Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to us...

Living in a wreck warps ones sense of normal. At work on Friday, everyone was exchanging plans for Christmas Eve - Shopping, cooking, family visits, and for us, replacing the sewer stack. I think most of my coworkers think I have inhaled too much lead dust.
This was the first full day I have had off in awhile, and as I thought, it took all day and three trips to the hardware store. I started by cutting below the main crack, and after cutting all the way through several hundred pounds of cast iron came down and pinned the blade. Steve ended up having to sledgehammer the rest of the thing to bits, and then I had to go through our bedroom closet to cut the vent pipes , but overall it was not too bad, just very tiring. It is going to take us awhile to get used to having a bathroom sink now. We have been using the kitchen sink only fo r the past few months. Now if only the bedroom doors would close...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Breaking the silence...

Its been awhile since my last post, and I would love to report massive progress... but the truth is we are just worn out. We had the family for Thanksgiving in our newly painted dinning room. its come a long way!
That lovely weekend was followed up by an ugly flu that dragged on for two and a half weeks... ICK!!

I am now back up to speed and got the house decorated for Christmas,
and have started back on real projects - the front bedroom closet. Its the only room in the house
that has not been painted in decades, and is really gross, plus, it lacks shelves, so the front bedroom is still a wreck three months (ahem) after we moved in. Steve surprised me by patching all the holes in the plaster and clearing out the junk, and I am building miles of shelves with wood I have laying around the house, and I spent the evening cutting and priming all the new wood. Not fun.
Other than that nothing new, although I have my landscaping almost figured out. I am going to plant California Sycamores as the Boulevard Trees, put a low boxwood hedge along the sidewalk, and intersperse iceberg floribunda roses (white) with Hydrangea bushes. We were at Lowes last night looking for screws and I noticed that they have bare root roses for 5.99. Too bad I don't have the beds prepared yet. I started researching the type of watering system I am going to install. I have been happy with the low pressure one I installed in Long Beach, ( In five years the only thing I have had to do is replace a battery), but this is a much bigger lot and I am thinking of putting in a more heavy duty one... I will make up my mind soon on that one, as I am so anxious to get the outside up to snuff, as the exterior improvements make the neighborhood better.

Monday, November 5, 2007

I HATE Plumbing....

So here we are at month number two of residence, and we still do not have a functional bathroom sink. It started out like this -

I found a marble counter with a under mount sink on sale for $225 and was thrilled - its exactly what I wanted for the house, and I bought it even before we closed... I searched for an 8" spread faucet that was less than $250 and found one for $95.
Fast Forward to two weeks before we moved in an I had a sink, a counter, a faucet but no cabinet.
I had planned on building one to match the living rooms built ins, but as "luck" would have it, we found a vanity cabinet at Lowes for $65 on clearance. Its cherry wood, has drawers and is very classy. Sounds good, right? Sink, Counter, Faucet, and Cabinet. The only problem is that I was wrong about the length of the counter - its 26" and the vanity is 31".
OK, I suck it up and figure, will just build the cabinet and sell the the one I bought. So weeks go by, we move in sans a bathroom sink and rough it and make a trip to Home Depot and buy birch plywood, poplar 1X6 for trim, and crown moulding to match the built-ins. Total cost: $80.00, since this will be the permanent sink cabinet and I want to do it right. I spend an evening in the basement building an attractive, strong cabinet for my beautiful marble top and sink. I shelep it up the stairs, and set it in place - the door to the bathroom will not close - its too big. I go to the trash pile and measure the old sink, and find its only 19" deep. After some regretful behavior, of which a poor tape measure got broken and a wall got kicked ( wrenching my back in the process). We went over to Home Depot, I plunked down another $90 on a sink and cabinet combo and $35 on a faucet ( the "nice" one I bought didn't fit on the cheap sink). I installed the blasted thing and after fighting with the drain we had a working sink..that drained a little slow.
I blissfully ignored that fact, since the house has new plumbing, right?
So buy day three the sink was stopped, so I get some draino $4, and a plumbers snake $12, and clear it out, and it works decently, but still drains a little slow, which I still ignore. I works for about a week until it stopped up again, another bottle of draino, $4 a longer snake, $15, and no luck. the snake stops dead and comes up covered in rust. Turns out the main stack is not replaced, and it in its rusting glory in the basement. So tonight, we head down to disassemble the joint between the new ABS an the cast iron to see if we can clean it out. Steve looks down at the main stack and sees a huge crack down the side of the pipe and seepage..... So back to Home Depot and another $105 for new ABS to replace the entire stack to the ground and all the branches to the tub and commode, which will be a blast, So now, I have spent over $700 an still don't have a sink yet...
The good news is that the living room is now completely painted! I used to love beamed ceilings, until I had to paint one. I dinning room has an even bigger one, so the fun continues....

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We are alive and NOT on fire....

Thanks to all those who have been concerned regarding our well being here in San Diego. Its been surreal the past few days. I have been home, as my office is located in Del Mar, which over the past few days has been right in the fires path, so they had closed down and Hopefully we we be back up tomorrow. I have many co-workers who live in the areas affected by the fires and I hope they came out Ok, but there were some pretty heavy losses, but very little loss of life thank goodness. Stuff is so meaningless really, and I cannot understand those stubborn people who stay back. I have often said that almost everything has been mass produced since 1830, so its replaceable...

To give an update to whats going on around here, we made our deadline and moved in the last weekend of September, with a functional kitchen and a mostly functional bath. The painting is still not finished yet, , but as of today we have a working washer and dryer on the back porch, Yay for us...That was no small accomplishment either as I had to run the water lines, two electrical lines and a drain line where there were none. Seeing as I hate plumbing, it was about as much fun as doing the laundry itself.
Also on the unsexy but functional list we now have lights in the basement, a gravel driveway in the back yard and MOST of our stuff brought from storage in Long Beach thanks to my wonderful folks who came from New Mexico to help us out. We will see them again at Thanksgiving for a more relaxing trip.

Now that the laundry is in, I can get back to some of the more picture worthy accomplishments like finish painting and the house jacking/floor repair. I need to figure out where I am going to set the jacks in the basement so I can do some excavation so there is a stable base to hold the house with. that work will be followed by the new concrete piers and posts, I was the one that wanted this house, right?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I've dropped, but still painting....

Today, we had a very productive day and we finally have some pictures of progress... The new stove and refrigerator was delivered and installed, Steve installed the kitchen light, excavated the electrical box for the porch light and installed my $5 Lowes clearance porch lantern. For some really odd reason, someone had taped off the live wires in the box, then filled the box with fixall and there was this weird lump in the siding where the light was supposed to be.

We also came up with a solution to a really big problem - floor covering. The original plan was to install wall to wall carpet throughout the house, an as time and money allowed, replace the damaged hardwood floor with the oak flooring I had gotten from the neighbor in Long Beach. The house has large sections of floor that we badly rotted and missing, so it seemed like a reasonable solution - until we actually started pricing carpet and installation on Thursday. The quotes we got from several places ranged from 1600 to 2000 dollars, for the bottom end stuff, which was way more than I had thought. I had a breakdown and called my folks to get some ideas - We talked through just painting the floors, to putting plywood over it, and the best we were able to come up with was to install laminate flooring in the two worst spaces - it would be easy to remove an reuse when I repaired the original floor since it just sits on top. It would be much cheaper and we could install it ourselves - although it was going to push us up to own Wednesday deadline. That was the plan until this evening when my darling husband got an idea - the dining room was covered 3/4 of the way with asphalt tiles over the original wood floor, and the remainder was the plywood we put over the sub floor to replace the areas earlier covered with plywood and the rotted sections of flooring from decades of water damage. He decided to see if the tile would come off, and if so, see how bad the floor was. He laboriously chipped off the tile and found that the floor was in decent shape, so as a temporary measure, we will paint the plywood similar shade of brown and in the coming weeks after we move, I will patch the floor with the salvaged wood, and since it has a finish on it that is similar, we can live with it until I can afford to have the floors sanded. So in the end, it was just the time and painful labor.
During all this, I have been painting, and now have the kitchen walls and ceiling, Living room and dining room walls and ceiling, bedroom walls and ceiling, hallway and entry ceilings complete with two coats of paint. I have one coat on the Entry and Hallway Walls, and still have not started the front bedroom or closets yet - the front bedroom is going to wait, since as my folks pointed out, we are moving from a one bedroom and don't really have anything to move in there till we get our stuff out of storage in a few weeks. I will paint that after we move in. However, I have also not done any of the woodwork yet, so I will continue to work on that over the next few days. I am going to get the living room and bedroom done first, then the dining room, kitchen, hallway and entry as I have time.
We also installed my plaster ceiling medallion in the dining room. I bought it several years in San Francisco and had it in my Long Beach apartment. It reminds me of the Victorian house I used to live in in the city (San Francisco) and I just love it. It looks very at home with the beamed ceiling. It will look stunning with my great grandmother's crystal chandelier hanging under it.

Finally, I installed the gorgeous fixture I won on Ebay a few weeks ago. It arrived completely rewired and ready to go - so up it went and I absolutely LOVE how it looks. The scale and design are perfect for the space, and as I had mentioned before, it matches some other vintage fixtures I had bought earlier. Isn't it pretty???

So tomorrow is a day of rest so we can get the rest of the stuff done and actually get moved, although we have to o some shopping for some area rugs to cover the bedroom and living room floors - there are some really nasty spots to contend with. Its now to the point that every bit of progress is making the house feel more and more like home...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Paint till you drop...

Well, we are moving in a week from tomorrow, and we have been working like mad. Steve has finished scrubbing the final frontier - the front bedroom that until a few hours ago housed the tools. We hit a milestone by finishing all the carpentry repairs in the front bedroom and dining room- the trim was so hacked up where the partition had been and some was missing for some unknown reason - although a crummy plaster patch job on the ceiling suggests water damage. The tools have now been relocated to their permanent home in the basement. Steve has worked wonders on the filth - the rooms actually resemble someones home. He has also been patching the 500,000 holes in the trim, walls and ceilings throughout the house in preparation for the painting. I have been painting like crazy, and have the first coat on the walls in the back bedroom, hallway and entry room, and both the walls and ceiling in the living room. Tonight I put on two coats of paint on the kitchen walls in preparation for the new stove an refrigerator we are having delivered on Saturday! My original plan was to find some used ones, but I have not had any time to go search ones out, hope they work and then figure out how to get them home. I did some shopping around and found some very nice ones by Frigidaire - That's what we have in our Long Beach house and have been very happy with them. I got the lower mid ranged ones, the stove has cast iron burner covers instead of steel, but other than it is pretty basic. The fridge has glass shelves instead of wire, a full shelf in the freezer, and an ice maker. I don't have the water hookup yet, but I was planning to add it later anyway, and buying it up front was cheaper then ordering it later, and I got the glass shelves, which are much easier to clean. The best part is that they will deliver an install it for free, and switch the door swing on the fridge. With all of the other stuff we are trying to get done, its a help.
We also had a carpet installer out today to measure for the carpet. He was referred to us by our realtor and so far I have been impressed - the showed up when he said, and was quick and extremely polite. We need 108 yards of carpet for both bedrooms, the living room, dining room and hallway. The Entry hardwood floor is still decent so that will remain exposed. He will be installing the carpet next Tuesday, so we have to go pick it out tomorrow, and he will take care of all the rest - again, one less thing to deal with!So now, I have to get the dining room walls and ceiling painted, the front bedroom walls, the ceilings in the kitchen, entry, hallway and both bedrooms, plus all of the woodwork, including the beamed ceilings before next Tuesday. I have been taking afternoons off of work so that way I can stay caught up at the office while getting everything done.
We have also staring moving the kitchen items over - since the cabinets are cleaned, we have been taking over 2-4 boxes every time we go over full of stuff, and getting it put away. It will help a lot next week.
Hopefully I will have some new pictures to post in the next few days - the pale yellow we choose looks really nice and I can't wait to get the trim painted to give the full effect.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Well, we have had a very productive week here - the bathroom wainscoting is in and painted, the floor is laid an the commode is installed. Unfortunately, I bought the wrong connector so its not working yet. It looks really nice! It turned out really good and was really cheap. I spent less than
$200 and got a new floor, walls, and commode. The before and after photos are shocking I think.
This week the new electrical will be hooked up and the wall sconces will be hooked up and we can use a light switch to turn on the bathroom light - the
first time since owning the house! Steve also tackled the rest of the cleaning this week and cleaned out the front bedroom closet. There are no words to describe the filth - just numbers of hot water buckets needed to get the stuff off. he also went into the attic and disconnected the disused wall sconce wiring on either side of the dinning room built in. When we removed it, we found two set of LIVE wires stuffed in the wall that needed to be dealt with prior to reinstalling the trim. While up there, he brought down more rat infested storage items and two more decomposed bodies - along with the decon box. It has been over a week now and we have a trap set with peanut butter and the peanut butter is still there, and the trap is not sprung, AND no smell. Lets hope we are done with those little buggers!
Painting has also begun in our bedroom, and I just Love the pale yellow we choose - it really brightens up the room and looks way better than the nasty Navajo White that was there before. I have had that color in so many places I have lived and find it dingy and dreary looking - it hides dirt because it looks like it. After the floors went into the bath, I changed my mind on the wall color and instead of Yellow above the wainscoting, We picked a very pale sky blue. It will look good with our existing peach and turquoise blue towels and bath rug. We have made such great progress this last week and if all goes well, the painting will be done by the end of the week and the carpet can be put in - Then we can start moving stuff in, although this week I am going to start on the kitchen since the cupboards are clean and the rats and roaches have been evicted.

Monday, September 10, 2007


We took Sunday off for some rest and relaxation, and found ourselves at the local salvage yard. I lucked out and found four matching doorknob back plates to replace the mismatched ones in the house, and a cast iron vent cover for our Long Beach house. For some reason, when the house was built, they cheaped out in the bathroom and kitchen and placed plain plates on the doors. This is one of those cases where we are going better than original and I am putting ones that match the rest of the house. The other exciting purchase was on Ebay where I found a perfect fixture for the front entry for 30.00 - and it matches the fixtures I bought four months ago for the dinning room exactly. How lucky is that?

The ones I
bought before

The New One:

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Oh the Humanity...

Well, last night my oh so brave husband set out five rat traps with Peanut butter and we arrived at the house this morning with four sprung traps and three bodies - one in the front bedroom, one in the dining room, and one in the attic. The fifth trap still had peanut butter and was not sprung, so Steve thinks we got them all. Lets hope so! He also sealed up the basement to prevent more from coming in. While down there, he found another one, it had died of other causes and was quite smelly ( so I hear, I won't go within two rooms of the things). To top off the day, while we were prepping the kitchen floor for the new linoleum, he took a second look under the cabinets and found another mummified one. Sigh... Hopefully, with the basement sealed up and the occupants dealt with, we are done with the rats. (and to think I complain about ants)
The good news is that we got the kitchen 98% finished... I scrubbed the rest of the cupboards & drawers last night, and Steve had scrubbed most of the walls over the last week, so now all that is left is the ceiling to clean before painting. Steve also filled in all the imperfections on the walls and trim, so all that is needed is a light sanding and we are ready to go. Today we installed the new floor an it really looks nice for 98 cents a square foot it looks really nice. I picked a greyish brown slate looking tile, and it works nicely with the blond oak cabinets. We laid it at a diagonal to give it some more interest, and we are going to paint the walls a very pale yellow and the trim a greyish white.
We also put up bead board paneling inside the dining room built in alcove. (Sadly, the one we uncovered was so chewed up by rats and covered in filth that had soaked through the wood, so we had to removed it and BLEACH the walls behind it). For now, we are just going to install some shelves, and at some point later I will rebuild it.
Steve also scraped up all the old linolum in the hallway that was chipping off in preparation for carpet. Sadly, half the hardwood floor is wrecked for repeated flooding from the bathroom over that past 90 years. Oddly enough, the wood is not oak, but appears to be maple. The bedrooms also share the same wood. The living room, dinning room and entry were all floored in oak. We are making some real progress, and by next weekend, we should have the painting started an the bathroom close to being done. I am almost done with the wainscoting, and then I can put a coat of primer and paint, then we can lay the floor in there to. I am going to use the same tile as I did in the kitchen.
tomorrow is a rest day for us, so we don't totally wear ourselves out. I am going to try and take some time off this upcoming week so I can get the bathroom done, but I have a lot of project work going in at the office to.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

How time has flown...

Whew! we have been swamped the past week trying to get moving an make some more progress... we have to be out of the rental by Oct 1 so we have gone into overdrive. The good news is that the bathroom subfloor is replaced, the plywood for the linoleum underlayment is installed, and the bead board wainscoting is installed. I have also gotten all of the new wiring & electrical boxes for new switches and wall

Pictures of what we were up against

sconces run but not hooked up yet. Soon you will actually be able to turn on the bathroom light using a light switch rather than plugging in a worklight.. Civilization, here we come! Steve has been a cleaning manic and has gotten most of the house ready for paint - surprisingly, the existing paint is not worn like the first thought, it was just really filthy, an now that the walls and trim have been cleaned, they look they were recently painted. I am still amazed how people could live in such filth.
We also finally started in on the basement cleaning, finding that there was a homeless encampment down there, along with a more recently deceased rat..EWWWWW!!!!! Steve the rat undertaker took care of that, and we got rid of the homeless persons paraphernalia, which no doubt was attracting more rats.
We also had somewhat of a run in with a live rat on Wednesday night, I brought over a coffee can to use for screws and hardware, but failed to get all of the coffee out, so when we arrived on Wednesday night, the plastic lid had been chewed through, and there was rat debris on the dinning room floor, which Steve had thoroughly cleaned on Tuesday night.
I have been in rat denial, thinking they had all left since there has been no food in the house for over 6 months, and Steve saying No, they are probably still here. I have been snapped out of my happy rat free world and have to face the fact that the not so little buggers are lurking after dark looking for the next meal. Steve has volunteered to be the rat catcher and disposer and set the traps Friday night. Saturday HE is going in first to dispose of the bodies. If he can't catch them with traps, I am calling the exterminator. At least the carpet has not been installed yet!
Tommorrow night I will finish installing the Wainscoting trim in the bathroom and hopefully get a coat of primer on everything so I can paint on Saturday. Then comes the finish flooring and then a working commode. Then we will really be civilized.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Building time is here!

Hooray! we have turned a corner and have started to add things rather than remove - The rest of the rotted bathroom floor came up and I spent the evening in the basement sistering the joists so I can install the new sub floor.
We also got a nice visit from my Realtor who stopped by to check on our progress and drop off some very nice gifts - a bottle of Champagne, some lovely glasses, a Lowes Gift card and a very nice card. She is a gem and I would recommend her a million times over.
After a nice visit, we got back to work and Steve attached the remnants of the rat droppings with the shop vac, and did a ton of scrubbing on some of the nastiest areas. We have almost gotten rid of the smell completely, and I think after tonight we should be in really good shape. He also found a very old circa 1910 label nailed on the top shelf of the front bedroom closet. It looks like a railroad shipping label.
Well, its back to my hardware chemistry tonight before bed- I brought a set of hinges and a door plate to do my backing soda paint removal trick.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bathroom Demo & More Cleaning

So last week was scrub yank scrub... I took Tuesday and Friday afternoon off and we got some hardcore stuff done, like ripping out the top four layers of flooring in the dining room and hallway. And mind you, for all the half assed stuff they did to the house, they wanted to make sure that the #%&*@ floor was going to stay in place, under the linoleum glue was the first layer of 1/8"plywood, glued and stapled every 2", under that was 1/4" plywood screwed with 2" drywall screws AND staples, of which half the screws were either stripped out or rusted, and under that another 1/2 layer of plywood with its very own set of 2" screws set every 2". We resorted to cutting the layers with the circular saw into 2' squares, and yanking them up with a crow bar and getting it up in chunks .... lather, rinse repeat for a 11'X18' room and a 7'X5' hallway. under this lovely concoction are three layers of asphalt tiles - first peacock blue pebble pattern, over a fire engine red pebble pattern, over a cream and brown with gold speckled pebble pattern, over a very sorry, tired and rotted oak floor. Th immediate plan is to put wall to wall carpet over the tile and later we will replace the oak floor with the salvaged planks we got from our Long Beach Neighbor.
After all that entertainment, we dug into the bathroom, discovering that 3/4 of the floor is rotted, along with the lower portions of the wall - We also found two more rats nests and the remains of one occupant, so Steve had to do the rodent disposal detail while I went elsewhere.
Over the weekend, we made a trip up to Long Beach to exchange the commode base, to the great amusement of the service desk of Orchard Supply - "You mean to tell me you drove ALL the way from San Diego for THIS....?" We also went to the Long Beach house to get all my power tools for this weeks bathroom floor replacement and rewiring project. The bathroom light has never worked for some reason, and since it is part of the original 1910 wiring, I am going to bypass it an hook into the new outlet wiring an add an overhead exhaust fan in the process. When the house was rewired, they only redid the outlets, running metal conduits through the floors, but left all the overheads on the original wiring. So the plan is room by room to replace the overhead wiring and at the same time put the outlets inside the wall instead of mounted on the walls. Since we have the bathroom walls open, I am going to also redo the outlets in the bedrooms and hallway walls adjoining it.
I also had my first paint removal sucess with the hardware, I had read that if you boiled water with baking soda, and dropped the painted hardware, the paint comes right off. So I tried it and wow, does it work well! It also made it easier to polish it afterwards. So, the goal by the end of this week is to have the new bathroom floor done and the new wiring done... Lets see how we do!!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Rats Part II...

All I can say tonight is ick!!! My brave husband decided tonight was the night to explore the attic... The first warning was the rat poop showering out of the the hatch, then starting him in the face was corpse #1, which he removed while I went to the car to uh..get stuff..yeah... thats it. After that was dumped in the garbage can outside, he started removing items stored up there - old clothes, books and a walker covered in rat droppings. No original light fixtures, old photos, or anything fun, just junk. As he was reaching to grab some more stuff, he picked up corpse #2. That was followed a few minutes later by #3. At least we got rid of more of the filth, and te house is staring to smell better, although we have been having a humid heat wave in San Diego and its still pretty stinky in there.
I also started the brave task of cleaning the kitchen cabinets. From the pictures you can see it does not look too bad, as it was redone sometime in the early 1990's. However, there are no words for what I found in the first cabinet I cleaned. What I thought was dirt and grime was actually a 1/8 thick pile of dead bugs of all sorts, and I had to use a putty knife to scrape them off. I went through 3 green scrubbies on two cabinets, having also used a scrub brush to get the initial stuff removed. I cannot image how anyone could live in such conditions and not be deathly sick... Amazingly, with lots of scrubbing, hot water and bleach they came out really clean, and even the counter top and walls look decent. This will be an ongoing saga all week.. I can't wait to start on the drawers...<>.
After Steve was done with the rat removal, he ripped up the electric blue carpet and pad. parts of the wood floor are really nice, and then there are the rest... Sadly,we have now confirmed that all the wood floor in the house are trashed. . The good news is that our neighbor in Long Beach, who is a contractor, just renovated a mid 1930's home and got us several rooms worth of pristine condition quarter sawn oak floors that happen to be the same dimensions as the ones in the house. I spent two full weekends pulling nails and bundling it up, so its all ready for its new home. Unfortunately, its new home is not ready for it. We are going to carpet the house for now until we can get the center beam replaced an correct the sag. Oh well, at least we have it.
With that done, the mini blinds hung at the windows, it it starting to kinda resemble a real house.
I am hoping to take some time off later this week to get a head start on the bathroom. I went to Long Beach over the weekend and picked up the commode at Orchard Supply Hardware, but unfortunately, the Long Beach Store only had the tank in stock (when I had called earlier in the week, they had both). So I drove all the way to the Torrance store 20 miles away to get the bowl. I picked it up, brought it all the way back to SD, unloaded it from the car, opened it up to find it was broken. Needless to say, I was NOT a happy camper. Luckily for me, Steve and David are going up to LA tomorrow to look at a used car for David, and have graciously agreed to exchange it for me. Yay!
I also got a better picture of the front porch. Here is a before and after, and its really a huge difference!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Tearing through the checklist...

Today I worked half day so we could get a head start on the house. We were VERY productive, me getting all of the five boarded up windows replaced, and Steve demolishing the hideous enclosed porch...Wow, the house looks so different! Here is a before and after with Steve and his best friend David. Please note the Photos were taken before I finished the front window, and it was too dark to take and after, but believe me it looks like somebody actually lives there now. I also discovered the original window sash color - dark forest green. I was planning for black sashes, but the green would also work for the color scheme I was planning - Dark Brown siding and white trim.
We also discovered more rats nests around the built in in the dinning room - they have chewed though the back and sides, and at various times throughout the house's history, it has been patched with tin, plywood, cardboard. Steve thinks there are more nests behind the wall, so we are thinking we should pull out the built in and clean it all up. We have taken out three trash bags worth of rats nests and garbage that was stuffed in the flimsy wall and china cabinet, and the stench as lessened considerably. but there is still an odor coming from the wall behind and next to the china closet. Now with the wall out and the debris swept up, the dining room is really starting to look good- I just Love Love Love that room - its what sold me on the house in the first place.
Here are a few before and during picture to show the dramatic changes already:

We will be taking a break for the weekend, as I have some stuff I have to get done on the Long Beach house - I have some restored windows to install and the last three security bars to remove from the front windows. It took me five years, but I restored all eleven windows back to pristine 1923 condition. At some point, I will need to do the same on the new houses windows, but I will settle for just having glass an being able to open them for now!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We closed...let the cleaning begin

So we closed today finally an we got the keys at 4:00...them promptly changed the locks. Then it was off to Home Depot for a few items - trash bags, another dust mask (the one we got was too small) a prybar and a few hammers. Since so much happened, here is a breakdown of the good we discovered:

The built in china cabinet still has one on upper and one lower door, and it has the neatest cupbord latch I have ever seen, it matches the doorknob plates. The bad news is that there is only one remaining - the other three are long gone.

Here is a view of the full room now minus that nasty wall, and of my handsome husband swinging a crowbar.

Here is a shot of the pocket door we muscled out of the wall in all its yellow glory. The living room side is a delightful shade of baby blue.

Now here is the not so nice things we discovered ( I will spare you the nasty images).
The crappy wall that we tore down had not one, but at least THREE rats nests, along with discarded boxes of TV Dinners, Mac and Cheese. Paper Plates, and to wash it all down a Shasta Cola Box stuffed in the wall - No wonder there are rats in the attic! We also discovered that the bathroom floor is worse than we thought, as it has rotted all the way through. someone had asked me if you could get to the basement from the house and well, I guess you can if your not careful.
Next on the agenda is to pull up the floor in the dinning room, hallway, and bathroom, and start scrubbing the kitchen, which has awesome water pressure (new copper plumbing) and very hot water - The water heater shed just needs a door... Details right? Also I hope to get glass cut for the windows so it actually looks like somone could live there.
On another note, Velma has let me down - I never heard from her so I made a few phone calls and found the commode of my dreams at Orchard Supply Hardware, for $140 no less... The only catch is that the closest Orchard is 90 miles away, BUT there is one in Long Beach near our house there. So, for some reason yet another bath fixture is being imported. Got to keep up with the neigbors don't ya know....