Category Archives: House Remodel

How To Build A Patio In California

How to build a patio in California…?

I’ll cut to the chase, after getting past the city requirements, I thought we were talking about a cement truck backing into our yard and dumping out the concrete ready to be shaped into place. I mean how hard can it be? Everyone has a patio.

But it turns out, at our house, it first involves about 6 weeks of digging.  Digging with tractors, digging with jack hammers, and lot’s of digging with pick axes. Digging to that point where you can’t see the top of the digger’s head because he’s digging so deep.

We expressed to a few people, one of which was our handy contractor, that, had we known about all of the digging, and the city requirements for a patio build, we would’ve probably put in a pool. Mr. Contractor explained that yes, a pool would’ve actually been easier and cheaper…that here on the coastal side of California, they like to dig those patio footers down to about middle-earth, ensuring that even an act of God couldn’t move that concrete.

Well despite that bit of not-so-helpful-after-the-fact information, we’re keeping our eye on the prize. At the end of this, we will have a beautiful indoor-outdoor living space. And in the meantime, we live in the sheer exhilaration and terror of the crew coming each day to demo and dig…all getting us one step closer to the build.

Here’s a little review of the last six weeks…

WEEK ONE:  Well, to start, I missed the very first strike of demo day: 

And then, they were off and sprinting…
BTW-Week One consisted of only two days, because they started on a Thursday. If only I could accomplish this much in two days: 

END OF WEEK TWO: So, we high-tailed it out of town for a week. When we returned and pulled in to our “driveway”, this is what we saw:

WEEK THREE: The crew came back after the 4th of July holiday, and actually started framing out the planters that will be in the patio. Yay for building stuff! 

Don’t be confused though, they’re still digging over on this side…

END OF WEEK FOUR: just some refinement digging…

Now to be honest, I’m not sure what happened in Week’s Five and Six. There were little structures built to hold dirt in and mark where the garage will be. The trenches were dug deeper. And there was lot’s of rebar being bent into shapes.  Oh…and there was this thing that happened with our septic tank – but that’s another story for another day (and not in a blog post).

Anyway, all of this was getting us ready to have our first inspection – which is happening today!
So, enjoy our current view as we wait: 

If our inspector is happy, there will be a cement truck here by the end of this week, pouring the footings for the planters. As explained by Mr. Contractor, this will be the first of probably 4 different concrete pours in the process.

Really…you can’t just back the truck in and dump a whole bunch of concrete down??? *sigh*

So stay tuned…more to come. And hopefully we’ll find out what is going to happen with all of that dirt!?!
Follow along on our entire house remodel here. 

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Bureaucracy And The Hedge

For those of you following along, you’ll remember The Hedge, and if you are just joining in on our story, let me synopsize…We had a 6 foot oleander hedge. It blocked our view. And it was dying. And it was ugly. So we removed it. We thought we’d replace it with a short fence.

3 years later, and we’re demoing the existing asphalt driveway, patio and front porch and we’re starting over with a new house-level patio, a new garage and driveway. The hope is to create a beautiful indoor-outdoor living space, with relaxing and inspiring areas that can be used to write, record and play music.

After numerous revisions with the architect and the city, here is our plan:

We happily broke ground a couple of weeks ago, but I have to admit, there were many times over the past 3 years that I wanted to ditch this whole project.

Oh boy. We were so naive. We thought – all we need to do is hire a landscaper. They’ll draw up some plans. We’ll give some revisions. Then demo. Then construction. And then we’ll have our beautiful outdoor space. It should take a few months, we’ll be done by summer! Of 2015.

Well, two ‘landscapers’ (btw-what exactly is a landscaper??), two contractors, two engineers, one surveyor, one architect, many many many meetings with the city, and a neighborhood review later, and here we are – with plans, ready to be executed and implemented!

Like I said, there were many times I wanted to bail out, but there was one person whose words and encouragement got me through to this point: My mom.

Throughout my life, I watched my mom ease through interior design, landscape and construction projects with decisiveness, firmness and perseverance. She just doesn’t let frustration overwhelm her and she keeps things moving forward despite obstacles.

Many times in the past few years I’ve recalled some of my mom’s parting words as I left for college: she explained that perhaps the biggest lesson I was about to learn was how to successfully navigate through a bureaucracy. She said, if I did in fact graduate (which I did…yaya Cal Poly SLO!), that I would take with me crucial life skills, necessary to flourish in today’s economic, political and social environment. Attention to the details, following the rules, tenacity, diplomacy…all of these things would matter in every day life.

Then she explained that the next 4 years would be unlike any other time in my life, so I’d better enjoy it!

As her words would cross my mind, (usually while standing in front of a clerk at the city planning counter), it only seemed right that I resist the urge to yell obscenities back to the person asking for some random detail and another check to get me to the next step in the process…that I bite my tongue, take a deep breath, smile, and follow the rules.  Yes Mom, that college education was totally worth it!

After 18 months of city planning and neighborhood approval reviews, there was a sublime sense of victory as I crossed the last threshold of city planning before beginning our project…it was bureaucracy at it’s fullest and finest…

Since we are in a fire hazard area (aka, the entire state of California), we had to submit a “Fuel Modification Plan” to the Los Angeles County Fire Department. The plan included full size architectural drawings, with every existing and projected plant identified, listed according to regional zones, along with a detail on the irrigation locations, AND a signed document stating that the plan is true, and our “covenant agreement” to water the plants.

So, I took a day out to make a fuel modification plan. And then I took another day to deliver the plans. And then they were approved…ish.

All I had to do then, was:

  1. Get our Covenant Agreement notarized:
    (Notary Public Fee: $15) 
    2. Get a cashier’s check, payable to the Los Angeles County Fire Department
    (LACFD Fee: more than $400 and less than $600) !!
    (Bank Fee for cashier’s check: $5)

    3. Go to the County Registrar’s Office to certify and file the plan
    (Certification Fee: $35)
    (Filing Fee: $17)
    (Parking: $6)

    4. Mail the cashier’s check and the Covenant Agreement to Los Angeles County…2 different offices.
    (Stamps: $.98)

I included the fees for this last step, not to be snarky (well maybe to be a little snarky), but  really, to illustrate bureaucracy at it’s fullest. These were not permit fees. These were not plan check fees. These were random, not to be expected, not outlined in the process, over and above fees…fees that went to FIVE different government entities, and a bank, and a notary.

As I sit watching the demo crew rip apart our driveway with tractors, pitchforks and jack hammers, I can’t help but feel a sense of victory. Not victory-victory. I mean, I didn’t destroy the bureaucracy. I didn’t even fight the bureaucracy. In fact, the bureaucracy is alive and well. But I navigated the bureaucracy. I worked through it.  And here I am. Smug and victorious. Watching my driveway get demoed.

Pictures coming next time!!!

And in the meantime, for more about this project, start here:  The Hedge

Thanks for following along!

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The Emmy’s, A Shipping Container, and One Heavy Jacuzzi

Do you ever have those seasons where it feels like the whole world opens up and gives you green lights…all at the same time?

We are in a ‘go-time’ right now, and honestly, we’re just trying our best to keep up, while we meet all of our commitments and have some fun along the way!

Last weekend was no joke, but we made it out alive.  The most glamorous and enjoyable moment was when we walked the red carpet at the 2017 Emmy Awards! Bobby and his co-writer, Daena Jay, were nominated for an Emmy – Best Original Song – Daytime. This was the second nom in a row for this songwriting team. They didn’t take home the award this year, but we certainly had fun celebrating all things music and television.

But, before we threw on our fancies, Bobby and I went over to IPME, and bought ourselves a brand new shipping container. Yes, a shipping container. You know, the big steel boxes that travel around the world on freight liners. A container that will be delivered into our yard in three weeks. The yard that is right next to our house. Where the shipping container will stay forever and ever.

I’m a little timid about the idea. Does it show?

Ok, actually, in spite of my reservations, I’m pretty excited about this project. We’re modifying the heck out of the container, with custom steel windows and doors, and added soundproofing and lighting. And then we’re going to tether it to our garage – which, all together will make up a nice studio space at our house. Here is a first draft Sketchup of what we’re planning: 

More sketches and pictures of the container mod to come. But in the meantime, we needed to make room in our aforementioned yard for the container. It’s landing place was occupied by an above ground jacuzzi…so we had to find a new home for the spa asap. Thankfully, our friends Tom and Christy were looking to add a jacuzzi to their backyard. And within a matter of days, Tom brought his friend Tulio over to tackle the transport.

They had it on it’s side before I could even grab the camera…but here are some snaps of the process: 

Upon close inspection, there was some termite damage to the bottom frame. 

Tom will have to build a new frame before installing it over at their house. 

The guys stopped to have a brain storming session about how to get the jacuzzi from here, into the truck. Seems it was just a smidge too heavy to carry. 

‘Let’s back up the trailer and flip it side over side onto the flatbed:’

I’m pretty sure I was sipping on a nice glass of rose at this moment. 

As the guy’s were finishing up, I looked at the space that the 8 foot-wide truck was sitting in, contemplating the 8 foot-wide (and 9’6″ tall) shipping container that would soon fill the space. And I noticed something….

As you can see from this angle below, there isn’t a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to getting the container past the roof…and not tipping down the slope. (And no, it can’t be crained in…we’ve got above ground telephone wires…thanks a lot Palos Verdes). 

Rest assured, pictures have been sent to people far smarter than I. I’m confident there is some three-armed container lift or some other monster that will handily solve this delivery problem. Right!?

The only issue after that will be for anyone who wants to remove the container…because this driveway will be long gone, and replaced with a cement patio that sits about 3 feet higher than the ground.

Nothing to worry about here. Just breathe. It will be fine. 

And with that…off goes the jacuzzi to Tom and Christy’s for a new life! 

Well, obviously, going to the Emmy’s was the best part of the weekend, but still, there was something thrilling about pulling the trigger on the container, and beginning to get the space ready for it.

I have a feeling the next few months are going to be a site to see….stay tuned!



And Over Here In Project Planning Land …

The first quarter of 2017 is such a blur.
But I gotta say, it was (and continues to be) a productive and rather focused season in the studio. We’re gearing up to release loads of new music with a bunch of fantastically talented artists – and we’re excited to share!!

Meanwhile, as Bobby’s been holed up at CatBeach – doing his thing, I’ve been in project planning mode (one of my favorite places to be). I’m still working on initial details on a bunch of plans, but I just can’t wait to get started…so, I thought I’d give a few sneaks…1) First up is this super fun shipping container retrofit that we’re installing on the side of our house, overlooking a huge canyon and the LA city lights. The container will be a multi-use space primarily focused as a writing room, complete with a set up to record vocals. Bobby and our friend Craig, of Rook and Render, dreamt up this whole thing last year. And I laughed. These two have LOT’S of ideas and this was just one that I figured would come and go. And then, I received this little mock-up. And I knew…this thing is happening. And now, here we are…fine-tuning some details and hopefully placing an order for a new shipping container this week!

 

2) Behind the scenes, I am working on a little re-branding of Catbeach Music. We love our hand drawings of Bobby and some of his gear, which is the mark in our logo, but we’re looking to freshen it up a bit with new lettering and color palette. And I’ve got a new website and catalog database in the works as well. I just love the way these little details can come together to launch our business to the next level.

 

3) If you’ve been following along here on Records, Rockets and Rosemary, you know that we’ve been working on a house remodel for a few years, which started with a dream to create an indoor-outdoor living space. This project got stuck in the city planning department, so we put it on hold for about a year. But our plans are back at the city, complete with a new drainage plan for the entire property. We’re hoping to break ground with a two-week demo schedule starting in May.

 

4) And lastly, I’m learning all about designing rooms for accessibility – making spaces comfortable and useable for everyone. “The Accessible Home” by Deborah Pierce is a great resource.  We’re looking at ways to make my brother-in-law’s home a better fit for his lifestyle. We just installed this elevator lift and we have plans to modernize his bathrooms and kitchen. So fun!!

I’m just getting started on all of these projects. I’ll post details along the way, so follow here and let me know if you have any questions about the planning, process, or vendors!



How Many People Does It Take To Hang A Light?

How many people does it take to hang a light?   Well, in our case 6. It took SIX people and four months to hang our new pendant lights.

So, I do realize that hanging pendant lights in a kitchen is a very normal and very easy project. Normal and easy that is, when the lights are normal…and easy. But not normal and easy when you are me, and this me picks out not normal and not easy pendant lights.

I, instead, picked out beautifully cast brass lights, which were handcrafted at Futagami, a brass foundry in Japan. When my lights arrived last summer, I could hardly hold back my glee. We hadn’t even started demo on our kitchen, but I would regularly take them out of their little resting box and picture them hanging over the island, offering a very kind and welcoming light.

What I did not know in all of my glee, was how difficult installing these lights would prove to be. There were a series of problems that we had to work through.  And it took a small army of people to find solutions. While I loved the idea that these gorgeous art pieces came all the way across the world from a distant land via an ancient practice…that, in fact, was also the source of most of our install issues.

1. To start, the lights were delivered without any electrical housing or wiring – as you can see from the pic above of the lights straight out of their delivery box. So I valiantly sat myself down in front of the computer and searched until I found the pieces that we needed from Vintage Wire and Supply. *Note: Person Number 1 (Me!). I chose a twisted wire with bronze antique housing and cord grips. Here’s a pic of the new wiring:

And, then we discovered a series of problems, all of which were beyond my excellent internet searching skills: 

To resolve the next few issues, Bobby and our contractor Craig, both searched high and low for non-standard mounting pipe sizes, metric threaded pipes, and just in case that didn’t work, alternate cross bar and junction box sizes. I’m pretty sure they went to every electrical store in Los Angeles. And they returned with lot’s of options. None of which worked. *sigh*
*For the record, that is Persons 2 and 3. And Person 4 was an electrician, who, in the meantime, cut the drywall holes for the junction boxes and pulled the wiring to the holes. 

And then, we were stuck.

And, as has happened many times in my life, it was Dad to the rescue. I was complaining about all of the barriers I was facing, and he asked me to bring all of the pieces up to his shop in Ventura. We did so. And then ran the other way…

A few week’s later, Bobby and I went to visit him and get an update. To our surprise, we didn’t just get an update, we got solutions!

To start, he fabricated these circular white plates from a metal sign he found by the side of the road. The plates would go in between the canopy and the drywall and would cover the junction box hole. Problem #2 solved!

Then, he showed us how he cut down a special crossbar that he found, which matched the thread on these special brass pipes that he also found. All that was left to do, was to re-thread the canopy so it would fit the pipe and the crossbar. Problems 3 and 4 – check! 

It was at this point that my Dad passed the baton to my oldest brother Dave, another problem solver and ultimate optimist. He tackled the last problem regarding the junction box hole and finished out the install.

Dave has this handy tool…a saw that shaves out a specific depth of wood. So he set the saw to a depth that would be sufficient to house the box and began shaving.  And me. I helped. I can hold a flashlight like nobody’s business.  Problem 5 – solved, check, done!

All that was left to do was to wire the lights, set the junction boxes and plates over the holes and set the lights to the right matching height. 

Here you can see how the plates blend right in to the ceiling. A little caulking will easily hide the shadow at the edge of the plate:

Moment of truth…go to closet, get some light bulbs…and yes…we have light!

I woke up the next morning, and found a return to the glee I had when I first set my eyes on these beauts.
4 months and 6 people later. It took a team of creative thinkers. People who didn’t require me to take the easy way out (as in – return these crazy lights and buy standard lights from Lamps Plus). That is how many people it takes. 6 creative and handy people. And I love them all so much (well, maybe not the electrician…).

Thanks for stopping by. Read more about this remodel here!



Soapstone Love

The best part of a remodel is, of course, picking out the finishes. We knew we wanted to focus on white oak for the cabinets, which would blend in beautifully with the lightened pine floors. But it took us a few go arounds to finally land on the material for the counters. We wanted to keep the kitchen rustic, with a modern touch. We liked the look of concrete, but felt like it was maybe a bit too hard. We wanted a natural stone rather than synthetic. We wanted something with a bit of movement in it’s finish, nothing too sleek. And we wanted the color palette to remain neutral.

We were introduced to the idea of soapstone, a natural metamorphic rock, that contains talc and magnesium. There are harvests of gray, gray-green and black colored stone, with beautiful lines of talc running through the slabs. We discovered that soapstone is an ancient stone that has been used in science labs for centuries due to it’s durability and it’s ability to withstand bacteria from raw foods and can handle great variances in temperature. AND the best part, it’s virtually maintenance free. Soap and water…that’s it!

I researched the few local distributors of soapstone, and found one in Ventura that grabbed my attention. Stone West has loads of different slabs and lot’s of the stone. And they also explained that you can either finish the stone with an oil, which makes it darker and sleeker, and hides grease stains, OR you can leave the stone at it’s natural finish.  I decided to take a drive up the coast and check out their stock. Here are some samples…you’ll notice that they range in color from lighter gray, to green-y gray and even black:
We ended up choosing a slab of Barroca soapstone, which comes from Brazil. Here’s our slab in the raw: 

And just a few weeks later, it was delivered to us, cut and honed, with a flat corner edge. Here are some pics of the install:  

And here is the final product. We love them so so much! If you are looking for a rustic alternative to concrete, granite or marble – check out some soapstone! 

Check out more info on our remodel…!



Stuck On These Cabinets

cabs5Welcome to my Writer’s Block. Or let’s call it my own personal War of Art. Or perhaps I will just start by simply saying, I’m stuck…I don’t know how to begin this post, and I don’t know exactly how to say what I want to say.

This post is about our new kitchen cabinets – the focal point and foundation of our kitchen remodel. And the truth is, I’ve been thinking about this particular post since I started blogging. And I haven’t posted anything in two weeks because I’ve been just thinking about this one post.

Without sounding too precious, I love these cabinets so much, and I feel immense pressure to honor them and the artisans who built them, by capturing all of their beautiful details in just the right way.  Ok…I know…that is slightly over the top. But, I don’t care. I love them. And my stuck-ness is because I love them. I am stuck on them. I am stuck on my kitchen cabinets.

So, here I am, sitting at my computer. Still stuck. And I need to just power through and write…just get on with it.  This is just a post about kitchen cabinets after all!  So here goes:

Our kitchen remod began, as all good remods do, with hours and hours on Pinterest. I was drawn to the rustic-nordic-modern designs, and found a number of beautiful bespoke cabinet designs that I loved…that were unfortunately built in England…like this beauty from Plain English Design:20_pe_osea_2-1-1145x763

Or this lovely from DeVol Kitchensdevol-shaker-1

We actually looked into working with these companies, but in the end, between labor + materials + shipping, it was above our price point. I’ve since heard that both of these companies are beginning to deal directly to the US, and I would highly recommend them!

After months of dreaming and pinning, we sat down with our contractor, Craig, to chat about this particular design direction. We had met with different local millworkers to discuss our project – but I kept getting cold feet. I really liked the rustic nature of bespoke shaker cabinets, but I was afraid that something would be lost in translation and that we would end up with cabinets that were more standard contemporary and not rustic. The lines were just too close for me. In the end, Bobby and Craig encouraged me to really go after what I wanted…not to settle. And that is what I did. I went back to the Pinterest/World Wide Web drawing board, and I found my ultimate design inspiration from an article about Rene Redzepi’s home kitchen. Rene is the chef of a restaurant in Denmark called Noma that we hope to visit someday. He enlisted Garde Hvalsoe to build his cabinets…and I just fell in love with their unique millwork and design. I hadn’t really seen anything like it before – and I could visualize the way it would come together in our home.  But once again, this company is based in Europe.  *hmph*

So, with Bobby and Craig’s encouragement sitting fresh in my mind, I drew up my own plans for white-oak cabinets with dovetail details, lot’s of drawers for my daily-use items, open shelves, and huge storage spaces inside the island and pantry.  Craig brought in a killer artisan millworker, Carlos Lopez, who completely understood what we were going for.  This guy is designing and building for some of the best new restaurant start-ups in L.A. And somehow, we were able to get his team in on our project and they were able to bring my dream kitchen into reality.

Finally, I’m so excited to share some pics of the cabinets and our almost complete kitchen!   I’ll start with the island – it’s the perfect place to congregate while we’re cooking…and I can’t even explain the vast amounts of storage space that it provides: cabs4

The other side of the island is my working triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stovetop. It also has a new warming drawer, dishwasher and open shelves for cutting boards and cookbooks:
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The bank of cabinets along the wall is made up of all drawers on each side of the stove/oven combo. We found that the drawers actually make storage of daily items more accessible and organized. At the end of the wall is a beautiful pantry with pull-out drawers and shelves for things we want to keep out of the way, like the microwave:
cabs7cabs10cabs15

We added in this great little seating area next to the island, in front of the tri-fold doors, which now open to the patio – it’s the perfect spot for our morning coffee! You can also see a preview of our temporary redwood steps (new patio will be in remodel phase 2 – coming in 2017), and our new exterior paint color: cabs8cabs9cabs14Oh my gosh. It feels so good to finally share these cabinet details with y’all. If you want to read more about our kitchen remod, check out some of my other posts!  And some serious thanks to Craig and Carlos for their beautiful workmanship!!!



Refinishing Floors: Not Glamorous But High Impact.

floors1

About half way through demoing our living room and kitchen, our contractor mentioned that our floors were going to need some serious work…there were repairs to some of the planks and we needed to lace in new planks to fill areas previously covered by cabinets. That led us to address some serious concerns about the yellowed-out finish of the floors – how would that look with our new white oak cabinets? And…while we were at it, the ceiling beams needed to be sandblasted to bring out their natural color.

Welcome to Project Creep.

I should be honest here. The project manager in me was 100% against these ideas. We hadn’t budgeted or prepared for this costly and messy plan. I knew this would probably double the timeframe of the remodel and I was not happy about the last minute clearing of 3/4 of our furniture into the garage.

Thankfully, my husband, who naturally explores ideas with great creativity and freedom,  gently pushed me to see the importance of tackling the floors and the beams. He explained that in the end these would be the finishing touches that would pull our whole vision together. And that even though we didn’t plan for it, now was the perfect time to do it – we were already living like we were back in a dorm room…so let’s just go for it!

Our first step was to find more pieces of our existing wood floors – a Southern Yellow Pine. We were able to track down the company, Authentic Reclaimed Flooring, where the original planks came from. We needed about 200 sq. feet, which they were able to send out to us the next day.

What I didn’t know, was to make sure that the delivery included a pallet jack delivery all the way into our house. Instead, the driver pulled the pallets off the truck and dropped them in the driveway, leaving them for us to deal with. Rookie move. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, these gardening shears did not cut the metal ties… floors2Bobby to the rescue…tin snips…that’s how you cut metal ties… floors3 floors4 floors5While Bobby brought in the lumber, I secured some help to pack up the kitchen items. Those would be the same kitchen items that I had previously moved into the dining room. My great initial strategy to avoid packing everything up, turned into double the work. I only cussed once. Or twice.  floors14Next, time to move all of the furniture to the garage…thankful for friends…floors15And now, let the fun begin…
Our contractor, Craig, outlined the needed repairs with Francisco – perhaps the most diligent and hard working flooring specialist around. First step was to fill in all of the open sub-flooring areas, then replace any damaged planks with new: floors6 floors7 floors8This was the last we saw of our floors before we packed up our pups and hightailed it right on out of town. It’s ok, let the sand fly, we’ll be here for the next month (at my in-laws house!):floors13We received some photo updates along the way…new planks laced in to the old:floors16Bringing in new planks right up to the new cabinets:floors17Next Francisco began the refinishing, by first sanding off all of the old varnish:floors9After he sanded the floors a few times, he had to break for the ceiling sandblasting. We don’t have any pictures of the sandblast process, but basically, just picture sand being blasted at full speed and power, at the ceiling. No big deal.
Anyway, once that was all done, Francisco returned to add 2 coats of Bona’s Nordic Tone to create a whitewashed effect and to keep the floors from yellowing: floors18He finished with another two coats of polyurethane for some protection:
floors10 floors11And now…this is the part of the story, where I look up at the beautiful rustic beams, and I look down at the gorgeous whitewashed pine floors, and I acknowledge that my husband is a genius…I can’t even explain how much I love the results.
And yes, it was all worth it! floors12See the full progress on our house remodel here.



Window Splurge

One of the features that drew us to our home was the panoramic view from the main living space, kitchen and dining room. It’s something that we are extremely thankful for and appreciate every single day.

We have some pretty great picture windows to frame that view. But what can I say, we wanted more! So our kitchen remodel actually began with some new windows – which would not only increase our sight lines, but would also be the first step in creating an indoor-outdoor living space.
Here are the two main changes we set out to make: windows2 windows4

Our contractor, Craig Gore, brought out my favorite dynamic duo, Chase and Perkins, from Perkins Construction, to handle the window install. We picked out a beautiful tri-fold door from La Cantina and a Milgard picture window + awning  window unit.
We began with the La Cantina trifold.  First step: removing the wood siding and preparing to cut into the wall. Note: it was at about this moment that we found out about the subterranean termites who had been squatting inside the walls (Unforeseen Issue #1). Cut to me heading straight to the phone to secure termite treatment.
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After conferencing about the termites, the old window came out, and the guys cut the new hole. Next up, waterproofing the new opening with flashing: windows7

Due to the size, weight and movement of the tri-fold panel door system, we had to install an 8′ structural header: windows9

The guys laid out the frame for the tri-fold door before the final install. And Chase is just about ready to tear down the siding for the new Milgard window: windows10

Unfortunately, when they went to install the Milgard, Perkins discovered that the frame had been damaged during delivery. So, instead of the new window, we had a nice boarded up window until a Milgard rep could come take a look (Unforeseen Issue #2). Between the plywood and the trash pile, I’m sure the neighbors were beginning to mumble amongst themselves:windows14

About a week later, Milgard sent out a team to come look at the window frame. I showed them out to the garage, where the window was stored. I went back inside, and just about one minute later I heard a nice loud crash (Unforeseen Issue #3):windows21

I’m not exactly sure what happened there, but I’ll just leave it at that.
About 10 days later, the new window was delivered (Thanks Milgard!), and the plywood was gone:windows15 windows16

Thankfully, we didn’t run into any unforeseen issues with the La Cantina door. Here it is with it’s gorgeous bronze finish on the exterior. And the black flashing gave us a good idea of what this side of the house would look like if we painted it charcoal (eeee! dare we!?):
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Lyle and Phoebe were instant fans of the big huge opening that the doors provide…they don’t mind the two foot drop, but alas, stage 2 of this remodel will be pouring a new patio to be flush with the house.  windows13

Bobby is also a fan of the open indoor-outdoor feel. This was a calm moment before the final kitchen demo:
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And finally, here is the La Cantina after demo…looking all beautiful and happy.windows18

One thing to be sure of when you start a remodel, there will be unforeseen issues. So remember to just breathe…it’s not the end of the world…and choose to exercise grace and patience! This will carry you through to each moment, when your project starts coming together – and it’s even better than you thought it would be!

See all the progress on our house remodel here.



Impatience Is A Virtue

impatience1I am not a patient person. It is perhaps the worst of my fatal flaws. Often times I make decisions simply because I want a decision to be made, not because I have taken time to think through the possible options.
I think my impatience stems from a serious hate of waiting. Waiting is the worst. The worst.  I remember having the biggest baddest tantrum of all time out in front of the public library when I was about 6 years old….because the library was not open…yet. I think my mom wanted to leave to take me to the movie theatre and was offering to bring me back to the library after the movie…but I was inconsolable. I had my heart set on going to the library and nothing else would do. My poor mom.

Somehow, I married the most patient man I’ve ever met. Bobby sails through life, without placing any pressure on people or situations. Through our various renovations, he is always a picture of calm…so whenever we get the inevitable, “it won’t be here for another week” notice, I look to him to set the tone in response and I try my best to copy his demeanor.

Now…without going so far as to brag about my ultimate character downfall, I have to say, there are times when my severe impatience works for me. It’s true, impatience can actually be a virtue – at least according to Jim Stone, PhD and Psychology Today. The good doctor says that impatience is “triggered under certain circumstances, which motivates specific kinds of decisive action.” That’s a good thing-right!? He also finds that impatience can motivate us to switch our goals, and can benefit us if we see that a project is going nowhere or is stuck, and we accept it, move on and start working on something else.

I found myself in this very circumstance earlier this year, when our outdoor landscape project was at an indefinite standstill.  Once we had decided to remove the infamous hedge, we hired an architect and ended up broadening the scope of the project to an entirely new patio, a garage-to-studio conversion, a new garage, new driveway and the landscape. The project was now stuck in the city’s plan check and neighborhood review, and I was beginning to lose my mind in all of the minutia and snail’s pace.  Bobby would hear me mumbling to myself on more than one or nine occasions: “All I freaking wanted was to get rid of that stupid hedge.”

I was at the end of my patience rope, and I marched out to the living room to declare to Bobby that we had to move on. I assured him that I would continue pushing our outside project down the line with the city, but that I was going to start a full kitchen remodel immediately. Within the week, we had a bid from our contractor and thus began our new project.

And 5 months later, here we are…DEMO days! impatience2 impatience3impatience5impatience6impatience7impatience8impatience9impatience10impatience11impatience12More to come on the planning and design. Stay tuned!
For more on this house remodel, check out:
Why Demo A Perfectly Good Kitchen
The Hedge