Thursday, May 29, 2008

Days 9 & 10 - Pane in the Glass

The sheetrock was hung in two days, but that is the end of the kitchen work inside our house for awhile. For some reason or another, (brainfog maybe? is there such a thing?) we just now placed the order for our windows. I knew it took weeks to get them in, but it somehow didn't dawn on either of us to go ahead and order them. After half a day of being a little sick over the wait time (which ends up to be only 3 weeks - which is really good for windows), we realize, it's really not a big deal after all because the cabinets have to be built. So, for the next two weeks, the cabinets will be built - base cabinets first. Then they will be installed, the countertops will be templated (yes, I know, not really a word) and ordered (which also takes two weeks), and the rest of the cabinets should be close to being done when the windows come in. Then the windows will be installed, the walls mudded & sanded, the tile installed and we should be back on track. So, long story short, no big deal after all (we hope). At least not today...

We are a little tired of living like refugees though...

Yes, that is our fridge in the foyer. The white paper was very neatly taped down by Jesus' son to prevent damage to the wood floors. We have a long path from the front door through the foyer, dining room, and computer room. We moved all of our junk from the two rooms being redone into the dining room. It keeps trying to spill over into the living room, so far we have kept it fought back. The computer room is a lost cause though.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 8 - We've Been Framed!

Well, the wall opening has, that is.

Day 8 was a day of big results. Most of the subfloor was installed and the section of wall between the two rooms was braced, removed and the opening framed. It feels like a much larger space now that it is one room, rather than two smaller ones.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Work you @%&!#!!!

I'm sick of feedburner not feeding to my account. Well, it makes it to my account but not to the main page that shows blog updates...this is getting frustrating.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gutter Prep

We decided to get an estimate for seamless gutters because over the past couple years the front porch floor has been slowly rotting away on the outside edges around the steps. We had the installers out to give us an estimate and was told we'd have to get the porch roof fixed since it dips down in the middle of the right side in the picture below. That was the result of a previous repair some years ago before we moved in. Apparently the same type of repair had been made because the bottom of the middle post was rotting. The replacement piece was cut too short and the roof sagged. Mi amigo, Jesus ended up jacking the roof up about five inches before it became level...Always remember: Measure twice, cut once.




Day 7

Well, actually we are further into it than Day 7, but we lost 3 days due to wiring that was going on and the power being shut off - well sort of.
Anyways, yesterday the power company finally got the power shut off and turned back on later that evening. So now we have our power panel in the pantry, the wiring for the kitchen and blue room roughed in and we have passed the electrical inspection - woohoo!

Today, our guys were back to work inside the kitchen sistering joists, installing subfloor and putting up the insulation. Those two rooms were the coldest in the entire house, as they face North and are pretty shaded.

It is so nice to come home and see a flurry of activity, bringing us closer to a complete kitchen and fenced in yard. The picket fence is getting pretty close to being done, the gu...oh wait, that is Chris's news to tell - it will be on here soon. Back to my part...
Jesus (a carpenter yes, but not THE carpenter) jacked up the floor 1.5" over by the pantry without any effort and installed a pier. Turns out that wall just didn't have any support under it. The pantry door just almost shuts properly now. Yeah, I know, we are thrilled about almost shutting!
Tuesday, they are coming to measure for windows (just for the two rooms) and we should have our countertop estimates in. Tonight, we ordered our stove, dishwasher (woohoo!!!!!), garbage disposer and sink. Feels like progress!

Glad I'm Not a Fence Builder!

The fence continues to get closer to completion. We built a normal 6' privacy fence at our previous house and I can say that I'm glad I didn't attempt to build this one. It would most likely never be completed if it was up to me to build. The amount of work the guys from Arkansas Fence Company have put into this fence is insane. After day four the 2x4 rails were up and the pickets were starting to go on.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fence Progress

After day three we had the pickets up on the 6' privacy fence/courtyard area and one of the gates installed. The fence posts here will also have ornamental caps. We are so glad we went with cedar pickets on the privacy fence, it smells soooo good in the back yard now. The picket fence will be treated pine because it will be stained white. More updates to come...


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

We're Posted

After day two (which was actually a few days ago), the fence posts were set. This fence has apparently caused quite a commotion in the neighborhood. You see, people saw the size of the fence posts and ASSUMED we were building a 6' privacy fence around our entire property. They didn't realize that the 8 foot 4x4 fence posts have to be set 2' in the ground, which leaves 6' of fence post sticking up out of the ground. The rest (little less than 2 feet) will be cut off at the appropriate height since we are adding ornamental post caps. The local lumber companies just don't stock enough 6 foot 4x4 fence posts to do an entire picket fence job, this is why 8 foot 4x4s are used. Here are some pics of the progress.


Day 6 - Kitchen Remodel

I'm starting to lose count of the days, but this is from the 6th day of work. I was so shocked to come home to find the sub-floor partially installed in the kitchen. It was no easy feat, for they had to sister the joists first. Although our joists were still very strong and sturdy, they were warped just enough to cause some nasty waves in the floor. I think Chris and I both felt like hugging the guys after seeing this!

We're having the power panel moved from outside the house to inside the pantry. It will be a lot easier for when we need to access it. Mike, the electrician, called the power company to have the power totally shut off for yesterday. Since there would be no power, the guys would not be able to work on the kitchen. The power company did not turn off the power, so it was rescheduled for today. The guys decided to start building the base cabinets at their place so we wouldn't lose time. Well, turns out the power company scheduled us for tomorrow instead, so tomorrow we will not have power. The good news is that the guys can still work on base cabinets, the fence can still go up (thanks to gas-powered air compressor), and Mike will finally get to finish our house so he can move on to his next project. It is just a little bump in the road, as most projects hit days or weeks where everything comes to a halt.

Today, Natalie and I looked at tile for the backsplash and floors, countertops and we got some window prices. I now completely understand why storm windows were installed over the old ones - OUCH.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Day 4 & 5 Kitchen Demo

On days 4 & 5, there was more of the same - it was hard to tell the two days apart. A lot of back-breaking, nose-clogging, dirty, hard work has gone into this project. While we didn't find any artifacts (much to Chris's chagrin) we did find some interesting things with the house's "bones". The kitchen window that was over the sink had actually been a full size window, the same as all the others. At some point before the asbestos siding was installed, someone had shortened it to accommodate the sink. So that raises the question (again), what was that room originally? Was there a kitchen before & if not, how on earth did they cook? After talking to some neighbors whose homes were built close to the same time we found out they originally did not have plumbing. So, we probably didn't either.

The floor near the doorway in the "blue room" has joists running both directions. Was the blue room added on later? The foundation says otherwise, but maybe that was changed too? The pic next to this shows how the porch roof attaches to the room. We're still wondering on that one too.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Clearing the Jungle

Work was started on the fence the other day. Mostly clearing out the brush growing along our property line. You don't really realize how much junk you have growing in your yard until it gets cleared out. The first two pics are in our back yard. A chain link fence that sort of made a court yard will be replaced with an arched 6' cedar privacy fence and the rest of the property (since we're on a corner lot) will be a 4' scalloped picket fence, white of course. We thought it was a good idea to put a fence around the yard because two-year-olds are actually quite fast and so are the cars that cut through our neighborhood...I'll rant about that later :)


Day 3 Demo & Kitchen Design

Here are Day 3 demo pictures of the breakfast room, or as we call it "The Blue Room". It started being called that the day we moved in, and although it has not been blue in a very long time, the name stuck. There was so much stuff that had no specific place when we moved, that we just told everyone to put it in the breakfast room. Which room? You know, the blue room. OH, that one, OK. So at the end of the moving day (and months later as well!), we had a blue painted room full of our junk. Below is the "blue room" down to the lath.

Below are some rough drawings of how the kitchen will look.

Before: We had a shallow single bowl sink, 22" deep base cabinets, and open shelving. There were no cabinets next to the stove, so we put a chest of drawers there for work surface & storage. It was a pitiful little antique chest that truly would be beautiful with a lot of time and hard work. It actually looks so bad that it was called "the burn victim".

After: We will have new cabinets all around with a bar, soapstone countertops, subway tile backsplash, a double bowl apron sink, gas range, slate tiled floor, and the two rooms will be opened to each other by removing a large section of that wall. The Blue Room ceiling will be coffered, and the walls will be paneled. The kitchen will have a tin looking ceiling, crown molding and schoolhouse lights. The wall between the two rooms will have transoms at the top of the opening.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Are you nuts?
A. Yes, did you really have to ask?

Q. Does Chris really get that worked up about "If Walls Could Talk"?
A. Yes, it typically takes more than it's time slot to watch because it gets paused and griped about so much - and no, I'm not kidding.

Q. Is that really a privacy fence being built around your front yard?
A. No, it's not, but that is for another blog...coming soon!

Q. So did you decide not to sell, or are you the ones who bought the house?
A. Yes and yes. The more interested people became, the more we realized we didn't want to leave. We also realized you can either fix or get over the things about an old house that drive you nuts. So we decided to fix the kitchen.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"If Walls Could Talk" makes me sick, or Kitchen Remodel: Day 2

So we've been watching the show "If Walls Could Talk" on HGTV. That show makes me want to puke but I'm totally addicted to it. For those who aren't familiar with it it's about people who remodel their old houses and find all sorts of treasures. The show then has an appraiser come in and appraise the items. Things like a $100,000 confederate general's civil war sword, Tiffany stained glass windows, or priceless coin collections or money stuffed in old pianos just to name a few. That's pretty cool, obviously everyone's dream who's remodeling an old house.

The thing that makes me want to ralph when I watch this show is that most of the home owners just happen to find the original blue prints to the house in a 150 year old antique dresser that was left in the house in mint condition (both the blue prints and the dresser). And to top it off, a "friendly stranger" just happens to drop off a bunch of old pictures of the house right after it was build along with the china hutch the original owners used in the house "because it belongs to the house, not me" they say...I can feel my blood pressure going up as I type.

So in doing our kitchen remodel (and watching the show) we were obviously hoping to find at least an old bottle inside the walls or something, nope. Two rooms gutted down to the studs and floor joists and nothing. We did happen to find the old wallpaper that was still on the plaster when they sheet rocked over it who knows how long ago.

Enough ranting for now...the dumpster is getting full.

Here's the progress after day two.

We noticed that when the old cabinets were put in, the window was shortened. We are keeping the sink in the same location but we will make the window as large as possible and still have room for the subway tile back splash and window sill trim.

This wall will be opened up and will have to be braced with a beam since it's a load bearing wall.

These two pics show one of the chimneys in the house.

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