March ended with the big concrete pour for the patios. Unfortunately, the larger of the
front patios didn't turn out so good and had to be removed and repoured, which will
happen later this month.

But the good news is... on April 2, we finally got our building permit!!!. It took a lot more
time than we ever imagined, but we finally jumped through all the hoops. So, April will truly
be a month for major progress. We're now in a mad rush to try to get this livable by June so
we can sell our current house while the market is still flaming hot.


04.07.04—Don and Julian start the day at 9:15 driving a 15' rental truck up to Loomis
to pick up the metal facia pieces and then drive down to Oakland to get the kitchen
cabinets from IKEA. It took over 2 hours to get the pre-ordered kitchen out to to the
loading area and into the truck. Then they spent another 4 hours shopping for and
loading up the master bedroom cabinets and other misc. items. Didn't get back in
Sac until after 9pm.

The truck had to be returned in the morning, so Don was at the house from 10 to
midnight unloading the whole thing by himself, except for 5 big boxes where he
got help from one of the bartenders across the street. The boxes on the right are
about half of the kitchen cabinets. The photo on the left shows our big oval dining
table in cardboard and stacks of red custom facia metal fittings.

04.08.04—The crew from Jackson Glass arrives bright and early the next day to
install six of the ten new windows. At right, you see the 8' x 4'-8" slider windows
with clear anodized aluminum frames and blue-green solex dual-pane glass. You
can also see the large concrete patio that will be removed and repoured. At left is
the smaller patio, which looks very good, and the two master bedroom window holes.

Bob Rethford works with his two assistants to fit in one of the large windows and
caulk the exterior with grey silicone. I will fill the gaps with foam sealant from the
inside so that he can caulk the interior side on his next visit.

Ooooowwwweeee, don't that look nice!

Here's a look at the two single hung bathroom windows. They also have solex blue-
green glass on the outside, but with obscure privacy glass on the inside. Also notice,
well how could you miss it, the metal above the windows. The red is the first 10' long
section of custom bent facia pieces to be installed (there will be over 30 when it's
done). At the top of the wall is a plain-old, off-the-Home Depot-shelf section of
galvanized corrugated steel. We had ordered some custom grey metal pieces for this
area and under the eve overhangs, but we decided to try test this idea first. We love
the way it looks—a lot more funky character and a whole lot cheaper too. Hopefully
will get a lot of these metal details installed over the the next couple weeks. This,
along with the windows will really start to transform the outside.

04.15.04 Wires and tubes and gas lines, Oh My! The red and blue Pex tubing are
for hot and cold water, the yellow tube is the gas line to the kitchen and the other
wires are electricity. They all emenate from the back of the house where the electric
panel and water heater reside, and then snake throughout the 9.5" deep ceiling
space, in and out of holes drilled in the joists.

Wayne, Chief of Electricity, feeds Pex tubes through the lowered ceiling of the
master suite closet toward the bathroom. He appears to be getting dizzy and seeing

Wayne's assistant, Justin, pulls the tubes through the joists and down into a
new firred out wall built by Dons Jr. and Sr. that will be behind the toilent, shower
whirlpool tub.

Derrick, Duke of Water & Gas, inspects one of the very rare splits in the entire water
delivery system. We are using Pex plastic tubing instead of copper water pipes
because they are easier to install and much cheaper. The other reason to use Pex
is that nearly every fixture has its own uninterrupted dedicated line from the water
heater manifold so there is very little chance of leaks. Of the over twenty five water
outlets in the house (hot faucets, cold faucets and toilets) there are only three splits,
one to the refrigerator from the kitchen sink and a hot and cold split at the master
bedroom's double sinks.

Don Sr. frames up the sink wall of the boys bathroom so the Pex can be connected
to the copper stub-outs.

04.16.04 The rear yard is all tore up. The existing main sewer line was relatively new,
so it won't be replaced, but there are trenches for two new lines from the left and
right side of the house that will connect with the existing center line and meet at
the city sewer hook-up (top of right photo).

04.17.04 Trenchmaster Bill arrives at 7am the next day to dig the garage footings,
which intersect the sewer line trenches he dug the day before.

The new sewer lines (top left and bottom) join the existing line (center left)
and all connect to the city line and a new clean out (right).


4.26.04 (Monday of a very busy week) Paul Hicks gets busy removing the roof and
joists from the foyer/entry area.

4.27.04 (Tuesday) The busiest day yet! While Paul and Don get busy demoing the
entry foyer roof, Brian from B&H Concrete Cutting and a crew from Dave's Garage
Door Co. get to work on the floor slab and living room/patio "gagage" doors.

As Dave inserts a rubber weatherstripping in the aluminum door edges, his son
installs the door panels into place.

The door tracks are hung from the ceiling joists and the door spring is adjusted to
make it roll up and down smoothly. The two "garage" doors will create a glass wall
effect between the living room and front garden patio when closed. When rolled up,
the living room will merge with the patio to double the floor space and make the
inside feel more like a covered patio than a living room.

The 4"-5" thick concrete slab floor has been cut in all three bathrooms to facilitate
new drain pipes connecting the new exterior sewer lines to the new facilities. There
was a nice layer of large stone gravel under the slab.

Chris from B&H bores 1 1/4" holes through the walls where there will be exterior
sconce lights. In the right photo, you can see his drill punching through the wall.

Don Sr. cleans up some nails and wood from the roof hole where the new dormer
will be constructed. He also conferes with Paul on the framing plans.

Paul uses a hammer drill to bore anchor bolt holes through the existing wood base
plate and 8" into the concrete block. Don Sr. uses an air hose to blow out all the
dust and dirt so the bolts can be epoxied into the holes. By the way, between
shooting all these photos, Don (Jr.) was doing a lot of work as well. Just so you

Future occupants Julian and Quinn make a site inspection visit.

4.27.06 (Wednesday) Chris returns to jackhammer the cut concrete floor into chunks
small enough to be removed by hand.

Anchor bolts are layed out near their holes above the front door.

Industrial strength epoxy is squeezed into the anchor holes and the bolt is inserted
before the epoxy quickly dries. This stuff is stronger than concrete.

Brian spends hours jackhammering through the 47 year old concrete footing below
the bathroom walls. He was not having fun.

Paul frames up the left front dormer sheer wall. It is anchored to the base plate and
concrete block with high-strength steel straps that were required to prevent the
future cantilevered roof from flying away.

The two sheer walls and adjoining side walls are framed and sheathed in structural-
rated plywood. New roof joists are in place on the left and right sides.

4.29.04 (Thursday) Paul starts the day with his early-morning rooftop tai chi
excercise. Actually, he's holding a vertical 8x4 post as he nails it into place from
behind the dormer side wall. This is one of two posts that will support the 12x8
beam that will carry the most of the cantilevered roof's weight.

Don Sr. helps Paul's brother Charles strap the first beam for it's ride skyward. Paul
and Don Sr. guide the beam to it's spot on the sheer walls as Charles operates the

The center beam is layed in place. The front cantilevered joists and rear roof joists
will attach to the metal brackets on the front and back of this beam.

The dormer's rear solid wall is framed flat and then lifted into place and connected
to the front side walls with long 2x4s.

Charles watches from below as the front beam is adjusted and Don Sr. makes sure
the wall is plumb (straight up and down). Don Sr. nails in front plywood panels that
Don Jr. cut.

4.30.04 (Friday) The rectangular hole in the front dormer wall will be eventually filled
with two large awning-style windows. The sides of the dormer will be large, single
windows. The roof will overhang about 16" off the dormer's back wall and side
windows. But in the front, the roof will cover the entry area and then hang out over
the front beam about 6 feet. On the right, the dormer's interior joists are layed into
place awaiting next week's roof construction.

All in all, April has been the most productive, and costliest, month so far. We have
already purchased a good deal of the materials, fixtures and appliances that will be
installed in May, which will hopefully continue and this accelerated pace.

Go to next month...


Also visit Don's portfolio site: www.designbutton.com