Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Followup Number 3: Code Violations

While the landscapers were busy in the front yard, and the glass guys got the shower door install, and Jenn's been working on the main floor bathroom (more on that later), I've been knocking off those nasty code violations. I've been focused on the master bathroom right now. First, I hung the door. Another first! I've never done that before. I mean, I've taken a door off of it's hinges and put one back on, but I've never built a jam, nailed it up, etc. It wasn't too bad. The framing for the doorway was pretty close to square. I suspect installing a jam is pretty hard when everything is out of wack.

So, to build the jam, I bought some fir 1x and ripped it so that it was just barely wider than the doorway (stud plus drywall worked out to 4 3/4", plus or minus 1/16"). Then, I cut the top piece length to be exactly 1/8" wider than the door. Then I cut the 2 side pieces so that they fit just a little loose in the doorway. I then took one of the side pieces and lined it up against the hinges on the door (this is an old door that was used on the main floor before the remodel). Then I chiseled out enough for each hinge, attached the hinges, and set the pins. It worked great. After pulling the pins back out, I assembled the frame so that the side pieces fit outside the top piece. I nailed it into place in the doorway and used some left over cedar shingles to shim the gaps. Then, I put the door up and put the pins back it. Worked great. Later, I ripped some more fir 1x (2" wide) and centered them on the jam frame. This time the top piece went up first, then the side pieces fit under the top piece. Does that make sense? Well, here's some pictures:

The door on the floor, making sure the hinges line up.

The jam frame is in, before the 2" jam piece.

Nice chisel job! I won't show you the top hinge though...

Oops, I just realized that I don't have a picture of the door mounted and the completed jam. Sorry.

OK, that was Sunday. Tonight I got the skirting on the jetted tub built and mounted. It's a simple oak panel-and-frame construction with 3 extra verticals in the center to give it that 'mission' look. Ha, I sometimes wonder if I'm over doing it a little... Here are some pictures:

Here is the skirting mouted in place. Someday I'll stain and finish it. Someday.

This is the last picture with the cardboard skirting. The cardboard actually made the city inspector laugh.

Assembling the frame.

Dry fit of the frame before I cut and fitted the panels.

Followup Number 2: The Shower Door

Well, we finally have a shower door. Southwest Washington Glass brought the door over on Tuesday and it only took them a little over an hour to get it into place. But, the installer was almost finished when he realized that one of the frame pieces has the wrong finish. It is supposed to be brushed nickel, and the hinge rail is chrome.


So, I called George Morlan, again, and told them the problem. They said they would call the manufacturer and get back to me. When I got home that evening, there was a voice mail from Morlan saying that the manufacturer would send me a new hinge rail. Great, now I have to install it? Doesn't seem quite fair. I haven't called anyone back yet. I'm waiting to see what happens when the frame piece arrives.

Other than that, it looks pretty nice. We got the magnetic catch rather than the standard latch and a handle upgrade. We might even use this shower for the first time tomorrow.

Here it is:

Followup Number 1: The Front Yard

Jenn and I met with Bernie form Cascade Landscaping this morning. He showed us how to use the sprinkler programmer / controller unit. Pretty simple. Too bad we really can't play with it now. Yesterday they drained all the water out of the system to prepare for winter. We'll have to wait until spring before we can set it to go off during the prime dog walking times... :-P

I finally have some pictures to show of the new rock wall in all it's completed glory.

These rock steps will eventually be part of the path to the front door.

Jenn likes the new rock walls.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Contractors, Contractors, Contractors

The best thing about doing it yourself, is not having to deal with @#$%^@!#$ contractors! But, from time to time, I find a job that I just don't want to deal with. Two cases in point being the installation of a shower door, and the sprinkler system.

I've been having trouble getting someone to come and install the shower door. The door we ordered from George Morlan arrived last week, but the installer that they recommended (Southwest Washington Glass) has not returned my calls. I was thinking it would be wise to have an experienced (and recommended) installer do the job and make sure the heavy glass door is installed correctly and is water tight. But, I have called them twice over the past 2 weeks without getting a response. So, I called George Morlan again and asked them to recommend someone else. They would not. Ugh! So, I told them about all of the trouble I was having trying to schedule an installation. The guy I talked to agreed to call the installer himself, but I never heard back from him. Finally, this afternoon, I called George Morlan back again, talked to the same guy, told him I was seriously thinking about canceling my order, blah, blah blah. Well, I finally got a call from the installer (the actual guy, not his receptionist). He took down on my information and said he’d call back with an installation time. He didn't. So, I'll have to try and call him again tomorrow. Once again, I'm at the mercy of a contractor. Grr, Grrr, Grrr, Grrr!

Oh something else funny, speaking of contractors. I went home for lunch today, when I saw someone drive up and take a look at the sprinkler system. He said he was the "backflow inspector". The landscaper had left a message last week saying something strange about the backflow inspection not going well, but I didn't really understand it. Today, the backflow guy said they buried the connection so low that it made it hard to test. It wasn'’t a code violation, just made testing harder. I didn't ask why he couldn't complete the inspection last week, but he could this week. I may never know.

To be fair to the landscaper, everything else has gone smoothly. Now that the city has signed off on the backflow inspection, we should have our final walkthough with the landscaper. Hopefully we'll get a good lesson on operating controller, which looks more complicated than my laptop computer. Also, the rock wall turned out great, but I don't have a decent picture to post yet. Next time.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Rock Wall Update

Before appearing at Hillsdale House, the Wall had a bit part in Shakespeare's A Mid Summer's Night Dream.

Here's an updated picture taken this morning. They weren't totally level, as I had hoped, but still it looks good. The landscapers changed it around during the day today, but it was too dark when I got home to take any decent pictures.

I like how the wall wraps around the pine tree like a knee-high turret.

Also, I finished and mounted the 2nd mirror in the master bath, but sadly no pictures...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Forecast Calls for Mud

Hillsdale house is looking more like Hillslide house these days. We hired some landscapers who have the yard all ripped up right now. And, wouldn’t you know, it has started to rain, hard (something like 3" in the last 2 days).

As you can see from the picture, our yard slopes a lot from left to right. There have been noticeable ruts from the rain eroding away the topsoil over the years. So, we’ve decided to build some rock retaining walls that should level things out and give the yard a more terraced look (and hopefully keep our soil from washing away). Probably the biggest and smartest decision we made so far is NOT TO DO THIS OURSELVES. I know, it is hard to let go and let other people do things. But, got to.

So, as long as they are putting the rock wall in, we thought we might as well have them put in automatic sprinklers. Ouch, that’s expensive, but it is something else that we don’t want to do ourselves. Besides, it will be nice to have a front yard that takes care of itself. They are also going to deliver a few truckloads of new top soil to put behind the new walls. Later on, Jenn and I will plant some stuff and put in a cobblestone path to the front steps. Until then, forecast calls for mud.