Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The front door is installed

Here's what the facade of the red brick building looked like just before noon today:

That's our new front door, with its new glass panes, center stage.  We're trying to decide whether to paint it (Farrow and Ball Lulworth Blue) or whether to try to fix it up a little and just seal it.  It does need fixin':

What would you do?

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The tenants' doors are installed

That's Unit 1's door, seen from the inside.  I love the look of the old wood in contrast to the newness of everything else in the space.  Originally, I'd planned to paint the doors, but now I think I'd like to try to leave them unpainted and just protect them with a coat of poly or something.  The doors do need a little remedial work if that's to be done, though.  Hopefully the patching can happen while they're on their hinges.

Don't you just love the trim and this first look at the rosettes, too? Many of the other rosettes are up in different parts of the building, but our contractor only counted the windows (forgetting that the doors need rosettes too) so I have to go back to the plaster guy and ask him to make us a ton more.  Totally worth it for the prettiness, though.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Our furniture moved in

But we didn't.  That's it, piled under a giant tarp in the living room.  I'm jealous that it gets to live at the red brick building and we don't yet.  I suppose it's for the best, though, since the floors aren't even finished, never mind all the plumbing, trim and other bits that make a construction site a home.  The lease on our suburban rental is up at the end of the month, so we'll very shortly be moving our air mattress to the RBB.  Prepare yourselves for even more mayhem and madness when we're actually living amid the dust and debris.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Travertine tile on the headhouse floor

Here's what the floor in the headhouse looked like late last week:

And here's what it looked like on Friday:

I'm a big fan of the travertine we chose - suitably rustic.  I even think the color works well with the wall paint color, though I actually forgot to give the flooring thought when painting the walls.  I can't wait to see what the room looks like with the light fixtures in too.  I'm nervous about the color of the thicker travertine stone I bought for the adjacent (outdoor patio).  I think it's going to be too light since it's more of an ivory/cream.  I wonder if it can be stained or etched to make it look darker.  Maybe we just need make sure it's dirty all the time?  Only semi-kidding.  Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The kitchen appliances are (mostly) placed

Today's updates to the red brick building were small and scattered, rather than showing a lot of progress in any one room.  The spaces that have changed the most are the two tenants' kitchens, where the appliances that were delivered on Monday have been placed.  The ranges and fridges in the rentals are KitchenAid, the dishwashers are Bosch.  Unit 1:

Notice the faucet, which has been installed...and the garbage disposal, sitting in its box on the counter, which hasn't.

Here's unit 2's kitchen:

No faucet yet or garbage disposal, but the sink, the stove and the dishwasher are in place.  The refrigerator, on the other hand isn't:

That's because we were supposed to receive one with an icemaker and an icemaker has been plumbed for, but this model doesn't have one.  A call to the sales guy was made and he is sending us an icemaker kit to fit into the above fridge.

In our kitchen, the range and refrigerator have also been placed:

I'm surprised by how little space there is to walk between the range and the fridge.  Sure, the (lack of) distance was on the plans, but I'm used to it being open.  Not sure if the cramped feeling is going to change and more cabinetry goes in and I get used to the new configuration or if this is something that's gonna bug me.

I hope the plumber comes back again tomorrow: there's a ton for him to do, not only in the kitchens.  And I'd like to see the range hoods go in in the tenants' units very shortly.  (Ours needs some kind of transition piece between the bottom of the pipe and the top of the hood that we're waiting on.)

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A tile store expedition

Have I mentioned on this blog that I hate tile?  Well, I really do.  It's so cold and hard and geometric. Anything that's a step up from utterly disgusting costs the earth.  Yet despite the complete obviousness of tile's grossness, I have yet to meet anyone who shares my antipathy for it.  Puzzling.

You may remember that we were planning to use a product called tadelakt on the walls and floor of the guest bathroom.  It's a traditional Moroccan lime plaster that's been used for centuries in their steam baths, so it stands up to water.  It goes on similarly to regular plaster - with a trowel, so there aren't any pieces or seams.  Since I last wrote about it, we've been having all kinds of problems finding a subcontractor who is both willing to come to the RBB and experienced in applying the stuff.  I've been getting a lot of heat to just pick out some tile instead. 

Wavering under the pressure of our imminent move in, I went to a marble and granite tile auction on Sunday (the same one where we bought the tile for the headhouse floor and tenants' bathrooms in the winter) and I visited two tile stores today.  The results were depressing.  Here are some photos of what I liked best disliked least.  Keep in mind that anything I get would be white and in a matte finish, with no nosing, border, trim, plain field, or what have you.

With the exception of the last image (which is between $5 and $11/sq ft, depending on size), all the tiles are in the $25 and up range per square foot.  We need about 100 squares for the walls and another 50 or so for the floor.  At the "low" end of $25 per square, that's about $4000 (once you put in tax and the inevitable shipping/delivery fee).  Then we have to pay the labor to have it installed, which will certainly mean at least a week's work for our tile guy.  And all this for something I don't even like to begin with.  Starting to see why I'm so anti-tile?

Kitchen appliances arrive and we have a working toilet!

The biggest news today is that we now have a functioning toilet!  This may seem like no big deal but I can assure you that the fact that there's been nowhere to pee while visiting (or working in) the red brick building for the past two years actually makes it a very big deal indeed.  That and the fact that we are supposed to be moving in - or at least moving all our furniture and boxes in - in a week's time.  It's in Unit 1's bathroom (Unit 2 still isn't grouted):

The kitchen appliances were delivered yesterday and the crew worked like brawny superheros to move all eight of them up the stairs from the curbside drop off.  The plumber is on-site today (hence the happy toilet), so he's going to start hooking them all up.  Some of the gang on the curb:

Tenants' fridges above and a tenant's dishwasher below:

One of the tenants' ranges:

Our refrigerator, in its final resting place:

See how much space there is above it? We were pleased to realize that we could built in major cabinets there going all the way up to the ceiling since storage space is at a major premium in our unit.  Hello, area for Christmas decorations, old photo albums, and other rarely reached-for items.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Second look at master bathroom tile progress

These photos are from Friday but I only just realized I hadn't posted them.  Unfortunately our tile guy hasn't made much progress since (he's still working on the wall that has the window in it - hoping he finishes today).  At least he's doing a meticulous job, though, so that helps me keep the faith.

Hardwood floors in on our living room/dining room/kitchen level

The hardwood is completely installed on our living room/dining room/kitchen level, its been sanded, and the first of three coats of tung oil has been applied.  Overall, I'm happy with it: very dramatic.  The way the light hits the grain makes it look a little more striped and less chevron-y than what I'd imagined, but I still think it's good.  Have a peek:

The kitchen/living room level in the tenants' units are in the same state (though it's straight-laid wide plank in there).  Our floor installer is currently applying the second coat of tung oil.  Not sure when the third and final coat goes on, but it will need to be applied around the grand piano (which arrives by crane on Wednesday) and the kitchen appliances (which arrived today and will be installed sometime over the next few days - the plumber allegedly arrives on Wednesday.)

Speaking of kitchen appliances, it was very exciting to see them, even still crated.  Our range in particular is going to be somethin'.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Completed balcony; soapstone countertops; first look at the tile in the master bathroom

Here it is, the RBB's Juliet balcony:

To the left, you'll notice a tiny, semi-built platform and railing.  There's going to be one just like it on the floor above too.  It's the rebuild of a couple of rusty old fire escapes that were on the red brick building when we bought it.  Initially we were going to just have them taken off, but the top floor one is outside my boyfriend's daughter's room and she liked the idea of being able to climb out her window and perch on a little ledge so we had it rebuilt with railings to match the big(ger) balcony.  The mini platform in the photo above is off of the kitchen, so I was thinking of putting a big pot or window box there with some herbs for snipping.

My next update is about the soapstone countertops for the tenants' kitchens.  We rushed and rushed to get them and they arrived with one piece broken and with the hole for the sink cut too small.  The fabricator fast-tracked us again and sent us all new countertops in less than a week.  The ones in Unit 1 were installed yesterday (pardon the mess):

The ones in Unit 2 are just resting on the base cabinets and haven't been secured yet:

They didn't take back the old countertops, so now we have a lot of extra soapstone.  My boyfriend would like the use it in our kitchen, but I was planning on copper (or else just butcher block) and I'm worried the soapstone will look too cold.  We have an oil rubbed bronze Rohl faucet and copper pendant lights on their way for the space.  I think the soapstone would be better at the beach house when we redo that.

In other news, our tile guy has been hard at work in our master bathroom and the room looks great:

He's got a couple more days in there at least, since he needs to tile the wall that has the window on it and do the little recessed nook that's going to have glass shelves for shampoo/soap/razors etc.  The floor is getting the same thin brick treatment and of course, then it all needs to be grouted.  He promised us another worker on Monday to help speed things up by starting the travertine tile flooring in the headhouse.

On Sunday there's a big marble and granite auction organized by the same auctioneers who we bought the travertine tile and the tenants' Carrera marble 3x6"s from.  We're hoping we might find something nice for the guest bathroom there.  I also ordered a few tile samples from a company in New York.  Those should be arriving early next week.

Meanwhile, the wood flooring guys are still hard at work.  They're planning to put in a 14 hour day today: finish laying the floor on our living room/dining room/kitchen level, then sand and finish the tenants' units and that floor.  Friday they're planning to finish laying the bedroom level in our unit and then sand and finish those over the weekend.  If all goes well, I'll have photos of some of those areas for you tomorrow.