Thursday, May 31, 2007

The bleeding walls of DOOM

One thing that's making scrubbing the walls a little extra interesting and creepy, is that in places where the glossy white paint has chipped off, the paint underneath is completely water soluble. I've never seen anything like it.. we've got green and we've got red, and if it gets the slightest bit wet it just comes right up.

I finally figured out that although scrubbing it with a brush makes a giant mess, it sticks pretty well to a sponge.. The sponge gets quite gorey and mostly disintegrates after a few minutes, but eventually the paint comes entirely up. It seems to be painted right on the plaster, so I'm concerned that it's some sort of sealant or protectant. Of course, running right off at the touch of a drop of water doesn't make for a very effective sealant.. so I'm more curious than worried.

Plus, it's a great horror scene mid-cleaning:

Here you can see some nice detail on the rat tracks at the top of the baseboard. And then the rat tracks tinged with red where their little dirty feet trailed through the red paint

My personal favorite.. nice and dramatic!

Clean enough to eat off?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Our Final Kitchen Plan???

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!!!!

So, we think we have figured out the 'final' plan for the kitchen. Why the rush you say? Well our good buddy Kevin who is buying our current house needed to know if he was getting the fridge with it and well we were not sure if we were going to have room for a 'normal' fridge in our long skinny kitchen. For a while there it looked like we were going to have to spring for one of those silly expensive counter depth fridges. But we blocked out the space this weekend and we have decided that yes we can live with a regular depth fridge in the spot shown in the diagram. The problem was the space between the fridge and the table and chairs. If we are having a dinner party with four guests the person sitting on the outside is going to have to scoot their chair in to let someone by. No big whoop I say and saving $4000 dollars is going to help us a lot. I'm trying to convince Irene that with the money we saved we can totally afford one of those cool built-in super-automatico espresso machines from miele...
With this version of the kitchen we get a real corner sink (sorry it looks so weird the $30 program I use to make these diagrams has its limits), and the dishwasher near the table. We moved the stove away from the sink 3.5' for plenty of counter space. We have a tall pantry cabinet on one side of the fridge which we like cause that's were we put all the recycling and the brooms and mops and stuff like that. We also have room for a reasonable sized prep sink along the countertop by the fridge. We put the microwave in the cabinet next to the fridge and we think it looks good there. Plus tons of counterspace-way more than we have now- three people can be chopping away and be near a sink and not get in each others way!!!!

Here's the view from the doorway to the kitchen. This time I turned on the windows so they don't look like gaping holes in the walls...Imagine these counters have beveled sides to match the dashed lines in the plan view. We are still not sure about the cabinets near the window on the far wall.
Here's the view from the far corner of the room. You can see the microwave and the the big cabinet over the fridge. We are not sure if the cabinets are going to be this tall all the way to the ceiling...notice the bowl of fruit on the table. Irene made me put that there. You can also see the cabinets over the stove. Not sure about those yet either...Irene thinks they look weird cause they don't match the window height.
This view is from the sidedoor. You can see the dishwasher and the corner sink and the cabinet over the sink where we are going to put our dishes. Too much cabinet you think???
This view is from the sink looking back at the room. I like this view and you can just see the corner of the pantry cabinet on the left.

Here's a slightly better view of the stove area and the cabinets over the stove. Lots of counter space near the stove and I think plenty of space between the stove and the sink.

That's all we have for now. We won't actually be starting on the kitchen remodel for at least a year. We have to do the foundation first, then the roof, then we are going to remodel the top floor of the house THEN we can start to think about doing the kitchen.
What do y'all think of the design we came up with? We will probably shoot this by a kitchen designer when we actually are going to get the cabinets made-hopefully by a local cabinet shop that does good work and that does not cost too much...know of any???

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Back to cleaning.. really, I mean it this time

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. We've been a little busy this month.. both of us traveling for work, putting on a benefit, getting our house ready to sell, x-raying injured backs.. We've got a month to get Chez Neumansky habitable, and get everything we own out of our old place.

So we're buckling down and getting back to work. Last time we tried to scrub the floors with a deck brush and had bucket after bucket of filthy water, we wondered if there was some tool that could result in floors that we might consider touching with bare feet, and hopefully take the back-breaking effort out of the process. Sure enough, a few minutes online and what did we find but a floor-scrubber?! It's right there in the name!

We rented one this morning and scrubbed all the floors on the main level of the house. Ideally, the scrubber would've sprayed cleaning solution and sucked up the dirty water.. but the one we got wasn't that fancy. We poured our bleach/vinegar solution on the floor, scrubbed it, and vacuumed up what was left. Then we took a pass with a mop with clean water. I'm not planning on tiptoeing around barefoot just yet, but it's much better!

I think it might be time to setup an account with the trash folks.. our recycling bin is getting pretty full!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

back to work

After a weekend off for a business meeting, and whole day off for a wedding (we slept in.. it was as great as I remembered sleep being!), today it was back to the cleaning.

Dan decided to take care of the stench in the room that had been used as a kitchen -- no amount of bleach/vinegar was going to help as long as the rats nest was still behind the wall.

This is an interior wall, so we're not sure why it was insulated, unless it was just to give the rats a cush life.. this is what all the joist bays have looked like ->
He filled 2 garbage bags full of rats nest.. and a couple rats

He also disturbed a nest of spiders that are much bigger than anything I want living with us.. They all got scooped out with the insulation and debris (I hope! at least that's what he told me..)

We have plans back from the engineer, but there are a few problems with them.. so we're still not ready to start on the foundation.

48 days 'till our first night there!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Our Master Bath Needs You!!!

Dang I must be bored out of my mind to do three blog posts in one night!!

Our master bath needs your help!! Its a weirdly shaped space and I really have no good idea on how to make use of it. The space is 17' wide and 6' deep. At the edges the knee wall is 3' 5" high and the roof is a 12/12 pitch. This is our first stab at a design and I am not happy with it. We gotta fit the clawfoot tub, a toilet, a decent sized vanity and the steam shower all up there in this weird space under the eves and I am stumped. No really, I'm stumped how we gonna fit all that stuff in there and have it be usable?

Here's the view if you were siting on the bench in the steam shower. I guess I like green tile? The toilet-vanity-tub are too close toghether and I don't know how to get more room.

Here's the view you would see if you were siting on the pot... There is 1' 7" inches between the toilet and the that enough?
There is a whopping 1' 6" between the tub and the vanity...that can't be enough can it?

As you can see Irene and I could really use your help. Got any ideas on how to best utilize this space? We would really love to hear them. If you have the winning design or we use part of your design a fabulous prize awaits you!!!!

Seriously Hellllllp!
George from the Old House List gave me this idea for a redo. I have to admit it works a lot better. The only thing is, the bath vanity is up against a window. Where do you put the mirror? The windows are non original so I would not feel bad about losing the middle mirror so we could have a nice vanity-mirror cabinet thing there...

Look Ma No Kitchen

Please help us design our new-old-fashiony kitchen!!!

Yes well two posts in one day, see what happens when I am left alone on a Friday night?-with no Sci-Fi to watch?

<--Here is a diagram of the room that is going to be our kitchen. Right now its just an empty room with a utility sink in a corner.

<- Here's one idea of how the kitchen could look. I call this the sinks and cabinets plan. I stuck as many wall and base cabinets in as I could. You'll also notice that I removed the door to the outside at the back of the kitchen.
The stove, table and frig are the actual sizes of ours so those have to stay-be made to fit in the room. I stuck all the extra sinks around because I'm not sure where to put the sink. I would like two sinks. One big one and one small prep sink. I think the big sink should go in the corner so it will be midway between the stove and the dishwasher. I think on the counter next to the frig would be a great place for the prep sink. I also think that the base cabinets near the entryway should have 45 deg sides to match the weird angled entry.

Here's what it would look like if you were standing in the corner of the kitchen looking back. That's a lot of cabinets I think....
Here's what it could look like if you were standing in the sidedoor to the sunroom.

Here's what it would look like if you were standing in the entryway to the kitchen.

Here's what it would look like if you were standing in front of the stove looking back at the room.

Now don't think that those will be the actual style of the cabinets I'm just mostly using them as place fillers to see how the space can be filled. We really want to get cabinets that look 'old fashiony' but we are not sure what that's going to be yet. The stove and frig sure are not old fashiony and I don't know what we can do about that.

Take a look at the plans before and after and please let us know what you think. We could really use some different ideas on how to fit all the stuff a modern kitchen needs-we have to fit the table too cause I don't believe in non-eat-in kitchens.

The Structure is The Thing pt 1

Dan here with my first post to the house blog. Today I met our foundation contractor Jim Duvall at the house with his Structural Engineer (SE) who is a Dan also... We talked about what we hope to do with the downstairs and I had him peek at the framing on the top floor to give me his opinion on what was structural or what was just there to hold up the lathe and plaster.
<-At first we talked about getting rid of this wacky beam and posts in the garage so we can get an actual size car in there...The beam appears to be there to mostly pick up the load of the stairway and not much else as there is a load bearing wall just past it that the rest of the joists in the garage bear on. The SE is going to work out how to pick the load up using the foundation under the stairs and then maybe re-inforcing the header over the doorway. Here's where I learned that you can't rush an SE when he's thinking...they get a little testy (just kidding Dan). Next we moved onto what we want to do with the rest of the downstairs. Before Pic here

Here's a pic of what we want the downstairs to look like. We will probably have a raised pad for the car-motorcycle parking and a giant art studio for us to make 'art' in. Can't call it a metal studio or we will have to make a 2hr fire wall between it and the rest of the house and well...we are told that its very difficult to do. In this version we have a small bathroom plus a guest bedroom on the same floor along with a utility area and a spiral stair case up to the second floor. This plan will require us to enclose the area under our sun porch to get the space for the staircase. Its the only place that we could figure out to put a staircase that would not screw up the flow of the rest of the house.-plus I've always wanted a spiral staircase.

The framing on the bottom floor is a bit odd...its 2by6's on 32" centers along the outside perimeter then its sorta on 24" centers along the center bearing wall. Its not balloon framed here there is a beefy 4by6 top-plate here. It looks like the upper two stories are then balloon framed on top of this 'platform'.

The center bearing wall is weirdly discontinous. Its broken up into three sections. Here's a shot of the back section.

Here's a shot of the front part with the much bigger offset.

Weird huh? I guess they did it this way to follow the upstairs walls and create a continous loadpath to the foundation. The wall from the door pictured forward all the way to the garage door is going to be removed and replaced with a beam.

Don't know if they thought about continous load paths back in the day though.

Here's the joist shot showing depth...
They are full 2by10's which is nice. I am impressed with the bottom floor framing. These joists are not overspaned at all. If you use a 50 live and 20 dead load these give a deflection of l/720!!!! That's awesome!! Course I have no idea if thats the right loadings for these joists with a story and a half above them...

Here's a shot showing that they floor joists are in fact 16"oc.

I am worried about the front stairs. Heres a shot from underneath. Does not look rotted or anything right?? According to the city permits we have these were rebuilt only a couple of years ago..

But then on the outside they look like this? They seem to be falling away from the house on the right side of this picture. I know Leroy kept newspapers piled up on these steps like waist high for years. I can imagine that they got wet and stayed wet and thats why the landing is rotting. But why are the steps collasping? Its a mystery. I'll have to get under there and look at them but the space under there is full of raccoon poop and I don't really feel like crawling around in it.

That's it for my first post I will do a second post on the structure of the top floor and the wacky framing that's gone on up there...

If someone could please tell me an non-aggravating way to add pictures to blog posts here at blogger I would greatly appreciated it. Formating these posts should not be hard-complicated but it sure is now...arrgh!!!!