This is what 10 truckloads of rock looks like. Not bad for a day’s work. Too bad the humidity is about 15% higher today, which pretty much makes it unbearable to keep working. Soon enough it will be beautiful, though.
I’m waiting for paint to dry, well actually it’s primer. A lovely sand color called “Fortune Cookie” will be the next step. It’s hard to believe that this little project started over Spring Break which was the last chunk of time I took off from work. With the house finally being level, we can now begin on the interior. This room serves as a storage/pantry/pet/hallway area.
There are two layers on each wall. Paneling that didn’t even lay flat, and the plywood that we’ve found on all walls in the house; sometimes covered in wallpaper, sometimes covered with a 1/4″ thick texturing. Yuck! Either way, a Sawsall works well for getting it off.
Same doorway, but with new door and drywall.
So here’s the room towards the end of my summer break. Taped and mudded, and ready for texture. Everything’s masked off… Ugh, hours of prep work and the whole house is still covered with a fine layer of drywall dust. This project started at the end of March! It’s now the end of July…
When I first looked at this house in February of 2007, the first thing the real estate agent did when we walked in was to set her lipstick tube on the floor so I could watch it quickly roll towards the stairs. The story from the selling Realtor was “there’s something wrong under the house” but the inspectors reports could only say that there wasn’t enough access to get under there and see what was going on. After looking at several other properties, we jumped in, knowing full well that there was “something” that we’d have to deal with.
Fast forward to today, almost 4 years later, and as of yesterday afternoon, you can set a lipstick tube anywhere on the floor in the house and it won’t roll in its own. Thanks to Terra Firma for their service in installing a new central beam and smart jacks; our house no longer slopes down to the center. Our celebration was confirmed last night as we read through the original inspector’s report and could say that we’ve tended to 15 out of the 18 things that were originally advised to be addressed. Not bad for a couple of novices. Crazy thing is, we weren’t using that as a checklist. We’ve been working off of what seems like the next most important thing to deal with.
What was the process for reaching this monumental occasion? Thanks for asking! It all started way back at the beginning when Jeremy and Wade dug out a decent crawl space under the house. Thanks to Angela for supplying us with her kid’s sled so that Wade could shovel dirt onto it, and Jeremy could pull it out with a rope and dump it. From there, the original jury rigged piers were cleaned up a bit, and it was time to start dealing with the water (see earlier post about water everywhere.) The solution for “water everywhere” was to install an automatically operating sump pump. Terra Firma tried to just install the jacks, but at some point, someone had covered dry rotted support boards with new boards. Makeup does not a good foundation make. Anyway, new beams = no more dry rot.
So even if I can’t do any big projects for the next year, we can at least not worry about the desk chair rolling across the room, or a spilled glass of water chasing after the rug. I think this might have been the best investment in home improvement yet!
Sure, why not… It took long enough to get here. After an extremely rainy spring it has been nice to have weather decent enough to work outside in.
So to kick off the season we started with gravel delivery from Green and White. They delivered 12 yards of gravel for much less than I expected. Their driver was talented, too. Check out the video of him spreading the load. (Turn down the volume if you watch the YouTube video, Elsea was a little excited by the big truck!)
If you have gravel delivered, don’t skip the compacting process though. For $33 I rented a compactor that leveled this spread into an almost concrete-like surface.
We needed some gravel on the advice that it’s a good product to use to set in fence posts. Baah, use a bag of concrete. We couldn’t get the gravel packed in there tight enough.
We had redwood delivered from a guy based less than 40 minutes from here (name and contact info to be posted after the final delivery). Harvested locally and processed locally… it feels good. It’s so fresh, that you get a pioneer feeling as one cuts and assembles it.
Right now we’re more than half way done with the 200 feet of fence that we’re installing. We started off by renting a post hole auger. Get the kind with two wheels and it’s pretty easy to drill a lot of holes quickly. 23 in just a little over an hour, to be exact.
Thanks to Diane for catching us with this drive-by photo shoot. If you look really close you can see my fingers holding the level in place. Yep, my job is to hold the level and the board… over and over, and over. I get the quiet side of the deal, though!
One thing that anyone who’s cooked in our kitchen knows, we were missing some task lighting. When we redid the kitchen electrical at the very beginning, we put in a switch and ran a line to the new ceiling area. After flipping the gas range and refrigerator, we determined our counter layout. At Ikea we found a matching fixture to the two recently replaced ones and everything else just fell into place. I’m looking forward to the next dinner party, prep will be so much more enjoyable.
So I wrote to my parents:
But here’s the crazy part of the last 48 hours… This guy came in to buy a part from Jeremy on Friday and gave Jeremy his card for typing up the invoice. Seeing that he did blackberry removal, Jeremy asked him to come over and do a bid on our place, to which the guy said that he’d go out right now and give him a call back. He never called, but turned into the lot behind us around 6:00 that evening. Turns out that he came over here to do the bid, saw what the folks building the house behind us were trying to do (pull out a bunch of medium sized stumps) and said “hey, I can make short work of that”. He said since he got this job next to us that he would clear out all our blackberries and level the back quarter, and promised to have it done in time for the softball party we were hosting at 4:00.
See pictures of the process in the link to the right. Thanks to John Smith of Santiam Cutters Inc. 541.401.0541 for the good work.
It’s funny how it seemed so unique and off-the-wall when I first got started and now I see it everywhere! It’s not like I was really trying to do something totally different either. I just liked the look of metal with the hardy plank and the balance between the horizontal and vertical. In the interest of sharing with you what I’ve seen, here are two photos from a row of condos in Kansas and a house here in Corvallis. Have you seen a place that has combined the two materials? Submit your pictures and I’ll post them.
Dennis, owner of Gecko Construction did a great job on the siding, and on the patio. How one guy can get those big beams in place by himself gives me a whole new appreciation for the craftsmen that do this for a living.
What can we say, the summer will see us outside much more this year because of this.
So far the birds are really cool to watch and the stars are perfect for gazing (without having to worry about bugs in the lawn crawling onto the blanket). It seems like a lot more people look at the place as they drive by too, I guess it’s interesting gazing for them as well.
It’s been rather rainy this spring, so we had corrugated plastic put underneath the balcony. There’s an umbrella for the top of the balcony. Check it out; we’re set for Oregon weather without having to simply watch it from inside!
Another “shout out” I’d like to make is to Benham Electrical Service. Before we could put the balcony up the main electrical feed into the house had to be moved over about 15 feet. If he fits into your timeline his price is worth it.
Best thing, okay maybe just another one of the best things: the sunsets are amazing!
Now all that’s left is to figure out what color to paint the trim.
They say prep work is the most important step. I must say that having the right tools to prep with make it a ton easier too. On Saturday we did the back 1/4 of the house (it was like practice for the next day). The back 1/4 part we HAD to get done so that the electrical can be moved tomorrow, and then the balcony deck will begin being built shortly after that.
Woke up Sunday morning with the drive to just get the job done! Started at 9:00 and had the rest of the house masked and ready to spray by 11:00. Coat #1 and coat #2 done before 1:00 so that Jeremy could make it to softball practice. Not bad for a weekend (and so glad this paint has a lifetime guarentee. Like so many of these tasks, it’s great to only have to think about doing it once.)
Thanks to Kate for loaning us their paint sprayer, to Corvallis Rental for the extension ladder and Home Depot for mixing all (and them some more of) those samples!