Friday, April 29, 2011

Gas line troubles....

I had an insurance walk-through on Monday, during which I opened the exterior furnace closet and noticed that it smelled gassy. I ended up calling the gas company, which sent out a technician right away. He tested a whole bunch of stuff and determined that I had a gas leak somewhere in my house lines... greaaaat. So he turned off the gas.

I called a place that he mentioned--and that's highly rated on Angie's List--and they came out the next day to assess the situation. When they got up in the attic, they pointed out that the addition to the house was essentially built around the second furnace.... so you can't get to some of the fittings unless you, you know, TEAR DOWN THE CEILING AND WALL. Cool. But luckily, they eventually determined that the pipes and fittings were fine, so we didn't need to do that. They re-piped the exterior closet, wrapped the pipe that enters through the brick wall, stuff like that. I didn't really understand it all, but I understand the $625 that I paid them. YEESH. But it needed to be done, and now it's done.

B is town this weekend to help me scrub and pick out paint and what not... she's so wonderful.

So, I still haven't heard back from General Contractor Greg. Either he's realllly sick or I got punked.

Monday, April 25, 2011

And... some "after"

I quickly discovered that washing the ceiling with a rag was not gonna cut it, because the texture tore the rag out of my hands. So I had to switch to a scrub brush... which makes lots of spatters. I protected my eyes reasonably well, but I am just pretending that I did not spend two hours with spatters of old blood and TSP (trisodium phospate) all over my face. LET ME HAVE MY ILLUSIONS.

All geared up to scrub blood off the textured ceiling...

The end result is SO satisfying, though. I have a blood-free ceiling!!!

More "before"

Ok, so continuing from the previous post. Turn around from that beeeeyootiful shower/tub combo, and you see the gorgeous other side of the guest bath. Mmm.. yeah. Oh yeah.

Now step out into the hall, and look up. Oooh... pretty! And they're all through the house, yessss.

Across the hall from the bathroom, to the west: another bedroom. This one will be Grandma's room. The carpet here is salvagable, phew. Dontcha love that lightswitch?

Exciting shot from a little deeper inside the room:

Grams announced that (a) the room doesn't need to be painted, (b) she doesn't want curtains but only wants blinds, aaaaaaaaand (c) she likes these closet doors. Hi!

Ok, moving north down the hallway, again to the west side, is bedroom #4. The carpet was pretty dirty, but it has cleaned up pretty well so far. I need to clean it a couple more times, until the water is coming out a little less squidocaustic.

The closet doors are off-track and busted up.

And there's no door handle! Look how nice and clean that door is. ....Not.

Aaaand here's what happens when you open the windows on a breezy day and one of your doors is doorknobless. Needless to say, there's no assembly left in that hole now. (TWSS.)

Almost every room needs some sort of drywall patch... this is an especially big one.

There's a linen closet at the northernmost end of the hallway. Again, no shelving.

Now to your right (east) is the lovely paneled master bedroom, with its not-hardwired ceiling fan and its boarded-up window. Ooooh, jealous??

These closet doors are also off-track and busted up.

And here's the master bath (the navy walls are a lighting trick). This bathroom is going to be gutted to the studs, too. We're also going to close off an exterior closet that houses a furnace (one of two) and the water heater, insulate the hell out of the closet, and put an interior access door to it in the master bath. The door (to the outside of the house) didn't even have a lock on it before closing. I can't believe the water heater is still there!

The vanity is outdated but doesn't seem to be in terrible shape... until you look inside. Lotsa water damage. Vanities ain't cheap, people!

There's a hole cut into the wall behind the toilet. Someone was nice enough to stash a plastic bag and a water bottle in there for me. Thanks!

Linen/overflow clothes closet in the bathroom:

Tub and shower combo. Apparently I neglected to get a shot of the end of the tub where the lip that's supposed to go behind the shower surround is instead in front of it.

Looking south down the hall towards the kitchen:

Another shot of the wood-burning fireplace in the living room:

There are three windows in the living room, and each one of them has some sort of paper wasp nest(s). We found one guy in action:

(He's dead now.)

At the south end of the living room (which is on the east side of the hallway, not the west, as I said in the previous post), the "before" shot of the carpet grunge:

And a "during" shot:

I've already cleaned this carpet twice (these shots show the first time) and will probably do it at least twice more. The water was still coming out dark brown on the second round. Ew. But it looks decent enough that I'm not going to put laminate down here--I'm going to take that savings and put carpet in the two back bedrooms, which were worse than I remembered and which didn't clean up well.

Oh yeah... speaking of the back bedrooms....

So there was this.

What does it look like to you?

Yeah.... that's what it was.


All over the back hallway wall and ceiling (and on the lightswitch and fuse box), on the wall and carpet in bedroom #1, and on the wall, ceiling, and carpet of bedroom #2. Really, really gross. And sad.

Moving on to more nonsensical things... more black Xs, on every single panel of the inside of the garage door. Ok....

It's not for sale anymore!

Me in front of the house:

So, there's lots (and lots and lots) of work to do, but I'm so excited to keep working and see progress.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Oh, I have so much to say and no energy to say it. I've been thinking nonstop about kitchen purchases (IKEA trip is planned this weekend to take advantage of the 20% off sale--though I need to do some number crunching to see if it makes sense to buy non-IKEA appliances, which will make the 20% off sale a 10% off sale BIG BREATH), and I'm feeling fairly comfortable with my general design decisions. Which are not fancy. I don't love the kitchen configuration, but there's not really anything else I can do without knocking down multiple walls, removing closet space from bedrooms, etc. So, a weirdly shaped kitchen I shall have. It's still better than the one I have now!

Ok. I have promised "before" pics. So here they are! But first, some explanation. The house is a ranch, and it's oriented in a great big L, with a hallway running down the middle the entire way. 3 bedrooms, including the master, are on the north end of the L. The master is on the east side of the hallway, along with the master bath. The guest bath is also on the north end and on the east side of the hallway. Two of the extra bedrooms are on the west side. Then the foyer is on the north west side of the hallway, with the long living room across the hallway on the east side. The dining room is immediately south of the foyer, on the west siiiiide. (Living room is opposite (east) of the dining room, with a wall separating it from the hallway). Next comes the kitchen, on the west side of the hallway, and the laundry room makes of the south side of the L's crotch. Then there are two bedrooms in a line t0o the east of the laundry room and kitchen, and after that.... the "fun room." (Yes, I am totally channeling Michael Scott. Shut up.)

Ok. Now for the pictures!

The enormous, filthy fun room:

(Wow. It doesn't look nearly as dirty and gross in this picture as it does in real life!)

Looking from the fun room into the hallway (the bottom of the L) (yeah, I hung my purse on the doorknob of furnace closet #1 so that it wouldn't be on the ground... the carpet is GROSS):

Bedroom 1, the smallest, just a general, normal bedroom. The carpet's still pretty gross, though. Like, there are a bunch of splatters on it (and the wall) that we think are blood. Mmmm! The carpet will be removed.

This is bedroom #2. Isn't this nice? All signs are pointing to some troubling domestic violence with the previous owners....

Hmm. I must have this picture upside down. Welp. You get the idea.

There's a nice walk-in closet in this one. I think I'm gonna make the room my treadmill room and the closet my office. I want to be able to just shut the door on all my paper.

Ok. Once you step out of bedroom #2, take a left, and do a little wiggle, you're at the crotch of the L. To your left is the kitchen, and to your right is the living room. Kitchen first:

The kitchen is kinda oddly large and yet narrow. The workspace itself is set up like a straight kitchen--no "work triangle"--and there's not really a good way to change that. Then there's just this big chunk of unusable empty space...

It was nice of the previous owners to take most of the cabinets. I mean, really. At least I don't have to demo them.

The laundry room is through that door thar. Also, see the ceiling? Yeah... that's grease. Mom scrubbed and scrubbed the wall around the door and finally said, "Jane, I think you just need new drywall." Ok! Let's do it.

The laundry room:

Laundry room windows at the front of the house:

Looking down the hallway from the threshold of the kitchen and the dining room:

Then pivot to your right and there's a big ol' pantry...

No shelving, though, thanks to the previous owners... The pantry extends out to either side within the closet.

With your back to the laundry room, you have a lovely view of the janky little pass-through from the kitchen into the dining room. Most of this wall is probably coming down. If so, we'll install a little breakfast bar on the kitchen side.

And on the other side of the wall is the delightful dining room! I'm going to sand and paint the paneling, rip out that disgusting carpet, install laminate, paint, put up curtains....

Now, if you go back to the crotch of the L and turn to your right, that's the south entrance to the living room (on the west siiiiide of the hallway).

Here's the north end of the living room, from the foyer:

Standing on the threshold of the living room and looking south:

Standing about in the same spot but turning left (north) and looking down the hall... Thanks for the Xs, former owners. I appreciate all the painting you've left for me to do.

Take a couple steps down the hall, turn to your right, and you've arrived at the lovely guest bath. Now who wants to suds up?!?

Ok, that's it for tonight. I'm beat.