plans and floors and roofs and things

Rather a whirlwind of activity over the past few days. By Wednesday, the eventual profile of the roof of our dormers was becoming clear:

Yesterday we had two teams of workers, our usual carpenters inside and roofers outside, the latter tearing up the accumulated three layers of shingles and making quite the impressive racket and equally impressive mess all over the ground. Or rather, all over a large tarp they'd spread on the ground. And then, about half an hour before they were probably due to finish for the day, a sudden downpour forced them to scramble to make sure everything was watertight. They decided to put in some extra work today (a Saturday), and they finished about a third of the roof with new shingles (and cleaned up that mess as well).

Inside, we had the plumber running the drainage system for the bath and shower and two bathroom sinks (and if someone can tell me why Blogger insists on rotating that second photo, I'd like to know: it's correctly oriented in every other display of it I can come up with) -

- while the next day, the carpenters built the frame support for the tub surround and put in the subflooring in the bathroom:

Meanwhile, they also installed the frame for the double pocket doors for our closet -

- and the rough framework for an alcove space, which was originally going to be a gas fireplace (until budgetary reality hit home: we're still running up a gas line behind this space, so that if we decide to put in the fireplace in the future, it'll be easy to do so):

Meanwhile, we were busy too: we finally decided on the plumbing fixtures, and purchased bathroom accessories (towel bars and the like) and all the lighting fixtures for all four spaces (bedroom, hall, bathroom, and closet).

Our contractor (and friend) Erik also kept himself busy: now he's a farmer...and a budding video star... (This is a video put up by Outpost Coop, our community coop store, at their YouTube site.)


why a no chicken?

Duct work has begun. The main ducts up to the addition are routed from the furnace (of course, across the basement, and up through our front hall closet (there'll be a wall covering this up), and finally emerging in the crawlspace behind what will eventually be a set of bookshelves:

The rest of the chimney (down to the basement) was removed, and it turns out we won't have to tear down part of that chase in the kitchen to access it. Here's a shot of there being no chimney stack in our basement -

- and here's a shot up the chase (note the terminus of the new kitchen vent):

On the one hand, this loses us a few square feet of space we thought we were going to get; on the other, it saves us some money, plus lots of disruption, and in fact the location of the vent is more efficient than it was in our original plans anyway:

The fridge will still be moved over to the right of where you can see it, and the current heating vent - which is tucked in the corner of the kitchen, behind the fridge, so that it's trying to heat the whole kitchen boxed in on three sides, plus it's also the sole source of heat for the library, behind the wall, as well as going upstairs - will be shut off except to the library.


chimbley swept

The stairway dormer is framed out now - here's what it looks like from inside:

And from the outside:

We decided to get a new, direct-vent water heater (our existing water heater was purchased very quickly under emergency situations for not much money: I'm surprised it's lasted as long as it did), which meant that venting the water heating via the chimney was no longer necessary. And as convenience turns out, the chimney chase proved to be the perfect place to run some new heating/AC ducts - or rather, nearly perfect, since it's too small. In combination these facts mean that the existing chimney's being torn down. From its top above the roof down to the top of the second floor, it's gone:

Knowing that it was going, its location is actually the middle of the new hallway. What's left of it, down to the basement, will be going out Monday. Meanwhile, it's created a hellmouth - fortunately, one easily blocked by a piece of plywood:

The other nice aspect of this work is that, since it's made it necessary to rip out a bit of wall in our kitchen to access the new HVAC chase, we decided to take advantage of this fact to restructure that area of our kitchen, which will allow the refrigerator to be in a more logical location and the heating vent not to be tucked, pointlessly, behind the refrigerator. So: minor kitchen remodel along the way.


waiter, there's a hole in my roof

They've punched out the second dormer (over the stairway):

The bathroom dormer's been finished out a bit more:

Some of the noisiest work involved removing the existing flooring and reinforcing the joists by sistering 2x4s to the existing ones. This is being done to provide added support for the tub and tilework in the bathroom:

When the roofer arrives, we'll be getting rid of quite a number of years' accumulation of shingle layers, as evidenced by this cutaway detail, made visible by punching out the space for the stairway dormer:


whole lotta bangin' goin' on

So as I mentioned, I was on vacation from about the time construction (or rather, demolition, at first) started Monday afternoon. I returned Thursday afternoon - and as our contractor had mentioned, this is the relatively easy, quick part. So, here are before (some weeks ago) and after views of the front -

- and of the back of the house -

This dormer is for the new bathroom (and closet). Inside, more work had been done, framing out the space where the knee walls (accommodating the pitch of the roof; center height will be 8') are going to go:

A very necessary feature, given all the rain we've had, is this plastic waterproofing sheet, here lending a spooky blue glow to the stack from the bathroom downstairs (the stack will be relocated a bit):


appetite for destruction

We hope our project is done before Guns 'n' Roses releases Chinese Democracy...

Here are some before and after photos, after Day 1 of the remodeling project:

As it happens, I'm out of town, so Rose shot these photos with her cellphone - if I'd taken them, I would have tried to match the shots a bit better, but she didn't have access to the "before" pictures...since they're on my computer, which is in front of me...

(And yes, that is a Mac Performa box, from like 1995...which we'd forgotten was sitting in the attic for years, long after the machine itself went to the great beyond. Then again, we actually had a Mac Plus up there, along with an era-appropriate dot-matrix printer - those went to recycling land via Rose's work just last week, I think.)


let the wild rumpus begin!

With a banging, a hammering, a sawing, a drilling, etc. We've worked out all the nitty-gritty, and tomorrow morning Erik's delivering the final contract to be signed. We make our initial payment (whoo-hoo! we're deeper in debt!), and work will start that afternoon.

Amusingly, a previously scheduled vacation (Rose had to cancel, figuring that one of us needed to be home to deal with the remodeling, and the friends I'm visiting are closer to me than to her) means that I'll be gone the first few days of the teardown and framing out. So I'll return Thursday afternoon to a slightly different structure.

On a side note: kitties are now confined to the first floor. We have an elaborate setup for their litterboxes, temporarily in the library, involving foamcore and a tarp so as not to ruin walls and flooring with kitty inaccuracy and litter-tracking. We had to move their feeding area, too - it's next to the fridge now. The door from the kitchen to the back stairs will remain shut (except when one of us sneaks out it to the basement) until the job is done. The worst days for them will be when the rerouting of an air duct necessitates shutting them in the library for two days (during the day - we can let them out at night). Poor kittehs!



Yeesh - two days after we finally get our financing straightened out, the first dip into our contingency fund. Despite having run over the code before designing the addition, Rose is used to commercial architecture rather than residential, and thus it was that she missed an obscure requirement relating the amount of window space (including "borrowed light," or light that comes via doorways and the like from adjacent spaces) to the amount of floor space. Because our second floor has low ceilings and limited places for fenestration (a word you'll rarely find, that - but useful), when we discovered we needed a measly three square feet of additional window space, we were actually a bit flummoxed. Aesthetically, enlarging the existing windows would have been either a disaster or bad in other ways; a skylight wasn't really an option either.

Fortunately (remember that "borrowed light" concept?) Rose brilliantly realized that, hey, we've got a door to the room...and in the hall space at the top of the stairs, there are windows, and light. So...replace the standard door with a door with glass, and we're okay, right? Indeed, we are (this per the city's plan review person). So it is that the door to the bedroom will now be a "French" door, with frosted glass and leaded panes, the latter to match the windows. It looks cool enough that I almost regret the fact that 99% of the time, the door will be open (it's just the two of us and the cats, so no particular privacy issues here).

And, we found out that the permit costs rather less than we thought - nearly a wash with the increased price of the door (obviously, doors with leaded glass panes are a bit more expensive than plain old wooden ones).