Tuesday, September 25, 2007

1000 little steps

Status Report!
Electrical & Plumbing rough-in are complete and inspections have occured (and passed!). The crew from Lumbee Electric is still on-site running the basement lights and a few other elements. One of the small details I love is moving the electric service point from the center of the back side of the house to the side. The house looks much cleaner without the service chase running down the back side and the yard looks more open. A small thing, but I like it. (You can see the shadow of where the service line and meter were located... just a bit of cleaning and it will be gone).

Below, our new service panel. No, it just looks like it could service Nationwide Arena.

Next, we will call in our structural inspection and if approved we will move on to insulation and drywall. We also are hoping to have the porch deck/columns rebuilt in the near future, but the bids will determine when that will happen.

The framing crew has framed in the soffits for the duct work. We also ordered an iron rail from Fortin Ironworks for our back porch. It should be installed in the next 4 weeks or so.

Painting continues. The photo above shows some more of the trim completed, but still quite a ways to go.

We obtained quotes for new glass-block windows for the basement. As there is not a single pane of glass in any of our basement windows (all boarded-up), having some natural light down there will be nice.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's all in the details!

One of the charming things about this house (and what attracted us to it in the first place) is all of the little exterior details. From the stunning brick and the precisely arched windows to the decorative wood molding (previously monochrome and covered in white gutters) that begged to receive a little more attention. So we went to Sherwin Williams and selected a couple of colors from their myriad options (I think these are from the Arts & Crafts or maybe the Victorian Collection) that would work with the existing brick color. Here's the result of tonight's labor:When we get the new doors and the porch finished the house will be perfect (from the outside...notice you haven't seen many interior pics lately?) Here's me at work on the corbels. Both E and I have concluded that painting over your head, well, basically sucks! We both have sore arms, stiff necks and achey backs .
This was Monday night's progress. We finished the new siding and trim with two coats and it's ready! (Remember the icky old white aluminum siding? You know, the stuff that matched the gutters!) Don't look at the dormer as we obviously have some work to do there...but...Yay! It's got siding and trim! And someday all of the upper molding on these eaves will have the gold accent too...
With our brushes still wet on Monday night, we put them to use on the back of the house, at least on the parts that we could easily reach without the aid of ladders.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Another quality find..or "why we love craigslist!"

First, some updated photos of the house. Mary got to the peak while Eric played soccer last Wednesday and painted the new siding and trim. We're thinking of highlighting the finish molding on all of the eaves with the gold (as shown in the very top rear peak). What do you think? And adding some gold highlighting to the corbels (those decorative things on the front) to balance out the colors.
I found some old wrought iron fencing under the "materials" listing on craigslist on Friday. I called "Paul" and he seemed surprised to hear that we are from Columbus since he's in Dayton. "Oh, my son listed that for me, I thought he was only advertising it in the Dayton area!" We made arrangements to check it out on Sunday after our busy weekend (Scoot-A-Que AND the Microbrew Festival). We stopped at the Springfield Antiques Extravaganza along the way, but found nothing we "needed." We got to Paul's house in Beavercreek and were delighted that he was home and still had the fencing (he was a little hard to contact). We took a good look at it and decided both that we liked the look of it (we have a penchant for fleur-de-lis) and that it was a good deal at $450 for 33 feet of it. So we paid the kind man and loaded it into the euro van for the trip back to Columbus.
Here's a more detailed look at the finials. Paul said he'd received a call from a guy in Marion who asked him if there were any lines on the fencing (which would indicate that it's newer molded stuff). There are none and it is nicely evenly pitted (which I gather is also good from reading up on it on other sites). Now we need fence posts and gates. Keep your eyes peeled!
Craigslist tally: numerous farmhouse doors, french doors, big old mantle and wrought iron fencing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kitten update...

So I put the neighbors we know on "high alert" in search of the missing mama cat and her kittens. Bob called this morning with news (mews?) of a "kitten sighting" at his next door neighbor's house (across the back alley and about 5 houses down). I had an appointment with a contractor anyways, so I went over to the house and left a note on their door about the cats. Oh, and I peeked through their back fence and called for mama cat. She came out from under their deck and let me pet her through the fence. The kittens must have heard me as they tumbled out from under the deck and watched from 20 feet away. Lori (of Ryan and Lori) called me that afternoon. Apparently she and Ryan had been feeding "Boots" (as they have nicknamed her) for a few months when she up and disappeared one day to have her kittens. They had been frantic about her since they knew she was pregnant. Then one day this week she just reappeared under their deck with her litter. So everyone is safe and now she has 2 families lookig for homes for her and her progeny!

As of yesterday...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

And then there were none...

We stopped by the house this morning to check on the kittens. There was only one in the crawl space, the chubby little light grey one. We feared Momma cat was tired of the ruckus and fearful of one of the contractor's Jack Russell terrier, Dotty, with whom she scrapped (and won) the day before and decided to move her babies to more peaceful territory. We left the little one for the morning, but by mid-afternoon she was gone and we assume her mother came back for her. I walked up and down the alley calling for her, but there's no sign of her. We hope she and the tiny ones are OK and found another safe space to live.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Painting painting painting

We had a full house today. Rick the HVAC guy had a couple of helpers. Larry, Felix and Sean returned to trim the newly installed windows, add more siding and complete some finish trim on the eaves. The Pella crew returned to continue framing out the installed windows and add the decorative arched aluminum tops. Two guys from "All About Roofs" worked on the flat roof (which also leaked on Saturday). And since it was my day off and the guys had lots of scaffolding conveniently set up, I came over to paint. Mom (and maybe Dad) stop reading here and skip past the 1st photo. Trek one was up this "interesting" scaffolding. It consisted of two ladders and an 18" board between them. Yours truly scaled it and painted the green eaves you see peeking out. Alas, Sean needed to install the siding and it doesn't look like it's built for 2, so I moved on to firmer footing around the corner (on a ladder nailed to the roof).
My afternoon consisted of standing on the roof and/or hanging from various places (like a chimney) to paint the upper eaves. Oh, and lots of caulking...given the moisture in the basement, I want the upper level to be airtight! Eric came by after work and did the "rewarding painting"or at least the most noticable stuff that everyone sees...that is, the front of the house and decorative corbels to match the new windows.
And now, the "money shot!" Look at this image and then scroll up to the one of the house when we bought it (upper right hand column). It's looking like a new house (at least from the outside)!

Take note: new windows, no bad and really obvious white gutters, matching windows on front porch, new roof on house, new second floor peaking out with just a hint of eyebrow window (we've got 3 total), new dormer with window overlooking the park, roof over front porch and, of course, the freshly painted eaves in a color that would not be called "flesh" in a box of crayolas! Stay tuned, one day that plywood will be covered with siding and painted too! And we'll get a "real"porch (vs. the remainder of the bad old deck).

Meet the kittens!

There are 3 of them. We are guessing they are 5-6 weeks old (if you have a better guess based on your experience, we're all ears!) I attempted to determine if they were male or female and am still stumped, so I'm thinking they are all girls (remember this in a month when they are more developed and turn out to be all boys). This is the mightiest (and tiniest)!

Only slightly larger and otherwise almost exactly the same as little mighty...
And the light grey one obviously never misses a meal.

Momma cat was out gallavanting this afternoon, so I took the kittens on a "field trip" to the front yard one at a time to get their photos taken.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

It doesn't look like much....

But this patch of dirt may retain my husband's sanity. It POURED down rain last night. We didn't freak out because we've got new gutters and they should be alleviating those pesky problems of old- water spouting everywhere and eventually ending up in our basement. Sunday morning we peeked in to see how they fared....and ended up hauling 10 buckets of water out of the basement (gotta love the ShopVac!) Which indicates SOMETHING still isn't quite right. So on Sunday Via Colori (chalk painting festival) was cancelled due to rain (Mary was supposed to work all day). Late enough in the afternoon (3PM) the rain ceased and Eric decided to channel all of the water from the gutters on the east side of the house into a pipe and off the hill at the front of the house.

Look above at the white PVC pipes attached to the gutters and into the ground. Now envision a 30 foot long, 8 inch deep trench running from the pipe back by the fence all the way out to the front hill of the yard (out of the photo). The lovely patch of dirt used to be grass-ish stuff. We spent the afternoon, early evening, dusk and just after dark (8:40) digging a trench, running 4" PVC piping the length of it and attached to the downspouts, running to Lowe's for properly fitting fixtures (who KNEW there's thin wall and thick wall PVC pipes - each with their OWN accompanying attachments - not us and we started off with the wrong ones!), glueing the various components together and shovelling as much dirt as possible back on top! Along the way we encountered lots of roots, old chain link fence post stakes (2) and a massive block of concrete with the sawed off end of a fence pole that were in our way! We removed everything but the stubborn concrete and pole. Although we persevered with a sledge hammer and managed to removed about 8 inches of the concrete, we still could not get the pole to budge, much less come out. So Eric smacked it to one side and we routed around it! Now we cross our fingers that the next rain we have a dry basement....pretty please?!

The bonus of Via Colori was the remainder of a keg of CBC beer awaiting return. We iced it down on the way back from Lowe's and shared with our new neighbors. Billy & Michelle thought it was the best housewarming gift yet! And Bogart got to play with their dog Trevor. Much ridiculous puppy fun was had.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

On This Episode of Wild Kingdom....

Soooo, most of the new windows are installed, meaning that the second floor is now completely secure. And the Pella guys are replacing the old first floor windows as they take them out so there's no easy ingress and egress...Sooo HOW do we have another episode of Wild Kingdom? Well, there's been this darling little tiger-striped cat who's been in and out of the house as the various contractors come and go. She arrived at approximately the same time as the new neighbors in the duplex (along with their kitty tree on the back porch) and she's extremely friendly so we believe she belongs(ed) to someone. She only looks about a year or two old and after holding her several times I speculated she'd had kittens, maybe even recently.
Today Eric and I dropped by the house in the morning to check on the progress of the contractors. I had been looking at the new windows while Eric talked to our HVAC guy, Rick. As I came around a corner Eric says, "Rick, would you repeat to Mary what you just said to me?" Rick says, "Sure. That cat that keeps running around here is living in your crawl space with her kittens!" Huh?
Rick had torn off a piece of plywood in the first room in the basement to run an HVAC pipe through the crawl space and up to the living room. Lo and behold, there was mama cat and three kittens cozily lounging in the dirt and debris. To be fair, we'd had "signs." Eric would put a box over the open register hole in the living room (over the crawl space) and it would be mysteriously moved. And one of the contractors said he'd seen her come out of the hole, but we all assumed she'd just been poking around in the empty house. And then yesterday there were kitty pawprints on the new metal roof over the back porch (just after we'd sealed all of the previously open window spaces). So we got the flashlights and peered into the 2'x2' opening into the crawl space. It was pretty obscured by spider webs, but there appeared to be all sorts of stuff in there too. I used a piece of wood to clear the webs, then reached in and started pulling stuff out. There was lots of old trim from the house in there (so THAT'S where it went?!) Conveniently, there was also a garden rake (the space goes back about 15 feet) which I used to drag more stuff out, all while momma and babies nestled an unreachable 10' back into the space. Old Pride of Cleveland beer bottles, neat old pavers and lots of random wood pieces were dragged out.
I was already filthy by that point, found my long sleeved shirt from painting and said "the heck with it, I'm going in!" It was a treasure trove of little trim bits, old apothecary bottles (Burma Shave, Squibb, etc), and lots of indistinguishable rusty cans (and one cool old Maxwell House Coffee can). The kittens decided I was interesting company so they kept wandering over to see what I was doing. I kept counting them "one, two, three" to make sure no one was going to get squished as I handed stuff out the hole ot Eric. Then E grabbed a Budweiser box and we put the kittens into it to move to the back room for safekeeping while Rick worked on installing the new pipe. Mama cat was having none of that. By the time we'd stepped away for 2 minutes and came back, she'd already scooped up the littlest (and mightiest) guy by the scruff of the neck and returned him to the crawl space. "OK, you win! For today you can stay there" (and really, we had to get back to work). Rick managed to work around the little family. When I dropped by after work, Rick had successfully installed the new duct and the kitties were hanging out in the crawl space....in their new Budweiser box bed! Who needs a sweet little grey tiger-striped kitten? They are all very lovable and friendly!

The mightiest of all! Hear the kitten roar! Also, crawl space pre-dejunking.

Me and the three. Momma cat decided they were in good hands and took this opportunity to thoroughly investigate the hole. Crawl space after mountain of debris removed.

Mo Windows!

Yes, this is likely not NEARLY as exciting for you as it is for us, but we are THRILLED with every new window that goes into this place as it makes a HUGE difference in how it looks (from the outside, at least). Here's the new bay window on the front of the house (note: all windows still need trim inside and out).

This is the new kitchen window overlooking the backyard. The window (hole) to the right is in the bathroom. It's the one our mason, Andy CUT into the wall!
And these are the windows that will be in our study.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Another "wow!" day

The Pella crew started yesterday and made some fantastic progress. They installed all of the windows into the new framing and started on the replacement windows. Below are the French doors (or Freedom Doors as our new neighbor Billy joked) off of the master bedroom.

Below: the other windows in the master bedroom.

Below: The Pella crew after tear-out of the 2 windows in our front porch.

Below: Here we have the metal roof which forms the floor of our balcony. It had to be installed before the French doors were installed, and we cut it close. It was completed over the weekend.

Below: In other news, Mary and I spent Monday afternoon cleaning the portions of the brick walls which we intend to leave exposed. We sprayed muriatic acid and scrubbed to get the plaster and mortar off the face of the brick, sometimes more successful than others. You can see the difference and it will look great in the end.