Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween Party

Last weekend we hosted a Halloween Party, about 25 people showed up and everyone seemed to have a good time. More than half the people were in costume, we had pirates, a fairy, nutcracker, dorothy, disco man, Medusa and some others, even Michael Phelps showed up to party.

Check out all the creepy food, eyeballs, worms, bones, spinal columns, etc.

Apparently we have a spider problem, the house is covered in webs.

Almost every room in the house had some sort of decoration.

The mad scientist in his butcher shop laboratory.

The halloween village.

Christine poses for a picture with gold medalist Phelps (Proud sponsor of Bud Light).

Is pumpkin head man passed out? No, his necks just tired from having a 40lb pumpkin on his head.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kitchen Floor

We have big plans for the kitchen in the future, a complete remodel, but that will be about 5 years or more away, so in the meantime we wanted to get rid of the horrible fake red brick flooring. Normally when you think of brick, you think dull and rough, but no, this flooring was smooth and shiny.... didn't look anything like brick. Based on our 5 year plan, I didn't want to put anything too fancy or expensive down, so I went with a self adhesive tile. It is a nice heavy duty tile still and it will actually have grout between them like a normal ceramic tile floor. Another thing I did to dress it up a little more was to set the tiles at a 45 degree angle. It costs a little more because you have more waste around the edges, and the labor is more intensive with fitting all the angled cuts in, but in my opinion it dresses the floor up quite a bit even when using a pretty inexpensive tile. The fake brick tiles have been quite the nightmare to take up. I've been working on this floor the past 3 nights. The whole family has actually pitched in at peeling the old tiles up. Even once the tiles came up, they left a really sticky residue on the floor. I wasn't worried about it, as I figured if anything it would help the new tiles stick even better. The funny part is it made the dogs stick to the floor. Sprout actually got stuck in place and couldn't move. The pugs could at least power through it, they just looked really funny because each step they would lift there leg up really high. To cover up the stickyness, I decided to go ahead and lay tile as we did the tear up, so as we got a few rows of tile up, down went the new tile.

Here's the beautiful old fake brick flooring, also the pugs doing what they normally do... eating.

Miles lending a hand. The kids love helping. You can see the new rows of tile he's sitting on.

Here's where I left off tonight, I still have to move appliances out, and finish up alot of the edge pieces. Then I will eventually grout the tiles.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hallway & attic lighting

Finally getting another post up, its hard to actually make enough progress to show and talk about sometimes. But over the course of the last several days I've done a plethora of things. To sum it up, I've ran some new wiring up in the attic, I actually even installed lights up in the attic and a switch at the base of the stairs to the attic. More importantly I installed lighting in the upstairs hallway. It kind of boggles my mind somewhat that this house has been here for 140 years, and nobody put lighting in the upstairs hallway or front 3 bedrooms. Trust me, when you would go upstairs in the front of the house at night, it was DARK! You'd look down the hallway and there would be nothing but darkness. But now there is plenty of light! To accompany the new light I hung over the stairs, I also installed 2 additional lights in the hall, that are wired into the same switch.
Here's the before pic, if you look close I've marked the area on the ceiling where I will be cutting the hole for the new ceiling wiring box. Also, more easily visible is where the paint is peeling off from an old leak in the roof... eventually I'll sand the ceiling down and repaint it.
Lights installed, no more darkness!
A picture of the stairway lighting in action, it casts some cool shadows on the walls.
And here's one of the attic lights, the other one is behind me. The window is the front of the house. The pile of insulation is from the master bathroom ceiling. The ladder leads up to the widows watch on the roof. (remember the hatch from the lighting rod post?)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Dungeon

So I decided that this wouldn't be a very thorough documentation of my journey if I didn't include at least a few pictures taken from the realm of the "Scary basement".

You can never have enough valves. These are some of the new lines I put in, lots of stuff to work around, gas line, wiring, telephone line, heating ducts & floor joists. The ones pointing toward the bottom of the picture are just stubbed out for when I add the 3rd bathroom (upstairs).

Notice those nice parallel new pipes?

And last but not least a pic of the new drain line sloping across the basement.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ceiling Medallions

Rather than bore you with more pictures of plumbing, tonight I'm gonna showcase the old plaster ceiling medallions. Rest assured, there is progress being made elsewhere in the house though. I spent several hours this evening down in the basement soldering copper water lines and hanging PVC drain pipe from the floor joists. But back to the ceiling medallions. These are one of the aspects of the house that make it very unique, three of the rooms have the original, very ornate, plaster medallions on the ceiling. If you look closely you can see I've hung my lighting from the hooks that were used to hang the old oil lamps from (the house was built almost 20 years before the lightbulb was invented). I've heard that beside from being decorative, the medallions were used to collect the soot from the oil lamps, as it didn't stand out as much as a smoky stain on a flat white ceiling would.

This is the parlor ceiling, which right now is acting as our office/bedroom. Eventually it will be our library.

Here's the smaller one in the front entryway, it has a few extra colors of paint around the edges that we will eventually strip off there.

My favorite one is in the living room, its about 4' long with a cool star design.

Each medallion incorporates a different shape as the focal point in the center. But all three of them have a common theme with some sort of tree leaf being used in the design.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Staircase Chandelier

Where ya going with that 28' extension ladder?

In the house of course!

Right about here look good?

After some drilling and sawing to put a new ceiling box in... Taa Daa!

Tomorrow I just need to switch the electrical connection over in the attic and eventually plaster over the hole where the old fixture was. The old fixture was way off center of the staircase, my guess was they put it where it is because they could reach that area with a normal stepladder.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Motorcycle Show

Whats a motorcycle show have to do with a Victorian House? nothing, but its my blog, so I can make up the rules as I go :) and seeing how I got first place in the Custom Harley class, I feel thats worth a post!
I built this bike from scratch pretty much, about all thats left from the Harley is the motor.
Back at home with the trophy.

Some other bikes in the show.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Fireplace Mantel

I didn't actually get any work done on the house tonight, but I did go pick up the marble mantel for the fireplace I will be putting in the master bedroom. The drive was a pretty painful 3-1/2 hours, but it was worth it. Its gonna reside right here in the dining room for awhile until I can get someone to help me carry it upstairs. I brought it in the house on my shoulder and it wasn't fun. I bet it weighs 200lbs.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Side Project

Your probably thinking why don't I finish a project before I start a new one? Well, like a good novel, there is a bunch of little side stories and plots that lead up to the climax. Right now I'm just building up the storyline, giving little tidbits here and there before I tie them all together.

The master bedroom, with the soon to be master bathroom, has no master closet. The solution? Add one. To do this I will be framing out a 4' by 10' closet into an adjacent room. The adjacent room will eventually be one of the boys rooms. The room is rather large, so taking out a 4'x10' area isn't much of an issue. As you can see in this first picture, there was a door in the wall, and now there isn't. Well, when I'm done, there will be a door again. This door was not original to the house, it was added at some point, probably when the house was a 2-unit rental.

Here it is with the framing and drywall piece removed. On the other side of this drywall is the master bedroom.

OK, so those pictures were rather boring, how about I throw in a few bonus pictures from earlier in the evening. Some nice fall color, looks like I'll be doing some raking next week!

Check out that green lawn.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ceiling Framework

Finished up the framing in the ceiling for the dome. I want to get the ceiling portion drywalled ASAP so I can get the insulation layed back out in the attic before the cold weather sets in.

Now there is a nice spot for the ceiling dome to fit securely in place.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Master Bathroom again

Ok, back on the bathroom tonight. A little more cutting and the first 10' section of 3" pipe went down into the wall. It was sort of a relief to actually get that "link" in, as now I can visualize all the connections are gonna work out. Its always been lingering in the back of my mind if running plumbing all the way up there was even gonna be possible, but yes, yes it is! After I got that piece in I started taking out the ceiling joists that need to be moved for the dome.

In this view you can see the tee connection in the floor. The connection pointing to the right will go over to the toilet. The connection pointing up will be the vent stack that will run up into the attic and through the roof.

Remember this view? Well now there is a pipe coming down from above!

My helper for the evening. "Hand me that screwdriver"

Looking up, one of the ceiling joists removed, 1 more to go. Just have to cut the power and pull the wire out that runs through it. Its all the old cloth covered wiring that I will all be replacing anyway.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Roof & Lightning Rod Repair

I finally made it up on the roof to repair a little leak that has been there for awhile now. Earlier in the spring a shingle had blown off and there was a couple exposed nail holes. After I replaced the shingle and tarred up the holes, I decided it was a good time to repair one of the 6 lightning rods that was broken. All the pieces were there, it was just crooked because the copper rod was cracked and someone had repaired it with duct tape at some point.

Here's a view towards the back of the house, you can see the farthest lightning rod is missing the top and the blue ball. I took the parts off so I could repair it.

Not the best fix ever, but this will have to do for the time being. I took a wooden dowel rod that fit snugly inside the copper rod, then I put a few wraps of electrical tape for good measure. This picture was taken from the "widows watch" on the rooftop - looking towards the front of the house. On the right edge of the picture the hatch is visible that leads to a ladder down into the attic. From the attic there is a staircase that goes down to the 2nd floor.

Another picture towards the front of the house. You can see the copper lightning rods have a heavy green patina from the weather. The globes are blue glass.

As I was finishing up the roof, my parents arrived for dinner and brought along 20 raspberry plants, 2 rubarb plants and a lilac bush. After dinner we planted them all and by the time I finished it was pretty dark out.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Plumbing and Play Time

The task today was to cut an access hole in the parlor wall on the first floor to run the plumbing down into the basement. I cut through the paneling, plaster, lathe and 1" boards that comprise the walls of the old house. The walls are 7" thick compared to 4-1/2" in newer homes. After I opened up the wall I needed to cut down through the wall sill plate into the basement. This wall sits on a solid 8"x8" Oak beam, but luckily it is not centered on the beam, so I can run the drain pipes past it with a 45 degree bend and I only have to notch out an inch on the corner edge of the beam. After doing that, I couldn't help but call it a day as it was such a beautful and sunny fall day out. I took the kids and dogs out in the backyard for a few hours. The fall wildflowers are in full bloom. Lots of whites and purples (not sure what they are called though!).

The new hole in the parlor wall.

A close-up of where the 3" pipe will run through into the basement.

You can see the back of the house in the distance,
also the wildflowers and the dogs.

The boys and Sprout.

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