Saturday, April 30, 2011

Week Four - Outside Progress

Of course there will be some weeks during which everybody is working hard, but to the untrained eye, there is not much to see. Such was this week because by all accounts everybody worked themselves into a puddle as evidenced by the Mr's inability to keep his eyes open for much of the day on Saturday.

In the barn, there has been a lot of cabinet activity resulting in... this! I think he still needs to do a bit more work.

That's all new siding on the back of the house and you can see on the left that the last two new windows are in on the family room.

Meanwhile, the front is on a downward trend as far as attractiveness goes.

Sad little house. One of the stone piles holding up the Swiss Chalet is out so that the siding could go up. Hence the supporting structures.

See? Nothing left but a wee pile of rocks.

Ick, looks like some nasties there.

Let me know if you need any dirt. Apparently there is some extra. I think this dirt used to be in the front yard someplace. It is likely to journey to the back. Looks kind of sandy to me. Not much good for growing.

Oh break my heart! Imagine my joy when I came home and discovered these beautiful rhododendrons all ready to fill the flower beds in front of OUR estate.

Ah, but my hopes were dashed when I learned that they are only stopping over here on their way to the project house.

There are eight of them so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there isn't room for them all and we get to keep a couple.

Mango Momma signing off.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Week 3 - Subcontractors

This was apparently the week of the subcontractor because a ton of electrical and plumbing work got done.

First of all, the old boiler was removed. Good thing the weather has been warm(ish) or those guys would be mighty sad all working with no heat.

The Mr. finally got his day of fun in the back hoe tearing out bushes and moving dirt around.

So now we finally see the front of the house in all it's glory. Ick. The Swiss Chalet roof thingie has got to go.

The ugly bushes were might entrenched so we're looking forward to the landscaper getting this all smoothed out and seeded.

Here's the electricians. I've never met them, so let's just call them Sparky 1 and Sparky 2.

The new stud wall between the kitchen and living room with nice electrical. There will be a little space above the wall followed by cabinets with glass on both sides to let the light through.

Sub floor is down in the living room and dining room. Makes a nice smooth surface for the hardwood to come.

I think these next pictures only a contractor would love because really it is just open framing with fresh pipes and wires.

Well, the new tub is in. I can see and appreciate that.

All you hard core DIY folks out there can bigify this if you want to admire the nice new plumbing and electrical. This is the half bath looking through the wall to the full bath.

The "busy" wall on the kitchen. A work of art. Re-plumbed and wired for oven, sink, dishwasher, refrigerator and washer / dryer.

At the far end of the kitchen. the walls have all been moved around.

Primarily, the wall dividing the kitchen from the spare bedroom was pushed back to make a little dining area.

Same area from the family room side with door leading into the half garage / storage area and new wall and door to the spare bedroom on the left.

New entry into the family room. The doorway was moved some feet to the right and the corner on the left will be a closet to house stackable washer and dryer.

Which brings us (finally) to the point where the Mr. will be spending his days in the barn building cabinets. Right now, all he has are blanks which look to me like big pieces of wood cut into squares but I am confident that from these will emerge glorious custom cabinets.

The Mr. is down to a 5 day work week (well, almost). Still checking on things on the weekends and now that the cabinet work has started he'll be into spray varnish, let dry, spray varnish, let dry cycles. Hopefully the let dry cycles will be filled with industrious activities about the estate.

Mango Momma

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Week 2 - More Demolition and Help Arrives

Hopefully the majority of the demolition is finally over. One dumpster has already been filled and a new one awaits more debris.

Biggest change is the wall between the living room and kitchen coming down. Nasty bricks. Ick.

A brand new stud wall with see through cabinets on top will be going up here eventually.

The kitchen is even more sad than last week.

In the family room, the walls have been taken down.

The double sliding doors were reframed and replaced with nice, tight, energy efficient single sliders.

Two of the four windows reframed (to make them smaller) and replaced.

Full bath, gutted.

Wall between the family room and the fourth bedroom knocked out down to the studs.

And the ceiling is out in the fourth bedroom.

In the back, some of the siding already came off to prepare for the new sliders.

This week, the Mr. was no longer working all alone. Yes, help arrived.

Jerry, the plumber got started rerunning all the plumbing.

Jerry wanted me to note that there will be absolutely NO plumber's crack on this job. Oh thank you.

Master Carpenter, Robo-Ronnie also joined the crew. Ron recently got a full upgrade with two brand new shoulders AND two new knees. "Come quietly or there will be..... trouble."

Here's Herb the Helper. His job is to pick up anything that falls on the floor and put it in the dumpster. Seems to have kept him busy all week.

Yeah, I, too, was hoping for burly young bucks with six pack abs, tight jeans, and fully loaded tool belts, but I guess since I'm not running the job I don't get a vote.


Mango Momma

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Week 1 - Demolition and Grounds Examination

Almost one week into the project. The last few days have been focused on demolition, getting utilities reconnected, lining up sub contractors, and ordering materials.

Personally, I had a difficult time even doing a walk through because the amount of work to do seems overwhelming, but the Mr. assures me that he has done this many times on other people's houses (including ours) and not to worry.

I guess it is like house boot camp. Tear you down and build you up.

Anyway, half bath is gutted.

The carpet is up in the living room which has become a staging area for doors, windows, and wood.

Kitchen looks pretty sad with all its guts showing.

The Mr. setup his meditation chair in the fourth bedroom.

Finally got my first good look at the exterior. Yuck. All this siding will have to be replaced.

Here's the front without snow. The landscaper starts on Wednesday and first thing on the agenda is ripping out those bushes. Too bad I have to go to work. I hear there will be a back hoe involved. Always a good time.

Rear view. Going to need to replace the siding back there as well.

The lot is very nice. Quite deep and the back half is wooded with a nice upward slope that provides some privacy from the neighbors in the rear.

See that cement post to the right and the other one covered with the blue tarp? Those mark the fallout shelter. Yup, when I checked the permit history with the town hall turns out in 1961 a fallout shelter was installed. Duck and cover, baby.

Time permitting, might dig it up for a look see.

The Mr. is pretty tired. He hadn't planned on doing so much of the demolition himself. Hopefully help will arrive on Monday and he can spend his days in the barn making cabinets and whatnot.

Until next week...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Introducing Our First Project

OK, here we go. Our first attempt at fixing up a house and selling it for what one hopes is a tidy profit.

For the first project, we selected what is known as a Capanelli Ranch. These neat little houses went up by the thousands after World War II as starter homes for returning vets. They are great little houses (in fact our first house was one).

No basement, rather, built on a concrete slab. The original houses had three bedrooms, one bath, kitchen, dining, living, that's it. Many (like ours) had additions put on as families grew, the houses changed hands, or money became available.

The heat was hot water run in pipes through the floor. Not the most efficient way to heat a house, but it sure is nice to have warm floors. Of course one runs the risk of a leak (like we had in our old house). Imagine how unfortunate that is. We didn't notice our leak at first as it started under the piano. By the time it became visible, it created a constant wet spot on the floor that the dogs loved to lay on to cool off. Needless to say, that necessitated a very expensive repair. This one has already had the heat converted to baseboard. Sweet.

Let's see what we have...

Living room. Note the awkwardly placed fireplace in the rear corner. Not amenable to positioning furniture around for a cozy evening, but a feature that really helped sell to the original owners. Gave it a country feel.

The short wall is brick and has an opening up top to provide light and air to travel from front to back.

New carpet, fresh paint on walls and ceilings, hardwood flooring, new trim, and moldings, new window (imagine how much heat that big old circa 1950 window lets out) and the brick wall is just too ugly to keep.

Dining room. Those aren't so popular with folks anymore as most people opt for a gigantic kitchen big enough for a table that seats about 12 people.

Fresh paint, hardwood flooring, trim, and the dinosaurs are history.

The smallest bedroom. Barely big enough for a twin bed and bureau, but why give kids lots of space when they're just going to mess it up anyway?

Fresh paint, trim, carpet, and bye bye raggedy Andy.

Half bath off the master bedroom. The original houses had just one bathroom. This one was carved out of a piece of the already tiny master bedroom. The location was dictated by the main water access. Because the house is built on a concrete slab, putting anything requiring plumbing in a different part of the house means breaking out a jackhammer and pounding up some of the floor. Uck.

No photo of the master bedroom, but it is due for paint, trim, and carpet.

This little bathroom will be gutted and totally replaced.

No photo of the full bath either. It's pretty space challenged too and we can likely carve out some extra space by cutting the wall back. The main bath is another gut job.

Corner bedroom. Slightly larger than the other, but they took a chunk out of it to make a hall closet for towels and whatnot. Storage space is at a premium. We're keeping the hall closet and just freshening up this room with paint, trim, and carpet.

On to the more challenging areas...

This style of ranch had a little room off the kitchen maybe 80 square feet. At some point, the owners chopped the garage in half and added part of it to the wee little room. Obviously a work in progress at the time of sale. You can just see the kitchen in the doorway and the family room addition is to the right.

This space will be all cleaned up and serve as either a home office or a fourth bedroom.

Uh oh, the kitchen. Check out that little box on the left. That is the boiler. Yup. The houses had the boiler in the kitchen. Actually not such a bad idea since these ancient things threw off enough heat on their own to help keep the house warm. And it makes a great surface for drying mittens and socks in the winter.

The boiler will be tossed and replaced by a way cool energy efficient model that will sit out in the garage area. Do I need to say that the kitchen is going to be gutted? All new appliances, custom cabinets, granite countertops, the works! In fact even as I type most of it is already in the dumpster.

Last, but not least, the family room addition. This room will sell the house (we hope). It is big and opens on to the backyard. But it is a MESS!

Oh no! Wood panelling. And they went a little nutty with the windows. Way too big. I have visions of dollars flying out of them in the winter. Windows aren't insulated or anything.

Oh look, a fireplace. Sweet. But double sliding doors? Are you nuts?

Family room, complete gut job. You won't recognize it.

Nice yard. There's even a little covered patio out back. Plenty of room to play in and a slope up the the rear half into a wooded area.

Hopefully just some cleanup will do the trick.

That's it. Stay tuned for weekly progress reports. We've only had the house for three days and already the kitchen is in the dumpster along with all the carpeting. The heat has been turned back on and there has been constant subcontractor foot traffic. Lots to do.