Plan B.

24 10 2010

Up until this point, you could say that all of the things we’ve done to the house have been in preparation for a much bigger project… that project being the addition of a second story onto the existing house.  Our grand plan was to start the second story on a weekend when we had a few extra sets of capable, skilled hands [read: not mine] in order to get a lot of work done in a short period of time.  Of course, with all things [especially remodeling!] the details don’t always fit nicely into your time frame.  We learned this the hard way while trying to get our building permit.  [Apparently they want to know certain obscure details like whether or not your existing foundation can indeed support additional weight… who knew?!]  So, despite being a little disappointed to not walk out with permits in hand, we bucked up and went home to dig a hole in the basement.


Yes, a hole.  In the basement.  The basement that has a concrete slab floor.  When the guy told us that we could either dig a hole ourselves to find the footer [the foundation of the house] or hire a structural engineer to come out, inspect, and write a certified letter stating his opinion of the integrity of the foundation, my first thought was, “engineer, of course!”  Eric’s first thought, however, was SLEDGEHAMMER.

Apparently you can make quick work of such a floor with only a sledgehammer and a shovel.  But seriously, don’t try this at home.

The good news is we found the footer.  The better news is that it’s big enough to add onto the house.  But, just to play it safe [and to make sure we don’t get turned down for our permit again], we did have an engineer come out and take a look.  Better safe than sorry, I guess…


So, owing to our lack of a permit [we’ll get it eventually, don’t worry], we had to go with Plan B, which was to do some more prep work from the inside so that when the time comes to actually take the roof off, the floor system and the walls for the upstairs will already be built…we’ll just need to put all the pieces together and then put a roof back on!

I’d like to take a moment to personally thank everyone [Eric, Eric, Brandon, Brian, and my stepdad Jeff] who went up in the attic to shovel/scoop/vacuum out the loose insulation so that yours truly did not have to face any fears of heights, ladders, or trying to balance on a 2-inch-wide rafter or risk falling through the ceiling.  Because it was a LOT of hot, dirty, dusty work.



That is LITERALLY dust flying in the picture above.  Aaaaaa-CHOOO!

look at all that crap...

I think the neighbors are glad we have a fence.  Sorry, neighbors!  [I think we apologize at least once a week.]


After the 432483248930240th bag of insulation was sucked/shoveled/scooped and tossed outside, the fun part began… the DEMO.  We figured if we couldn’t go top-down, we’d go bottom-up!

Step 1: pull down all of the yucky fake ceiling tiles.

Step 2: demolish plaster ceilings.

Step 3: remove lathe from plaster debris.

Step 4:  add lathe to ever-growing burn pile in backyard.  Marion County, you can lift that open-fire ban anytime, thanks.

keepin' it safe, don't worry.

[and the dust continues to fly…]

I’ll tell you what, tearing out the ceilings and removing the insulation from the entire house certainly gives it a more open feel.  [I know, that’s kind of a “duh.”]  Then we decided that while the house was a mess and the furniture was on the front lawn, why not tear down a couple of walls while we’re at it?  Because that’s how we do things around here.

a little sledgehammer therapy? don't mind if I do!

The two little walls that made up the dining room doorway… gone.  The wall between the dining room and the kitchen… gone [which also means several kitchen cabinets went with it.]

The end result, however?  Waayyyyyyyyy better flow from one room to another.

Tell me that doesn’t just about blow your mind.






safety first!

18 10 2010

I would like to take the opportunity to highlight a few of the ways that we live life on the edge here on Park Avenue.  Those of you who have been a part of any sort of remodel undoubtedly know that there are times when you’re just forced to live with certain things in their temporary state for a period of time; maybe you don’t have time to finish, maybe you’re waiting for the fertilizer on the money-tree to kick in, or maybe you’ve set a date to start a particular chunk of the project and so you’re sitting around waiting for that day to come.  We have encountered at least one of each of these types of situations, and as they start to accumulate, it gets a bit comical. So, don’t go calling OSHA on us, but I’d like to give you a glimpse of a few of our “safer”solutions.

A byproduct of our first project (french door installation):  the 4-foot dropoff to the patio below…

Not the best angle, but we’re keeping a 5-foot ladder outside the door just in case you didn’t bring your Go-Go-Gadget legs with you. Heckling dog comes at no charge. (Or maybe he just likes having his picture taken… haven’t figured that one out yet.)


After we tore out the wall that the fridge and stove were sitting on, it became obvious that the outlets they were plugged into were also, well… gone.  Solution?

We’ll just run an extension cord up from the basement, of course!  Of note, that 2 in x 4 in hole was our only “basement access” for a couple of weeks after we added sub-floor where the old basement stairs had been.  Not gettin’ too much laundry done that way, that’s for sure…


Also, when you take out walls that have electrical boxes in them, you probably need to make sure the boxes stay so that you know, have power and stuff in that room.

But with no wall to stabilize them, they kind of swing around like jungle vines.  So we just used the protruding nails/screws to hook them together.

Painters’ tape holds things up quite nicely, as well.  You know, because it’s, um, super sticky.


We keep things pretty safe outside, too…we’ve only lit the lawn on fire once!  Well, maybe twice.

We may be the reason Marion County enacted their open-fire ban.  Just a thought.

When Eric finally got tired of not having any clean laundry, he decided it was time to create a new point of entry into the basement.

But this is about as far as we got.  In continuing with our trend of replacing stairs with ladders, Eric put an 8-footer against that wall.  But it’s about 9-10 feet down, so there’s a bit of acrobatic maneuvering involved in actually getting down into the basement.  It took me the better part of two weeks to get up the courage to attempt it, but the AT&T repairman didn’t seem to mind having to climb down to fix my internet hookup!  We put a couple of chairs over the hole keep people (and dogs) from falling in. Don’t worry, someone would have warned you before you tried to sit in one… hopefully.  Houseguests, fair warning: you’d better bring a hard hat and a flashlight (for those midnight bathroom runs).  And maybe a sleeping bag… because the extra sheets are covering the sliding glass door in the living room.


treasure hunting.

11 10 2010

Yesterday we headed out in search of some architecturally-appropriate [and cost-appopriate, read: CHEAP] pieces for the house.  The plan was to poke around at a couple of different salvage places in town, specifically to find a couple of windows for the second story.  I soon found out that these places change names, owners, and locations rather frequently… much like the reclaimed items they sell!  Some are open at odd hours, some are only open on the weekends, some literally change locations throughout the week.  Sounds like a treasure hunt, right?

We hit the jackpot on our first [and only!] stop:  a tinker’s market set up in an old warehouse near downtown…at least that’s what the sign said it was, anyway.  We found the windows we were looking for, and the guy told us that he would throw in the lead paint for free… yesssssss.

But the real jackpot was sitting right across the way: two beautiful gumwood leaded-glass French doors!

treasure! although it wasn't exactly buried...

There are a couple of broken panes that need replacing, but they were a STEAL.

the money shot... original hardware and everything.

The funny part of this escapade came into play when we realized we needed to take these doors with us.  And they’re 7 feet tall.  And there are two of them.  And they were closing up for the day, so we didn’t have time to run back home and trade my car for Eric’s work van.  Thank goodness Honda makes their backseats fold completely down, and the opening was juuuuust wide enough, but they were still going to hang out the back of the trunk a little bit.  We also didn’t want them to rub together, but of course yours truly had just removed the bag of blankets, jumper cables, and other vital emergency gear (like a frisbee!) from the trunk a couple of days before.  We had to make do with two yoga mats and a handful of reusable grocery bags, but there was still some serious clanking going on back there.  I don’t think I drove over 25 MPH the whole way home for fear of rattling something loose [and we still hit more than a few bumps in the road], but we made it home safe and sound… and treasure intact.


6 10 2010

[Apologies for the lack of updates over the past couple of weeks… my interwebs at the house are BROKEN!]

I called Eric on my way home from work for the usual check-in, and to be honest, he sounded a little strange.  He kept rambling on and on about how “the guys had made a huge mess at the house” and that I needed to “get over here right away”… odd, but I humored him and headed over.

And what did I find, you ask?!

WHOA.  No wonder he was acting strange.  He lost an entire wall and was trying to come up with a way to tell me!  Did it vanish into thin air?  Get knocked down by the dogs, in the middle of one of their roughhousing sessions? Was it stolen by some hooligans that figured out that our new French doors didn’t really have hardware (and a lock) at the time?

Oh, that’s right.  “The guys made a huge mess.” Which they then cleaned up (praise the Lord!)… which meant that I didn’t have to clean it up.  Hooray!  Double hooray!

And now, for your viewing pleasure… our way more spacious kitchen!

Ta-daaaaaa! [Who cares if the stove is currently sitting in what used to be the bedroom closet? That bedroom’s going to be a bathroom and a staircase soon enough, anyway.]

And one more, just ’cause I like it.  From the deck. 🙂

No, don’t worry about the dangling electrical boxes.  We like to live on the wild side.  😉