Wednesday, October 26, 2011

THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME

It is always exciting when the kitchen starts to take shape, and this week we see the start of that process with the arrival of the beautiful cabinetry components from Kitchen and Bath Solutions.

Kitchen and Bath Solutions was a fledgling firm in the summer of 2004, just waiting for a big break, and while Hurricane Ivan was no picnic, there is no doubt that the timing was pretty fortuitous for a company that had just geared up with a great product line and was raring to go.
“We compressed about ten years of experience into 18 months” laughs Matthew Adams, the K&BS owner who was at the front line during that 2005 initiation by fire. “We learned a lot about quality control, lessons which we apply regularly today” he added.



One of the areas where Matthew and K&BS have addressed quality is the acquisition of the rights to distribute the Executive Cabinetry product line out of South Carolina. (www.executivecabinetry.com)

It’s eco-friendly cabinet line is right in tune with today’s custom home buyers, who expects not only top quality products but products by companies that are sensitive to the use of renewable resources and energy conservation. Improvement of indoor air quality, through avoidance of formaldehyde producing chemicals in the home is one of the major sales features of the Executive line, as there is growing concern about the harmful effects of vapors, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs), and Heavy Metals. These harmful irritants are found in traditional solvent based finishing materials whereas this whole line uses water-based solvents. For more info on the green features of these products and the potential LEEDS points to be earned click on the link below.

http://www.ecofriendlycabinets.com/#
   





Leon Connolly (left), the Installations Manager, and Matthew Adams (right) as they review the installation processes of the show home’s many cabinetry features.

The quality of this product is apparent immediately. With all ¾” Maple ply construction, dovetail connections, and the soft-closing hinges, it is a pleasure to contemplate using this product everyday. “We even stain-finish the insides of the open face drawers for that fully finished custom look” said Matthew.




The cabinetry scope extends throughout the home, from the kitchen and laundry room to the wet bar and entry millwork, through all the bathroom cabinetry – a comprehensive design that is consistent throughout the home.
 
You can look forward to seeing Matthew and Leon’s work by visiting the showhome, or you can visit them in mid-November at their new showroom on Kingbird Drive #39. They are on the left hand side just before you reach the Corporate Electric Building.
Look also for the new contemporary European “Bellini Cabinet Line” from K&BS and Executive, arriving soon.


 This is just one of the multiple organizing drawers in the kitchen. Beautiful Maple craftsmanship.





Tuesday, October 18, 2011

THE “A” TEAM

For those of us who have been working closely with Ian Haughton and Troy Rankin over the years it comes as no surprise when visitors again and again comment on the quality of the Showhome work, the cleanliness of the site, the extraordinary schedule and the general feel good atmosphere of the workplace.

                            Troy Rankin (left) and Ian Haughton – a great homebuilding team!
 

Ian, the Project Coordinator, has been building the “Phoenix Way” for over thirteen years and has been responsible for most of the guys on the payroll at one time or another. “We definitely have our own way of doing things here” he said of working for Phoenix. “It is the right way every time, not the easy way” he laughed when asked about keeping up the quality, the schedule and the precise project paperwork required by Phoenix management. “The real benefit is to the client at the end of the day. We do not cut corners and it really starts to show as the project comes out of the ground” he added. Ian acts as the project’s liaison with the office, coordinating the schedule, the AR and AP, billing, procurement, budget adherence and fabrication.
 
Troy, the Project Foreman is one who buys into the Phoenix philosophy in a major way. “I have worked for other companies who let little things slide here and there and it is just not the way I do things” he said. “It makes sense to have standards and maintain them – after a while everyone starts thinking the same way, right through the subcontractor team. Even the inexperienced client can feel the difference – I love it when they walk through the jobsite” he added. “Where it really pays off is a satisfied customer and when that customer tells their friends about the experience!”
Troy is the main man day to day in the field, coordinating subcontractors and the large team from Phoenix that is on the job. “We self-perform more aspects of the home buildout than most residential general contractors” he said. “We have an experienced in-house team of carpenters, masons, and metal fabricators – it gives us better control over the quality, the price, jobsite safety and the schedule” he explained. “When you have a Quality Assurance Program in place like we do there really is no room for error – that is why I have a full-time presence on the jobsite

Monday, October 10, 2011

THIS AND THAT (OH, AND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!)

Well it has been exactly four months to the day since we broke ground on (10 June, 2011)  and we are very pleased with what we have been able to accomplish in this period of time.  As you will see below we are now getting to the interesting stuff!



The boys from IE Caribbean are here installing the HardiePlank fiber-cement lap siding to the front of the home. Note the green board waterproofing between the product and the wall behind – we also use the stainless steel fasteners – two quality steps that many other contractors simply do not take.
 
 
 
This product, from the James Hardie Company is a great product for a lot of reasons other than just a great look.
 
Hurricane resistance: The property damage from hurricanes can be staggering. Due to its impact resistance against hail and windblown debris, fiber-cement siding has been specified by hurricane-zone building codes for building homes in hurricane-, tornado-, and wildfire-prone areas.
 
Fire resistance: James Hardie fiber-cement exteriors have been tested by various IAS Certified Laboratories to ASTM International standards for exceptional fire resistance, smoke index and fire spread ratings.
 
Moisture and Rot resistance: James Hardie Siding is warranted not to rot, warp or delaminate. What else would you use in Caymans incredibly corrosive, sun-baked environment.

Painting perils: Since James Hardie Siding is made of fiber cement; it does not undergo the same degree of expansion and contraction that hinders wood-based and vinyl sidings. Therefore, James Hardie Siding will hold onto paint three to four times longer than wood siding, reducing your overall maintenance costs, without compromising aesthetics.

Make sure that the product is installed on the right substrate with the right fasteners, then make sure you get yourself a qualified installer like IE Caribbean Ltd and get this great product professionally installed!


What a great contemporary hardwood door! Wait, it is not wood – it is a hurricane-impact--rated aluminum CGI product! No maintenance, with sleek satin-nickel Hager hinges, and Baldwin leversets. Nice.



While we are on the subject of doors, these 8 foot stain-grade poplar doors have just arrived and are going to look amazing with the chocolate colored Italian flooring. They are pre-stained with a wood conditioner for longer life before the finish stain is applied. The hardware is a contemporary Hercules square rosette by Emtek – we will get a good picture of the finished product later when it all comes together. Heck it looks good now! Let’s scoot outside for a minute and see what Phoenix is doing in the outdoor kitchen.



 
This is going to be great. Phoenix has built a concrete housing for all the outdoor cooking elements! You can see an undermount stainless sink at the far end, the cutout is for the big gas-fired grill that Home Gas is plumbing in from the mega tank in the front yard, and the circular hole is for “da smoker”! This is going to get a Big Green Egg ceramic smoker! We will come back to this later!
 
Makes you want to build a house doesn’t it?

Friday, October 7, 2011

A MOZAIC OF SKILLS




Since 2000, Paula Range has been building her reputation with her firm Mozaic Creations and Builders one happy client at time. One of the few companies on-island that specializes in the installation of all forms of stone, masonry, granite, marble and tile, she thrives in an industry that has been traditionally male dominated. Learning that she started Mozaic after a stint in New York City, where she worked on Wall Street as a senior executive with Prudential Securities, we can easily see that her ability to thrive in the construction industry is as much a testament to her Management degree background as to her tenacity. Throw in a real eye for quality and a keen ability to motivate your people and you get the picture! This is not only an artisan rather than a tradesman but also a professional on the administrative side. Just our kind of partner.


Paula checks the stone for the showhome planters and deck surround as it unpacked.

Paula says “We strive to add elegance to any space, whether it is a pool, vanity, shower, kitchen, back splash or any other living area of either your house or office – inside or out!  Mozaic believes that an ordinary space can undergo an elegant and stylish transformation with the kind of products we work with and the craftsmen we employ.  Our work can be seen throughout the Cayman in both commercial and residential properties and our professional installers are committed to completing every project in a timely manner. We love what we do and I know that it shows in the final product”



Linsberth Hoy of Mozaic lines up and levels the stone to be applied to the pool columns while Troy Rankin of Phoenix looks on. The stone will be applied on the deck, planters and columns – this is going to look great!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

TEAMWORK IS THE KEY

The whole home building team, including the homeowner Brad Watts, assembled for refreshments and an update to the schedule on Friday, September 30th, as we moved into the highly detailed interior finishes phase. Having everyone present, from the cabinetry guys to the landscape team (20 companies represented), enables us to have the various firms that will be working side by side during this busy finishing push review the schedule, and to talk to each other about scope overlaps and timing. They can also communicate with the entire Phoenix management team about any concerns they have; product arrival and storage, tool security, schedule issues and subcontractor billing.  Tami from Icon was also available for any questions relating to design and product issues, and to schedule work reviews with those that required them. From the General Contractor perspective it gives Phoenix another chance to make sure that all products and materials that are being procured by the subcontractors and vendors are either already on-island or due to arrive in the coming weeks. Keeping the schedule tight and all the participants happy is all about open lines of communication, respect and, where required, flexibility. We may be twenty companies, but at the end of the day we are simply the Client’s Team – and we intend to have the best roster, the best coaching and the best results.


Shayne Howe, of the Phoenix Group, addresses the assembled showhome team.