Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday, 9/30/10 More Inside Work

Sorry for the bad angle of this photo, I will try to take a better one tomorrow. This is where the wall between the living room and kitchen used to be. All it is now is a small wall on the far side and a 3 inches coming down from the ceiling. It makes the house look so much better.

Also in this photo you can see part of the kitchen floor. Parke and Josh worked for a very long time to rip up 5 layers of linoleum throughout the kitchen. They weren't super happy about that.

They also took all of it and lots of drywall to the dump, and worked a little on the never-ending ditch.

After the beam was completely installed and the wall knocked out, Johnny and I moved to the bathroom and bedroom closet. We knocked out the floor of the closet (it was raised up 5 or 6 inches for no good reason). For some reason I managed to not get a photo of that, which I will show in tomorrow's blog.

Below is a photo of what the bathroom is looking like. After removing the toilet and the linoleum, Johnny and I decided to remove the OSB and put down plywood. We are doing this so that the tile will too much higher than the hardwood floor. It will be raised up some, but since plywood is much stronger than OSB, thinner ply can be used. I also ripped the back splash for the tub off and found out that they had just had drywall behind it. That came off as well.

Wednesday, 9/29/10 Inside Work

Sorry for another blog that is a day late. But Wednesday was a great day. Johnny Flatt started today and a lot of interior work got done. Work began on removing the wall between the living room and the kitchen. The electrical had to be killed for the outlets running through the wall before all the studs could be removed.

While looking at how to install the beam, Johnny mentioned putting the beam in the attic. This way it would be above all the ceiling rafters and they would be attached to it using hangers. Then the beam is supported on either end. Look below to see what I am talking about. This way, there will not be around a foot beam coming down from the ceiling into the room. It will look much much better finished.

The bathroom door is being moved over to the left so that a small vanity can be put where the very small sink is now. So we cut the opening wider after removing the door and its frame. At the moment the opening is much larger than the door, but will be fit to the right size after the rest of the work is done in the bathroom.

Also, an opening for a small door was cut in the bathroom wall that will open into the hall closet. The hall closet is being fitted for a stackable washer and dryer with shelves to the right of it. So when this small bathroom door is opened, the shelves from the "laundry room" will be right there and easily accessible.

The final photo shows the back wall of the hall closet removed. It is being pushed back to make room for the stackable washer/dryer unit.

While Johnny and I worked inside, Josh and Parke (who both worked half days -- Parke in the morning and Josh in the afternoon) did other fun stuff. They continued on the ever fun ditch, which has sort of become save it for last project. They also took a ton of trash to the dump and knocked out the the kitchen cabinets uppers. I honestly know they did more than that, but can't for the life of me remember what else.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday 9/28/10 More Seed and Straw, and Trim

Today was a good day. Well sort of. All throughout the day I was in the process of finding out what is wrong with my car and getting it fixed. Looks like it is going to be ground 800 bucks. Thats pretty terrible.

But anyway, the house itself went great today. The straw and everything was put down in the front yard and the back and front was watered. Hopefully we will have lots grass soon!

The front awning finally came down today. The thing was so rusted that it took a drill, reciprocating saw, sledge hammer, and all three of us to get it down. But the front of the house looks so much better now.

On the inside the rest of the trim was removed as well almost all of the drywall and wood paneling on the wall that is being removed. Johnny Flatt comes tomorrow and we will begin installing the beam. Also, while inside I measured the sizes of all the windows. And discovered that Home Depot is not the best place to buy nice windows. Very, very expensive...

I'm looking forward to tomorrow and seeing what begins to happen inside. Also note the interior was cleaned up some.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday 9/27/10 Dirt, Seed, Straw, and Trim

Another week. Hopefully another week in which a very large amount of work will be done.

Today started out with a trip to Home Depot to get grass seed, fertilizer, and straw. At the house Josh and Parke worked on spreading the remaining topsoil in the back and then leveling it out and removing any large clumps of dirt.

While they did that, I worked on removing more the the interior trim. It has been slow going so far, I keep having to run to Home Depot or small things that take up time, but I am getting there.

I also worked some more on digging the remaining ditch for the side parking. Most of it is done now, just a little more work left. After Parke and Josh finished leveling and cleaning up the backyard, I went back there and seeded the whole thing and put down fertilizer. The day was finished by putting down straw over everything so that grass can start growing and make that yard look amazing!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday, 9/24/10 More Dirt, Trim, and a Little Sick

Sorry for another day without any cool photos to look at, not sure if I would be able to get through this blog without having photos to look at...

Anyway, I had another truck load of dirt delivered today for the backyard. The guy who brought it was actually early (not something you see very often when remodeling a house). So I had him drive slowly forward as he dumped the dirt, spreading it out quite a bit. This made Josh and Parke's job much easier. They have spread almost all of the dirt in the back and will finish up on Monday. Then we will but some grass seed and straw down and get some pretty grass to grow in the front and back.

I worked inside some, after I ran to Home Depot to buy some more rakes. Both the rakes I bought had already been put through a ton of work (plus they were really cheap) and they weren't quite holding up. So I was nice to Josh and Parke and got them some nicer ones that would actually stay together. I became ripping the inside trim down for the rest of the morning.

I then went back to my other house (aka the one I am living in) for some lunch. I did some basic planning after lunch -- I try to get a broad idea for next week on Fridays. After working for a while I started to not feel too great and a little sick. So I just rested for a while and felt useless. Pretty much the end of my work day.

But while still at home, when I started to feel better I noticed a large amount of house flies buzzing around. Like 15 at least. Some how I had not completely shut the back door after using the grill and they had been coming inside for the past few hours. So I started a battle, nay a war with house flies. (Note: we do not have a fly swatter). I employed the three basic strategies against them. 1. Kill them out of mid-air with by clapping your hands together. 2. Smack them against the window when they are vainly trying to escape. 3. When they are down by the bottom of the window, quickly open it and let them fly out, and then quickly shut the window. Thus they are stuck between the window and the screen.

I managed to kill 11 by using the first two techniques and trap 5 more using the third. I know that really has nothing to do with this blog, but I wanted to share.

Thursday, 9/23/10 Dirt, Wall, and Johnny

Sorry, another post that is a day late. But it was a good day. Parke is back from recording, so him and Josh spent the day spreading more topsoil. (Some of you are probably wondering why I didn't just get someone with a bobcat to come out and level all the dirt, and I worked the numbers out and it was cheaper to just pay Parke and Josh to do it.) They finished the whole front and side yard.

I did some final measurements of the kitchen, to make sure they are right when I take them to the place I am buying my cabinets from.

So after that I got a little bored and started knocking the drywall and wood paneling off the wall in between the kitchen and living room that is coming out. I was waiting for Johnny Flatt to show up, which he did soon after I had started swinging the sledge hammer.

Johnny is Josh's father-in-law and a handy man who is amazing at pretty much everything. So I walked him through the house and showed him all my plans. He will be overseeing much of the work, especially any sort of skilled labor. So most of the afternoon was spent with him figuring out the next steps.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday, 9/22/10 Dirt

Sorry that I don't have any photos for you today, actually just totally forgot to take any. Today was all about dirt. I had a dump truck of topsoil delivered to the front yard. Almost all of the day was spent spreading it around the front yard and getting it even. It was Josh and I, and for some reason it decided to be real warm today. But Parke is back from recording and they will finish up the job tomorrow. Soon the front yard will be nice and level and ready for some grass seed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday 9/21/10 More Electrical and Some Digging

Today Dave the electrician finished putting on the new breaker box and hooking it up. Tomorrow the inspector is going to come out the house and make sure he did everything right. I have no doubt that he did.

By the looks up it, it would seem that Dave did way more work than either Josh or I (by the way Parke has been in Birmingham recording and will be back tomorrow). I started my day by scraping more of the ceiling in the bedroom. Its a very long process...

After running to Home Depot, I set Josh to the task of digging a narrow trench next to the house parallel to the alley. (Look at the photo below, but its hard to make out). Anyway, I am putting side parking in and am putting wooden runners in on the grass side. The other side is the paved alley and so its fine. I'm using pressure treated 2x10's for the runners, and so about 8 inches of it need to be buried in the ground.

Unfortunately the ground was all roots, buried bricks, and gravel right where the runners need to be. So it was very very tough going. I took a break from scraping the ceiling and helped Josh for the afternoon, and we managed to get two of the 2x10's in place -- aka 20 feet since I bought 2x10x10's. It might have been worth getting a ditch witch, but it was a good workout. Going to finish up tomorrow and then will be ready to put the river pebbles down.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday 9/20/10: Aerating and Electrical

Well its a new week and the day went pretty well. Josh (as you can see here) spent a good portion of the day aerating the yard. We went to Home Depot and rented a walk behind aerator that he got to use. I'm sure he loved it. Before he did that, he spent a while doing the final clean up of the front and back yard. In the next day or two we are getting some top soil to level out parts of the yard and then we will be putting down grass seed.

Also today, the electrician started his work. I am removing the old fuse box that is in the kitchen and putting in a breaker box on the exterior of the house. Now an ugly box won't be right in the middle of the kitchen. This first step of getting all the wires and things hooked up to the new box and mounting the box to the brick should take until about Wednesday. Soon after all the other electrical work such as replacing outlets and putting in new ones will begin.

I also spent some of the day beginning the tiring process of scraping some of the ceiling flat. Most of the house has a flat ceiling, but the two bedrooms and the bathroom have textured ceilings, which I am scraping and then sanding flat.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Friday, 9/17/10 Stump Grinding and Kitchen

Well sorry I didnt manage to get this post up yesterday evening when I normally do, but here I am Saturday afternoon doing it instead. I'm not going to lie and say I got a lot done yesterday, because I didn't. I can try to pass the blame to the fact that I didn't have my normal gallon of coffee, but either way is was an okay day at best.
On the other hand, I did see the coolest thing done at the house to date. I had a guy come out and grind the two stumps that were on the left side of the house. It was amazing to watch. It took him only a few minutes to grind both of them down, and the actual stump grinder was huge and had no problem going through both the stumps.

I spent the afternoon talking with granite guys and finalizing designs for the kitchen. And here they are. I also spent a good amount of time pricing out the cabinets and the granite. Kitchens are not cheap.

All the interior work starts on Monday. Dave the electrician will be there bright and early to put in the new breaker box.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday, 9/16/10 Planning

I spent today planning almost all day. Shown here is a basic layout of the kitchen. Hopefully I will be able to put the stove where the sink is and move the sink to underneath the window. Have several things including dealing with my budget to see if that is possible.

This morning I met with a plumber to look at having the plumbing for the washer and dryer moved as well some other small things. I also had him give me an estimate for moving the sink and dishwasher. Lets just say that everything was way more expensive then I had hoped. I'm going to get a few other quotes and go from there.

I spent a large part of the afternoon with my interior designer Angela going over designs for the home. Most of the time was in the kitchen, but also talked about the bathroom and even picked out some exterior colors. It looks like the interior of the house is beginning to move forward.

I have also brought several of my friends over in the last few days and gotten their opinions about the house and what they think about my ideas. It has felt good to know that in general my ideas line up with what other people think.

I will explain in more detail the kitchen layout tomorrow when I post more sketches of everything.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday, 9/15/10 The Dump and Phone Calls

Today I took care of Josh's dog Obi while he worked for me. Most of my day was spent making phone calls and doing some final touches on my back deck designs. So Obi just hung out with me and did a lot of sleeping while I worked. I talked with a brick repair man, a guy who is going to come grind some stumps, and had someone come haul away all my scrap metal. And several other random phone calls...

Parke and Josh on the other hand didnt have a great day of work. They spent the whole day hauling things to the dump. I had a lot of bricks and rocks that had to go to the landfill (which costs a pretty penny). I think they ended up taking like four full truck loads. So now the back and front yard have been completely raked and cleaned up and are ready for some topsoil and grass seed.

Interior work is getting ready to start, as well as multiple people coming out the start working on the home. Tomorrow I am meeting with my interior designer, a cabinet maker, and one more person. Haha, cant find my calender right now so not quite sure who else.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday 9/14/10 Shed, Raking, and Back Awning

Today started off with Josh and Parke taking down the very nasty shed in the corner of the yard. I was thinking about possibly keeping it, but it was in terrible shape and needed to go. That took them several hours of what I'm sure was very fun work. While they were doing that, I started raking the whole backyard. I am hoping to put down grass seed next week and that means getting the billions of twigs and garbage out of the yard.

As it got closer to lunch time, I headed back home to do what I had been putting off for a few days. I started organizing everything (it has been several days since I have organized anything, so papers have been all over my room in no real order). Parke and Josh, already tired, soon joined me for some great burgers.

The afternoon meant more raking and shoveling trash, gravel, and twigs into trash bags for Josh and Parke. I stopped by for a little while and all three of us worked to take down the back awning. The things was super ugly and I am very glad it is gone. Small bad news is that I will have to get a little brick work done where the awning attached to the house. But well worth not having the thing there.

I spent the afternoon doing more organizing and making phone calls. Haven't decided whether I would rather be doing that or manual work at the house. It really depends on the day. Designing things such as the kitchen are by far my favorite activities. Actually getting ready to do a little bit more work this evening involving kitchen planning. And tomorrow brings many trips to the dump.

I am also including a to-scale blueprint of the floorplan. Thought I had already put this up... This will change some as I start knocking down/moving a few walls.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday 9/13/10 Trees and Kitchen

Today started another week of work. Josh and Parke worked outside all day doing several things. First they removed the small section of wooden fence that was on the left side of the house. When the chain link fence on the left side of the photo is replaced by a wooden one, this section to the house will be replaced. But it will be moved up to cover the HVAC unit from anyone looking from the front yard.

I helped them take some limbs off the trees over the chain link fence. Some of the limbs stretched over the house and two were dead. Removing them opened up the backyard even more. There is one more branch that I want to remove, but I need to get permission from my neighbors who live behind the house. They were not there when I went by today.

Parke and Josh did more of what has come to define everyday of their work, which is to dig up stumps. Besides for two large ones -- from the two trees on the alley side of the house that they removed today -- I think they have removed them all. Tomorrow we will take stuff to the dump and get ready to get topsoil for the front and some of the backyard.

I have spent even more time on kitchen designs. Hopefully by tomorrow, after I meet with my interior designer, I will have a pretty good idea about the layout of the kitchen. The kitchen is such an important part of the house and it is where a large portion of my money is going, so I guess it makes sense that I am spending the most time there.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday, 9/10/10 Rain

Well today was going to be a day of me working by myself at the house to just do small jobs that Parke and Josh hadn't gotten to yet. But instead it has rained all day long and so I have been stuck in front of the computer and graph paper doing small planning jobs. I'm honestly in a place that things need to just get done at the house before I can do much more planning. I think next week will bring a lot of things getting done.

I did manage to get in contact with my interior designer and begin that process. We will be meeting again on Tuesday and beginning to pick out colors, stains, trim, and much much more. That will open up a lot more things for Josh and Parke and even myself to do at the house.

I also heard back from the electrician Dave, and he quoted me about what the other electrician had. He is just like a much nicer guy, but just as professional as the other. And since I will be working next to him and learning the basics of what he does, it is well worth it to use Dave.

Besides for talking on the phone, I did manage to spill coffee all over my desk and papers and spent much of the morning cleaning it up. That took way too long to clean up, the coffee managed to get everywhere. I did have some time leftover to work on more sketches for the kitchen cabinets and the parking situation.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thursday, 9/9/10 More Stumps and Deck

Today Josh and Parke worked more in the backyard to get most of the remaining stumps out. (They have taken out a lot of them). They did some other fun clean up stuff, and got all the trash taken to the street. There is way more trash then what fits in the trash can. Hopefully the trash guys will be nice this week and take the rest of it.

I spent my day taking some final measurements and making the final drawing for the back deck. I changed it some since yesterday so that it will now cover the crawl space door. All I really have to do is switch the crawl space door to open in instead of out. (If it opens out then it would hit the joists of the deck and not be able to open.) The deck is going to be 10 feet out from the deck and 18 feet long, plus a 4x5 foot landing that the steps come down from. Its going to costs more than a few pennies, but it is going to look great and make that backyard much more usable.

I also did fun stuff such as going to Home Depot, spraying weed killer in the whole yard, fogging the crawl space, and other small things that some how adds up to take up a large part of my day.

Tomorrow its just me, Josh and Parke are already at the lake for my roommates birthday (James). James and I will be joining them after he gets off work tomorrow. I guess I will be doing some manual labor myself.

Below is both the new drawing for the deck and two new photos of the backyard. They really don't look too different than old photos, just a few small trees and a lot of stumps missing.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, 9/7/10 Electrician and Deck

Today I meet with another electrician (Dave) to get an estimate on all the work I need done. I have to update to a breaker box and rewire the washer/dryer and range, etc. I am actually going to move the box from the kitchen to outside the house (just on the other side of the exterior wall actually). Anyway, Dave was pretty awesome. Still not sure if I can use him, waiting to get an estimate. But he was real talkative and funny. He just seemed like a stoner who just started doing electrical work and got good at it.

Also I worked on figuring out parking for the home, and am just going to put some side parking in. There is already gravel in both the backyard and the side yard where parking was. I'm going to remove the gravel from the backyard (its too hard to get back there) and just put some nice river pebbles down right next to the alley.

I worked a little more with kitchen cabinet stuff, which is by far the most time consuming thing I have done so far. I am looking at many different places trying to find some good cabinets that I actually like and can afford.

Finally, I spent a good amount of time making measurements and designing the back deck. Right now there is a small concrete patio that I am building directly over. That makes the designing of the deck a lot harder. (You can see from pictures that the concrete patio and steps is a challenge). So I have to build around the patio and just run some 2x4's on top of it. If that doesn't make any sense to you when you look at the sketch then dont worry about it, I will post pictures later when it is being built.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tuesday 9/6/10 Eh

So today was one of those days that nothing really happened. And mean Josh and Parke spent most of their day digging stumps out of the ground and taking stuff to dump, while I worked on planning out the kitchen and trying to find cabinets. Didnt have much luck, so it seemed like a wasted day. Oh well, hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday 9/6/10: Outside Clean Up

Today, even though it was a holiday, was the first day of work. My friends Josh and Parke are
working for me and doing a fair amount of the manual labor. Its strange being the one giving the orders instead of doing all the grunt work like I did for my old construction jobs.

We started at 9 am with the general goal of just cleaning up the front and backyards. They were very cluttered and overgrown and I just wanted them to be opened up and cleared out.

So most of the bushes were removed out of both the front and backyard, as well as some trees removed or trimmed. There is still a decent amount of work to do for clearing up the yard, mostly removing stumps of bushes and small trees in the backyard.

But the result as you can see is huge. The backyard no longer looks like a jungle and you can actually see the road from the front door. More clean up to come tomorrow.

1704 Sharpe Ave

As you might already know, I am in the process of renovating a home. I just started and have created the renovation company Pearson Properties. I am going to keep a blog of everything that I am doing, hopefully a day by day account (if not then at least a couple times a week.) I will be posting pictures of what I have done. I am also posting a few photos of the original state of the house. All the original photos are shown below in a slide show. Enjoy!