Saturday, April 30, 2011

Paralegal Degree

At the beginning of the quarter, Sharon filled out an application to graduate from the paralegal program at Portland Community College. There was some extra paperwork, because credit for five classes from her California schools needed to get transferred over.

Yesterday she got an email from the evaluator, and if she passes her two classes this quarter, she will have successfully completed an A.A.S. in Paralegal Studies. Also, unless she really bungles her grades this quarter, she'll be graduating with Highest Honors.

It does seem a little anti-climatic after getting a Bachelors degree, but it has been a long time coming, and she's glad to finally be nearing the end.

Now it's time to start looking for a job.... We need to figure out how to make some money, since we've managed to hemorrhage so much of our savings on this remodel project.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Cement Stairs Done

Earlier this week the cement contractors came and put a finish coat on the new cement stairs. Here is how they look this afternoon.

The new egress door out the back of the basement:

The front and backside of the new front porch stairs:

There were electrician and plumbing sub-contractors here all week, so hopefully we're getting close to the sheetrock going in.

The windows order just got finalized today by the subcontractor who came out to double-check some measurements, so it will still be at least another six weeks before those gaping holes get filled up.

Range Hood Delivered!

Sharon is pretty excited to have gotten the range hood delivered today!! It was custom made by Art of Rain and it's beautiful. We're really looking forward to seeing it installed!Though, this is how the kitchen looks today, so it will probably be a while.Thanks so much to Joe over at 1900 Farmhouse for sharing the info about where they got the hood for their remodel.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Architect Back in Town

The owner/architect for Craftsman Design & Renovation, Wade Freitag, was out of town the last two weeks so while things had been moving along, they've been slowly falling behind schedule primarily because major decisions were not being made. Anyway, Wade returned today and came out for a long appt this afternoon.

We managed to whine at him enough about the 6 ugly plastic vents all on the drive-way side of the house that he worked out a way to move a couple of them to other—less visible—sides of the house. Now, we'll just have 4 vents on this one side of the house, instead of 6. Two of them are set pretty high (the range hood and the bathroom fan) but the other two are close to driveway level and easy to see. Unfortunately, we're just going to have to live with this ugly thing from the on-demand water heater. Yuck. Had we known about this unattractive venting, we might well have stuck with the tank water heater.

Our electrician also fished around today in the living room ceiling trying to figure out if the wires in the box beams were live. They are, but unfortunately not up to a proper voltage for modern lights. If we really want lights on the box beams, we'll have to open up the ceiling to run new wires. Our paint stripping crew showed us that the ceiling has been open before, so it's not a tragedy to have to break into the ceiling again, but it does add expense. (Everything adds expense....)

The downstairs bathroom has been framed out. Unfortunately, one of the support beams and the sewer plumbing messed up the original floor plan, so the shower had to be shifted over 6". This shift pretty much eliminates our ability to install the kitchen cabinets on the opposite exterior wall where we had planned. It's a drag, because we saved the kitchen cabinetry so we could reinstall in the basement for a craft area. Now we'll have to change the plan, or abandon it.

Today, we finalized the plan for the windows and the exterior siding, so they're now ordering everything. Hopefully the building envelope will get closed up soon.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Night!

We have an uneventful weekend planned; mostly school work, sleep, and trying to finish clearing out the rest of the furniture and boxes in the dining room.

As we pause for the weekend, it's nice to see the week's progress on the remodel. Most of the electrical in the kitchen has been installed. The sleeping porch has been framed out, ready to become a closet.

The front steps are in and nearly dry. The cement contractor is coming tomorrow (Saturday) to put the finish coat on the cement so the steps should be done and usable early next week.

The paint stripping team has made good progress on the box beam ceiling in the living room. Since we realized the trim work around the French doors is not original, we've decided to replace some of the more complicated pieces rather than take the time to scrape the paint.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cement is In!

The new cement stairs have finally been poured. Finally. (Sharon didn't get a picture of the finished front stairs before they covered them up so the dog wouldn't walk on them.)

Our new furnace is also in, but with so many gaping holes in the house, it doesn't make much sense to turn it on. Though, it would be nice to have the house be warmer than 53°F.

We now have quite a few exceedingly unattractive vents on the outside of the house. We're not happy about them, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of options at the moment. We're definitely in the market for something more attractive.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Finally, A Lucky Break

The crew finished demo-ing the upstairs sleeping porch and underneath the ancient linoleum they found a fir floor! Finally, something we won't have to pay to install! (We didn't get this lucky in the kitchen.)We were originally planning to turn this enclosed porch into a bathroom until we learned it would cost $50K. Since it was too rich for our budget, we decided to instead convert it into a closet. It's going to be huge and awesome!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dedicated to Tax Day

Since we are both unemployed, we are having to spend down our savings and sell stock to pay our bills, we're definitely feeling raped by the tax collectors. Especially when you read so many articles about huge companies paying NO taxes. Today was a massive day of bleeding. These comics appeared at Economicrot and fit our current mood.

Paint Stripping Contractor

We've been quite satisfied so far with the paint stripper we hired. His name is Jimmy Cookman (503-493-9187) and he works with Pasqualle's (recommended by Bungalowcious). Because we know folks will ask, we are paying him around $9,000 for bringing these large rooms to a stain-ready state. Plus, we are paying out-of-pocket for dipping doors and easily-removed windows, which will probably be another $2000.

So far they've been working for two weeks to do the entryway and the front portion of the living room. Jimmy has lost a crew member, so we think they're moving rather slower than he was originally hoping. Today they got started on the living room ceiling.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tile Decision

Sharon really liked the tile sample from the New England Art Tile Co., but the tile seemed too yellow to be blended with the almost-white reproduction subway tile. It was disappointing.

Then we thought we might buy a decorative tile panel from Pratt & Larson, but it turned out to cost more than $1300 (installed). It was sort of a bad day because Sharon had just finished bookkeeping and had realized how much we have overdone it on this job and we called a halt to that particular plan. It was just too much for a backsplash that neither of us loved.

Therefore, it turns out, we're actually going to end up with a more period solution. We're just going to lay 3"x6" reproduction subway tile in avalon white (the historic white) in the brick pattern.

This Week's Progress

Jeff and Sharon have been sick, but there has still been a ton of activity for the week.
Success has been declared in the front of the living room. The woodwork was brought from the almost-black color to the slightly-stained wood. Our paint stripping team tried quite a lot of techniques to get the wood back to bare wood, but this is the best they could do. We'll have to choose a stain that works over this.

The entryway is basically done.
We have new ductwork. And the new on-demand water heater is installed.

Most of the plumbing is in and the kitchen is framed up.
We've chosen a siding color.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sanding the Woodwork

Chemical strippers didn't touch the stain, so the paint stripping crew has resorted to sanding. They're starting to get to the bare wood now.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Past Uncovered

In this remodel project we've learned our house once had more classic Craftsman details. The French Doors on the living room and dining room are not original! (Now Sharon doesn't feel so bad for disliking them!) There used to be pocket doors! When the team was demo-ing the kitchen, they uncovered tracks for pocket doors. The Leonard's must have wanted to open up the living space so they expanded both doorways and removed the pocket doors and instead installed the French Doors.

The Leonards also pulled collonades out of the front of the living room. Sharon discovered the evidence of floor patching and then we realized they had left one of the bookcases in the garage. Unfortunately, with how much the garage leaks, it's pretty far gone to save at this point. Maybe someday we'll put new ones in, but not this year. We've definitely more than exhausted our budget.

We also found evidence there was a bench seat in the entryway. Maybe they pulled it to put in the new HVAC in the 70's when they converted to gas. We're trying to figure out how to put one back, but we may just have to build a bench over the air intake that is open in the front, more like a pew.

On the bright side, Mr. Leonard seemed to have a habit of putting newspapers into spaces before he closed them up. He apparently redid the kitchen in the early 1940's. We've now got quite the collection of newspapers from during WW2. It's neat to get the snapshot into the past. (Though, some of those headlines are astonishing: "Foe Tanks, Dead Litter Battlefield.")

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Remodel Progress

The woodwork is emerging!We think there was a bench seat here in the entryway. We're going to look into putting one back, but we'll have to move an air intake.This is the new wall in the kitchen, dividing it from the bathroom and pantry.They've torn up the floor of the basement, presumably to move the plumbing.The back door is starting to take shape.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Houck's Almost Paint Stripping

We got our French doors back from Houck's today. We're not thrilled with the paint removal job they did. We brought in these 4 doors and they charged us $735 for "stripping" them. They said the extra cost was due to the fine details in the wood, but then they didn't actually strip out those fine details.

Unfortunately, we didn't get a good look at the doors until they were home because they helped load them and they loaded them with the other side up, which does look nice. Not sure if I should complain, or simply try the other dipping place in town. (Do any of my fellow Portland bloggers know if this is the best you can expect from dipping?)

So far, we can't really recommend their services. However, we've already brought in another batch of stuff, when we picked up these doors. They get one more chance to make good before we move on.