Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To-Do List

I just love me a good list, so I'm going to make a public version here so you can see what sorts of things are on our "to-do" list for the house, both short and long-term. No real photos this time, so my apologies for those of you here for the illustrations!

Whole House / General (15% complete)

  • Install new entry door hardware
  • Remove all carpeting to reveal original wood floors
  • Address water issues
  • Paint all exterior doors
  • Run all new electrical to 2nd floor
  • Run new zone off boiler and install baseboard heat in 2nd floor
  • Replace all exterior doors with ones better fitting our design aesthetic 

Kitchen (5% complete)
  • Run new gas line for stove
  • Run new electrical
  • Insulate exterior walls
  • Install new operable window above kitchen sink
  • Run electrical & switch for ceiling lights
  • Buy new cabinets as needed for new layout
  • Build all new cabinet doors
  • Paint all cabinets & new doors 
  • Hang & install cabinets
  • Install all new hinges & pulls on cabinets
  • Purchase & install apron-front sink 
  • DIY concrete counter tops 
  • Install herringbone carrara marble backsplash
  • Install recessed lights
  • Install pendants above sink & bar
  • Purchase & install dishwasher in black
  • Replace refrigerator with bottom-freezer style in black
  • Replace stove with 5-burner style in black
  • Purchase, paint & install full height cabinets around refrigerator in kitchen (possibly phase 2)

Dining Room (5% complete)
  • Run new electrical
  • Insulate exterior walls
  • Replace door to garage with full-lite door
  • Replace metal screen door with wooden screen door
  • Repair sagging floor joists
  • Remove window to garage and build built-in storage for coats & miscellaneous (framed out until drywall is complete)
  • Run electrical & switch for ceiling lights
  • Run plumbing to 2nd floor for future bathroom
  • Replace 2-panel 9-lite front door with 1-panel 1-lite door
  • Fabricate 5'-0" round pedestal-base dining table from steel (base) and black walnut (top)
  • Make bar stools out of flea-market tractor seats
  • Make coat racks out of old door knobs (for hanging inside built-in)
  • Make ball jar chandelier for over dining table
  • Indoor/outdoor area rug or FLOR tiles

Living Room (5% complete)
  • Open up wall between living room & stairs
  • Run new electrical
  • Insulate exterior walls
  • Run electrical & switch for ceiling lights
  • Run electrical & data hookups for TV (run in wall to cabinet below)
  • Install new post at bottom of stairs to support new beam
  • Install new beam between original house & addition to carry the load of the bedroom floor joists 
  • Install ceiling fan w/ light
  • Indoor/outdoor area rug
  • Console for DVD & video game storage below TV
  • Build plumbing pipe shelving unit (similar hereherehereherehere & here)

Office/Laundry (10% complete)
  • Run new gas line for dryer
  • Run new water lines & drain for washer & dryer
  • Install dryer vent to outside
  • Purchase energy efficient front-load washer & dryer
  • Frame out new trap door for basement access
  • Build new wall in laundry room
  • Run new outlet for washer & dryer
  • Insulate exterior walls
  • Install new window on back wall for view of back yard
  • Run electrical & switch for ceiling lights
  • Paint sliding doors
  • Remove sliding door hardware & refinish in oil rubbed bronze
  • Install ceiling fixture for general lighting
  • Fabricate faux cabinet to conceal washer & dryer
  • Indoor/outdoor area rug
  • Buy or build office / sewing desks & shelving

Bathroom (20% complete)
  • Prime & paint until we can eventually gut & redo
  • Remove sliding doors from shower
  • Install curved shower rod
  • Frost window for privacy
  • Prime & paint walls & ceiling
  • Paint cabinets
  • Remove cracked spray-on frosting & install frosted film on window for privacy
  • Remove existing bathroom door & replace with right-hand swing door for better traffic flow
  • Remove wall between bathroom & office/laundry
  • Completely redo the master bath down the line for Phase 2 (Relocate all plumbing, insulate exterior walls, purchase enclosed claw-foot style tub or fabricate new base for a reclaimed tub, new vanity)

Stairs (5% complete)
  • Remove unnecessary bi-fold doors at bottom of stairs
  • Remove "closet" at top of stairs
  • Have glass cut for this frame, which I previously painted red in for a special piece of artwork
  • Install new stair treads
  • Take wall between stairs and large bedroom down to half height
  • Remove sloped ceiling and closet in small bedroom for vaulted ceiling in stairs
  • Order & install carpet runner on stairs (Flor Lanyard)
  • Install chandelier light
  • Hang artwork

Small Bedroom (5% complete)
  • Prime & paint until we can eventually gut & redo
  • Lay carpet from downstairs for temporary use
  • Run electrical & switch for ceiling lights
  • Full gut & remodel of 2nd floor

Large Bedroom (5% complete)
  • Prime & paint until we can eventually gut & redo
  • Lay carpet from downstairs for temporary use
  • Install access ladder to attic
  • Reupholster Craigslist chair
  • Run electrical & switch for ceiling lights
  • Full gut & remodel of 2nd floor
Attic Space (5% complete)
  • Remove old chimney & patch roof
  • Add collar ties in attic
  • Install gable & ridge vents in roof
  • Raise roof to meet peak of original house 
  • Full gut & remodel of 2nd floor
  • Finish space above kitchen & dining room as master bedroom
  • Install "timber" beams in new master bedroom

Basement (5% complete)
  • Run new gas line for boiler
  • Run new outlet for water heater
  • Foam insulation above foundation
  • Repair sagging floor joists in crawlspace 
  • Repair damaged floor joists in basement
  • Fix electrical box issues (2 new breakers, separate doubled connections) 
  • Replace electrical box in basement, move basement box to garage, move garage box to barn

Deck (5% complete)
  • Run new gas line for grill
  • Remove awning that is improperly attached to house
  • Strip and re-stain deck
  • Build pergola w/ hop vines to add shade and privacy
  • Add sconces flanking sliding doors (50% complete - wiring has been run to each location)

Garage (0% complete)
  • Replace 2-panel 9-lite doors with 1-panel 1-lite doors
  • Tear down existing garage & build new 3-stall garage w/ new entry/mud room between garage & house

Front Porch (0% complete)
  • Replace existing stairs
  • Replace existing railings with something more suited to the style of the house & to our taste
  • Repair cracks & leaks in foundation to crawlspace
Yard (20% complete)
  • Remove rhododendron bushes
  • Tear down shed
  • Remove shed foundation
  • Move fire pit farther from tree
Barn (0% complete)
  • Run electrical service to barn

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Just a little comparison post to show you how far we've come! I find it's easier to compare "before & afters" when they're side-by-side. Plus it'll be nice to look back on and see how much we've done. I've already forgotten what we started with, it feels like such a distant memory...

Kitchen, before & current
Kitchen, before & current
Dining room, before & current
Dining room, before & current
Living room, before & current
Living room, before & current
Living room, before & current
Office/Laundry, before & current
Office/Laundry, before & current
Office/Laundry, before & current

Fun findings

There have been so many, let's call them interesting, things we've found during this demolition process, I thought they deserved their own post... enjoy!

Apparently back in the day, people liked to install linoleum "area rugs". Some interesting choices to say the least... 
Larger bedroom. At least it matches the paneling?
Plaid linoleum in the second bedroom.
This was all found under the carpets in the bedrooms. My initial reaction was horror, imagining all of the home improvement shows I have watched where people spend hours scraping up linoleum floors, but to my chagrin, they weren't attached at all and peeled right up! The plaid one was too retro/fun to trash, so I relocated it to the garage!

Random holes
I always use masking tape to plug large holes, don't you?
I'm guessing this used to be the exit for the original wood stove
Found this beauty with basement access when we pulled up the masonite in the living room
This one goes from the dining room ceiling to the unfinished space upstairs

Dead animals
Two unlucky birds that I found in the wall

Two layers of lovely wallpapered paneling
Not one, but two layers of paneling in the laundry room

Wallpaper galore!
As if the wallpapered paneling used in much of the house isn't offensive enough, we discovered a menagerie of different wallpaper patterns as we peeled back the layers...


The previous owners must have let the kids draw on the walls before they put up paneling, because we found these gems:

Warren Area High School fraternity
 There was also "Scott" written backwards in the living room. Kids are so funny!

In an attempt at what I can only assume was some sort of vapor barrier or wind-proofing, there were numerous newspapers plastered to the walls, on top of the interior sheathing.
This wall in the kitchen has papers ranging from 1894 - 1939
Before the Warren Times Observer, there was the Warren Times Mirror. Dated April 8, 1939.
The New York Times Magazine, July 29, 1928.
Copyright, 1902.
New York Weekly Witness, Wednesday March 14, 1894.
A wall in the living room is covered in copies of the Warren Weekly Mirror.
Warren Weekly Mirror, Saturday September 8, 1894. I'm assuming this was the precursor to the Guide?
Weekly railroad schedules.
Poor Celia Smith. Back before "right to privacy".

Other random items
Also found plastered to the walls under the sheathing were various flour bags from Erie and Warren. We plan to put these in poster frames and hang them in the garage.
Little bits of history.
Du-Pont Anti-Freeze can used as a patch
Our kitchen cabinets were born the same month as me!
Need a patch? Use what you've got! Broom stick, carpet scraps, spray foam, it's all fair game!

Demolition, week 4

The only major thing left to do now was finish off the living room. So much lath & plaster to tackle!
Ryan demonstrating the lung-safe way to demo, with a gas mask!
Ceiling half done, 3 more walls to go...
We tried a different approach to the walls, but I prefer taking it all down at once
 I was very glad when we were done with this process, I think it took me 2 days to get the plaster dust out of my hair!
Plaster dust much?

Let me also take this opportunity to let you learn from my mistakes... When you have baseboard heating, and plan to demo anything, make sure to protect your heating elements before getting started, otherwise you'll be learning how to straighten heat fins like I will be...

Cleaning up the mess
Off to the fire pit with you, lath!
I can't believe how wide some of these sheathing boards are, 20"!!!
Ryan standing back and admiring all of our hard work!
Found 3 of these guys when we were moving the wood from the deck to the fire pit, they were less than impressed
We got the kitchen cabinets moved to their temporary home in the garage
Beautiful tongue & groove kitchen ceiling under the drywall, we're going to try to re-purpose this elsewhere
Open concept stairs? These will be gone soon enough!

The end of August was also essentially the end of demolition, save a few small items still to do that aren't really worth mentioning. Demo was a lot of fun, but exhausting, and I'm excited to be able to start putting things back together now! I always have the end result in mind, which hopefully will help me keep plugging along when we start to lose motivation. But for now we can take  moment to rest!