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Feb 12 '06 52563 Last Comment
Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 2, 14 11:04 pm

Ugh, sorry, gruen.  Not fun.

Jul 2, 14 11:26 pm

@nam - yep - brick - if you check out that link you can see more exterior details... it's really nicely done.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jul 2, 14 11:47 pm

gruen - low bidder? LOL 

Stop the job. It isn't going to get any better. 

Jul 3, 14 12:15 am

Sarah....that is the best!  How be the new digs?


Green, says everything!   Your contractor speak  American English?



Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 3, 14 8:54 am

Yeah, I agree with Miles in that you need to be VERY careful, gruen.  It would not hurt to send a letter/email to the owner right now saying "I have very little faith in this contractor's ability to deliver the project I designed and the project you want.  In my professional opinion I need to inform you that you might be better-served by stopping work and finding another contractor."  At least that way you're on record saying that you foresee problems, and that shields you from at least some of the liability and added cost to fix those problems.

Sarah Hamilton
Jul 3, 14 11:02 am

Good luck with that, Gruen.

Snook, the new digs are getting better, but I'm not sure if we will buy the house when the lease is up. It's a 1924 catalogue house, and half the wood floors are original; which I like, but I HATE the rough an multicolored slater the landlord put in the bathrooms and kitchen. It raises the f.f. up nearly 3", is impossible to clean, and far too heavy for the support piers under the house. I feel like we'd have to rip out the kitchen for sure, and redo the cabinets because they're 100% particle board, plus we'd want to build a garage and pave the driveway, and a proper utility room to get the washer/dryer out of the tiny European sized bathroom.

They want $180,000 for the house, and I think we'd need to put another 30 into it. Figure I will know by Christmas, and start getting my ducks in a row for whatever the plan is.

Jul 3, 14 11:39 am

Yeah, this guys's a joker. I've sent a field report to the contractor and owner outlining the steps that need to be taken to rectify the situation and talked it through w/the contractor. If he can't pull it off in a week, including the holiday weekend, then I'm informing the owner that it's blown. It does not help that the owner's been making on-the fly changes without informing me. Owner hired a cheap contractor is getting a cheap job. I might have to get the inspector involved to shut it down, I'm not sure the contractors capable of building what's drawn because he can't read the drawings. Of course, once I get it shut down, then I'm the bad guy. good way out of this. 

Jul 3, 14 12:10 pm

Yeah, the guy's american, but is one of these guys who thinks he can do everything but really has no clue. I'm amazed he has a contractor's license. I'm also always amazed when someone's stupidity sneaks up on you. Usually you can tell right off. The client isn't much better and I suspect the client will be happy with whatever's built, so as long as the contractor straightens out the obviously crooked walls and the inspector will sign off on it, then who knows. The project is a second story addition to an existing single story home. The home had 3 existing roofs built over the top of each other, each with 3 layers of shingles, (yes, 3 sets of framing and sheathing). So I'm not concerned about the structure, it's already been holding something like 35 pounds per square foot of extra dead load. I'm concerned that the contractor will put the ceiling way too low and end up with windows that don't meet egress requirements. 

Jul 6, 14 8:48 pm

I have been rummaging round in a restaurant this Holiday weekend.  You know one of those Saute Jobs. Need to get this banged out in a hurry yet there are millions of things that need to fall in place. Started on Thursday, measuring existing conditions, worked on drawings on Friday.  Went back to the site on Saturday and back checked some measurements.  Basement for storage, First floor Bar /Restaurant, second floor Offices, staff bathrooms and lockers and storage.  Was at the computer again today, working on the site plan and the Basement.  Tomorrow meeting with the  Zoning  Guy, to be sure we don't have any problems with a 115 sf addition ( for wood fired Pizza ovens).  Tossed in the  Patio improvements to get him pumped.  Tuesday want to pull the building permit if possible.  Oh ya and have been doing in the field  demolition instructions to be sure we are not touching structure,  Guess this is going to be one heck of a busy week.  Then there is Big Tuesday, and the Brazil Fotbul game....Hope they win!

Sarah Hamilton
Jul 6, 14 11:57 pm

Anyone know an easier way to determine the original plan of a catalogue house other than google image search?

And good luck, snook. Seems you'll have earned a beer or three come soccer time.

Jul 7, 14 7:50 am

Sarah, if there were additions you can just look for where the foundation changes?  Might be harder to find if the newer foundations match the old, but even then there should be an expansion joint.  The roof might change between the original and newer parts too

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jul 7, 14 9:18 am

Sears has an archive online with pics.

Jul 7, 14 2:53 pm

That archive is pretty cool... kind of wish some developers would just build some of those houses with some simple hvac upgrades than the crap they do now.

Sarah Hamilton
Jul 7, 14 3:17 pm

Agreed, 3t.

Curt, the house is pier and beam, and it's 100 degrees in Texas so I'm not about to crawl under there with all the snakes, ect to compare new and old piers.

With a catalogue house, how much floor plan modification was typically done on the fly? The house doesn't look ANYTHING like the ones on the Sears site, but it could've been altered, or may not be sears at all.

I have been up in the attic, but other than some bracing, all the wood is the same deep golden colour of old attic wood. I DO know that the back two bedrooms have different wood flooring than the front rooms, and I can see where hinges used to be (every doorway had a door!) but that's all I've been able to determine.

And why is it that old 2.25" wood floors FEEL so differently than 3" newer floors? Is there a way to replicate that? Would you need to go at each joint with some sort of 'pointing' tool?

Anybody want to come done to Texas to check it out? I'd give you free room and board. Maybe I should ask that kid on the internship thread....

Jul 7, 14 3:22 pm

Taking on an unpaid intern to help you figure that out? lol.

Sarah Hamilton
Jul 7, 14 3:39 pm

I'd rather ask a friend, but all my architecture and building friends are on here. I've been out if the field too long. I certainly don't want to hire someone for curiosity's sake.

Jul 7, 14 3:48 pm

Are there any stamps or markings in some metal like vents for the HVAC? 

Jul 7, 14 4:12 pm

3tk - only one bath for the entire house?  where's the 3-truck garage?  costco bunker?  how can anyone live in one of those places??!!

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jul 7, 14 5:51 pm

It might be a Gordon Van Tine kit, they had a plant in Mississippi.

Jul 7, 14 8:10 pm

Miles,  Tis Sad but I think I have either walked by or been inside every one of those Gordon Van Tine houses.  Guess I have become an old fart!

Jul 7, 14 9:18 pm

well... this is interesting -  dematerialization and the "sharing" economy.

Sarah Hamilton
Jul 7, 14 10:21 pm

Hmmm. I looked through all the plans from all the builders between 1918 and 1926 just in case the landlord gave me the wrong dates, or the original owner used an old plan book. Can you even do that? Anyway, I learned some things: my house is not in those books, and I'm very glad the gambrel roof style never took off around here.

Jul 8, 14 12:50 pm

toasteroven - outhouse; the garage is for the ATV store the trucks and boat in the driveway so your neighbors can ogle;  dunno about the bunker, could probably dig on into the yard :D

I swear there are entire streets in StL with GVT #531s

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 10, 14 7:59 am

I'm on the South Carolina coast this week. Trying to breathe.....the ocean helps. I took on a tiny freelance kitchen remodel right before I left, going to measure it when I return and try to come up with some options in the next few weeks. I'm somewhat concerned at how inordinately over-excited I am to work on a little kitchen remodel....guess I miss self-employment more than I thought.

Steven WardSteven Ward
Jul 10, 14 9:08 am

you miss the green grass on the other side more than you thought. 

Non Sequitur
Jul 10, 14 9:22 am

I've just completed on my own a small package for an addition. I don't do much of this but I never get tired of spending a few long evenings on these side projects , scotch (double) in one hand, sketchbook in the other.

The change of scale from my normal 8-6 multi-million office tower to a $5k house project is refreshing.

Jul 10, 14 11:54 pm


You miss it until you have one of the kinda days I have.  Enough Said.  Enjoy your vacation, cause I can't be on Vacation. Ocean always helps, but so do mountains, mad running rivers, endless prairies...oh so much to enjoy in life.  I hate having to work  for a living, thinking I'm ahead only to discover I'm behind.

Jul 11, 14 1:09 pm

Just won (my first) an $8k street furniture commission. It is not architecture per se, but it is equally exciting for me - definitely know what you are feeling, Donna. 

Hopefully I have some built projects/ established clients by the time I get licensed.

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 12, 14 8:36 am

Congrats, archanonymous! Street furniture is totally architecture. Post it here if you are happy with the outcome!

Jul 15, 14 11:57 am

My crap contractor continues to f-up the project, I'm doing frequent site visits and field reports illustrated with pics, doing my best to get in the good graces of the owner, owner would fire the contractor but made the mistake of paying too much and now not sure if he can get away from this contractor. I see lawyers in the future...dammmmmm.

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 15, 14 1:43 pm

Oh gruen.  So sorry to hear it.  I just attended an AIA talk on contracts, insurance, and liability that was exhausting even to listen to let alone live.  Good luck.

Jul 15, 14 2:27 pm

Sometimes it's best to cut one's losses - have you suggested options for the owner? Pro/cons of sticking with current contractor vs replacements and potential longer term problems with built product - depending on where the project is at, you might save headache/money.  Problem with lawsuits is that you end up losing so much paying the lawyers that you could lose even more just to get a settlement.

Jul 15, 14 2:33 pm

Mediation, then arbitration, then litigation. 

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jul 15, 14 5:34 pm

The owner is throwing good money after bad. The longer this contractor is on the job the more it is going to cost in time and money to fix it.

Stop the job, terminate the contract and make an immediate demand for refund based on cost to correct bad work. If you can find grounds, call in the building inspector to issue a stop work order.

The owner should be prepared to take a loss now, multiplied by time and aggravation if legal action is pursued, in order to limit further losses and move the project ahead. The idea of collection is laughable but can possibly be achieved with a strong bluff.

And he's not YOUR crap contractor unless you recommended him.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jul 16, 14 8:56 am

Someone has finally come up with an application that is perfect for 3D printing.

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 16, 14 2:02 pm

Great news for Naptown! Cummins has chosen TWBTA, SHoP, and Deborah Berke to "compete" for their new downtown Indy headquarters/office building.  ALL excellent architects, I'm very very excited!

I just hope all three firms get paid for their "competition" entry. Maybe the local newspaper misrepresented an RFP as being a design competition.

Nam HendersonNam Henderson
Jul 16, 14 9:42 pm

Hi TC! just realized it has been a week or so since I dropped by.

last couple of days been fighting a summer cold. ugh...

Congrats archanonymous, sorry to hear gruen.

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 16, 14 11:20 pm

I watched To Rome With Love last night.  Alec Baldwin plays a very funny architect character. It's a pretty delightful movie, which was fun as I've been avoiding Woody Allen movies for awhile since he went through a very angry stage. Lovely views of Rome, too, of course.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jul 17, 14 9:09 am

Allen's movies all look the same to me now, with a neurotic lead bumbling his way through life. 

Just saw Jean-Pierre Jeunet's City of Lost Children again. Well worth it. As was Amelie, a funny, lovely film.

Jul 17, 14 9:48 am

I've suggested to the owner that he contact the contractors registration board-they mediate this kind of stuff-as a first step. I've also suggested firing the contractor. I'll probably bring in the inspector soon, since the whole thing is cr*p. lucky for me that the owner hired the contractor unilaterally.

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 19, 14 4:08 pm

We watched Trance last night, which is Danny Boyle's version of Inception, basically.  it was very good and nicely confusing.  Best of all was the architecture: reflective glassy glowing indecipherable spaces for the bad stuff and some lovely shots of Ronchamp for the safe place.

My safe place lately is on my couch watching movies with my family.  Perhaps I should see about a film festival at Ronchamp?

vado retro
Jul 21, 14 2:18 pm

last night i watched last tango in halifax, masterpiece mystery and went to bed. wtf?

Steven WardSteven Ward
Jul 24, 14 6:58 am

Tired, y'all.

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 24, 14 9:53 am

But Steven you're tired from a weekend of FUN!

Donna SinkDonna Sink
Jul 24, 14 9:59 am

So, a serious question: how does one work effectively and in good spirits on a project to which they are deeply opposed? How do you find the will to put your best abilities to work on something you think should *not* be built in the first place?

I certainly have developed some coping strategies over the years, but this is bigger.  It's one thing to go ahead and accommodate an entire kitchen cabinet devoted to housing nothing but the Kitchenaid mixer on a pop-out shelf even when you think it's a waste of space that will just break in a year anyway. This is a much bigger question of using architecture to solve a problem that should be solved by other means entirely - an architectural solution is the wrong answer.

Suggestion, anyone? How do I keep a smile on my face and in my heart when I'm so deeply skeptical?

Jul 24, 14 10:11 am

tell us more donna.  this isn't like a pro-lifer designing a clinic that performs abortions?

Non Sequitur
Jul 24, 14 11:26 am

Donna, skeptical about Kitchenaid mixers? I prefer the Bodum ones personally.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jul 24, 14 1:40 pm

Donna, you can recuse yourself (consequences unknown) or hold your nose and make the best possible wrong solution. If opting for the latter, document the process, your objections to it and the alternative course(s) of action better suited for the task. At least in the end you will have the basis for a revealing short film or essay on the matter.

Alternatively you could independently pursue the more intelligent alternative while punching the clock on stupidity. The important thing is to be doing something you care about and believe in. In every crisis there is opportunity. Find one.

In the end, sometimes it comes down to a simple choice: eat or sleep.

vado retro
Jul 25, 14 8:07 pm

Donna, don't you remember my grin and bear it disposition back in Indy. You know those days of Lifestyle Centers and Beaux Arts inspired manses for the Stepford Wife town of West Clay where I went to a reception on the Ronald Reagan Greene and blamed my vomiting on a bad oyster. Oh, how I grinned when we all received an email from a client in which he strongly urged us to support the McCain/Palin ticket. Don't you remember my good spirits? Neither do I.

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