September 29, 2007

The beginning of the end

I think I am seeing a tiny light at the end of the renovation tunnel.
Uncle James came by for a visit after his annual restful retreat to
Mohegan Island and put 3 days of labor into the house, as well as
donating some materials, and bringing his positive vibe to work-site.
It was great to visit with James and with his help we were able to get
most of the walls and woodwork patched primed. He is a rock-star in
every since of the word… besides not being particularly famous or
playing an instrument… or singing. Nor is he a rock or a star. He’s
awesome dude I’ve known my whole life. Thanks James!

The walls and wood being primed is great, but the big psychological
satisfaction came from beginning the install of the shower-surround
tile. It’s the first finish work to be done. Work that does not
additional work and looks finished.

September 28, 2007

Bathroom's a comin'

Here are a few pictures of the tile surround for the tub. Kinda looks like the walls of the F station at 7th avenue, but it'll make a great shower. I (Ilana) for one am impressed to see it there and look forward to my hot showers in the morning, especially with that little shampoo nook that Burris built for me :).

Here's a nice shot of the hallway, all newly painted, fresh and white.

Finally, for those who have seen the kitchen previously, I include these last shots for shock value.

The bathroom and foyer are gone and now the kitchen feels really open and spacious. We are planning to build a pantry behind that chimney and will have direct access to the backyard from the new doorway where the bathroom wall used to be. The stove will go in front of the chimney, along with (hopefully) a little island, time permitting.

September 22, 2007

On going going on

The house projects are almost at the end of the snowball. I didn’t
think I would get as deep into this as I did. I also realize that if I
had different standards I could have stopped before all of this

It started by ripping out some floor boards to run pipe to turn the
smallest upstairs bedroom into a bathroom. In the space between the
floors were the remains of a once thriving mouse civilization. Wood
chips from where they were gnawing the sub-flooring, rags in nesting
piles, corn-cobs, nut shells, and 150 years of rodent excrement were
heaped and scattered throughout. This necessitated the vacuuming under
the bathroom floor.

While vacuuming the crawlspace I decided I did not want the painted
pine plank flooring in the other bedrooms. I also didn’t want to remove
the planks, clean them, and then return them (pine planks don’t really
do it for me). For the same effort I could install a new hardwood T&G
floor which would look better and last longer. Taking out the planks
would also give me access to remove the sub-floor and vacuum away the
many mouse artifacts.

Well… with the floor up I noticed some old wiring that should be
replaced and I figured I could run some R19 insulation to help diminish
sound and thermal transfer between floors. The wiring turned into a
re-wiring of much of the upstairs, and also the running of some wire to
the downstairs lights that needed switches. The upstairs floor also
took a little dip at one end that could be leveled out, and expandable
foam could be used to tighten everything up and hinder future mouse

So adding a bathroom has expanded to a bunch of work that ought to get
done, and if it doesn’t get done now it will never happen… So I got
to get it done now. I guess this is typical of many home improvement

September 11, 2007

Bathroom progress

Here's a picture of the bathroom progress. The tub is in! The cubby to the right is going to be a linen closet (but Kerstin wants to make the shelves removable and keep the door to the attic behind them "just in case").

September 3, 2007

Working Over Labor Day Weekend

Burris is here for the month. He arrived in town last week and has been
minding the fort. It has been a great help to have someone at the house
to coordinate subcontractors, especially the mason who seems to have
created his own space-time operational construct. I feel kind of bad
that I have not had a chance to go out and have a vacation with Burris,
but I tell myself it will happen in the next week or so, when things on
the house settle down.

Ben, Ellen and Ilana's dad were up here this weekend and were a great help. Scott removed the divider between the living and dining rooms which really opens up the space. He also demolished the bathroom downstairs, removing hundreds of pounds of linoleum from the walls and ceilings. We discovered that there was a doorway behind all that junk where we had planned to put a door for backyard access. That was a cool bonus. Ben prepped and primed the doors and trim downstairs. It is so nice to have that horrible aqua trim back to a neutral white. It makes the whole downstairs look much more like a home. Burris worked on the wet walls in the bathroom and some more electric while I started patching the plaster over the chimney and in the holes in the ceiling. We got a tub this weekend and with any luck it will go in today or tomorrow. Now we begin the push to get the upstairs bathroom done.