Sunday, May 31, 2009

Getting There Is Half The Fun

Getting there. After all the uncertainty Charlie presented he really nailed it. We've got us a proper bank of stairs here.

While I went down to Chinatown to stock up on my favorite Ten Ren Plum Green Tea, Jesus and his guy were here finishing up the stairs. The dark walnut stain is a near perfect match for the dark walnut stain of the bamboo on the landings and upstairs. The varnish really brings out the wood grain. He'll be back on Monday to paint the balusters and risers, then complete some finishing touches. So, since we're back to waiting for the paint to dry there will be no moving upstairs this weekend.

Last week also saw the electricians come back for the fixture installations. Ran into a bit of a problem in the shower. One of the electrical boxes was installed too close to the slope so the fixture wasn't sitting flush against the ceiling. Jeff had to come back, cut open the ceiling and move the box over. Jesus was not too happy about his beautifully finished work being cut open. But they'll make it right. Just means it has to be re-done, which is time, which is money.

Next weekend. For sure.

Monday, May 25, 2009


The stair re-do should have been done by now. But Charlie needs to get some momentum going, and unfortunately we think his momentum is at the bottom of a liquor bottle.

There's progress. And he certainly knows what he's doing. Charlie has removed all of the stair parts and saved every one. What he has done is good, just tainted by his poor work ethic. He has yet to show up on time (and I don't expect him to at this point), he takes lots of breaks (going down to his truck for a drink maybe?), he continues to complain about re-doing what someone has done wrong while adding "but that's old news" every time.

Too far in to fire him and start over, we are just patiently encouraging him in his progress, "home stretch" and all. So, he'll be back on Tuesday. Will he finish Tuesday? Who knows. If he got here at 8:00 am instead of 12:00 pm, maybe.

So it'll be another week before we move upstairs. Jesus and his crew are completely cleared out. They painted their way down the stairs on Friday. Stopping at where Charlie is still working on his part. Now they have to wait until Charlie's work is done and come back and paint and stain the rest of the stairs.Next weekend we should be moving in upstairs. Really.

Here's a reminder of the stairs before.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


This past week saw all kinds of finishing touches happening with the plumbing and fixtures stealing the show (more to see here). Charlie will begin the stair redo next week. The electrician will come back and install all of the outlets, switches and fixtures.

By next weekend the crew should be outta here and we will be moving our bed from the dining room to the upstairs bedroom. Then we can get the dining room table out of the living room and back in the dining room, along with putting everything else scattered throughout the house that is stacked and boxed and on end back in their rightful places.

There's more work to do after the work is done. Closet system, towel racks and accessories for the bathroom, window treatments, etc. Then a cosmetic patch and paint job in the guest bedroom and bathroom.

But we'll be livin' in a complete and whole house that has been divided for 50 or more of it's hundred years. And I'm proud to have been a part of bringing this old house back together.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Stair Parts at a Standstill

Jesus made a mistake with the stair installation. As the box newels and hand railing were installed it wasn't looking right. We caught it and stopped any further progress in time so that it's not a total loss.

On Wednesday morning before the crew arrived for the day, Will and I took a closer look and determined that the starter step was just too high. Upon closer investigation it did indeed measure a precipitous height of 9", with each following step at close to the 7" mark as drawn in the plans. I called Jesus to tell him there was something wrong with the measurements and to stop all work on the stairs.

That afternoon I came home to talk to him about it. I asked him questions but didn't really get any satisfactory answers. My feeling is that the stairs are beyond his skill level and experience, and he can't admit that. I understand, and I'm sure he can do them and they'll probably look ok, but they're just not right.

I talked to Will about calling in someone else to install the stair parts and said I would call Bill Paul, my guy at Anderson Molding who was so helpful when ordering the stiar parts. Then I would search Angies List if needed. So I called Bill Paul and he gave me two referrals. I called the firts one, Dave Massey, and we set up an appointment for saturday to come take a look at what we're dealing with.

He arrived promptly and assessed the work. We talked about what needed to be done and he expected all the parts could be salvaged and his crew could get it done in a day. We talked about his schedule and I looked at his portfolio. He said he would email me a proposal by the end of day Sunday and we were looking t the week after next to get it done. Since then I have not received the email proposal, I have left 4 messages on his voice mail, and I have not received a return call or email. He just disappeared. I'm very disappointed in this approach. For whatever reason he can't do the job, just let me know so I can find someone else. Jeez.
In the meantime Jesus and his crew are tiling and painting. So it's been an exciting week seeing it come together. The colors are beautiful and they are working well together, just the right amount of contrast between the wall color and the ceiling color. It's transitioning well from the existing downstairs colors to the new stairwell color too.

Of course there's more to see on Flickr