Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mystery of the mysteriously mysterious window hardware

Hello All,
I'm hoping that someone can help us solve the mystery of our mysterious window hardware.

Here's a shot of the original window hardware we have on oh 2/3rds of our windows. We were hoping to be able to buy some replacement hardware so we can have latches that match-plus we think these are way more cool than the regular latches you see in the catalogs.

You see, the little round cap thing rotates on the turned rod. You pivot the rod into the catch and then rotate the cap down tight to lock the window in place.
Here's what it looks like when its locked down.
We have not seen anything like this in any of our fancy/expensive repro hardware catalogs. Heck, I even asked the folks at Restoration Hardware (I want one of those crazy bat lights-if you don't know what I'm talking about get their catalog) who had a nice booth at the pacific coast builders show if they had seen anything like it and they had not!?!??!!?!?! BTW I fiddled with all their stuff on display at the booth and it all felt very substantial and solid-seems to be good if its worth the money well.....

So If you've seen these latches before, knew who made them originally or know where we can get quality repros please let us know. The house was made by Marcuse-Remmel in 1897ish so maybe they had them custom made to set them apart from the crowd?

I just wanted to throw in a quick pic of the new bedroom door Irene put on. It blocks the morning light coming in from the windows in the kitchen and lets us sleep till 9am on Sundays!! Yay!!!!!
Yea its just a heavy curtain but it works. All the dang doors we got with the place and not a one that appears to be correct for this doorway? What the heck did the Leroy do with it?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

cross your fingers!

All the measuring and plans and rendering is done! at least for the moment..
This is Dan double-checking that he has all million and a half views that the planning office wants.

Off to pay scary amount of $$ and get the design review process started..

Edited to add:
It was touch and go for awhile there.. we did have to submit a few more things that we were told we wouldn't need (floor plans of the 3rd floor for a foundation permit?!), but they've been accepted! Now we get to wait a month before we find anything out.
Thanks for the good thoughts!

Monday, July 23, 2007

written from under a warm pile of clean laundry..

This weekend was spent getting through my "honey-do" list while Dan agonized over the house plans to submit everything we need to get our foundation permits.

First up was hooking up the washer and dryer!

The utility sink that was already in our kitchen has made things so much easier for us. Both the hot and cold water lines were already split with separate shut-offs! All I had to do was hook up the supply lines.. which leaked like sieves when I turned on the water approximately 5 minutes after the hardware store closed. One leaky line, maybe.. but 2 would be just my luck. Dan suggested putting a couple rubber washers in each so I could tighten them down more and that worked like a charm. Viola! no leaks!

Only thing left was leveling it and plugging it in.. take a look at how level that is, baby!

Moving along to the dryer..

Aside from the handy utility sink, the other reason we decided a temporary washer/dryer setup was worth the effort is that there was a gas stubout on the floor right next to the sink!
After tracing the line back to confirm it was actually connected, I shutoff the gas, locked the cats in the bathroom, and set to work figuring out what size adaptor I was going to need to get from the hardware store. Our sizable collection of random gas fittings came in super-handy, because we actually had one that fit both the stubout on the floor and the line on the dryer! I still went to pickup a shutoff valve, as the one we had was too small. (Have I mentioned today how awesome it is to have the best hardware store in the area 2 blocks away?!)

Here's the final setup:

After turning the gas back on I checked for leaks. For gas (or compressed air) lines, it's really simple to check for leaks: just brush a little soapy water over each of the connection points. If it bubbles up you've got a leak. No bubbles, no leaks.

I'll spare you pictures of the weeding and random other chores, but when a bird flew in the window while I was outside, making screens officially bumped up to the top of the list.

(The little bird buzzed Dan then flew up the empty chimney shaft to the top floor where the cats were trying desperately to get when I came in. It was knocking itself up against a closed window up there, but flew right out when I opened it. poor little guy)

I left the corner of the screen I made for the (above mentioned) kitchen window unfinished. This way I was able to run the dryer exhaust right out, and the screen holds it in place, and when the laundry moves downstairs after the foundation is done I can just finish up the corner without much effort.

Dan went into the planning office today with a pile of printouts to get some questions answered. Aside from a couple small tweaks, and wanting us to add in the neighbors houses onto our plans (requiring measuring of at least 3 backyards!) the plans are just about ready to submit!

My pile of warm clothes has cooled of.. time to put another load in :)

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Saga of the Shorty Showerhead

This was our showerhead. It's nice enough, it has fantastic water pressure, coming from a time when there was an endless water supply. But it was short. My dear husband had to either duck down to get underneath it, or stand way back against the wall. So we bought a nice little extender arm and a pretty new showerhead. What's easier than swapping out a showerhead?? not much, really.. but sometimes it's not as easy as it ought to be.

This is the ball joint at the end of the shower arm. Apparently, it was rather standard back in the day, but I'd never seen one before.
No problem, I said.. it's got a threaded fitting. Surely there is an adaptor for it.

This is the standard adaptor for the fitting. The picture clearly illustrates my typical experience with "one size fits all."

There was one other adaptor, but the threads on it were completely wrong. The nice man at the fantastic hardware store down the street told me to just swap out the shower arm. But I was nervous about doing that because it disappeared behind the wall so far that I couldn't see where it connected to the pipe. How could I see if the new joint leaked if I couldn't see the connection? He thought that made sense, so he gave me the number of a nearby plumbing place that he thought would have the fitting. They didn't have anything either. "Swap out the shower arm," they told me. "It's probably only half an inch back into the wall." When yet another plumbing store told me the same thing, I gave in and bought the $3 shower arm and decided to try my luck. Plus, I bought a cool strap wrench so I wouldn't scratch any of the shiny new chrome.

Here's the shiny new shower arm sticking out of the wall. It connects to the pipe 2.5" inches back inside the wall! But the whole bathroom is going to be redone anyway, so at the very worst we'd have a little more rot in the wall we're going to tear out anyway. Doesn't seem to be leaking though.. I put some teflon tape on to be sure, which is more than was there before.

Not a scratch on it!

Here's the new extender arm that crumpled while I was tightening it. That joint was like a sprinkler when I turned the water on.

The next one I used my cool new strap wrench on, and it went smashingly.

And here - drumroll, please - is the fully operational, husband-height, non-leaking, non-scratched, non-crumpled showerhead. You can shut the water off by turning the head, which I think is a much better way to save water than trying to clean off under a super-low-flow drippy showerhead!

You can see that I left the escutcheon off.. with the hanging shower caddy it always hung down anyway..

This just in.. apparently it's somewhat difficult to turn the water back on while your hands are all soapy.. but I don't think it's anything a washcloth couldn't fix.

So the saga ends.. next up, the washing machine!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Settling in, part II

The big push right now is getting plans submitted for the foundation work. The engineer's plans were finally close enough to being correct that we were able to submit them. After 4 versions of the plans he gave us North was still wrong! Dan just corrected it on the plans, which were accepted at the Building office. After 2 months to do what should have been 2 weeks' work, we really didn't want to go through another iteration!

Now we need to get a whole pile of stuff to the Planning office.. they need floorplans of all 3 levels, plus renderings of whole house now, and after the proposed work. Plus there are pictures of our house and our neighbors houses from several different perspectives. Then we get to wait about a month before we find out if it requires a major design review.

The problem is that in the back of the house, we're closing in a section under the sunroom for a stairway. Based on the foundation remnant, it used to be closed in, and the planning folk agree it probably was originally closed in.. but since it's not closed in now it's as if it never was.

So there has been much measuring, remeasuring, and fun with CAD (much less fun for Dan, who's the one doing the plans)

I've been setting things up and cleaning.. I'm pretty sure at this point I've cleaned the bathroom here more than our old house, which we lived in for more than 5 years!

You've already seen the kitchen, the other main rooms are similar.

This is the front room, with Dan stretching his back (note to anyone with a bad back: the simple stretch shown is the one thing that's provided relief from the excrutiating pain of 2 bulging discs)

For reference, this is the front room when we first saw it ->

And this is the Living Room.

Leroy had the kitchen in this room, and we were planning to use it as a temporary kitchen while we built our new kitchen in the original location at the back of the house. It was so gross though, that we kept tearing more and more out until the only thing left of the kitchen were the water and drain lines in the wall. Now, it's pretty close to what the final room will be like.

Here's the "before" shot ->

And this morning I stopped by the Title company with a copy of the Judge's Decree changing our name to Neumansky. This week we'll sign a new Deed and this really will be Chez Neumansky!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Settling in

I'm sorry for the delay in posting.. We hit the ground running getting things organized and setup as much as possible, and when we finally got our internet access up we were just too tired to write anything down. Plus, it was Dan's birthday, so we took a little time to have fun (movies, massages, good meals..) and we had a hearing to get a court order declaring that our last name is officially Neumansky! So.. getting back to the house..

Our cats seem to love this place as much as we do. They've been exploring every inch (which is why it all had to be scrubbed 5 times with bleach before they got here!), and have discovered the staircase. They haven't yet gotten curious about what's behind the door at the top of the stairs, but it's not so worrisome because Luna can't work any of the doorknobs here like she could at the old house. (It's sad actually.. her one really impressive trick and we took it away! She could open about half the doors at our old house - we had to lock them in order to keep her in!)

And we woke up the other morning to them frantically climbing up the window in the bedroom - cats attempting to climb on glass is not a sound easily tuned out. When I pulled back the curtain and saw what was going on I ran to get the camera.. It wasn't as perfect when I got back, but you can still make out their new little friend in the tree. When I first looked they were literally eye to eye! That squirrel won't be so smug when Luna figures out how to work the windows here!

We've gotten several rooms mostly setup.. I still need to take pictures of the rest of the house, but for now here's our little kitchen setup.

Once the foundation is done and we move the washer and dryer downstairs, we'll be putting things as close as possible to the position we've planned for the final kitchen layout. I'm really happy that we'll get a chance to live with the layout for awhile before getting cabinets and things built in. This way, if there's anything as annoying as the squeeze to get by the fridge at our old house, we can change it before it's permanent.

I'm also pleased that once I realized how handy our kitchen island.. I mean, fancy oven, is for storing pots and pans, that we have a couple shelves free to go grocery shopping!

We'll be hooking up the washer, and hopefully the dryer, soon. Although there's a gas stubout there, we're not sure if it's live, but there's already a tee on the water line to the sink. Since they're front-loaders, we'll still be able to use them to hold ourdishrack and handy camp stove.

For comparison, here's a little Before shot of the room.

As you can see, we put down some rugs. We've reached our goal of being able to get from the bed to the bathroom, the fridge, and the living room without needing shoes! The only thing that'll top that is when we don't need the rugs anymore :)

Here are a couple shots of the bathroom. You can see my beginner linoleum-laying skills.. Making the roll I had cover the whole floor left a couple ugly seams, but It's only got to last a year or 2, and after caulking all the edges and seams it's really not so bad. The chewed-up bottom of the walls, on the other hand, bug the hell out of me.. but being unafraid of being barefoot in the bathroom is, actually, priceless.

The tub and shower surround have been scrubbed at least 20 times and I don't think those rust stains are coming out. But we bought a new extender-bar showerhead (and an adapter to connect it to the weird old fitting), so soon Dan will be able to shower standing upright!

It's been really, strangely hot here for the last week, so in the middle of a particularly hot day we took a little trip to the (air-conditioned) home depot where all ceiling fans were 20% off.

The light in the living room was so disgusting I didn't even touch it during the cleaning phase.

We had bought a little cheap-o light to put up before we put a fan in, but between the heat and the sale, and the gift certificate wedding present that we found while packing, we couldn't hardly NOT go get a fan.

You can see Dan working on the wiring,

and here's my little assembly line for putting the blades together.

It's really a nice fan, and the first thing to go in here that's actually permanent! Plus, it does a good job of circulating the air.. which is important since we're still catching whiffs of not-so-pleasantness. We hope it's just because it's been so hot, but some areas that were smelling totally fine seem to be not so fine now.

That's about it for now.. we'll take more pictures this week and get back into a regular posting schedule.

Sunday, July 1, 2007


I just got out of the shower, and Dan's in there now. I'm amazed by that sentence. I just took a shower in our house.

The first time we saw this place, about 3 months ago, I dropped a pen on the floor.. I thought about it for a second, then reached into my bag and pulled out another pen. Now, I'm sitting on that floor (well, on the carpet we put down after scrubbing it 4 times) after showering in the bathroom.

And now for some leftover Thai, and pineapple upside down cake our neighbor brought over!

we live here!

It's official, we have waaaay too much crap, I mean, stuff. It took 3 truckloads (and that's after the shipping container we filled), but we're all moved in. I found the coffeepot in time for breakfast, and we bought a microwave on the way back from what I hope is our last run to the dump for awhile. The goal for the rest of the day is to clear some paths through the boxes, and organize a bit, and put down fresh linoleum in the bathroom. If there's any time left I want to try to lay down a path of rugs so we can get from bed to the bathroom without putting on shoes.

No pictures, unfortunately, because I'm posting from my phone. Internet access should be up Thursday.

We are already loving living here.. The light in the kitchen in the morning is fabulous, and in the living room in the evening is gorgeous. Plus, the Thai food we had for dinner last night was here in 15 minutes! And it was great!!

After 2 nights of 3 hours of sleep we finally got some rest last night. Which is good because we've got tons to do.. Speaking of which, time to get back to it.