Monthly Archives: January 2007

Appliance Shopping – Standards of Excellence – San Jose

We purchased our appliances this week from Standards of Excellence in San Jose. Since I mentioned early on in this blog that I wasn’t going to write about finances in terms of dollars, this is one of those hard to write posts. The place was really nice, however I don’t think that our budget was in the same ball park as their average clients.

I think what gave it away was the La Cornue range (3x our total appliance budget) in the entry way and the fact that they were surprised that the homeowner arranged the first meeting instead of a designer. The products that they sell are amazing, but show us to the back of the store please and do you have anything with scratches on it? Seconds? Returns? Last years model maybe?

In the end, and thanks to Craig, we were able to get pretty much everything that we wanted (except for the GE Monogram Wine Vault with bio-metric scanner – seriously, check the link. My banks vault isn’t this secure). The stuff that we got is nice and is appropriate for the house and the neighborhood. Best of all, we came in at $7.00 under budget after some of the rebates allotted to us. We’ll take that and put it towards some of the other areas where we are over budget. Every little bit helps, we are finding.

Picture above by Jes *Junque Revival*



Filed under Shopping

Raise The Roof

Craig and crew started to put the roof on this week.  Coming from central Pennsylvania, what I am trying to figure out is this: How can a crew of 40 Amish guys bang up a house in a day with their hands, but with a crew of 6 it takes 6 months to do a house with power tools?  I almost want to import an Amish crew and have them do the rough carpentry.

It is really cool now to visualize the house.  The dog was there today and loved it.  She’s already scoped out a sunny spot to lounge in.  She will be bummed when we have a roof over our heads and that spot goes away.  It is amazing, though, now that the ceilings are being framed out and the walls are defined, how much smaller the place feels.  I was never expecting it to be Trump Towers or anything, but going from no roof to roof certainly boxes you in.

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If You Buy A Fridge, I’ll Tax the Ice

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We are doing a pretty decent job of staying in budget on our allowances.  All said and done, with windows, plumbing fixtures, doors & appliances, we are only about $4,000 over budget.  Compared to other people we’ve talked with, we are knocking the cover off the ball with this.

Some of this is due to our negotiating.  A lot of this is due to us getting Craig’s pricing.   Some of it still is us understanding what we can get for our budget and working as hard as possible to stay within it.

The main reason that we are over our budget, and I offer this word of advice, is that we don’t take into consideration tax and delivery.  If you are working on a project, don’t forget about these little dittys.  In California, where sales tax is 8 1/4% it becomes a significant chunk of change.  Add on delivery or installation charges and you’re looking at 10 – 12% of your total budget.  It sucks.  Don’t forget about paying the taxman.

BTW, that picture above is by an artist named David Ross.  Of course, it is called ‘The Taxman’.

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Filed under Finance

Bird Watching in Utah

My friend Andrew sent me this.

It was one of those things that I thought was too funny to be real and that it had to be urban legend. 

This is a true story; it happened in Utah and was on the news.

A city councilman, Mark Easton, lives in this neighborhood. He had a
beautiful view of the east mountains, until a new neighbor purchased
the lot below his house and built. Apparently, the new home was 18
inches higher than the ordinances would allow, so Mark Easton, mad
about his lost view, went to the city to make sure they enforced the
lower roof line ordinance. Mark and his new neighbor had some great
arguments about this as you can imagine – not great feelings.

The new neighbor had to drop the roof line – no doubt at great expense.

Recently, Mark Easton called the city and informed them that his new
neighbor had installed some vents on the side of his home. Mark
didn’t  like the look of these vents and asked the city to

Fortunately, it was real, or at least covered by a local news agency as a real story.  The full story is here.

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Plumbing Fixtures – SisBro – Campbell, CA

Did you know that you could buy dragon head sink faucets?  How awesome is that?  While it doesn’t go well with Craftsman style home that we are building, they would be wonderful in any type of design.

SisBro Plumbing Supplies in Campbell, CA is an amazing place if you need stuff.  They have an incredible selection of fairly priced, high-end fixtures.  Heath, one of the owners, really is a plumbing czar.  He is great and brings an incredible amount of knowledge to the table.

Frankly, we didn’t know anything going into this meeting.  We had no idea what we could afford and what the quality would be.  We were stoked.  We were able to get much more than we ever could have anticipated.  The coolest part is that we got a bathtub faucet that comes out of the ceiling.  Heath assures us that it won’t splatter water everywhere.

Finally, one of the biggest challenges for us in these meetings is what to do with the kids.  SisBro has a great kids room.  Video, games, art, whatever to keep the kids busy for a couple of hours.  It’s all good.  The kids had a great time there.

Looks like fun, huh?


Filed under Shopping

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. We’ve made a ton of progress over the past couple of weeks. The framing is almost complete and we’ve bought a bunch of stuff. In all, it was a great way to start the new year. I’ll be uploading a bunch of new pictures tomorrow.

We’ve bought a bunch of stuff including a fireplace (we got a Lennox, but I wasn’t part of that so I don’t really know the details, plumbing fixtures & a coffee maker.   I’ll write up all the posts, but we are moving forward well ahead of pace thanks to not having any rain in the Bay Area.

I know that once the framing is complete the process will seem like it comes to a standstill, but once a roof is on, at least they can work in the rain.

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Filed under General Thoughts