Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Cast iron breaks?

Did you know that you could lay a towel or blanket on a cast iron tub and hit it with a heavy hammer and the tub would break into a million pointed shards of metal? Neither did we, until we talked to the plumber. You can see one end of the tub broken and lonely on the floor. (See the picture with the orange bucket). Remember, you can click on any of these pictures and see a larger version with more details.

Ken had quite a day today. He accidentally found the rotten part of the bathroom floor. Ken said he was breaking up a large section of the tub while he was standing over where the toilet used to be. The floor looked totally normal except that the toilet had been removed.

Whoosh! Down he went, straight through the floor! But, luckily his Guardian Angel went down there first.

There were large sharp jagged pieces of the tub strewn all around him, along with pipes and boards, nails, and tools that fell into the hole with him.

Any one of them could have done major damage when he fell, but he missed every one of them. His left leg hit the dirt under the house and his right leg stayed out of the hole (youch!)--let's just go ahead and rip every groin muscle from the ankle to the neck. It doesn't appear anything is broken, thank goodness.

Here's another picture of Ken after he finished demolition. It looks like he's wearing one of those "What have I gotten myself INTO?" looks. He really wanted to have the tile off, so he made great progress and is right where he wants to be.

Out of that damn hole!

Monday, August 28, 2006


Bathroom Progress

The vanity is gone. The toilet you see here is now out (yes we covered the hole where the wax ring was!). We tried to clean the major dirt and rust off the bathtub, but after further inspection, we've discovered the finish has been rubbed off on a large part of the inside of the tub. After bouncing around a few ideas, we've decided to smash the tub and take it out. Ken found a beautiful tub and surround today and it has plenty of little shelves and cubbies to put shampoo and soap. Considering there is still plenty of work to do demolishing all the pink tile, we think this is the best idea for making it all brand new and easy for the new homeowners to clean.

We considered installing a contemporary shower, but we figured a young family with a small child or an older couple would prefer a nice new tub. So...that's the plan there. We will be choosing a new mirror/medicine cabinet, a new vanity, and new toilet to fit in the space soon.

Thanks to our good friend, George, for stopping by to take a look around. Ken is still working hard on removing more of the tile you saw on that one wall. He's trying his best to dislocate his shoulder by smashing it with this huge chisel and small sledge hammer (the wall, not his shoulder). He said for me to tell you, "Next time, please stay longer and bring eye protection and a hammer."

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Custom window stools in the front room...

The previous owners didn't have windowsills (actually, the inside sill is actually called the "stool") on every window, so we made a command decision to put the frame moulding around all of the windows in the bedrooms and sitting room and leave the stools off in those rooms.

Using the old stools as templates, Ken designed custom stools for all of the windows in the living room and dining room. It's hard to see in this picture, but it has a decorative routed bottom edge and the apron (the piece of wood below the stool) is plain. These will be primed and painted white to match the moulding and baseboards.

We think the windows were done this way to maximize available wall space for putting furnitue as close to the wall as possible. We figured 2-3 inches missing from every wall would take away valuable space for a bookcase or a chair near the corner of either room.


Alrighty Then!

I wouldn't exactly say we're at a loss as to what to do with this bathroom...but we are definitely having some daily production meetings about how to do whateverthehell it is we're going to do.

It would be easier if the tiles were simply glued to the wall with some construction adhesive, but these tiles were never meant to fall off. Okay. They were never meant to be sledge-hammered off either.

I don't like the pink and it "dates" the bathroom, so one way or another, the tile is coming off. Worst case? We'll have to put up cement board to cover the damaged plaster walls. Guess I'll bring it up to the boss at the next meeting! :-)

We've decided to try to CLEAN the cast iron tub. That might have something to do with the plumber saying the tub would have to be cut into pieces to get it out of the house. It doesn't look like it's been cleaned since 1946.


Master Bedroom Window Rebuild

The master bedroom window sure looks better! There was an old window air conditioner in it that leaked inside the wall with that gooey slimey drain water you don't want the dog to drink. Ken rebuilt the wall area under the window and replaced the sill and installed the window. Here is the before and the after!

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I was wrong!

No picture today...I just wanted to say I was wrong, we saved even MORE on those windows than I thought. We saved more like $3,000 on installation. It costs between $250-$350 per window for installation, caulking, framing out, inside moulding, and disposal of the old window (and that's if your old house takes STOCK sized windows!). Besides the cost of the actual window, it takes about $20 in miscellaneous materials to do each window (screws, caulk, wood for framing, moulding, etc.) Of course that first window could cost you $60+ because of a learning curve!

Today, we installed four more windows and we're almost halfway done with the eleven new ones. Looking good! Almost time for a dumpster dump. That sounds gross.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006



We can hear the savings falling into our piggy banks already. It feels great getting eleven Pella Vinyl ThermaStar double hung insulated replacement windows (with screens!) for just over a grand and saving twice that by installing them ourselves! And they look great, too.

Ken's finally finished playing in the mud and he hung and framed out the first window in the sitting room today. The first picture on the left shows the old window. The other two are the "afters." Man! This is getting exciting! We never thought we'd be so happy to finish one part of the project and begin another. I told Ken, "Don't get too giddy pardner' ~ we've still got the wood floors to do!

The plumber came by yesterday and we went over the pipe issues in the kitchen. After a closer inspection, we found out the damage from a slow leak for forty years only affected the floor boards under the kitchen cabinets and extended only partly into the bathroom (under the toilet and the sink). We originally thought we'd have to totally gut the bathroom, but maybe not.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


He says he didn't fire me...

You hear people say, "I'm going to drywall the entire house myself. I can't see paying someone to do a little taping and mudding when I can do it myself."

Well, I'm going to get right on this new fangled Internet thing and tell the whole world that Ken is only a couple of hours away from drywalling the entire house!

Here is a picture of one of his beautiful outside corners (in the hallway near the A/C control) and all of it looks soooooo good! Susan and I helped hang the drywall and we even started with the first of the mudding, but I don't know how Ken didn't throw a hammer through a window by the third coat.

I went over to help him one afternoon and I thought we'd have to stucco the damn wall by the time I was finished glopping on the mud. I lost my touch and nearly messed up his hard work. And I was doing this in the front LIVING ROOM! He says he didn't fire me, but he did ask what we were having for dinner...so I threw the drywall knife and left him to fix my mess. I don't know how he did it ~ but I swore I'd never ask him to do that again. We'll hang the sheets but some other sucker is going to finish it. Good job, Ken! And thank you...it looks great.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Dang Breaker Box!

Okay, you'll have to "think back" if you can't figure out what part of the kitchen this is...it looked quite different in the other "before" pictures. For help, scroll down till you see my post from the "Weekend Progress" on July 3rd to revisit this area...it's the corner where the refrigerator used to be.

In the new kitchen, the window will be removed and drywalled over and an "L" shaped counter with cabinets will be installed in this corner of the kitchen. There will be plugs and a small counter for things like a coffee pot, a message center, etc. Well, that's the plan anyway!

The kitchen will be extended to the left and the new refrigerator will actually be moved to the other side of that little wall with the breaker box in it. The door you see goes out to the Florida Room and the washer & dryer. Click on this picture to see a closer view of the mess. I mean, the corner.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


The Front Porch "Before" Shots

Every time we open and close the front door, we realize just how perfect it is for this house! We've decided to keep it and strip off the old paint and finish(es) and see what the woodgrain looks like. There are four cool little windows at the top of the door and the glass is cut to fit in the arched shape.

The second picture here is the old wood frame screen covering we found over all the windows. These are painted with a lovely dark red paint and will look beautiful in the dumpster. Besides, we won't need them once we install the new energy efficient windows!

The third picture is the rusted porch railing which currently only covers about 1/10th of the entire porch. This charming rusty feature will be replaced with some other new porch railing system. In other words, we have no idea what kind of railing, but we know we don't want wrought iron!

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