A few years ago, we worked on a commercial project South of Market in San Francisco. Final photos of the workspace:
Lots of sanding. Lots of dust. Lots of work preparing surfaces for finishes. There is a coat of primer on the walls. This is a critical step because it serves as the hand-off from the drywallers to the painters. Once the primer hits the wall, any rough areas can be seen and addressed. The floors have been patched and sanded. We have decided to use a new flooring finish on this house. We’ve been hearing good things about the product and it scores green points by being a noVOC product. We’re using Rubio Monocoat in the color charcoal. The color that you see in the photo is from the fumed coat. This treatment adds a greying effect to the wood, which we thinks ties in well with our contemporary finishes. The floors will be stunning!
Tomorrow the color coat goes down on our hardwood. Meanwhile, the finished concrete floors downstairs will receive a sealer. We will let the floors take a siesta over the weekend and then begin trim in earnest next week. Cabinets will be installed. Tile details will be applied. Countertops will be templated. Color will hit the walls. The finish line is coming into focus.
Bringing It Back Together
All of our rough inspections are complete! Design evolved along the way. Details were added. The house starts to take on some personality. As with any project, there is some give and some take. There is always the unexpected turn or two. But the landmark of completing all rough inspections is behind us, and we have covered the walls with sheetrock. This is the stage when rooms take on their definition and you can start to feel the flow of the house. We will wrap up sanding the drywall this week and will then prime the entire house.
Next week we will be moving into our flooring upstairs. We began floating the bathrooms this week and will begin setting tile in the next couple of days. The roof has been replaced, as well as some new skylights. We insulated the entire house before the sheetrock went up; this will ensure that our radiant heating system is at top efficiency. In a couple of weeks our finish work will kick in to high gear. April will see this house come to market!
This is our project out in the Sunset District. The house was in rough shape and needed some real love. The downstairs was an unfinished basement and will be converted into a master suite with an office. There will also be a laundry room and a mudroom upon entry. A one-car garage will remain. The upstairs will go through a minor transformation. The majority of the house was covered in the cork panels that you see on the right. The kitchen was closed off, the bathroom outdated and the bedroom closets were “unique.” We have stripped the floor back and will put in a gourmet kitchen. What was once a wall will now be a peninsula to open up the space between the kitchen and living room. The hallway wall was pulled back to open up the space more, but to retain privacy for the bath entry. This photo captures work at the middle of framing. As the job progresses we’ll check in from this same perspective to watch the change. Stay tuned.
If you pay attention to work done in your neighborhood, you may have noticed that portable toilets have been receiving special treatment. Contractors are going to greater lengths to dress up the otherwise unsightly presence. The portables are often visible at the jobsite for extended periods of time. Attempts to disguise the toilets help keep the aesthetic of a neighborhood. The shell created can serve as an image of the contractor. It serves as jobsite signage and often captures the brand of a company.
Our latest dressing for a Pacific Heights seismic job, brings some custom artwork. One side displays a local artist’s mosaic window. Another side displays a solar-powered water feature. There is a chalkboard that has a daily trivia question. We find the neighbors stop by to participate while they are out walking. The custom home also has some vertical planters. Construction is an intrusive business; it’s nice to minimize our impact where we can. Wait for the next one…
Things are progressing nicely at the cafe project. The building department has been out to sign off on the rough plumbing, electrical and building inspections. The public health department has made a visit to check on the status of the work. All of the inspectors are happy, which allows us to move ahead to sheetrock.
You will notice that in the kitchen area we have run sheets of 1 1/8″ plywood up the walls. This will serve as solid backing for restaurant equipment and display shelving. Both the plywood and the sheetrock will eventually be covered in stainless steel. This will satisfy the health department’s need for an approved cleanable surface. All locations of equipment have been established at this point, dictating placement of electrical and gas locations.
The curtain wall above our counter area will serve a few purposes. We will house our recessed lighting in the curtain wall to illuminate the customer counter. The dropped wall will also hide the lights in the kitchen. Display art will find a home on the wall and it serves as a boundary between the kitchen and seating area.
Once drywall goes up we will begin the finish stage of the project. After all of the taping and sanding, we are moving directly into our concrete floor treatment. The floors will receive some grinding before getting an epoxy coat. The clear epoxy, showing the concrete’s exposed aggregate, will be a design feature of the cafe.
Café Underground Plumbing
Work is well underway for all of the new underground plumbing at our café project. Two independent systems will pick up multiple sinks. All of the food prep sinks will head out through a grease interceptor. All other sinks will head out through a standard sewer connection. Much of the equipment will be drained into a floor sink to provide an air gap.
The underground leaves the kitchen and pitches down to the basement area. It punches through an old brick foundation and then ties in to the existing sewer system. The grease interceptor will sit in this room, which will allow cleaning from the sidewalk pop up doors.
A couple of floor drains will tie into the system. Each of these will receive a trap primer to maintain a vapor lock. When our final connections are complete, we will have the plumbing department out to sign off on the work. We will then backfill and compact and pour our concrete. Eventually the floor will receive an epoxy finish. Once the slab is down we can begin our metal framing.
For the past decade we have looked forward to Linda Case’s column in Remodeling Magazine. She retired last month after 35 years in the industry. We want to share her final lessons of life and business:
* The more you open up, the more vulnerable you allow yourself to be, the harder people will work to help you.
* The right answers come from asking the right questions.
* Play to your strengths and hire to your weaknesses.
* Sharing solutions means you’ll avoid reinventing the wheel. Give one idea, get 10 back.
* Great power and leadership and friendship lie in humility.
* Success comes one third from having a great idea or concept. The other two thirds comes from the execution.
* Companies that succeed build great teams and trust them to help govern. Nothing beats a brain trust working on your behalf.
* Feedback — from your staff, your clients, your peers — is the breakfast of champions.
And last but not least …
* Never get behind a large group of remodelers in the buffet line!
Over the past few months we have been working on a commercial project South of Market in San Francisco. Large commercial jobs are always unique. Oftentimes, much of the energy is applied to issues peripheral to the work at hand. Dealing with the building or neighborhood, can often sidetrack a day. Sometimes the routine act of parking can seem like the better part of your day. Navigating all of these sidebars while keeping the job moving forward is the art of commercial work. Many tasks will impact the building as a whole, and therefore other tenants. This requires coordination during off hours to minimize impact on other tenants in a building. Like Adam is doing in the picture above, always push forward to the light at the end of the tunnel.