Saturday, October 10, 2015

Walls up

It's been over a month since I posted any photos.  It's not just burnout or spending way too many hours at my day job.  It's that we are at the slow and tedious part of the remodel.  The last month has been spent running wiring, grinding glue off the floors, hanging drywall and insulating the attic.  We still don't have a heating system, but having the attic and walls insulated makes enough of a difference that our little milkhouse heaters can keep it comfortable.
 Having moved most of our interior walls created a lot of extra corners to tape.
Our current project is to tape all the drywall.  The walls aren't too difficult because most of the drywall is new, but patching the holes in the ceiling is a slow and messy process.  I took a week off from work to get the taping, texturing and painting done.  Hopefully I'll have some good progress to show for my nine days off.  

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

The End of Demo

Labor day certainly lived up to its name this year.  Luke and I arranged for a four day weekend to finish gutting the upstairs.  We spent the first two days working on the floors.  The subfloor is 5/8" ply overlaid with glued-down particle board.
The particle board does not work with hardwood floors or our radiant heat system so we pulled it all up in 2' sections.
This left a lot of glue on the floors so we'll have to rent a floor sander to clean it all up before installing the hardwood flooring.  But the floors were a cakewalk compared to our other project. Our attic was insulated with shredded wood that had a low r value and was not safe for contact with can lights.  After much debate we decided the best way to remove the insulation was to cut out the drywall down the middle of the house and rake it out through the hole.  This was the messiest project we've ever done.
Twelve hours and seventy trash bags later we removed the last of the sawdust.  I have to finish the electrical work (which is made much easier with the attic empty) then we can start putting this mess back together.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Two Years In

It’s been two years since I walked into our house for the first time.  It was Labor Day weekend and we were scheduled to close on the house in an hour.  I had never been in the house until closing day.  Homes in our price range were selling quickly and I was living 70 miles when Luke found a newly-listed ranch house.  He looked at it during his lunch hour the following day and put in an offer immediately.  The house had been on the market for 48 hours when our offer was accepted.  It was not the only offer; it wasn’t even the only full price offer so I think we made the right choice in such a quick decision.  I had some pictures of the house, but I didn’t actually see it in person until closing day five weeks later.  When I walked in the door for the first time it was a crowded and ugly as I had expected from the pictures.  
The rooms were small and boxy, the finishing materials were cheap and the whole house was dirty and dated.  I had been prepared to hate the house and I was not disappointed.  But two years have made a difference.  I still miss living in Butte and the beautiful house we had there, but I don't mind coming home to this.  
Yes, it's a bit of a disaster, but the house feels much more open and cheery than it did before.  Maybe it's because there's hope for it now.

The narrrow, walled-in stairwell is now open and nearly a foot wider.
The wasted space in the master bedroom is gone
I made the room a little shorter to add a walk in closet with a pocket door (left)
Since the upstairs us pretty much the gutted shell of a house we have moved into the basement.  Our current bedroom isn't pretty, but being below ground keeps the room nice and dark for some great sleep.
 I temporarily converted the future bathroom into our kitchen.  Thanks to the toaster oven and electric skillet we're not starving yet. A few leftover pieces of shower tile on top of the folding table make for a decent prep surface.  A 2x4 and a chunk of house wrap keep the toilet separate from the kitchen
 These cabinets will eventually end up in our laundry room but for now they make a great pantry and coffee station.
 The living quarters aren't great, but they'll do for the next few months.
It doesn't look like much, but living in the basement is surprisingly comfortable.  The house has no heat, but the basement stays a much more consistent temperate than the first floor.  After a few days of living in the basement it doesn't even seem weird any's just home.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Bathroom Before and After

We wrapped up the bathroom over a week ago, but I've been holding off on posting pictures until the new shower curtain arrived.  That's my excuse at least.
Bathroom Before - Large, but the space was poorly utilized.
 Bathroom After - Smaller, but greatly improved
Shower Before - A cracking fiberglass surround with 40 years of hard water buildup.
Shower After - Porcelain tile with a marble, metal and glass mosaic that gleams in the sun.
I had originally planned on cool tones but I love how the warm bronze and champagne liven up the accent tile
Heated tile floor - I loved the tile so much that I've decided to use it in the laundry and basement bathroom as well.
New slim vanity (Don't pay attention to the unfinished door and trim.  We'll be installing our new doors after the hardwood floors are in.)
The sun tunnel makes a huge difference in the room.  Even though it's on the north side of the house it lets in a lot of light.  A week after it's finished I still find myself trying to turn off the bathroom lights only to realize this is natural light.
Now that the bathroom is done Luke and I are focusing on wrapping up some smaller projects in anticipation of gutting the rest of the first floor.  I'll share the chaos in a few weeks.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Bathroom Remodel Trudges Forward

It's been another long week of working on the bathroom.  Luke spent most of his weeknights running drains and supply lines while I finished the drywall. I didn't bother with pictures because this is boring work that doesn't change the look of the bathroom.

But we did make some visual progress this weekend with getting the floor and shower tiled and installing the sun tunnel.
 The floor looks amazing and we haven't even done the grout yet.

 The shower isn't looking too shabby either.
 We still have a lot of work to do, but hopefully we will be able to use the shower by the end of the week.  In other news the new siding is 80% painted, we're still working on the bathroom and Luke is framing the basement.  The last thing we need is another project so of course I had to go and do this.

900 sq ft of hardwood flooring waiting to be installed.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Whirlwind Bathroom Remodel

After two years in the house we are finally getting a decent bathroom!  I've had seven new bathrooms over the last ten years, so having to live with this mess after all those new bathrooms is making me crazy.
I slapped some antique white paint on the walls to tone down the green but this space has been driving me nuts for the last twenty-two months.  So when Luke suggested that we start the remodel over the 4th of July weekend I jumped at the chance.  Within a week we had bought our materials and installed a toilet in the basement bathroom (not exactly private, but more convenient that driving to the nearest gas station)

I even tested out a few tile patterns on the bathroom wall.  It's actually an improvement and I should have taken a sharpie to the walls years ago.
We have a lot of changes to make.  To begin with, the bathroom is larger than necessary.  At 8'x9' it is the same size as our kitchen.  It didn't take much debate before we agreed to change the bathroom to 5'x9', giving us another 3' for the future kitchen.  This requires that we change the entire configuration of the fixtures and plumbing so we gutted the room to the studs and rebuilt it at the new, smaller size.
A conflict between tub drain locations and floor joists necessitated using a 54" bathtub instead of the standard 60".  It's not ideal but nothing in this house is going smoothly so I shouldn't be surprised.  Last night we managed to get the drywall and durock up so the room is feeling considerably more finished.
We now have some dead space next to the bathroom.  Until we actually start the kitchen remodel this will be a useless space, accessible only through the linen closet door.
Unfortunately we have to go back to our day jobs so progress on the bathroom is about to slow down.  But having to drive 10 miles into town to shower at work is a powerful motivator and we'll be working hard in the evenings to get this thing done.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Slate Veneer Finished

Time for a confession...this project has been finished for two weeks.  I took photos but it was too late in the day and they turned out very dark.  I took more pictures after work yesterday, but they turned out even worse so I'm back to the original too-dark photos.

Anyway, I did finish the veneer.  It took 55(ish) hours to install approximately 150 sq ft of veneer and cost about $300 in materials.  Since it would have cost $150 to put on the regular lap siding the upgrade only cost $150.  Although I have a lot of time invested in this project the results are worth it.  Like the new siding, it helps to really make the new garage look like it is part of the original house.  Plus the stone dresses up the entire facade.

When we bought the house...
 Just a few weeks ago...
And now
You can see the color of the slate a little better in this shot.

We're not quite done yet.  I have to finish the front porch, texture the foundation and eventually do something about the landscaping.  But the bulk of the work out front is done.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Installing the Slate Veneer

Now that the siding is up and the garage door is painted it's time to put the stone veneer across the lower part of the house .  Our neighbors are starting to think that we're going to live with tyvek forever.
My brother and sister-in-law have a crazy of habit of coming over to help us with the house.  During this visit they helped us get the scratch coat on and ready for the stone veneer.  With four people on the job we were able to get the scratch coat on in just an hour and a half.
My brother also helped us haul our "new" concrete mixer home.  We got this ancient homemade monstrosity off of craigslist from a nice couple who just wanted it out of their driveway now that their project was over.

The concrete mixer also came in handy when setting up my dropcloth shelters.  It took the mixer, our boat, my truck and the garage to get this shelter up so the mortar would not dry out too quickly.
I was able to arrange for a few days of work to focus on the veneer.  I am making the same slate product that I have used on our last two houses.  It’s a slow process.  I have to cut each tile into thirds, then each piece has to be "buttered" individually and tapped into place with a rubber mallet to ensure a good bond to the scratch coat.  Slowly, the veneer begins to go up.

I put in about forty-five hours over the last four days and was able to get all of the stone up.  I still have to finish a little mortar work and sealing before I can show off the finished product.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Back to the Front

Last year when we were choosing siding for the house and new garage we toyed with the idea of using stone veneer again.  I made my own slate veneer for our last two homes but finding a way to use it across the current house was a struggle.  I made some very basic mock-ups of what the house would look like with a few different options (don't laugh too hard...I don't have photoshop).
Option 1 - Veneer on exposed foundation
While it would tie in with the veneer I intended to put across the front of the garage the effect on the house was too subtle.

Option 2 - Stone veneer up to the windows on the front.
This version involves a lot more work that option 1.  However it also looks much better than option 1 so I decided to ahead with the extra work and expense.  I did not have time to get the veneer on last fall so the front of the house has looked like this since November.
I have to install approximately 140 sq ft across the house and garage which will take quite a bit of time  It may be at least a few weeks until you see how the finished product turns out.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Soffit and Siding

It's been a while since I posted, but not because of lack of progress on the house.  In the last few weeks Luke and I have both been putting in long days at work and tiring weekends on the house.  When you saw it last the a back of the house had been wrapped and was weatherproof, but obviously there was a lot of work still to be done.
I neglected to take any photos while we were actually doing the work.  But to sum it up we installed soffit and fascia and finally put up siding.

It took some extra calculations to make everything line up with the garage siding we installed six months ago but now the house and garage finally match.
The shake gables match the shake siding we used on the front of the garage.  I thought it was a waste of time because the only time we see the east end of the house is while mowing the lawn, but it's a nice little detail that helps tie everything together.
Now that the siding is up I need to finish caulking, get it painted and start on the stone veneer before the weather gets too warm for mortar work.