Working on the Old House #2

As we are all trying our best to get through this challenge, I hope each of you is safe and healthy. And since we are all staying close to home – you might as well spend a little of your free time with me – looking at an old home. We will continue….

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We started with this fine example of Early Crack House architecture, circa 1920. Here I’ve removed the vinyl siding and the soffit banding covering the gable above the aluminum door and windows.

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The plan is to put this back to an open porch as it was originally. It will not only cost less to renovate, but will also keep with the character of the house. Since we’ve secured the front door we can remove the offending elements. (Shown on the ground to the left).

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The best way to get rid of unwanted building materials is to set them out on the curb and wait. These were picked up by a couple of scrappers in less than 5 minutes.

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So with the porch opened up and the gable covering removed, we can see what we have to work with. And right here we have asbestos panels. The vertical panels were attached to the building with wood battens covering the panel joints. The appearance boards over the opening are solid, but need some attention as well.

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The best course of action was to leave the original asbestos panels in place. It would cause more problems to remove the panels that were solid and well attached. So here I’ve covered the gable with sheet PVC with solid PVC trim.

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I recreated the original trim design on the gable. All PVC, it will be much more durable (and safer) fully encapsulating the asbestos panels. The PVC header trim will also not rot at the attachment point of the pillars, where absorbed water in the concrete could be a maintenance problem.

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Now that we have an open porch to work in, we can add a storm door and work on the severely weathered original clapboards. Exterior trim was also fabricated to cover the original 8′ door opening.

And on we go – we haven’t spent a lot of money and it is starting to look a little respectable.

Stay safe and I’ll see you again soon.

Working on the Old House #1

We continue to try and bring my neglected old home back from the brink. I have very few photos of the earlier process on this place, because I wasn’t intending to document this project. But as I wait to finish up the MisAdventures , this will keep me disciplined in making blog posts.

First we address the exterior – it all has to be sealed in before we can work inside. Lost siding, missing roof shingles all have to be repaired before the next step.

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This area of the exterior vinyl siding that was damaged in a storm. Broken pieces were removed and  replaced, using siding off the back of the garage to make sure it was a match.

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This was a pretty easy fix that took a couple hours – after a couple years of me putting off the repairs.

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The first step is getting the door secure so we can remove the old porch windows. I have no photos of removing the original old door. It was drafty and the original door and casing were held in place with 4 nails – apparently they were pretty stingy with nails in 1920. Here I’ve added a new insulated door. There was a lot of work here, with threshold transitions and lots of woodwork fiddling.

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Since the original door was over 8 feet tall – and the new door is a standard 80″ tall, some trim gymnastics were needed. I made new casings to cover the new opening while keeping the original plaster lath walls with wallpaper intact. I used the original back band trim on the outside edge. Since the door casing is wider than the original, the top back band trim was too short. I cut the trim in two and added a small center decorative element to take up the shortfall. The trim was gel stained to match existing trim.

And here we go – a modest start on a low cost renovation on my old house. It won’t be fancy, but neither am I.

 

I’m not done yet…

It has been several months since I’ve posted on this wacky renovation adventure. Sometimes life and a not so perfect body get in the way of things we plan to do.  And so it is for me – a few health related challenges, something I’ve grown accustomed to over several decades of Hospital stays. A little under the weather is my typical reply. I’ve chalked up my 40 something surgery (I forget the actual count) over the summer. But, no matter how much they try, the doctors have failed to kill me yet. So now that I’m whole again, I’ll be back at the MisAdventures project to finally show you – that after ten years of work – that I can finally finish something.

See you soon.

Curt

A Father’s Day Note

Wishing all of the Fathers out there a very happy day. I unfortunately am not a father, but I certainly had a great one. You may think you’re not appreciated sometimes, but you are so very important in shaping your children’s lives.

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Photo of my dad taken in 1947 at a local park. He was a photographer his whole life.

Here is a note I wrote to show just how many gifts he gave to me.

The Colors of My Father

This time of year is the best of seasons. The beginning of summer presents nature’s beauty at its zenith. The vibrant greens of the trees and brilliant display of the annuals are sharp and pure, with colors rich and full. The month of June with its festival of colors is the perfect season for Father’s Day.

When I think of myself as a child, or all children really, I imagine that we are like the pages from a coloring book. When we come into this world, we are so like an uncolored image – two dimensional and vacant of color. The black outline is easily recognizable a little boy or girl, but inside those lines it is void of the colors of life. The parents and loved ones help in ‘coloring’ that little image…to make a mere outline of a child come alive in the world. Through love and compassion, discipline and convictions, faith and commitment, the colors of a young life are added inside those boundaries, one by one and layer upon layer.
Every Father’s Day I think of this coloring book image and I am thankful for my father’s colors.

My father was an artist in the true sense of the word. He lived his life
in a most artistic way. He made his living doing what he loved to do and
he shared that enthusiasm with me…and so he painted me with the colors
of artistry and conviction.

My father could create the most imaginative images. He could craft
tools and gadgets and toys from the broken and discarded…and so he
painted me with the colors of creativity and resourcefulness.

My father was an honest man, who spoke quietly but truthfully. He did
an honest day’s work for a fair wage, as money was not the primary object
of his labors…and so he painted me with the colors of honor and
earnestness.

My father was a dreamer, who dared to imagine what could be. Some
of his dreams were realized, and some were not; but he dreamt them just
the same…and so he painted me with the colors of vision and hope.

And on it goes…

My father touched me with the vast palette of his life and I am a better man because of those colors he gently gave to me.

As with every Father’s Day celebration, I miss my father very much. He was such an important part of my life. This gallery is here because of his artist’s touch on his little boy so very long ago. Reminders of my father are all around me…the logo and the signs…the large round stained glass window at the peak of the gallery…that’s him – The Man in the Circle – an image taken in 1947, the year he founded this business.

Although he passed from us on a sunny summer day thirty four years ago, his influence is still so very important. His shared guidance and knowledge are prized possessions. As the years have passed and the business has grown in directions unimaginable to my father, the tools of experience he gave to me are all the more important. I am very fortunate to face each day confident in the skills that he taught me.

Thanks Dad… for all the wonderful colors
Happy Father’s Day
Curt

Navy Dad ID

My Dad was the personal photographer of the Commander of the South Atlantic Fleet during WWII.

 

Today I realized this is not a renovation – it’s an art project.

My wife has always called this the “hobby house”, but I realized this week it’s really an art project. Take for example this picture. These are deck screws that are used to fasten a 1/2″ plywood overlay on the original floors.
   I Took a look at all of the first floor, which is done the same way and they’re all lined up too. When will I learn the color outside of the lines?

Using Motorcycle Parts in the Bathroom

OK, the internet is generally a good thing – search is a good thing – sometimes.

I’ll explain later

1 wall painted

We left off here with the wall painted and the sconce electric now finished by adding a mud ring to bring the wall boxes out to the wall surface.

2 toilet flange

Now it’s toilet time. I plumbed the floor closet flange with a stainless steel doodad – use this type if you can instead of the all PVC or stamped steel versions.

4 toto toilet

Here’s the toilet – it’s a Toto Soirée one piece toilet.I chose this because my wife wanted a one piece unit – and because I made the paneled wall go to the back of the toilet, it reduced the drain center to 11″. A standard toilet needs 12″ from the center of the drain flange to the finished wall – I only had 11″. Oops, another design faux pas.

3 toto toilet rough

 Toto to the rescue. This toilet uses a doodad that lets you adjust the distance the toilet sits next to the wall. The one that comes with the toilet is for a standard 12″ – but you can buy (for another 65.00) one that makes a 10″ or 14″ rough. So here I’m installing the 10″ rough. I’ve also installed the supply valve and stainless hose.

5 Bristro wall sconce

Then we get up off the floor to install the sconces. These are Restoration Hardware Bistro Sconces. I like these because the arms are adjustable.

6 sconces and toilet installed

Here the sconces, marble window sill, toilet and water supplies for the tub are in.

7 removable tile

I had a tile panel made that is removable for access to the plumbing without having to demo the tile to get access. The water supplies screw into the plumbing below the floor. The wall baseboard is also removable to get the tile panel out. Now we need to plumb the bathtub drain.

10 drain instal

The PVC pipe goes through the floor into the drain trap. The threaded compression fitting had to be close to the floor so the trim ring would sit flat on the floor.

9 marble sill

The window sill is marble and had to be installed before the water supplies. I made a wood template to take to the stone guys and then I installed the sill with silicone. The pipes holding the faucet were pretty stable, but I wanted to make it more secure with some sort of bracket to fasten it to the wall.

That’s where the internet and motorcycle parts come in.

I spent several hours searching for something that might work. Searches for “Pipe Hangers, pipe brackets, tube and/or rod holders and every conceivable search word combination came up with nothing. Nothing in plumbing worked, nothing in electrical, drapery, or closets worked either. So next was marine, auto and then finally motorcycle.

And these popped up.

11 handle bar risers

The criteria was as follows: Chrome and shiny? Check / Split so that they  can be installed without disassembling the water supplies? Check / Fit a 1″ OD pipe? Check / Can be attached to the wall? Check. What the heck are they? Handlebar risers for a Harley Davidson. Sure, that will work.

12 recessed bolts

So we make a poplar bracket and recess the back for the bolts.

13 painted bracket

We paint and finish the bracket to match the wall. Then install the risers.

14 bracket instal

We attached the bracket to the wall. The tub will hide most of this stuff, but I still wanted them to look pretty.

15 bracket closeup

A little hole filling and touch up and these pipes are staying put. So we’re starting to get to the bling – hang in there.