Saturday, June 30, 2007

Full Speed Ahead

Can't express how happy I have been with the progress of the Phillips Renovation crew, and I'm not just saying that because we gave Ray & Carolyn the URL for this blog. Every day there have been workers on site and substantial progress is made. With that in mind, we have hired them to also handle the re-roofing of the whole house. Be nice to keep the momentum going.

As a picture says 1000 words, listen to these:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Get higher, baby.

The framing crew put up the first new rafters for the peaked roof and also framed out the dormer wall for the master bedroom. Quite a sight seeing how much higher it makes the second story appear.

Below you can see how the new peaked-roof is visible from the front of the house.

Yesterday also saw the fence company tear out the fence separating our yard from the condos next-door. The condo owners assoc. had approached us about their desire to replace the old chain-link and rotting stockade fence. We agreed to share the cost for the portion running between our properties. Dave from the condos did all the leg work getting the bids and talking with the company. But when I arrived to check in with our framing contractors, I noticed that the fencing crew had sunk a fence post in our front yard when the plans called for the fence to end at the back-corner of our house! A quick call to Dave and it was all worked out (they mis-read the drawings), and the fence installers were actually very cool about it. They were VERY grateful that I caught the problem before the concrete had set. So they pulled the post and set a new one in the correct spot. Here's a photo showing how far they were extending the fence. The guy is actually removing the post.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Razin' the Roof!

Uh, wow. I mean, WOW. Yesterday the crew demo'd the roof. While the plans called for a new roof line for the back 1/2 of the house, seeing the old roof and beams gone is a weird sight. Take a look... Here is the "before" picture from back in January.

And here is yesterday's work:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day 5 with Contractors

Yesterday the crew installed blocking between the new joists in the kitchen and dining rooms and then began the assault on the roof. Before they started on the roof Ray and Caroline asked if the new bedroom floor height resulted in any change to the dormer or window locations. I spoke with our Architect, Steve Hurtt, and the consensus was no, there was still plenty of room in there.

Here is a photo of the new hole in our roof. I was a bit concerned that it was not tarped over last night, but I was assured there was no rain in the forecast for last night. Now today, that's another story. We will see.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

$67.00 Cheaper

Saturday I loaded the van with the 70+ lbs of electrical wire we pulled from the house as well as a couple of iron pipes and a section of aluminum gutter and soffit pieces. I took the whole pile to the local metal recycler and netted $67.00 for the effort. Now, it was satisfying enough to know that this stuff wouldn't end up in a landfill, but I'm not above smiling at a small financial bonus. Heck, it'll buy a light fixture for the new place.

Otherwise I spent time inventorying our old door stock. We have some really nice options, but then my mind starts to dwell on door-opening direction. Do you know which way most doors open? Is the knob on the right and you push or on the left and you pull (which is left/pull or right pull the other direction)? Does it matter? Do they open into rooms or out? And is there a different rule for different rooms? You down with OCD? Yeah, you know me (yes, I know, the joke dates me).

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Day 4 with Contractors

Yesterday saw the crew tear out the kitchen ceiling/master bedroom floor and set the new joists at the new ceiling height. They also brought in a brick-mason to brick-in the new joists where they were cut into the existing brick wall. The mason was a really nice guy named Paul. As I waited to meet a window contractor, he came down off of his ladder and gave me a photo album of his work. Guy does really nice brick and stone work, and he is rightfully proud of it. Finally, they framed part of the wall that goes from the kitchen to the stairway. Two of the guys I spoke with said they would be working over the weekend, so we might have more to report tomorrow.

Above photo shows the new joists in the kitchen.

This photo shows the new brick work anchoring in the beefed-up dining room joists.

This shot gives an idea of the step-up to the master bedroom.

Today I will try to sort through our vintage door collection and choose which doors we want to use and where. That way we can give the rough dimensions to our contractors and they can frame the doors to the approximate size. We are lucky to have so many door options given that the house did not come with a single original door. In fact, the only 3 interior door in the whole house consisted of 2 super-cheap hollow core doors and 1 piece of plywood acting as a door!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Day 3 with Framing Contractors

While the first 2 days saw the removal of a brick wall and the reinforcement of joists and existing walls, yesterday the crew framed the new wall separating the guest room from the bath area/dining room. They also framed in the opening between the kitchen and dining room. With these in place, they were able to remove the temporary wall and we had the first real sense of how the spaces look and flow. And they look great!

Yesterday we also talked to the contractor and architect about the master bedroom floor/kitchen ceiling interplay. While the original plan was to have the kitchen ceiling at 8', matching master bedroom floor level to the master bath area, this would have caused the ceiling joists to cut accross the transom of the back door. So we decided to go a little higher, creating 1 step up into the master bedroom. But that didn't work either, as the distance needed to clear the lentil would create a 10'' step... pretty steep and not to code, either. So up we go! Looks like we will have 9' ceilings and 2 steps up into the master bedroom. Which I'm sure will result in a few days of stubbing our toes until we get used to that. But it will look fantastic.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Day 2 for Contractors

The Phillips Renovation crew was at it again yesterday. I'll let the photos show the progress:

Back porch roof? Gone.

This is where the brick wall used to separate the dining room area from the kitchen. Gone.

Here we have the reinforced ceiling joists and the big central beam to support the new roof configuration. It also shows the reinforced header on the pocket doors, which will enable it to bear some of the load caused by vaulting the ceiling in the front room.

Can't say how exciting it is to have substantial progress. More to follow...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

And the Walls Come Tumbling Down

No need to worry, the walls are coming down under the supervision of our contractor. Today a crew started from the top and tore down the back chimney. Don't worry, we have 2 other chimneys so Santa can still visit us. In addition to the the chimney, this crew is tearing out the brick wall separating the kithchen and dining room, as well as framing the interior space to its new layout and dimensions. This includes the new roof line and dormers. HOW EXCITING IS THIS! Here is the interior brick wall with the chimney having been removed down to the first floor:
And here is that same wall 6 hours later! No brick wall at all!

In addition to the contractors being on-site, the crew also brought Dottie, their "work dog". Dottie has been patrolling the back yard, keeping the squirrels at bay. Hopefully this will prevent any creatures from trying to move in during the framing portion of the job!

We are saving the chimney brick as it is exterior brick that matches the rest of the house exterior. Hopefully we will be able to re-use it for the brick facing on the future porch column bases.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The 411 as of 6/13

We have the permit. We picked it up a couple of weeks ago. It was approved after a slight modification to the porch and dormer design so as to create a 3' setback from our property line. Now, almost all of our house is 2'4'' from the property line on one side, and that will not have to change ("yes, please move your 100+ year old house 8 inches to the east!). But the new components have to be 3' from the line. So our Architects made the changes and Viola! Permit.

What else is new? Raccoon-o-rama. We caught our 2nd and 3rd raccoons last week. That makes the total to date 3 raccoons and 1 squirrel caught inside the house. And when I mentioned catching 2 raccoons in 2 days to our neighbor, he laughed a bit and said he watched 3 baby raccoons walk across our roof the other night. So we expect to catch another any day.

I have also spent some time in the basement cleaning and painting one of the rooms. I'm not doing finish painting, just priming the joists which had been painted once before, probably during the FDR administration. As part of that project I've removed 100+ years of random nails, staples and screws set in the joists, and since we are having the house re-plumbed, I tore out the old water pipes as well. While taking out the water pipes, I realized pvc plumbing has one major advantage over metal pipe: you can take it out with a tree-lopper. Without any wires or pipes other than gas pipes (I don't touch gas pipes... a bit of a phobia), the room looks mighty spacious.