The last couple of weeks have consisted of finishing the wiring in the house. We are using Cat 6a STP (solid core) ethernet cable, which should be good for 10 gigabit network speeds. Of course, we are going to have a robust wireless network throughout, but you can't beat hardwired network speeds, especially when we're talking about distributed 1080p video and high resolution lossless audio. The two buildings are connected with an underground PVC pipe for future wiring options, along with the cables we have already added (multiple Cat 6a runs, along with a couple coax runs for good measure). There are several locations for networked security cameras too (power over ethernet versions). In the photo below, you can also see the speaker cable (12 gauge) for the whole house audio, all coming back to a central location.
The home theater is now also wired and ready for action. In this room, we are using 10 gauge speaker cable throughout. Each of the front channels has 3 sets of speaker cable (connected to 3 monoblocks EACH), for a total of nine speaker cables to the front area behind the screen. There are also two runs of XLR balanced audio cables for the two LFE subwoofers on each side. And of course ethernet cable for control options and future uses. We took pains to keep the cables apart as much as possible, and of course crossing power lines at right angles if we absolutely have to.
Here is the Lacanche
stove for the new kitchen, custom ordered and currently being manufactured in France!
How many people have wondered what is going to appear in that room above the garage? A theater with a full bar, that's what! In the photo below you can see the framing for the screen... Look carefully and you can make out the frame for what is going to be a Stewart Filmscreen Director's Choice 2.0
. This one will have a maximum viewing area of 160" by 80", with vertical and horizontal masking to choose any ratio between 1.33:1 (original TV aspect ratio) and 2.35:1 (CinemaScope widescreen). The speakers will be built in behind the screen... and down at the floor level there will be five subwoofers.
This is a view of the rear of the theater complex.... There will be a full bar at the back. To the left will be a restroom, and to the right, an equipment room. And you can also see a place for a sixth subwoofer on the right. All the speakers in the room (7 speakers and 6 subwoofers) will be hidden from view. The AC unit is above the bar, and suspended from the ceiling so that it does not impart any vibrations or noise to the projector mount. The size of this room is quite impressive, with the highest point of the ceiling being 15' high.
Before we can continue with the deck between the two buildings, and the stairs up to the entertainment complex, we had to plant a tree. We chose a 25' (11" caliper) Texas native Cedar Elm tree, which arrived on a long semi trailer.
Whew, at least we didn't have to dig the hole by hand!
It was quite tricky maneuvering the tree under the electric lines.
That's a heavy tree! The crane was having a few issues balancing.
Some final tweaking to make sure that the tree is properly level and at the right height in the hole.
The rear entertainment complex (and garage) is taking shape!
Again, while I was on a business trip, the builders added the framing for the new addition up front! This is going to be the guest bedroom, as seen from just inside the door. To the left you can see what will become the large walk-in closet for the master bedroom. Just beyond the closet, on the left, is another bathroom. At the far end of the room towards will be the location of the closet for the guest room.
This is the shower in the master bathroom, with the steam unit on the right. Gotta have a steam shower! And yes, that window is high enough to not provide the neighbors with a "show".
Inside the new master bathroom. The builder had to work hard to get that high vaulted ceiling right.
This is the view of the house from what will be the back door, showing how much the house has been opened up. You can see the large beams that have been added to support the house. The kitchen has been opened up. To the right, where there used to be a single large bathroom, there is now a smaller restroom to the right, and what will become a wine room to the left. The door opening to what used to be an office will be closed up. This part of the house we are standing in will become a library, complete with cozy fireplace and secret compartments, as every library needs to have.
A close-up of some of the work done in the kitchen. There is more new than old here! All the electrical and plumbing is done, and we're ready for insulation.
We decided to rebuild the brick pillars. After 90 years, they were showing their age. We actually built a tapered Craftsman style pillar, and discovered that the brick pillar was skew!! And suddenly I realized why the previous restoration had chosen [incorrect] circular columns... much easier to hide a skew base! So we started over, reusing the original bricks of course. You can also see that the stained glass "windows" added in the previous restoration were "fake". We will not be putting those back on, but will add a REAL stained glass window in the attic for the new addition up top. You can also see some of the new paint being tested in this shot. However, the painter got the paint of the trim mixed up.... The eggplant and white bits will be reversed. The main color is a grey with a bit of purple, and the new roof has hints of green in it.
Here we can see the start to the rebuilding of the rear pillar. The original bricks were saved, and will be used to rebuild the pillar to last another 90 years,
Here is the new ductwork in the new master bath. Because we wanted high vaulted ceilings, the ductwork needed to be run through the floor...
The slab is done. And wow, what beautiful work!
A view back towards the house from the far end of the new garage...
After all the demolition, we can start to see the new house taking shape. This was the original bathroom.... we kept nothing here. The original 1920 tub was just too small, and there wasn't anything worth saving here. All the electrical and plumbing is being replaced, keeping nothing from the previous renovation.
Upstairs, in the master bedroom. The carpet has been ripped up (there was no hardwood up here). As you can see into the new master bathroom, the it has been opened up, and the closet between the bedroom and bathroom has been demoed.
This is inside the new master bathroom. The low ceiling has been removed, and the ceiling is being redone to match the nice high vaulted ceilings in the bedroom.
All the ductwork from the AC has to be redone, of course. Most of the ducts had been in the attic, taking up valuable space and forcing lower ceilings. We are making better use of the space and redoing everything, taking care to be as green as possible and using the latest high efficiency materials.
The new foundation, ready for the concrete to be poured. You cannot see in this view (with the plastic), but there are concrete piers all the way down to the bedrock. This building is going to last forever!
Look at all that rebar.... waiting for the concrete man. At the rear of the house, you can see the awful glass-brick windows (in the rear bathroom) have been removed, and replaced with a window that matches the rest of the house.
... the pool and garage disappeared! It all happened so quickly, when I was not around with my camera. I should be able to find somebody with a photo of the actual demolition....
The pool was actually removed, concrete, steel and all. Not just filled in. And the garage too, slab and all. Even the driveway was not spared.
The old tree is gone, and the pool is looking very sorry....
This is the view towards the former kitchen...
Another view showing the demolition of the two rooms south of the Kitchen that are being reclaimed for the extra space, to become an expanded kitchen and adjoining library. If you look closely, you will see that the floor is sloping in the room with the water heater... this used to be a back patio, and was the only part of the former restoration that was not done well, with inadequate foundation work.
Underneath the drywall from the previous restoration, we found original wallpaper! We have saved and collected the best specimens for later use.
This is a view of one of the closets off the master bedroom upstairs, and a view through to the master bathroom. The ceilings here are low, and is something we decided we wanted to change.
This is a view into the attic area adjoining the upstairs walk-in closet where we are going to be expanding to become a guest suite. Everything you see here will be demolished later, and there will never again be a water heater tank in this house.