Friday, December 28, 2007

The ceiling is gone...

two hard-working guys
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
...and the baby furniture is here.

Luis, my longtime friend and reliable Building a Better Bungalow fan, came over today to help me with more demolition and debris removal, which was awesome, because we made great progress. We took the entire ceiling, which was some drywall-type board, down. As you can see from pictures, we were good boys and wore our masks and eye protection. Actually, Luis cheated and simply wore his glasses.

We had no major finds today, which is a good thing, because I was more worried we'd find dead mice or mice poop or something worse above the ceiling, below the floor of the first floor. But nothing other than a lot of dust and some weird biscuit-shaped hardened blobs of mortar or concrete or something similar. Maybe moon rocks? I don't know. Anyway, THANKS LUIS, for your help today. Was much, much obliged -- I hope the Golden Nugget breakfast and Hooters lunch was enough payment for your hard work!

Also, the baby furniture arrived today, finally. No problems, other than one of the backing boards on the changing table was damaged. So Gina wasn't happy about that. But, all in all, it looks good. My plan is to finish tearing the last wall off the family room and then switch gears and assemble the crib, hopefully.

In the meantime, enjoy the pictures, as usual. There are actually PEOPLE in these again. Thrilling!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Big find! Little less progress...

Stained glass
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
Check THIS out! I'm so psyched about it. Of course, I had to demolish walls to find this, when really all I needed to do was clean out the utilities room, and it would have been right there for me to discover.

This stained glass window is sweet. It's got a few cracked panes, but overall just needs a cleaning and to be stripped on the "outside" which is painted white (not a big stunner on that point). I'm not sure where, exactly, this window came from. We have a bricked-in stained glass window portal in the living room (that you can see from the outside), but that looks more square from the sidewalk than rectangular, which this is. Also, we have a closet window to the front porch that is rectangular, but vertical, not horizontal, which this clearly is. So I'm not entirely sure where it's from. But, of course, I'm overjoyed to have it and to have found it. Maybe I'll use it as a door on the cabinets in my future bar, with a backlight or something to make it look good. I don't know... :)

Anyway, I cleared another short wall today, but didn't make it around the corner to expose the utilities room entirely. That's because I had to haul the demo debris out to the alley for trash pickup, which is tomorrow morning. It wasn't a ton, but it's enough that it took me quite a while to clear it all.

I also exposed the center post and found, to my dismay, that it's an original wooden post -- cool for nostalgia purposes, bad for structural purposes. Bad because, over 85 years, this post, which is sitting on a concrete footing on the concrete floor, has wicked up so much moisture that the base of the post is very rotted and brittle. I'm almost afraid to touch it for fear that it will crumble. So this becomes a high priority to rent some equipment to shore up the support beam and replace the post as soon as I can. I just hope Home Depot or somewhere rents out this kind of thing. I certainly don't have something like that around here.

Tomorrow is a busy day at Building a Better Bungalow. My buddy Luis is coming over bright and early at 7:30 to help out with the demo. It'll be good to have two bodies working on the project. It should roll along smoothly, and maybe we'll be able to knock out the rest of the walls AND the ceiling. That would be GREAT, but that might be unattainable. We'll see for sure.

Also, between 9 and 11 a.m., we finally get our baby room furniture delivered. Gina, of course, is excited, and I am too, even though it means I'll have to put the basement project aside briefly at some point in the very near future to assemble the crib. But, hey, that's OK. Once I get to a stopping point, which shouldn't be too long from now, I can jump into that.

Tonight, I'm sore and tired. But it feels good to make such a big discovery. Now, if I could only stumble upon the house's blueprints or old photos or renovation plans or ANYTHING else related to the house's history, that would take the cake. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The holidays are over...

North window and mess
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
...time to roll up the sleeves. Yes, basement renovation is under way. I'm fully aware this is a monumental task. I'm fully aware it's not going to be a quick job.

But, it should be noted: (1) I'm in no hurry; (2) I don't need slate countertops on my bar, nor do I need pure cherry or mahogany or whatever for this, that or the other thing; (3) I'm only renovating the family room, meaning I don't have to spend on a bathroom or anything ridiculously fancy.

So, this shouldn't destroy the pocketbook. Either way, it needs to be done. Thus far, our family room was an oversized catch-all. I want the room to have function. I want it to be the main room in which most of our daily family life occurs, given its size and coziness possibilities (once finished).

Today, I busted ass and ripped off quite a bit of the two-tone wood paneling, as you can see in the pictures. It went, surprisingly (knock on wood), very, very easily. Most importantly, I found little to no mold behind or on any of the walls. The foundation, with the exception of two cracks (one pretty serious-looking, but dry), looked to be in exceptional shape (again, knock on wood).

Tomorrow, demo continues. Also, I have our heating & cooling guy coming to assess the room for fireplace-readiness or if it would be more cost-effective to just install a couple baseboard heaters to tap into the main boiler system. I trust him entirely. :)

The plans, thus far, remain in place as originally hoped, but I'm sure that once I know the heating situation, I'll have to alter my plans one way or another. We shall see...tomorrow is another day! Another day of hard work...and I still haven't touched the ceiling just yet. That's coming, soon enough.

But I will sleep well tonight, because of the lack of major problems (you can't knock on wood enough in my household! knock on wood) and a general tiredness from being on my feet and working all day long. It was a good day.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A little early, but...

... Merry Christmas from Building a Better Bungalow!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Another sleepless night...

...because the wind didn't subside much, so I didn't sleep very well. The siding banged off the A/C unit pretty much all night.

But, this morning, Nyberg came out and secured it, and about five other pieces they found to be loose, with nails and caulk--just a temporary fix, but a much-needed one. We'll probably have to get new siding in the spring or summer, at this rate.

Also, I've discovered a major, major draft upstairs, and of course, it's in the baby's future room. So, I'm going to have to resolve that problem. In the crawlspace there, the hood vents from the kitchen oven below travel out the roof at that point. Problem is, it's not well-insulated. In fact, it's pretty much exposed. I have a roll of insulation outside in the garage that I'm probably going to have to go out and get and staple or tape around the holes and the vent pipes. I cooked breakfast this morning and checked, and the pipes don't even warm up much at all, so I'm not concerned about heat--they're just exhaust pipes anyway. But, it leaks a lot of cold air into the upstairs, so it needs to be fixed.

But, at least the wind damage from the other day is gone. That's a relief.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Who's trippin' down the streets of the city...

...smiling at everybody she sees? ... Everyone knows it's Windy.

Stupid windstorm. Woke me up at 3 a.m. blasting through. Dozed through most of the gusts of wind...really bad gusts of wind too. Then, all of a sudden, about 5 a.m., a loud pop or two (nails popping free) and a big bang against the air conditioner in our master bedroom. Here's what I discovered (of course, I discovered it while it was still dark outside and from the windows upstairs--these pics were taken around 8 a.m.):

Actually, when it first happened, at 5 a.m., I decided that I needed to secure the piece, because I feared it would snap loose and ricochet into our bedroom window, or fly out into the street in front or something worse. So, I got dressed, got my drill and climbed out the bedroom window onto the little bit of roof outside the dormer. Plenty of space to work, honestly...when there's not 50 m.p.h. gusts trying to blow you off the roof. After realizing that if I let go of the wall with both hands that the wind would knock me down (and likely off the roof), and further realizing I had only two hands, rather than three, I climbed back into the house and decided to deal with it when light arrived. Although I could probably go back out there and work on it from above, on the flat roof, my dad, captain do-it-yourself, told me that I should call someone. And when capt. do-it-yourself says to have someone else do it, it's pretty meaningful.

So I called Nyberg Roofing, who did our roof, and left a plea that if they could help out, I'd appreciate it. I heard back, and Stuart, who is great, is trying to get someone to come out here this afternoon. Hopefully, no more damage will occur. And, if they can get someone out here, I'll be thrilled...unless they charge me 30 billion dollars. Then I'll be pissed. :)

But, seriously, I am quite a bit worried about this thing snapping's cracked halfway where the siding is bent, and it's not as though the winds have subsided any thus far. Plus, you can see the a/c unit facing you in the pictures, right? Well, the panel or two directly above that unit are loose as well, though they haven't peeled off. But they rattle and flutter in the wind, so they need to be nailed down too. Hopefully Nyberg comes through and quickly. I've got all my eggs in their basket, unfortunately.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

So much for that idea...

Well, my Dad and I were going to go get the new baby furniture today. We made the trek to Babies 'R' Us only to find out that the furniture, assembled and then boxed up in HUGE boxes for protection, was way, way, way bigger than we expected.

So, no baby furniture today. I decided to schedule a delivery and shell out the additional $115 or whatever it is, exactly, to have them deliver it. That'll be much easier, and had I known the stuff would have been so ridiculously huge, I would have just done that from the start.

In other news, I love snow. So this current snowstorm we're getting here (a nice 5 or 6 inches when all is said and done should be on the ground) is nice. Looks really pretty too. :)

I should be able to start on the basement family room soon...assuming I get things cleaned out of there. I'm excited, I'll tell ya... :)

More as events warrant, of course! Stay safe and warm!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ice sucks...

You know why ice sucks? Because it isn't snow and it's impossible to get off everything. Aside from the whole killing people in the Great Plains and all, which apparently it did yesterday. My condolences, of course.

But ice really sucks because it's not snow. At least snow I can shovel and all that. Ice, nope. My neighbor's entire sidewalk was a sheet of black ice this past weekend because someone came and shoveled it. I left my walk unshoveled, knowing that the ice was coming, and it worked out. The only bad thing is, my front stairs, which were snow-free, were coated in ice. So was the entire back deck and part of the basement stairs out to the yard. So it was treacherous-going for a few days.

See, I didn't even think to buy salt. My dad rarely, if ever, used salt--but then again, I don't remember getting socked by freezing rain like this either. It either rained and ran off or snowed. This is like, Downstate Illinois type stuff that we're now getting. So I reluctantly got a bag of rock salt Sunday...reluctantly, I say, because I know it can eat away at a lot of stuff. So let's hope it doesn't do too much damage.

I also got a basement remodeling book, which has gotten me all excited about tearing up and redoing the basement family room now. But I must be patient. Got a couple of things to take care of before I get to that.

Ah well, just wanted to give an update...not much is new with the housework, other than the preliminary planning for the basement family room remodel. More on the other side of this upcoming ice storm. Stay safe if you're in the middle to lower Midwest!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Ah...painting, finished...

I really HATE painting. I like most home improvement tasks, but painting is not one of them. I pretty much always love the outcome, as I like having color in my house; but I hate the process and work to get to that process.

My brother came by this evening again to help me finish, finally, the baby's room. We needed to paint the slanted ceiling and the alcove ceiling a lighter shade of green than the walls are. For the walls, again, we used Benjamin Moore Key Lime, and we painted the slanted part of the ceiling and the alcove ceiling only with B.M. Lime Froth, basically two shades lighter than Key Lime. You can, honestly, barely see the Lime Froth vs. white ceiling, which it borders -- but that's OK. Gina's more of a conservative person when it comes to paint choices, particularly accents wall types of things. I'd personally have gone one or two shades DARKER, instead of lighter, but, again, this is OK. It's her room to decorate, I told her.

So that's done, finally. I don't have any pictures right now though. After it's cleaned up and lookin' good, I'll post more. It isn't much different than the last set.

After getting our $300 gas bill today, which is probably nothing compared to some people, and then reading about heating at The Bungalow Chronicles, I've decided to add a new task to the projects bar on the left -- installing programmable thermostats both upstairs and downstairs. At some point, of course. First, I have to figure out if I need to buy a new toilet for the first floor, as it appears to be broken. Although I could install the old upstairs toilet down here and see if that one works. Probably worth a shot, honestly. But I don't know when I'll get around to either of those tasks, as picking up and assembling the baby furniture is next on the list.

Meanwhile, Gina needs to find new window coverings for the baby room's windows, since the blinds up there are beige/tan and don't match anything now. Of course, then I'll probably have to install whatever it is...unless it's curtains. Maybe she can do those...we'll see.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

More advice needed...

I was sitting around today, just mulling over some ideas, when it hit me.

With the basement family room renovation, a key issue is going to be the installation of a heating system of some sort. There are no radiators down there or anything. The basement basically relies on radiant heat from the pipes and any residual heat from the utility room. Now, it doesn't get COLD down there, but it is definitely cooler than anywhere else in the house, which is not a surprise. So, if we're going to basically live down there most of the time, we need to have a heating system of some sort.

I had figured I'd just have baseboard radiators tapped into the boiler line and that would do the trick. But now, I'm thinking, wait a minute, I've seen this before...

Why not a fireplace?

We have a lengthy outer wall on one side that could easily fit a fireplace.

But, I have NO IDEA how much installation of a fireplace in a BASEMENT would cost. I've seen them before, so I know it's possible. But I don't even know where to start. So, anybody? Anybody? :) I know this is a much more "ridiculous" request than a plumber, but who knows...maybe some of my excellent readers can point me in the right direction...

Walls, finished...

This side done
Originally uploaded by southsideandy
Finally, we're done painting the walls of the baby's room. We also primed the slanted ceiling and the alcove ceiling, which will be painted Benjamin Moore Lime Froth, a color two shades lighter than what is on the walls (Key Lime). But we have to buy that paint and then apply it. So hopefully this weekend, it will be done.

And that, my friends and neighbors, would be HUGE.

Thanks to my brother Tim and his wife Melissa for their endless help on this...and all they got out of it was White Castle and Brown's Chicken dinners.