Monday, January 28, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

It's been a frustrating week at remodel central. The seemingly never-ending rain and wind have put quite a damper (pun intended) on work at the house over the past week. Despite the challenging weather, our contractor has managed to complete a few projects. Most notable: The roof is almost entirely sheeted, and our new windows and door have been framed in the bathrooms. We also received the go ahead from the building inspector to fill in the trenches where the new drainage pipes have been installed. First inspection: Passed! Hopefully by the end of the week, I'll have something photo-worthy to post!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Starting from Scratch

Although we are only about a week and a half into our remodel and at the tail end of demolition, we have already run into some unexpected changes in our plan – both bad, and good.

The bad: Our plumber took a look at what we were working with (original sewer and drain lines and galvanized piping) and recommended that we should pretty much start from scratch. We had already planned on replacing all the plumbing above ground, but the sewer and drain lines were something we'd hoped to keep intact. Since our house is built on a slab foundation, replacing these lines would require us to cut large sections out of the concrete, dig trenches, and lay new piping. After some short consideration, we decided to go for it. We figured that even though we hadn't had any major problems with the plumbing yet, it didn't mean we wouldn't in the future. We came to the conclusion that we might as well fix it now before we put the house back together!

It took about three days, but we now have trenches that are about 30" deep running through both bathrooms and the hallway to our bedroom. And, don't forget about the huge piles of dirt in the kitchen that came out of them!

The good: We had a really awkward hallway leading to our bedroom. The ceiling was only about 7', it had exposed beams (well, they were 2x4's – which I actually kind of liked for some odd reason, but I digress), and there was shelving down the right side of it that was packed with a mish-mash of things – most of which should reside in a shed or garage. From the outside of the house, the roofline of the hallway area did not match anything else on the house. Come to find out, this hallway was almost a deal breaker for our contractor, Nick. He was so worried that he wouldn't be able to find a way to make this hallway meet our expectations for the finished product, that he considered not taking the job. Well, we are glad he reconsidered.

Once again, the solution was to start from scratch. Nick decided the best way to remedy the situation would be to take the entire hallway down and re-frame it to blend with the roofline of the main structure. So, we OK'd the change, and he got to work. It looks incredible. The new hallway will have a vaulted ceiling – something I never expected. I used to dread walking down that hallway, and now, I cannot wait to see how amazing it will make the entrance to our master bedroom. It will truly feel like a retreat. Oh, and did I mention he did it in less than a day?

Old Hallway:

New Hallway To-Be:

Up next... Plumbing, sheeting, and the race to beat the rain.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Roof! The Roof! The Roof is... Gone!

After a weekend full of demolition and manual labor, it was time for the pros to take over. Last Monday, the crew from Bean's Roofing showed up at about 7am. Before I left for work, they were already up on the roof scraping off the shingles. So, for the time being, our roof has been reduced to 1x4 skip sheathing.

The crew from Bean's getting started:

The view from above:

The view from below:

The next steps will include adding new fascia boards, sheeting with OSB, tar papering, and shingles.

Friday, January 18, 2008


It has been a week since we started the demo work on our house, and man, it has come far! Here is a recap of what has happened since January 11th.

On Friday the 11th, I left for work, and Mike and his grandfather, Bob, started the demo. They removed a bank of cabinets from the east wall of the kitchen and started in on removal of drywall. The removal of the drywall (which should have been relatively quick and painless) turned into a tedious task. Most of the drywall in the house was very old, and instead of coming off in large pieces, it came off in tiny chunks. The fact that there were nails in it about every four inches (in some places less than that) did not make the process any easier.

This is what I came home to last Friday:

On Saturday, we called in the reserves. My mom, Karla, and my dad, Rick, came out to help us. And boy, did they help us. By Saturday evening, Mike, Bob, Karla, Rick and I had the house stripped to bare studs, and we had filled our 40-yard bin from R&R Roll Off half way.

This is where we started on Saturday morning:

On Sunday, we finished up removing fixtures and any left-over drywall that was stuck to the studs. Then, we moved on to the part of the demo that we were dreading the most: the ceiling. The ceiling was insulated using blown-in insulation. My sister-in-law recommended that we wet the insulation down before removing the drywall on the ceiling to keep the dust down. It helped a lot, but the process was still not too fun.

Mike suited up in Tyvek coveralls, donned a respirator and goggles, and took a hose up into the attic. After giving the insulation a good spray down, we closed up the house, and left him to stomp the drywall from above. What a mess! When all was said and done, we were left with about eight inches of powdery-yuk all over the floor. A note to my readers: NEVER, EVER, use spray-in insulation if you think you will ever be renovating your home!

Here is the aftermath of the ceiling stomp:

We spent the rest of the day (suited up in Tyvek and other protective gear) fishing chunks of drywall out of the powder, and using a snow shovel to fill garbage bags with the insulation. By the end of the day, what seemed to be a never-ending task was finally finished. And this time, the 40-yard bin was filled to the top.

Up next... Roofing

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


It's been a busy weekend, but I've finally got a moment to post some "before" photos and a little bit of background about our house. I decided to just post the outside views, and views of the main room of the house. I'll post the bedroom and bathrooms in separate blogs, so keep visiting.

Our house is roughly 950 square feet. It is divided into a living room/kitchen area, a small den/office, one bedroom (our future master suite!) and two bathrooms (one will eventually be connected to our bedroom and turned into a master).

The house was one of the first built on our block, and it was originally used as a military barrack. (In fact, during demo last weekend, we found some flatware in the attic that was engraved U.S.N. - U.S. Navy perhaps?) It was then purchased by ten families to use as a vacation home, and finally came into the hands of my husband's grandparents in the 1960's when they purchased it for $6500. They added a few walls to create the den, added the bedroom to the rear of the house, created a kitchen and renovated the baths. They used it as their vacation home and vacation rental until they built a new home right next door during the '80s.

The house was gifted to my husband last year, and we are very excited to give it a new life. We hope his grandparents like what we're going to do with the place!

This is the front of our little bungalow.

This is down the left side.

And this is down the right side.

This is our little back yard.

This view is from the front right corner of the living room.

And, finally, this view is from the rear corner of our kitchen.

Up next... demolition!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Moving Woes

With demolition day quickly approaching, Mike and I have made our best efforts to remove all of our worldly belongings from our home... to no avail.

Last weekend, a huge storm hit the Central Coast, so our moving efforts were cut short. And, to top it off, our yard sale was rained out. The result: several pieces of furniture and various other salable wares have been left scattered from room to room. At least during this storm, our hallway and bedroom didn't flood - well, didn't flood too much.

Our house looks like a squatter camp! At least the piles are organized though: Move to Storage, Yard Sale, and Move to Garage.

According to my Dashboard Widget, it should be clear this weekend. (Keep those fingers crossed!) Our new goal is to have everything out of the house Friday morning so that while I'm at work, Mike can go sledge-hammer-crazy on the drywall. And, hopefully, there will be a yard sale on Saturday.

After the house is empty, I will be posting the much anticipated "before" shots. Yippeee!!