Finally Some Progress

So the flooring company guy came out, did some testing on the floors, and went off to write his report. Then we didn't hear from him for a month, while the report wended its way through the hierarchy of everybody.

Initially, the flooring company suggested they would pay to remove and replace the flooring. There are a couple of issues with that. First, there are cabinets installed over the flooring, and those would have to come out, with their associated countertops and plumbing in one place. Those most likely would need to be remade because fitted cabinets are not designed to be removed and replaced. Second, there is the hydronic heat under the floor which would likely be damaged by the removal and might also have to be replaced. We were looking at a minimum of four more months of delay if we could schedule everything ideally (in the middle of construction season, in an already tight construction market) and a cost above six figures.

Fortunately, we were able to agree to the company paying to sand and refinish the floors and cover our rent on the rental house during the delay. Scheduling that was not as fast as I would have preferred, but they are due to show up next week, so we should have workable floors very soon now. (This process will probably take at least a week, possibly two if sanding takes longer than anticipated.)

In the meantime! Work has started on reconstructing the old side porch. This is based on the paint traces of original trim and some historic photos of similar side porches, including one from Alameda.

That's quite a lean on that column

The first thing to address was this column, which is perilously off-plumb. We're going to end up moving the bottom of the column over about two inches, which is impressively messed up. That little blue piece of tape near the base of the column has a mark on it with the new side of the column base.

I approve of marking out what you intend to do before doing it

I hired my original general contractor to do the reconstruction on the porch. He has a pair of finish carpenters who do great work -- they reconstructed the front staircase in painstaking detail -- and with my detailed drawings they will get us most of the way there. One thing I really appreciate is that they are spending a few days marking out where everything needs to go, measuring based on my drawings, and doing careful demo. Having a plan like this drawn out in full scale on the house makes the actual work go faster.

For reference, we are using the Camron Stanford House in Oakland, which has a lovely glassed-in side porch:

Glassed side porch

These were very common in this area until the modern era: in the summer the family would sleep out on these porches where there was a cool (and by cool I mean often under 50F) breeze at night. A nice alternative to air conditioning. A little uncomfortable and noisy now that we are more dense and have car traffic and such. We are going to use ours for my shade-growing cool orchids, who will not mind the noise.

While the contractor is working on the side porch, I have my own project. I bought a very large wooden countertop:

Butcher block countertop in place

I need to sand and finish this, on both sides, over the next week or so. This is slightly complicated by the fact that the countertop weighs about 380 lbs (that was its shipping weight, and trust me, getting it into the house and onto the island was a feat) and Noel is going out of town for a bit so won't be able to just help me. But with the contractor's guys working at the house, I should be able to borrow them for things like lifting and flipping this sucker.

This countertop is something I'd considered, obviously, but now that it is in place it is one of my favourite things about the kitchen. The island is at table height rather than counter height, so it works for a short person as a work surface. On consideration I might have made it an inch taller, but this height is just about perfect. And the island rolls, so we can move it closer or further from the stove as needed. This is great.

posted by ayse on 07/10/19

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