Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Home & Garden Show

Sign up to win a series of annoying phone calls! OK, most vendors at the home show offer some real prize like a house full of windows or a free chimney sweep if you sign up. But the truth is your chances of winning the prize are slim, while your chance of being repeatedly called by the vendor and pitched to buy the product are 99.9%.

Anyway, last night we visited to Home & Garden show at the Expo Center. While we are in a good position in that we have actual referrals to most contractors and can also use Angie's List, it was useful to meet some vendors. We learned some information regarding replacement windows and I also collected some information on glass block companies in Columbus. I have to go over the info to see which company is offering the best "home show special".

Monday, February 26, 2007

The end is near

At least the end of the Martineau-demolition work is approaching. We got in another 2 good hours tonight. I pried up vinyl tiles in the kitchen while Mr. Martineau went "domestic" and hit the first floor rugs with the shop-vac. Every time we take down a ceiling (like in the kitchen), the entire first floor is covered with a nasty black soot...all the way to the front of the house! So our brown shag rug becomes a shadowy black. Eric attempted to abate this with the shop vac. This required him to change the vac filter or shake it out in the back yard about half a dozen times. And then he changed the furnace filter...if you recall, the furnace went out last week because the filter was so clogged it forced it to shut down. One week later, the thing was black again (kitchen ceiling soot, no doubt). But we stocked up on filters at Lowe's and will faithfully change them now! I finished the kitchen floor (see the previous post for an in-progress view) and lucky us! Kenny had not picked up our weekend dumpster yet, so I piled EVEN MORE stuff on top of the already over-loaded beast. We wonder how he gets the thing out of here without an avalanche of debris, but we assume he's got some professional tricks up his sleeve! We still had some framing timber in the entry room, so that made its way out to the shed for possible reuse and we called it a day. Next steps include taking all of the tools and extra stuff home. We're thinking of having another open house this weekend for any of you who saw it "before" and want the final tour before the contractors start their work so stay tuned!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A "tile" pile

This is the plywood kitchen subfloor and the growing pile of vinyl tiles we are tearing out. Looking up at the floor from the basement it is evident that the whole mess, joists and all will likely be replaced as the PO did some "creative plumbing" that involved drilling LARGE holes in the kitchen floor joists to fit his pvc pipes.

And yet more junk

This is the final look of how much we packed into the dumpster before we gave up the fight this fine Sunday. Looking closely you'll see that we fed it the "new tile" from the kitchen. Still got 2/3 of that floor to tear up, but it's going!

Kitchen coming along

While E ripped out wiring, I removed the remaining plaster and lathe from the kitchen walls and ceiling. We loaded as much debris as possible into the dumpster. The top pic is the wall between the kitchen and entrance room. One day it will be open to the front. The second pic shows a similar angle, but also reveals the subfloor where we started tearing out the vinyl stick-on tiles. Luckily, the green marble tiles were afixed on top of white vinyl tiles. Both come up rather easily with a prybar and a little force, but after 2 hours of labor, we were tired and gave it up for the day!

No more wiring on the second floor!

Eric took out all of the scary wiring on the second floor on Sunday as well as the remaining light fixtures and drywall up there.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Funny face

Eric covered in ceiling soot.

Double dose of work

Saturday we got a double dose of housework. We got to the abode at 10AM and hit the kitchen. Ceiling plaster and lathe were flying when a contractor arrived for an interview and to check out the scope of work at 10:30. We spent the next hour and a half walking through the house, showing the "bones" to these two guys. They came highly recommended from friends in the Short North who have had work done by them on businesses. We liked them alot (as we have others), but we have to see the bid before we make any decisions! When we were done we headed to the BIAC to donate the kitchen sink, cabinets and multiple ceiling fans (two from the kitchen, one from our current house that we upgraded for the possible future sale of the property). Home for a thorough shower (Eric looked like a coal miner) before we went to the German Village Society old home workshop. It was a very informative class about how to research the history of your house. It was both fun and informative, if highly geared towards German Village properties. We went straight from there to Hilliard to pick up the French doors in the photo above. We are proud to say they are another craigslist score (can you believe they were $20?!) We think they have potential to be the doors for the study on the first floor. Then BACK to the house for another round of demo/cleanup on the kitchen. We had to give it up about six as it was getting too dark to see. Home for another big shower!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Whatcha gonna do with all that junk?

Watcha gonna do with all that junk? All that junk in your dumpster. That junk. That junk. That junk that junk that junk! Here lie the remains of the kitchen demolition, the old fluorescent light fixtures from the basement, oh, and our Christmas door wreath (sorry neighbor Bob, it was time to go!) This is dumpster number 6 as it looked after our Friday filling session.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bring back the HEAT

To coincide with the coldest Ohio February on record, the furnace ceased to work over the weekend. While we tried to soldier on, not a lot can get done in full snow gear and when you can't feel your fingers... you can't feel it when you hit your fingers with a hammer. While that sounds like a good thing, it's not. So we called our home warranty company and had an HVAC tech come out. $100 deductible later, we were once again feeling some warmth. Turns out the massive dust storm that was created by tearing out the old basement wiring caused the furnace to crash. Makes me glad we were wearing dust masks.

Despite the cold, while I waited for the tech to arrive I did manage to tear out the first floor wiring in the dining room, bath area, study, living room and guest bedroom. So, that just leaves the kitchen and upstairs wiring to be torn out.

Other news: Monday an electrician and a different HVAC contractor walked through to give us quotes on the rebuild portion of the project. My hope is that within the next two weeks we will have ironed out the construction issues and can start coming to terms with contractors.

This week has warmed up, the snow and ice are melting, and we have a dumpster on order for the weekend, so we should have a productive next few days.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Progress resumed

We went to the house today and spent 3 hours stripping old electric wire in the basement. This involved first hooking up every utility light and lantern we had (4) in order to be able to see in the dark cavern that is our basement. We moved from room to room taking out all of the cloth-covered wiring and the porcelain fixtures, etc. Tons of rusty staples and random nails got the boot too. We only had a few scares. The first was when we thought Mary had accidentally cut the furnace thermostat wire. Luckily she cut one that looked exactly like it, but not the one telling the furnace that it is indeed freezing upstairs. We're not sure if we severed the water meter line or not and since we've cut the water, it wouldn't have anything to register anyways, but we're pretty sure the City of Columbus will be perturbed with us if we did. We're certain that our eventual plumber can remedy that. Then we spent 1/2 an hour or so cleaning up. We believe we have a concrete floor throughout the entire basement, but it appears to be covered in a very fine layer of dirt that is virtually impossible to get rid of. Sweeping just seems to push it around. For "fun" we emptied out the "wine cellar room." It's a little room just off the first one in the basement. Mary swept up umpteen piles of dirt while Eric removed debris from the upper ledge. With all of the wiring and old fluorescent light fixtures removed, the ceiling looks considerably higher (it's probably just at 6 feet). We discussed painting the ceiling while all the wiring is removed b/c it would be much easier. Maybe when it's warmer!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Work Stoppage

While we are close to completing the demo, the snow & ice storm on Monday has stopped us cold (pun intended). It's difficult to get around town with the roads such a mess, and it's too cold (zero degrees right now) to be traipsing outside to dump debris. So, we took a Valentine's week break. I'd guess we'll tackle some work over the weekend and finish up next week when the weather is supposed to be in the balmy 40's.

With the down time I have been contemplating all of the work we need to have done and I'm freakin' out over the budget. But hey, who needs a completed kitchen, right? Oh yeah, we do to get our certificate of occupancy... I guess it really doesn't matter in the sense we can't turn back now.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cool stuff we found today!

Top pic = free floating crown molding. Just hangin' out on the ceiling. It wasn't attached to any wall when we found it. Just sittin' up there under the dropped ceiling looking cool!
Middle pic = a transom window (with glass) and the door crown hidden above the dropped ceiling over the door to the basement that used to be the door to the wrap-around porch. It is the ONLY door header that we've found in the entire house and we're delighted to have something to inspire our future trim. Note: it nicely matches the free floating crown molding!
Bottom pic = the transom window over the back door. Also glass. I plan on removing it and using it for stained glass practice!
Uncool stuff we found today and won't torment you with photos: half a dozen mouse mummies.

Kitchen BEFORE and AFTER demo

Top pic=kitchen "before" as in exactly what it looked like when we bought the house.
Center pic= back of kitchen after Mary & Eric get to it. All cabinets, drywall and little stubby wall are GONE!
Bottom pic=front of kitchen. Note the mobile fridge. It's where we've stashed everything we don't want covered in dust! It is in front of a wall that will someday be obliterated to make an opening to the entry room. That shot also gives you a good idea of the work that remains tearing down the plaster & lathe ceiling. Note how high it is! This is another room in which some PO dropped the ceiling to 8 feet from 10. And then installed TWO ceiling fans treacherous to anyone over 6' tall!

Where's a dumpster when you need one?

This is the debris from this weekend's kitchen demolition. Hope the neighbors don't notice the mess!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Demolition Dervish!

Brian takes his destruction seriously. Not only does he come with his own jumpsuit and tools, he cleans up whatever mess he created. Here he is working on the studs in the water closet. We heart him.

Take that!

Our stylish friend Suz in her "autopsy" jumpsuit give a kitchen wall the "what-for"...this is our pre-injury photo.

We love our friends!

Brian and Suz BEAT US to the house on Saturday. Mr. M spent the AM tearing down some kitchen walls and ceiling, then fetched me at work. We were on our way to the house when we got the call that they were already there and waiting for us. It's amazing what two extra sets of hands can accomplish. Brian ripped out all of the remaining framing around the old bathroom "water closet" - it's just a lone toilet now! Suz and I tackled the plaster, lathe and drywall in the kitchen. E was our ace cleanup man shuttling all the debris to the backyard (we've got a new white trash pile started...sorry neighbors!). We curiously discovered that the brick walls in the kitchen (the interior ones) are only 1 layer of brick deep. With missing mortar, you can peer into the entry room from the kitchen. Oh well, they're likely coming down anyways and that should just make it easier! It was going grandly until just before Bri & Suz decided to call it quits and Suz took one last whack at the wall...and it whacked her back. She now sports a gouge over her nose and we'll be looking for bruises in the morning. Sorry Suz! Photos include the lonesome toilet and what remains of the kitchen wall. The stuff clinging to the bottom of the kitchen wall is a royal pain to get off. The plaster was reinforced by some sort of meshing. The PVC pipe was the washer drainpipe. It will go tomorrow!

The Return of Skeeter!

Skeeter (or one of his kin) returned to spent a cold couple of nights in the Havahart trap. I found this fellow Saturday morning. As we had not been back to the house since Wednesday night, he might have been there awhile. He was still quite lively, so I let him go in the back yard and he ran 8 feet away then started to eat snow. Must have been a bit dehydrated. Mebbe' dat'll learn him not tuh go tresspassin', darn varmint!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Yes, it was that cold!

Can you read that? It says ZERO...or maybe just a little colder than ZERO!

The house from whence came trim

What did you expect? It was very dark. It's the best we could do!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

We got our trim fix off Route 66!

Not snow nor lack of electricity and zero heat (that was the temperature outside too!) could keep the Martineaus from their trek. Right after meeting with our architect and a potential contractor at the house, we headed out 33 past Marysville, west on 274 through tiny towns like Jackson Center (home of the Airstream) to Route 66! And just off this mythical byway was the little farmhouse from whence our legion of doors were rescued by a guy named Ben. It looked like it might be a picturesque venue in the daylight, with two adjacent barns and a pond, but it was hard to tell in the dark (we arrived at 7)! With demolition imminent (like, happening the next morning) we sought to remove any worthwhile remaining architectural details...primarily the trim. When we arrived our trusty guide, Ben, had already been working for an hour. He broke the bad news that with the demo (actually a burning) slated for the next day, not only was the electricity shut off to the house, but the owner had removed all of the windows as well. That made it an even colder undertaking! There were a ton of windows that were now just open cavities creating frigid crossbreezes throughout the house. A couple neighbors had apparently also wanted some trim and stripped the prime window casings and door crowns. We started in an upstairs bedroom and strategically placed our lanterns and flashlights to light our work area. Ben pulled a blanket from his car and tacked it over the window and the difference without the wind was remarkable. Upon arrival I speculated we'd last about an hour with the temperature, but once we started earnestly prying up the floor baseboard, we got the feeling back in our fingers! The routine went something like this: pop the quarter round off the base molding, wedge a screwdriver in behind the main piece for leverage, pound with hammer to create a space big enough for a prybar, work prybar down the row to get molding off wall, set piece aside and start on next wall. In each corner there were nifty little finish molding pieces that we saved a number of, especially from the closets at they were completely finished with floor molding too! So we hit the 3 rooms upstairs. Then Ben scavenged another door for us from the basement...which was a pretty good place to hang out (though a little sketchy getting down the rotting steps). Since it had no windows and was underground it felt remarkably "warm" by comparison, though I'm sure it was all of 30 degrees! I loaded all of the molding into the car while Eric finished the last room upstairs and Ben removed the basement door. Over the stairway to the 2nd floor, about 6 feet above the stairs, was an opening to the attic. Ben must have abnormally keen eyesight as he picked out the profile of a door in there twenty feet away with his flashlight. A plan was hatched to get Eric into the opening (it was 4-5 feet tall and 3-4 wide) via the "Ben Ladder." Ben braced himself on the stairway under the opening and Eric stepped onto his thigh then shoulder, then into the attic (pretty good teamwork for a guy we'd only briefly met through Craigslist - btw, did we mention he's a big guy?)! Eric carefully made his way along the beams toward the door Ben had spotted. On the way he found two more five-panel closet or cabinet doors for keeping that were passed out and down through the opening. Then a large five-panel interior door. There were also a number of glass windows, screens and a screen door frame that he looked at, but left. The whole "floor" was covered in 6" of foamy insulation (as was each door he saved). On his trek back, Eric spotted a door handle sticking out of the insulation. He went to collect it only to find it was still attached to a out that came too (and that one has bee-yoo-tee-ful hardware!). We got Eric out of the attic and went to the remaining room on the first floor that needed the trim removed (and a hapless frozen-stiff sparrow). Thankfully (and inexplicably), the windows were still in that one, so it was "warmer"- until we took the door to the outside off. Its floor molding was slightly fancier, so maybe that had been a parlor. It also had a transom window that Ben rescued for me (the only one in the house). The first floor was significantly windier thus colder and about this time we decided we were "done." We loaded the trim from the 1st floor Ben had removed before our arrival into the van, wedged in the extra doors, paid the kind man (almost not as my pen was so frozen it wouldn't write a check), took a few pictures, removed the working outdoor thermometer as a souvenir and hit the road. It was 10 PM.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Working on my day off

First thing today after dropping Mr. Martineau off at work, I dropped two sinks and the tub at the Habitat for Humanity Build it Again Center. That earns us a small tax deduction and less space taken up in a landfill. In the afternoon I went by to the house and "cleaned" it in preparation for our walk-through with a potential contractor and our architects on Wednesday. This basically entailed geting rid of the huge plastic tarps we used to consolidate falling debris, putting tools away and then 2 or so hours of vacuuming. It took that long b/c the Shop-Vac attachment is only 4" across and in order to pick up anything it had to be run directly across the carpet. So I covered about every inch of the four rooms on the first floor stooped over (filling 3 shop-vac bags and killing 1 filter). Having so diligently tidied, naturally I had to create more mess. It's quite easy knowing that the electric wires have been cut to all of the outlets. I tore out the baseboard trim on the wall in the kitchen that backs up to the entry room. Two appliance outlets came off with that. Then down came the drywall in nice big pieces. In case I'd been missing it, I found thin beadboard panelling under the drywall. Thankfully, we still had the dumpster and in it went. In KNOW that there's brick under there somewhere, but the currently exposed layer is plaster and lathe. This is something of an anomaly compared to the other walls we've uncovered. We've found plenty of drywall over panelling over plaster and lathe. Or drywall over plaster over brick. This is the first plaster and lathe over brick. So now we ponder whether this used to be the back of the house and the kitchen was an addition. In the "exciting possibility" category, "Ben" of the marvelous farmhouse doors phoned yesterday to offer us the trim from the same house that is to be torn down. Bad news is, it's scheduled for demolition next Monday 2/12...although the owner is threatening to burn it down if he gets a still day between now and then. We are tentatively scheduled to drive up to New Bremen (where the house is) on Wednesday night..after work, after the walk through, after a 2 hour drive...and remove the trim in the dark from the freezing cold farmhouse...anybody want to accompany us on this field trip?

Sunday, February 4, 2007

And from the ceiling rained...

Most of the crap that falls from the ceiling we shovel into plastic bags, toss in the dumpster and don't give it a second thought. Occasionally something interesting catches your eye and you go...OOH treasure! Like the key from the Canton Furnace Co. in Utica, N.Y. That was midway through the bathroom ceiling and I could hear it bouncing around as I whacked the plaster so I caught it before it even came down. Then there's the piece of cardboard from over the bathroom toilet "closet" which hints at the house's past...scrawled in cardboard it says FURNISHED ROOMS BATH. Eric thought the house may have been used as a rooming house since the living room pocket doors were created to be sealed and have their own private entrance. The homemade signs says he may be right!

Dumpster #5..Buh-Bye!

Includes plaster, lathe and drywall from the bathroom, the old sink vanity, the big ole sewer pipe from the basement (thanks Clinton!) and the bathroom walls and flooring. Not as chock full as some of our previous efforts, but worthwhile nonetheless!

Plaster is messy & I've no where to wash up!

This was the bathroom. Today we removed the plaster ceiling. The first photo nicely shows what's left of the closet that the toilet was in and the bare plywood floor left after yesterday's escapades. The second photo shows where the tub was and the window we uncovered. The last one is the tub and sink where they are now...on the back porch awaiting donation to the Build It Again Center!

We cut the power!

We cut the power yesterday. More specifically, our electrician, Mark did. He cut all the lines of old wiring from the box in the basement and set up three new ones. A direct line for the furnace and two quad boxes to run extension cords upstairs for little things like temporary lights and power tools. Now we can strip all of the old wires without fear of shock (electrick shock- not "being appalled at how awful that wiring is"). Before he arrived we started the quest to fill our fifth dumpster. Then Eric turned off the water to the bathroom and removed the rest of the tub. Next came the sink! Once the fixtures were gone, it was pretty easy to remove the "new tile" (self-stick vinyl tiles attached to a single sheet of old vinyl that peeled right up). Nothing but easily sweep-able plywood subfloor now! With the fixtures gone, that meant we could also remove the walls arount the toilet (which we've not removed "just in case" we need it). The toilet itself was set into what looks like it used to be an old closet. Eric and I tore down those walls and then "just for fun" decided to take out the dropped ceiling (at this point hanging by a few beams that looked like they could crash down at any time). The drywall panels popped off pretty easily exposing the two-by-four frame that was leaning to reachable height and pretty easy picking! That exposed more of the upper wall over the toilet that Eric had decided was where "they hid the money" so our last splurge was to rip that down. We discovered lots of old cloth drapes and clothing (insulation?), a glove, but no cash. At this point we decided to call it a day, much to the delight of my hungover husband (what a trooper!). This entry is dedicated to our loyal friend and reader Ann who pointed out last night that we hadn't posted since Tuesday. Happy reading.