So much room for activities!

So much room for activities!

When we first bought this house I saw the wheelchair ramp and thought, “oh cool! We can have all our friends over to dinner and it will be kind of accessible!” But on further inspection we found that the ramp was really soft and spongey, and I was always worried that my foot would punch right through. It never actually failed and hurt anybody (as far as I know), so for whoever built it I say “mission accomplished”.

Still, it had to come out. Here are some before pictures:

We set up a demolition party with a few friends, and got to work. 

We had an axe, crow bar, a couple of sledges and a sawzall, and it’s kind of scary how fast it came out.

Hardly anything was *really* tied together.

A couple of portions were literally just floating on saw horses. Not tied to the house or the concrete, not even connected to the sawhorses. That made it easier to take out, but there was a ton of wood debris from the rot and whatever insects were eating this.

I don’t think that snails just abandon their shells, but there were a ton of empty shells underneath. Maybe raccoons? Possums? I don’t know!

The sledgehammers were put to good use!

There was also a really sketchy awning thing that was going to get in the way of tenting the house the week after next. It had to come down too.

Out of all the projects we have done so far, I have to say that this was one of the best. We got the thing out in a day with two dump runs with just a bit of debris left over, and we wrapped it up with some grilling and beer, plus a champagne toast thanks to our friends Amelia, Nick, Tomasso, and Hollis! 

The icing on the cake is that the stairs that were left intact under the ramp seem like they are good enough to last us at least a few years!

One sad part is that Penny had to hang out at the apartment for all of this. She’d have loved to be around everyone, but this definitely wasn’t greyhound safe.

Floor update 2

Floor update 2

It’s almost done! Apparently they replaced a little wood or did some other things to deal with stains, and we get to see it tomorrow. This is what we have from peeking before the final coat of finish:

Oh yeah, and it looks like we can get oil based urethane in California! According to what I’ve read, this stuff is often used for high traffic areas and commercial applications. If we are nice to the floors they should last quite a while. 

Also, I know that some of you are really here for dog pictures, so here’s Penny investigating the new toilet:

Floor refinishing, day 1

Floor refinishing, day 1

Last night we heard confirmation that the floor refinishers would start today, so we had to quickly remove everything from the house. It actually took about two hours to break down boxes, move things to the garage and kitchen, and take up the plastic from the bedroom, but we were ready.

It turns out that we don’t have a 240 volt outlet in the house, but the flooring guys know how to get 240 from the main breaker box. Honestly, I felt better with them doing that than risking them overloading an outlet, so I’m just going to think about how they’re insured and bonded and have a bunch of really positive Yelp reviews, and not worry about a slightly unorthodox way of plugging in their equipment. 

They got started though, and got a lot of the floors done today! It turns out that the inlay detail really is a darker wood, so it will really stand out after the finishing. 

We like the light color enough that we are thinking of asking them not to stain, or to use a really light stain.

There are still some damaged areas though, so we are going to ask how much they can repair and how much we need to hide. 

More updates soon!

Bathroom update 9

Bathroom update 9

This is exciting! The tile is grouted, the sink and toilet are in, the medicine cabinet is in, ceiling light is hung, and (crossing our fingers) no more broken tiles!

The ceiling light isn’t hooked up yet, we have a dimmer switch on the way. I had to get a little creative with this shot since I didn’t have my real camera with me. Here’s another take on that shot, including the work light.

Overall I think we’re really happy with the size of the medicine cabinet; we were worried that it was going to be too big, but I think it’s just right. 

A better picture would show that the window needs more work on the paint and texture, and so does the wall to the right. There are a few more finishing touches, but it looks like we could be totally done with it this weekend!

Bathroom update 8

Bathroom update 8

These guys are still moving quickly! Today they got the shower tile grouted, fittings installed, and baseboard tiling in place. They say that Monday they will grout the floor, and we are crossing our fingers that when they replaced the tiles they figured out how to keep them from cracking again. 

I’ll get a better picture when I can walk in there, but here’s the shower:

Here’s a picture from the living room, some of the original light fixture mounts:

I think we’re planning to change these out after we move in (not before) and we might pack them up for age keeping since they are kind of historic. We met some of our neighbors today, and it turns out that the woman who owned our house was actually born in it 86 years ago, and she lived there her whole life. 

The other thing we did today was pick up some more paint samples so that we can get the last of the interior paint picked out.

Bathroom update 7

Bathroom update 7

Are people into these tiny incremental updates? I guess I can consolidate them later. I know that when I did the bike tour posts it was interesting to go back later and see the chronology and what I was thinking at the time. 

Last night we had a note asking about the shower niche and requesting paint, so we let the guy know about how we wanted the borders and picked up the paint. I thought he’d make quick work of it, but I was still surprised to see this all so nicely detailed after another day of work. 

That’s really starting to look like something!  This is also another case of Kaitlyn having a better eye for this design stuff than I have. 

The grout that we picked out is a “platinum grey” color if I recall correctly, so it will keep some of this contrast showing the outline of the tiles, not fading into white. 

Bathroom update 6

Bathroom update 6

Ok, it’s not much of an update. They are continuing with tiling the shower, that’s nearly done. I can see that they have been mudding the wall, and the other guy we hired has been making good headway in the bedrooms. Definitely looking like paint this weekend! We picked out a color called “lullaby” for the walls, and some variation of white for the trim and ceiling.

The real reason I wanted to post tonight was because I finally remembered to grab my *wide* angle lens. Here are pictures for you!

Bathroom update 5

Bathroom update 5

Well… this feels like a setback. We are keeping faith in our contractor that they are going to fix it and everything will be fine, but as of right now we have about seven tiles cracked in half.

I’m not sure what caused it, as far as I have been able to tell they are following the manufacturer recommendations on everything. I’m no expert though, so hopefully they are. We have enough leftover tile for them to take care of this, and I was told they would cover additional if they need more than we bought.

Other than that, they seem to be making good progress with the shower. There’s more detail work that needs to happen, but I like the look of it!

This stuff is really run of the mill stuff with no “old house” or “uncommon material” curveballs to get in the way. Other than the floor tile repair, I’m still hopeful they can finish this week. 

In other news, we found somebody to prep the rest of the walls for paint, and if he keeps up a good pace then we will probably be doing primer this weekend.

This is the back bedroom, the one that is over the corner of the foundation that has damage. This guy was pretty convinced that the corner that looked water damaged didn’t need to come out, and after pounding on it a bit with my fist I’m ready to go along with that. 

Bathroom mini-update 4

Bathroom mini-update 4

Not much more to share yet, but here’s a shot of what the shower looks like today.

I think it’s going to be pretty stylish! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Kaitlyn has a good eye. 

We’ve been told that the end of this is going to go pretty quickly, possibly finishing on Friday. That’s super exciting! It will let us get started on the floors earlier than we though, and might let us get into the house as early as the first week of October, including a week for floor refinishing and a week for fumigation. 

I have to admit that I’m just a little nervous at this stage in the bathroom remodel. I’ve never done this before so I don’t have a great sense of how much work has been done compared to how much is left, but we have paid the vast majority of the contract payment as of our passed inspections, so I’m really trusting their good word that they will finish the job well and on time. I’ll have to talk to some people about how best to structure the kitchen contract (a year or more down the road) to limit my anxiety on that. If these folks do well then they might get hired for that too, so I’m not super worried that they won’t deliver. 

They seem to be doing a great job. I came in, and they had some cloth down to protect the floors as they walked in and out from the bathroom, and they are leaving things clean and orderly each night. 

It’s probably standard practice, but I appreciate seeing it and knowing they’re taking steps to get things right all around.