Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Looking trim (or, What's that fir?)

Bill has saved a lot of the original wood from the old framing and has planed it down for use as window and door trim. He is using the original house's reclaimed red fir for trim in the original footprint and new/old redwood for the new sections. Beautiful!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

*DO* fence me in

Way back in the day in our area, detached garages were built right on property lines and over time, some of them became a pseudo fence. This means that a fence could be built starting at the street, and travel back towards a detached garage. At that point, the side wall of the garage became the stand-in for the fence and the actual fence continued behind it.

Years ago, when we tore down our old detached garage (we wanted to take it down before it fell on its own), we left the side wall as a part of the fence and his most recent project has been to re-build the fence including replacing the garage side wall.

The wood from the old garage wall and old fence will be planed and used for interior trim. Can't waste any redwood or fir!

The stucco first has to be peeled back from the garage wall.

Vintage fir

Some of the planed wood, ready to be used as interior trim

The new fence is almost done

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Comin' out swinging

For a bit of time, like since 1999, our gate has been barely functional. In the last few months, Bill has wanted to open it as little as possible. To open it on those rare occasions, he had to have a helper on one side while he was on the other side with a hand truck to lift up the sagging, large gate and scoot it open or closed. The gate literally has not swung freely for many years, and now it does.

We've been counting the days until our new gates (one on each side of the house) are ready for installation. Today was the day! The crew from Professional Iron Works came in and installed what they had constructed in their warehouse and we are quite excited!

The old gate in the driveway was the only remaining portion of the old house, but it is redwood and will live on as interior trim after milling.

I'm sure the neighbors are just as happy as we are!

Our manual gate opener
The opposite of putting lipstick on a pig -- the old gates
Redwood and iron

The new driveway gate is installed while the old one is dismantled for milling.

The dogs don't have access to these gates yet since we have some surface adjustments to make.

Puppy ports

Big excitement! An actual key!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

A first-rate gate!

Work is beginning on our new gates, and we could not be more excited! The design includes pup-holes (rather than portholes :-) for the dogs to see out and hopefully only bark at nefarious types rather than everyone.

Our old gate is the only remaining piece from our original house except for our address and a lot of reclaimed wood that will be repurposed as interior trim. The gate will be iron and redwood, with Bill choosing the wood to be used.

This gate's time has come, let the process begin for a beautiful new entry. #squeeeeee

No, it will not be curved. Just the paper is curved. :-)

Bringing color and energy to smooth out a rough week

Let's face it, adulting can be tough sometimes. Some weeks at the office and in the news are tougher than others. In the midst of a rough one, our new couch arrived. Seems like a small thing in the overall scheme of our world, but it feels like it already is a place of refuge that is comfortable and comforting. The splashes of color that we chose are just perky enough to help us reset when we need it. And, coincidentally, the little desk that my dad built for me eons ago fits right in, and Kyro loves her new nesting spot in the morning sun. We may never leave the house again, HA!

Nailed it

This last week, we were so happy to host our friends Mardi and Jon all the way from Maine. Jon is a master carpenter with an amazingly eye-popping shop where he creates cabinets, furniture, and more.

On their last evening with us, Bill and Jon brainstormed a bit on the design for our dining table that Bill will be building. The design includes a live edge down the middle that folds over to create a more narrow table for everyday use. When we have guests, we would fold it out for more seating. With the live edge down the middle, the boys wanted to think through how the hinging would work and what the legs would need to accommodate with the table both folded and unfolded. Math, geometry, and physics, oh BOY! All play a role in carpentry.

The kraft paper covering our temporary table makes a perfect sketching area!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Enduring inspiration

Yesterday, we had a lovely visit with our friend and Bill's client, Maria. Many years ago, Bill helped to build her home in Palo Alto and has returned many times to help with adjustments and repairs. As we walked around her home to talk about possible future projects, I immediately saw some things that have inspired Bill's decisions for our home, including the metal facing on the stair risers. We will have something similar but different on our stairs. Since he sees her much more frequently than I do,  I don't remember the details of her house, and it's fun for me to walk around and discover the seeds of his ideas for us.

Maria is an amazing painter and is now learning carpentry so that she can do more of her home projects herself. She is taking classes and learning to use power tools to create cool stuff. Lifelong learning is so inspiring.

The three of us (plus Riley the Dog!) also visited a stone place in Palo Alto to look for materials for our respective bathrooms. We didn't find what we need, especially since all of the dramatic slabs that we saw won't work for small-ish bathroom vanities. They do draw us in, though!

The metal facing on the stair risers

The texture that was created for the metal risers

Stunning, but not right for a small-scale application

Sequential slabs must be tracked carefully.




We'll be the judge of that.


I found a ducky!

Incredibly beautiful blues, grays, and more. These are individual pieces affixed together somehow and sliced. Unique!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Going to see Iron Man

Yesterday, we went to see Iron Man. Not the movie, the *actual* iron man, Isaiah. He and his now departed father have been in the iron business for a very long time in San Jose, another of our completely amazing parts of San Jose that lots of people never see. He is a true artisan and a stark contrast to mass-produced parts. (HA, see what I did there?)

We are talking to him about building our driveway and side gate and were mighty impressed by his designs and work quality. He had visited the house to talk with Bill last week and learned a bit about Bill's carpentry experience which may come in handy on the project. When we sat down yesterday, they were tossing around wood and carpentry terms like old work chums, which is fun to listen to, considering they just met the other day.

We are still speaking with one other gate person, so I won't post Isiah's design here out of respect for the work he has put in already. Suffice to say that he designed gates that fit into the overall vibe of the house, and included puppy ports so the wee ones can see out and keep an eye on their domain. Woof!

Not our gate, just an example of the work done by this particular Iron Man.

Workplaces of trades people fascinate me!

Lots of protective gear in the workshop

L, YES, we're ready to have real furniture.

After a bit of consideration, we have ordered furniture for our family room, YAY. We had great help from Marianne at Crate & Barrel, whose design fee goes towards the purchase of our pieces. She came to the house, took lots of measurements, took in the style of the house and chatted with us about how we wanted to use the space. We could not have done this without her help, and we thank her for her expert guidance.

We decided on an L-shaped sofa so that energy could be directed either towards or away from the TV, for movie nights versus dinner gatherings. It was an interesting geometry challenge to get a sofa that would fit into those needs, our space, and provide a firmness needed for two people who met each other in the chiropractor's office.

Marianne had some great choices laid out when we arrived, and we evolved it a bit together to come up with a nice selection that includes the pop of color that we really enjoy. These photos show how our selections were narrowed down.

Using paper pieces to think about the size of the rug that will go in the family room.

Some of Marianne's original options for us, but we decided against the striped material for pillows.

The tan material will be the softa, with the others as pillows (just one of the pattern)

What drew us to Crate & Barrel, you ask? We found their Greer chair in Berkeley a while back and settled on it.
The rug sample is on the left.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Putting temporary seating behind us

Why, yes, we do like having people over. For board meetings, movies, dinners, music practice, the list goes on. It's time we provided a proper place for those visitors to put their behinds, rather than on a folding chair. We have been going back and forth on couch options but think that we have a direction now. Heck, we might even have barstools picked out. It was a wild and crazy Saturday morning with decisions left and right. For two people who met in a chiropractor's office, having a quality seat is important. 

Laddering up

Even after all these years, I am still *amazed* at how hard crews in the building trades work, and how different their work is from mine. Ladders and rooftop work still concerns me, so when the crew arrived to begin our solar installation, the best thing for me to do was head to the office. Forget that my beloved sweetheart is up there with the crew, making decisions about the installation options. Breeze past thinking about the number of times that workers will scurry up the ladder with one hand while the other hand carries a panel and other materials. All respect and appreciation to those who build our world. I certainly could not do their job and I hope we don't take them for granted. Now get down from there.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Building community along with building our home

When we moved to our little fixer-upper house, we knew that the street on our long block was in rough shape. What we did not know is that it was considered one of the worst in San Jose. Through the help of many committed neighbors and our former councilmember Ken Yeager, we worked together to find the funds to get our road re-built from the infrastructure up. New water mains, sewer pipes, new sidewalks and a new smooth roadway. This level of re-work was needed due to the broken pipes below the surface that caused the issues shown in these photos, something else that was recently unearthed from storage.

The photos don't include smell-o-vision, so I will mention that sewage smells were evident in front of some neighbors' homes during heavy rains. Not just yucky, but a true health hazard.

We learned a lot from existing neighborhood leaders about community engagement and activism through this process that we began our own deep commitment to helping our area be even more amazing.

Seasonal traditions springing up

Yesterday started with an unexpected but important errand that took us north to Mountain View. Afterward, Bill suggested that we go to the best nursery in the area, Yamagami's, for vegetables and herbs since we were in the general area. This has been our spring ritual for more than 20 years and is a sweet sign that summer garden treats are right around the corner. If you are in the South Bay and have never been to Yamagami's, go! Amazing selection, knowledge and sweet staff, too.

Bill planted herbs for his indoor garden later that afternoon.

Drawing ever closer

Yesterday, we found these very early drawings for the house we now have. Some adjustments were made after these drawings, and it was fun to look back on the evolution of our sweet nest. We've stayed focused on enjoying the journey and the process and these drawings reminded us of the arc of our house's history.

What it means to lead...

Back at the tail end of the dot-com boom, I started working for a consulting company called USWeb/CKS with many amazing colleagues, many of whom are still role models for me. Just a few months after I started, the company changed its name to marchFIRST, and announced it on, well, yes, March 1. By the end of that year, I had decided to leave and departed just a few weeks before the company declared bankruptcy. Phew. We found this notebook in an old box yesterday and it reminded me of that time, how what was normal then in business is so surreal now.

The cover says: "Put your best idea forward. marchFIRST"

You can read a bit more about this short-lived company here.