balzacq: (Default)

Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

… Since the last post. And the bathroom’s still not done, dammitall.

I kinda ran out of PTO (well, not really, but I ran out of time I could stay away from work without making my boss mad), and then we moved in. You’d think that moving in would mean I’d be able to get more work done, but actually living here means I’m not alone when I’m here and thus liable to being called away to look after the baby, lift heavy things for Jen, install shelves in closets, fix the internet connection, and all the other obligations of daily married-with-children home life. Plus it’s very difficult to work in the evenings as either we’re eating dinner, I’m giving Jen a break from the baby, or they’ve gone to bed and the noise would wake either or both.

We moved in on September 25 pretty much without a hitch. We used Mountain Movers, who I have to recommend, as they were tireless, efficient, and professional. I managed to severely roll my ankle going down our porch stairs, and it still hurts two weeks later. If I hadn’t been wearing my combat boots I’d probably have sprained it.

Jen’s been getting lots of unpacking and organizing done. The house looks almost entirely like a home and not a storage facility, although we don’t have the books out yet — mostly because the parlor, where the bookshelves will go, is being used for temporary drywall storage.

Speaking of drywall, our friend Chris has been coming over on weekends to help out. Together we got all the necessary blocking (for nailing/screwing edges) installed, the outside wall insulated, the ceiling drywall hung (not that well, sadly), and about half the wall drywall and cement board hung.

Yeah. So, I’m never drywalling a ceiling again without a drywall lift. That shit is heavy. And next time, I’m cutting the drywall from the back side, because I guess thirty years of playing D&D and other tabletop RPGs has left me able to precisely conceive and measure a top-down plan but nearly incapable of measuring, drawing and executing a bottom-up view. Suffice to say that one piece of the ceiling went up fairly well with a minimum of fitting, but the second, more complicated piece ended up with either half-inch-plus gaps or overly-tight, creaking, breaking spots around the edges. There’ll be a lot of filling with joint compound in my future when I get to the taping stage.

Also, when I say we got about half the drywall and cement board up, I kinda mean the middle half, vertically. The plan is for 42″ tile wainscoting with drywall above. The walls are 95″-96″ high. Cement boards are 36″ wide, leaving a ~6″ gap at the bottom to be filled with a strip of cement board. Drywall is 48″ wide, leaving a ~4″-5″ gap at the top. I still have to fill in those gaps. (Oh, and I discovered that there’s a 1/2″ difference in the floor from one corner of the bathroom to the other. Luckily, the two walls on which I’ll have to cut base tiles at an angle will be mostly concealed by the toilet, sink, and dresser, so I hope it won’t be all that obvious.)

I’m pretty sure I can get the rest of the drywall and cement board up this weekend (Chris is busy). The only pieces larger than 36″x60″ are the closet drywall walls, which are standing on end and thus will be easy to maneuver and install. I need to install the floor cement boards, but for some reason I’m very nervous about mixing the thinset, even though it looks dead easy on TV. This is probably the same nervousness that makes me a lousy cook — when they say “mix until it’s the consistency of peanut butter” I get all anxious; do they mean creamy Jif, or do they mean that oily runny organic stuff? So I’ll be reading the directions very carefully and as much as possible mixing precise weights and volumes together.

I’ve already figured out how to cut all the remaining necessary pieces out of my three and a half remaining sheets of drywall and my nine remaining sheets of cement board, and then I’m going to have to figure out exactly where my tiles will have to sit┬ávertically to

  1. make an entirely seamless pattern extending from wainscoting to shower surround,
  2. end up with my top row of 2×6 black bullnose tiles overlapping the cement board/drywall joints in both areas, and
  3. not end up with slivers of tile either at the floor or at the tub/wall joint.

I was going to take precise measurements and create a scale drawing in Adobe Illustrator, but it occurs to me that just attaching a bunch of tiles together with masking tape and holding them against the wall will probably be easiest.

We just found the camera cable today, so I finally got all the progress pictures loaded onto the laptop. I’ll see about posting those tomorrow while Jen is off getting her hair done and leaving me with the baby (can’t drywall with a baby, y’know, so I might as well blog).

balzacq: (Default)

Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

Woop woop! We hit the neighborhood JACKPOT, or better stated ‘clangclangclangclangclangclangclangclangclang.’

So we put a lot of thought into our house purchase. It’s a fixer, it’s that worst house on the block that has the flexibility to be improved A LOT without over-remodeling out of the neighborhood. I specifically noted that all of the houses on our block seemed to be really well kept and to put in a way that really means something to me.. They all seemed loved, they all seemed like homes. So in the original drive by, I honestly bought the neighborhood, before we bought the house.

While we were doing the fixing up to purchase the house we got to meet one of our neighbors, one of their trees was touching our house and we got permission to trim it back. Last night we rented a truck from Home Depot and brought home a large dresser and changing table that we purchased via craigslist a bit back. We thought that it was basically light Ikea-esque construction.. Oh no.. This thing is sturdy, and weighs a TON. I think we could weather storms in it’s shadow. Bryan and I on each end did the ‘lift’ and I just had to immediately admit defeat. After exhausting some other resources and needing to get it out of the yard and out of the rain finally in desperation we went next door to see if our manly accommodating neighbor was home (my words, not Bryan’s ;) )and if they could help us. He was not, but another tenant of the house was there with his strapping teen son. The came straight over, made admonishing noises when I spoke of attempting to help earlier and carried that darn thing straight on in.

THEN sat and chatted with us about the neighborhood, about the strength of the neighborhood association, how that if we ever needed anything just to ’stop on over!’ You get to see this rarely as a renter and in all honesty I have blown off situations as a renter where I could have established it. But owning? Living here for the long haul? I want to know my neighbors, I want them to watch out for me, and my child.. and I them. I am invested. Not just in the house but my community. Now knowing at the very least one of our neighbors seems to feel the same, it makes my day.

balzacq: (Default)

Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

In exchange for nearly a thousand dollars in bribes protection money fees, the City of Seattle and King County have graciously permitted me to make improvements on my own damn house. Assuming, of course, that I do every last bit of work myself, because apparently if a contractor even looks at the house, they’re responsible for pulling the permits themselves.

Really, about the only upside here is that I’m covered for all the work I do for a solid year (18 months for the building/framing permit), and as long as I can squeeze everything into that timespan I don’t have to go back and give them more of my money.

I was somewhat nonplussed to find that only the building permit people actually cared about what my plans were. The plumbing and electrical just totted up the number of fixtures or switches/receptacles/lights/dedicated circuits and charged me a fee. I suppose it’s entirely up to the inspectors to certify that I’ve done it all right.

Speaking of plans, a spiffy new PDF showing all the structural changes to be done is here:

House Plans for Permit

This doesn’t show the plumbing or electrical plans graphically, but the scope of work describes what we’ll be doing to those systems as well.

First Day

Sep. 10th, 2009 01:45 am
balzacq: (Default)

Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

And we’re demolishing things already.

Really, we only went over there after we got the final confirmation to look around and poke things and claim the house as ours. Which we did.

IMG_0637

Jen, Thekla and I on our front porch

After which I smudged the whole house with white sage, and then — my Wiccan ex-wife would be so proud — walked clockwise around the perimeter of the property, athame* held high, and invoked the protection of the four cardinal directions. Now, I’m not pagan or Wiccan or anything else, but I got used to the ceremonies, and at times like this it seems like an important symbolic and metaphoric thing to do.

* Since I didn’t have an actual athame, I used a utility knife. Which came in handy when I had to cut through some blackberry stems behind the garage.

While we were waiting for our friends who live nearby to show up, Jen started poking at the “decorative” plaster in the dinette where it was flaking off. Underneath it was another of the tongue-and-groove boards that clad the walls almost everywhere, and that particular board was bowed with moisture damage. The previous owner who applied the plaster didn’t bother to repair the board; instead he just skim-coated over it to hide the bulge.

IMG_0639

Lousy stupid ugly falling-off plaster

I got out the hammer and the wrecker bar and started scraping away. In about five minutes I took off about three square feet — the stuff just came off in huge flakes, since obviously they didn’t do anything to prepare the surface and just slapped the plaster onto smooth boards. Yeesh.

Then we noticed there were more areas of flaking, and it came off there just as easily.

Jen gets her demo on

Jen gets her demo on

Jen originally sort of liked the Venetian plaster effect, but now she just wants it gone. We hadn’t really intended to do the dinette right away, but it looks like we’ll have to move it up on the schedule.

(I’m hoping that once we get all thousand-plus square feet of original 1930s tongue-and-groove board off the walls and ceilings, it’ll actually be worth something on Craigslist.)

balzacq: (Default)

Originally published at Casa de Lovely. Please leave any comments there.

The underwriters signed off.

The loan funded.

The escrow company courier took the papers down to the county courthouse.

Our real estate agent called to meet him so he can give us the keys.

Oh my god we own a house!

 
We’re about to head down there to take possession — to walk around, poke stuff, smudge the whole place with sage to get the evil/stupid out, etc.

Then tomorrow I roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Renters no more! Woo hoo!

January 2015

S M T W T F S
    123
45678 910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 22nd, 2017 04:35 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios