Friday, December 30, 2011

Walls Up

Last time we checked in on our full home design project, the exterior foundation was in and the plumbing was being placed into it in preparation for the slab to be poured. When I checked in on progress a few weeks later, a lot had happened! The block portions of the exterior were in place, and framing for the interior walls was underway.

This is a good time to make sure that the homeowner is happy with the overall layout. It's not easy to make major changes at this juncture, but interior doorways could be widened, or moved, and other minor changes could be made. In this case, an upstairs hallway was eliminated and turned into a closet for one of the bedrooms. Pretty simple before the walls go up!

And here is the garage, proceeding at the same rate as the house.

The contractor is moving quickly here! More next week.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Let's Party!

Our pavilion project has reached a point where it's ready for the client's holiday gathering. There were a couple of details that weren't able to be completed; the additional pavers to wrap around the structure and for interior flooring in the pavilion won't be in until next week. But, the concrete floor will work fine for now, and the landscapers mulched the bare area to make it usable for the time being.

Before we look at the nearly finished structure, let's take a look back in time at what we started with.

Here are some pictures of the new plantings that were just installed this week. The landscape company also trimmed out the oak tree and cleaned up a lot of other messy areas in the garden. They were fantastic to work with!

In addition to putting some of the client's brightly colored pots into the plant beds, we replanted several that surround the pool, to add some color and bloom into the green garden!

And here, at last, is our nearly completed pavilion!

Later on, we'll take a closer look at some detail areas of the project. And hopefully, before the new year, the rest of the pavers will be in and the contractor will be finished. That would make the greatest gift!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Step Right Up!

As part of the design process for the pavilion project we've been following for the past few weeks, we decided to address access from the house to the pool area, pavilion and back garden. The home had an ample rear porch, but from the porch, the entry to the garden was on the side, which involved a hairpin turn at the bottom of the steps to access the pool and garden area. In addition, the steps were shallow (less than 12" in depth), which doesn't make a comfortable step.

There was a fairly simple way to correct the access by adding new steps on the back of the porch and removing the original steps. Well, I say fairly simple. But with planning and patience--and a lot of jack-hammering!--success has been realized.

The new steps were formed and poured, then brick pavers were applied to match the old steps and porch finish.

Placing brand new steps in an area with more space allowed us to create 24" deep steps, which creates a much grander access to the garden and pool, and invites people to linger, and possibly even sit on the new steps. The old porch rail was moved to open these steps, and re-used to block off the old side steps. Then, new hand rails were added to meet code requirements.

Then came the arduous task of removing the old steps. This is where the muscle meets the mat...or the steps, as the case may be!

A LOT of work, and considerable additional expense here. But this sort of change will really make a difference in how the interior of the home and the back porch communicate with the garden, and how inviting the finished areas will be. It will also create a nice green space for planting, which will help to soften the porch and hard paving material. Money well spent!

We are very, very close to completion. So close in fact that I'm saving the finished pictures until next week. We all like holiday surprises, right?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Stirring Up Some Dust

In order to get this pavilion ready for Santa's arrival, a lot of people have been pulled into action! As promised, painters came in over the weekend. The structure mimics the house colors to insure that it ties into the property appropriately.

The new Saltilo tile counter tops are in place, and ready to be grouted.

Though we're still waiting on a new shipment of pavers, what were already available on site are being moved, and trimmed to fit in the new spaces. Cutting pavers with one of these hand-held masonry saws is not for the faint of heart!

So close we can almost taste the grilling! Right now we're getting bids from landscaping companies, so the planting will be ready to begin next week. Here's a "taste" of the view of the new pavilion from the back door.

Hope it makes you hungry for more!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Opening Soon!

Coming down to the wire on this project, but so far all is going well...or, almost all. The basic structure is complete, roof on. Now, the structure is ready for stucco and trim details like the faux dovetail rafters applied under the eaves.

The entire structure is prepared for painting.

The counter area is formed, and readied for Saltillo tile installation.

The cooking counter inside the structure is ready for appliances to drop in.

Painting is to happen this weekend, and setting of the pavers will begin next week. One minor hiccup--new pavers to match the old are out of production for a couple of weeks, so the final finish line may not be crossed in the time hoped. But don't worry, I'll keep you informed!