Thursday, August 27, 2009

A very tough job.

Just putting the finishing touches on a silhouette for a new house, and auxiliary structure - a 600 sq. ft. pool house. This silhouette was the toughest one in recent memory. Structures and ice plant, trees and rocks on the roof. Every type of obstacle you can imagine. but the end result was another fine job by Riviera Rich Contractors.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Look at this wasted stairway and landing.

Some people are just dense or cheap, or maybe totally unrealistic because of their economic situation- either way they don't make good decisions. Here is another photograph of this rotted and totally unsafe stair landing. One thing about the Zenbuilder you can count on ... he doesn't lie, he just tells it like it is. If I put my full weight on that landing I'd be landing alright... on the ground below! Zenbuilder out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Terrible jobs, illegal stairs

It's been over a month since my last posting. My work load went from sporadic to beyond full time in that period, but alas- I am back! Today ridiculous construction photo depicts the most unsafe stairway I have ever seen. Not only is it worn-out and rotted, it's a miss-match of materials. The homeowner wanted to try to fix it as is. needless to say wasn't interested as a licensed contractor of even touching such a monstrosity!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Custom project, owners unit, makeover.

I just thought since I haven't blogged in quite some time i might post some photos of a recently finished owners unit project here in the South Bay. This was a fun job and it turned out beautiful

- of course all projects turn out great when you plan and execute properly. When knowledge, experience, and skill are working together great things can happen. I am sure that is a universal truth, one which transcends era, materials, and technology. Over the next few blogs i will discuss in detail the project and it's various elements. I will leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein, " The only reason for a thing called time, or the passage thereof, is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Thanks Zenbuilder.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Completing the project.

Last time I said I would post a photo of the completed mantel and stone project, well it's not 100% finished but I decided to post it as a progress report. I am going to make a pair of distressed doors out of oak for the firewood storage compartment. The owner who has worked with me on the stone portion of the job will complete the grouting (Sweat Equity.) There is no new apartment building projects in the works as of yet, but there are some new projects that I will be starting soon. One is a major addition, and the other is a custom door install. ( Many doors.) - Thought for the day. There are three types of people in this our world, energy givers, energy neutrals, ( people who live in ignorant oblivion.) energy takers. Which one are you?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New jobs, Ultimate challenges.

This is Mickey Mantel talkin to ya, the Mantel is finished and installed! It of course looks awesome, and the real stone veneer is not to shabby either! I will post a picture upon total completion. In the meantime lets try to stay away from people who are energy stealer's and time wasters. You know the kind of people I'm talking about, the kind that methodically and purposefully scheme to waste your time - we've all met them at one time or another in our lives. Beware!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Know thy self. masterbuilder.

Hello I am the Zenbuilder. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks for all the support you have given me on my website and blog- I mean 30,000 visits a month that's phenomenal! Thank you very much. And now for my next act I will beat the living daylights out of a the custom mantel from yesterdays blog. Don't worry mantels are actually inanimate objects and it's totally legal to give them a severe "Barnaby Jones" style butt-kicking! ( This activity is also known as distressing the wood.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home improvement, extreme makeovers.

Hi there! I just came up with a great idea for a reality show, it's called extreme makeover meth-amphetimine addition. It's going to have crazy strung-out speed-heads trying to work together and build something with materials that they find in their travels- night and day? Well back to my reality, the mantel job is just cruising along and looking good, as you can see from the latest photo.

Here is the walnut plank that is the mantel!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mantel, Fireplace

Hi did you have a nice Memorial day break? I didn't. There was no baseball with my son this weekend- bohoo! Here is a progress photo of the mantel/stone job. I have nothing more to say right now except, "Wow that Three Rivers stone looks great!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mantel, fireplace, Stone mason.

Hi! We are working on the natural stone part for the fireplace today. You all know that i am a Master-Carpenter- home builder, but I am not a Stone Mason. So I have decided to have a real Stone mason come by the site for a consulting visit. The owner was opposed to the idea, but I assured him that it was well worth it. Being a carpenter to me masonry is like Flintstones carpentry. There is a lot of free form looseness about the process

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Side projects. Crucifix board.

Hello we are working on the fireplace job today and I will post a photo soon. In the mean time feast your eyes on this prototype skateboard - it's called a crucifix board and it generates solid energy wherever it goes... all you have to do is believe. You know like Celine Dion.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mantel building. Custom Fireplaces.

Hello there I just started a mantel job that has grown to include stone veneering of an existing fireplace. Yesterday we did the demo and I got to play the part of the "boy in the bubble" as we had to plastic off the entire area. On this particular jobsite I officially go by the name Mantel Williams. ( I like it better than mickey mantel) A quick background on this job. We are completely renovating this house and the owner has graciously allowed us to do it in phases over a long period of time. Once we finish the interior we will proceed with the exterior. I will photo doc this fireplace - mantel job. Oh yeah when you are a master-builder it's amazing how fast one can demo something. You know there are two types of demolition- first is what we do surgical demo, more thought beforehand and less elbow-grease to actually do it. Then there's day-laborer or inexperienced style- ya know just flail away at it until it's beaten into submission. This technique usually results in other unintended things being demoed, and other mistakes. There's just no substitution for experience!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Zenbuilder says,"be cool, don't stress, it's all just a sitcom, and it will be over... in due time.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Travels with herodotus. exotic homes.

It's been quite some time since my last post. I must profess to being quite busy with work and a week long break for the children's time off from school- during which we traveled quite a bit. In fact I will enclose with this blog a photo and if you can tell me what and where it is you will win an amazing prize! I am currently doing small things such as installing walnut crown molding, and building a custom mantel. When I build mantels- I go by the sobriquet of Mickey Mantel. You see when you are doing custom woodworking you really want to hit it out of the park! Oh yeah to my Jewish fans happy passover! and my Christian brethren- happy easter! And my Muslim brothers just take it easy man.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Making garage storage cabinets.

O.K. so they're only garage storage cabinets, does that mean they have to cheap and flimsey? We all know the answer is no! You can make nice cabinets for your garage with quality paint grade plywood for the bodies, and poplar hardwood for the face frames. One also has the option of glueing and doweling their face frames or using a Kreg jig. ( basically a screw system.) Garage cabinets should be sturdy and durable- not cheap prefab crud you find at home improvement stores. For your doors may I suggest a medium density fibreboard slab style. That type of material paints up nicely and usually doesn't warp.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Custom Building.

My last post was on march 2nd my goodness how time flies when you are a busy man! I am currently working on three complicated bids as well as actually doing a pretty custom garage rebuild job. It is a small job by my standards but it is for a good client who we've done a big job for in the past, so I am happy to do this job. One of the reasons I haven't posted in a while is that I had some trouble trying to put a picture on my blog last time. My webmaster will have to help me soon. It looks like things are heating up a bit with custom building, I am looking hard for a challenging - one- of-a-kind house to build, and I am hoping to get a good project soon!

Monday, March 2, 2009

craftsman curtain brackets, rods.

Wow I hope you liked my finished bathroom redo, it was fun! Today your local Zenbuilder was propogating his miraculous positive energy in Palos Verdes Estates - a lovely seaside community in Los Angeles Count. Here is a picture of the jig I made to install the brackets, you see everything I do, I try to do in the proper manner- there are no short cuts in life. Speaking of short cuts does anybody know when the economy will get better? Please tell me. Peace and grace be yours in abundance. Jah Love.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Completion of vanity.

My last post was eleven days ago, what happened to the passage of time? The bathroom vanity job has been finished for quite some time now- and it's spectacular! The custom drawers at the sinks work great. It's nice to know that only myself and a select few others in Los Angeles have functioning drawers at their bathroom sinks! This kind of quality and attention to detail can only be found at Riviera Rich Contractors Inc. If someone posts a comment i just might show a close up of my special sink drawers! So long for now.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Grouting tile.

How do you keep little glass tiles in place when you set them in wet thinset? With tiny little shoring sticks. I have grouted the tile today, stained the new door- that's right the job has grown even more snnce I last blogged. I also put the final coat of paint on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. My next blog will have the final picture of the completed bath job. Looks like we got some more rain tomorrow better "Batten down the hatches!"

Saturday, February 7, 2009

business before pleasure.

Good morning I had to get up early this morning 5:00 a.m. so I thought what the heck might as well blog a bit. Today is Saturday and it is time to tile the counter top and then if all goes according to plan grout the floor and aforementioned counter top. But first things first lets start the day with a surf check, and a possible surf session. ( I hope the water is not too dirty!)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Installation of cabinet- floating countertops.

Man I haven't blogged since January I guess I got too busy for my own blog. We'll since the last time we have made some good progress on the cabinet. In one day we have installed the cabinet, floated the counter tops and back splash, and installed .42 Hardibacker 500 series on the floor and we are ready to install tile tomorrow. For those of you who do not know what floating is - it's an old time tested process that is undeniably the best way to provide a solid base to lay your tile on. You simply apply building paper(I prefer tyvek) to the surface then staple or nail diamond lath over that, and then apply your mortar(sand, cement, H2o) in a technique called floating. When you float all surfaces you get everything straight, level and flat - perfect for tiling! How do you float you might ask? We'll unfortunately I couldn't possibly explain the process in less then a thousand words, suffice it to say it's complicated. Only real tile installers and crafty master carpenters can do it- in fact if your tile contractor doesn't float he or she probably isn't very good. I hope to blog again tomorrow about how I did on the tile install. Zenbuilder- out!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Custom vanity cabinet.

We''ll hello there it's been six days since my last transmission. This is supposed to be a daily blog and it is, only some days are longer than others henceforth the seemingly long intervals between my blogs become perceptible depending on how one interprets... I have been working on the cabinet and in fact the drawers are finished and everything has been primered twice. (Zinser water-based primer.) I have also received the drawer hardware which is Blum "Tandem Plus" drawer slides bottom mount with "Blumotion". What is Blumotion you ask? It is a slide system that allows the drawer to fully extend effortlessly, and when you push the drawer back into the cabinet it automatically stops about 1" outside the front of the cabinet opening, then retracts back into the cabinet unassisted by the homeowner/operator. This type of hardware is standard on my projects as it project the kind of quality we love to do. By the way the cabinet body is made of birch ply, and the face frame is traditionally glued and doweled, and is made of poplar wood. These materials are available at your local lumber yard or home improvement center. Thank you and goodnight- Zenbuilder.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Buildin a vanity cabinet.

Good morning! Today we are going to continue working on the vanity cabinet. I am placing to orders for the project- one is for 5 pair of precision drawer slides (Blum with brakes.) the other for 7 drawer fronts and 4 doors. Like most cabinet shops I order my doors and drawer fronts from a specialist company that makes them to my specs. I will also purchase my sinks and two faucets in advance so that everything is on hand before we remove the existing vanity. This is the way organized people do things- fast and correct. Total time for completion from time of demo will be three days, so stay tuned as this unfolds. Yours truly Zenbuilder.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Craftsman Brackets.

O.K. it's a new day and a new chance to make exciting things happen! Yesterday I installed some custom "Craftsman- Brackets" at the Forte house a completed project as seen on my website. Ya know I had forgotten just how beautiful that house is- what a masterpiece! ( Nothing like tooting your own horn.) It's nice to revisit completed projects and think,"I was part of this" knowing that if a house is maintained properly it will last several lifetimes. I'm happy to report my preliminary drawings have been approved for the vanity cabinet project. That's right the big boss lady after a certain amount of trepidation, consternation, and genuine concern....hmmmm, and then she said o.k. So today after finishing bid #1 I will procure the proper materials and commence fabrication of aforementioned van-cab. Lastly every surfer in southern California is anticipating the big swell this weekend- so forget about sharks, rocks, riptides and kelp, just watch out for other surfers..... and remember always surf near a manned lifeguard station!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy holidays and happy new year! It's been a long time since I last blogged. All throughout the holiday season I have been working on my own property cause when a contractor has spare time- that's what we do. Today I am designing a new bathroom vanity that will have ten drawers and two sinks. (It will replace an existing vanity of the same dimensions.) A plan must be drawn up and approved by the "boss of bosses" - my wife. Believe me she is my toughest customer, she is picky and takes a long time to make her mind up. Concurrently i am bidding two large projects and have on the table a plan for a four unit apartment building. This building will be built by my company and owned by a L.L.C. partnership called P.R.P. (Premiere Rental Properties) Regardless of the economic situation there are more people every day and everyone needs a place to live. Remember in tough times the three basic necessities must be met- food, shelter, and clothing. And don't forget health and entertainment, they're important to. Thats all for now! Hey by the way thanks for all the great comments.