Posts tagged ‘rehabbing houses’

March 2, 2016

A Labor of Love aka ‘We can’t let shit go.’

Dealing with all the flooding caused by the City demolishing the house behind Hallie (the duplex we bought from the Landbank in Sept of 2013) had worn us out. I stopped posting about it because it seemed rather hopeless honestly. The more days that past, the more the hard work we had completed was getting ruined. The Land Bank stated we had to prove that they caused the damage and so with that and the fiery motivation that drives me, I set off to jump through some hoops.

After estimates, inspections, our insurance refusing to cover the damage (it was part of the process that was required) and SO MUCH PAPERWORK, we finally met with the City Attorney’s office in May of 2015. It was awkward coming face to face with the Head of the Land Bank, the villain of our story. He kind of reminded me of John Ritter from Three’s Company minus the humor , obviously due to the seriousness of the situation. Both Joel and I agreed though, it was hard to dislike the guy.

I had never felt so much like an adult as I did that day, spouting facts with a cool calmness while assuring the City Attorney that the building could still be saved once the water drained. It was exhilarating and completely freaky all rolled into one. In the end, an agreement was reached.

It was about a month before we received the deed to the adjoining parcel of land where the demolished house had backed up to the yard of the duplex. It was another month before a crew could come out dig up the yard and replace the pipes which did ultimately join the two properties. Another month, for all the water to drain out of the basement and for the house to dry out. Another month after that, dealing with all the electrical getting approved. You get the idea, a lot of time had to go by before it could be worked on again.

I cannot emphasize enough how much Joel completely busted his ass on the upstairs unit. I worked on it here and there, but mostly kept Cam from getting into everything. We did have some help for several weeks, when Joel’s friend, Geoff was in town and was looking to make a little extra money during his stay. (Shout out to you, Geoff!! I was glad I wasn’t helping carry out an original, extremely heavy clawfoot tub!) Our neighbor, Tim was also cool and helped Joel carry in the appliances. (Unfortunately, the new fridge didn’t work and I was helping carry the new one out and a replacement back in.) #agony

Without further ado, here’s the completed 2 bedroom, 1 bath upstairs unit of Hallie.

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March 17, 2014

Dresden : Week 8 Bring on the green!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Thought it would be great timing to post about our next room we completed, The Green Room.
Joel has been told before by people that he is very lucky. Lucky to know what he does, to be able to do what he does, to get the jobs he does. It’s a little bit irritating, because it’s not luck at all. It’s hard work. He may have a knack for learning the mechanicals inside a furnace or a car or heck, even my printer. He’s good at figuring out how things work. It takes practice and making mistakes and lots of labor. It doesn’t involve luck.

As a matter of fact, the opposite could be said. After Joel replaced the toilet in the upstairs bathroom (because the renters actually cracked the tank and broke the wax seal (that prevents sewer water from leaking when you flush) it was discovered that we need to do more to the green room than just replace 2 windows and paint. When the tenant got her water turned off from not paying her bill, the pipes froze and they busted inside the ceiling. We found this out after some tests flushes upstairs. With water leaking everywhere, we had to tear out part of the ceiling to find the problem. Word of Advice: it’s good to pay your utilities. Another fun tip, if the temps are going to hit freezing, leave your faucets on, just dripping a wee bit and it prevents the pipes from freezing up and bursting.

Celiing torn out in green room copy

If you look the pipes closely, the 2 greys ends are what is supposed to be connected together.

Pipes burst in ceiling copy

So not only what there this issue, but quite a bit of the wall had to be scraped and patched to remove all the peeling.

Green room patched up copy

Then comes the REALLY unenjoyable part. The sanding. The dust gets everywhere.

Me from sanding the green room copy

AFTER priming and painting, here’s the ceiling where the hole was. Not too shabby.

ceiling pic copy

Here’s the completed room with the floor refinished. So sharp! We super love the new, brighter green! Most definitely a color we will use again!

Green room color copy

March 6, 2014

Dresden : Weeks 6 & 7

I think it’s safe to say that everyone who reads this knows that we had to stop working on Hallie a bit to take care of business at Dresden. (So I may as well take it out of the title!) We have been very fortunate to be able to be granted an extension of an additional 3 months to work on Hallie after Dresden is completed. (So collective HUGE sigh of relief there!) We’ve been busy at work at Dresden as we have a potential renter lined up for April 1st move in. (Let’s hope it doesn’t turn in to an April Fool’s joke!)

Without further ado, here’s what new with Dresden over the last couple weeks.

When the weather was nice (you know that one day!)
Joel worked on framing in the outside portion of the newly installed windows. You can see on this side of the house 4 out of the 5 are completed. It is a such an enormous improvement!

Outside side photo show mostly finished windows copy

Another large undertaking for Joel was running 150 ft. of new water pipes in the basement.

Joel working on pipes in basement copy

water tank line pipes copyWasher hot and cold hook up copy

While they look a bit messy with drips, it actually is helpful during inspection, so the inspector is able to verify that the correct adhesives were used in the process.

Here’s a project I worked on. This hallway was pretty disgusting!
BEFORE

Hallway before lightswitch

hallway before floor to kitchen copy

Hallway closet door copy

Hallway before by bathroom copy

AFTER
Lots of scrubbing, painting (even down the basement hall), a new light fixture and new door.
Prepare to be dazzled! (At least we are!)

Hallway lightswitch copy

Hallway bathroom view copy

Hallway closed basement door copy

Stairwell to basement copy

We have a bunch more projects that we have been working diligently on (and are super proud of!) Hopefully we can get them wrapped up to show you all next week!
Thanks for viewing. 🙂 erin

February 19, 2014

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 19 : Interrupted – Dresden Week 5.

So I was supposed to post this last week, but the all the editing was daunting and I just didn’t get to it.
We worked on the master bedroom for several weeks. At roughly 600 sq. ft., it’s A LOT. The master bath is adjoining with another 125 sq. ft. (but we didn’t get to that yet.)

A RUNDOWN OF TASKS: (after removing the trash!)

1.) Completely replaced 4 windows.
(Ripped out old, built new framework, put in new, added drywall where needed, mudded, sanded, put trim back up.
2.) Texturized the ceiling
3.) New light fixtures
4.) Patched and painted. 3 gallons of just the blue paint.
5.) Completely redid corner beading that was shredded.
6.) Painted the ceiling
7.) Painted and reattached the banister that had been ripped down.

Now a mini story in pictures of what we accomplished.

BEFORE:
Original shot of 2 far windows copy

GETTING STARTED:
Joel ripping out old windows upstairs copy

PATCHED UP:
Windows in with drywall, patched copy

TA-DA!
Finished side windows copy

front wall first window put in copy

BEFORE:
Trash filled cubby over by bathroom wall copy

THIS ENCOMPASSES THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE ROOM:
Arden painted wall copy

Wall by bathroom copy

built in Dresser copy

Far window by stairs and dresser copy

Stairway copy

JUST A REFRESHER OF THE CORNER BEAD BEFORE:

Corner bead demolished before copy

AFTER:

corner I put up corner bead copy

As you can see, we need to get our mess cleaned up and sand the floors, BUT it’s made HUGE progress!

February 7, 2014

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 17 & 18 : Interrupted – Dresden Week 3 & 4.

Hello again, friends!
All 3 of us have been butt-dragging sick this week. I’m excited to start being able to breath again and Joel is excited I’ve stopped snoring. It hasn’t been so terrible that Arden has been having snow days from school, because she definitely needs the rest.
Last week alone, Joel put in 37 hours of overtime. Needless to say, we are hoping to see an end to this extreme weather we’ve been having. We certainly could use some help getting our mountain of work completed and fingers crossed we get some relief soon.

There’s what we’ve worked on the past couple weeks.

THE GRAY ROOM
We started with a bedroom downstairs. The photos aren’t the greatest because I end up forgetting my good camera and just use my phone. Still the transformation is noticeable. Here’s before photos. Filth, excessive scribbles and chunks missing, all over the walls.

DSC_0045 (1) copy

Grey room dirty 2 before copy

After cleaning up a bit, patching, painted and new blinds:

Grey room repainted copy

Between that and the floor getting ripped out, it’s was nice to finally have a room that doesn’t stink anymore.

NEXT: The UPSTAIRS BEDROOM
It’s quite spacious, which is nice to live in, but means a lot of work too. We worked on texturing the entire upstairs ceiling, not because I don’t like a smooth ceiling, but it hides imperfections. Then lots of patch work. Next Joel’s been working on replacing windows. Shown here painting outside trim. Do not try this maneuver at home, it causes incredible back pain.

Joel hanging out window to paint copy

One of the projects I’ve been working on is repairing the excessively damaged corner beading. Seen here, it’s ripped to shreds hanging out of the wall.

Corner bead demolished before copy

If you aren’t familiar with the process, after drywall goes up to give nice, crisp corners, special strips of paper with metal are put in place with drywall mud. Cover that with several more layers of mud, so it looks something like this when dried. Even though it’s super sloppy, it requires a certain level of precision. Put on too much and it takes forever to dry and causes cracks. Put on too little and you risk the drywall/metal corners being exposed after it all gets sanded down.

Corner bead with layers of mud copy

Here’s the wall after sanding. It’s important to get every blemish as smooth as possible, because what gets missed shows up when painted.

Corner bead after mud is sanded copy

We’ve also been working on painting, but I will save that for next week. Hopefully we’ll have the upstairs completed by then.

January 24, 2014

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 16 : Interrupted – Dresden Week 2.

Remember that day a week or so ago, when the weather was 40 degrees and that seemed balmy?
Well I took advantage of it, doing some much-needed outside maintenance over at Dresden.
The house is covered in yellow siding, which is unfortunate. I am not a fan of vinyl siding.
I feel like it lacks character, has a conformist attitude and this particular color fades really badly.
I also understand that it hides major flaws easily and cheaply, which is why it’s so popular.
(Joel had big plans for it before I came along, so it’s not like he liked it either.)

This particular color shows dirt something terrible. Not to mention it is positioned under a very tall tree,
which is awesome for shade purposes, but also has a nasty mossy/mold habit of growing on the house. Until Joel is able to replace all the pipes,
we have no water, so power washing is a bit out of the question. I’d also LOVE to get this place painted, so it looks a little more modern, but with sub degree temps, that also isn’t happening any time soon. I needed to work with what I could to make the place a bit more presentable, because honestly, it depressed the hell out of me every time we drove up.

On that particular day, I filled up several 5 gallon buckets of hot water from our house and drove a few blocks over to clean up the outside of Dresden.
The porch was really filthy and I had to scrub it good to remove the grime from out of the grooves.

Front of Dreseden filthy copy

And here’s after:
It’s not a jaw dropping transformation, but it helps.

Front of Dresden scrubbed copy

You may have also noticed the new front door Joel put in. The last one had it’s share of abuse and the decorative windows had (of course!) been broken out.
This one came primed and we aren’t sure of a paint color as of yet, but it looks tremendously better.

My next task was to drag out the ladder and scrub the awning. This thing is a disaster.

Awning dirty copy

It REALLY needs a good power washing, but in the meantime, I scrubbed what I could reach (and fortunately, what is visible.)

Here’s the dramatic difference! The left is scrubbed and the right is not.

Awning difference half cleaned copy

Joel also replaced several of the windows so far. The renter left cracks in most of them, so we are updating them with new. This process is a bit of a pain, as the windows aren’t the same size as the standard windows say carried by Lowe’s currently. To get them custom, they would be on order for a month and cost more. So unfortunately this really adds time to each install as Joel has to get it as close as possible, but build a frame for each window to sit into. It’s sucky, but he does a great job making it look good.

Removed old window copy

Installing new kitchen window copy

Here’s the new kitchen window after being painted.

replaced front window copy

After the awning, I trimmed bushes, raked leaves and cut back the branches that line the property to the right.
All in all, a big improvement!

Front of Dresden 005 copy

January 9, 2014

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 14 : Mimi comes to visit!

When Arden was small, she began calling Amy, my long-time friend of 20 years, ‘Mimi’ when she could first talk.
We go way back and have been friends since we were teens, working together at McDonald’s.
This week was very exciting because Amy drove up from Alabama, stopping off to visit us before heading to parent’s house near Cleveland.
Having once lived in Columbus too, (we both moved here in ’99, within a couple weeks of each other for completely unrelated reasons!) Joel and I are always petitioning her to move back. But you know there is that pesky business of having to get a new job and sell a house among other things.
I am forever optimistic though!

As a Hallie first, Amy awesomely went to work with us, ripping up floorboards in the upstairs bedroom.

Pile of wood copy

Pulling out nails is a tedious job, especially having to work by flashlight!

Amy pulling nails copy

Here’s the other bedroom I had already ripped up the boards in and then worked on pulling out nails.

Bedroom floor I ripped up and pulled nails out of copy

Under the painted thin hardwood of the upstairs, lies beautiful, golden brown original hardwood. Yes, it is scuffed and scratched, but none of the upstairs suffered water damage from the burst pipes. So fortunately, instead of having to completely replace everything like the first floor, we can instead just sand, stain and poly. It will save so much money and I can’t wait to see how amazing it will turn out.

The wood underneath copy

Meanwhile, Joel was laying cement board in the bathroom, so the tiling can begin.

Joel laying cement board copy

On Sunday, we waved goodbye to Amy and headed off to do more work at Hallie. It wasn’t all bad, since we enjoyed gloriously warm weather. It is always so much easier to work with the sun shining and not having to be bundled up to our noses. I worked on tiling while Joel was up on the roof doing some much needed repairs.

tile in shower upstairs copy

The day before, Arden was told by Amy that she shouldn’t help (because she was dropped off by her dad from a family holiday get together. She was still all dressed up and I forgot to bring her a change of clothing.) So the next day, Arden took it as a personal challenge that she too, could pull out nails.
And by golly, that’s what she did.

Arden bent over pulling nails copy

At first I would hear her in the bedroom grunting and groaning, followed by the sound of nails straining as they were ripped from the floor. It sounds super funny when you hear it , knowing it is such a little kid. After working awhile by herself, she came in the bathroom to show off her pile of nails. Honestly, I was impressed. I would have never guessed that she would have the arm strength to pull them out. Clearly, I had forgotten that she is indeed my girl, because stubbornness wins out.

Arden holds nail copy

I told her she could have 2 pieces of candy for her efforts, thinking she would be pleased and be done. After we came back from dropping off a load of trash and getting lunch, she went right back at it though. Seeing that I found her work valuable, we negotiated that she could earn 1 piece of candy for every 33 nails she pulled. That spunky kid went on to pull out an additional 139 more nails. When she declared that her back hurt and she was going to stop and go play, I couldn’t have been prouder.

arden standing sassy copy

January 8, 2014

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 13

Well folks, this is no baby-is-on-the-way post, but I’m a bit behind on Hallie updates and have to play a little catch-up. This particular bit of work took place about the 3rd week of December. Previously, the old tub had been moved out and top layer of flooring got ripped up.

After that, Joel took up a bunch of the hardwood so that all new water pipes and electrical could be installed.

torn up bathroom pipes in floor copy

Here, all the pipes go up the wall for the shower. It’s crazy all the ground work that has to be laid before just putting in a new tub.

wall torn up, pipes put in copy

Once that was all taken care of, the boards went back over and the new tub was put in and we built a wall.

upstairs tub in and wall built copy

I am normally not of fan of making a small space even tinier or blocking out natural light. However, Joel in his infinite wisdom, pointed out that if we don’t frame off the shower, then residents will get water all over the wall, window and floor. You know it’s true. People do some crazy things when it’s not their property. So in an attempt to avoid that sort of damage, up went the wall. It is actually rather easy to built one. A bunch of 2 x 4’s, some drywall and nails and baby, you got yourself a stew! (Sorry, I was feeling a little Carl Weathers from Arrested Development there!)

Anyway, it is not a complete loss of light. It may darken this room a bit, but as you can see by the photo below, the upstairs gets plenty of glorious light. We’ve driven up before and the afternoon sun was casting it’s brilliant rays so dazzlingly inside, it appeared to have all the lights on upstairs. (Which is impossible, because there is no electricity yet.)

bright hall view of hallie copy

To finish up this week, drywall was put up over the holes and the walls were patched.
Not very exciting stuff, but it needs done.

drywall over tub faucet copy

Next post: Mimi comes to visit!!

December 31, 2013

Things that are *HAPPY* about : 2013

This adult life is not what I anticipated. I’m pretty sure there was supposed to be way more going to the beach, fun and frolic. I imagined my life as a well-framed music video, where all my friends came over for parties and we danced around with glitter, loud music and fun. (Sort of similar to “Tonight’s Going to be a Good Night” by the Black-Eyed Peas.) But oddly enough, it is not that way at all. First off, glitter is messy as shit and terrible to clean up. Secondly, I really dislike loud, crowded parties. (Joel, Arden and I do turn up the music pretty often and have dance parties and THAT is pretty awesome.) Third, real life is rather mundane and dull. And hard. IT’S REALLY HARD. It’s been challenging for not only us, but for seemingly everyone I know. The only thing that keeps me for losing my shit is making an effort to focus on what good things have happened. Because seriously, it sounds like we could all use a break. So have a drink and throw some glitter. (Possibly outside.)

Here’s my happy list of 2013:

1.) Christmas came early to Hallie.
We have these friends, Jeff & Averel. They were technically Joel’s friends, but once we we became a couple, we combined all our stuff, so they are my friends now too. They were cleaning out their basement and offered us a (brand new /still in the box) pedestal sink and toilet. They are awesome and we are extremely grateful for their charitable donation. It was quite timely, since we were just starting the upstairs bathroom and the existing toilet had cracked when Joel was removing it. Once they are up and in place I will post pictures. (Hi guys! & THANK YOU!)

2.) My Aunt Sue and Uncle Mark gave me a really awesome gift this year.
They were cleaning out my grandma’s house and found some of my toys from my childhood.
I will probably write a separate post about this, but for now, I am VERY appreciative to them.

erins little kid toys copy

3.) My kid.
‘Cause she’s ridiculous and amazing and makes me laugh all.the.time. I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around being a mom. In my mind, moms are old and I don’t see myself that way, so it’s just weird. This year she started kindergarten, talks too much (and gets in trouble for it at school.) She has also learned to read, add & subtract. I know most kindergarteners do now-a-days, but I’m still impressed. I love hearing her sound out words and read books aloud. So big thumbs up to you kid and your awesome teacher, Mrs. Cousino for dealing with a entire room of crazy kids all.day.long.

Arden school photo brightened cropped to 5 x 7 copy

4.) My husband, Joel.
He is ridiculous and amazing and also incredibly skilled. Without him, the rehabilitation of Hallie would not be possible. Or most of the things that have been repaired at our house or my car or the many other people who he fixes things for OR the people he teaches how to fix things. We work really well together as a team (and I have never liked being on teams previously.) You are the best person I know and I still am baffled how I snagged you for my own.

Joel up on ladder copy

5.) Me, writing this blog.
I only have about 70 readers, which is not much by blog standardards. Most of you are my friends and family, but for all of you, I am thankful that you choose to follow along and read about our projects and our lives. In previous times when I wrote, I usually managed a post a month, if lucky. I took a little break around Christmas, because there is always so much going on. Since giving it another try at the end of August, when Arden started school, I have written 32 post (including today’s.) Again, not a lot by blog standards, but I don’t do it for a living and the important part is that I have proudly stuck with it. It’s been a goal of mine to keep up with writing. I’m excited that, even though it’s time consuming and I don’t always feel like it, this year I have made that happen.

6.) The time I get to spend with Arden.
It’s not quite as much anymore. But I am thankful for the time we sit in the school parking lot and talk about her day. And I’m thankful for unexpected snow days, we she is home with me and we do fun little projects like make this snow flake bunting.

snowflake bunting in livingroom copy

7.) Hallie-the-Duplex
The seemingly, never-ending project. You have come a long way, with still SO FAR to go. It is inspiring to see what just mainly 2 people can accomplish together, but a lot of times, I’m pretty sure we are just plain crazy. I can’t wait till you are completed so we can go on vacation. 🙂

8.) My best friend, Amy, gave me this awesome ornament.
Thanks for stopping along the way on your travels to visit. It is sweet and thoughtful and I love it.

snowmen ornament from Amy copy

9.) And in case you didn’t catch it on the photo above, our family is expanding by 1.
We are expecting a child this Summer. Joel is beyond thrilled. Arden can’t wait to be a big sister. Me, I’m like ‘Oh shit!’
So now you know why my butt has been dragging the past couple weeks and why Hallie projects aren’t moving along as fast.
Baby Stead is sucking my energy level and REALLY likes meat. Last night, for example, I made dinner. Fish, baked potato and salad. A half hour later, I was starving. Needed more protein. If I eat a bowl of cereal I need a side of bacon. It’s sad, yet also delicious.

joel erin arden and baby copy

So that concludes my list. I’m sure I am missing things, but I need to wrap this up and run to the grocery store.
I wish you all a safe and happy NEW YEAR’s EVE! I am hoping that we all get a bright and glittery 2014!

December 13, 2013

Hallie-the-Duplex : Week 12

This week has been a slow one, Friends. I was sick, now Joel’s sick. (This has not been a good year for sickness in our household with Arden starting Kindergarten!) So needless to say not a whole lot has been worked on over at Hallie. Our spirits rose briefly when Joel’s family from Michigan was planning to pay us a visit AND volunteer services for this weekend. Remaining floor removal full steam ahead! (Yay!) But unfortunately are now unable to make it. (Boo!) Hopefully, we (mainly me) are able to rally some energy to get A LOT work done to show you for next week.

About 3/4 of the flooring is torn up on the first floor. I have to say it does nothing to add warmth to the place. While my awesomely-scored-for-free kerosene heater kicked butt while we were sectioned off in the bathroom & bedroom, working in the main areas is another story. Cold seeps up through the sub-floor from the basement and with four open rooms it is way too much to try to heat, which sort of makes it unpleasant to work. You can work up a good sweat if you partake in tearing up the floor, which not only gets a person really dirty, but also makes you feel pain in places you didn’t know existed previously. Not immediately. At first I just felt awesomely strong for doing this task, but later there was a definite possibility I might die and not be able to get off the couch.

close up of floor copy

I had mistakenly tricked myself into thinking that after the boards were all ripped up that the new floor could go down. (Which actually won’t happen until all the walls are repaired and painted.) Instead a million nails still have to be removed. You may feel that I am exaggerating, but one look at this photo (of just the living room) and they do seem to go on forever. So that’s fun.

large floor copy

Let’s take a gander of the upstairs bathroom. Smaller than the first one, but equally as ugly.
The original wooden flooring here is actually in rather nice condition (probably because it was covered up.) Much to my heavy heart’s dismay, we cannot keep it because as Joel pointed out, someone will inevitably overflow the toilet (probably more than once) and it will get ruined. So tiling it is.

upstirs bath copy

The one hidden gem of this bathroom is it’s clawfoot tub. It’s original to the house and is dated 1917. It’s also extremely heavy and it sounded like an elephant playing a tuba when Joel moved it into the hallway. I have ALWAYS wanted a clawfoot tube (they are ridiculously expensive!) So we will be keeping this one to refinish for our future (larger) house. (Yay!) A much cheaper tub will be going in it’s place. So I’m extremely thrilled about this part, even though it will take a bit of work to make it lovely again.

tub upstairs copy

Until next week!

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