3/27/10

Electrical Work, etc...

We started on the electrical work in the upstairs unit this week. It is being done by the electrician that works at Justin's office. She's uh, a little slow, but very meticulous, so it all works out. Justin was the electrician's little helper today and he worked very hard.


I think I've finally found a good trash hauling guy. He happened to be driving by the other day and saw me standing next to the mountain of wood scrap by the side of the house. He stopped to give me a flyer and I asked him how much to take the trash away. He told me $500, which was $75 less than the estimate I got from another guy earlier in the day. I also remembered to haggle this time and saved myself $100. Thor, that's the owner's name, came with his two men crew on Friday as promised and took away the wood scrap pile. Their truck was practically over flowing when they left. 

These adorable antique toy cars were probably excavated from the house, when the foundation was being worked on. They've been sitting on the fence for a while now. 

I tried to finish the other side of the door today by staining it. The stain I got was dark walnut, I was really excited to give the door a dark finish. I gave the door another sanding to make sure that it would absorb as much stain as possible. Here are the before and after pictures. Maybe's it's the orange tone in the wood, because it turn out a dark reddish brown. I really wanted a cooler brown, but it still looks nice. 


It's about time we have a photo of the front of our house. So here it is.

3/26/10

Appliances

We finally saw the Liebherr counter depth and extra high refrigerator in person today, both in 24" and 30" wide. What beauties they are...we are seriously considering buying it and I think I might have found a 30" floor model for the price of the 24" on Ebay.

We don't really like the look of consumer grade ranges, especially the stainless steel/black combo. Besides the look, we are also concern about the BTU (British Thermo Unit). My parents have a Frigidaire right now, but they wish it had bought something with more fire power. So we decided that with the tax refund from the house and Justin's commercial music, we can probably splurge a little and get a professional style range!


We discovered a "pro" style gas range brand called NXR which is half the price of Wolf's base model range. NXR is made in China and a relatively new company. Since they are still trying to establish the brand, their ranges are priced extremely low compared to other "pro" style ranges. I am excited to get my hands on one of these.



3/23/10

New York Times...


I enjoy reading the New York Times real estate section, because they feature interesting articles like this one, A Man and His Miscellany. This eccentric man lives on Staten Island in a house filled with religious and antique paraphernalia. Apparently he takes in curious visitors and shows them his house. I will have to remember to stop by the next time I am in New York. 

The house is a street that used to be known as Halloween Street. It is appropriately painted in pumpkin color with black trims.


I love this vintage kitchen.


3/22/10

Plumber Bummer

All work at the job site will be on hold starting tomorrow, until we can find a plumber...we were making so much progress these last couple of months.

It was a beautiful day for some yard work. I spent the day breaking own branches for recycling. Both Justin and I have left piles of trimming lying at different spots around the yard. The branches and leaves have filled two paper bags and two green bins so far.





Just when I thought this pile was getting smaller, I found more branches to cut down. I plan to finish packing up the trimmings later this week.


Mr. Tree and the guys prepared the utility/laundry room/deck area and put in the frames for foundation. 


I will be back at the job site tomorrow to work on refinishing the door and meeting with contractors to get bids for plumbing and drywall. It's also once again, trash time. I have used different guys each time because I haven't found a trash guy that I want to work with again. So, the saga continues... 

3/21/10

New Kitchen Plans

Our trip to Ikea's kitchen department the other day made us aware that our current kitchen floor plan is not the best use of space so we are back to the drawing board for a new layout. A minor problem is that we've already framed the patio door and put in a sink window to accommodate for the original layout. I was happy to find that our possible new kitchen would cost around $7000 for materials and appliances not including labor. But I plan to do most of the work myself to save on labor cost. Now that we know for sure that Justin is getting pay some decent money for the commercial music he did, we might even splurge and get couple of nicer appliances. 

I am loving this red Bertazzoni gas range, but even the most basic stainless steel model is barely within our budget, and the red costs $1000 more. Ouch!

Our less expensive option is the Framtid from Ikea. 
I am also in love with this Liebherr counter depth fridge. It's perfect for our small kitchen with 10 ft. high ceiling. But at $2500 it's more than what we want to pay for a 13 cu.ft. refrigerator. 

The American company Summit makes a similar skinny fridge at about half the price, but it definitely doesn't look as sleek...and it is 2 cu.ft. smaller. 

Week In Review

We've made good progress this week, if only we didn't also have a million other projects to hold up the renovation. The plumber was supposed to start working on our house this week, but he has been held up at his other job in San Francisco for another week. This is really frustrating because we can't work finishing the slab foundation downstairs until the plumbing is done down there. I have made appointments with couple of well rated plumbers I found on Yelp.com to come and give me an estimate this week. I am also meeting with some drywall contractors this week to go over the cost of doing all three units.

On Friday we started working on the attic area of the house. We put up 2x8 beams next to the old 2x4s to add support for the plywood subfloor. This the first phase of our attic renovation to make it usable as storage. The second phase, i.e. insulation, drywall will happen when we have some extra money after we move in. We agonized over where to best put the attic ladder and finally decided that it will go in the master bedroom to keep it out of the living room ceiling.

Attic in it's original state. 

Louisville Ladder from Home Depot. 

Framing for the attic ladder.

In a land of ladders, only the attic ladder is right for the job.

I was not around on Saturday to manage the "crew" as usual, but Justin gladly took over my role for the day and I was happy to spend a day apart from the dust and debris.

While Justin spent most of the day battling with the over grown loquat tree, and the guys worked hard on putting down the subfloor in the attic. The weather has been very warm this week, so I am sure it was not too pleasant to be stuck up in the attic doing heavy physical work. So we made a lot of progress and the subfloor is finished. All that's left to do is put up the vertical 2x4s on the outer perimeter to support the roof.
2x8s done, plywood going down. 

Mini possessed Justin lurking in the back of the attic.

Normal sized Justin checking out the front of the attic. That little window doesn't open. I've called for couple of roofers estimates to put in attic ventilation, skylights, and close up the hole where the chimney used to be.


Subfloor finished!

3/18/10

Progress Update

Where has the time gone? I can't believe tomorrow is Friday already. I wasn't expecting that refinishing a french door would take me two full days just to sand it. All those little nooks and crannies on the grill areas are a major pain to sand. By the end of day three, I've just put down the first coat of primer on one side of the door. I got a chance to use my new electric sander on the flat part of the door, it was fun! I really hope this door comes out right, because I have about 4 more doors, in various styles, to refinish.


There was an ugly awning over one of the downstairs entry ways that we decided to replace. Well, what do you know, once taken off, we found that the wooden plank behind it had a lot of water damage. So we had to rip it all out and redo it. Everything that the previous owners had done to "improve" the house was done on the cheap and incorrectly. So whenever we take something down, there's inevitably a lot more we needed to do the fix it.



On a happier note, the scaffolding came down, which means that the windows are all up! We still have couple more days before this work week is over. I am hoping that we can start working on the floor joist and subfloor installation in the attic tomorrow. 



3/15/10

Monday Morning Blues

The day started a bit off but got better as we finally got the windows! Our original plan was to take out the window by the front door and seal it up. But we realized after taking out this window that sloppy work done by the previous owner would be too time consuming and costly to correct, so we bought a stock window from Home Depot to put in it's place. 

There was an ugly aluminum window with peeling paint and melting jelly stickers of skulls on it. After the new window was put in.


The old and new windows. 


Living room single hung window on the left and sliding window above the kitchen sink.

The old window on the left will be replaced by a new window just like the one on the right.

Patio door dilemma might have been solved. We have a bunch of doors taken down from the house before the reno. Just checked with our carpenter, he says we can use this door as an exterior door. And the glass is tempered glass. I think we just saved ourselves $2000!! I plan to strip the varnish and repaint this door.