Sunday, April 26, 2009

Stucco Sample, Whoa! Tile, Landscape Thoughts

Kind of a slow week - some good progress on some things, but not very many. Probably the most exciting development is that the master bath tile is pretty well finished.

The floor looks fantastic (and has been grouted):

and the shower is WOW!

They've got it all done except for 2 tiles (and grout, see below). We are guessing that the installers busted one (we see the other smaller one off to the side). That would be a bummer as you can't just run down the street to get another one - Fireclay is going to have to make and glaze up a special one to replace it. With tiles this unusual, large, and thin, some breakage is not surprising. They are reinforced with fiberglass matting, which is apparently how they survive _any_ amount of handling - they look like they would crack just talking loudly around them.

UPDATE: Cathy heard from Fred today that the missing tile wasn't actually damaged - it had a blemish on it so they didn't want to use it. Fireclay has it and is making a duplicate.

We actually heard from our project manager that the owner of the tile company "hasn't been this excited about a new tile in 10 years!" So - that's pretty cool! We are excited as well - this bathroom is going to be pretty stunning! His crew was very meticulous (I think they've been working on this bathroom for something like 3 weeks).

Very precise layout:

We are trying to decide on a grout color for the Citron tiles - we think it's going to be this one called "Bone":

Friday saw the stucco guys back - actually, just one of them, I think it was the owner. He did one wall in what we think will be the final stucco color. We've been consternating over this decision for some time, but both Cathy and I are very pleased with the sample color. It changed dramatically as it cured the first 24 hours (it was originally a chocolate brown) - getting lighter. At this point we hope it has stabilized as we like the color a lot. We actually wouldn't want it to get much lighter at this point!

The upper wall is the original gray "second coat", the lower wall is the light-brown "final" color":

A close architect-friend of mine dropped by last weekend - the first thing she said when she got out of the car was "I love the concrete color - just keep it!" I have to admit that it was starting to grow on us too, but I think this color is even perfect-er. It is probaby going to be a few more weeks before they come to apply the final coat over the whole house - we still want to get some more cure time on the first two (thicker) layers.

We are starting to work on the landscape plan as well. The backyard will be staying pretty much as it is, but the front is going to be re-done completely (see earlier posts about cutting down the trees we had out there).

We have a preliminary landscape plan from our designer Keith - it's a really neat, quite unusual (did you expect otherwise?) design using "CorTen" weathering (rusting) steel to define the walking paths and provide walls for creating some "grassy knolls" (though the grasses will mostly likely be of the low-water variety).

Cathy and I spent Saturday laying out the paths and CorTen planes to get an idea of how it will look & feel. We figured out that we like the plan quite a bit, though the planes seemed too tall to us - we think we are going to take them down from the proposed 24" to 19" to make them a bit more subtle. It also gave me some renewed enthusiasm for a "secret" landscape feature that I've been thinking about for a while - we'll see though, it's very cool, but kind of complicated...I'll let you know if I make any progress on designing it...

Here are some of the steel planes (ok, so they're plywood and scrap lumber, and a pool net handle, but you get the idea...)

We also swung the construction fence out of the way - first time in about 8 months - so we could see the front of the house properly from the street - it is *beautiful*! Cathy and I have both noticed that it is starting to stop traffic in the street now - people are stopping to gawk at it, and we've already given a few tours to complete strangers who were passing by.

One of the other things that's stopping traffic is our new "Pope Street Green" poster that I put up on the fence last weekend. It's a great visual that Eric at AWA created for the project and highlights all the "green" features of the house. Here it is attached to the fence - I'll post a PDF or JPEG of the final proof image when I get it from Eric.

UPDATE: Eric sent me the giant PDF of the poster. Click on the pic below to open it. He also told me that his wife delivered a baby girl last weekend! Congratulations Eric and family!


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