Tuesday, February 22, 2011


There was a lot of drywall work to do on this house.  Much of the house had wood paneling which we removed, and it will be replaced with drywall.  Some of the drywall was removed due to being moldy from water leaks in the past.  And since we exposed the original taller ceilings, we needed to cover those with drywall as well.

Hallway prepared for drywall.  Stacks of drywall waiting to be hung. The vintage phone stand found elsewhere in the house was placed in its new location.
Kitchen downstairs. Cement board installed for tile.
Upstairs hallway
Upstairs bedroom
Upstairs HVAC duct raceway insulated and ready for drywall.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Interesting Old Wallpapers

Throughout this remodeling project, we found neat old fragments of wallpaper.  This house never had plaster; instead every room and ceiling was wallpapered.  There was a thin cloth that was nailed to the wood shiplap walls, and the wallpaper was glued to the cloth. We removed and saved wallpaper fragments where it was feasible, and we may frame or use them for artwork in this house in the future.

Here are some of the wallpapers that we uncovered:


Friday, February 11, 2011

New Plumbing Begins

When we purchased the house, it had two kitchens and two bathrooms (one on each floor).  The plumbing was a mixture of old rusty cast iron pipes and plastic PVC pipes.  Many of the pipes and drains leaked.  On top of that, during the first winter that we owned the house, there was a major freeze that caused our pipes to burst.  We had to redo the entire plumbing in the entire house.

Because we had to redo the plumbing in the entire house, this allowed us to be more creative and flexible with the layout of the house.  We moved the downstairs kitchen to a different room, and we added a Jack-n-Jill bathroom upstairs.  And because we were gutting the house; it opened up the walls and made the plumber's job much easier.
Hmmm, why did the plumber have to cut through the structural members?  Turned out the inspector said that this plumbing job was not acceptable, so it ended up getting redone anyway.  We ended up with cut structural members for no reason!  We are not very happy about this.

The plumber had a very difficult time installing the shower base and making it level.  Three attempts and three shower bases later, we have an installed shower base.  I guess the third time's the charm.

The sink drain in the upstairs bathroom also gave the plumber a hard time.  Three attempts later, and it looks like its done.

Attempt #1: Looked good to me, but the inspector didn't agree.

Attempt #2: The drain was outside of the wall.  What kind of sink will work with this especially in a small bathroom?

Attempt #3:  This one is a keeper.

The bathtub drain is not lined up at all with the drain installed by plumber.  I guess he'll need to figure that out when he installs the tub.

Plumbing under the house.

Each time the plumber had to redo the drains, he made new holes in our siding.
Let's just hope that we don't have any leaks after all of this.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Duct work for the HVAC units

Since the house never had any central heating or air conditioning, it had no duct work at all. All new ducts and returns had to be installed.

Ducts in raceway from attic to below the house.

We did not want the ducts to take over the entire attic because we may want to finish out the attic in the future and create a finished third floor.

The attic includes a stairway from the second floor, hardwood floors, and two windows (one on each side of the building).
 We asked the HVAC company to install the upstairs ducts under the attic floor.  The HVAC guys created custom ducts to fit between the ceiling of the second floor and the attic floor. 
 Custom ducts running in the ceiling.

The ducts for the first floor were installed under the house. 

New HVAC units were placed outside on the platform that we built on top of the old brick walls which once held up a wood cistern.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Major Rebuilding...

The bathroom addition added in the 1910's added one bathroom on each floor.  When we reconfigured the duplex, the larger apartment would have a bathroom on the first floor but none on the second.  We decided to add a small Jack-n-Jill bath to the second floor to serve the two bedrooms there.

To increase space in the Jack-n-Jill bathroom, we removed a chimney that was no longer used.  The chimney no longer went up to the roof, so it was completely useless.  We saved some of the bricks from the chimney to use for landscaping, and we gave the rest to our neighbors so they could build a brick patio.

We decided to use pocket doors to save space.  The bedrooms are already small, and we didn't want to take up more space with the bathroom doors.

Doorways to two of the bedrooms upstairs had to be closed off to separate one apartment from another. 

Doorway to bedroom was closed off.  Note the stacked wood; it was originally used to frame the lower ceilings in the house. When the lower ceilings were removed and the original tall ceilings were exposed, we reused the wood for the framing in the house.

The original kitchen for the downstairs apartment was very small, and the dining room adjoining it was very large (about 3 times larger than the kitchen itself).  Since modern kitchens are large, we decided to make the dining room the new kitchen for the downstairs apartment.  We decided to make the original downstairs kitchen into a laundry room and downstairs storage room for the upstairs smaller apartment.

Door closed off between the small original kitchen (in the back) and the dining room.

The original dining room downstairs had too many doors.  It had one door to the original kitchen (which was closed off), one door to the living room, one door to the bathroom next to it, and one door to the hallway.  We decided to close off the door to the bathroom as well.  This allowed us to make the bathroom downstairs larger with only entrance from the hallway instead of one from the dining room and one from the hallway.

Closed off door to bathroom (on right) from the dining room.

New floors are built where the termites ate the original wood floors.  Since this will be the kitchen, we will install tile floors here.