Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Dormer is done!

Our dormer is done and looking fabulous. The carpenters were great and were able to get us some extra space inside. We went from the plan of a 5 foot exterior to a 5 foot interior. That gives us more space on either side of the window and lots of room for the bathroom inside. The chimney decided to play along and is not in view of the window. You can see the chimney , but only if you look out the side of the window. We've also got a great interior height so that it won't be dangerous to walk into the space. The roofer was nice enough to replace two shingles that blew off the other side of the house when he did the dormer.

We'll get things painted over the next several days.

If you're looking for someone to do an addition or remodel to your home, or if you're in the market for a new highly efficient home we definitely recommend calling Chuck at Saxton Construction.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The dormer

Towards the end of the stair reconstruction project the contractors arrived to build out our dormer. We opted for a shed dormer, instead of a gabled dormer, to maximize interior space gained and to reduce the cost of the project. The new dormer will add approximately 5 feet of additional space at the back of the house and will provide adequate head room for the 2nd bathroom and some cross ventilation for the upstairs. The roofer didn't have enough shingles to finish the job, so both he and the contractor who will install the siding will finish the project later this week (we hope!). With the new dormer window we now we have a great view of downtown and of our neighbors back yards.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Building new stairs

We almost have new stairs!

After almost 20 hours of work, we have the old stairs out and new stringers in. As you should well know by now, this project isn't just limited to the stairs. We've also repaired a heating duct that was doing a great job of circulating air inside a wall and torn down yet another wall. It turns out that the stringer was the strongest part of that wall and the rest was made almost entirely of scrap. No one knows why we were surprised by this, but we were.

This project turned out to be way more involved and expensive than we could have ever guessed (probably because we didn't look into it and just guessed). Lumber is crazy expensive for this stuff and stair treads are out of sight on price. Some options could have cost us $200 per step...we have 14 steps. ouch! Fortunately we had the invaluable help of Sean to keep everything working. Thanks Sean! And a big thanks to Matt, too, for helping us fit the treads.

As with all of the projects we learned a few fun lessons.
  • it's ok for the neighbors a few houses down to blast their music, but our saw is loud enough to get a call to the police

  • if you need your stairs redone, it's probably worth hiring someone. This project rated about a 2 of 10 on the fun scale.

  • if you don't hire someone, measure 413 times and cut once 3 times

  • choose your tread style before you start

  • there are no good tread options online, and even fewer in Home Depot

  • paint catalogs have lots of neat stair ideas

Saturday, June 10, 2006

new subfloor is in!

After a gross underestimation of what the job would take, and a huge helping hand from Mark's dad, the new subfloor is in! All squeeks have been banished as has most of the wave motion. Unfortunately so has the closet. Look for the second coming of the closet in the next week.

Total project cost - about $330
Total trips to home depot - three
Injuries - minor scrapes
project underestimated by - 4 hours

Lessons learned

  • even though Lowe's is a much better store, it's nowhere near the house. The good news is that Home Depot honors the 10% off coupons that Lowes sent.

new subflooring is in!
Note the progress on the insulation, depressing lack of dormer and potential for skylight fun!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

You would think that if anyone could get some pictures of their house to go with the house blog it would be the photographer who lives in the house. That just goes to show that you shouldn't think. If public school taught you anything you'd already know this.

For those of you who haven't seen anything here's a recent shot, along with a quick shot or two (courtesy of Jen) from the first of many attempts at buying our house.

Here's a shot from the outside. It already looks better and worse. The vegitation has been encouraged back into some semi-normal form and the evil thorn tree has been pruned to be slightly less evil. Unfortunately some idiot (who may or may not be the aforementioned photographer) got spray foam all over the window casement. The new paint looks good, the foam reminds you we're still in the ghetto.

A shot of the upstairs full of crap and finished out...we don't even have walls up there now :( of course, we don't have cat and mystery stains on the carpet either.

We have completely gutted the basement since moving in and it is now awaiting a new furnace, new wiring, and of course new flooring and walls.

Monday, June 05, 2006

The $110 Nail

This weekend provided multiple learning opportunities...none particularly fun.

Instead of moving further on our insulation project Mark spent 4.5 hours in the hospital ER. Nothing major (but feel free to send get well gifts) except annoyance. While trying to pry loose a board he managed to get stuck on a dirty, rusty nail hanging down from the roof. The nail went a ways into his middle finger, making a fun wound to show off.

The major bummer of this experiment was that Kaiser insurance isn't very helpful on a weekend. According to their website, the place to get after hours care is the local hospital. Unfortunately the services that are "after hours care" and therefore cost $50 are limited to throat cultures for strep. Everything else is an "emergency" even if you haven't been bleeding for the last several hours. The tetanus shot was apparently an emergency procedure.

The offending nail
The offending nail

In this incident, womankind proved once again that they have all the brains. Mark wanted to wait until Monday to go to the regular doctor and get a shot, Jen said no. The nurse and doctor both sided with Jen and said it was a good idea to come in immediately for the shot.

Things learned this time around:
  • The best way to get to be first in line at the ER is to be really fat and have chest pain. some 416 people got to go before Mark with this complaint
  • Saturday evening is not a good time to go to the ER
  • Despite the desire to wait, you are supposed to get to the doctor within 48 hours (and sooner is better) any time you get a dirty puncture wound or cut yourself deeply while doing something like cutting chicken.
  • Tetanus shots are now given out every 5 years, not 10 like Mark thought.
  • Tetanus shots make your arm hurt really badly when you try to work over your head doing the rest of the insulation and are generally a big baby.
  • It's not nice to chuckle at the guy who is in the ER with his terrified girlfriend after her cat mauled his ear, but it is officially ok to laugh after she's gone.
  • You get to have more fun and less injury when you just use the wrecking bar to remove (smash) the boards instead of trying to neatly pull them off.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Insulation Delima Solved - we hope

Yesterday it was about 615 degrees upstairs. Fortunately we seem to have found a partial solution to the issue. We took a trip to Extra Building Supply and managed to secure two pallets of polyiso insulation for $250 plus tax, plus home depot van rental. All told it was about $300. We should now have enough to get the ceiling to R24. A massive upgrade from the previously installed and thuroughly ruined r11 batting. The beauty of the purchase is that we would have paid $23.89 per sheet for this stuff at one of the big box stores. Score one for the little guy.

During the deconstruction of the upstairs walls we also located a new vent by removing some seriously moldy insulation. Jose Handyman must have thought it would be a good idea to pack the vent full of insulation and then drywall over that. Fortunately there was something of a cover on the roof. Unfortunately the insulation prevents any of the hot air from escaping and we have a master bedroom warm enough to cure pottery.

more to come, (including pics!) soon...