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Old 11-07-2011, 12:35 PM   #16
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


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Small victory

I'm really surprised that all that vegetation hadn't caused severe unevenness from the root systems bulging the pavers upward, then dieing and rotting each season, leaving voids underneath.

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Old 11-07-2011, 02:07 PM   #17
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


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I'm really surprised that all that vegetation hadn't caused severe unevenness from the root systems bulging the pavers upward, then dieing and rotting each season, leaving voids underneath.
I only planted it all yesterday. Give it time.

Seriously, since the ornamental grass and the ground cover around it are both perennials, that latter is not going to be a problem. And as for the former...the root system is not going to spread beyond the perimeter of the foillage so I'm not too worried. Maybe in 5-7 years I'll need to dig up the grass and divide but that will be a good problem to have because it means it survived
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Old 11-07-2011, 02:11 PM   #18
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


Nah, I meant I expected bulging from the overgrown mess that you tore out.
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Old 11-10-2011, 09:44 PM   #19
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


The sheet rock is up. And so the endless tape, block and sanding proceeds apace. Probably my least favorite thing in the entire process.



So I have engaged in a few side projects to keep myself from losing my mind. Started by replacing the huge egg light fixture in the front hallway with something more fitting:



And the living room light:



Soon after we moved in during the spring, the neighbors across the street invited us to a welcoming party. Their house had previously be owned by two architects and it was full of Stickley reproduction lamps and furniture. I did a casual search on the internet, thinking that what I had seen there would go well in our house. I almost blew coffee all over my laptop screen. $2,500 for a table lamp. Ended up going for affordable over authentic.

Have also turned my attention back to the bannister that I had started to strip. It's walnut and I'm debating staining it a bit darker to make it more even:



OK, back to the skimming...
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:02 PM   #20
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


When I removed the wall between the kitchen and the breakfast room I discovered that the floors were not the same level. The breakfast room floor was about an inch higher largely due to joists of uneven height. How they got this way is a bit of a mystery, although I believe the lower part was at one point a summer porch. It sits over crawlspace.


The easiest solution was to pull up an 8’ section of the middle of the new larger floor and sister the joists in this section to make the transition gradual. It worked better than I expected:






The plywood is the area that I redid. The floor “above” it is the original hardwood. The subfloor at the bottom of the picture is the rest of the room where I also took up the old floor as it was running perpendicular to the rest of the flooring. And of course I discovered yet another odd thing…the subfloor in the area approaching the joist that is the seam with the plywood had been chiseled down, it looks like with an adze:





This was clearly a crude and misguided attempt to level out a bump in the floor. The result was a subfloor barely 1/4" thick in places and so weak in that area that you were at risk of putting your foot through it. While the right thing to do would have been to pull up ALL the sub floor and put new plywood down I was not game for that in terms of time and cost so elected to perpetuate the house's noble tradition of Maguyvered fixes. I pulled up just a couple of the subfloor boards and slipped 13" x 48" strips of 3/4" ply underneath and then screwed them up hard against the existing thin sub floor. Gave it strength without my needing to pull all of it up AND it got rid of the extra plywood I had.


The floor guy came a couple of days ago and put down the new oak. He is from El Salvador and he works for a flooring company but does independent jobs on the side. I have never seen anyone work so fast in my entire life. He repaired two areas that needed new oak toothed in to the existing floor and then put down new floor in a 15x15 area. Altogether it took him about 3 hours. He was just a demon.


I had been anxious to get the flooring down so I could get the cabinets in. While I did put plywood in areas where I knew they would be covered by cabinets, it was too tight a workspace for both he and I to work together and I had other stuff to do. And I was not looking forward to assembling the Ikea cabinets. We had ikea cabinets in our old house and I was always very impressed and pleased with them but I had not built them myself. I knew this was going to be rather mind-numbing work and I was not disappointed. And I’ve only built the carcasses. Now I need to install all the fixtures.






One of those other things I had to get done was one of my basement windows that had broken. One side of the house is a long brick walkway and there are no real window wells for the half buried basement windows. The bring comes right up to the side of the house and they just made a “well” three bricks deep right up against the window.







The bottom of the frame of this window was actually in the dirt and when I pulled it out it was rotten. The board up top was just to try and block some of the cold wind that was coming in while I was working, lol. You can were I dug out the bottom of the frame. Took my sawzall and cut the side pieces to the height of the new window, put in a new “sole” plate, then mortared underneath and put in the new window.







Took me far less time than I expected. Some things just go faster than you expect. I’m going to have to replace the other four basement windows on this side of the house but I’ll do one a year probably and in the mean time contemplate creating real window wells for each one.

Last edited by Ironlight; 11-17-2011 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 11-17-2011, 11:29 PM   #21
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


Jebus. You're a machine.

3 hours for a 15x15 room doesn't seem that out of the ordinary if the subfloor was ready, the baseboards were off, etc. Laminate installation goes surprisingly fast with the proper nailer.
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Old 11-18-2011, 07:24 AM   #22
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


It was not laminate. It was 3/4" hardwood oak. That included repairing the areas where walls had been taken out on the first floor where there was only subfloor. He had to chisel and rototool out sections of boards so he could tooth in new wood and have it properly staggered. He had to do that in three spots. AND he did the 15x15 area, which also had a lintel to a hallway. Needless to say when I'm around a craftsman who works that efficiently AND does spectacular work it is very inspiring.

Hopefully I will get all the cabinet bases installed today. The counter top folks are coming on Monday to measure, but I have a bunch of things I need to figure out. The "U" shape of where the counters go is not square, and the fridge and a tall cabinet are going to be installed on the part of the floor that slopes. If I do get these done today I'll probably work on the ceiling speakers and some light fixtures. The electrian comes next week also to do the heavy up so it would be good to have those hooked up by then.

We have been using a table in the basement as a temporary kitchen with microwave and toaster oven. Been about two months now. I'm sick of it. Time to push through and get this done. I had hoped to have it functional by when the girls came home from college for the Thanksgiving break but I was a little ambitious. Didn't help that I painted both of their bedrooms along the way.

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Old 11-20-2011, 10:17 PM   #23
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


I just got done putting together our IKEA kitchen cabinets. I am never, EVER going to buy anything again from IKEA that requires any assembly. I'm DONE.

I'm quite pleased with the result and I'm generally impressed with the quality, particularly the hardware, but it was a mind-numbing task. It was complicated by the fact that I had made an error in the cabinet layout design. I had not offset one of the corner cabinets that has drawers by 2" so that the drawers could be pulled out without hitting the pulls on the perpendicular cabinets on the adjacent run. Total rookie move. I had to uninstall six cabinets, including the sink cabinet, the over the fridge cabinet, and an 88" tall pull out cabinet and move them all over 1.75" and remount them.

The granite folks come tomorrow to measure for the countertop. I'm hoping that in about two weeks I'll be ready to paint and then have the floor refinished.
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Old 11-20-2011, 10:49 PM   #24
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Yeesh. I can imagine.

Was it like most Ikea products... held together by a set of one million dowels and lots of wood glue?
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:00 PM   #25
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


Dowels and metal anchors and posts. I did not use any glue as once these things are under 1000 lb. of granite there is going to be zero torsional force on the cabinet frames. They will not be going anywhere or coming apart, trust me :P

The real pain was that the kitchen products are totally modular, so everything comes in a separate box. A cabinet might be comprised of 10 or more items, and many of those items can be used across several different cabinets. The killer was that the finally assembly instructions for a given cabinet are included in the one product that distinguishes it and that is often the last piece that is incorporated during assembly so you are sort of flying blind until you get there if you did not gather every piece, unpack them all, and read the 10 instruction sheets before hand.
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Old 11-20-2011, 11:02 PM   #26
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


Lol. I can imagine. If you don't mine me asking, how much did the set run you?
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Old 11-21-2011, 10:02 AM   #27
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I don't have the exact figures because the design changed and I had to get a few extra cabinets and I have a pile of other cabinets that need to go back, but when the smoke clears I believe the total bill from IKEA will be @$4,500. I bought everything during their 20% off sale including three appliances which allowed me to get the full discount. However, I only wanted their fridge (a 36" stainless side-by-side with in door ice, water, and digital controls) because it was well reviewed and it was marked down from $1,400 to $999 and then I got the 20% off on that as well. I bought two of their cheapest microwaves at $150 a piece to get to three appliances and immediately ditched them on Craig's list for $100 each. So $1,100 of that total is appliances so I guess that means the cabinets set me back $3,400. I looked at what they had at HD and Lowes and was not impressed, and the quote from Cabinet Discounters for "custom" was around 40% more than IKEA. That said, they definitely make a killing on their cabinets. I had to refer to my purchase list as I was assembling them as it was the only document that listed the parts for a given cabinet. I found my self frequently mumbling "That cost THAT much? What a rip off. Generally it's the front panels that they get you on, which are all solid wood, and some of the fancier hardware like the corner cabinet rotate and pull out mechanisms.



The panel on the sawhorses goes on the left side of the over-the-fridge cabinet and I'm going to cut it and install it when the counter guy is done. I need one more piece from IKEA, another panel to go on the right side of the tall cabinet to the right and I'll be done.

The next thing to tackle is the vent installation which is going to be tricky. It's actually going in front of the central window as you can see and since it's a wall mount (Island vents are 3" deeper and I would hit my forehead on it while cooking) and has no back I need to create a back out of plywood if only for the benefit of my neighbor and my general sense of fit and finish.

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Old 11-21-2011, 05:38 PM   #28
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At least you're making progress. Noticeable progress.

I spent my three day weekend and all of my off-shift time today chasing tool deals on Craigslist. I pickup and set up a ton of vintage tools, driving all over the place. But I do now have a very fuctional table saw, compounding miter saw, radial arm saw, router table and two routers, 25 bits, a Paslode gun, worm drive circular saw and a heavy duty reciprocating saw. I just need a good dado set (working that on the sister forum) and I'm set.

However, I only got 4 hours to work on my trim work and three hours to build the base for my bookcase. Certainly lacking in measurable results to show for over 50 hours or actual labor.

Guess it was probably worth it to tool up that much for $400.
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Old 11-23-2011, 09:12 AM   #29
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


Today is trim day and brine the turkey day. I'm going to smoke it tomorrow which will give me an excuse to also work on the trim.

I saved all the old trim and had planned on having it chemically stripped and primed but that ended up being outside the budget so I took inventory the other day of what was in good enough shape to reinstall. Looks like I'm good with most of the baseboard which is an unusual one two piece, the base and the shoe, instead of three piece. The base has a ogee profile routed right onto it.




As much as I love my router I'd rather not have to try and reproduce that 85 year old profile so all of that is getting original wood and the new openings will have new trim all around except.

Thinking about this reminds me of an old friend I had when I lived in Philadelphia. He was a sculptor who taught at one of the local art colleges and he lived in the enormous 19th century row house off Spring Garden. He had over the years restored the interior, stripping and refinishing every last piece of elaborate trim and crown moulding. He had even machined his own scraping tools to fit the profile of the pieces he was working on. He was a total minimalist and in fact in his kitchen cabinet had only four mugs, four glasses, and four simple place settings. Most rooms did not have any furniture at all. The house was it's own sculpture. It was extraordinary experience walking through that house. It was one of the most serene places I have ever been.
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:47 PM   #30
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Renovating a tired Craftsman house


We now have a functioning kitchen. Still on the punch list are the glass tile backsplash, painting, and some electrical work:





The first meal was a real pleasure. Three months of preparing meals in an unfinished 85 year old basement was really starting to put a dent in my appreciation of food.

The big open question is what to do behind the stove. I did not want to get rid of the window because more light is always good, but after a bit of cooking we clearly need something behind the back of the stove. I'm contemplating a stainless steel panel running straight up to the vent. A bit of a kludge, but it's better than nothing

Need to finish off the powder room now. I did my first tiling job ever on the floor and boy do I have a newfound respect for tilers:



Never have so many things gone so wrong so quickly in such a small space. I had assumed that a small tile job would be easy, but did not appreciate the fact that it's much harder to work in a small space. In short order there was thinset all over the place and only one tile down...had to take a deep breath and force myself to relax and plan ever step. Even so it was like whack a mole...put a tile down, work on leveling, then realize I had pushed down on another tile and it had slid out of position, thinset oozing up between seams, etc. In the end it turned out OK except for the two tiles at bottom right that were not cut precisely to meet the marble threshold. I broke them out and chipped up the thinset (talk about a chore) and redid them.

The room was particularly challenging because it is significantly out of square. Had to angle the tile grid a bit to create the optical illusion of squareness and it worked out well, although in hindsight I think laying the tile diagonally would have been a good idea.

Now for the toilet, sink, paint and light...

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