Monday, August 29, 2005

Mud and Stucco

I haven't written on this blog for a few days because we've been busy applying mud to the screw holes and mudding in the tape. Mudding and sanding, mudding and sanding to get perfect walls.

The prep for painting the walls takes longer than painting! We learned that the smooth set comes in bags with different numbers on them and the numbers indicate how long the patch takes to dry - ie., - a number 10 would take ten minutes to dry so you'd have to work really fast. So we didn't use the smooth set/quick set. We used joint compound and topping compound which gives you longer to work with the mud. It's really like frosting a cake and like frosting a cake you don't want to go over one spot a lot of times as you lift up what you put down. I did help, but only on the screw holes. After the layers of mud are dry then it is time to hand sand. This last shot here is of the family room. We're still sanding and touching up.

The other day we called around to get estimates on the outside stucco work. Steve had already done the lathing so we needed an estimate on the three coats of stucco. One company, who will remain nameless, gave us a bid of almost $7,000. Geez, that is more than we spent on the foundation. Needless to say, I got on the phone and called some friends. One friend who is also remodeling his home with a contractor, put us in contact with the contractor who said we could use his guys as he didn't need them for a few days. Cost - well, let's just say it was very, very reasonable - very.

So this morning the stucco guys came and went right to work putting on the scratch coat. First, they covered all the windows and doors with tape and plastic, then they got busy slapping on the brown coat.

The first coat of stucco was on the addition in just a few hours. They cleaned up and said they'd see us tomorrow. In the meantime, Steve has to get all the window trim done before they return.

Will Steve get all the windows trimmed before tomorrow? Stay tuned.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Gas Meter, Lights and Soffits

This is the old gas meter and as you can see it is now inside the new addition. Steve had repiped the house so the gas line now runs through the ceiling and not in the slab. We'd learned that the old cement slab had really corroded the gas pipe and to be on the safe side, we ran the new line. Later, we learned that in the late 40's early 50's, cement had a lot more lime in it than it does today. The lime just eats away at pipes in slabs. (If you have a Mid-Century house or older on a slab, you might want to check the condition of your pipes in the slab.) We started calling the gas company in June to come out and reroute the meter. We made lots of calls and even paid for the job. Finally, last Friday, August 19, they showed up at eight in the morning.

They moved the meter and laid all new pipe from the back of the addition to the street. I didn't take a picture of the hole in the street, but this gives you and idea of the work. Finally, we now have a new gas meter and it is on the outside of the new addition. You can also see a hose bib, Steve installed so it will be easy to hook up a hose for watering plants on the side of the house.

While the gas men were digging and laying pipe, Steve was busy installing the electrical plug outlets, light switches and light fixtures. One picture was taken during the afternoon of some of the lights and two pictures taken at night. It was really fun to flip the switches at night and see the rooms lit for the first time. There's something about lighting that gives everything a substantial feel - an idea made real.

I don't have a picture of the bedroom because we haven't picked out the light fixture yet. I'm hoping to find something simple in keeping with the 50's flavor. There will be an overhead fixture and Steve has wired the bedroom with plugs on either side of the bed so there can be lamps as well on night stands. The bathroom has overhead cans and a fan.

On Saturday, Steve decided to finish the soffit on the outside of the master bedroom. I wanted to get someone to help him as the plywood was heavy, but he figured out how to do it alone. I did help with the measuring tape and by handing him the nail gun while he balanced plywood sheets on his head.

And after the plywood soffits were in place, they got two coats of primer. Today, is Sunday, and we're taking the day off from building. Steve is watching sports on tv and I'm doing this blog. Dylan is sound asleep, having had a good long walk and a ride in the car. Next week, we'll put in for the inspector to come and sign off on the dry wall and then it will be time to tape and mud the walls. I've been informed that I'm going to help. I've never done taping and mudding and I'm thinking how hard can it be? I'll let you know.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fish and Dry Wall

The dry wall is coming along. But it takes time. Steve's fishing trip was a bust. No fish. It was a charter trip and only a couple of guys on the boat caught fish. According to the skipper the fish had moved on. Well, that is fishing - sometimes you catch them and sometimes the fish win.

As to what I did on the addition while Steve was gone? Nothing. You didn't really think I was going out there and hang sheetrock, did you?

Steve got back and started working again Monday morning. He's hanging dry wall in the bathroom area now. Pictures to come of the bath area. The bedroom and the hall and most of the family room is done.

Nothing exciting to report. Oh, Dylan caught a bear.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Japanese Girls and Dry Wall

The Japanese architectural team of young women with their professor visited our building site on Tuesday. They took still pictures, video, and they used an electronic laser to measure everything. They were very thorough and asked a lot of questions. As always, they were very charming and so interested in what we were doing.

Dylan as usual was right in the middle of everything. Sitting in a ready-to-jump up position if anyone wanted to pet him.
After the girls left, Steve did some yard work. We ordered the sheet rock and waited for the inspector. The inspector arrived early the next morning and signed off on the insulation and stucco lath sheathing. He gave us the go ahead to start hanging the dry wall.

Steve rented a dry wall hoist and started screwing in the sheetrock. The screw pattern for the ceiling (we asked the inspector so we wouldn't have any problems like the furring nails) was a screw every 14", but he suggested we go tighter. The
pattern for the walls was a screw every 16". We used 1/2" sheet rock.

At the end of the hall is the family room. And you can see part of a wall with the special structural wood next to the door. This wall is the wall between the family room and the garage so it has to have sheetrock that is 5/8" type X which is fire resistant on both sides of the wall. The garage wall when finished can burn for an hour, supposedly, before fire attacks the family room. This is a safety code as most fires start in the garage.

These last two pictures are of Steve cleaning up. He likes to keep his work area clean as it is easier for him to work. Outside the house is also clean, as he takes all the trash, left over wood and stuff, to the dump. From the front of the house you wouldn't even know we are doing an addition.

Next a much needed vacation for Steve - a three day long range fishing trip. Stay tuned to see if he catches any fish and to find out what Dylan and I will do to the addition while he is gone.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

From Japan To Mar Vista - Two Parties

I don't want anyone to think we just work on the addition. We do go places and do things. This weekend was especially busy. Our new neighbors, John and Julia, gave a house warming party and invited everyone that lives in the Gregory Ain Mar Vista Tract. Here is a picture of the front of their house taken from my yard. I didn't take pictures of the party as I was too busy enjoying the great food, martinis and company. Julia even dressed the part by wearing a 1950's frock.

The party lasted until ten. Then this morning we got up and went to Meier Street, street behind ours, where Anni Michaelsen was hosting a brunch for the neighborhood to listen to the housing report created by a housing research team from the department of Architecture and Architectural Engineering from Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan. A year ago, these Japanese women with their professor Yoko Sone, visited the Gregory Ain Tract to do a study of our homes. They had received a grant from their government to study "Mar Vista 50 Years Later."

Anni is chairman of our HPOZ and she was quite involved with the team from Japan. Here's a picture of Anni in her yard decorated with tables for the party. More pictures of the party and Anni's Gregory Ain Home.

The food at the party was wonderful. A combination American, Danish, and Japanese. The Japanese women made several traditional dishes and brought summer desserts. Everyone had a good time. The woman carrying the chair is my friend Amanda and she lives down the street. She has been working hard to save the Lincoln Place Apartments and get them historical designation so they won't be torn down. Her husband Hans is on our HPOZ board. Unfortunately, he wasn't at the party as he is in Sweden on a visit. Hans also created and maintains our neighborhood website And here's a picture of Steve in his baseball hat at the head of the table. He didn't go to the party with me as he wanted to stay home and work, but Anni called him and said, "Just come and eat."

There was quite a crowd at Anni's, but as small as these Gregory Ain homes are, they can hold a lot of people because the house and yard become one. After eating - eating too much, I might add,(good thing I'll be working on the dry wall), we all took chairs into the living room and watched a slide presentation of what the research team from Japan had learned on their visit a year ago to our tract of homes. What interested the team was that the Mar Vista homes have been maintained and cared for for over 50 years. In Japan, a lot of the houses are no older than 30 years as they are not maintained or torn down to make way for more modern homes. Hoping to use their research to slow the destruction of older homes in Japan, the team seemed delighted by the Mar Vista tract and how it retains the sense of history. Just imagine if every architecturally designed home was destroyed after 20 or 30 years. What a loss that would be.

When I got home from the brunch, Dylan Thomas was waiting for a walk. The last two pictures are of our house from Dylan's view point as we stand on the side walk ready to go for his walk.

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