Showing posts from 2010

Hardware, Restored

One of Eric's fortes outside of architecture and building is restoring antique hardware. You can see the results here. These are the original door knobs after some work with the grinding wheel (with abrasive brush) and 'wipe on' polyurethane. Unfortunately not all the hinges were solid brass, so some of the brass finish is gone, but thats hidden most of the time anyway on a near exterior door.

with all the trimmings

Rick the finish carpenter came up from Indy this past week to start tackling all the trim work that needs to be done. All the trim on the first floor is red oak with Minwax Ipswich pine stain. Not too dark. The dark horizontal piece at the top of the window is mahogany, nice idea from Eric.

Rick made a rack to store all the trim since it was all over the floor for the past few weeks.

Restore the Door!

Eric pulled the 42" wide front door off for a much needed restoration. Other than the door slab, it has been completely rebuilt. I should have took some before photos..
Derek is a relatively new addition to the crew, and has been doing a good job with all the finishing and refinishing of woodwork. He's bringing new life to the front entrance!

winter again, it happens every year..

Once Oct 1 came around, I knew it was time to take care of any last minute jobs that required outdoor work. Derek has been helping Eric stain/varnish all 12 wood windows (3 + 5 + 4). Here's a shot of the 2nd floor work.

Hopefully we'll have the trim in the house next week, get some of it finished before install.

There's Sabine, one of our cats. doing nothing as usual.

Tile Inlet

After much shopping, debate, estimates, etc. Eric and I found a 5/8" mosaic marble at Designer Stone Outlet on California that caught our eye. Its being used for both the entrance and fireplace surround. Since the tile is substantially thick, Eric got a suggestion from another tiler to bring the tile right to the edge, giving it a continuous look.

We look at cultured stone (imitation stacked slate, etc.), which was nice, but didn't seem to fit in right. I think if the fireplace itself were larger and woodburning, that might have been a better choice, but this is more of a inset TV nook than a fireplace. :)

We picked up another laborer to help Eric with the finishing items, particularly the stain/varnish of the windows.

Most of the trim will be coming from Wood World and some from Owl Lumber.

This is the front entrance and inside 1st floor. The border is onyx.

This is the completely stripped pine door we'll be using for 1st floor bedroom closet.

Now that the basement has bee…

Shiny, Happy Floors (and People)

AB Bogdan Flooring came in and put down the red oak flooring. Very nice. It has a double-band mahogany border, and 'Ipswich pine' stain.

After some tile work, the doors and trim are up next.

Strip Club, off Highway..

The crew (Eric, Stewart, and now Ken) pulled out the old doors, door jambs, and trim that have been in the garage all winter for stripping. We're keeping the four 84" tall doors (standard door is 80" now), all of which are pine. They'll be used at the entrance and 1st floor bedroom and bathroom. Eric has them pulling the old lacquer off with Citristrip rather than a nasty paint stripper (if you've ever smelt paint stripper, don't!)

semi-public art installation

I know you've seen something like this outside the MCA before.. I call it 'Chaos and Progress'.

Doesn't it look put together with photoshop?
it's all real, i'm not kidding. Even the stair steps.

pearly gates of primer

The stark white walls with sunlight make it heavenly! Reminds me of the George Burns film, 'Dear God' from late 70's. I don't think they had movies for kids back then (that i recall), I remember movies like 'High Anxiety', 'Dear God', 'Star Wars' (of course), 'Jaws', 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind', and 'Superman' at the Menlo Park Mall theatre in NJ. I digress...

Eric and Stewart tried the spray gun on my recommendation for the first day, it worked but was really a pain in the butt, from what I hear. They switched to ol' roller and brush for the remainder of the job.

I have to pick up some entrance and fireplace tile today so we can get the floors going.

masked primer!

Stewart is back on the job with Eric. One of his first tasks was to acid (mild solution) wash the exposed brick walls in the utility room. After that the entire place is getting a coat of paint primer while its easy to do so. They'll also paint the ceilings before anything else is installed (flooring, trim, etc.)

Thanks ED! Drywall up and in..

HUGE Thanks to my buddy Ed for helping take care of some last minute framing/blocking and proper vinyl window installation before the drywallers showed up the next day. Ed noticed the 2 vinyl windows were just held into their opens with a couple small pieces of wood the night before the drywallers were going to show up. Being the can do guy he is, he properly installed them with screws, 2 beads of caulk, and spray insulation. WHEW! He stayed up late two nights in a row to take care of all the miscellaneous tasks with me. It was a hoot.

Isaac and his crew stormed the house with more than 186 sheets of 5/8" drywall this past week. It's the biggest transformation since the demolition. For those keeping score, he charged me $16/sheet for hanging and taping, labor only. We ordered 200 sheets from Menards last week, and they dropped it on the curb using a forklift. Isaac's crew took the drywall in one piece at a time, and then a 2-man crew hung the drywall in 2.5 days. …

Visit from Stay Puft Marshmellow man

ECOTEC came out on Wednesday morning to put in the spray foam insulation. Amazing stuff! It's like 'great stuff' through a fire hose, but much better. Its more expensive that normal fiberglass insulation, but FAR superior, and installed very quickly. Its really amazing how it covers every nook and cranny. They even did the ceiling which will eliminate the noise from 2nd floor.

Reminds me of when the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man exploded in Ghostbusters.

The photo shown here is BEFORE they came back to shave it flush with the wall studs.

The place is amazingly quiet after the insulation was put in. Its like an anechoic chamber.

Here's a promotional video:

first drywall!

Eric and I sweated through Sunday putting a few select pieces of drywall. The drywall crew will put in most of the drywall, but we need to have a few up before the foam insulation guys show up. In areas where we want to have foam insualtion between rooms (living room/foyer wall show below) for both temperature and sound, we have to have drywall up on one side of the wall so the foam has something to stick to.

You can see some of my low voltage wiring work here. The white cable in the center is 14 gauge speaker wire for rear-channel 'in wall' speaker. The front room will be completely setup for 5.1 sound! So much for afternoon tea in the living room. :) I ran a beefy RCA cable to the same area for a powered subwoofer.

Inspector sign-off complete!

We got the ventilation signoff today! The photo shows all the work Eric did on the bathroom and dryer venting.

Eric has been working on some of the more difficult firecode drywall work in the utility area. We don't expect the drywall crew to deal with that.

With all the rough-in signoffs complete, we can move on to insulation and drywall. This place will finally take shape. We've grown tired of looking at open walls.

A few good men.. and a really heavy object

Before Dino came over Sunday morning to install the A/C condenser, I needed help from a few able bodied men to hoist the condenser up to the roof. Nathan and Angel were up to the task after some ribs from Fat Willy's (awesome!) and a beer.
I tied a cargo net from a single rope, then looped a 2nd rope through the rings to carry the condenser. Nathan and Angel were up top pulling the condenser up, and I was pushing from the bottom on a ladder. It was far too dangerous of a situation, but it went quickly.

This guy taught me how to tie the cargo net, found it on you-tubular (blatant 80's reference for fellow gen-Xers).

lull in the action..

There are a number of miscellaneous items that need to be taken care of before the cellulose insulation goes in, and drywall goes up. Rick the carpenter is out of town for the week and I've had some difficultly getting the last bits of electrical and plumbing taken care of. oh well.. Now that Evie and I have moved upstairs, living comfortably, we're getting a bit complacent. uh oh.

2nd floor windows and move-in

Rick did an amazing job putting the existing window 2nd floor window jambs and casing back into place. Before the new windows went in, he was able to take out the old casing and window counterweight pockets without tearing up the drywall. Big points there. He had to create some extension pieces to compensate for the new window sizes. Definitely the work of a pro! I like that he changed the width of the window jamb to get the window casing flush with the drywall. It really looks tight, like fine furniture.

Evie and I moved upstairs last week. New furance is working already, and cats feel really at home again. so do we! First floor rehab continues. I have to finish small plumbing, electrical, and ventilation stuff before getting the drywall on.


Pitor (Peter) and crew at Electric People completed the rough-in electrical last week. Big job! I haven't gotten the total number of outlets, switch boxes, recessed cans, and light boxes from him yet, but he pretty much did the entire first floor and new service.
Here's the list:
- rough in electrical for 1st floor and basement new construction
- connect into existing 1st floor electrical (kitchen/bath)
- connect existing 2nd floor electrical to new box
- new exterior lighting around front entrance (with photo-cell sensor for switch)
- new 200A service going into two 100A panels
His guys did a really amazing job bending the conduit every which way possible to work around the steel I-beam and keep the conduit out of the way. I had to work closely with Pitor to make sure everything was done properly according to modified electrical plans. It wasn't his fault this job was pretty complicated and I'm really picky. In the end the city electrical inspector signed off and complimente…

Apolitical Platform

The 'platform' for the sanijet tub is ready for plumbing. Rather than building 2x4 supports on the outer and inner wall, Rick went with a single 2x6 since the surrounding platform is only 5" wide finished. Here's plan for finishing this off. I'm writing it down since its a bit confusing.
1. build platform with durock top (not sides yet) 2. drop in tub with 1" foam representing mortar set, and with tile sample on top 3a. set overflow/drain in tub 3b. set PVC drain (P-trap) in hole below, access through shower side wall (squeeze in between studs) 4. mark holes for platform mount tub faucet 5. remove tub, overflow/drain attached 6. drill holes through durock/2x6 plate 7. install valve and copper plumbing 8. wait for plumbing inspection!
9. install durock on walls 10. wrap everything with Schluter Kerdi for waterproofing 11. install marble tiles with Schluter Rondec only on TOP of tub platform 12. wait for tile to set 13. pour 1"+ inches of mortar on floor for t…

Barn Raisin'

Since only 2% of Americans are actually part of agriculture (growing the food 100% of us eat), at least 99% of us do not get to participate in a "barn raising". I think the closest we city-dwellers come to a barn raising is large window and door installation with more than 2 people.
My friend Ed happened to have a entire set of scaffolding in his garage. Rick (carpenter) and Eric (architect/carpenter) were on hand all day to setup the scaffolding TWICE. We had to move it to put in the left 2 windows above the porch. Petty Officer Ed showed up a bit later to help put the rest of the windows in. His military experience was apparent. :)
Having factory-installed brick moulding on the windows made the install much easier, since all that was needed for the exterior was backer rod and caulk in the 1/4" gap.
Thanks to Ed, Rick, and Eric for putting in a really long day and making this happen. I've was concerned about this big job even before I applied for a permit, and…

Disneyworld for Hamsters

Sorry hamsters, these are plumbing drain and vent pipes, not your fantasy Habitrail. Most of the framing is complete, so the rough-in plumbing has begun. Electrical will start next week. Angel and I ran the HVAC PVC 3" intake and exhaust up through the 1st floor bedroom to the 2nd floor HVAC closet over the weekend. Now that the weather will be warm and sunny this week, we can pop another hole in the roof and set the PVC in a "pitch pan". Photos forthcoming.

pipefitting, HVAC, framing, tub placement

I found a local union pipefitter to install the new gas lines running from the front of the building throughout the house. He's doing a great job so far, Peoples Gas will be in on Wednesday morning to hookup his work to the main line coming in, and install the meters.

Dino connected the plenum to the furnace and main trunk this morning, then we worked on the remaining ductwork the rest of the day. I would plunge cut the 4x10 opening for the heat registers, and Dino would bring up the boot from underneath the floor. We're going to run two 3" PVC lines from the furnace almost straight through to the roof for the furnance intake and vent. I'm not sure how we're going to make the holes through the roof. I think I'll need a coring drill. I need one anyway to make the holes for the bathroom/toilet room venting.
Since the SANIJET tub arrived on Wednesday, Eric and I were able to carry it into the bathroom to figure out the placement, etc. There are a lot of things goi…

Keeping it in da Family

Lots of the rough framing has been completed, including the new stairs. Evie's cousin, Dino, is a full-time HVAC repairman, and he's installing the entire forced-air system. Dino, his friend Eric, and I spent all Saturday installing the ductwork. We ran into a couple of interesting problems. The old (but really solid) floor joists are 9 1/2 inches deep, so we couldn't run 6" round into a standard vent boot that would allow orienting the vent parallel with the windows. We're using the "torpedo" on all the vents. The vent will be perpendicular to the wood flooring, rather than parallel with the windows. I think it will look fine since the flooring installer will put in the wood registers flush with the floor. You'll barely see them. Once the entire system is installed, I'll have some photos of all the bells and whistles.

Eric (standing on stairs) is a design/build architect helping out with the design details, and giving me second (and third) opino…

unjust parking ticket (not related to home rehab)

Sorry for the post on the unrelated topic. We received a parking ticket for "within 20' of a walkway".

There are two official violations that could apply, but do not.

Park within 20' of Crosswalk where official signs are posted

On the side of street that the car was parked, there were no applicable signs posted.

Stand/Park Vehicle 6' High or greater within 20' of crosswalk
The Honda Accord is not 6' or greater.
So, this was an unjust parking ticket. The Honda was parked approximately where the black sedan is.

what's behind door number 4 ? 32.0 x 81.5

This door is in terrible shape, it has been abused. I don't think it will be reused.

what's behind door number 3 ? 29.0 x 81.5

This is my favorite door of the lot. It was on the old bathroom downstairs, likely not in its original opening, since it was planed down 1 inch on the hinge side. It's unfinished on one side, I think someone had previously stripped this door, but only put polyurethane on one side. It has some nice wear marks that you would have to pay for at Resoration Hardware! :) I definitely want to reuse this door, just have to find the place for it.

what's behind door number 2 ? 32.0 x 84.0

This door was at the top of the stairs to the english basement (now being converted to master bedroom). This door overall is in good shape structurally, but has had a latch and debolt lock installed. Also, on the back side of the door, there are huge scratches from a large dog. This goes to show why I'll never want to have large dogs in the rental unit on the 2nd floor! I think the deadbolt hole can plugged with wood.