Sorry I've been so lax on posting. Below are photos from last week's work. We had to hire three guys for the concrete finishing for the day. Two loads of concrete and a half day of hard work.

The concrete floor guys wetting the stones before the concrete getting put down. 
Pouring the concrete foundation for the utility room out back.
The guy in green with the hose is Dean aka. Mr. Nice Guy. He's the concrete pumping guy and has the best price in town!
This guy was like an acrobat, balancing delicately on the 2x4 while maneuvering that giant squeegee thingy. 
Once the concrete was dry enough, the guys got on their knees to smooth out the floor. 
After two rounds of finishing, one more to go.
Two days later, viola!
Progress on the utility room.
I didn't have time to prime the wood siding this time but I also didn't want to spend the big bucks on the pre-primed stuff. 
It's half way done, still needs a concrete slab and a door.
Inside the utility room.



Good and Bad

The slab foundation is almost done! last week I ordered 11 cubic yards of base rocks to use as a base for the concrete slab. Mr. Tree, Francisco and one other worker laid down about 3 inches of the rocks, then a sheet of 6 mil plastic vapor barrier on top, then another 2 inches of rocks went on top of that, then the rebar grids laid out in one foot squares. We will be pouring the concrete slab tomorrow, it's going be a long day and it's suppose to rain tomorrow too. We also got the utility room area ready for the concrete foundation. 

This past Sunday, we stopped by the house to show my parents the progress and much to our horror, discovered that someone had broken in over night and stole all the unused electrical wires containing copper in our garage. They also took the bag of scrap copper wires I had stored in the house. The most upsetting part was that they had kicked down both the garage door and front door. We had to take some temporary measures and screw in a piece of plywood to the garage. The front door was not broken like the garage door was, so we did a quick fix to the door frame and was able to lock it up for now. Thankfully, it seemed like they were only interested in the copper and left most everything else alone. We called the cops to make a report, they finally showed 8 hours later...

Garage door broke in half, but door frame is intact. This door was meant to be used as an interior door anyways, that's why it broke so easily.

Front door frame damaged, but the door was fine.

Rough Plumbing Inspection

I started this post last week, just got around to finishing it...

Through some miscommunication, I actually scheduled the rough plumbing inspection a day earlier than were told by our plumber, but it all worked out because the work was finished a day ahead of schedule. We passed inspection with no problem and should be able to start working on the concrete slab on Wednesday.

Old waste pipe made out of clay.

New cast iron pipe connected to the old pipe out in our yard. 

We did a little planting over the weekend. I hope the jasmine vines we planted will eventually climb up the ugly utility pole and cover it up.


Eclectic Log Cabin

Found this little gem in the New York Times Home and Garden section today: Art Shapes a Rural Alabama Compound, features a rustic rural home in Alabama. The interior of this home looks so bright and contemporary it's not what I would expect from a log cabin in the middle of the woods. Here is the slide show.

The hanging wall sculpture was an old mattress spring!

Clever reuse of an old glass panel door as a sliding door. 

Homemade artwork hung in salon style in the bathroom. I love the use of utility sink in the bathroom!

Beautiful sun porch with a chandelier made with found objects.


So our new plumber has been working on putting in the underground plumbing for 6 days now, it's taking a longer than originally anticipated. The problem is the middle part of the foundation was poured too deep into the ground and it's making it really tough to drill a hole through it from one side of the house to the other side to accommodate for a waste water pipe drainage. According to the plumber, the job would have been done two days ago if the aforementioned problem hadn't occurred. If the previous plumber had the foresight to put a plastic sleeve in the foundation before it was poured, all this could have been avoided. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

My toxic paint stripping days are on hold until further notice...Instead I am focusing my energy on gathering the Ikea kitchen cabinet list to take advantage of their kitchen sale this month. When we make a purchase of $2500 or more including three appliances, we will get a 20% discount!

Portion of the old clay pipe taken out.
Replaced by new cast iron pipe. 

Drainage pipe coming in under the foundation from parameter of the house.
We need to get the pipe to go through the foundation that runs down the center of the house. 

The rough-ins for one of downstairs bathrooms.
From left to right: sink, toilet, bathtub drain pipes. 


Painted Lady

We've been thinking about what colors to use when we paint the exterior of the house. I got an estimate of $5000 using three colors (body, trim, accent) to paint our house. We visited Preservation Park (it is a Victorian neighborhood with historic residence currently being used as offices and event center) in downtown Oakland for some color inspirations. 

I forgot to bring my camera so here are some pictures of Preservation Park Victorians byJim Hildreth found on flickr.

Justin and I purchased three sample colors from Home Depot over the weekend and tested the colors for the body of the house. The first is grey with hints of green, the second is a deep plum/purple, and the third is a lighter bluish red which looked just like the current color on the window trims. The third color is out. Justin likes the plum, and I like the greenish grey, but we are no closer to deciding on a color.

We also have to keep in mind the having a red roof eliminates a lot of colors. I had fun with a color visualizer from Sherwin-Williams to test out some color idea combinations. I am drawn to the mid-tone body color with dark trim combo because it's unusual and looks stately. But I also like the white trims because it gives the house a crisp and clean look. I think the cooler grays and blues and greens would work well with the red roof. Here are some of my favorite results. By the way, Justin can't be much help because he's color blind. Which one is your favorite?

Blue with creamy white trim.

Green with darker tonal trim.

Green with creamy white trim.

Light grey with creamy white trim.

Dark grey with creamy white trim.

Let There Be Light!

I met with a roofer to talk about closing up the chimney hole in our roof and putting in some ventilation in the attic. While we were at it, I also inquired about put in one, maybe two skylights to better illuminate the space. The tiny fixed window in the front of the attic is not letting in enough light. The roofer was recommended to me by my mom because of he did a good job on her skylight and did it for much less than the other bids she got. The quote he gave me was $1000 not including the purchase price of the skylight(s).  I have no idea if that's a good price or not due to my inexperience. Our meeting also revealed how clueless I was about skylights.

A quick google search came up with a bunch of options that boggles my mind. These are the questions I have to answer before placing the order.

1. Venting or fixed?
2. Plastic or glass?
3. Decked mounted or curbed mounted?
4. Self flashed or separated-flashed for the decked mounted skylight?
5. Traditional rectangular or bubble domed plastic skylight?
6. Skylight dimensions.