Monday, March 30, 2009

A little building, a lot of destruction

Look at that wonderful installation. I re-ran some of the wiring between the recessed lighting and cleaned-up the connections. I also sketched up the electrical layout for the living room and dining room and the stairwell light switch ... I would show it here but don't have a scanner and don't feel like drawing it in excel or paint or visio. The second switch in this box is going to go to the stairwell light but I need to get a 4-way switch to put at the bottom of the stairs and run the wiring to this 3-way switch. I also found out that the basement walls do not extend as far out as the living room walls and I'll need to cut into some brick in order to run the wiring for the outlet that is going to be next to the chimney; should be a great time ... anyone have a hammer drill?

After constantly tripping on the uneven flooring when coming in the front door for the past 2 weeks I decided it was necessary to pull up the rest of the floor in the living room. A short time later I am left with this hideous green laminate that has stains all over it. I thought the point of laminate was that it is stain resistant. Oh well, I'll be leaving several pairs of sandals around to ensure I never step on it barefoot.

Where to put all that flooring you ask? In a pile behind the door making it harder to take out when I eventually dispose of it, of course. I blame my friend Brian for not pointing this fact out when we were stacking it.

So, right now I have my utensils in a box, a box that is balancing on a pot, a pot that is in a pan, a pan that is on a stack of cutting boards, a stack of cutting boards that are on my microwave ... why? Cause I am a great friend that donated my main kitchen cabinet to my friend so he can make a liquor cabinet out of it.

Oh, oh, look ... more laminate ... it's so pretty, I can't contain myself.

Once I clean up the now vacated area, I am going to put my mobile island there and use that as my primary cabinetry until I determine how I want to design the kitchen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The List that isn't finished

Let's see … what order am I going to do the rest of the work on my house?

Here is my master list (in progress) … some of the stuff may seem out of order and may get re-arranged down the road, but this is how I envision it going right now:

1. Run electric to living room of house (4 outlets and 1 light switch)
2. Seal/fill the gaps and cracks in the chimney
3. Frame out the area around the chimney
4. Finish all the demolition in the open areas (not kitchen)
- a. Expose the remaining brick in the stairwell
- b. Expose the brick on the wall joining the kitchen and living room
- c. Expose the brick under the stairwell
- d. Remove the wall under the stairwell to the basement stairwell
- e. Tear up flooring
5. Have HVAC duct work installed
6. Frame out remainder of the alley wall
7. Level the ceiling in between the living room and dining room
8. Hang the living room ceiling
9. Drywall the living room around the chimney
10. Run electric to the dining room (# outlets TBD, 1 ceiling fan/light)

That’s really all I have right now. I guess I can't really call it a master list since I don't have everything planned and I am pretty much doing what I can until more money starts growing on the trees I planted out back.

My big thing is that I want to have all the demolition listed above finished by mid April so I can have it cleaned up and removed before Vanessa comes to visit at the end of the month. I also want to have the living room in a relatively finished state even if it's not being done in the typical order so I have something to look at and motivate me to do the rest.

This whole experience is a, learn as you go, do what you can, when you can type thing and I really wouldn't have it any other way … it just wouldn't be my style. Of course, if someone wanted to buy me a complete house, I wouldn't turn it down.

This Wasn't Planned

Since I'm a very impulsive person and I got an e-mail this morning regarding a pre-sale for tickets to a soccer (football) game being held at Ravens Stadium in July, I bought tickets.

Chelsea vs. AC Milan - Definitely a couple of great teams to watch.

I've never been to a professional soccer match and am definitely looking forward to this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

As Promised, Step One of What Do I Do Now

The first thing I am going to do now that I have the front walls framed out is run the wiring to two outlets and the lights for the living room. This will provide me with a better environment when I begin to frame out the rest of the alley wall. I already have the boxes for the outlets and light switches (I am going to make the stairwell a 4-way switch and add one next to the front door). I should be able to have this done by tomorrow night (Tuesday) and will post some pictures.

I guess I need to make a list of all the steps because posting them one at a time really doesn't seem like it will be too effective. Next step - create master list; look for that next time.

I have a Wall ... or at least the framing of one

This weekend was very productive as far as moving forward with my house goes. In between endless amounts of college basketball and the BSG finale and football and volleyball, I (meaning mostly my dad with me doing whatever I could) were able to frame out the front wall and the section between the front and the chimney.

We built the small section between the front of the house and the chimney first because we didn't need to account for any windows or doorways and the floor and ceiling were pretty level. It was straightforward and didn't take very long to complete.

To make sure everything was flush against the floor, I pulled up the fake wood floors and got as much of the linoleum up as I could and scraped off the remaining residue. The original floor must have been pretty sweet, I am anxious to see what it looks like when I tear up the entire floor and get rid of all the linoleum. I am a sucker for hardwood with reddish coloring, my mom has Brazilian cherry hardwoods and they look great. For some reason I can't get this picture below to be in landscape so just turn your head sideways.

After measuring (and remeasuring) all the spacing between the walls and window and doorway, we (my dad) decided to make a Home Depot run and get two 10' studs for the top and bottom plates so we didn't need to connect shorter lengths. We also got some metal plates to attach the top plate to the joists. During our measuring, we found that the joist doesn't run parallel with the front brick and the floor is not completely level. We made sure when installing the frame that it would be plumb. This will allow me to use it as a point of reference when determining the final placement of the recessed lights. Now, for your viewing pleasure:

Oh, I forgot to mention that I had someone haul all the crap I had for $20. I replied to an ad off craigslist because they said the would take metal for free and I didn't really want to deal with transporting the 3 heavy radiators and iron piping to sell them for $50ish and then take the several bags of plaster (also heavy, and dirty) and the fake wood flooring and all that to a dump. I'll probably have them come back once I have finish doing all of the demo I plan on doing.

Now, I am going to document my next steps and hopefully set up some sort of timeline that I most definitely won't hold myself accountable to. I have to keep in mind that I am having a friend come visit for almost a week at the end of March and want my house clean for that portion of time. Tune in tomorrow (or quite possibly the next day) for the first of several installments of, "Where do we go from here?"

I also have to thank my dad for his help and his previous carpentry background. If it wasn't for him, I would not have paid as much attention to detail when ensuring the frame was plumb and level and probably would have built something unusable.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'll be back more often, I promise

Yeah, so I haven't been posting much again, I think it's cause I have been busy at work and don't have my laptop set-up at home anymore. Random fun facts, in bullet form below:
  • Got a lot of work done on the house in preparation for framing out the first wall this coming weekend (pictures will be provided)
  • Went to a wedding Saturday, had a lot of fun and danced with an 83 year-old grandma that was probably around 4'10"
  • Lost football again Sunday and realized no one believes I can throw the ball as far as I can cause they slow down and I overthrow them ... keep running
  • Reached 100 at Mahaffey's and am now a part of the ultra-exclusive hundred beer club
  • Only had 1 beer on St. Patrick's day (to reach 100) ... but that's 1 beer more than I had last year when I was in CT working overnight supporting an implementation in Singapore
  • Playing indoor soccer tonight and volleyball tomorrow
  • Working on my house Friday night through Saturday night ... as long as I can
  • Considering going out and practicing with a Rugby team ... need to see if I can get an after-work job first though
That's all I got for now.

Friday, March 6, 2009

More house work (but not much)

Wednesday's volleyball match went well and we defeated the other team fairly easily. Unfortunately, the game was early and I didn't have any time to work on the house because the team goes out after for some food and drinks. Last night I made plans to go to Pho Dat Thahn in Columbia and have my first pho experience; it was really good and I am looking forward to trying different places now. The plans weren't until 8 so I decided to get some simple work done.

I figured it would be easy to cut the iron pipes in the living room that were running to the radiator in the bedroom. Well, I guess I am just a dumb ass because it took about 30 minutes to get through one pipe (I was using a hacksaw because I didn't feel like spending money on something better). Halfway through the second pipe I gave up and decided to do something else until I got a better saw. The failed pipe cutting results:

I grabbed the crowbar and decided to see how well the plaster was adhered to the front wall. To my surprise, most of the upper portion came off very easily. I didn't want to get too dirty since I was going out to dinner, so I just pulled off the pieces that were loose and decided to move to the kitchen. Front wall:

I only had about 20 minutes before I had to leave to get to Pho Dat and decided to detach the radiator in my kitchen. That was easy, but moving it proved to be a lot more difficult for just me. The feet of the radiator were set into holes in the floor, which made me have to lift it out so that I could slide it over. It got done, and I amazingly didn't get dirty in the process. Now I am looking forward to the time when I have to clean that wall (as you can see below).

I picked up a reciprocating saw and a metal blade so I hope to accomplish a lot this weekend.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Radiator #2 ain't got nothing

Day two of the radiator removal project happened to take a lot less time than I planned but involved a lot of effort. The radiator in my room is shorter than the one in the living room, but it is a little longer and felt about twice as heavy, probably because I had to get it down a flight of stairs. Other than the few dents in my stairs, it wasn't really that bad ... Newman and I just tipped it down and rocked it back and forth until we reached the bottom. I am not sure what I am going to do with the extra space in my room, but now my bed frame will fit without having to worry about it getting scratched by the radiator.



That's a lot of iron

My next step is to remove the radiator from the kitchen and then start cutting the pipes and taking those out. I'm not going to be able to do that tonight since I am going to the Terps - Wake Forest game. The next chance I'll get to work on it is Thursday because of volleyball tomorrow, but maybe if I don't go out after the match (or don't go out for too long), I'll be able to do part of it.

I am going to leave the radiator in the basement for a while because there is no way I am carrying that up the stairs. I'll take it out the back and bring it through the alley whenever I decide to take the radiators to the scrap yard.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekend House Progress

I got a lot of work (for me) done on my house Sunday. I have all 4 recessed lighting housings up in my living room and just need to wire them; which I am planning on doing tonight. I am not going to completely hook them up yet until I frame out the front wall and I am not going to be able to do that until I expose the brick and remove the radiator piping to the second floor.

Now all I need is power going to these

As far as removing the radiators, I was able to drain them fairly easily. The water that came out was pretty nasty and had an awful odor. It took about an hour to drain all 4 and I was able to make use of the tub in the basement as a drain. After draining them I disconnected the one in the living room (since it wouldn't matter if a bunch of nasty water leaked there) as a test to see if they were actually empty. There was a little water left inside but I was able to drain that by tipping the radiater into a bucket. Not sure how heavy the radiators are, but I am going to go with 300+ pounds. I'm pretty sure the one in the basement is going to need to be taken out back and through the alley.

The faucet connection was not that great

Anyone thirsty?

There used to be a 300 pound hunk of iron here

Now I can start exposing that wall so I can frame it out

Also, I found something I can do when I am bored or only have a few minutes to work on something. I grabbed my golf club cleaning brush to clear off a chunk of plaster on the brick and decided it would be a good way to prep the brick on the wall I am going to leave exposed. It's not fast, but I can be more detailed and take extra care on the spots that have loose mortar. I bought a couple brass wire brushes so they wouldn't be too abrasive and the results turned out great.

Brick with the left-over plaster on it

More brick & plaster

Brick after cleaning it up