Alfonso S. Faustino, Jr.

Alfonso S. Faustino, Jr.
26-October-2013: Stampede To St. Helena, CA: Photo Credit: Justin Chan Photo:

"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough." -- Mario Andretti, Formula 1 Piloti

"Because of molecules, we are connected to the outside world from our bodies -- like when you smell things; because, when you smell a smell, it's not really a smell; it's a part of the object that has come off of it -- molecules. So, when you smell something bad, it's like, in a way you're eating it. This is why you should not really smell things in the same way that you don't eat everything in the world around you; because, as a smell, it gets inside of you. So, the next time you go into the bathroom after someone else has been there, remember what kinds of molecules you are in fact eating."

-- Mikey Carver, The Ice Storm

Thursday, January 23, 2014

PJ Hegarty Construction Company: Our Italian Tuscany-Style Home: Top Of Nob Hill: San Francisco, CA

(This BLOG is completed.  The newly built Faustino House is now complete -- click this link to see the finished product: mission accomplished! Yeah!!! Thank you, so much, God!!! (Scroll down to UPDATES to view pictures of the new-construction process.))

The New Construction Process Of The Faustino House: Top Of Nob Hill, San Francisco: June 2012- 1-January-2014

BLOG Entry: 12-September-2012, @ 2314 hours PDT:

I'm so consumed and excited about our new-construction of our Italian Tuscany-style home-to-be at the Top Of Nob Hill in San Francisco, CA, that if I had a 16-year old daughter that came home 9-months pregnant, I would not notice her, or I would tell her to go on a diet. This is the level of my priority, focus, and attention span.

The only thing that matters to me, day and night, is my demolition and new-home-construction project, and I am so happy and excited! We will be done soon!!!  With PJ Hegarty Construction Company at the helm of our new construction Tuscany-style home, I sleep like a big fat baby each night -- snug as a bug in a rug.

Just so that I am crystal clear, this is a DEMOLITION of our old house and a brand NEW construction of our new house from ground up -- nothing from the old 1904 house exists, except for the staircase leading to the front main external door facing the street. The picture, below, is a panoramic view from our roof-top.  This type of build in San Francisco is rarely done -- especially, in a prestigious and exclusive neighborhood like, The Top Of Nob Hill.

Many of you asked about the specifications of our house.  Okay, here goes:
- 8 Bedrooms and 3 of the 8 bedrooms are suite-bedrooms, meaning each bedroom has a full bathroom
- 2 storage rooms
- 3-4 car garage
- 64 steps (could be more -- this was my last count three months ago)
- 5 stories
- 3 full kitchens
- 7.5 bathrooms
- 3 laundry rooms
- 1 man-cave (theater)
- 2 studies/offices

The house will have 3 separate addresses.

PJ Hegarty, 23-May-2013: "Irene, the estimate to build your house is $X. I forgot to include the installation of ABC, which costs $X; but, I will cover that cost since I screwed up." My sister offered to pay PJ the cost that he forgot to include in the contract, and PJ Hegarty responded, "No -- it was my error; I will take care of it." 

PJ Hegarty constructed a brand new seismic-rated foundation with the latest and greatest technology and materials, upon which, our new Tuscany-style home will rest.

If you are going to embark in a complete demolition and start a new construction build for your new house in San Francisco, California, you are in for many challenges. You need to find an architect; you need to get building permits; you need to get utilities set up; and, you need to pick out all the design stuff from paint colors to the type cabinet knobs that appeal to your design senses.  Yes, these processes are arduous and not so glamorous; but, I promise you, after you get past these stages, the fun and glamorous part of building a brand new house kick in real fast; and, this is the part of the construction phase I'm in right now -- the fun and glamorous phase. 

When we were in the bidding phase of our demolition and new construction, one contractor said to us: "We will handle everything -- all you need to do is bring your pillow."  This is a very alluring statement, and it would be really nice if this was the case; BUT IT IS NOT -- my point is this, "YOU MUST BE ENGAGED WITH YOUR CONTRACTOR."  If you can, take a leave of absence from work or work part-time because urgent things will pop up requiring your immediate attention and action.  If you aren't engaged, you will end up with a home that you might not be all that pleased about.  You see, your architect will design your building on paper only to find out that some of the designs on paper doesn't make sense when the construction phase begins; hence, YOU NEED to have a great contractor, like PJ Hegarty, to guide you and give you honest and professional input -- YOU NEED TO BE ENGAGED WITH YOUR CONTRACTOR for problem-management and resolutions.

You need to have a contractor and vendors that are professional, trustworthy, honest, ethical, and provide great advice without sacrificing quality and project time.  Selecting a contractor and vendors are crucial -- if you don't wisely select your contractor and vendors, your project will be in jeopardy, and you will not sleep at nights, and you will lose your money and time.  Here is a list containing the contractor and vendors we selected for our new home construction project:

  • General Contractor: PJ Hegarty Construction: PJ Hegarty (His company is a one-stop shop, handling construction, electrical, plumbing, sheet-rock, and all the stuff associated to construction -- his company will also maintain the property after it is built.): 1-415-225-8743
  • Kitchen and Bathroom Design Construction: Timeless KitchenCaroline Sain
  • Doors and Windows:  South City Lumber & Supply: Dave
  • Tiles: Galleria Tile: Glenn Stark
  • Bathroom Tile Installation: Ramirez Tile: Jose Ramirez
  • Garage Doors & Installation: Sousa's Overhead Doors: 1-408-248-0782
  • Movers: CareMore Movers and Storage: David (Owner): 1-415-699-5176
  • Door-locks: Markus Supplies: Jeff: 1-510-832-6532
  • Custom Shower Glass Doors & Enclosures: Markus Supplies: Dan: 1-510-832-6532
  • Crane & Rigging: B & S: Sean Wanlass: 1-415-564-7591
  • Construction Attorney: Dhillon & Smith Law Firm: Peter Smith: 1-415-433-1700
(We also considered but rejected this windows and doors company: V & W Patio Doors and Window Co., Inc.: Yelp Reviews.)

I want to put this tile mosaic in my paddock -- what do you think?

I am so fortunate to have found our contractor, PJ Hegarty Construction Company.  PJ Hegarty is an immigrant from Ireland with traditional, strict, and sound working ethics and skills.  He is honest, reliable, consistent, professional, patient, and driven towards success by his own strict standards, as well as the standards set forth by his clients'... in this case, my family and me. He is a man of utmost integrity, and we are so impressed by his professional and creative expertise.

So, this is the house that we purchased around 1999 (picture below).  It was first built in 1904; and, during that time, it was used as a brothel house for San Francisco's high society.

This little brothel house is located 1.5 blocks away from the Fairmont Hotel San Francisco,

The valets at The Fairmont let me park my Ferrari in front -- they are all swell guys!

one block away from Grace Cathedral, and

adjacent to Huntington Park.

It was the smallest and ugliest house on the block; but the block is one of the most desired and prestigious blocks in San Francisco. I love the architecture and charm.

Last year, 2012, we demolished the little house that was built in 1904, and

we started the construction, from the ground up to build a BRAND new Italian Tuscany-style house, which will be done July 2013.

My family visits Italy on a frequent basis; and, through our frequent visits to Italy, our hearts gravitated toward the Italian-style architecture and design.

A large cornerstone will be reserved for PJ Hegarty's plaque:

Erected by PJ Hegarty Construction Company, on Date-Month-Year.  Of course, PJ Hegarty can put any wording he wants, but I'm guessing it will be something like the content I wrote.

One of the many professional qualities I appreciate about PJ is his interest in making sure that we don't unnecessarily spend money in redundant or non essential stuff, as it relates to the construction project. For instance, PJ, through his experience, was able to suggest electrical changes that would minimize our costs without sacrificing lumens and keeping to city regulations.

Another instance was PJ referring us to Dave at South City Lumber (South City Lumber & Supply) to handle our windows and doors.  Dave was ethical, honest, professional, efficient, and advised us in the best windows and doors to purchase and install throughout the entire building.

One of the biggest challenges is the kitchen for each unit.  We had to find a person that can create and design three beautiful and functional kitchens with strict space requirements for each appliance; and, Caroline Sain, from Timeless Kitchens, won the bid for the project -- she, like PJ, is extremely smart, experienced, professional, creative, and honest.  She is from England, so she has tons of design experiences in designing and creating European kitchens that fit into the Italian Tuscany-style theme for our house.  She and PJ work well together, which is a great thing for all of us.  In the following pictures, she made an onsite visit to start her design process for all three kitchens in our house.  The pictures in this section show the penthouse kitchen.

PJ Hegarty is an excellent project manager -- he efficiently manages the delivery of windows, doors, lights, and other materials; he is like a finely tuned swiss watch; and, he keeps to his schedule -- in fact, due to his excellent project management and the great construction team that works for him, it seems like he might be done with the construction earlier than originally scheduled.

Surprisingly, in my case, all phases in construction has been a walk-in-the-park because of PJ Hegarty Construction Company.  Many people warned me about the problems they had with their contractors.  They told me all the horror stories of their contractors not making the deadlines and not paying vendors and laborers, which ended up in liens against my acquaintances' real properties.  They all mentioned the lack of sleep they got during the construction project -- not we...with PJ Hegarty at the helm, my family and I sleep just dandy.



The Building Inspection Department for the City and County of San Francisco inspected and approved our house for safety and meeting all the requirements set forth by the City and County of San Francisco -- the house was erected on 1-January-2014, and we are ready to make the house our home!

4-January-2014, @ 1400 hours PDT:

Sousa's Overhead Garage Doors created and installed the new doors to our paddock.

Now, we can park our cars in the paddock, and I am so jazzed about this.  Of course, the paddock doors will be stained to match the front door to keep a consistent look and feel of the exterior.  The present white-color is just a primer paint on the doors at the time of delivery.

27-December-2013, @ 1200 hours PDT:

Well, the moving process has begun.  All my guitars were the first to make the initial move: Yamaha SBG 1200, Yamaha G-225, and 1957 Custom Body Hot Rod Fender Stratocaster.

A few pieces of furniture also made the move to the new place.  Still, we have much to move, but this is a great start in making our newly-built house into a home.

25-December-2013, @ 2253 hours PDT:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year -- Okay, so Let's Get Crackin'! The front door just got stained and sealed; five brand new beds arrived in 5 out of 8 bedrooms; and, all the Hunter Douglas window shades arrived to all the bedrooms, penthouse, and closet windows.

We are waiting for the paddock doors; they are slated to arrive on 23-December-2013, and PJ and his team will install them and set up the final inspection with the City and County Of San Francisco.  Due to the specific design I wanted with the paddock doors, we had to find a manufacturer that could create the doors to the designs I wanted -- fingers crossed for the final results.

The paddock will be able to house my cars and my acquaintance's cars.

21-November-2013, @ 1400 hours PDT:

My paddock is finally done!!! This is my favorite part of the house and the location I will spend most of my time.  The paddock can store two full-size SUVs, or one full-size SUV and one standard car, or three standard cars, or 5 compact cars (e.g., FIAT 500, Mini Coopers, and vehicles of that size), or three Ferraris or Lamborghinis.  Anyway, it is a nice-size paddock.

I suggested barn-style doors for the paddock to give the garage a barn-like-look for my house; and, PJ (our awesome contractor) and my sister agreed and approved my suggestion.  Those doors will arrive 23-December-2013.

No more 9-1-1 to the San Francisco Fire Department -- this box is a direct line communication system to the San Francisco Fire Department's dispatching office.  We have one dedicated phone line directly to the San Francisco Fire Department -- they can contact us, and we can directly contact them.  This control box gives the San Francisco Fire Department a electrical read-out of every single floor of our home, and they have blue-prints of our home, so they know every nook and cranny of our home in the event an emergency happens.

Megan White of JE Modeling Agency is one of my favorite models.  Fashion Photographer, Scott Borrero, of LeTote, asked if he can use our house for a photo-shoot for LeTote magazine and website.  Of course, I said, "Yes!"  It is an honor to have a hot-shot shooter like Scott do a photo-shoot at our home.  It was at this time, I had some time to spend with Megan.  She is a wonderful and hot model, but also a really cool person -- she has a great personality.

We call the picture immediately below, Woman In Red, which shows Megan posing in one of our 8 bedrooms in our home.

If you want to follow Scott Borrero on InstaGram, the picture below, shows his InstaGram Username.

These are a couple of pictures Scott shot of Megan for LeTote on the penthouse deck.

We installed Bison tiles to the deck in the penthouse.  This is the latest and greatest technology in tiles.


Well, each tile sits on a platform that rests on the actual deck flooring.

Then, each tile is laid on the platform.  Each tile can be removed by lifting it if cleaning or deck repairs are needed; but, the main feature is the fact that water drains from the deck -- in other words, no sitting water; and, no sitting water means not potential of water damage or wood rot to the deck.

16-October-2013, @ 0830 Hours PDT:

The San Francisco Building Inspector will be doing an inspection on our house later this week, and will make the recommendations for the new garage door.

3-October-2013, @ 1530 Hours PDT:

The final details of our house is being completed; hence, today, the biggest things that are left to do are the garage door and the custom iron gate for the front door area.

1-October-2013, @ 0900 Hours PDT:

So, what do we do when our European refrigerator and stove do not fit along the staircase in our house that leads to the penthouse?

Well...we contact B & S Crane & Rigging : Sean Wanlass: 1-415-564-7591, and he does his magic.

Wo-la!  Mission accomplished! Custom-made European refrigerator and stove are now in the penthouse waiting for PJ Hegarty's team to install and turn-on.

Now, when PJ is done with his work, we will get B & S Crane and Rigging to hoist up our piano, sofas, bed, and furniture.

26-September-2013, @ 1430 Hours PDT:

The driveway is under construction, as well as the paddock.  Concrete was poured and paved today, and I put some of my sweat-equity into our new house.  The guys taught me the way to shovel concrete from the concrete mixer truck.  I had a lot of fun.

17-September-2013, @ 2115 Hours PDT:

All the power is on; so, my mom, sister, and I decided to do a night tour.  Tonight, San Francisco was clear and warm; and, it was a magical evening, as we turned on the power to our beautiful new home for the first time.  We are all so grateful for our good fortune; and, we thank God every single day for our wonderful home.  Thank You, Lord!

13-September-2013, @ 1330 Hours PDT:

PG&E worked on installing and turning on the gas and electricity.

ComCast xfinity installed and turned on the Wi-Fi, cable, phone, and security systems.

The San Francisco Department Of Public Works came to turn on the water; they will also increase the diameter of the water-pipes coming into the building.

All the interior painting is all done to all the units; the appliances have been delivered and installed, except for the penthouse -- those appliances are coming in from Europe, so it takes a bit longer to arrive.

The paddock is getting close to completion -- all the lights have been installed, and they will light up the paddock like daylight.

5-September-2013, @ 1430 hours PDT:

We are 90% complete -- we are so excited!  All the door locks and handles have been installed to all the doors.  Gas, electricity, and water have been installed and all operational.  Interior painting is done to all the units; and the staircase to the roof has been created and installed.

Today was a beautiful sunny day; so, I took some pictures from our roof, which is on top of our building. (Ha -- did you catch my funny?)

25-August-2013, @ 1100 hours PDT:

The house is quickly progressing.  The front door is in from South City Lumber Supply, and it will be stained next week.  The locks to all the doors have been ordered and should be arriving real soon.

In progress, is the iron gate that will be installed near the base of the staircase to the exterior entry.  PJ is working with an iron-maker to customize an Italian-style gate to match the Tuscany-style of our house.

The appliances arrived and will be installed to all three kitchens next week or so.

16-August-2013, @ 1430 Hours PDT:

The interior painting will be done next week or so -- the glass on the railings to the third unit and penthouse are all done, too.

I'm very excited that all the bathrooms will have turbo-flush toilets -- no Lincoln-Logs will stand a chance with these new state-of-the-art turbo-flush toilets. Yeah -- I'm a happy camper.

4-August-2013, @ 0945 Hours PDT:

So, in the software industry, they have a term called, Scope Creep.  This means that the executives, after a document freeze, adds more features into the software while the software is being developed and before the software's release date. Many times, with Scope Creep, the engineers will work towards not delaying the release date -- more times than not, the software's release date is compromised and pushed out farther from the original release date before Scope Creep.

Well, we had several scope creeps from me and my sister; hence, the completion date is end of August 2013.  We are making some significant changes to the interior design; but, hey, when we spent the crazy amount of money we spent to demolish and build a brand new building, we have to make sure we are more than 100% happy -- yes?

All the hard-wood floors have been laid and stained; all the railings have been installed; all the appliances to all kitchens, except for my mother's kitchen, have been installed.  My mother's kitchen appliances are special order from Europe; hence, it takes about 6 weeks to arrive, which is also another contributing factor to the delivery date of completion being changed to end of August 2013.

3-July-2013, @ 1500 Hours PDT:

PJ and his team are laying down the hardwood floors -- the borders and hardwood floors arrived today. The wood my sister selected is oak.  It smells so amazing.  No nails will be used in the installation of the hardwood.  The process used will enhance the radiant heating throughout the house and increase the sound-proofing throughout the house.  Each floor will be heated and provide heat throughout the house.

27-June-2013, @ 1000 Hours PDT:

Jose Ramirez is working on the installation of the bathroom Italian tiles we ordered from Glenn at Galleria Tile.  These tiles are special-order from Italy and of the highest caliber.  We have 7.5 bathrooms that will benefit from Jose's tile-work.

12-June-2013, @ 1030 Hours PDT:

Scaffolds are off -- the exterior construction of the house is complete -- the copper rain-gutters running down the left-side of the house in the picture are still being worked on.

11-June-2013, @ 1430 Hours PDT:

Countertops are all installed to all three kitchens as are the cabinets, shelves, and drawers.  All the counter-tops in all three kitchens are rare Italian Quartz.

3-June-2013, @ 1030 Hours PDT:

The exterior paint, stucco, and trim to the front of the house are done. The architecture and colors were inspired by our visits to Tuscany, Italy. Many of the homes in Tuscany and Florence are of these colors and form.

21-May-2013, @ 1530 Hours PDT:

Today, we drove by the house to check out the application of golden harvest stucco; and, we are so jazzed and impressed with the color.  We are getting closer and closer to completion.  We are about 80% completed.

9-May-2013, @ 1300 Hours PDT:

We visited PJ Hegarty to check out the brown-level process before the application of the Golden Harvest stucco.

6-May-2013, @ 1100 Hours PDT:

We are in stucco phase now; and, PJ Hegarty showed us the colors and textures that interest my sister and me.  We want more to view two other colors; hence, Fin, PJ Hegarty's stucco guy, will show them to us on Wednesday, 8-May-2013.

This picture shows the brown-level.  The brown-level is the concrete-looking material that goes onto the front, sides, and rear of the house.  The stucco will be placed on the brown level.

All the walls are all set up and all three fireplaces are installed.

29-April-2013, @ 1130 Hours PDT:

I visited our new-house-to-be and met up with PJ Hegarty. The framing for the stucco is almost done; and, the paddock is coming together quite nicely.

The thing that most excites me about our house is the views -- the views from our house are stunning. The following pictures are views from our penthouse:

The following pictures are neighborhood sites within a block or two from my house.