Monday, July 30, 2007

Outdoor Kitchens and Entertainment Areas

While I am proof reading my short article on outdoor kitchens and entertainment areas I thought
I would link you up with this slide show of some of our projects featuring bbq's, fire rings, fire places , and general outdoor enjoyment areas :


Friday, July 27, 2007

Final touches to the Napa project ~ July 27 / 07

Final touches and tweeks July 27

Most of the furniture came today with the exception of the woven wicker Summer Classics couch, love seat, and club chairs.
But the Brown Jordan wrought iron furniture did make it along with the umbrellas so we placed the pieces out on the terraces.

below is a photo of one of the journey man masons who I asked to stand with his most recent achievement.

and the bbq that he and the rest of the crew crafted

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday Night - Pool project

Pool Project at night - July 21

I drove over to Napa at around 8 pm this evening to adjust and review the night lighting.
Here are a few shots during dusk and then night time.

Just as the sun was starting to set

Pool Project July 21 - 07

Project Update - July 21, 2007

Mister Grumpy the tile subcontractor that Classic Pool Company uses for their tile work finally made his appearance this morning and finished setting the tile.
I am not happy.
I took great pains in laying out the pattern with the correct dimensions so that no tiles had to be cut if properly laid out.
Mister Grumpy or should I say , ‘Mister I don’t give a Shit about Quality’, did not take any time to properly read the plans or pre -space the tiles.
The result - cut tiles.

I am in discussion with the client as to what action she wants to take.
If it were me, ( and this is what I am suggesting ) I say hold payment , rip out the tile,
hire someone who does quality installation and redo the whole dang thang.

Note to self and reading public - Classic Pools is not so Classic in Quality .

Classic Pools has also NOT made their dead line .
They were suppose to be done with this project on July 20.
They ARE NOT .
The pool cover is not installed which means the coping stones that cover the pool vault have not been set in place.
Instead of working on this , the owner went boating on the lake with his buddies.
Note to Public - If you want it done on time - DON’T HIRE CLASSIC POOLS.


A few photos :

The crew setting the pots ontop of the irrigation nozzles. These pots are cast concrete and weight about 120 pounds each, without the soil and plants.

Concrete planters located on the upper terrace. -
Main plants - Cotinus, Alocasia, Carex , Sedum , Lysmachia, Oxalis , and others.

This photo shows the lounge chair planting bed -
Background hedge is Privet, infront of it are White Iceburg Roses and an underplanting of Artemesia silver mound. Then a boxwood hedge, Salvia superba and an edging of Chrysanthemum hormansis (sp ? ) .

The view looking towards the house from the upper terrace.

The view looking towards the upper terrace from the house.

Tonight I am going to go to the site and check out the low voltage lighting and do adjustments.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Napa Pool Project - update July 19, 2007

B L U E W A T E R !

Yup, the pool contractor was right. With just a little time , some cleaning and the ph balanced the pool has started to turn blue !

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Napa Pool Project - update July 18, 2007

Napa Pool Project - update July 18, 2007

When I arrived at the site today the pool had just been filled with water.
It was a little bit of a shock and a momentary feeling of heart breakage when I saw the color of the water..... It was greenish in tone.

Ahhgggg !! No not green !

But then I was assured by the pool contractor that it was going to blue up as soon as it was sweeped clean , the chemicals added and the filtration system was turned on.

I took this picture below at 11 am. - The filter had just been turned on.
The pool and landscape contractor are working on setting the water fountain spouts.

This photo shows the spouts turned on.

A detail shot of the brass nozzle heads. Note that they are on a swivel ball joint for easy adjustment.

The pool looks really foreshortened in this photo.
Here you can see the pots placed along the poolside - They still have yet to have one more coat of bronze color stain to be acid etched onto the pots.

In this photo below the filter had been working for about 4 to 5 hours and the pool was already starting to blue up. ( sigh ... relief ! )

Sunday, July 15, 2007

July 07 ~ Blooming Dazes

Blooming Dazes

Taking cue from other garden bloggers across the sphere , I too join them in sauntering out into the garden to take photographs of what's blooming in my corner of paradise on July 15, 2007

Scadoxus multiflorus susp. ‘ katherinae’ grows under the shade of my wisteria covered arbor . A perennial bulb from the Caucasus region , it enjoys my mild Mediterranean climate

Growing about 3 feet away from the Scadoxus is a lovely thick clump of Neomarica iris.
The flowers are short lived but my clump re-blooms every other week or two during the summer.

As mentioned above, I have a Wisteria covered arbor. This vine is about 20 years old or older and was planted years before I bought my house.
I have a love ~ hate relationship with this wisteria vine. I love it because it bloom ALL spring and summer long. BUT.... I hate it because it is such a prolific bloomer that it is a terribly messy vine.
I have to sweep and blow off the falling faded blooms every day off of my furniture and patio .
Such a problem to have, I know.

Directly across from the Neomaria is a Protea plant that was given to me by my horticultural Guru, David Feix. I haven’t a clue as to its name but I do love the blooms !

In the front yard under the hot pink blooming bouganvillea vine is one of several Leucospermum cordifolium shrubs.

And finally an interior bouquet shot of some Tulips that were given to me while I was recovering in the hospital from lung surgery.
Obviously they are from some other region of world because here in California we haven’t seen a natrual tulip bloom for a least 3 months or so.
This bouquet sits on a entry table next to the front door.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Napa Pool Project - July 14 ' 07 update

Napa Pool Project - July 14, 2007

2 weeks and counting..... that is all the time left on this project before D-DAY.

With that in mind , the contractors have their work cut out for them in the next two weeks.

The pool is scheduled to be plastered and filled with water this coming week.
Hopefully the tile guy will be on the site bright and early Monday morning to finish the glass tile mosiac band with the three bronze water spouts properly installed.

Below is a picture of the work that he accomplished all last week - That is a total of 16 feet long by 18 inches height. ( someone works a tad bit slow )

A wider shot

Well at least the pool contactor got the equipment all set in place and hard wired for action.
As a procautionary measure we set the pool heater on the outside of the shed - that is why you see the two return pipes exiting the shed ( left hand corner of pix )
The three red handled ball valves will control the flow on the water fountian heads.

The raw concrete pots from Nichols Brothers in Washington state were acid etched using Schofield concrete stain - Dark Walnut is the color.
Note the assembly line !
The color is a tad bit darker than I would have liked to see it but it will soften in tone over the summer and be a good contrast color to the surrounding stone wall , tan concrete and dark brown wicker furniture.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Napa Pool Project - July 11 ' 07 update

Napa Pool Project July 11 update

Some real action is now happening on the pool after about 3 weeks of no work on the part of the pool contractor.

We had a in-depth discussion last week in which I handed him a day by day job task schedule that was insisted upon that he adhere to.

Looks like it is working.
When I did my site inspection today the pool equipment was installed inside the pool shed and the tile contractor was skimming a levelling coat for the glass tile / water fountain wall.

Below is a close up of the water spout that is located in the raised bond beam at the end of the pool. Threre will be three water fountain spouts make of bronze set in a glass tile mosaic.

The landscape crew has finished up on the irrigation and was working on setting the stainless steel access door on the cook station.

I found an urn for the circular planter at a local garden center in Marin .
I’m not totally in love with it but after spending quite a few hours looking for just the right piece all over the Bay Area this is the best proportioned planter for the space until I can spend some more time locating the most absolute perfect piece.
It will be planted with a Cycad , bacopa, lamium and soft pink impatients.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Napa Pool Project - July 6 ' 07 update

The masonry and landscape portion of the Napa pool project has been going along at an extremely good clip.
All of the concrete flat work and stone work is complete and the planting is just about all done with the exception of the container plants.

The pool contractor , Classic Pools , is a whole other story .. a horror story in fact .
I have used just about every curse word in the book and then some to describe my feelings towards this contractor.
This guy has single handedly raised my blood pressure by dozens of points with his lame arse asinine excuses and lack of quality craftsmanship.

Every couple of years I/ we come across a sub-contractor whose work ethic and sense of dedication to the job is totally out of line with our ethical values.
This particular pool contractor is that kind of contractor, .. one who only cares about getting in and getting out as quick as possible without any accountability towards quality craftsmanship.

Below are two new photos showing the still incomplete pool with the new planting beyond and the nearly completed stone cook center.

The evergreen hedge against the house is Ligustrum , infront of it is White Iceburg Roses that are surrounded by Artemesia silver mound.
The large flowering trees are Lagerstromia Twilight. Infront of the Lagerstromeias is a boxwood hedge and a flowering boreder of Salvia superba and Chrysanthemum hosmariense

Below is the cook center. It is crafted from Sayers Quarry stone and the counter top is made of honed and sealed speckled brown granite.
The appliances are all Viking products.