Friday, December 30, 2011

Week 9 - Exterior Almost Done, more Plumbing and Electrical


Lots of pictures this week!

The house that you see from the road already looks tons better than what used to be there. All new windows, new roof, and new siding.




And look who's back! Jarod!




I found him finishing up the siding on the back of the house.




Since the last time we saw Jarod (working on the roof) he has become the proud papa of a little baby boy. Congratulations, buddy!






We were able to reuse lots of the original siding. You can see on the back how some of it looks kind of dirty. No worries. That will power wash sparkling clean in the spring.



Did I show you the tires in the back yard? Who knows how many of them and that jungle part of the yard is overrun with prickly bushes.

These days, tires count as hazardous waste, so it will cost $10 / tire to get rid of them. Hopefully they are only one layer deep back there. Might wait until spring and send Jimmy "Scooby Doo" in to get them out.






There used to be a back door on this side, but since the Mr. installed sliders in the living room, the original back door was sealed up to provide more space inside.




Smaller bedroom sporting new windows. Much more light now than before.






The last of the carpet went into the dumpster and with that the icky smell in the house has finally started to dissipate. I don't know if the Mr. plans on keeping that swirly border between the entry and the living room. We shall have to wait and see.






The kitchen. New window and the plumbing and electrical have been moved around to accommodate the different arrangement of appliances.

Those are rolls of insulation. The house is still a bit breezy, but the insulation can't go in until after the rough carpentry inspection.




Jerry "No Crack" finished up the rough plumbing, but inspection has to wait until next week as it appears the building inspector opted for a four day holiday. Sheesh. That's the new tub under the box. Don't want it getting scratched.






The wallpaper in the bathroom is being very stubborn about coming off. They must have used superglue! But the Mr. is resisting the temptation to just rip the wall board down and will continue to apply chemical warfare to the glue.





The family room looks about the same as the last time you saw it except for the addition of a sheet rock lift.

There was some discussion of the Mr. doing the board himself, but today, James the Plasterer gave him a price for board and plaster that sounded quite nice, so no need for the sheet rock hoist after all (James's sheet rock hoist is also called his son - hehehe).






See those orange goobers? That is fire block. A requirement by code and also a good idea. Should there ever be an electrical fire, the fire block will keep it from spreading quickly through the walls of the house.






Front walkway might not finish before winter. At least the gravel bed is in. Big ditch with about a gazillion bags of gravel to absorb any runoff from the roof as well as winter melt after snowstorms. Keeps water away from the house.

The walkway requires at least two days of warm, dry weather for cement and mortar to cure. We haven't had warm AND dry for a while.





Robo Ronnie is back too and working with Jarod on the siding. Unfortunately, while I was otherwise occupied, he took off in his truck, leaving just his tool belt behind.




Mango Momma

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Week 8 - Starting the Kitchen


Most of the action has moved into the barn and none too soon as it is brrr cold outside right now. Jimmy "Scooby Doo" the landscaper stopped by to check on things. Hey! If anybody close to our estate needs a snowplow person, let us know. Landscapers all become snow plowers to make ends meet in the winter.





So while Jerry "No Crack" does the last of the plumbing before the first inspection, the Mr. is hard at work cutting up wood and gluing it back together.

Check out the drill press on wheels.





Turns out it doesn't cost any more to build the kitchen than to buy it and this way we get exactly the cabinets we want.





The base cabinet is already coming together. Looks like maybe a coat of varnish between quarters of the Patriots game today.






Total action shot!




Of course there is no such thing as holidays or weekends right now. I'm hoping to get some of the Mr.'s time this tomorrow to repair our gutters (hehehe).

Mango Momma

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Week 7 - Not Much to See



As predicted, even though this house is just as much work as the previous one, there are fewer opportunities for dramatic home improvement photos. How many times can you look at another new window or more new siding?

The spaces are quite utilitarian and most of the work will be invisible once we are finished. Prospective home buyers will likely see the new windows, siding, paint, and floor coverings and be blissfully unaware (and unwilling to pay for) all of the wiring, insulation, and framing.

Such is life. This week I didn't even bother to visit the site.

No need as the new bathrooms are now in my garage.





Oh, and we got this nice fruit basket from the lumber yard (note hungry lab hoping for an apple or two or three or...).




While it hasn't snowed, it is cold and there is still siding and insulation to go in (plus the new boiler). The Mr. had hoped to get the front walkway down, but he needs some dry days above freezing for the mortar to set and it is unclear whether we will have that combination in the near future.

Mango Momma

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Week 6 - A Little Demolition


Timmy and Tommy the loud electricians have come and gone and the rough inspection on the electrical is complete. Jerry No Crack the plumber is puttering away under cover of darkness to complete the rough plumbing.

What? I should show you photos of wires and pipes?

The first dumpster is gone and the second one is starting to fill up.





Front siding (that sounds funny) is almost completed. Just need to do the garage.






What used to be a most horrible cement slab is now up and everything is nice and neat for the new walkway. The threshold is in good shape and stays. There will just be a nice slate walkway to the driveway here with gravel filling in the rest to provide drainage around the sills of the house.












OK, so this just looks like a wall with a door in it, I'll grant that, but given that it is the wall between the garage and the house and the boiler will eventually be in the garage, that wall is made out of super duper fire resistant board. Why should you care? Because that stuff weighs a TON and putting it up was a total pain.






Inside the family room, all gutted, ceiling is down and the icky nasty closet is airing out. Oh ew, it was so gross and moldy and full of who knows what kind of organics.

The carpet is up as well which is one less stinky thing in the house. Slowly it is starting to smell better, but the Mr. is going through a lot of bleach.









Looking from the family room into the kitchen. The doorway is wider now.







Everything is out of the kitchen except the boiler which awaits finished plumbing to be moved.

Now, there have been comments about that chandelier and even our realtor wants it to stay.

No freakin way! That thing is history! Blech. Anybody who wants it is free to pick it up and take it away...



Full bath gutted and cast iron tube laboriously broken apart through skilled application of a sledge hammer.

Note more nasties on the floor. Ew!





Here's a closeup of the top of the sliders that replaced the large and energy inefficient windows in the back. Since the header there was kind of holding the house up, but the sliders were too tall to fit, putting them in was a bit tricky.

The original header can be seen with the "cut head" words. The new header is a special engineered thing called "LVL" or laminated veneer lumber. It allows for weight bearing on a smaller piece of wood. Cool.

Oh hey, there's an electrical box and some wires. Guess you got to see Timmy and Tommy's work after all.





Brrr... it's getting cold, but no snow yet.

Mango Momma

Monday, December 5, 2011

Week 5 - Blurry Photos


I'm sorry to say that I did not make it to the job site this week, so you will need to make due with photos from the Mr.'s cell phone.

First off, there is a new face on site; James the helper. He's doing a fantastic job. Just a point and shoot kind of guy, no instruction required.





The icky concrete is all up around the front entry leaving a nice pad by the front door.




More progress on the new siding...






And the wall between the garage and the family room is out and reframed. This is the view from the garage looking into the kitchen.






This is from the family room looking into the garage. That wall will need the super duper fire resistant boards. Very heavy work, so James will be a great asset for hoisting sheets of firewall.







Jerry No Crack, the plumber, started rerouting the heat yesterday in preparation for the new boiler which will be located in the garage. Thankfully, the good weather has been holding with the occasional freeze at night, but fifties during the day. The race is on to get the heat and exterior completed before winter arrives.

Mango Momma

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Week4 - More Windows and Jackhammer



The weather has been holding up well to get the outside work completed. Sometimes I think the Mr. wishes for a rainy day as he is working every day to beat the impending winter.

This shot of the side of the house shows the new and old windows. Nasty old casement windows be gone!




The front has the gutters up and all the windows in. It turned out to be less work to just strip off the siding and replace it than to try and cut around. Wouldn't have been able to match the color anyway as 30 year old weather beaten white just isn't the same as nice new white.




Dumpster is filling up...



Remember the totally goofy window arrangement in the master bedroom?
(Don't wanna know what that big stain is on the wall... ew).



This is it with proper windows. Much better.




Out back, some good sized branches down from the last storm. They aren't going anywhere. We'll figure them out in the spring.



Highly energy inefficient gigantic stupid window on the back of the house before.




And nice new sliders after.




There was a big cement pad poured outside the front door. Another dumb thing. Made even more frustrating by the discovery that the cement had been poured over a nice brick walkway.



Cement has to go. Nasty. Only one way to do that. Aw, look at him smiling. That's because the jackhammer isn't really running at the moment. Poor old dear was looking a bit peaked when I first pulled up.



"That cement made me mad!"



Bet the neighbors are loving this! Hey! It's after 7AM. Time to wake up you lazy slugs!




Mango Momma

P.S. I don't know about the rest of the country, but here in Massachusetts, you can call your local electric company for an energy audit. They came in to audit the project house last week and gave us two digital thermostats, a bunch of coupons and rebate stuff for windows and doors AND they are going to insulate the attic for about a quarter of the price it would normally cost. You can learn more about these programs by clicking here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Week 3 - More Window Work


I didn't get a chance to stop by the project this week, so you'll have to make due with the photos from the Mr.'s cell phone.

The window replacements are moving along. As I mentioned, when all is said and done, there will be a ton of invisible work. Lots of rotted wood to be replaced and re-framing to accommodate the larger windows. And then the potential buyers will just say, "yeah, so it has windows, big deal."

Please take note of the windows just to the right of the front door in this before photo. The guy who built thousands of these houses bought three pane casement windows by the boatload. In this style of house, the two bathrooms are adjacent, separated by a wet wall. So what he did was install the triple pane windows with wood in between them (rather than buying two windows). Ish!





With the window removed you can see the dorky configuration. Here is is partially framed with the studs of the wet wall in between.





From the inside. Ugh.



And the half bath from the inside. Do you see that? The actual hole for the window has a wall in the middle.



Ta da! Note stupid corner windows have been popped out already. He also decided that it was more expeditious to just strip the siding off the front. Too much patching and busy work and trying to match old siding to new.




We had a couple of chilly days and the Mr. reluctantly turned the heat on in the house overnight. With giant gaping holes opening every day, he's not inclined to burn oil even when there is plywood up for the night.

With the Thanksgiving holiday, it will be a short work week this week, but he is still determined to get the windows in before the end of the month.

Mango Momma