Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Halloween Phase 3

Better late than never I guess....actually, I'm just avoiding doing more demo in the basement......

Halloween Phase 3!!!

Overall Shots

Yep, going from phase 2 to phase 3 is probably more subtle than most people would like. We finished the yard with another cemetery section. Used rebar and fake chain to rope off areas and to create a path. I'm sorry, for some reason we don't have an overhead shot looking down...We put out our two zombies and trashcan surprise along with the pro fogger we've had in storage.

Creepy Close Up Pics

Pumpkin Zombie
He was placed in the new part of the cemetery right next to the path. When he was activated he scared a lot of people.
Daddy Zombie
Daddy Zombie here was part of the secret surprise when you talked to Bob. We called it the the zombie family picnic with the daddy zombie and the baby zombie.

We added the scythe and now he's holding a flaming skull.  Its funny this was probably the easiest scene to do and it seemed to get the strongest reaction from people...go figure...

Peter Pumpkin

Here's a shot of our magic talking pumpkin Peter. He comes alive every Halloween time to talk to kids and tell them Halloween jokes. We borrowed a much, much better projector this year so Peter Pumpkin was much easier to see. He tells baaaaaaad Halloween jokes and the back story to the haunt. The younger kids seemed to like it. Though, really, I think they liked the munchkin sized hales to sit on the most....

Trash Can Trauma

When actuated via foot switch the lid violently jerks open, the head pops out and strobe light goes off and a voice says 'Boo!!!! Did I scare you??? Happy Halloween!! Ha, Ha, Ha!' This was placed right in the line for candy and we scared A LOT of kids with it. This was the first animated prop I made many, many years ago. Its been in storage since we moved to Alameda so we just had to bring it out...even though it might not really fit with the theme....

Bob is the face from the magic mirror in the Disney Snow White Movie. He is a digital puppet who can talk to the kids. Of course Bob was back this year. Slightly smaller than last year but still a big hit! I didn't realize how many fans Bob had....people kept coming up to us non-stop during the month to ask/check if Bob was going to be back this year.

Couple 'Arty' Shots

Next up, shots of the big night and hopefully some video!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

DeConstruction Day 2

Day two was mostly spent wrestling with the freaking kitchen counter top...

Of course I couldn't find the camera for in progress shots so here's a bunch of after shots...

Me and MPM worked on the kitchen cabinets and got the HEAVY granite counter top off with out destroying the big section I wanted to save.

The little cut up section around the sink was not so lucky.

All the kitchen cabinets

You know what's funny..these cabinets are soooo cheap that they are actually light! A big 36" wide base cabinet should not be easily carried with one hand....These are the shipped flat packed from china and assembled here and sold at the shady Chinese cabinet place type cabinets at their finest.

After the cabinets where out of the way it was time to bust up some drywall.

Bye bye kitchen wall

Look what we found in the wall.

I'm sure that was a quality bottle....

Couple things I noticed about the wall.
The sole plate looks new but its buried in the dirt.
That's not good.

I also noticed that there does not appear to be any earthquake shear walling in this area? Since the foundation redo was done with permits I was expecting to find shear walling here...

Peeking through the wall I noticed this odd sight.

That's like a siren that appears wired up still??? But it looks like its mounted to the wall underneath the exterior stairs? What could it of been for? Odd right?

Here you can see the gas and exhaust vent line.

At least here he used the correct type of venting. But he used black pipe instead of galv and its already starting to rust....

And then, a lot of hammering and drywall coming down.
MPM was on a roll!

Big pile O drywall

Guess its time to get a dumpster....cept I have no where to put it easily....

That's it for day two.

If anybody has a good technique for removing the ceiling drywall I'd love to hear it.
The PO put homosote and 5/8" drywall on the ceiling and the combo is making it very hard to knock holes in it with the framing hammers.

Next up, more drywall coming down!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

De-Construction Day 1

The first day of de-construction in the illegal basement units went pretty well I think.

First off, here's what $3000 in HVAC equipment looks like.

I thought it'd be a bigger pile no?

First I pulled up the carpets, which I'd never done before. It was easier than I'd imagined.

Don't love how they just put the carpet right on the cement floor. I have no idea what kind of under slab water management systems where put in place. I'd have to guess NONE! I'm hoping now that I've 'fixed' the downspouts that there will not be any problem.

Here's a shot that looks like there is some water seeping into the basement somewhere. Like that big crack in the floor too no? So far I have not seen a single expansion joint in the slab....but lots of cracks big enough to fit my pinky in.
The carpet and pad where not wet but we're just starting our rainy season.

The kitchen before the unbuilding.

After pulling off the little bit of crown molding running across the uppers I was able to unscrew them and take them down pretty easily....scary how it seems that the thing that was holding these cabinets to the wall was the paint...they missed the studs on a lot of the screws.

Speaking of Screwy.
The PO tried to hide the fact that this was supposed to be a working kitchen...he hid the cook top mechanicals.
Bad temporary patch

The cabinet above the cook top had a false back and bottom.
These holes were covered with panels.

The upper cabinets came down in like half an hour! This is easy I was thinking....

Uppers Gone

Next I went to the other kitchen and removed the upper cabinets there in much the same way.

Now you see em

Now you don't.

Of course unbuilding the lower cabinets is going to be a bit harder in this kitchen...
I've been using this kitchen as my electronics work bench through out the month of October....where am I going to put all this stuff???

I got all the uppers down in less than an hour and I was thinking...this is going to be EASY!....

Then I started looking at the base cabinets...
To unbuild the lowers you first have to remove the counter top, then unscrew them to each other then unscrew them from any sleepers....

I call this shot, 'I'm F'd'

That is a shot of the counter top mounting block. Theres one on each inside corner of each cabinet. What you are supposed to do is screw up through this to attach your countertop...see how that one isn't being used? None of them were....

Instead they did this

They screwed down through the plywood and into the cabinets...not one or two screws per cabinet like 8 per...making it basically fricken impossible to easily remove the counter top....

You see the super heavy-expensive granite countertop is glued to the plywood..

What I ended up doing was finding a spot where there was a gap between the plywood and the cabinet top and drove shims in there to give me enough space to slip a loooong sawzall blade in there.

Then I very, very slowly added more shims as I worked the sawzall slowly around the perimeter of the bank of cabinets cutting the screws as I went...

I only got about half way done on the first day...

So, all in all I think not a bad amount of work done on the first day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Final Permit Approved!!! Hurray!!!!..Oh, Wait...I'm totally boned...

Got the FINAL code enforcement permit approved recently....

Like how it is stamped in red across the top... 'Enforcement Action'
If you open the pic you can actually read all the fee's! There's the fee for this, and the fee for that and a fee for the other...not fines..definitely not fines...just fees.....
This is the permit to legalize the deck and the kitchen remodel in the main unit.

Here's the 'I'm totally boned' part...
They were going to give me only 3 months to do it!?!?!??! That means, that yes, during the worst weather possible I would have to be working OUTSIDE getting the deck fixed...I literally had to beg to get it extended for six months...

For Those Keeping Track
I have six months left on the demo permit for the two illegal bottom units...I also have a permit to legalize the two as a single 3-2...that permit is good for 3yrs....buuuuut..I basically have to get all the work done within the six months I have left on the demo permit....or risk further code enforcement action.

So, that's two separate permits that both are going to expire in 6 months...that if I don't get signed off the city could re-open the code enforcement case against us and re-levy all those fees (not fines) against us!!! Hurray!!!!

Annd we can't afford to have pros in to help so that means me and whatever unskilled labor we can get.....hurray!!!!!
Its a gonna be a busy six months around here...hope my back and health holds out....

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Leaky Garage Roof...Patched?

Okay, I got up on the roof yesterday morning and did my super awesome high end roof patch job....
After talking over options with several pros I came up with this half-assed repair idea. I would use this fancy roofing repair caulk to fill the holes where the shingles had cracked apart and use a piece of flashing metal to make a temporary metal cap shingle.

First off, gotta get up on the roof safely.
I love this ladder...I think some pros might think a ladder like this is 'gimmicky' but it's been super useful for us. We've used it as a straight ladder, a platform when we were grinding all those flooring nails down at Chez 2.0. Here it's being used as a nice roofing ladder (won't F up the gutter).
The Supplies
Yep, can't ya just tell that its going to be a 'high-quality' job? Before I went on the roof I used the clear packing tape on the underside to seal the holes that went all the way through.
Close-up of the fancy roofing Goop I used.
And then I just filled all the cracks with the goop....it cleans up and tools with mineral spirits...I probably should have brought some up on the roof with me to tool the caulk but I didn't...I THINK I forced the caulk down and got it where it needed to go...we'll see....we got a one day reprieve from the rain so I'll have to wait until tomorrow...
Exciting Montage of Cracked Roofing Shingles Filled With Goop.

Now for the super ghetto-fab metal cap shingle.
I ran a BIG bead of caulk around the area before laying the 'shingle' on it. Then I tried to nail through the caulk bead. Just in case I spooged a bit of caulk on to cover the nail heads.
Looks pretty sweet doesn't it?
Of course when I was all done and out of fancy goop I noticed this...
The cap shingles under where I had put my stuff are looking like they are about to go...dang...

Let's hope that it rains tomorrow and I get no leaks....
This roof is totally trashed and really, really needs to be replaced...let's just hope that we can band-aid it along for at least this rainy season....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Chez 2.0 Is For Sale!!!

That's right folks, Chez 2.0 is for sale!!!
Many, many folks have been emailing me saying...did you see that your old house is for sale??
I honestly have not been back to look at the place at all since we sold it.
But today I went by to take a look and of course take a few pics.

This pic might say it all...

My First Impression
I like the new paint job, it looks right for the house. The new roof looks good.
Like the light hanging in the porch area, though it looks a little low to me.
They planted sod just in the front area.. just exactly as much as would be needed to take this pic...
Looking through the window in the bump-out I can see that they opened up a doorway between the kitchen and what was our TV room.
It looks like they already have staging furniture in the lower unit.
It also looks like they just put a clear coat on the concrete floor down there...which is weird, as that floor had a ton of cracks in it?

Here's another shot from a different angle.

They didn't kill the black bamboo on the right, that's nice.
The pomegranate on the front left corner is actually looking pretty good.
What I REALLY did not like seeing is they had several of the solid wood original doors laying around like they were destined for the junk pile...so, super lame if they are going to junk them in favor of some plastic, hollow-core pre-hung POS.

I didn't walk onto the property to take a look at anything else.
The neighbor on one side says they rebuilt the deck twice as deep as the existing deck and removed one of the doors to the outside in the back of the house.

Holy Crap!!
I just checked the redfin page and they have pics!!! I have to admit after looking at the pics that the place looks pretty darn good...
I can't believe that they were able to bring the floors back!?!?! Man, they were totally trashed I thought...wow those floors look pretty great.
Kitchen looks a little...uh, sparse let's say....
No pics of the master bath...
The bottom floor looks good with the stained concrete.

1310 Pacific Ave Alameda CA is no longer a MadMadScientist production.
People need to remember this when looking at the house. There is much, much more of the new owners in the house than us.

By my count the new owners had to.
  1. Do a complete roof tear off and rebuild much of the roof framing before sheathing and reroofing.
  2. Do a complete water supply re-piping.
  3. Bring heat to the top floor somehow...I'm dying to know if they actually extended the warm water radiant heat to the top floor....
  4. Gut and rebuild the main kitchen plus two other 'sorta kitchens'.
  5. Build three new full baths.
  6. Run the branch circuits on the top and bottom floors.
  7. Rebuild the rear deck.
  8. Insulate, weatherize drywall, paint, trim, all the finishes.
That's a lot of work not done by us.

Wow, it only took them 4 months!!
I'm pretty shocked at this...from the admittedly rough shape the house was in to this in four months...wow...I'm honestly wondering how you do that aggressive schedule and do decent quality work??? At least if someone would have bought it with the 203k program, it looks like it probably would've been possible to get it done in six months.

Tri-plex, Duplex, what-plex?
The house is being advertised as a single family residence, that's also a triplex??? I know why they are doing this..because its easier to sell and appraise a SFR than it is a tri-plex.  Problem is, is that it IS legally a tri-plex. Won't the appraiser and bank kinda insist on it being treated as such? Especially nowadays with super-strict loan rules?

The Price
Well, they have it listed at $725k....I don't honestly know how realistic that is...I know that the house is legally a 2702 sq ft 4-3 (because I did the work to make it so) so it's actually a pretty big place by Alameda standards, and is probably legally the biggest house in that neighborhood....I just don't know...seems a bit aggressive to me...

Potential Buyers of Chez 2.0
You can email me any questions about the house at the link on my profile page.

I hope they do an open house this weekend so we can walk through it and I will do an official review of the place....

What's Funny
If you type in the address of Chez 2.0 1310 Pacific Ave the second hit in Google is my joke review of the house...wonder how long it will be till the present owners try to force me to take it down???

The Upside?
Mrs. MadMadScientist had a good point. Now that its 'all done' all the people who thought that we were bug-nuts crazy for buying the place can finally see what we saw in it. To that also I'd like to ad that all the folks who walked through the place when we were trying to sell it and could only see what was wrong with it....now they can finally see it....cept its now going to cost them $225k more!

Would love to hear folks thoughts on Chez 2.0 in the comments.

Just read the super awesome-amazing local paper....the house is open this weekend.
Weird hours though. Sat 12-2 and Sun 3-5.
C'mon everybody lets go!!!
Would love to hear peoples thoughts after they tour the house.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Leaky Garage Roof...gotta fix it ASAP

Got a day to fix a roof!!!
It's supposed to rain tomorrow.

Having never ever in my life ever really thought about roofing, I've not got a day and a half to stop our garage roof from leaking.

First, I had to determine where exactly it was leaking from. From inside the garage I closed the doors and went looking for sunlight showing through the underside of the roof....well, I found it. There appear to be three main spots where the roof is leaking, though having been up there and seen the condition of the roof I'm surprised it's not leaking in many more places. I stuck yellow pipe cleaners up through the holes so I could see them from above.

One of the main leaks and most light showing is this disintegrated cap shingle.
I don't think that there is a lot of water coming in through here but it has the most light.

From underneath

Doesn't it look all spooky with the real spiderwebs?

I found two other leaks, interestingly enough, where the roof sheathing has a joint.

I believe these leaks are where most of the water is coming in. It gets through the shingles and runs down the underside of the roof where it drips off in various places. See that horizontal crack in all those shingles? That coincides with the roof sheathing joint...coincidence? Those shingles are cracked totally in half and you can see right through into the garage...

Underside view

This, I believe, is the main leaking spot. Look at that fungus damaged sheathing...it's pretty spongy...as in, I don't think it'll take a nail...

Other Side

This leak looks more recent and the sheathing is still pretty solid.

The Plan:
I don't have one. Help...I need to stop this roof from leaking and have the patch hold through this wet season and probably one other...

I've been looking at the roofing isle in Home Despot and hey, you can buy shingles in singles! But you can not buy cap shingles that way...?

I guess my plan is to attach some solid plywood to the underside of the rotted out stuff and then use REALLY long nails to attach the shingles to the roof? How do I do that correctly?

The cap shingle...how do I plug that hole if I can't get a cap shingle to replace the rotted out one?

Any useful advice would be greatly appreciated.