Monthly Archives: July 2011

I know I have been MIA for what to me seems to be about 4 months but I have been super busy trying to figure some things out. I wish that I could say that voila! it is all done and I was just holding out for the grand reveal, but unfortunately that is not the case. Now don’t get me wrong we are still chugging along, but we have hit some bumps that have slowed us down. (Sorry for the extended and overly used metaphors)

So first order of trouble is a nice surprise that we found doing some HVAC work.  Asbestos! Now before you go crazy condemning the project, me, and anything I have touched, it is important to learn about the extremely hot button word.  When the house was built around 1914, asbestos was used for its amazing ability to insulate.  It was better than anything comparable in the market, and it has very low conductivity levels.  The name asbestos is the nickname for 6 naturally occurring fibers that were used for insulation.  Many people are afraid that just having it in their house sitting there will give you lung cancer, but that is not the case. Asbestos is not like some dust that travels in the air for a while, instead it settles, and only becomes dangerously airborne to the person that disrupts it.  The kind that we had only covered portions of the house, and it was a thin paper-like form.  Most of it was perfectly intact and hidden in the walls around the outside of the air-vents, with no way of exposure, short of us pulling all of the piping out.  But since our society is conditioned to panic at the mere thought of it, we had to take care of the problem.  So we had two options.  safely encapsulate it using whats kind of like a thick icing that destroys any chance of fibers going airborne, or to take all of it out.  To take it all out would mean us losing about 2 weeks, and $5,000 for the same effect as the $1,300 encapsulation that took half a day.  We chose the first; it is still perfectly safe, and now we have documentation from an expert to show any potential buyer.

Second derailment.  Inspectors are interesting. I really do not want to say anything bad, so I will leave it at that.  But we have probably been slowed down by about 3 weeks now due to permits, subs being frustrating with permits and the inspectors.  I’ll give you a brief rundown of our latest grief.  The electrical inspector (who is also the framing inspector) likes to just show up on days that we have told him and he knows that he will not find anything new.  And, he wants us to rewire the entire house with these loaded circuts where the materials alone cost $1,200. That is ridiculous, and I am not sure how that one is going to play out (passed that one off to my mother, she has a great ability of getting things like this rectified).  In addition, he has admitted that he is not really a framing inspector, and therefore does not know what he is doing. So he came one day when I was not there, but the plumber was, and started yelling  and carrying on that the whole house is going to fall over and that so much work had been done and we need new permits and bla bla.  Well yes there is work being done, no it is not going to fall over, and no there is nothing different between the plans submitted and what is happening in the house.  So after my mother tried to talk him down from the ledge, he still wouldn’t accept us until we had a structural engineer come out.  So we did, and of course the one place we were concerned about, he was too.  The master bathrooms joists look like swiss cheese.  Since the house has gone through a couple of renos, lots of piping has eaten up the structural integrity of the wood.  The main problem with this… My beautiful kitchen with floor to ceiling cabinets is directly under this.  So for the two unstable beams we need 2×6 beams under that eat into my kitchen, with additional 2 2×6 beam running through the middle.  I worked around a way to still make this kitchen beautiful, it just screwed us up since we were hoping to install the cabinets this weekend. It is never smooth sailing, I can tell you that much. (this house is forcing me to talk in cliches, I swear!)

So in short, the new supports needed are slowing us down probably by about another week since drywall and rough inspections are dependant on these beams now. Despite that, some things are defintely coming together. Here is a much needed photo update.

Had to tear out the ceiling in the porch because the guy before us did it wrong, it sagged, it was leaking, and well it was just ugly and cheap looking.

Windows the way we inherited them. I swear, none of them are even close to level.


Windows with trim! In person they seem about twice as big now.


Niki working on cabinets


sneak attack!

beautifully level floor, it was my mother's puzzle.

Messiest painter ever.

Master closet. Not a walk in, but 14' of closet space. not to shabby.

More trim!


Yes the beautiful dark wide planked bamboo flooring is in! And my sister and I celebrated by carrying in the 73 30lbs boxes in the height of this heatwave.  It was just wonderful!  In addition to that, I have been working on framing out the windows.  We are going for a more simple wider trim that is more congruent with what was probably in the original house (I wish I could have seen it!).  It also will be a nice balance with the modern touches of the house. Its simple and clean, and I promise to show you pictures soon!

So this weekend I was out of town, but my family hauled butt to get things along this weekend. Look how awesome they are:

Isn't she so much more beautiful? Soon all of the green will leave this place and it will really look great!


The new master bedroom!


Also. My sister is a rockstar. Look at what she did in 2.5 hours:

Piles of junk we've been collecting

So these posts have taken more time than obviously expected, but they are wonderful. Or at least I hope the rest of the world thinks so. Half of it still needs to be painted, along with the flooring, but since painting is my favorite that will be a breeze.  Here are some pictures of our progress.

So I completely feel like this project is a never ending list of things that you cannot quite finish. That is the hardest part about this project, that you can never seem to fully check something off your list. While we think we are done with demo and framing, the plumbers and electricians need more cut out to get to the walls, or more support to put anchor onto.  It just never ends. But hopefully by the end of this next week things will start coming together.  The last couple of days I have been working on the front porch to increase the column size.  I decided to make my own column wrap instead of ordering manufactured ones.  By doing this, we were able to save around $1,000 dollars and i am able to create the exact style that I think fits.  But, after a malfunctioning nail gun, trying to freehand rip down boards and  sub contractors needing questions answered (respectably so) I’m not quite as far as I would like to be.  Thankfully though I am starting again tomorrow with more help from the boy! I will show you the results of our FINISHED columns. I promise. I need to check something off my list, and I will soon!

Yesterday was one of those days that wasn’t glorious but it had to be done.  I had the lovely pleasure of tackling the basement, and this means removing dead mice, despidering millions of spiders and cleaning up what my guess is cat puke. YUMMY! Also, I get to scrape down the walls to remove the efflorescence, which is a bacteria that causes bubbling on the painted cinder block.  After all of this, I will get to paint and make this place livable.  I don’t want to do much to the space since its bone’s are already in good condition. It just needs to be made pretty again. Or atleast as pretty as an unfinished basement can be.

So yesterday was a great deal of adventure.  We got to experience a nice little tornado. Luckily nothing was damaged. But a 50 foot tree crashed through live power lines and came within inches of our fence. We are so lucky.  Look at what almost hit us.

Here's just another picture of the damage (Oh and that's my sister making a sad face like a 4 year old, isn't she precious)

We were so lucky that nothing hit us, even though it did cut out our power for 2 days which made framing a little more complicated, but that’s ok, we persevered.

In other news, we continued with the framing. Being a hundred year old house, there were some really awkward corners, or things that we did not quite understand, so it makes framing a little more frustrating. Just like how the ceiling in one half of a room can be 3/4 of an inch higher than the other side. Big old pain in the butt I tellya. But the process pretty much goes:measure, measure, measure, mark, measure, cut, check, scratch head and swear when it is magically too short and begin again.  But through that, I have learned a lot about the entire process, and I fully understand how hard demo and framing really is.  Next time I want to design a building that is so complex it does back flips and has an internal maze, I might think twice.  Here are some pictures, enjoy!

The new second bathroom!

New closet door for one of the bedrooms


This is the new wall for the master Suite. We pushed it back 2 feet to expand the space and allow for a closet. Once we finish the cathedral, this room is going to be gorgeous.


Also. I had to do it. Remember this?

And this?

Well that is most certainly gone!

Here is just the base coat for the living room. Its going to take a lot to mask those squares. You can still see dimension of it.