Monday, September 29, 2014

A weekend for the birds

Friday the Tombleson crew finished screwing in the deck and Scott continued installing the electrical in the BBQ room. We're going to be doing some interesting things with the lighting in the BBQ room but will save that for another posting.

Saturday afternoon Dave called from Pacific Grove, where he had just picked up the fascia boards for the trim around the base of the deck, and asked if he could stop by and drop it off. He also brought his camera and arrived just in time for the fighter jets putting on their show. In spite of the overcast weather, we got some good shots of the Thunderbirds.

Sunday the weather was again overcast but good enough to still get some good pics of the Thunderbirds and a few good shots of the other birds hanging out on Steinback Mountain. Again, it was pretty loud but not loud enough to scare away the turkeys at the bottom of the property. Even the hens were up for a few photos…

Tuesday we're having another inspection of the guest house and early in the week the wood for the deck railings should arrive. Hopefully we'll see some progress on the plumbing….

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A loud, wet and productive day

Woke up to a very cloudy sky and by the time the crew started arriving a gentle mist turned into showers. The rain didn't last very long and it certainly didn't stop Dave, Justo and Corey from getting busy on the deck.

The plumber also arrived early and went right to work on the guest house. A bit later, Tony the sales rep from the plumbing company arrived and we went over some issues in the BBQ room. The first plumbing company had specced an on-demand tankless water heater for the kitchen island and we were confused about how we were getting hot water to the half bath. Turns out this plumbing company had specced the tankless water heater specifically for the half bath and also specced a mini tank for under the island sink. Ok, that's resolved. But then we were told they specced the Toto wall mounted toilet and we're pretty sure we told them we had decided not to go with the Toto but rather a Duravit in-wall tank combined with an Icera toilet. We later emailed Tony and asked if we could get a complete copy of all of the fixtures planned for the BBQ room and guest house so we could review them before they get ordered. We have a funny feeling that most of the fixtures have already been ordered. We're hoping the communication between the contractor and subcontractors AND US gets better soon.

Scott the electrician and his boss Jerry also showed up before the rain stopped and got to work on the BBQ room. We went over all of our sharpie drawings on the wall and, following their advice, decided to move a few of the outlets. John Laughton also stopped by with a sample of the LED puck lights he wants to use and he and Scott quickly were on the same page for the lighting on the four shelves connecting the tall cabinets behind the island. No issues with these guys.

Things were pretty noisy all morning with three different crews working their power tools. But things got a lot noisier shortly after noon when the sky above us was filled with military jets practicing for this weekend's Salinas Air Show. The Salinas Valley Airport is almost directly across the valley from Steinback Mountain and most of the jets leave the airport and circle the valley making their turns back to the show right in front of our house. Although we don't get to see all of their stunts up close, we certainly get to see (and hear) the jets very close. We're thinking the best views will be from the hot tub on the deck next year….

At the end of the work day, the deck was more than half finished and it looks really good. The Tombleson crew are all very impressed with the Plyboo product and we're very confident we made the right choice. And the doors for the guest house arrived!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Screw baby, screw!

Monday, the Tombleson crew arrived on schedule but were gone by 7:45 am. Without the decking screws and with no plumbing or electrical done in the BBQ room, there wasn't really anything for them to do.

Tuesday, John Laughton showed up to help Dave and Justo map out exactly where the cabinets and island were going in the BBQ room which was necessary for the plumber to get started. Mark the tile guy also showed up to measure out the electrical grids for the under floor heating in the BBQ room and guest house. And then the plumber arrived and started prepping the BBQ room. At the end of the day Tuesday, the screws finally arrived from Florida!

Speaking of the tile guy, we finally got the counter top choice resolved. We're going with the Dekton tops in matte white and we're very happy that Mark was able to secure us a good price. They're going to be the perfect compliment to the beautiful cabinets. We did have a bit of a scare, however. Turns out the Porcelanosa Zeus tile we specced for the master bath has been discontinued and is no longer available in the U.S. although we were able to find some still left in Florida. But, of course, not enough. The good news is there is still plenty of it in Spain and there are no shipping fees to get it here. Just have to wait 7-10 weeks but since that installation is in phase two, it shouldn't be a problem. Yesterday, we ordered it, just to be sure.

Look closely at the sixth photo above. We have quite the healthy deer population this year and they love to hang out in the lower part of the property.

Today, the electrician is coming to start on the BBQ room. Since we had to leave for school before he got here, we met with Dave and Justo and used a sharpie to mark where we wanted the electrical outlets and switches to go. And then Dave and Justo started on the deck!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yesterday, the fire sprinkler guy started his installation of the guest house. We're still trying to resolve the issue of getting the 1" pipe reconfigured to a 2" pipe and found out today it will probably require hiring someone to bore a new line from the bottom of our property up to the guest house. Mike says he's got a guy that can do it in a day… and his rate is $3,000 per day. Yes, Judith, we'll just throw money at it.

We're still waiting for the black-headed decking screws we ordered online to arrive so there's been little progress on the deck. The 4x4 posts for the railing are up and the wood for its horizontal slats should be delivered tomorrow or Monday. Meanwhile, the Tombleson crew have kept themselves busy preparing for the plumber.

Yes, folks, we finally have a plumber. The second firm came in thousands of dollars below the first bid so yesterday Mike Locke sent over a contract and this morning the plumber stopped by to finalize their parts order. Dave, Justo and Corey prepped the BBQ room by gutting its half bath and slicing out a large rectangle of the concrete foundation so that the plumber can run water to the island for the sink and dishwasher. When the electrician returns early next week, he will run the wiring through the floor for the dishwasher as well as the drop-in oven.

Speaking of the island, we got to see it today. John Laughton called to see if he had left his cabinet plans at our house. We didn't know, so we offered to drop off another set. How could we refuse another opportunity to check out the progress he's been making? The first two pics are most of the island. The frames for the dishwasher and under-counter fridge are not yet done.

The cabinet above is the vanity for the master bathroom. The two pictures below are the vanity for the guest house bathroom. Both vanities will float ten inches above the tiled floor.

Mike scheduled a 4 pm meeting at the house to go over a few final details. The main issue was getting the 2" water pipe for the fire sprinklers but there were also some wood choices left to be made for the railing and fence in the garden below the deck. After an hour or so of Mike outlining all of our options, we decided to save some money down in the garden and take the money we saved and throw it at the railing and stairs above.

The roof on the guest house is still covered in blue plastic. And there is a 20% chance of rain forecast in the next 24 hours….

Monday, September 15, 2014

Five or seven?

Friday Corey finished pulling up the old tile in the BBQ room and Dave and Justo finished the substructure for the deck. Mike had suggested playing with the plank arrangement, trying something different than the typical every-other-plank configuration. At the end of the day the crew brought up about 40 boards and stored them in the guest house so that first thing Monday morning we could look at some options. Turns out we'll need 35 rows which made the math very easy. Alternating rows of five or alternating rows of seven? We're going with five.

Over the weekend we went shopping for deck screws that would match, or at least come close to matching, the color of the bamboo decking material. We wanted very dark grey or black screws. We found the right color but they weren't deck screws so we returned home and went online. If you search long enough, you can almost always find what you want online. And we did. Today, after talking to the Tombleson crew to see if they'd had any luck, we decided to place the order and have the 30 plus pounds of screws shipped overnight.

We also decided over the weekend to go ahead and have the Tombleson guys replace the stairs down into the vegetable garden as well as replace its fencing so that it matches the new deck railing. It's going to add to the costs, but we want everything to match and the old grape stake fence just isn't working with the MCM vibe. Our good British friend Judith has a saying we've been using a lot lately, "Just throw money at it."

Before we left for school this morning, after making the 5 or 7 decision, we walked the property with Dave and Justo trying to resolve another issue that may cause some issues (yes, Judith, more money...). A recent fire inspection pointed out that the 1" pvc pipe bringing water to the guest house was too narrow to pass code. The problem is we're not sure how and where the water to the guest house is coming from. The Tombleson crew has been digging around in lots of places and we're still not sure how we're going to get the new 2" pipe rerouted to the guest house. Mike is getting the final quotes from the two plumbing firms today so hopefully soon we'll get this resolved.