House Stuff

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 paint.

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 the sink.

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 sinks?

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 the pantry.

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 corrosion.

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 at once.

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 unexpectedly.

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 sheetrock.

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 fixtures.

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 good stuff.

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 noticably comfortable.
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