Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stucco finish

We're finally getting to a close of our stucco finish. Last week, the stucco sub has put the yellow finish coat on the rooftop chimney for our review- and the 30/30 spray -n coat came out nice and evenly. Once the repair of the brown coat cracks have been completed, we'll start installing the fiberglass mesh (helps to reduce cracking of the finish coat) and the stucco guys will go over it with their color coat right away.
We got our finish coat factory mixed- That way we avoid the unsightly variations in color that you often get when small areas and single family homes are being stuccoed.
So far it looks great- Let's see what a bigger area looks like.

We also ordered our fruit trees- A Lemon, an orange, a lime, a fig and an avocado will complement the apple and apricot already on site. They'll be watered by the graywater system.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Our tropical forest delivered

A few weeks back, we hand-picked the trees ourselves (at Gregory Palms in Orange). For the backyard, we selected a variety of drought tolerant palm trees, most notably a Dypsis Decaryi (on the far left-with the characteristic triangle shaped crown)a Bismarckia Nobilis (second from the left-with the large blue canopy), a Butia Capitata (produces edible sweet fruit), a Sabal Palmetto (not on the photo-looks like a Washingtonia, but is not as tall and not nearly as prolific, a Brahea Armata (5th from the left-a bluish slow growing desert species with beautiful flowers), a Chamerops Humilis (second from the right-as a shrub),a triple Archontophoenix Cunnighamiana (far right) and some Strelitzia Nicolai as background green.
Palm trees belong to LA like the sun and the smog. They've been planted for decades along the boulevards and avenues. So we want to make our backyard into a lush green oasis without wasting water (the palm trees are being fed by the graywater system) and will have a backup irrigation system until they're established. We are really excited to see them grow!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

moisture is the essence of

The typical exterior plaster application consists of 3 coats- The first 2 (scratch & brown coats) are of the same material (and no, brown coat is not brown, but gray), the finish coat is sometimes mixed with integral color (like in our case)and sometimes painted.
One of the important things about plaster is, that it has to dry slowly- if the moisture is being sucked out too fast, it'll show excessive cracking and the house looks like it has been through an earthquake. Cracks also facilitate the transport of water through the stucco and put additional stress on the building paper. Thus, it is a good practice to keep the stucco moist by covering it from the sun and wetting it for the next 48 hours.
After the brown coat is on, one needs to wait a minimum of 7-10 days before the final coat can be applied.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mud on the walls

After the gypsum board panels have been installed, the metal corners are set and the mud crew comes in to finish the drywall. This is the time to smoothen out bumps and to see, how good a job the framer really has done. Uneven areas will be visible in the light later on- and that's what we want to avoid. We opted for a smooth finish for the best light on the interior - The photo is a shot from the kitchen high counter via the dining room to the living room fireplace. It shows pretty well the diagonal of the first floor design- a concept we used to integrate the outdoor spaces into the interior, rather than sticking on decks and balconies to a boxy building. When the big sliding glass doors are open, you can wander from inside to outside to inside again in one straight line- Thus, the outdoors become a part of the building which we feel is very important to SoCal Living. The unfinished box to the left is the place where the bookshelf will go.
On the outside, the stucco sub has started with the scratch coat, had to stop (good, because we had this heat-blitz last week) and will continue tomorrow with the scratch coat.