What we are doing:
In what spare time we have, we decided to spend it (and our savings) on remodeling our rowhouse in South Philly. When we purchased our casa it was a 3 story, 5 bedroom, 1 bath that hadn't been touched in 50+ years. It's currently a 4 bed, 2 bath construction site with so much more to do it's hard to believe.
We use this blog to mark progress, say hi to friends and family, rant about the process of remodeling, and try to have some fun along the way.
- Bryan and Christina
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Real quick update on our house since the last post: we've done nothing. Oh, we bought a new stove. But yeah, I think that's about it. I won't get into the life stuff that we are up to but suffice to say we've stayed busy and the house has been an after thought.
That has changed. Part of us getting busy was, um well, we're having another kid. This little bundle of screaming and not sleeping joy is slated to arrive in July. A - we're pumped. Parker loves babies and is really excited for a 2 year old which is fun to watch. B - it's time to get on to the final chapter of the house (that doesn't involve the words "kitchen", "bathroom" or "dig the basement out and pour a new concrete pad").
So we decided to gut the final bedroom and totally overhaul it with twin closets, (finally) fully insulated walls and ceiling and new windows. Oh, AND I'M NOT DOING IT! That's right, we hired a contractor. Now, I expect that you're a good reader of this amazing blog, so you already know about the nonsense we had with a previous contractor that we poured our hopes and dreams into. It went to shit. Messy shit. So after that shit (it really was shit) we did pretty much all of the work ourselves, and by that I mean I (Bryan) did it all. Well I don't hang or mud drywall and I hired a painter for the last room, but hey I had a spa day or something.
So Merlin (A+ on the name) showed with a couple dudes in a late 80's Ford F-350 quad cab with the name "Le Beaste" stenciled on the side. All vehicles the size of small boats need names. Anyway, the room being gutted has been in the past (in order): my office, our bedroom, our living room, a storage room, my workshop, and a guest room. It's had a life, and it had the scars to prove it. Aside from pulling up the old carpet and painting the floor, we hadn't touched this room since we bought the house. Pictures of the room before and after are scattered throughout this post, but I hope you figured that out already.
The room had a 1960's paneled (then painted) closet that was haphazardly added and added poorly as well. There was a special notch cut out that allowed someone to stick their hand through the hole in to adjust the radiator valve......But we never once complained because it was one of our 2.5 closets in the house, and the biggest, for the first 4 years we've been here. That was function over fashion in a major way. The other walls are covered in layers of wallpaper, newspaper, and then paint. The back window was so bad that in driving rain the kitchen below it would pour water, which happened just the other day. It was time for this room to GO. So in the end we're getting three custom windows, I'm insulating the walls and ceiling, Merlin is supplying proper electrical in there, and a great sense of this being the "last" thing we have to do to make the house really feel like we're in every room.
Before the baby arrives in July, which means this is Parker's room in October-ish, my mother-in-law will probably be residing in it for a few weeks. So it'll be a good chance to break it all in and see if we need to tweak anything before Parker takes over. Right away there's talk about building a bench that spans the closets which will be on either side of the back window. We'll see.
Dudes were off today so I snagged some pics. Tomorrow is framing and electrical, Thursday is something and Friday something else. Honestly, I wasn't paying attention to what Merlin said, that's why Christina is great.
We'll post pictures every couple of days for this few that want to see what is up. And I WILL get a picture of "Le Beaste", I assure you.
Sigh...for those "non-technical" readers in my family....click on the pictures for larger ones.
Monday, June 21, 2010
- Emptied the front second floor bedroom which was PACKED (i.e. inaccessible past 3 feet) into random parts of the house.
- Started demo in the room in mid October with the idea of everything being done for drywall in November.
- In reality, the room sat for months while I had one hour per week of time to work on it.
- Framed in the new closet a couple of times
- Installed new electrical in the room...over the course of 6 weeks
- Parker got bigger and accumulated more "stuff" that crowded our living room.
- I got older, grayer and more desperate
- Monday - install all remaining door casing, first coat of paint on the playroom floor
- Tuesday - caulk, install all baseboards, prime and paint (first coat) three of the doorways, second coat on paint on the floor
- Wed - stuck at work
- Thurs - create little railing thing for the bathroom, install all trim around closet, caulk
- Fri - second coat on the three doorways
- Sat - prime all playroom trim (including the nurse
- Sun - both top coats on all playroom trim, prime radiator, install the railing thing, third coat of floor paint plus paint hallway floor.
Posh living on 13th St.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
View of the bay with the filthy screens.
What I'm doing right now is wrapping up the rest of the trim which I hope will b done net weekend if I can get a hold of Tague Lumber and get a delivery of some door casing. We'll see about that. In any case, I'm sanding/priming/painting the door between this room and Parker's room and Christina is taking care of the old bay window trim. I'm running baseboards tomorrow in between racks of ribs and beers.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Monday, May 25, 2009
Just like our previous President, I can also say "Mission Accomplished". Ok, so just like Bush needed to clarify the misleading headline 6 years ago, I have some 'splainin to do. 6 of the 7 doorways have new jambs, 3 have doors and only one has a door that latches. The baseboards are pretty close to done, but I am in need of a nice transition piece to help with the difference in the height of the baseboards we've been installing throughout and the stair trim that we left in place. So in all, good enough for government work!
In this post are some picture from the past week or so. The top one is the trim we used for the two doors on the first floor since they are tight on a wall and the profiled casing would just look odd since the mitre would be off. The rest of the pics are some doors on the second floor as well as some baseboard. Not quite as riveting as a picture of the shooter on the grassy knoll, but it's a holiday and I'm dog tired.
(OK, here's where I walked away and Christina finished the post. Enjoy)
We also have finally hung art work on a couple of walls, and have some empty frames just waiting for adorable baby pictures that will go up shortly. This really means that I have to commit to the locations, and that might take quite some time of placing, and rearranging. I did dig out my UPenn diploma from the depths of our junk room, it should be good for something other than collecting dust right? We also put some of the white wall stickers up in Parker's room today too, but those are also going to take a little more rearranging before the big reveal!
All in all it we do have some outstanding big projects, but those are going to be a ways off. It is really just nice bite sized afternoon projects for awhile, and wrapping up the big ones that we started over the past year. Bryan and I joke about who is going to paint the base board that are recently installed, and the general consensus is that it will be Parker! That or any unsuspecting house guests over the summer.....
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Wow, that felt good to type! But I have to confess something to the internet Gods...I'm taking the spring and summer off.
I think I know what you're telling yourself right now...."But Bryan, in the past year you've done a lot, why stop now?". Ah yes, that question. I get that question a lot actually. Well I have a pretty good reason, and her name is Parker. In my last post (two months ago almost!!!!!) I posted some pictures of her. Well she's just about two months now and while the diplomatic answer to this question should be "I just can't bear spending time away from work and NOT with Parker" or something like that. Well honestly, that's very true, but not 100% of the story. The main reason is that by Saturday morning I'm tired. I mean dead to the world, need a coffee IV all day....tired.
Who wants to demo a room or hang sheetrock like that? Not I says the bearded man.
Anyway, on to the house blogging. Since Parker and Christina came home on March 4th, things have been pretty chill. Above are a few pictures of Parker's room.
We had the baseboard material delivered at the end of Feb and with the help of my visiting father, managed to install a bit of it in the dining room, and her room, and then promptly store the rest in the basement. Sometime we will actually get the rest of it in place, but maybe that will be a fall project. Who really needs trim in the house anyway? Wouldn't modernism dictate that trim is just unnecessary decoration? Our home inspector might disagree, but I think we can make a case for sure!
What's on the plate right now is fixing the door casings after the drywall was hung. The pictures above show the problem. You can't just trim out the door when the current casing is not wide enough to cover the existing plaster and the new sheetrock. No good. So I've removed the casings from the two doors downstairs since the back sides of them are not important (one is to the basement, and the other into a closet). It is always better to try something first in the least noticeable spot.
In the end I ripped a 1 x 8 down to fit the "unique" and "charming" characteristics of each opening. I did shim the pieces to finally make the opening square. Speaking of square in a house this old, check out the pic to the upper right of the front bedroom on the second floor. Notice anything a little Tim Burton-esque about it?
Yeah, that's most of the doors here. Not the fault of the fellers who hung the sheetrock, but that's just how the house has settled for these 100+ years. What can you do. I'm going to fix all of that when I install that doorway's casing next weekend. Might be some work.
Up and to the left is a quick shot of the basement doorway after I removed the old casing. In the end it was pretty easy, I was just careful to not mess-up any of the surrounding drywall. Like I mentioned before, these two doorways were done first as there is no back to them really. The doorway into Parker's room is on the right above, and that will be the good one as the hallway and her room have the top coats of paint on them. As much as I hate painting, I REALLY HATE repainting anything.
In all that's about it. The casing needs to be fixed so I can rehang the doors and then install the both the door trim, and the baseboards. Bleh.
I've also included some pictures of Parker's room in it's 90% completed state. It wouldn't be a DIY project if there weren't "little" "3 hour" projects left to do. But since Parker is sleeping in a cradle in our room, I'm chalking up my procrastination to "out of sight, out of mind". But time is ticking....
Friday, February 27, 2009
In the meantime Christina came home on Tuesday, and so we started to wrap up Parker's room. Luckily we have an extra week while she's being taken care of, and it's time that I desperately needed. The list for Parker's room was:
- Paint the back wall magenta
- Trim out behind the radiator and piping in the corner
- Paint the old sub floors
- Hook up all of the electrical and install the recessed baffles
- Get the furniture and put it together
Scattered throughout are some pictures of the room. As for the floors, note in the first room picture that the floors are just the old sub floors. They were deemed not really salvageable by our flooring guy, and after flirting with installing carpet, we opted to just use a dark grey floor paint. Admittedly I was kind of apprehensive about the process and the potential outcome, but Christina was right...the floor looks good.
Up next is painting the second floor hallway the same color as Parker's room, and picking up the baby furniture tomorrow. I need to run at least the baseboard trim in there, so I'm hoping that I can squeeze that in tomorrow AM before the furniture arrives. But man, who knows. Do babies care that the baseboard and the base caps is not installed? Maybe she'll notice at 4 months...but probably not at 9 days.
So yeah, that's that. Parker's IV and feeding tube (used as a back up only) were removed yesterday, and she's already back to her birth weight and nursing like a full term baby.
In summary, Parker has made all of the months of blood, sweat, and expletives worth it in every sense.
P.S. - Since I drafted this post like 8 hours ago, the second floor hallway has been painted the same color. Also, Parker has all tubes removed from her but is unfortunately under Billi lights for the next day or so. What's a "Billi" light you say? Use Google. But in the meantime I'll say that the lights are used to cure any signs of jaundice, to which Parker has just a hint of. They say maybe 2 days with the blue lights. We'll see I guess.