Thursday, April 26, 2007


So once again we have some water penetration in the basement. Not nearly as bad as after the earlier storms, but enough to cause some puddles. So the battle continues.

I mentioned that the western neighbor's gutters are full of debris and overflow when it rains. (This is the rental duplex). I tried to contact the owner and wrote her a letter about the gutters and I never heard anything. And nothing was done, either. Well, I found out why the owner hasn't done anything... the house is in foreclosure! Of course, this makes it VERY unlikely that the owner will do anything to maintain the property. But on the bright side, new owners may be in the picture soon. So, if you have some spare cash, and are interested in investing in real estate which may need some work, let me know...

Friday, April 13, 2007

Securing and stockpiling

So today another contractor walked through the house with the drawings. While he did that I attached a piece of plywood over the window facing the backyard in the guest bedroom. When we were doing demo it was just too easy to pitch stuff out of the second floor window into the yard. Alas, on one of those overzealous heaves, a piece of drywall hit the top half of the window and put a crack in it. Just a crack, nothing serious....until that galeforce guster we had earlier this week. Apparently it was blowing full on at the house and it was just too much for the compromised glass. It blew into the house. Eric cleaned up the mess and put up a plastic bag for temporary purposes. Today I carefully balanced on a stepladder, braced the piece against the wall with one hand and maneuvered a power drill/screwdriver with the other to secure it...I am woman hear me roar! Then I set up a nice little elevated spot in the "wine cellar" and stacked all of the wine rack pieces and most of our doors to get them out of the way of future contractors. Having finished that I remembered that we still have a living room full of trim that will need similar storage....but that's for another day!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Man Against Nature

Chapter 2 in the battle against basement water penetration. The good guys have achieved a victory!

Yesterday there were two rather heavy storm cells that poured down rain on Columbus. As the major storm system a few weeks ago left an inch +/- of water covering part of our basement floor, last week Eric cleaned the gutters again and modified the gutter system to discharge into small channels leading away from the front of the house. He also cleaned his neighbor's house's downspout and channelled it's gutters away from our house. Now, the fact that the neighbor's gutters barely work but instead pour water between our houses is still a concern, but that is another battle.

So it rained pretty hard yesterday. Twice. During the first downpour Eric stopped by to survey the system. It was working, with the water flowing away from the house rather than just pooling nearby. The real test? Checking the basement this morning. And it is dry! So at least as far as the rainfall from yesterday, the good guys seem to have weathered the storm.

Other news: Yesterday one of our contractors walked through the property to be certain the scope and nature of the work was clear before submitting a bid. Which was a good thing, as the contractor discovered a couple of issues with the drawings that need to be changed (we don't want a porch ceiling built across our transom window!) Another contractor is doing the same this afternoon, so we will hopefully have some bids in the near future.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wine Rack "Before"

These stacks can be assembled into three adjoining units which will hold over 300 bottles of wine (laughable as our current stock never exceeds 24). There's an attachable corner unit which will house all of Brewmaster Martineau's brewing supplies. So about 150 of those can hold fermenting bottles of Eric's draughts. Someday many months from now, perhaps we'll have an "after" photo for you!

Promised Pics

OK, here we go.
#1 A stack of the side trim pieces for windows and doors
#2 The crown to the pocket doors- look it fits! Oops, a little piece cracked off, but it's fixable!
#3 A window crown at the base of one of the windows

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Free trim (and Jim) ROCKS!

Our admiration for our friend Jim grows. We met him at his house this evening to pick up more “pieces parts” that he doesn’t need for his renovation project. Tonight’s bounty included several more doors, half a dozen door jams (complete frames), more window & door framing and dozens of random pieces of quarter sawn red oak (or QSRO as Jim’s shortened it). Once again, he was a trooper and helped us haul all the stuff out to the car. And we helped him lug additional doors out of his basement. OK- we made out way better on that deal! Pictures will be forthcoming! Promise!

Monday, April 9, 2007

A trip to Chicago...Ok IKEA!

So for Easter weekend we jumped on Hotwire and got a sweet deal at a 3.5 star hotel- the Hyatt Regency Woodfield- in Schaumburg (& it's rated 4 stars on Travelocity, but with the anonymous Hotwire system, you don't know until you've paid), trust me- it's a bargain. Our purpose was two-fold: visit Grandma Mac and idea-shop at IKEA. Our first task was accomplished. We dropped in on G-Mac upon arrival Saturday afternoon and again after breakfast on Sunday morning. We had two charming visits, the second augmented by the arrival of my uncle, aunt, cousin, her husband and their 3 adorable girls.

Then it was off for power-shopping at the big blue and yellow box. We picked out our dream kitchen cabinets, a leather couch and numerous other components...on paper. What we actually took home was two sinks. This one for the bathroom Now all we need to do is find a cute cabinet for it to live in.

And this beauty for the kitchen

And eveything else was purely hypothetical....until we got to the ground floor (IKEA newbies here's your tutorial: you start at the top floor and work your way down)...and there we discovered a brand new department for organizing...your attic, garage, basement....and your wine cellar! Now, for those of you who have come this far with us from the outset, you are aware that there's a funky little side room in the basement that we christened the "wine cellar" before we ever put a bid on the house. And this is the silly little "fun" project that Eric and I like to fanatasize about while ignoring the practicality and cost factors of making such delusions a reality...until we hit the ground floor of IKEA and realized that their assemble-it-yourself-version would run us a couple hundred bucks...a fraction of getting the thing online (albeit higher grade wood than your standard IKEA pine) ...and this is why I ADORE my I'm willing to wait on this until we're further along (reluctantly) in the project, he's all, "let's buy it already!" Fortuitously, Girl Friday had the room dimensions scribbled in her planner and from there it was quick multiplication and division to determine how many pieces parts we needed (and a separate cart to stack it all on). When we started there was a pallet of wine bottle the time we picked through them for the choice ones there was a stack. Someday we'll have an assembly of these:
in our little cellar. Do stop by for a glass of wine or a bottle of Eric's homebrewed beer!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Devil in the Details

We received the construction drawings and have delivered them to a number of contractors to provide quotes. The north and south elevations look great! While the plan will not significantly change the front of the house (except for a proper front porch), the back will be quite a bit different.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Oh how we LOVE Jim and his trim!

So, we know a guy. And he's renovating a 1902 house on Schiller Park in German Village. And he's retained all of the historic character of the place, and re-arranged some parts and restored others back to their glorious past. And the place is looking fabulous so far. And when it was all said and done, he had various and sundry pieces and parts left over. A couple doors here, a stack of window crowns there, and framing and molding and lintels and such. And this darling man offered to let us pick through them and see what we could take for use in our own house. And this evening after work we did just that. Jim led us down to the basement where his contractors had neatly stacked all of the leftover trim and doors and told us to "have at it." We were permitted to load anything into the VW van that we thought we could use.

We started with the doors. We thought we'd start easy with a little (thinner than the others) 6-panel door. It is THE heaviest door I have ever carried. Jim delighted in informing us "That's because it's quartersawn old growth red oak!!!" (This was the first, but not the last time we would hear that accolade throughout the venture! In fact, it was intoned any time he thought we were wavering about taking a piece "but it's quartersawn old growth red oak! You can't find that anymore! Your trim guy will figure out something to do with it!) It took Eric and I carefully maneuvering it up the stairs and around corners to the car moving VERY slowly and extra cautiously to avoid dinging Jim's newly stained trim. Two more six-panel doors and a french door were all (of the doors) we could fit. We are happy to report that no trim was damaged during the door transplanting.

Next, our eyes fell upon a stack of window crowns and LIT UP! Every window crown in our house was looonnnggg gone. We know that they were there once upon a time because their imprint was left on the old wallpaper and plaster. We gleefully loaded them all into the van and noted that they were perfect for our place as our home is the same era (1903ish) as Jim's. Next up was piece upon piece of framing for the windows and doors. At this moment Jim had the brilliant idea to open the basement window and feed the trim out of it and straight to the car....perfect. Halfway down the pile we discovered two very long, perfect crown pieces..."What were these for?" I inquire...figuring they were so awesome that we'd figure out SOMETHING to do with them..."Those were over the pocket door, silly!" says Jim...WOO-HOO!!! (Yes, that deserved three exclamation points!) Assuming they fit, we've got original crowns for the ones we uncovered! And the casing for the pocket doors was there too (was)...and many door frames (ciao)...and baseboard trim (sayonara)...and a large pile of lintels (gone). And the marvelous James donned jeans and a t-shirt and spent over an hour helping us load it all into the van (we think he was sneaking extra stuff in there he wanted rid of too). Tis good to have friends. THANKS JIM!

"I'm giving you a two minute head start and then I'm calling the police and tell them you were raiding my house!" (They never caught up to us so we assume he was kidding or he forgot!)

We headed straight for the house and unloaded it all into the living room. And this night visions of lovely historic old growth quartersawn red oak trimming our windows and doors will dance in our heads.