Today is my final city of Redding inspection of my project. I’m nervous. There’s only one thing that’s being inspected: a powder-coated black bracket. This is the correct bracket. The ugly open part above the bracket is intentionally left exposed so the inspector can rest assured that the bracket is attached all the way up beyond the old (now destroyed) coving.
I’ll get someone to make it look pretty with new plaster after I pass inspection.
I failed my last inspection because we had the wrong bracket in place, which delayed the job’s completion, not to mention the hassle factor of removing the wrong bracket, which was a royal pain. Never mind the who/what/where/why/how-the-hell-did-that-happen.
It doesn’t matter. It’s water under the bridge. What’s done is done.
What does matter is that finally, the wrong bracket was removed and the design plan was executed as architect Tyler Hendrickson drew it in the first place, which stipulated a specific (correct) bracket, for what it’s worth.
The headers were required to mitigate the opened walls/doorways in the living room, dining room, hallway and laundry room; areas that involved load-bearing walls. I hate to sound like a brat, but I couldn’t imagine spending time in that closed-off kitchen space. To me, it was obvious from the moment I saw the house that some walls would have to go. And there was no removing the walls without architectural and engineering involvement to make sure the whole project was up to code and passed city inspection. Naturally, I had no clue all that would be involved in removing those walls. I’m glad I didn’t know, or I might have chickened out, and then I’d be stuck with that claustrophobic little kitchen.
These headers have been the source of many discussions, and many opinions, most of which boiled down to this frequent question: Why did the architect insist on veneering those headers? Why didn’t he just call for the headers to be dry walled and painted?
Here’s what separates a good architect from the rest of us mere mortals: They sometimes see things we cannot. When it came to my headers, which were unglamorous stacked 6-by-12 boards, Tyler saw an opportunity to take something functional and make it beautiful.
Here’s what the space looked like before from inside the kitchen looking toward the hallway.
Here’s the same view taken last night (bad exposure, I know).
Would it have been easier to just run drywall up to the ceiling? Oh my gosh, yes. Would it have been as interesting and dramatic? No way. By the way, the headers aren’t finished. They need a little attention, sanding, etc., to achieve perfection. And we need a drywall person to finish the edges. (I say this to those who’ll surely zoom in.)
There are architects, and there are Architects. Tyler is a hands-on architect, the kind of creative thinker and doer who had such a specific vision for the headers’ outcome that he wanted to be the one to see them through to the very end. By “see it through” I mean he wanted to actually apply the veneers himself. When was the last time you heard of an architect doing something like that?
He brought architect colleague Jose Garduno to help.
They arrived on Friday, which made for a houseful all working on different things: two architects, two licensed general contractors, one handyman, one plumber, one interior designer (sister Shelly), and a team of five Pacific Crest Granite guys.
It was such total chaos that at one point, one contractor said it was too much for him, and he left for the day.
Not Tyler and Jose. They stayed for the duration, into the night, through a good hunk of the weekend, and then back again early this week. Until it was done.
The last piece, the one beneath the bracket, was the most challenging, but Tyler and Jose did it.
I love the look of the headers, which are wrapped in walnut veneers. I hope the inspector likes them, too.
I also love the counters, in Rainforest Green, which were installed by Pacific Crest Granite.
After all these months of balancing coffee pots and cutting boards on boxes, it’s such a luxury to have real counters.
I’ll show you more details next week, when I have better photos, but Edgewood Plumbing hooked up the kitchen faucets, dishwasher and garbage disposal, which meant I could finally wash dishes in the kitchen, instead of the bathtub.
Some things still await completion, such as hardware on doors, which is off being powder-coated.
And remember the battered pair of metal awnings over the courtyard doors?
About a month ago I asked a handyman to remove the awnings because they were twisted, damaged and unsightly. I was thinking they were for shade. It didn’t dawn on me — until our first gully-washer — that perhaps they were there to keep rain from pouring into the house.
Thank God for beach towels to sop up the water that overflowed from the packed rain gutters overhead, then down the screen doors à la Niagara Falls and onto the new laundry room and guest room floors. I would have taken a video but I was too busy mopping water.
As an aside, the handyman who cleaned the gutters this week said there were so many layers of decomposed leaves that they had actually mulched and composted down into what looked like quality topsoil. Once again, just when I think I’ve seen it all, this house continues to surprise me. And I don’t mean fun surprise, but rather, holy-crap surprise.
Meanwhile, I’ve put a deposit on a pair of canvas door awnings from Redding Canvas. I need to choose a color asap. I know that darker awnings will last longer, and will withstand many years of sun and rain.
And speaking of rain, I’m getting bids on repairing the water issue all around the house where the vents are below grade. In the meantime, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. I bought 100 feet of irrigation hose and attached it to various downspouts, and then redirected the hoses away from the house.
It’s not pretty, but I hope it’s at least a partially effective temporary fix.
I also put up plastic lids over the vents, which I know looks silly, but it made me feel as if I were doing something productive.
I also have an empty fireplace, which had a wood-burning fireplace insert. I’d like to have a gas faux fireplace eventually, but I’ll see how the funds hold up. I may have to wait until next year.
I also have a very large square opening in my hallway ceiling that was supposed to have a whole house fan in it, except I’ve heard from a few handymen/contractors who say I can’t have a whole house fan with blown-in insulation, or it would be a big mess, unless I went to a sheet metal company and had a big funnel thing made, which would cost a few thousand dollars. That’s too bad, because I love whole house fans. So now I’m just going to get a drywaller to patch the hole and let go of the whole-house fan idea.
Weaver Lumber delivered my exterior doors, which are gorgeous, but I don’t want them installed until I can first address my flooding issues.
Even so, it brings me joy to look at the front door, and imagine how it will look when it’s installed, and not leaning against the living room wall.
Although all but two interior old doors – closets – are hung, I still need to paint and caulk all the doorways, baseboard, trim and crown molding. Tedious! So tedious!
Even so, this cozy little old house finally feels like a home, with civilized spaces and creature comforts, and when I say creature, I mean human, not rodent.
It helps that sister Shelly pitched in with such crucial details as hanging curtains and arranging furniture.
The inside of this old house is nearly finished. Now I will turn my attention to the exterior flooding issue, and do my best to take care of things before the rain begins in earnest.
But first, it’s inspection day for my bracket. Wish us luck.
UPDATE: The bracket passed inspection! I’m so happy!