Monthly Archives: February 2007

Bay Custom Cabinets

We’ve been having a bunch of conversations with Dan O’Bannon of Bay Custom Cabinets lately.  Dan is going to be doing our kitchen, laundry & bathroom cabinets.  So far, we really like him a lot and the designs as outlined above are coming along nicely.

If you’ve seen the pictures of our soon to be kitchen, you know that we are trying to keep things as open and airy as possible.  We are going to be going with a paint grade, but distressed looking white cabinet with a dark gray granite.  We want lots of open shelves and glass cabinet faces.  Possibly something like this, without the island on wheels (dangerous during an earthquake).

Suffice to say, we are really looking forward to Dan’s designs.

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Spectacle Electrical

I met with Bill from BLR Electric this week. We had a great meeting, but per my previous post about making decisions, the decisions associated with high voltage (110 / 220 (dryer & range)) were immense. We had all types of discussions on where to put can lights versus dome lights. Where to put outlets if I wanted additional ones on top of what got us to code. One question that was brought up was whether or not I’d be doing any welding in the garage. While I’ve never done any welding, it is something that I’ve wanted to learn to do. Why not, if you are adding additional amperage for something, throw it into the garage as well. Ultimately, though, we didn’t need that level of amperage, so I won’t be doing any welding in the near future. My neighbor is getting a hydraulic lift in his garage, so I suspect I’ll be able to weld over there if the inclination ever arises.

It seems to my inexperienced eye that our electrical system is going to be of the pretty plain vanilla variety.  Having lived in a house whose big upgrade to the system was adding a real circuit breaker and a negative ground fault to some of the outlets and switches, having something up to code will be pretty nice.  In California (or at least in San Jose), all rooms must be on at least 2 breakers.  One for outlets and one for switches and lights.  Bill explained that our board can handle 40 breakers and that we will use up most of them.  He was guessing about 35.  I think that is cool.  I just don’t want to be the guy to label them all.

This week, is the moment that I’ve been waiting for in this project.  I’m meeting with Geoff Stickland from Custom Innovations, Criag’s low voltage electrical guy.  Low voltage is audio, video, phone, alarm & network.   I was looking at the BestBuy circular in the paper today (yes, once in a while we still read an old fashion paper) and I’m amazed at how much the electronics that I want have come down in price.  When we first started thinking about this project, a 42″ plasma was in the $3,000 range.  There were no HD DVD players and terabyte storage was well over $1,000.   Since we are really limited on budget, I’m pretty glad that these things have all come down in price.  Holly and I have an agreement that whatever I spend on electronics, she can spend on furniture.  Since couches don’t conform to Moore’s Law, I’m coming out a winner in this one.

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Decisions, decisions, decisions

I really haven’t been in the mood lately to do much writing.  My personal blog has taken a bit of a hit as well.  Between work, family and actually building this house, the amount of free time to do recreational writing has taken a bit of a back seat.  Any who, we are starting to get into the really fun (complicated, time consuming) stuff and that is making decisions on all of the little detailed things.

For example, they are ready to pour the concrete for our porch and back patio, so they need to know how thick the stone that we want is.  Go pick out your stone.  They need to figure out how much the chimney is going to weigh when it is coated in stone, so pick out that stone as well.   We needed to determine how much of an angle that we want our tapers on our front porch to be (10″ to 8″) and how much of an angle we want our arches to be.  It is really fun stuff, but I can see how people would go insane in this process.  There are so many small details that you take for granted.

Go buy your mail box.  A decision, what do we want?  What size, what color, what should it say?  We have our mailbox going into the closet of my office since we would have had to cut through a Hardy Plank if we would have put it where we wanted to.  I guess I see why that defeats the whole purpose, but I don’t know if I agree with the physics.  A decision.  It’s a craftsman house, so window and door trim was relatively simple.

In proofing this, it sounds like I am bitching about the burden of building a house.  That isn’t the case.  It is more fun than I ever would have imagined.  I can’t wait to do it again.   Like I said, there is just a lot going on and it is hard to get my thoughts around things.

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Starting to Look Like a Real House

Wow!!! It is really starting to look like a real house.  This is very exciting.  We’ve (‘they’ve’, I really haven’t done anything) made a ton of progress in the past few weeks.   It is just amazing to watch.

Here is where we stand.  The interior supports to keep everything level are gone.  This means we can walk through the house without limbo-ing around like we are robbing a museum in some crime thriller.  The tar paper is on, so it is staying fairly dry in the house now.  I spoke with a friend today who did his house a few years ago.  His feeling was that after the framing, things are going to look like they are coming to a stand still.  They still will be working on things, but it will be more detailed, interior things that you don’t see when you drive by.  Plus, we have a fence now.

We are also in the stage where we are starting to pick out everything.  We picked out gutters and shingles.  We have to pick out stone for the chimney, porch & back patio this week.  We have our first meeting with the cabinet guy this week.  We also need to pick out trim for our windows.  We are thinking of a standard Craftsman look for that, but the jury is still out a bit to how Craftsmany we want to go with that.   We’ve heard that the windows are going to be showing up sometime soon.

Most importantly, we have been ridiculously lucky with the rain this year.  Yesterday was only the second day of this project that the guys weren’t able to work.  A week or so for everything to dry off and they will be able to wrap the house in Tyvec and start to put up the siding.   Now that the roof is on, I’m hoping that things go a bit quicker.

We haven’t been to the stone place yet, but here is the link for Peninsula Materials.   This is where we will be heading to get our stone.

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