Saturday, July 26, 2014

UpState Update: Two Floors Nearly Finished!!

We went up to the house yesterday and LO AND BEHOLD! it is a dwelling!!  We might be closer to turning some income out of this monster than I'd been thinking.  (there's been a lot of depressed thinking and check-writing lately.)
Just look at these pix:
 This is the Great Room (that is what we have decided to call the main floor which houses the kitchen, living room, dining room and staircase up to the Master Suite).  The plywood floor is down, the kitchen floor is tiled and all the windows and doors have been trimmed out.  

Take note of that last item: doors.  That door over there on the right is new!  It is the entrance from the entry structure into the upper two floors of the house.  My idea!!  This has the added benefit of trapping heat in the great room and upper floors so that winterizing is cheaper and/or winter renters can just dwell in those upper spaces and skip the chilly bottom.

This is the view from the upper landing in the entry structure (door slides into the wall at left):

And this is the view from inside the Great Room looking toward the landing (door slides into the wall at right):

And here is the view of the inside of the entry structure seen from the upper landing outside the Great Room.  The new thing here is the three big beams you see which intersect just above center (not the ugly 2"x8"s in the foreground in the lower center - those are just safety rails until we get a real railing installed).  These beams replace a bunch of ugly framing elements that would have required sheetrocking over them.  We used 4"x11" rough cut maple beams so, in addition to being big and cool looking, they are a lovely wood.  This is one choice I think definitely improves resale value - good use of local lumber.  We can market that the way folks do: Features Locally grown sustainable hardwoods! YEAH!!

And looky looky!!! Big update in the Master Bath.  The shower glass is installed!!  We finally have a complete shower enclosure!  It is pretty exciting.  We still need the fixtures to be installed, but the glass looks amazing.  The shower is the nicest (and most expensive) room in the house -- way nicer than any bathroom in our place and nicer than any bathroom we expect to have in a house we live in anytime soon (maybe once we rent/sell this place we will be able to afford a nice bathroom of our own).  Note also that the bathroom door has also been installed.

Here is the view of the bathroom door from the Master Bedroom side:

Oh, and finally, the steps have been installed on the back deck.  We are hoping that the inspector does not require us to install railings since it is such a short staircase.

Please don't ask what is left to do.  There is a lot.  Off the top of my head, we still have to do the following: The main staircase from the Great Room to the Master Suite needs to be completely re-built.  The staircases in the entry structure need to be built since the ones we have in there now are just utility staircases for the construction period.  We need all surfaces finished (painted or varnished).  Plumbing fixtures need to be installed.  A lot of electric boxes need to be finished so that fixtures can be hung.  The floors need to be sanded and sealed.  Closet doors are needed in the bedroom.  We need a new hearthstone and we need to tile, stone or otherwise finish the fireplace surround and chimney.  Oh, and did you notice that there is no kitchen in the kitchen (maybe we'll leave this for a buyer? but if we rent it first, we'll have to put in some basic kitchen stuff)? And that is just the stuff I can think of.  So, there is a lot to do.  

Oh, and there is also the ground floor with two bedrooms and a bathroom which has not been touched for over a year and which we are just going to board up and leave for later.  If we're selling, that's less important than if we're renting.  Extra bedrooms is extra rentful magic.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


I spent the day up at the house and in the nearby environs yesterday and, for the first time in ages, I am happy to report that we have made some good progress.  

Remember this heap of gauged black slate floor tile?  I bought 270 Sq. Ft. of it at a stoop sale last fall from a woman who bought it in the early 70's planning to re-do her kitchen but then never got around to it. (Here's a link to the post about it.)

Well, look at it now!!

Anyway, after three and a half years collecting old materials in hopes I can repurpose them in our project, I believe this is the first time that any of those old materials have been successfully installed in our house.  I am very happy with the results.

And, here is another development - We had the bedroom floor re-covered in a layer of half inch plywood.  We are going to varnish or paint it and then live with it until we can afford a real hardwood floor (which could be a very long while if we are happy with the painted floor).

I am feeling a little better about our project at the moment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Upstate Update - July 4th, 2014 Weekend - Entry Structure Before & After

So here are some before and after photos of the entry structure.  I am posting these because we finally decided to deal with the open framing in the entry structure by replacing it with fat solid maple beams (it ain't cheap, but I think it is an architectural design element of the type that improves resale).  These pix show the progression of that space.

This is the entry structure seen from the upper landing some time last year.  This was before the ceiling was insulated and the space was sheetrocked.  The open framing elements I am describing are the sideways ladder on the upper left and the open rectangles you see dead center above the front door.

This is just a month or two ago after sheetrock was up and not yet taped.  Unfortunately, our then-contractor went to jail while the sheetrockers were working so they never got the message that we didn't want any sheetrock on the open framing you see on the upper left side.  Time for another contractor.  Bummer.  (this is getting to be depressing)
And here is what it looked like this past weekend.  You can see where we replaced all that open framing with the maple beams (AMAZING!!).  That thing right up front is just a makeshift railing to keep folks from falling off the landing into the staircase -- it is a little dangerous still (Okay, a lot dangerous).