Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 4-19-15

Monday, April 20, 2015,

The house at 112 N. Summit is definitely the star this week, advancing by leaps and bounds, but small advances have also been made at the other properties.

204 N. Bayview

A decorative railing is being added to the upstairs porch.

It appears that the front porch will be accessed via steps in the front, raising doubts about the purpose of the lower level of the porch to the south.

These shots through back windows give a glimpse of the master bath/closet area.

The blocked and false windows at the southwest corner indicate the location of the walk-in closet seen in the far background of the photo above.

308 N. Bayview

The addition of narrow uprights to the porch indicates that it will, like its predecessor, be screened.

All the door openings in the house have been sealed, presumably to control humidity (a significant issue after a week of rain).

Progress on the garage continues.

351 N. Summit

At last, framing for the foundation has begun.

This side view gives an idea of how much the lot has been raised.

112 N. Summit

The first thing one notices on entering from the garage is wood flooring, which is in a state of partial completion throughout the house (some rooms completed, others not begun, some half-done).

In the kitchen, appliances have been installed. The refrigerator, gas range, and (electric) double ovens are LG, the dishwasher KitchenAid.

As in the kitchen, faucets (and also toilets) have been installed in all the bathrooms.

On the counter in the hall bathroom is a grab bar, not yet installed. Its presence is consistent with the handicapped-accessible shower stall.

The master bathroom boasts brass faucets (all the rest are nickel-finish).

The upstairs and Jack-and-Jill bathrooms finally have light fixtures, but there is still no mirror in the latter (the medicine cabinet upstairs has been temporarily removed from the upstairs bath).

The etched-glass doors have been moved but still not installed.

In the laundry room, the laundry tub has been installed, and the Maytag dryer awaits installation (perhaps pending arrival of the matching washer).

I had not previously noticed this thermostat, but I now realize it is for a tankless water heater.

The water heater is not visible anywhere inside, so I suspect it is behind this panel.

111 Magnolia Avenue

After a week of rain, it’s not surprising that little progress has been made on the outside—just a few more areas covered with siding. If there was any change in the interior, I could not detect it.

I’m perplexed by this enclosure under the stairs. Perhaps it is just temporary, as it seems that surely the opportunity to utilize storage space here would not be wasted.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 4-12-15

Sunday, April 12, 2015,

A lot going on this week—prepare to scroll!

204 N. Bayview

With warmer weather and a couple of rainy days, volunteer landscaping has sprung up all over the site, as here by the southwest corner.

The front porch has been tiled (the uncovered portion is protected with a plastic sheet).

308 N. Bayview

Shingling of the roof and exterior siding and trim are now complete.

A view of the completed chimney.

Permanent porch steps have been built.

First steps in an attempt to replicate the historical color of the house?

Work on the carport continues apace.

351 N. Summit

Oh, okay, a shot of the broad expanse of red dirt, ready for building.

112 N. Summit

A great deal to report this week, starting with changes outside. It appears that work preliminary to grading for the driveway is being done. Presumably the corrugated piping has something to do with drainage.

A small deck has been built outside the side door (which opens into the “keeping room”).

Inside, we find beautiful countertops (and a double sink) in the kitchen.

This space is just waiting for a slide-in gas range.

The master bath tub is now also settled on a base of what—cultured marble, granite, Corian? I confess my ignorance.

Across from the tub, the new counter with its twin sinks.

The completed shower stall.

Hardware (towel rods, TP holders) has been added to all the bathrooms.

In the loft (“game room”) and “bonus room” synthetic wood flooring has been laid.

Tiling around the hearth is in progress. The cable jack between the two sconces suggests that a clock will not be the mantel’s central feature.

Similarly, this set-top box in Bedroom 4 (previously surmised to be a library/study) suggests that this may be a den/media room.

There’s another one in the master bedroom.

In the “keeping room,” the stair bannisters have been added.

The contents of the keeping room—Kohler toilets, Moen and Delta sink and shower fixtures, and a Mustee 17F Utilatub laundry tub—suggest what we’ll see accomplished next week.

111 Magnolia Avenue

Interior work seems to be confined to plumbing, wiring, and HVAC. Outside, clapboards and shingles have been applied to additional portions.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 4-5-15

Monday, April 6, 2015,

A lot of photos this week: be patient!

204 N. Bayview

The plan for the porch is now revealed. These tiles, with a brick border, will be practical and look lovely.

Steps have now been added to the back stoop.

308 N. Bayview

With the completion of the chimney, roofing has resumed around it.

Temporary steps facilitate access to the front of the house.

As can be seen from this photo, the porch floor is currently also quite temporary.

This week’s interior addition is drywall. The photos below show the living room with fireplace and the front room (the one with the cantilevered bay) that was pictured last week to illustrate the foam insulation.

The carport has been framed. The shed at left is currently storing salvaged lumber to be used in the renovation and will be demolished when construction is complete.

351 N. Summit

Grading has continued, but smooth red dirt isn’t very photogenic, so there’s no photo. When I walked on Friday because the gym was closed for Good Friday, there were surveyors at the site.

112 N. Summit

Today’s report is mostly about tile. The floors of the kitchen, laundry room, and all the bathrooms had been tiled and barricaded against entry, requiring me to alternate between front door and garage entrance to get access to the entire house. (I apologize for the fuzziness of some of the photos; I’m not sure whether it’s me or the camera.)

Here’s the kitchen.

The laundry room.

The master bath.

The Jack-and-Jill bath.

The hall bath.

The upstairs bath.

These cabinets have been added to the Jack-and-Jill bath, which is still awaiting installation of a mirror and light fixture.

Finally, a railing has been added to the loft (designated as “game room” on the plans), so I need no longer worry about getting too close to the edge and falling off!

The stairs have been completed and finished off with these handsome newel posts.

This is probably not what you think of when you hear the word “pantry,” but isn’t it wonderful?

111 Magnolia Avenue

The garage slab has finally been poured, and siding (clapboard and shingles) has been added to some more of the exterior. If there were any interior developments, I didn’t discern them.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 3-29-15

Sunday, March 29, 2015,

A mixed bag today.

204 N. Bayview

Not much visible exterior change (a carpenter was working in the house, so I didn’t snoop much). Although there are no back steps yet, this brick stoop has been built.

308 N. Bayview

The chimney has been topped off with this whimsical tent.

Installation of foam insulation has begun.

The concrete slab has been poured for the carport and outside storage area. I ran into the owner and got to talking, so I neglected to take a photo. What I did learn (duh!) is that there is an alley behind the house, so the carport will be accessed from the rear. The owner said the raised area in the back with be terraced, with a retaining wall and steps to reach the carport.

351 N. Summit

No change except that the trench has been filled.

112 N. Summit

No further progress in the kitchen, but here’s a better view of the cabinets in the sink area, with fluorescent lighting under each cabinet.

The “platform” in the master bath has now been revealed as a surround, which has been cut to receive the tub, and mirrors and light fixtures are in place.

The sink, counter, mirror, and light fixture have also been installed in the hall bath.

The medicine chest has been installed in the upstairs bath. The area above the tub has been prepped for tiling, and the waiting tiles are white marble.

These two views of the laundry room make me wonder where there will be room for an ironing board.

The concrete floor of the sun porch has been painted.

111 Magnolia Avenue

More progress toward pouring the slab for the garage.

Siding and shingles have been added to this gable.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 3-22-15

Sunday, March 22, 2015,

It’s a good thing I made my house inspection tour yesterday because this morning it has been rainy. There were some interesting developments to observe.

204 N. Bayview

From the stack of bricks, it appears possible that the entire front porch will be bricked.

The addition of glass doors provides a further view of the interior, including this sunny ell of the living room.

308 N. Bayview

Application of shingles continues, and siding has been added to the porch wall.

Construction of the chimney approaches completion.

Siding and trim have been completed on this wing in the back.

A form has been constructed for the concrete slab foundation of a garage or carport, which will be several feet above the ground level of the house. I look forward to seeing how the driveway will be handled.

351 N. Summit

Fill and grading continue, and the piping in this trench is intriguing.

112 N. Summit

The whirlpool tub for the master bath has been uncrated but not installed. It is currently resting in the walk-in closet.

The master bath shower has been prepped for tiling.

Tiling has begun in the shower in the hall bath.

The bath shared by Bedrooms 2 and 3 gives a preview of the completed tile work.

These tiles, stacked in the area between the garage and the laundry room (labeled “Keeping Room” on the plans), are probably destined for the master bath shower.

Trim has been added in the sunroom (“Covered Porch” on the plans).

111 Magnolia Avenue

Trim on the gable ends (front and back) of the east wing has been painted.

The elaborate plumbing arrangements here suggest that the area behind the garage will be more than just outside storage.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 3-15-15

Sunday, March 15, 2015,

There’s a good bit of progress to be observed on all fronts this week.

204 N. Bayview

The corner columns on the upstairs porch, while perhaps not new, have not previously been reported.

Views through windows in the back and front show that progress is being made inside.

308 N. Bayview

The weather this past week has hardly been conducive to roofing (we recorded a total of 5.65″ of rainfall at our house), so my first impression was that roofing had not been attempted (and bales of straw have been added to prevent runoff). But a second look revealed that there were considerably fewer packages of shingles on the roof.

Sure enough, the back of the roof has been entirely shingled, and siding has also been added.

Brickwork on the chimney has begun, and windows have been framed preparatory to adding siding.

The front of the house also displays fresh clapboards as well as a low wall surrounding the porch.

351 N. Summit

Grading and filling has continued, though it’s not clear why two types of fill dirt are being used.

This impressive piece of equipment is obviously a drill (it’s the one here), but I haven’t a clue what is being drilled, though there are several coils of black rubber hose/pipe at the site.

112 N. Summit

This new padmount transformer presumably indicates that the electrical utility work being done the past few weeks is now complete.

I’m betting that this is the tub that will presumably be mounted on the platform visible behind it.

Shelves and clothes rods have been installed in the master bedroom closet/dressing room. Shelves have also been added to some other closets throughout the house.

Treads and risers have been added to most of the staircase.

111 Magnolia Avenue

A few from the rear of the form for the garage and outside storage area.

HVAC ductwork is being installed, along with some plumbing. I was intrigued by this configuration of piping.

The Bluff Is for Lovers

Sunday, March 15, 2015,

A new amenity appeared on the bluff a couple of weeks ago.

Am I the only person who is reminded of this?

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 3-8-15

Sunday, March 8, 2015,

It was such a lovely day that work was under way at some sites.

204 N. Bayview

Workers present. No report.

308 N. Bayview

The porch extension has been roofed, and shingles have been staged along the ridgepoles.

It is now revealed that the large opening in the south wall was for a fireplace.

Wiring work has begun.

351 N. Summit

Filling and grading has begun.

112 N. Summit

The high-tech range hood has been installed. I can’t swear to its having a remote control, but in all other respects, it is identical to the one advertised here. It is similar to many models made by Cavaliere, but none of those have the black plastic clear across the front control panel.

Under-cabinet fluorescent fixtures have been installed throughout the kitchen.

These mirrors were propped up in the hall bath and master bath.

This handsome mirrored medicine cabinet may be destined for the Jack-and-Jill bath between Bedrooms 2 and 3.

Light fixtures have been installed in the master bath, and a fixture in an unopened box awaits installation in the Jack-and-Jill bath.

111 Magnolia Avenue

Workers from Manley Plumbing were onsite, so I did not go inside, but there were exterior developments. House wrapping has begun, and some windows have been installed.

The foundation for the garage and utility room has been framed.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 3-1-15

Sunday, March 1, 2015,

This week’s photos were gathered on a sunny Saturday and a rather bleak Sunday.

204 N. Bayview

This week’s snooping included peeking into a small outbuilding at the back of the house. What I saw generated a lot of wild speculation. Plantation homes usually had the kitchen in a separate building to reduce the risk to the main house from kitchen fires, but one wouldn’t expect to see a detached kitchen in this day and age. Still, these appliances and cabinets (including a sink to the left of the door through which this photo was shot) appeared to be solidly fixed in place.

The view through a window, however, reinforces the more rational assumption that these fixtures are merely being temporarily stored here.

308 N. Bayview

I’d been curious about the projecting roof struts (seen untrimmed at the far left in the photo below) and wondered if something like a rain porch was planned. As can be seen in this photo, sure enough, the eaves are being extended.

This photo shows that the veranda has been roofed, and the window at the far right shows the style of framing that will be used.

While I was taking photos in the back of the house, the owners came in through the front, and we chatted briefly. They told me that they had hoped to preserve more of the original structure, but, as construction progressed, more and more portions were discovered that had to be replaced in order to bring the structure up to code. In the dismantling process, however, many treasures had been discovered, including the parquet flooring and beadboard ceiling in the entrance hall, as well as some of the four layers of wallpaper used there. Although new doors are being made for the front and back of this hall, they will emulate the look of the original doors, and some of the original doors have been salvaged for interior use.

351 N. Summit

A closer inspection makes it obvious that this concrete block wall cannot be a foundation—not so close to the property line. I ran into a neighbor while walking Saturday, and he shared my assumption that this will be a retaining wall. The lot slopes down from the front to the back, and it appears to be the developer’s intent to level the grade before building.

112 N. Summit

The activity this week again focused on utilities, with a backhoe in the front yard and City trucks blocking the street. From the red plastic tubing, I’m guessing that this has to do with burying the electric and other cables as part of the City’s continuing effort to move to underground service for all utilities.

111 Magnolia Avenue

Inside, this week’s progress was in electrical wiring, and the opening for a door into a small attic area has been reduced to a more reasonable size.

Outside, the area where the garage used to be has been graded and laid out for a new garage.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 2-21-15

Saturday, February 21, 2015,

Since the “gym” (the Christian Life Center of the Fairhope United Methodist Church) was closed today for “an event,” I had to walk outside instead of on a treadmill, and because my GPS watch needed charging, I decided to make a leisurely inspection tour, not worrying about time or distance. So I had ample opportunity to explore.

204 N. Bayview

The outside looks unchanged, but these photos, taken through windows, show that work is proceeding inside.

204 N. Bayview 2-21-15A

308 N. Bayview

The big change this week is the addition of a gabled roof over the entrance to the front porch.

351 N. Summit

Surprise! Work has begun on something. Since workers were present, I couldn’t really snoop, but it appears that a masonry foundation is being constructed.

112 N. Summit

All week I’d seen trucks labeled “Cabinets,” so I was really looking forward to checking out the interior today, and I was well rewarded: cabinetry has been installed in the kitchen, all three bathrooms, and a room in the master suite that will presumably be a den/study/library/office.

Clearly the opening on the left here is for a slide-in range (with hood), so I’m curious about the opening on the right, with electrical connection. Perhaps a wine cooler?

No window over the sink since it backs up on the master suite, but the freestanding counter with serving bar can now be seen.

The serving bar from the great room side. The tall opening in the cabinetry is obviously for a refrigerator. There is an outlet (not a wired-in connection) in the smaller opening to the left, suggesting the location of a microwave.

This is the master bath, with a small linen closet to the right. To the right of that is the door to a gigantic walk-in closet, which connects to the laundry room, which also opens out into the back hall opposite the door from the garage.

This is the library/study.

In this view from the loft, it can be seen that the glass-paneled doors have been moved from the kitchen to the great room. Still no clue as to where they’ll end up.

111 Magnolia Avenue

The stairs have been roughed in, so I got a chance to scope out the second floor, and it offers some mysteries. It appears to have two generous bedrooms plus what amounts to a second master suite. There doesn’t seem to be any attic storage, though the location of this door opening is intriguing.

I’m also puzzled about the enclosed space here between rooms. Unless it will be used for ductwork or perhaps built-in shelves or cabinets, I find it very mysterious.

The stairwell offers a dramatic view.


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