Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday night lights

Today and tonight, Bill is preparing the framing for the shower pan. So, this blog entry was going to be something about cooking in the shower, but, alas, the project continues into the evening, so it shall be called Friday Night Lights. Some young-ens might think that this is a boring Friday night, but we feel so fortunate to be able to work towards our goals, so we wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

The shower pan is the waterproof surface that makes a shower drain properly. Yeah, I didn't know that, either.

The shower pan must angle down towards the drain.

Bill works his way around the master shower drain.

The very last time that the dogs will be in the shower willingly.

The shower pan framing continues into the evening.

Light stands  enable Bill to keep working after the sun goes down.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fire up the decision-making

Today, we visited Fireclay Tile, just two miles from home. They make a variety of tiles from glass, white clay, and recycled materials. We were on an exploratory mission to look at ideas and talk about how their design assistance works.

This tile is a bit spendy, so we have not made a final decision, but it's definitely fun to think about design possibilities.

Lots of choices

This design uses three different sizes of tile, all in the same color.
Not the best photo, but a cool design.

Three sizes, two colors

The colors that spoke to us for our master shower. If we go with this look, the tangerine
will be used sparingly for little pops of color.

The tile design that we liked for our shower, neutral subway tile with thin bands of color about four feet from the ground.

MiMi's Remodeling Service

As much as we truly love our little canine beauty queen, Kyro, she is intermittently frustrating to unheard-of levels. Her nickname is MiMi, as in "Is that food for me?", "Why aren't you petting me?", and "What have you done for me lately?" One day awhile back, she was sunning herself in the front yard as she does nearly every day (getting, as we call it, sun drunk) when she wanted to come in the front door. Instead of walking around to the back where a door was open, she chose to claw and scratch at the newly completed front door. Now, this is the very same door that took a very long time to finish, after we were sold two products that when used together caused bubbling and a horrible result. So, Bill dutifully sanded off the bubbly stuff and re-applied the proper finishes and hung the beautiful door. That's when little Mimi decided to knock at the door in her own special way. Little did Kyro know that our first dog growing up was, ahem, returned when he couldn't stop scratching the custom doors. We aren't ditching her, but sure wish that she would stop sckritching doors.

"Very bad doggie. Very bad. V-e-e-e-r-y BAD."

"What? You talkin' to me?" She does not seem to care about the amazingly repaired door. Her loss.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

(Extra)-Ordinary Wednesday

After more than 20 years of marriage and, ahem, several years of a large-scale remodel, I find myself still amazed by some of what I see around the job site. I find tools that I have never seen before, building products I don't recognize, little bits of beauty in the most ordinary of items, and fun reminders of Bill's extensive skill set. All of these things in the span of just a few minutes. I hope that we can always approach our lives as a child does, appreciating much of what we see with amazement and wonder, seeing cool stuff just about no matter where you look. It makes an ordinary Wednesday into something extraordinary, and we like that.

Where has this little cutie Dottie been? We were just introduced this afternoon.

Is it just me, or is this blue tape fun to look at? Don't answer that.

It's not until I see him doing stuff like this that I remember how much he really knows. I just work in an office.

It's all in the numbers

We often get asked, "How much of the old house are you keeping?" And, the answer is, "Just the address." Ba dum bum. We're here all week.

Seriously, we are really, truly only keeping the old back lit address marker from the old house. Half of the original walls are in the original locations (as required to still be considered a remodel) but they were completely re-built after the inspector saw that they were rotting. So, everything is new, except for the address. Bill is refurbishing the metal case, including repainting and rewiring (not that it needed it...). We think that this is original to the 1940s when the house was built, and probably cost $3.75 back then. What was old becomes new again. 
Beautifully repainted

A bit of the leftover wiring

Perhaps an original price of $3.75.
Notches were cut to make room for the newly refurbished address marker.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tar-getting our intelligence

Our third stop in SF was a display of smart home technologies by Target. Yes, that Target. The displays were well done, showing a variety of products including Nest thermostats, Sonos autdio systems, Hue lighbulbs, August smartlocks, and the Ring video doorbell.

It is always easier to imagine using a new product after seeing it in its context of use, so it was helpful for both of us to see how these Internet of Things things might fit into our plans. Not all of them fit the way we want to live, but the most interesting are the video doorbell and the smartlocks.

Each room had a digital story that could be told about its products.

We have no idea what story is being told here in the baby's crib.

Don't need this product. Nope.

The one and only purpose of adding an acrylic Harley-Davidson
to the display was to communicate that you are in the garage.

While we do not want to use an app to unlock our front door, if we could have a fob in our pocket
that would unlock the door, that would be helpful.

My dream is to have a doorbell that plays a recording of fierce dogs when we are not home. Hmmm...

Salvation via salvage

Our second stop in SF today was a new architectural salvage place called Building Resources. Wow, what a place! The true treasures took a little digging, but there were more items we could see ourselves using than in other similar places.

We made a few purchases, but will definitely be back after taking a few measurements for our transoms. Gotta find a use for the sheets of textured aluminum, too -- boy, was it something. Enough to make the creative wheels turn and turn...

It's amazing to see this stuff get saved and re-used rather than being sent to the landfill. :-D

A beautiful upright piano, on its side

While we have absolutely no use for a splayed, reclining piano,
it was still good to see that this thing already had a buyer.

Dinner-plate-sized lenses from traffic lights

Thank goodness we have no need for an I beam. This would break the little Prius!

A vintage juicer, an unexpected find among all of the building materials.

More tile!

Doors, doors, doors

Succulent inspiration

One of our purchases, orange glass lenses from construction road signs. 

Glazed and confused (sort of)

We started our normal Saturday with a walk to get coffee and pick up a few things at the nearby farmer's market.

[Plus, another episode of racing after Hank who flew out of the gate like a rocket. And then, we used the one tried-and-true technique to get him back by jumping in the car to get ahead of him, and opening the car door, which he jumps into right away. At that point, he looks at us as if to say, "Oh, HI! What are you doing out here? Have I told you lately that I love you? Yes, let's go home." But, I digress.]

After our return, I mentioned that there are two places in San Francisco that we should visit sometime soon to help with remodel decisions. And, Bill said, "We could go today." Yeah, just like that, we were off on a flash adventure. Just like a flash mob, but with just two of us.

Our first stop was Heath Ceramics which had been recommended by a colleague in Chicago. They offer free tours of their SF factory, and we were able to see tiles being formed, glazed, and fired at 2,500 degrees. Their products are stunning and their design studio was very fun, although that space could not be photographed.

Their tiles are spendy, with our master bath shower (not including floors) would be about $8,000. Gulp. We will take it into consideration and see if it gets included in our plans. The range of colors and designs is vast, and we do not know how we might narrow down these choices, no matter where we get the tiles. It could be confusing and overwhelming, but we don't want to spend too much time being either one, so we will just take a step at a time, and see what we come up with.

Molds for tiles yet-to-be

Margin scraps that are re-worked into new tiles. The forms (far left) are oiled to enable a sharp cut. 

The beginning of new tiles

Before glazing

So many shapes and pieces are needed. (I ♥ work, too.) 

There are four drying machines that remove moisture prior to glazing, well before the tiles are fired.

Don't forget to look up! The factory floor enjoys natural light.


These tiles are ready to go into the oven for firing.

These massive doors on the kiln raise up to allow the tiles to be rolled in. After they are done and cooled, another door on the opposite side is raised to allow them to be rolled out. This kiln is as big as a semi trailer.

Fire in the hole

Stacks of beautiful tiles

Showroom ideas

A kitchen in the showroom.

The newest design from Heath Ceramics

Subtle changes in color and glazing.

Yummy. That is all.

How to decide...

The showroom floor