Much Progress to Report

Posted: June 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

I know it’s been a while since the last post. I’ll make no excuses, except I’ve been awfully tired after the days of work.

But let’s go to the visual evidence.

Same angle as all other images of the kitchen. It doesn't quite capture it. Soon we'll bring over the real camera.


A fresh coat of paint (one more coat, tk), and the floor is nearly ready for the refinishers.


Should we keep the radiators pink?


Where once there stood a kitchen waiting to be built, now there is a living room. And a terrible old air conditioner that saved us today.

And now I’d like to give a special shout out to Lowe’s, for enraging Amy and me each time we figure out how to install a crazy cabinet, or nail down hardwood flooring, or open another bag of leveling compound, and think of these awful ads. Just look at these hipsters and their perfect suburban house, and they don’t even know how to paint a freaking wall.

They can suck it. We’re putting down wood floor and hanging cabinets and pulling off baseboards.

Righty tighty. Great work, jerkwads!

For more photos from the last week, check out this little gallery on Flickr.


Sweat Equity

Posted: June 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

It was sweltering here today, and what a perfect time to install the wood floor upstairs. We also were a bit overoptimistic in how long this would take, so we’re going to be behind after this weekend. Hopefully we’ll find some ways to catch up.

It’s looking great, though, and we’re pleased with that. It will look quite a bit like the flooring on the first floor, so there should be some continuity to the whole house.

We’re exhausted, and I don’t have much else to say, so here are some pics.

The air pressure nailer is extremely handy.

Looking good so far.

Hallway into the bedroom.

So close!

We Have a Patio Again

Posted: May 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Thursday was another big day, although we didn’t get every last thing checked off the list, and will have bits and pieces to check off before our next big weekend of work. But we did get four big things taken care of on Thursday.

Remember this?

I wish I had a better shot of all the trash.

Well, it’s gone. And now we have the patio clear for the furniture and grill. We’ll order that soon.

And with pleasant afternoon sun! I can almost smell the brats on the grill.

One more pic, just because it’s that exciting.

Everything could use to be cleaned, but still: awesome!

In addition to this bit of excitement, we’ve got a new rubber roof. The old one, miraculously, wasn’t leaking, but the house was definitely in need of a new roof. When one roofer came two weeks ago to give us an estimate, he found about 18 inches of water in spots. He kicked loose the gutter and water gushed down over the side where the roof drains at the gutter. The roofer we hired also cleaned out the gutter. So, new roof, clean gutters = happy, dry us. (I didn’t get a photo of the new roof yet. I will soon.)

Amy worked like crazy and built all of the kitchen cabinets on Thursday, as well. She’s a machine. A machine capable of interpreting Ikea directions in real time, no less.

Last one. Lucky for them.

So, let’s see. New roof, clean patio, kitchen cabinets built …

Oh yeah. Our new range was delivered, and so was our lawn mower. Back in Louisville I reckoned I could get by with an old-timey push mower. And that yard was larger than this one. But what really happened in Louisville: I borrowed the neighbor’s gas mower every couple of weeks when I heard him mowing. I’d ask him to leave it out. I’m pretty sure Amy baked them some cookies once or twice — he’d never let me buy his next can of gas for it. Here, with a smaller yard, would I go with the old-timey push mower? Hell no. I did, however, get an electric push mower. We don’t exactly have a garage to keep a gas can in.

And the big ol range will just have to sit in its crate in the kitchen while we finish off the rest of the cabinet work and whatnot. Soon enough, though!

Hopefully a really bad-ass range is in here.

Lastly, and leastly, I continued to spend my precious free time on the stairs from hell. I went through a couple of tubs of wood putty after taking the orbital sander to the stairs. More sanding, more putty, more caulking await. I’m super pumped for that!

Big Day in Queens

Posted: May 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

New Nano-Kegs! Exciting!

Most days, this would be the biggest, most exciting thing that would happen. Sixpoint is finally selling cans (sorry, nano-kegs) directly to consumers, branching out from regular kegs at bars. Delicious beer, at home!

That would normally be a pretty exciting part of my day. But not today.

Today, our kitchen now looks like this:

The kitchen tile is down!

And it’s all thanks to Amy.

Just cold tilin'.

We kicked off the day at the house by putting down the tile for the kitchen. Finally, we’re really starting to see the progress. It was a good day on that front, but given how much attention we’re paying to the kitchen, seeing progress here is very exciting. While Amy was tiling, I tried to keep busy in the master bedroom. We removed the radiators (before Amy got down to tiling, actually), and I started tearing out the rotted and poorly installed wood that was already there as a repair to the subfloor. Like everything in this house, we’ll treat and maintain our radiators a little bit better than the previous owners.

The old, poorly repaired subfloor under the radiators.

Making progress, armed with a circular saw.

The tar paper goes down.

It wasn’t necessarily on the calendar for today, but it was something I could do solo while Amy did the tile, so I got to work. And I was itching to use the circular saw and quit staring at the unpleasant subfloor up there. Soon we’ll be installing the new red oak flooring, which we’ll finish to match the whole house. We went to Lumber Liquidators on Sunday to pick up the wood.

The new floor for the master bedroom, on the nice old floor in the office/spare bedroom.

While we did that on Sunday before work, we happened upon a street fair. This fair, in fact, pushed a hell of a lot of traffic onto our street. This involved quite a bit of impatient honking. But the grilled corn might have been worth it.

The street fair had it all: grilled corn, fried dough, and more.

In other news, the weedwhacker was delivered yesterday. UPS left it by the side of the house, and luckily it was still there by the time we stopped by. But it seems like the UPS route hits our place at a good time for our daily routine. Today, the mower arrived. I’m still waiting for the young grass to thicken and spread, so I didn’t mow. But I did take the weedwhacker for a spin. For a plug-in, it seems to be really tough and capable. I was hacking through some thick weeds.

Take that, weeds! (Most of our lawn, at present.)

Amy got three base cabinets built at the end of the day, and there’s more big stuff coming tomorrow. This is shaping up to be a much more productive and fulfilling weekend than last weekend.

Oh, and maybe Sixpoint’s Sweet Action nano-kegs (the next style to hit stores) will be at the grocery on our way home.

Quick Update

Posted: May 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

Here is a short little update from our work on Thursday. We continued to toil away in the kitchen. We chipped up some more of the old thinset where the floor is highest and poured round one of the self-leveling compound.

The more interesting thing happened when we went to Home Depot (and it won’t be the last time). As we waited for a train, we noticed a man on the tracks. A number of people started yelling at him to get up, but he seemed pretty drunk and picked up a half-empty Gatorade bottle and emptied it over the tracks. Eventually he started to try to climb up out of the track area and Amy and I pulled him up. Quite the adventure and we were just heading out for plumbing tools.

And with those tools we got the old radiator out of the kitchen. Hooray.


This weekend will involve more leveling compound and buying the red oak for the upstairs rooms. And our days off next week will need to be mega productive.

Back on Schedule, Mostly

Posted: May 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

The kitchen is waiting for tile, cabinets and the plumber.

With a little hired help on Tuesday, we got down to the floor in the kitchen, put up some drywall, started to patch some holes, cut some cementboard and generally prepped the area for the tile to come. The next big thing to deal with in the kitchen is getting the radiator out of the way for the tile. We had a plumber out today for some estimates, before we went to our anniversary lunch. We toyed briefly with a huge plumbing project to get a state-of-the-art hot-water heating system, but it’s just not in the budget. It would be better to do while we’re renovating, but will have to wait. For now, we’ll look forward to steam heat in the winter. At least it provides a little humidity.

Staple hell.

We continue to pull staples out from the stairs. I really have no idea how long this project will last. I’d guess we’ve pulled a thousand staples up already. Just brutal work, even if you can do it while sitting on a step.

The grass in the backyard is starting to grow, but it might have drowned today, so who knows how that will go.

Oh, and we had roofers come take a look, and they came in a little under what our expectations were, so we’ll count that as a win. It’s not a big house, so it doesn’t have a large roof. It’s a little job, thankfully.

The water on the roof was over a foot deep until the roofer kicked loose the gutter — which clearly has some bad news stuck in it. A river of water poured over the side of the house for more than a few minutes after he did this. Good news, tho: the drain in the patio handled it splendidly, so maybe cleaning that out won’t be a huge chore.

It will be nice to have a new roof that drains properly, and pretty soon.

The trash pile is finally shrinking, instead of growing.

I think that inside the house, we’ve hit a point where we feel good about how much we have pulled off in not that much time, but daunted by how much work remains. But we’re just working as quickly as we can, and I think we’re on track, more or less. We’ve got plenty of power tools, anyway.

And a bonus shot of that old newspaper:

The 1912 primary in Ohio.

About to Turn the Corner

Posted: May 13, 2011 in Uncategorized

Pretty soon, all of the demolition work will be complete, and instead of knocking stuff out, we’ll be putting stuff in. And cleaning. So much cleaning.

Just the last bit of tile to come up before we can start putting down tile ourselves.

We wanted to have a clean slate after our weekend this week, but it wasn’t quite to be. The tile in the kitchen isn’t chiseling up quite as easily as hoped, and the staples on the stairs that once held down gross carpet are incredible. And there are 30 or 40 of them per step. Our prybar and pliers can only do so much, so we ordered Vise Grips last night and got Amazon to overnight them. That should help speed that up, at least a little.

The new kitchen arrived from Ikea, and we’ll start putting that together next week. We still have to pick a range and refrigerator, but we’re zeroing in on both. The old fridge has gone to the basement — had to pry off the door frame to squeeze it through! — to become … the Beer Fridge.

I got grass seed down this weekend, too, and it looks like we might see some steady rain in the forecast. Let’s hope, and let’s hope we’ll see some grass take over the bare spots in the yard.

We’re at the subfloor upstairs, finally, as well. We discovered a couple of weird things in the floor up there. First, there was some cutesy linoleum, where there must have been a child’s room. And also, some newspaper pages from 1912 — The New York Evening Journal — that must have been to help level the floor a little. Roosevelt was leading the Ohio primary.

We’ll be buying the wood for the upstairs floors soon. Even though we did finally get down to the wood up there, it’s not worth refinishing. Unfortunately.

Oh, and another week demanded another Home Depot trip. Some drywall, cement board, self-leveling compound, and an array of other fun things.

But we’re ecstatic that soon we’ll be improving instead of demolishing.

A few more photos

Starting with this ...

... Which will become this.