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Last weekend I started on the back bedroom/hallway project. The plan is:

• Gut down to the studs
• Frame in the door to the outside
• Add a window to that wall
• Take out the existing closet wall and move the doorway back to the bathroom wall
• Add a real closet and a reading nook
• Rewire properly
• Add attic stairs to the hallway ceiling
• Lay down a plywood floor in the attic for storage
• New drywall and moldings


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

Friday all the inspectors showed up.

First was the electrical inspector. She actually arrived when I was on my way back from the hardware store so I talked her through most of it on the phone, only arriving as she was finishing up.

Everything passed, except one of the boxes in the ceiling should have been face-up (into the attic) for accessibility. She was concerned about the remaining knob & tube, but I convinced her that the rest of the house was running off it and I would be happily removing it room by room as I renovated. I had her look at the little subpanel, and even though she couldn’t officially “inspect” it since it wasn’t included on my permit she said everything looked okay.

(Apparently she asked Jen if I had an electrical background. She said what I would have, which is no, I’m a complete newbie, but I read books.)

Second, the building inspector. As I figured, everything looked good, except for a couple missing nail plates over holes through the studs. He gave me a pass with the stipulations that I install nail plates and insulation (which I already had on site) and that the plumbing inspector passed me. All good so far.

Then the plumbing inspector showed up, and I wasn’t done with running the PEX. I’d hoped he’d arrive later in the afternoon, but no such luck. In any case, it didn’t matter, since he took one look at the new tub drain and said it didn’t pass. There wasn’t a vent close enough to the drain, and Nate had installed flexible Fernco compression fittings (not the metal-covered ones) to connect the toilet and tub drains to the cast iron stack (which apparently aren’t approved for indoors, notwithstanding my plumbing guru’s book — maybe it’s just a Seattle thing). The inspector took pity on us and basically went outside his purview and described what he would do if he were the plumber and officially allowed to tell us what to do. Heh.

Now, at this point, we had a non-code tub drain, half-installed PEX supply lines, cuts in the old lines, and no water to the house. I was utterly exhausted, and Jen was dog-tired after removing about a million nails holding down the carpet on the stairs. Our plans for closing up this weekend so we could possibly have an operational bathroom by next Friday were quite obviously scotched.

So we discussed it for a few minutes and did what we should have done in the first place: called a plumber.

The plumber arrived about an hour later, looked around, came up with a plan, and handed us an estimate for just $1700 (and that was contingent on us doing all the necessary demo). We handed him a check and a house key so he could do the work on Monday, and went home planning to break into my current job’s 401(k), which up to now had been sacrosanct. (All of our credit cards were near the limit already.) He’s going to do the drain right using 2″ pipe the whole way plus a vent and a test cap, install the PEX supply lines correctly using 3/4″ tube on the main line instead of 1/2″, and install the shower valve, which is reportedly much more difficult than it looks.

Jen called her folks when we got home, and we got more good news: they were sending us a check as an investment in our daughter; it was supposed to be a surprise, but they figured they should tell us so I didn’t tap my 401(k) on Monday morning before the check arrived. It’s going to be enough to cover a lot of things and a huge load off our minds.

So we won’t have a completed bathroom by move-in day. Not possible. But it should at least be minimally operational by then, even if we have to hang plastic around the shower or at worst have to take showers at our friend Alexia’s house a mile away. The rest of the work can be evenings and weekends without having to drive twenty miles each way.

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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.

January 2015

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