Part 2 of Del Mar House
I returned the next week with samples and bid in hand. I had put a lot of work in to creating the finishes, and it showed. Barbra and the designer were thrilled, and they asked me to extend some of the finishes to more areas of the house. The following week Barbra and her husband signed a contract with me and gave me a deposit to start the work. I was thrilled! The job had grown from just a couple of niches to fauxing and plastering just over 4,000 square feet! There was only one problem – and again, what happened next was quite unexpected.
As I stood in the ‘great room’ wondering where I should start this colossal project, I happened to look up at the very high ceiling. I noticed that most of the ceiling was made up of wooden beams; the owners had an old bridge in Canada taken down and the wood was milled and reclaimed. It still had mineral staining form the metal rods, pins, and tension wires that had held it together, giving the wood a lot of character. But because the wood was not stained or sealed, we could not start finishing the walls until this was addressed.
I asked Patrick, the house’s builder, what he had planned for the ceiling. He told me that it would need to be stained and sealed, but he had not yet found a contractor to do it. Here’s the unexpected part: He immediately asked me if my crew and I would be interested in doing this, and to give him a bid on the job.
I thought about it for a minute and figured that even though it wasn’t the type of work we typically do, it would be a great learning experience. I also knew that the ceiling was standing in the way of getting started on the walls, and that we could start on the walls much sooner if we finished the ceiling ourselves rather than waiting for another contractor to come and do it. Within days I had a bid for Patrick, and we got started the on the ceilings the following week.
This job had grown from niches to wall finishes, and now included ceilings. I didn’t know at the time, but this incredible house in Del Mar would turn out to be one of the biggest jobs I have done to date.
Within three weeks we completed the ceiling, and I looked forward to starting some of the wall finishes. However, as this was a house under construction, things didn’t always go according to plan.
Other contractors had work to do, and this meant pushing back our finishing until they were able to complete their work. During this time Patrick came to me and told me that the parts of the house that weren’t getting wall treatments would need to have regular painting done. There were also endless amounts of wooden base boards and over seventy wooden doors that would need to be stained and sealed. So, once again we were asked if we would be interested in bidding on these other jobs.
Within a week we were off and running, staining and painting the rest of the house. Here’s an idea of what we were in for:
The house consists of six bedrooms, twelve bathrooms, a dining room, and a formal dining room. Then there is the foyer and the ‘great room’; there is also a beautiful gallery/hallway which has sweeping arches that connect the adjoining rooms. Let’s not forget about the kitchen and the office. And that’s just the upstairs!
There is also a basement which has a theater, game room, exercise room, and a wine room with adjoining tasting room. There are also more minor rooms, walk-in closets, and garages that make up the remainder of the house.
As you can see, we had our work cut out for us and we hadn’t even started any of the faux finishing or decorative plaster work we were hired to do in the first place!
Halfway through the regular painting and the staining we got the go ahead to start the faux finishing. By this time the other contractors were primarily done with construction work, leaving the house open for us to move our scaffoldings about the house freely. At this time I brought in another crew to tackle the wall painting. I was now running two crews and working ten to twelve hour days. But we got everything done on time and on budget. All that was left was the faux finishing and the Luster Stone plastering, which turned out to be a unique challenge.