Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fireplace or Gas Stove?

Lately, I have been toiling over what to do about heating this place.

Move in day--it was cold, cold, cold and the gas stove heater did not work. The heating guy spent hours trying to fix the stove...the pilot would go on but wouldn't catch. It turns out the valve or something was frozen in position and couldn't be regulated. After replacing lots of parts and a lot of was on...for about 24 hours. It was sucking gas like crazy and then, when we turned down the heat--that was it. He said it would cost more money to fix it than to replace it.

Fast forward to now...its July, its warm, harvest starts in less than a month which means I don't get a day off until Thanksgiving...which means I'd better figure this thing out so I can get it done before it turns cold.

So, here are my options....
1. I can replace the gas stove for 2000$...I also would want to update the poorly cut fake brick behind the stove (note the void in the picture where it enters the wall)...with what I don't know.

2. I can opt for doing a gas fireplace. It would require a carpenter to build in the hearth. But it would give me the option of making built ins on each side of the fireplace and make it more "craftsman like". The difficulty in this task--Either the flu ducting would need to be moved to the right or part of the ceiling would need to be redone....there is a beam in the center of the great room that is in the way of making built-ins to the right of the fireplace.

Yikes....I'm just not ready to commit to such an expensive design element yet and I have to make a decision soon!!!!

carpet + flour = one big mess & hidden surprises

The floors part II
While I was away at work, the dogs found the bag of flour I had left in the kitchen...They dragged it into the main room and made quite a mess. They actually licked it into the carpet and it made a dough like swamp. So it was motivation to get finish getting the carpets up. Believe it or not the dogs actually finished off the flour with a six pack of Hansens soda! I found that chewed up in the back yard.

The floor weren't in as pristine condition as the bedrooms...but they did have some surprises. From the stain patterns, you can see where there were built ins and possibly where they had laid their original carpets. I wonder if that is a commonality in old houses--only to stain the exposed flooring.

The carpet tack strips were really hard to get up on this round. Once again using a putty knife to get under the strip to pry it up really worked well and didn't gouge the floors.

I'm waiting to get a master plan for the great room before getting these refinished. There is a large square of carpet left where there used to be floor heater. It is stapled to a piece of plywood and is currently the access to under the house. Oh how I wish they had kept the original flooring pieces--not sure how we are going to patch that up with matching boards. For now, I'm protecting the floor with area rugs.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

oooo those FUGLY carpets

What on earth were these people thinking. These are the most disgusting, dirty and ugly carpets ever! The previous occupants also had a little dog that peed over every square foot of these nasty things too. It didn't bode well with my pooches--they've been scratching like crazy after sitting on the carpets! If you click on the pics you get a close up!

What I did discover in the back bedroom....original carpeting from the 20's--see the pic it's the one with squares. Underneath the ancient carpeting was horsehair padding! It looks like there was a cut out for a toilet or something too--a round hole was filled in with modern carpet pad and behind the wall there is an out of commission toilet vent stack. A toilet in the bedroom?

I pulled the carpets up and used an exacto knife to cut the carpet into 4' wide strips so I could roll it up and put it in contractor strength trash bags. There weren't any carpet tack strips in this bedroom, they had just nailed and stapled to the floor. I used a small crow bar to get the nails out and a small screwdriver, putty knife and pliers to get the staples out. Just gently nudge the staples up with the screwdriver (put the putty knife under the screw driver so you don't gouge the floor). Then, once they are up pull the staples up and out with the pliers.

The floors were in excellent shape. I had them sanded and refinished with a natural oil and buffed. Naurlix from Sebastapol knocked these two rooms out in 2 days! I called on a tuesday, met them on Wednesday. They had a cancellation and started on Thursday, finished Friday and I moved in on Saturday. Hows that for timing! Since we went with oil, there was no drying time after the final buff. And no nasty VOC oder. The house smelled like a christmas tree since they'd sanded the pine floors. They told me the wood darkens with age. After sanding and finishing they turned out much lighter-- not uniform in color but attractive. Very nice indeed!

Note--I don't have any pics of the finished floors up yet...forgot to take them!

the water heater and the water main

The house inspection revealed the water heater to be in front of an old electric sub panel. It was also in front of a window on the rear porch. Yuck! what an eyesore and a not-up-to code fire hazard. Yup, that's the house inspector checking it out.

So, one of the first orders of business was to have that thing removed and get an on demand put in. We ended up getting a Bosch aqua star installed by a nice man from Visionary Builders. He worked over the weekend to get it installed on the outside of the house. It's gas but has an electric heating unit to keep the pipes from freezing in the winter.

It works great and the utility bill is so much smaller. We also had a water main shut off installed for the house....kind of impossible to do any plumbing work without one. I completely recommend upgrading to an on demand!

In case you are wondering what's up with the plywood wall there....I was wondering the same thing. Behind it is an addition that the previous owners put on. Boy, no eye for detail there! To actually get to it to make it attractive will require the rebuilding of the screened in porch...that project will happen eventually.

Past Projects

Since the blog was started almost 6 months after the fact...I'll attempt to fill in what's been done up until now.

Move water heater away from electric sub panel and get on demand hot water
Remove Fugly Carpeting in most of the house
Refinish original floors in bedrooms
Fix dripping faucets at laundry sink and bathroom
Fix shower....I think its fixed
Remove moldy bathroom sink
Replace water stops at bathroom sink and toilet
Put in a water main shut off
Ground main electric panel
put in a garage door opener
Add grounded plug to kitchen and laundry for refrigerator and new washer/dryer
Pay plumber to work on gas heater to find out it cant be fixed