dinner at their home in Los Gatos.

Thank you everyone for coming to visit our site!