Thursday, November 29, 2007

Update on Kitchen Bump Out Idea

Just got back from the planning dept and running the kitchen bump-out idea past them. Surprise, surprise they didn't totally stomp all over it. They did say I could maximize my chances of getting it approved if I matched the outline of the existing bump-out (big shocker there). They also said that because its on a second floor that that will automatically trigger another major design review!!!! Yay!!!!! That means another ridiculous round of ridiculousness!!! And fee's!!!! Lots more fee's!! We are not planning on doing this anytime soon really I just wanted to get a feel from the city if I had an ice cubes chance in heck with the idea or not.

Here's the kicker, since our house is considered by the city to have significant historical value they are going to get the Alameda Architectural Preservation societies input into the project! That's going to suck....those guys are very, very particular about any changes being made to the Victorians of the island. I got the presidents name and number so I think I'll give him a call and see if I can sweet talk him into coming out to look at the house and giving me his input.

Another reason why I went down there was to put my contractors name on the permit as the GC. For some reason I thought it was required but the permit tech said it was not. I'm torn about this I don't want to be the GC as I believe that would make me responsible for everything that goes wrong. I'm paying Alameda Structural for that, I want them to be the GC and handle all this stuff. Is that crazy? Am I wrong about that?
Anywho, couldn't do it anyways as the contractor needs to be there to sign the forms.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Four Day Weekend And We Worked One Day!

No More Rats Nests--No More Rats Nests!!!
We know we've probably said this before but this time its for real!!! We got the last rats nest in the house today!!!!! Hurray!!!!! Yippee!!!! Huzzah!!!

Here's me preparing to do battle with the last nasty stinky, skanky, funky rats nest.
You see when we were researching the bump-out idea we looked more closely at our existing bump-out. When we peered up into the joist bays this is what we found!!

Yes its that lovely, lovely thing we here at Chez Neumansky call....a dirty, disgusting, nasty, stanky rats nest!! If you look closely you can just make out the form of a mummified rat.
All the joist bays in the bump-out were full of this kind of luvin. Don't know how we missed it before. This area in the family room was the last remaining bit of stank in the house and we couldn't figure out where it was coming we know.

Here's me sucking the luvin out of the joist bays.. the sound the vast amounts of rock hard rat poops made while being sucked up by the shop vac was not unlike a rainstik....ahhhh how relaxing...

Here's a nice clean shiny joist bay sans the nasty rat funk. This is before we doused the area with the oxidizing solution. We laid the solution on pretty thick and kinda stunk up the family room...sorry kitties!

Check this out. This is a big trash can mostly full with rats nest!! Yum, Yum Yum We're so glad that this part of the rehab is over.....yea right.

We also finally finished up the demo of the top floor!
Here's Irene going at the nails behind the bead-board in the old bathroom on the top floor.
We bought some 12" metal cutting demo blades for the the sawzall and boy did they come in handy here. We also bought some new batteries for the cordless tools and wow we think they lasted a lot longer than our old ones. We were trying a different technique of gently loosening the wood just enough to get the blade in behind it and cutting the nails from behind. We think that this way ended up being a lot faster than trying to do it all with cats-paws and we think it left the wood in better shape.

Here's Irene again attacking that bead-board. Let me tell you, whoever put that stuff up should be keel-hauled. They used framing nails to put it up!!!!
The bead-board used to cover all the walls and ceiling of the original bath-kitchen area. Actually some time in the past they plastered over the bead-board to make it look smooth!!! Then someone put up dry wall over that!! Yikes what a mess!!

Here's a shot of what used to be the bead-board ceiling. I had to lay on the floor to get this one....

We managed to save most of the wood paneling. Irene's tub here has the scrap in it. The wood was super dried out redwood so not splitting the tongues was hard. We're not sure where exactly in the new bath the bead-board will go but hopefully we will figure out someplace cool to make this work worthwhile.

So that's what we got accomplished on our one day of house work on a four day weekend. We both can't wait for the foundation work to start. We can now also call for an inspection for our demo permits, hmmm, I think we'll wait for the first foundation inspection and just kill two birds with one stone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Foundation Update

We've got a start date!!
So here's where we stand with the foundation. We've interviewed 4 top quality local foundation contractors and we've decided to go with George with Alameda Structural. We had a couple of disagreements with a couple of the terms in the contract but we had a very civil meeting about it today and have resolved our differences. We have a start date of Dec 5th!!!!!! George says it should take about 6 weeks to complete the job. We are a little bit nervous about having this work done during the rainiest part of the year but Alameda Structural has allayed our fears and we are going for it!

Man I hope I don't have a saga unfold like our peeps at casa decrepit. This job is going to be the single most expensive thing we've ever done to a house (besides buying it) by like an order of magnitude....

Wish us luck and good weather everyone!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another Crazy Kitchen Idea

I want a bigger kitchen!!

Well, not a humongous ridiculous palace type thing but it would be nice to have just a little more space for the dining table than we have now...

Here's the crazy idea I came up with today. What if we do a little bump-out in the kitchen as a dining nook? Then the table is out of the way and we have some elbow room in there. I think its a great idea but who knows if I can swing it by the Alameda planning dept...The nook would have a dropped ceiling of 8' compared to the kitchens 10' ceilings. I would be reusing the original windows in basically their original spots just pushed out 4'. I also don't lose any cabinet space over the original plan.

Here's an idea of what the nook would look like from the inside. This 'shot' was taken from the doorway from the kitchen. I like the way the cabinets flank the opening making the nook seem deeper than it is.

Here's a straight on shot of the nook. In this version its 4' deep. That's 1' deeper than the existing bump out in the family room. I don't have much hope that they will agree to that but maybe they'll offer 3' as a compromise?

Here's a bad rendering of how it might look from the outside. I like the added windows in the short sides also. Should make for a lot of light in the kitchen.
Can't figure out how to do the seperate roof over the bump out stupid 30 buck program!

Does it look too weird being a rectangular bump out next to an angled wall bump out? I can't figure out how to do a roof over the bump out but the idea is that it would be a low slope roof with a bit of a swoop to it to match the roofs on the existing dormers.
Here's what the outside of the house looks like now. We should be okay on setback because we have 9' on this side with a 5' setback so if I went out 4' I would be just at the setback.

One thing that worries me is the door and windows right underneath the proposed bump out area. They really didn't do headers back then.

This is a shot of the framing and header in the bump out area. The joists are full 2by 10's with a 10' span and they sit fully on the 4by6 top plate-thats a lot of bearing. I'm hoping that I can just bolt-glue some new 2by10s to these existing to do the 4' cantelever... I'm told that's a huge amount of over hang but I was planning on having an engineer do the actual calcs anyways. Maybe I can get away with a 3' cantelever if I use lvl's or something....
Here's the short engineering plan. Since we are doing a dropped ceiling in the nook we can use a beam and posts to span the opening with the load carried right thru to the foundation. Then sister on 2by10 somethings to get the required stiffness at 4' cantelever. This idea is kinda cool cause Irene and I can do everything ourselves, sistering the joists, building the walls, installing the windows, building the mini-roof. See this plan does not entail messing with the foundation or the existing roof!
Check out this cool hawk that was sitting on top of the telephone pole out front!!! I think it must of figured out that my neighbor has about 10 billion little tiny tasty birdies in their backyard (they have a ton of feeders and go thru like 10 pounds of feed a month)

Maybe for shits and giggles I'll run this plan by the planning-zoning desk next week just to see what kind of reaction I get.