August 27, 2007

Renovations to Second Floor

It is I, Ilana, returning to the blogosphere! It's been a while since I last posted and so with Kerstin pretty much tied up with work and house stuff, I feel it is my wifely duty to at least report on our progress to the world. Being pregnant means I'm pretty much useless when it comes to all other aspects of the renovation anyway. There's so much to report. 2 weeks ago, my Dad came up from New Hampshire and helped us out over the weekend. He and Kerstin took out the crumbling wall of the master bedroom and removed the floors. They found a bunch of scary knob and tube wiring and a gigantic pile of rat droppings and corncobs. My Dad worked tirelessly all weekend, and vacuumed up every last turd from the floor. I think he filled the holding tank of Kerstin's giant shop vac to the brim 4 or 5 times before the mess was cleaned up. It looked pretty good when he was all done. In the process, he discovered an Indian head penny under the subfloor from 1864. I think that the original carpenters must have dropped it between the floor boards when they were building the house and it's been hiding out with the mice ever since. We thought it may have been a rare coin and eagerly searched the web for the latest appraisal value. Sadly, it was only worth about $11, dashing our hopes for financing the new floor by auctioning it on Ebay. Ah well. It is a cool keepsake nonetheless.
Last week Kerstin's friend Burris came out from LA to give him a hand. Kerstin has worked with him on several carpentry and renovation projects in the past and we're thrilled to have his help for the next month. He'll be staying with us until the end of September. Burris removed the old knob and tube wiring and ran all new wiring for the entire house. I'm so excited to have fresh romex and wall switches in every room! We plan to put in new lighting fixtures in most rooms and have added a few circuits for new fixtures in the bathroom, hallway and kitchen. The plan now is to insulate the floor under the bedrooms and bathrooms and then lay down a new subfloor. I bought some wonderful beech hardwood flooring for the bedrooms and the landing. Burris should have it installed in a week or so. Kerstin and Burris also framed out a new doorway for the master bedroom and will be framing a new wall this week. So much fun!

August 8, 2007

renovations Begin

The renovations begin! It took a little while but the cleaning and
getting stuff cleared out phase is complete. We had a couple runs to
the dump, a garage sale, and some ‘charitable’ donation action.
Although I believe they were the charitable ones for taking the stuff,
not us for giving it. All the appliance are living in the garage now,
and will most likely be sold/given away in the new future. The house is
clear enough to start working.

The way I figure it, there are 3 areas for this year’s renovations
(places to concentrate to make the house livable by winter) 1- the
upstairs bedrooms – two get remodeled, one gets turned into a
2- The downstairs living area (living room, dining room, tea-room).
These are pretty easy fixes and mostly just need a litte plaster and
paint work (I hope). 3- Kitchen and bathroom. Big renovations for the
kitchen and downstairs bathroom, knocking out a wall, running plumbing
and electric, I haven’t had a chance to design it all.

I expect to have three bad surprises during this first process; things
I didn’t foresee and will take extra time and money to sort out. I
already discovered the first, failing brick in one of the chimneys.
What I thought was failing plaster turned out to be cracked and
shifting brick. The chimney has a metal sleeve inside so the bad brick
isn’t a fire hazard, but it looks bad and I wouldn’t want to
plaster it
(too rough). So after a bunch of calls a mason finally called back and
will replace the bad brickwork.