Dec 10, 2011, 9:40 AM
. . . . . . and that you apparently are! (smiling).
I really like the color of the granite countertops. That is a very unique countertop. What is that color called, do you remember? That is one of your ideas that I would steal if I could, for our soon to be remodeled kitchen. Your choice of wood for your counters is also really a nice match. Your copy idea for a backsplash is for sure an “eye catching” mosaic! The pot filler is not one that I had thought about, but now that you have slapped my head around a little with that idea, I am also going to steal that idea if that is OK with you. While I really do appreciate your design talents in your kitchen (and it really is beautiful), it is not a kitchen design in its entirety for my personal tastes, as I am trying to go a more rustic traditional Mexican looking kitchen, but none the less you have created a very beautiful kitchen, worthy of any modern Mexican design kitchen article in any architectural design magazine.
The stove and exhaust fan setup in the photo of the backsplash with the pot filler, really is also a very nice setup. A lot of stainless to keep clean and I also like the stainless look. A bit of club soda water makes cleaning stainless steel a breeze; the trick is to keep enough left over to prepare a “scotch and soda”!!! (smiling)
We are almost half way through our remodel of the existing home and as soon as I have time to get my computer repaired for sending photos (I also need to get a new sound card!) I will send some photos of our remodeling experiences. You have certainly done a remarkable job getting all the projects done on time or earlier! That NOB is a job in itself not to mention trying to do that down here. You certainly have a lot of trust in your contractor.
I also have a lot of trust in our guy, but doing a remodel always brings a new set of surprises as we trudge forward trying to remodel and then finding surprises along the way. So we stop our progress and replace or repair the little things such as finding copper water pipes along the way that over the years in concrete have pin holes in them (from shifting during settling of the house weight on the land). In that case the copper tubing was removed and new lines installed inside PVC conduit, a new sub floor installed) and then the new tiles for the floors installed.
The old house had an abundance of Cal in the concrete mix and that proved fatal in a number of instances. When such a problem was caught, old concrete material was removed and new sub floors poured in all the living space as well as new bathroom sub floors and walls replaced with a better mix of concrete with less Cal.
Always remodeling comes with more surprises (?!) than new construction of course, but when finished, I think it will be worth the work, time and expense.
So far we have managed to install the new 75 meter by 2 meter tall Cantera Stone wall in a rustic finish as well as the 32 meter by 5 Meter high Concrete wall facing the highway. The four large 4 meter double leaf metal arched iron gates have been measured and are in the process of being built. The two main and one personal iron gates will have electric locks controlled either manually or with an electronic opener from either the car or the house when complete. The 2 meter high iron security Cantera Stone wall “fence like” tops are also being made. These will be installed in the tops of the Cantera stone wall and be electrified. I really don’t like the sight of either rolled razor wire or barbed wire. It makes the place look to much like a prison as far as I am concerned.
The new 220 electric system and two separate panel boxes with an abundance of separate breakers has been installed without much problem including installation of all wiring inside electrical grade PVC from NOB. I found out from having a few CFE boys out to dinner that having two such meters would provide a big break (about 35% less) in the consumption of electricity costs. It keeps our usage down to a minimum using two separate meters and panel boxes. Since I already had two underground 220 electric to each of the two lots that we have, adding a second meter and panel box was an easy task. Evidently years ago (about 25 years ago) the owners of the original tract of lots was required to install not only a great set of onsite transformers, but also were required to install underground 220 service to the curbside of every lot. As a result of that, the owners of the track of lots were granted a very, very low electrical usage rate. This sure was a bonus that I was not expecting, or knew anything about.
We have completely torn out and replaced all of the subfloors in areas where there was a problem or potential for future problems (especially in places where water and gas lines had to be inspected and black / gray water lines were a concern. New propane flexible gas lines were installed to allow for any additional settling of the house in oversized electrical grade PVC conduit as well as to provide an avenue for replacing, repairing or adding any gas lines in the future. Gas wall heaters have been installed (we do get cold here in the winter months – last year as cold as -8° Celsius) as well as a four zone mini clima setup also installed.
Both bathrooms are in the process of being totally gutted right down to the exterior Cantera stone walls and will be totally remodeled.
The back patio has had earth added to level the area with a 2% slope and cross slope to facilitate rain water removal and then a dark gray two inch thick Cantera stone floor will be installed over rebar reinforced 4 inch thick concrete. A partial roof of fiber glass (red clay color tile) from the house to over the tall hwy privacy / security wall is currently being built. This will not only provide a rain proof roof for our dogs as well as ourselves, but will also provide some much needed summer time shade.
I am currently building all new wood (termite treated) wood closets in the existing three bedrooms. These bedrooms also have had all new ceramic tile floors installed. Sometimes my mind thinks I am still 45 but my body says differently! (smiling)
The kitchen has had a concrete counter remodeled to accept the Kitchenaid gas top / convection oven stove. All new electric as well as all new concrete subflooring and ceramic tiles have been laid. The kitchen remodel has been intentionally kept to a minimum to allow for a further expansion of the kitchen at a later date.
Once we have finished remodeling the current house, we are going to expand and add a large master bedroom, master bath, an addition to the kitchen, addition to the existing portico, a small sjop for me, and add a sitting room to one of the existing front bedrooms for my mother-in-law and father- in-law. This will provide them a little more privacy and will be used for a TV /sitting room for them. On top of this total expansion, a nice large terrace will be built with a Mexican summer kitchen as well as a BBQ. This will provide a nice uninterrupted view of the exceptionally large pressa (named Constitution) about a mile or so away, as well as a nice breeze in the summertime.
The large garden area is also currently being worked on at an intentionally slow pace; as this is my current “relaxing time”. A Seven foot high Cantera Stone wall water fountain will be installed next as well as a 90 foot curved Cantera stone paved driveway around another tall round Canter Stone water fountain.
All in all, roughly a two and a half year project, but if I am still alive after all that, I fully intend on finding a favorite place in the garden to hide and to watch the grass grow and the clouds fly by!
As always, it would have been far less expensive and easier to build a new home on these lots, but the costs associated with demolition as well as trying to replace seven Bóveda ceilings would have been almost the same. That, plus trying to find a really good Bóveda ceiling craftsman is a really difficult person to find, not to mention the costs of installing new ones.
We hope to be moving out of our rental house and into the newly remodeled home right after Christmas, before the first of January.
As you can see I really have had the time or the inclination to drive back to the USA to get my computer repaired, so I am currently left with only verbally describing our project. I have however taken numerous photos and someday when I do get the computer repaired I will send you some photos.
Jimena and I, our daughter and in-laws are going to take a break from construction and take a short 10 day holiday to Cuba, Ecuador or the Dominican Republic after the Christmas and New Years tourist rush is over. We haven’t exactly decided which place yet. After our return we will then commence the remainder of the house expansion. All should be completed by August or September of 2012.
I’m really happy your project has come along so well and from what I have seen in your photos it is indeed a place you can be very proud of and a place you will enjoy for many years to come, I am sure. You have completed a remarkable project.
I hope you will have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.