Thursday, March 26, 2009

Come Into My Home: An Inviting Entryway

Hello and welcome to an historical moment: my first blog! We're in the midst of an exterior entry project in the Oakland hills. The homeowner is single, retired, and travels frequently. Picture this: an old wooden fence, an equally old wooden gate which opens onto an uneven, chipped and scratched walkway. The walkway leads to three cement stairs and a porch covered by a plastic awning. Not such an attractive introduction to the house, eh?

First Go Round

Because of structural issues and proximity to the neighbors' property line, we brought in a licensed architect. But whoa Nelly - the project skyrocketed to $150,000! This entry remodel had been overdesigned for its true purpose.

Second Go Round

We sent the architect away and went at the drawing boards ourselves. Steve, brilliant as always, drew a simpler, more scaled-down version that maintained its elements of beauty. The cost to construct now was $50,000, quite acceptable to the homeowner's budget.

Where Does The $$ Go?

Much of this project involved demolition, excavation and hauling. Then came the selection , ordering, purchase, delivery, layout and setting of some downright beautiful 24" x 24" slate tiles. Bye-bye plastic awning and entire porch overhang: We built a new structure in our shop, disassembled it and moved it to the jobsite, then reassembled and installed it. Posts and beams support a new porch overhang with red Spanish tiles to match the roof. Also included in the budget are new steps and a pretty new wooden gate, not yet built. The walkway extends further than the original.

Is the Homeowner Happy So Far?

She's tickled pink, and is asking for more work to be done. When we are done with the first project, she would like us to replace a cracked and sagging 60' retaining wall and add a railing.

Want To See It?

Be patient. We will soon have a slide show of this project on our website, from demo to finished entry. The announcement will show up in our newsletter.