Nightmare on Elm St.

The journey of turning the nightmare we bought on Elm St. into our dream home...

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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Quick update

Sorry I haven't posted in so long. This month has been super hectic. Aaron is changing jobs, and has August 15th through Sept. 6th off between the two. He's been working like a demon while I've been languishing at work. Thus far, he has:
-addressed all the rotten wood on the front porch (it was much more extensive that we had originally thought, we'll post on that later w/ pics).
-finished stripping the paint on the front porch (again, porch post later), filled holes, sanded, and caulked around cracks.
-primed most of the porch (still waiting on some trim pieces we had to have custom milled at the lumberyard)
-ripped off lattice under porch, determined that me + hammer = unsalvagable lattice frames, and begun work on new lattice frames for under the porch

He also set up the new saw I bought him last month, busted up a big concrete slab for the fence guys, oversaw the fence guys, oversaw the guys who finally repoured our sidewalk correctly, and rebuilt the rock wall in the front flower bed.

If he gets the trim completed around the porch, then we'll be able to finish priming and painting this weekend. And we went to the beach for a week. I'm very proud of him for not lounging and playing golf during this time.

So, our list this week/weekend looks like this-
-Finish porch trim
-Prime porch trim
-Paint porch
-Move furniture for floor refinishers

Sounds pretty doable, and should leave time for project planning, attending a wedding, and hopefully creating some detailed how-to porch repair blog posts!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Rotten column base

I had hoped to just post when we were done with this project, but things don't always work as you've planned. We've been stripping about 1/4" thick paint off our front porch all summer long. We have 1/2 of 1 large column left and about 85% of a porch post left. We've discovered that the base of the large column is very, very rotten. We need to replace just the base of the column, but we can't find any column bases that match the one on other side of the porch. Can anyone recommend a good source for column bases. We're considering replacing both of them if we have to, in order to get them to match. We'd also consider replacing them with something other than wood (provided that it's paintable) in order to avoid replacing them again down the line. Please comment with suggestions on mail order/website/anywhere in the DC area that we can go, etc. We have already tried Lowes, Home Depot, the Nonprofit Building Supply in town, and the architectural antique store in town- Edwards and Edwards, with no luck. The column is a traditional round porch column, 10" in diameter. Thanks!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Backyard (con't)

I forgot to include this picture to show why we're redoing the back fence- as you can see, it's a little wonky-

This picture is just random, I was so proud of myself for finding a way to reuse this old galvanized metal candle once it was burned up. I broke most of the candle wax out, spray painted it red to match the rest of the decor, and filled it with sand for an ashtray (we have many friends that smoke). I was shocked at how well it turned out for just a few minutes work-


The blackeyed susan's are blooming and the backyard is looking nice. I just wanted to share-

I finally found a little table for the back porch, and I sprayed our old Ikea wicker chairs-

This picture shows why we want to redo the porches, in addition to their instability, they are terribly mismatched with the other half of the house-

Bulk trash find

Here's the sewing table that we found the other night out with the trash! If you know anything about tables like this, please comment below or email me. I think that it looks really cool, and will be really neat when it's cleaned up.

Antique store finds

Here are our antique store purchases from last weekend-
The clock, which is actually still working and was carefully wound again last night-

The new sideboard, which looks great from a distance but has some veneer issues when you get up close- oh well, like I said before, it's just more character...

A salvaged stained glass window from England to dress up the kitchen- I need the light for the orchids, but I wanted a little more privacy from the neighbors. I'm telling myself that this is filling those needs, but it's really just pretty.

It's Picture Page!

As promised, here are some pictures of the basement in all it's new glory-
A long view of the wall

Closeup of the new sump pit, the exposed drainboard, and lookie- they tore up and repoured the ugly slab that the oil furnace used to sit on (I think).

Now, we're in the furious planning stages, as we have to wait 4-6 weeks to put up new walls. Sigh...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

This and that

Sorry that I've not posted pictures of the basement yet. We've been trying to avoid it since the concrete isn't cured yet and it is terribly dirty from all of the jackhammering. I will try to go down there tonight and get some pictures of our lovely new concrete, and our beautiful new sump pit. Isn't it funny the things that make a houseblogger happy?

In other news, it's bulk trash week, so the Mr. and I spent a lot of time yesterday driving around and casing the trash. This sounds like something out of Sanford and Son, but LOTS of our fellow townspeople do it (the streets were crowded with cars casing the piles), even our neighbors and friends. We bought a 1920's era sideboard at an antique store on Saturday (the price was right but the veneer is not in ideal condition- more "character" right?), so we set out the old desk, and an ugly picture that was replaced by a really cool 20th century (no additional markings) clock that we picked up from the same dealer. I kept telling the Mr. (who was very reluctant to purchase) that the clock looked like it went with the house and we HAD to have it. He finally relented, but then spent the next two days trying to get the clock to actually work. Some gears or something were stuck, but now it keeps good time and even chimes correctly. Anway, our neighbor was super excited to get both the old desk and the ugly picture, which made me happy. It's nice to know that someone is going to get good use out of the stuff that you don't want anymore, especially if it's someone that you know. We picked up a cool old sewing machine table from a house across the street and down a bit. I'll take pictures to show it's restoration to you. I don't know much about it, but the bottom is all wrought iron and it says "Davis" on one side. I hope to clean it up, replace the top and use it as a side table. We almost had a big stainless steel sink for the laundry room, but we didn't get back around the block to it in time! Oh well! There are always tonight's treasures to examine. We have noticed that, contrary to what we would have thought, the streets with the super-expensive homes don't throw much out. I even checked the alleys in case they throw trash back there, but nothing! Hmmmm... maybe they're just slower- have to get Jeeves to take it out to the curb or whatever...

We hadn't heard anything else from the floor refinishers, and it had been about 2 weeks, so I called this morning, and they have no record of ever meeting with us! (It's a good thing that I called.) Subsequently, we couldn't get the refinishing scheduled for the same week as our beach trip, but we are on the schedule for after Labor Day, which I guess will work out fine. The office manager was going on vacation until Friday, but she said that she'd mail the proposal on Friday or Monday and I should have it mid next week. Has anyone ever done this before? We're worried about the dogs being in the house with the smells from the refinishing fumes. We're thinking about just leaving them in the yard while the floors are being stained and sealed. Or should we board them at the kennel? Any advice would be appreciated.

We heard back from all the gutter people, and the first guy was the cheapest. He was right (he would know, I guess), it was more for the half round white aluminum gutters, but I really want to stay true to the architecture of the house, and I'm willing to pay the extra money. So, as soon as we find out from him how to schedule to get the trim painted between old gutters off and new gutters on, we'll schedule that. Fortunately, the hurricane-remnant torrential downpours have slacked off, so the gutters haven't been so much of a problem lately.

The highly recommended porch carpenter left us a voice mail that we should have his estimate today. I'm a little worried about the overall cost of this estimate, because he said that using pine instead of the mahogany that he recommended didn't make a big difference in the overall cost estimate, due to the extent of the job. Yikes! I'll know it's bad if my mailbox is shooting flames when I get home.

Last one- the highly recommended painter (he does great work- we're following the advice of watching the rehab down the street and talking to the people who seem to do good work) says that he can scrape and paint our windows for one price, but we'll have to do it every year, but for three times more, he could strip them with the heat gun and repaint them, and then we'd just have to paint them normally. My dad pointed out that we're to the point of new windows if we pay this much to save them, but I have no intention of ripping out our beautiful old windows and putting in vinyl replacement ones (dad thinks that I'm crazy, I think that he's crazy). What do you think? The good fix or the temp fix? I DO NOT want to strip the windows b/c I'm terrified that I will break the glass and I HATE stripping paint.

That's all for now! Pictures soon of things that I've promised.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Back from vacation... and back to the basement

We're back from visiting my dad in Canada and the waterproofers are here! More details this evening!