A splash of color.

This week was fairly busy!

I missed a day or so because I was too sick to move. Mom, Dad, and Laura came for a visit on Tuesday to see the project. Then we had dinner with Ron and Sandy.


This was the best we could do for a painting light for Sandy to work as the flood lamp was on another floor.


Ron and I started to remodel the kitchen this weekend. We started by tearing out the cabinets.


We’re re-using the cabinets, just redesigning the layout. The stove will go here, and a cabinet needs to be built for above the hood.


I learned how to texture walls this weekend.

So bumpy.


Ella came to help Jessica paint.


The third floor walls are almost completely primed now. Jess, Ella, and Aunt Karin painted like crazy up there.


Jess paints up high, Ella paints down low…

Don’t go in that hole. Ella, there be dragons.


…and Karin paints the details.


The bedroom is now ready to be mudded and sanded, finally progress in this room. It’s been a staging area for the second floor’s projects.


Jessie’s Dressing room will have white shelving/rack units built on the walls, this rich purple is the background color.


It needs several coats because its so thick!


I like the contrast of the white trim and ceiling with the crazy purple. We ran out of this color and it needs another coat, off to home depot on Monday!


The girls coated the guest room in this sunny yellow, it looks so bright and cheery in there, much better than the dingy brownish yellow that it was.


Even those lonely flowers thought it was time for some color.



A hole of a whole different sort.

I bet it was loud.

Today’s work was minimal, Jess and I stopped at the house today to pick up the camera, and to paint the ceilings in 2 rooms before coming back to get some dinner.

Saturday, however, we got a ton of stuff done! Jessie’s aunt, uncle, and cousins came for the holiday and brought their work clothes!

The biggest discovery happened on Friday when Ron and I were preparing for a vacuum test of the heating system…


We had a wet spot on the foyer ceiling, after removing a few floorboards in the master bedroom we located this…


This is schedule 80 black iron pipe. This elbow was blown apart upstairs, most likely at the same time as the iron radiator in the dining room exploded. Ice is a powerful thing.


We replaced the elbow and broken pipe with L copper.


Uncle Gary and Ron put up blueboard (which is purple) which is a water/mold/mildew resistant drywall.


Here, Gary demonstrates the proper way to screw up drywall. (pun)


The tub surround is installed and walls are up around it. Also a linen closet has been built to the right.


LOOK! A tub has appeared!


Aunt Kim, Sandy, Matt and Ben tackled the primer in the guest room and the dressing room.


The awful yellow filth is gone, now covered with a nice clean chalky white. Hooray!


Matt and Ben are a serious force when it comes to painting closets and the lower halves of walls.



Drywall and downlights.

Put it back together.

This weekend was busy as usual. Finally we’ve reached a stage that things are going back together instead of being destroyed.


Remember those niches? The glass is gone… and wires are now poking through the top archway.


I installed 3 inch Xenon gimbal downlights into the top of the archway, Now when we put artwork in the niches we can control the lighting more accurately.


Mike and I framed this window in and cut drywall to match


After some fiberglass mesh and some drywall tape and mud, these are really starting to shape up.


Here are the lights with them angled at 90 degrees (straight down) they can swivel to 30 degrees and stay recessed. The right one is out for patching around the trim.


Ron and Mike patched the hole where the soil pipe was removed.


The fireplace was opened and cleaned out this week, it seems solid and safe, just needs some love. Also, if anyone has an extra gas burner, we need that too!


The dressing room is getting smoother and less cracked!


The new tub is in the guest room, this week it goes to its home in the new wall.


Ron gets ready to put in the housing for the recessed shower light.


The destruction on today’s episode of This Old House were brought to you by Milwaukee SawZall. It cuts through anything.



Here is where the mirror and sink will sit, 2 wall lights go where these boxes are.


It must be springtime, the trampled, poorly maintained flower-bed in the back of the house shows signs of life.

Well, this week we get measured for carpet, and the plumber comes to finish the pipes and water lines. The wiring should be just about done, and the dressing room and guest room should be ready to be primed!

Moving along at a great pace.

Steady as she goes.



The weekend of holes.

We did wiring and plumbing. There are several areas with giant holes in the floors and walls. The plumber came and started to add new drains and supply lines for the bathroom on the 2nd floor.


This hole is directly below the bathroom. A leaky box trap caused the ceiling to be wet and basically destroyed it.


Looking up from the dining room, you’re seeing where the toilet will be. Protect your eyes.


The fake stained glass windows have been removed, soon this will be framed in and drywalled.


The soil pipe from the bathroom was crumbly. That had to be replaced. The plumber tapped the old pipe with his hammer and most of the pipe crumbled into the living room.

Super. Gross.


The kitchen wall is down and the drywall is up! Soon all of the mud will be dry and sandable.


Jess began the tedious process of stripping the 5+ layers of paint from the original woodwork.


The stairs will be carpet but the railings will be stripped and re-finished


Finally after 3 weeks we have real electricity! The former occupants did not pay the electric bill for several months, which caused the service to be disconnected. They decided to use jumper cables to bypass the box. We spent weeks trying to convince the power company that we were in fact new owners. Oy.


The cast iron tub was nearly impossible to move so I had to break it with a big sledge. Holy moly it was loud.


We cut up the floor for new pipes in the bathroom.


The new tub, the upstairs sink, the new toilet and vanity will all drain in these new lines.


The new wall is framed in and almost ready for drywall, the new tub has to go in first.

The plumber comes back tomorrow and we’ll hopefully have running water and be ready for fixtures. Drywall should be hung in the bathroom tomorrow.




The weekend of destruction is over.

On Saturday, Phil came over and we tore out the plaster and lath in the kitchen, and the wall between the bathroom and master bedroom. Also, the sink, cabinets, lights, trim, and vanity from the bathroom were removed.

On Sunday, we started with a full crew. Jessica, Ron, Sandy, and I began the day. Soon Aunt Amy arrived, then Aunt Lynne and Michaela arrived to help too.




Here’s the wall in the kitchen after Phil and I removed the lath and plaster.


Here’s the wall in the kitchen from the front door side.


Ron had a big Sawzall which made quick work of the nails and wall studs.


The kitchen almost doubles in size with the wall removed.


We’ll have a nice 12 light door when this construction is done, and it will go in the angled doorway from the foyer to the new larger kitchen.

Master Bedroom/Bathroom


From the bedroom to the bathroom. This wall has to get out of the way so the bathroom can expand.


From the bathroom to the bedroom.


The old tub, I think we’re going to have to smash the thing to get it out. Too bad.


This is how much plaster and lath we tore down and cleaned up at the end of Saturday’s work.



Jess uses her trusty hammer to destroy the wall above the old tub.


Amy swings her hammer like the wall called her a name she didn’t like.


Sandy found the best dirt above the ceiling, also, probably the most danger!


This is the back of the junction box in the hall, we’re going to move it over to this side and install breakers when we pull the new wiring.


The last of the bathroom lath.


Wow someone should clean this bathroom.


Watch your step!


We found a massive bird’s nest up in the rafters. Yes, you could see daylight.

The bath tub is full of plaster, lath and nails. Maybe we can get it cleaned tomorrow night.


Here are a few of the old wires in the wall that need to be re-done.



Some of the old valves for the water pipes were broken, so we had to install new ones.


Ron solders caps on the lines we had to cut off that went nowhere.

Wallpaper is the devil.


Amy has a wallpaper steamer thing, that can remove those stupid wallpaper borders really easily!


Michaela came over with Lynne so she could help by hanging with Jess and coloring pictures.


Hopefully I’ll have more pictures as things progress. Tomorrow night is more wiring, probably no pictures. We should finally have electricity on Monday or Tuesday.


Insulation Day

What a MESS!

This weekend of March 15th and 16th 2009 was insulation day. The age of the house (and some probing) indicated that there was no insulation inside the walls. Being that many of the walls needed to be patched and re-painted, we decided on blowing recycled fiber insulation into the walls.

How in the world do people do this with carpet/furniture in their houses?



Here is Uncle Mike feeding the green beast that was the blower/hoppper for the dustiest and messiest thing ever: Recycled “green” insulation.


This is what the entire floor of the house looked like as we fed the walls with this dust.


Holes were drilled at the top of the outside walls at 1.175 inches in diameter between studs. Then a small air-escape hole was drilled nearby.


Here, Nick seeks cover in the living room as Aunt Amy covers her mouth and nose to keep from breathing the dust.


In all of the pictures and documentation of this machine, nowhere does it say how often the nozzles will clog and blow dust all over the room.


Jessica was at work today, she has NO idea what she’ll walk into when she gets home to see her kitchen.


One small step for man, one giant leap towards the completion of this project.


A large mechanical chopper breaks up the loose insulation before a smaller blower chopper forces it into this long tube.


It took about 10 hours of work to get to this final room. Lights were needed. The house still has no power, so the generator that ran the blower was also running this light tree.


I was completely covered in this dust as I crawled along the floor and scooped up the wasted insulation, and carried it in a 35 gallon can back to the blower. But, Ron had the worst job.


The blower nozzle would constantly clog, probably once every 30 seconds. Probably one whole bail of insulation was wasted because of this.


While the boys played in the dirt upstairs, The girls worked to remove the horrible linoleum from the kitchen floor. Unfortunately it seemed it was several layers deep in some spots.


Not as many pictures for Sunday. Mainly today was Clean-UP from yesterday. But, Ron and I hooked up the plumbing.


I climbed up on the roof to remove the old satellite dish from the house and noticed exactly how much of yesterday’s insulation had blown out the windows and landed on the roof.


Still no heat or light, but today, Ron and I officially activated the water and plumbing! Here’s some proof!

Monday is a busy day so there won’t be any work done. Tuesday its time to get ready for wiring inspection.

Drywall patching will begin because its warm this week.


Day One: Project Start

Closing time, get to work!

We signed papers yesterday (Monday March 9th 2009), and began renovations on the house shortly after.

It was pretty tough work, so when we ran out of light it was time to quit.


On the previous post, I forgot to take pictures of the kitchen! Here is a view looking over the fridge.


These are on the opposite wall in the kitchen, I think we’re going to move the stove onto this wall.


Here is the gas range, we have to move some things around because our new refrigerator is wider than the current one.


There is a pantry through this door, the basement stairway is on the left, and a built in cabinet is on the right, I don’t have any decent images of this room except one area of damage (shown next)


Someone had put a washing machine in this pantry, it really was too small of a room for such a machine, but these faucets are very damaged. They will probably be removed anyhow, and the plaster will need to be replaced. It would appear they tried to torch solder these connections right against the plaster, it’s amazing the house didn’t burn.


Now we’re in the dining room, you see the built in china cabinet from the previous post.  This doorway leads back into the kitchen.


This is the outside wall of the dining room with the triple window. If you notice the radiator is damaged, it looks like it was frozen and exploded out the side at some point. This will need replaced.


I ripped up the carpet and found this tile patch. It appears to have had a wood stove or gas heater here at some point. (update, I found a second chimney in the attic that has been abandoned. There was definitely a small fireplace here at some point.)


The floor section starts now, We had hoped to be able to save the original hardwood floors, but it doesn’t look like they’re in great shape. This is the front foyer. We will probably lay ceramic or slate in this area.


This is a close up of the wood, its pretty dry, and there are some splintery gaps, so its probably beyond cleaning and painting. Carpet will probably have to cover the dining room and living room.


This is photographic proof that I was working. Attention: this was not a faked photo, on a timer, with a tripod, when I was working by myself. (ok, it probably was fake)


This is the back yard, today Ron helped the image by cleaning up all the trash. The neighbors already thanked him. This picture is taken from the parking area.


There’s the top of the chimney, and a piece of the flashing is missing. That satellite dish has to go, it’s is on the top of the front porch.


The deck could use some paint. We may replace it sometime with a brick patio and maybe a brick pizza oven or something. I think it’ll do for the summer.


These are the front steps, they have a crack in the middle, but seem very sturdy. Perhaps some day when we re-do the front porch we will match the railings.


This is the side of the house, the siding needs some love. We’re going to see which is more economical, painting the siding or recycling it and replacing it with vinyl.


These vines grow up the side of the house, they might look nice in the summer but I’ll bet its bad for the side of the house.



Intro: Project Fairview

No water, power, or heat. Just potential.

This post provides some images from the initial walkthrough we performed on February 19th 2009. The house was very cold as there was no power/water/heat. Initial visit was to gain an idea for the estimated repairs.

Heather and AJ give their approval of the niches in the dining room. These plastic simulated stained glass windows will be removed and plastered solid, so that accent lighting and artwork may be displayed here.

Heather and AJ give their approval of the niches in the dining room. These plastic simulated stained glass windows will be removed and plastered solid, so that accent lighting and artwork may be displayed here.


This built in china cupboard appears to be in fantastic structural shape, but needs a major cleaning and cosmetic overhaul.


This is the 3rd bedroom on the second floor. It is the smallest of the bedrooms, and will be converted into a dressing room for Jessica to store and organize her vast wardrobe.


This is the unfinished basement, On our first entry to this house there was so much trash down here we thought the basement would never be saved. Now, after a few nights of sweeping and wiring lighting, this should be a usable laundry facility.


Seen here is the view from the front door. The stairs on the right are hardwood underneath and should refinish nicely. The gross brown carpet is going to go away and hardwood will extend from this room straight into the kitchen that you see in the distance.


This is the second largest bedroom on the second floor, and will become a house-guest storage area.


This is the first room inside the back door. It appears to be a mudroom, but without any storage options. This will become either a half-bath or a storage area. Just outside the door is a small weird deck, it should be a patio instead.


This is the front window of the living room, it faces onto the front porch. Being that the porch doesn’t have many years left, this window will become a bay window with a porch that curves around it.


This is the mantelpiece in the living room. This will be restyled and bookshelves and cabinets will extend from either side. Unsure of the status of the chimney to make the decision whether to do wood or gas fire. Plans for an LCD TV mounted above the mantle depend on heat issues from the fireplace.


This is the master bedroom. The pointless nook in the image will be removed when the bathroom is enlarged. Bathroom is completely destroyed so it will be totally re-done as one of the first projects.


BONUS! The original pocket doors work nice and smooth, and really only need minor cosmetic repair.


These contraptions appear to have something to do with the structure’s H20 temperature amplifier and recirculation system.


The third floor is our favorite area in the house. The natural light from the windows is fantastic. This will become an art studio. Plans include adding a sink for cleaning paintbrushes and a built in storage system in the walls.


Another view of the studio from the stairs.


This area may be closed in for a large closet, so that we will upgrade the value of the house by making this convertible into a 4th bedroom


The acoustics in this room are also great so we can finally start a family band! Just kidding! (maybe)


This project is going to be a ton of work, and hopefully will be fun.