Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Horror!!.....The Horror!!!! Color!!!!!!!!!!

Color on the walls!!!
The horror, the horror!!!!

Wow, I gotta say, I am completely blown away by the super strong negative
reaction the colors we decided to paint the rental apartment have engendered.

As a straight male science nerd I never really have a strong opinion on what
colors are on the walls.

We are not white/beige wall people, if-ya-know-what-I-mean.

A Review Of The Horror
 I've been told that this is baby poop color?

 I've been told that this blue is: horrible, electric, goes horribly with the yellow.

I've been told that this green is nauseating, too bright, just plain wrong.

We like the colors and if you don't, geez, you don't have to rent the place.
Should I even say that the drapes are going to match the walls?

Instead of ragging on me how about a single, helpful suggestion besides, 'Repaint
it all off-white.'

Monday, August 25, 2014

Help With Our Windows

The downstairs apartment has its original windows still.
That's good and bad. Good, because they allowed me to
actually get the permit finaled. Bad, because they don't
work so super great.

The Windows
See that classy piece of wood.....
They were all built originally as single hung windows
with no weights or counter balancers of any kind.
Because of this they take the strength of Hercules to
open and they won't stay open. They also get cock
eyed in the openings and jam up, ALL THE TIME!

Went to Pagano's and told the folks there my tale of woe
and they had two products there designed for just such a use!
Yay!! Pagano's!

Spring Steel Solutions?
 This unit screws into the window track.

This unit screws into the top of the window sash. To use this product
I'd have to remove the sash from the window opening....something I really don't
want to do if I can avoid it....with the fresh paint and all.

Those are my two options right now.
Does anyone have any other/better ideas.
I want the windows to be easier to open and stay open.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Stain Grade(?) Trim Anyone?

Well, along with overloading my truck with the flooring I also stopped at
White Brothers Mill in Oakland to pick up the trim order.

This trim isn't officially 'stain grade' its poplar but we've used it before and
with a light stain it looks pretty nice. We did this at our first house and it
turned out great. I told people that it was 'rustic grade' maple and they totally
believed it...The other options from the mill in official stain grade are maple and
cherry....which were waaaaaay outta our budget...

Okay enough blabbing, pictures of trim.

This is a picture of the window stool material and the moulding that
we are putting under the stool...have no idea what that's called...

These little guys here are the fancy shoe mouldings for the baseboards.

Here is a piece of window stool. Right next to it is what we are going to use as
casing around the windows.

This, is a horrible picture of the baseboards.

Here is a better picture of the casing moulding. This is going to go
around all the doors and windows. Mitered corners, no plinths or

Here is a shot of the picture rail.

So that's baseboard, shoe, window/door casing, and picture moulding.
No crown, decided it wasn't needed. I believe that the picture rail is needed.
Its a rental and with the picture rail tenants can hang pictures on the walls
without making any holes in them. Handy for the tenants, handy for me.

Now all I have to do is sand-stain-finish all this trim...yay!!!! Should take at
least an hour or so....actually, I haven't figured out how-where I am going to
do this...anyone wanna help?

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Well, we've made a decision about the flooring.
After much, much discussion and research we've decided to go
with a strand-woven bamboo product.

The research I've done was really depressing...lots of people very, very
unhappy with their strand-woven bamboo floors. Lots of problems after
the professional install like gaps and buckling and companies telling
customers to take a flyer with no after sale service.

What I've realized is, the difference between the $7/sq ft stuff and the $3.50/sq ft
stuff is probably the after sale service.
Knowing this I went in with my eyes wide open and will hopefully not get screwed.

Dang, even 'cheap' flooring still adds up...we only have ~900 sq ft of flooring but wow
I just spent nearly $4k just in flooring supplies.

Enough Gabbing Pictures of Flooring
Here's some shots of the different floors we were considering.
 I like this tiger strand stuff.

 This is actually strand-woven eucalyptus.

Natural Strand Woven Bamboo.
And the winner is, The Natural Strand Woven Bamboo.

Here's a shot after we unloaded and stacked the flooring in the front bedroom.
That's 41 boxes of flooring. Each box weighs 50 pounds....my poor truck...

Here's a shot of the front side of the flooring.

Backside of flooring

With the side view you can see the strands.
The plan now is to let it set for two weeks while we do everything else. By that
time the moisture content of the flooring should be normalized to the environment.

We are going to use an underlayment called Delta-FL and we plan to float the floor
with the tongue and grooves glued together.
There was something weird on the official instructions.
They say that the wood has to acclimate for at least 24hrs. But they tell you to leave
the wood in the boxes!?!?!?!? The wood is shrink wrapped-sealed tight???
How in the world can the moisture content equilibrate? It makes no sense. If those
are the instructions people are following then maybe that's why they are getting the
buckling and the gaps??
I plan to leave a healthy gap between the flooring and the walls...

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Permit Is Finaled,....Now What?

Now what indeed.
Now, we just simply have to actually finish the apartment.
Permit finaled and rent-outable are two different things.

Let me take you on a visual tour of the apartment as it is now.

Here is the view at the front door down the entrance hallway.

The hallway ends in the family room.
 That is not me in the picture.

Off the family room are two bedrooms.
The small bedroom.

The medium bedroom

The kitchen is also entered off the family room.

Check out those sweet counter tops. Ya some work to do here.
 The plywood is the base for the 'real' counter tops which HAVE to be granite....

Different angle of the kitchen showing the family room on the left.

Guest Bath
Yes, this one will look a lot better when its done also...

The dining room.

Off this doorway in the dining room is the master bedroom.

The master bedroom looking from the doorway into the dining room.

Different view of the master bedroom looking back at the door into the dinning

The entrance to the master closet.

Right inside the entrance looking right.

Little hallway in master closet to master bath.

Master Bath
 Don't worry its going to look a lot nicer when done.

Master bath from another view.
 I really like the lights over the sink.

This shot shows the back door out of the master bedroom.
The door on the right is.

The utility room.
 Love those copper pipes.

Walking past the utility room on the left is the laundry room for the entire building.
 Our tenants have free use of the laundry.

Here's something that's hard to see. The painters are smoothing out the
horrible, horrible texture on the walls. You can see on the left its smooth
and on the right its still the original texture.

Freaking Union Drywallers!!!
 The union drywallers screwed up on a lot of the boxes.
Just look at these...

This one bugs me the most. Really? were they even trying?
I totally screwed up and didn't look hard at all the box cut outs before I
paid them.....so now I'm paying the painters to fix the drywallers mistakes....

Does the apartment look like its ready to move in?
Heck No!

Still To Do
Oh, how I wish this list was shorter.
Install new counter top in kitchen.
Install the trim (its gotta be stained and finished first).
Install the flooring.
Install window coverings.
Figure out what the heck we're going to do in the master closet and do it.
Install new vanities/mirrors in bathrooms.
and probably a bunch of other stuff...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

We Got Our Permit Finaled!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Man my back hurts.
Woo, I say, Woo!
Ouch, my back.
Break out the good Scotch, Whiskey, Bourbon, Tequila, etc....
Did I mention how much my back hurts?
Owwwwwwww, make it stop hurting.
Here is what a finaled permit card looks like in the city of Alameda
If you don't think that this is going under glass on the wall to be very proudly displayed
you would be very mistaken.
Man, my back is just killing me.

Up Next?
Sleep? Ha, I wish..

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Word From On High.....

Is it EVER a good thing when your building inspector shows up onsite unannounced?
That's what happened to us today! Yay! I guess its a good thing that we've developed
such a close relationship that he feels like he can just 'pop on by' whenever he wants....

Thumped From Above
Today I made it through to my inspectors boss. We had a nice chat about the electrical
code and the plumbing code. He had done some research on my case and he had
discovered that my permit was issued 6 days into the new code cycle....that if it had
been issued 7 days earlier I'd be under a different less stringent code....yay.

So, in no uncertain terms, I need to put the lights on an AFCI breaker, I need to run both
TPR lines outside and I have to change out every single outlet (24 of em) to a tamper
resistant model....this is the part that I wouldn't have to do by 7 days...

Rant Mode On
By the CBC it is now illegal to use any outlet in a house that is not marked TR for tamper
resistant. Why the F do they sell a HUGE assortment of outlets that are not TR at Home
Despot? In fact all the stores I've looked at have huge assortments of non-TR outlets but
only a couple TR outlets?!?!?!?
Rant Mode Off

Plumbing Fixed
Here is the code legal solution for the TPR valves.
Approved by the inspector today...imagine hangers every 4 feet.

Electrical Panel Fixed
Ya, exciting...the blue tape are empty breakers. I will probably replace the empty
double with another 15A AFCI breaker so I can split the overhead lights back out.
Now they are all on the same circuit.
Turns out, you can make splices inside of sub-panels in Alameda.
As of now all outlets work correctly and all overhead lights.

Paint For The Entry Way
We need to paint the entryway, laundry room area also.
We want to use some combo of the colors we've already used (have the paint).
So, what do people think?
The colors we've used are bright yellow, sky blue, slightly darker blue, light green, and
a slightly darker shade of light green.
I think the light green on the ceiling and the light blue on the walls?

6 Days left till permit expires!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Elec and Plumbing Inspection Today.......yay...

With seven days left on our permit we had our inspector out again today to
look at the electrical and the plumbing.

Neither of which got fricken finaled.....

The plumbing was all good except for the lack of TPR line ran to the outside
of the house....the inspector was not buying my argument even though I followed the manf
instructions to a T...still wants it outside...arrrrrrrrrgh. I've got a call into his
boss so we'll see.

Hmmmmmm, this was a mixed bag for sure.
All the outlets worked correctly except for one room where we had a floating ground...
All the overhead lights and switches worked.
The kitchen was wired correctly.
I screwed up on the AFCI breakers.....
In the code books it says something like, 'all outlets not GFCI have to be on an AFCI breaker.'
Okay I think, no problem, each room is on its own 20A AFCI breaker for the outlets.
I ran two 15A circuits for the overhead lights splitting the apartment down the middle longwise.
That was my BIG mistake....apparently, in code speak only, an 'outlet' is also the overhead lights!!!

Yay, so now I have to fit at least one more AFCI breaker in the sub-panel for this unit.

Unit Subpanel
All full! No room at the inn....not sure what the heck I can do about this...don't want to change
out the panel for a bigger one. To make this work I will have to combine circuits but since you
can't double tap an AFCI breaker (right?) I will have to put in a junction box below the panel
to tie some of the separate circuits together.....
Anybody else have a better idea?

Now Pics Of Paint And Lights!

 Hallway leads to this little family room.

Off of which is two bedrooms.
The small one.

The medium one.

Turn right from the family room and into the kitchen.

The master area isn't painted yet but here's some fuzzy shots of the master closet.
 Pretty light.

So that's it for now.
Next inspection and probably our last one is this Thursday......wish us luck.
Did I mention how tired I am? Or how bad my back hurts? Yay.

Seven Days Left On Permit!!!