December 9, 2013
The pantry is done.
Working on the pantry doors now, so I suppose it's a bit of a technicality
that I'm claiming the pantry is done. But I've claimed that bedroom 3 is
done for a long time without touching the door, so this isn't really news.
But in this case I'm actually knocking the door apart that was between the
pantry and the kitchen so I can figure out how to make my own replacements.
turns out that the doors upstairs and in servants' space are very simple
ogee floating panel doors... which means that the cutters for the shaper
are still standard, rather than having to be custom made. Note that
"standard" does not equal "inexpensive", as these are still shaper knives.
November 13, 2013
So the goal was to have the pantry done by the 11th, when we were going to
have house guests. The schedule got shifted when they dropped us a line
and asked if they could turn up a day early, but functionally done was
still a requirement - we needed the pantry out of the dining room.
On the morning of the 10th I installed all of the shelves with the LED
light strips attached. Before our guests arrived at around 8:00 PM we
had moved all of the pantry contents back in and broken down the steel
shelves we have been using for 10 years.
I've finally gotten back to it today and have gotten half the LED strips
working, and just need to wire up the other side of the room to get the
rest going as well. The last two shelves still need to be notched to
go around the wiring, then painted, then installed above the doors. Amanda
has spent a fair chunk of time reorganizing what we've just moved in, since
our goal the other day was to move stuff in, not necessarily move it in
carefully and intelligently organized.
November 7, 2013
Pantry is the priority at this point. The shelf brackets are all up
and the first side of all the shelves have gotten their first coat of
November 6, 2013
Progress has been slow, but has been steady. The pantry is now painted,
as of a few hours ago. Shelf brackets will be going up tonight and tomorrow
so we can then use the brackets as drying racks for painting the shelves.
The LED light strips for under the shelves have been cut into pieces, soldered
back together, tested, and are ready to install. The dimmer for the LEDs is
even already installed in the wall.
October 19, 2013
So back to focusing on the pantry, since the bathroom is in a stable
state right now. First coat of paint is up, plus all the mouldings. I
even had to make baseboards, since just slapping up some junk costs about
as much and I already have the tools to make what will (mostly) match
the rest of the house.
October 10, 2013
The bathroom is back on-line. I even got the towel ring hung next to
October 9, 2013
Ben came over again today and while he got the toilet installed, I
worked on the sink. And went to HD again. And worked on the sink.
And another trip to HD. And more swearing. 5 trips to HD, and I'll
have to go again tomorrow. Can I tell you how much I hate installing
October 7, 2013
The tiles are now grouted. OW.
October 4, 2013
So I'd been making slow progress around the window in the pantry when
Amanda had a bunch of folks over to prepare for the upcoming SCA
Baronial Bardic Champions competition. Mia was here prepping a piece, so
her husband Ben came over to pick her up. He offered to help me make
progress so by that same competition day I could have some key things done
as we're going to have a pile of houseguests. The goal is to have the
pantry moved back into the pantry and the sink and toilet installed
upstairs before the evening of the 11th.
Fast forward to yesterday. Ben was supposed to come over and help but
life intervened. So I plodded along and got the window boxed in, insulated
around the box, and started joint compound on the drywall.
Today he did come over. We got the entire pantry a first coat of joint
compound, some of what I'd already done a second, and then finished tiling all
of the bathroom upstairs other than around the future tub.
Over the weekend I need to keep working on the pantry, so Monday he'll come
over and while I'm grouting the bathroom he'll be sanding and possibly painting
September 25, 2013
The last of the sheetrock went up in the pantry yesterday. Since I
don't currently have the money to get the new shelves and such, I'm going
to just do a bit of cleanup, finish around the window, and move the
shelves and all back in from the dining room. No joint compound yet,
nothing. When I DO have the money to do the shelves, it will be much
easier to find the studs to attach to if I can still see the screws holding
up the sheetrock.
I've taken the new laser level up to the bathroom, and it's... odd. The tiles
are level 3 courses off the floor, but are about 1/8" off up at the top. I
don't know how I did that. Fortunately, down by the floor is where the courses
are going to come together behind the tub, and up at the top will never
meet because of the window in the way. Nothing to be fixed, it will just
work. Also, I finally figured out how to handle the plumbing for the tub,
so as soon as I finish up the various bits of tiling that I'm working on I
can move forward on the floor under the tub and the tiling around it. I
still can't actually _install_ the tub until I have the money to pay a
plumber. There are things about period tubs that just aren't normal.
September 20, 2013
I've been making very slow progress for the past week. My rotary head
laser level turned up dead, which makes tiling very difficult if you
can't make sure things are actually straight. (Yes, there are old-tech
tools to do this, I don't own any of them.) My parents have gotten me a
replacement for my birthday, so that can move forward again.
I've also been making progress on sheetrocking the pantry. I dispise
sheetrocking. It's about 2/3 done. Thankfully I own a drywall lift, so
I can do a sheet or two in a day, decide I'm fed up with it, and not pay
to rent the lift again tomorrow.
September 13, 2013
I am really displeased with the guy who installed my boiler. In dealing
with adding a new boiler drain to the loop for 2 I discovered that he
left a vapor lock in that loop as well - the line to the pump had a rise
of more than the size of the pipe, and the pump has a check valve on it.
So I had to disassemble the top of the pump and shorten the line there.
When screwing it back in I noticed water dripping faster and faster below
the pump. Turned out a joint between the valve and the main loop was
held together by corrosion and prayers, and my mucking about broke the
So while I was figuring out how to close everything down and drain the main
loop I noticed a drop fall from a _different_ loop, also below the valve
for that loop. Once you're pulling the main loop apart, you do all the work
After ripping it all open, I discovered that the original installer skipped a
step on _every_ _single_ _joint_. When you cut a piece of copper pipe, there
is a burr on the inside edge that you need to ream out or it will shorten
the life of the joint. Yeah, I'm not sure he owns a tapered reamer. So
over the next 'X' years, I'm going to have to either tear down every joint
as they leak, or replace the main loop. He's suddenly not worth the several
thousand dollars the installation cost.
There's water in everything now, and so far none of it is coming out
September 6, 2013
Most of the plumbing for the heat in 2 is done. It's all connected,
but when I tried to fill the loop I discovered that I've managed a
vapor lock in one spot, so I need to cut in a new boiler drain at
the other end of the loop so I can let the air out. But there's
water in the radiator, so I know my joints are all good, so I can
close up the pantry at any point.
So I went back to tiling. The wall behind the sink is done except
for the top 2 courses, as is the wall behind the door. The third wall
around the toilet is about halfway there, and the second wall of the
shower is about one third there. One more batch of mortar and I'll
be ready to either grout what I've got up or figure out how to do the
rest around the tub. Either way, we're closer to a sink and toilet
on the second floor again.
August 20, 2013
Most of the plumbing for the heat in 2 is done. I'll actually get it
connected tomorrow morning, then spend the afternoon getting the loop
filled and make sure there are no leaks. Since much of that plumbing
is in the wall in the pantry, as soon as that's done I can look at drywall
and finish that room up. Or I could go work on some tile so I can get
the bathroom done. Decisions... decisions...
August 10, 2013
Back from a week in Seattle, back to work on the house. I insulated the
exterior wall in the pantry today, and started working on the plumbing for
heat in 2, since that has to be inside the pantry wall by the time I
July 30, 2013
More tiling done. Most of the run under the sill to the shower (one last
tile is going to be a pain to cut) and a bunch of several walls. Probably
one more batch of mortar and I'll be looking at when to start installing
July 28, 2013
Two accomplishments since the last update. First was getting the door
frame between the pantry and the kitchen rebuilt and reinstalled. The door
itself is in dire need of replacement, so I'm going to knock that apart to
figure out how to make more, and hopefully the shaper knives will be
simple enough to be modern standard so I don't need to get them made.
Second was that I've started tiling in the bathroom again. Behind the door
is mostly done, plus another wall near the toilet. Tomorrow I should have
around the toilet done as well as around the door, then I can start thinking
about when to grout what I've done so I can install fixtures.
July 21, 2013
So I lost more than a month to Troy Civic Theatre's Twelfth Night. But I'm
finally back working on things. The window in the pantry is installed. It
took an hour less than my attempt at a "realistic" estimate, and certainly
less than my pessimistic guess. I don't bother with anything more
optimistic than "realistic", because I'll generally be wrong.
June 8, 2013
2 coats of polyurethane on the new floor. It looks like a floor now.
June 7, 2013
The pantry floor is fully installed, sanded, and has been given a coat of
sanding sealer. Unfortunately, this has not done nice things to my elbows.
Also, while installing the last board in the floor, Home Depot called to tell
me the window is in.
June 2, 2013
So the progress since the last update has been 2 major things. First,
I've stripped all the paint off the internal window between the pantry
and the servants' stair and gotten it back into the wall. That was far
more effort than I'd expected, but I did realize that the old paint
resists all but the nastiest paint stripper and went straight to the
Second, I've ripped the old floor out of the pantry, and will be starting
tomorrow to install the "new" oak that I'd resurfaced from the foyer.
May 15, 2013
So I'm currently operating with a goal of accomplishing something every
day. It doesn't necessarily have to be big, but it has to move the house
projects forward. Unfortunately, updating here doesn't fit that bill, so
I need to try and remember to update more often.
I've resurfaced all of the old oak flooring from the foyer to be reused
in the pantry. I'm pretty sure I have enough that's usable.
I've got all the wiring in the walls for the LED lighting system I want to
have in the pantry eventually. Once I figured the system out and planned what
I want, picking up 75 feet of CL3 cable and roughing the whole thing in was
easy. So I'll be able to put up the walls long before I actually purchase any
of the expensive parts, then retrofit the lighting in later. (The system
will consist of a power supply that will mount in the basement, and a
~3' strip of LEDs underneath every shelf, lighting the shelf below.)
I think I've given up on hiding the heating pipes for 2 in the pantry walls.
The old pipes were just hanging out in the room, and now that I've got
everything opened up and the old pipes removed I can't find a way to bury
them in the wall - the top of the wall is perfectly lined up with a beam, as
is the bottom. I'd need to do some horrible drilling work that would involve
ripping out either the floor of 2 or the dining room wall.
I've ordered a new window and should have it in another couple weeks. I've
also now gotten concrete anchors to actually go into the brick and am
working on re-anchoring the furring strips inside the pantry so I can use
them to hold insulation and sheetrock when I'm done. This was also important
since this is the same process as holding a window in. I'll pick up the
insulation when I have to rent the truck to get the window home.
I've also been (slowly) working on the bathroom. I've got the windows
mouldings up, as well as most around the door (not the top, it's being
annoying) so I can get a coat of primer on them and use them as guides for
where tiles should stop. I find a piece of wood is much more effective for
me as an edge than a pencil line.
May 2, 2013
Didn't expect to get much done today - woke up with a good crick in my
neck. Heat pads for the win.
So I pulled all the old flooring from the living room and foyer out from
under the porch and added all the living room pine junk to the garbage pile
in front of the house. The oak from the foyer is now piled on the porch
to be gone through for viability to be used in the pantry and in fixing the
dining room floor. I had to throw away 5 pieces for rot out of about 100
square feet. Next is checking for nails/staples/whatever, then running it
through the planer to reuse.
May 1, 2013
The pantry is now well and truly cleaned out. Starting to look at how
to run the new heat for 2 - it was running up the corner, I want it in the
wall. Also looking at the electrical, since I have an idea for lighting
that I can't afford to actually do at the moment, but want to be prepared
to retrofit relatively painlessly in the future.
I think the immediate next step is going to be to clean out under the
porch again, since the old floorboards from the foyer are tucked under
there and those are what I'm going to use for the pantry.
Also have done a bunch of tile cutting for the bathroom. Easier to cut a
whole pile of stuff in one shot, rather than doing them one at a time when
I've got mortar starting to set. I also need to get the mouldings installed
around the window, since the tiles are going right up to the window for the
lowest 6" or so.
April 24, 2013
Definitely progress happening here. More tile on the bathoom walls, now
that I've gotten past the fiddly bits the rest of around the toilet should
go fairly quickly.
The pantry is pretty well gutted, too. As soon as I can manage to clean
up the mess I'll be able to reach the last bits and really get it down
to bare studs. A bit of plumbing (heat in 2), a bit of electrical (lights),
and then I can rip up the floor and rebuild the whole room.
March 31, 2013
So the progress recently has been spotty, which is mostly due to my flagging
motivation. But very recently it has started moving again. I'm working on
tiling the bathrooms walls, primarily around the toilet. I'm working on
stripping the paint off of the old claw-foot tub to get it ready to re-
install. I'm also working on cleaning out the dining room, so we can empty
the pantry, so that can get gutted and rebuilt. Fortunately, pantries are
simple, so that will go fast.
January 5, 2013
So after the floor was tiled and grouted, the only step left before the floor
was officially considered "done" was to connect up the in-floor heating. It's
an electric system, designed to be used when you want the floor warm rather
than all the time. It is a wonderous thing - 20 minutes on and the floor
was *warm*, and 40 minutes after it was turned off and the floor is still
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