20. I’m back, thanks for your patience!

Lots has happened since my last post.  Needless to say for those of you that know us personally, December thru March were very involved with family matters and posting on the blog was the last thing on my mind.

Now, back to the house!  I last posted when the floor had just been put in and the kitchen appliances installed and granite rock trim was being put on the outside of the house.

Ext1-GraniteDone

Granite rock trim

Granite rock trim

The granite counter-tops were to be installed on 12/19/2013 but since they wanted to cut the granite piece for the island in half we had to delay. We had a meeting with the granite fabrication designers.  After the meeting, we were back on track with a one-piece island and the granite being cut as we had intended for the counters.  It was installed on 12/23/2013 and looks beautiful!

2013-1223-GraniteInstall-1_sm

Kitchen granite completed

Granite corner detail

Granite corner detail

The granite is called ‘Blue Flower’ and has some beautiful movement and great colors.  To me, it looks like ‘real granite’ from the Sierras which is just what we wanted.

Back to the garage – the wallboard, tape and texture was completed in the workshop and wine room.  Then it was time to prime and paint and put in the finish electrical.  Later the doors and cabinetry will be installed.  Jim & Tricia came up for the weekend and helped us yet again.

New garage workshop with window, lights and paint.

New garage workshop with window, lights and paint.

Jim worked hard and ignored the cold temperatures; he put in the Pottery Barn sample sale chandelier in the wine room.  It works and looks beautiful!  Sometimes it pays to take a chance on a discount, ‘as is’ fixture!

Chandelier in the room that will be the wine room

Chandelier in the wine room

We cooked our first dinner in the kitchen in January 2014 with Tricia and Jim and Bob & I.  What a wonderful evening!

Bob not only builds...he cooks!

Bob not only builds…he cooks!

Even with limited snow, the Foxagufer lift chair is now in operation for a relaxing swing to watch the birds fly by or snow come down!  Special thanks to Dave Carter of Precision Metal Tooling for the exceptional custom metal fabrication work!

Swinging lift chair, originally from Homewood Ski Resort

Swinging lift chair, originally from Homewood Ski Resort

At the end of January we had our first week long party at the house.  Friends came from as far away as Switzerland and Germany and as close as Glenshire (near Truckee).  Even with very limited snow our group got in 3 ski days, a fun day at Virginia City and had a great Fondue Party on Saturday, Feb 1st. (Seating 19 people, all within sight of each other!) The house isn’t done but enough was done for twelve good friends to find places to sleep,do lots of cooking and eating, and LOTS of good times.

We get together for skiing....

We get together for skiing….

but, we really do it for the friendships!

but, we really do it for the friendships!

Sometimes we just walk!

Sometimes we just walk!

When you can't ski-go to Virginia City, NV in all your ski gear & have fun!

When you can’t ski-go to Virginia City, NV in all your ski gear & have fun!

Dinner-19

Our week ends with a big fondue party. This year we opened up the dining table & added a 10 person table in the living room-seated 19 for dinner!

During the week we visited many sites around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and Reno along with the ski areas.  We also managed to go out and relax at many nice restaurants. Below Bob & I are at lunch with our friends, Maggi and Margrit, at the Bridge Tender, Tahoe City, CA.

Relaxing at the Bridge Tender, Tahoe City, CA

Relaxing at the Bridge Tender, Tahoe City, CA

Bob & I enjoyed a great week with GREAT friends! So happy with the house! Being with our friends was the best stress remedy you could imagine.

Bob & I enjoyed a great week with GREAT friends! So happy with the house! Being with our friends was the best stress remedy you could imagine.

We also enjoyed local restaurants that accommodated our large group in stride:

I think it is time for a couple of before and after photo’s of the kitchen dining room.  The first one is taken before we started the demo.  You can see the old solar atrium through the windows in the kitchen and dining room.  We took this load bearing wall out and now use all the space.

Kitchen & dining area before and after the remodel.

Kitchen & dining area before and after the remodel.

The following picture shows the view from the living room (fireplace) before and after, but after we began the demolition.

Before and after the remodel

Before and after the remodel

Bob has been working on finish trim on all the windows, the doors and floors.  This week he is working on the final deck railings so that he can order the deck mesh that will finish the deck railings.  We are on count down to get our final completion for this remodel by the end of July 2014!  More soon and thank you for all the sympathy and support during these past months.

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16. New deck started outside, drywall inside & finally a roof…

Bob removed the old deck by Friday evening, 9/20.  Looks so open without the deck!

Old deck all gone!

Old deck all gone!

The following week (9/23 – 9/27), Larry and Elder came back to help Bob with the supports and main framework of the deck. The support beams were about 400 pounds so they rented a machine called a ‘super lift’ to help get the beams in place.

New deck supports.

New deck supports.

Deck rafters for decking.

Deck rafters for decking.

Deck in progress.

Deck in progress.

Stairway landing being constructed.

Stairway landing being constructed.

Deck stairway framework built.

Deck stairway framework built.

At the same time that week the drywall contractors were working inside the house putting up sheet rock, taping the sheet rock joints and applying smooth wall in the kitchen and texture in the rest of the house that had walls torn apart (2nd floor, 1st floor entry, and the ‘mouse holes’ in various parts of the house).  It looks so much lighter now with the drywall done.

Kitchen & dining room sheet rock in and taped.

Kitchen & dining room sheet rock in and taped.

Looking at the new entry and closet from the living room.

Looking at the new entry and closet from the living room.

Living room with new recessed lighting under the loft.

Living room with new recessed lighting under the loft.

Kitchen & dining with smooth wall in kitchen and texture in dining area.

Kitchen & dining with smooth wall in kitchen and texture in dining area.
Recessed lighting in kitchen.

I’m still in Hayward, so Bob will continue to work on the deck and paint primer then paint inside the house when the weather doesn’t cooperate!  He has to find dry weather times to pre-stain all the wood for the deck before he can install it.  This is one year that we are not hoping for an early winter!

As noted in the last post we have had a fair amount of rainfall since the roof came off in mid July and luckily not many leaks.  It rained hard on 9/21, then again on 9/25 it not only rained but snowed.

Rain and snow on Sep. 25th

Rain and snow on Sep. 25th

Snow 'stuck' for a while.

Snow ‘stuck’ for a while.

Great news, they started installing the roof on Friday, 9/27 and are working on it as I type today!  Hopefully, the weather gods will shine on us and it will be completed soon.

New roof going on!

New roof going on!

Bob came back to Hayward for the weekend.  It was time to pick up the wine grapes and do the crush.  The guys picked up the grapes from Lodi (one and one-half tons) on Saturday and completed the crush on Sunday.  Bob headed back to Truckee on Sunday evening.  He’s back hard at work!

He called me Monday morning (9/30) and it had rained last night so the crew went up on the roof and then off.  About a half hour later they started working on the roof again-so glad they didn’t have to wait another day!  It will still take a couple of days to finish.

4. Approval & tree cutting

As I said the paperwork started in February.  By mid May the final plans were submitted to the Town of Truckee for permits.  To our dismay, they said it would be at least 3 weeks before the earliest approval.  With the July 4th holiday looming our start date of June 22 was not looking good.  Along with Truckee we had to have site plans and all exterior changes approved by the Tahoe Donner Homeowners association before any construction or exterior work could start.  Luckily we could start the Tahoe Donner process concurrently.  We had two meetings with them in June and met all their requirements and were just waiting for the final Truckee approval.  Truckee came back before July 4th and asked for some minor changes.  We worked with the Engineer to have the plans modified and quickly re-submitted.  Luckily the revised plans were approved on Friday, July 5th late in the day and the day after a holiday.  We were quite impressed with that response!  July 10th was the final approval meeting for Tahoe Donner and with approved plans and permits in hand; they also approved the project.  The official start date was July 11th.  Well, if you know Bob, he was counting on that approval and had already scheduled the tree cutter for 8 am on July 11th. and work began.

Below are the three (3) large trees which were very close to the house and had to be taken down for the new garage/workshop addition.

This huge tree had to come down as it was already leaning into the existing deck & was higher than the house.

Big tree next to the deck.

SideTreesToRemoveA local tree cutting contractor came with his crew, chain saws, large truck with shredder and they went to work. Juan Estrada of Mountain Tree Services mountainje@hotmail.com and his crew were amazing!  I was in the SF Bay Area that morning but Bob described how Juan carefully climbed each tree with ropes and climbing gear.  He then proceeded to limb the entire tree, then he went back to the top and started carefully roping off and chain sawing sections which were each lowered down to his crew.  It was like an choreographed dance.  Each huge section carefully dropped so nothing touched either our house or the neighbors house which were both so close.  Each tree section was cut into a 16 inch round which was moved to the back of the house for Bob & I to split on Saturday.  They left the trees with about 5 feet still standing so that the excavating crew could pull the entire stumps out as the stumps would be too close to the addition to leave in the ground. They did a wonderful job and cleaned up everything.  For the big tree by the deck, it was cut close to the ground and the stump will be ‘ground out’ later.  If that stump was pulled out; our driveway would also be pulled out!

Rounds to be split and the 2 tree stumps marked for removal.

Rounds to be split and the 2 tree stumps marked for removal.

Saturday, July 13th Bob rented a wood splitter and we split all but 25 of the largest rounds.  It took all day and of course, it was part of the heat wave time!  During the next week Bob stacked the wood and estimated that we have 3 1/2 cords stacked!

Split wood and remaining rounds.

Split wood and remaining rounds.

Bob with the stacked wood, there are 3 rows!  Hopefully, enough pine for 3 winters.  We still need to rent a vertical splitter for the large rounds.

Can you tell, he looks a little tired?  More happened during those few days but that is another post.  We had a wonderful dinner Saturday night at Las Panchitas in Kings Beach, CA

3. Empty/Tear out…

Now, here is where I say ‘we’ but you all know that the real work is done by Bob.  I help as much as I can but Bob is the real doer and scheduler!  First we had to empty main floor area (the kitchen, living room, dining room and bedroom). Then we emptied and consolidated the 1st floor area to use for storage and prepare for dismantling the 1st floor mud room/ laundry (which would be completely torn apart for the new foundation work).  Next Bob tore out the sheetrock, carpet and interior wood trim. We hauled it all down the stair to fill many pick-up truck loads for the dump. This went on for many of our trips to Truckee starting after Memorial Day.

The pictures below will update you on how it looked, the demo and where we are as of July 7th, 2013.

The first items was to replace the old wood stove with a new, environmentally friendly Quadra-fire stove.  This stove can hold larger logs, banks better and will hold a fire all night long for the winter months.

Next was the removal of items, tearing out carpet and moving the washer and dryer from the 1st floor to the 3rd floor for the duration of the work.  Below show the changes to the kitchen dining room area.

Below shows the atrium area becoming part of the main house.

The wall you see in the last picture is structural hence it is still standing.  The contractor and structural engineer have a plan to remove this wall and this space will be open without any header beam showing in the ceiling.

From this point on we have had help while Bob continues to work each day along with the carpenters and contractors.  I am commuting from Hayward to and from Truckee each week to do what I can to help.  More later…

2. Scope Decisions…

We decided to do all the major items we wanted done:

  • New metal roof
  • Add a 3rd car garage space for a workshop
  • Extend the deck over the new workshop space
  • Add windows and sky lights (3) to bring more light into the kitchen, dining and living rooms
  • Put in natural gas lines to the second floor
  • Put in a new wood stove
  • Move the front door to the area of the existing sliding door & make a formal entry area with closets
  • Change out any remaining windows in the house with new windows
  • Create a new dining room space & add a sliding door to the deck from the dining room
  • Build a new kitchen
  • Put in new entry doors on main floor and ground floor

This was going to be a much bigger job than the remodel we did in Waikiki last year and we were going to need contractors and help.  The work begins to locate contractors, carpenters and scheduling in detail starting in March 2013.

1. A snowy day in February…

It was a rare snowy February day in 2013 when we went to Steve Miller’s office, a Structural Engineer in Truckee, CA.  We took in the original and our modified blue prints for the Fuxagufer West.  We wanted to remove the walls between the kitchen and dining areas and a large passive solar atrium that went all the way across the front of the house.  He quickly informed us that the walls we want to take out are ‘structural’ so it will mean tearing out existing foundation from an area we had not planned to remodel and could be costly.  Of course we said, how bad could it be? We need to do this!  So it begins…