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The Dirty House (The Miracle on 42nd Street)

Friday, October 12, 2007

And the work continues on.....

The work continues on the new door has been installed and the bathroom is finally nearly complete

Monday, August 28, 2006

This Old House Drinking Game

The This Old House Drinking Game

Originally found at http://www.fred.net/turtle/souse.shtml (no longer active)

Take a drink if:

  • Steve offers to help
  • A new contractor is introduced
  • The homeowner says anything about their budget
  • Norm taps his safety glasses and reminds us how important they are
  • A new technology is displayed or discussed
  • Anyone visits a manufacturer's plant
  • Norm says the word "biscuit"
  • Tom Silva gets to say goodbye at the end of the show (take two drinks if any other person gets to say goodbye)
  • Anyone says the word "ogee"
  • Tom Silva says the word "rot"
  • Steve says "I don't know, Norm..."
  • A city or local inspector appears
  • Steve gets out of his pickup truck and you can hear the "ding" from the you-left-your-keys-in-it alarm
  • Norm says "draw" instead of "drawer"
  • Norm "Mr. Shop Safety" Abram leaves a safety guard off a shop tool so "we can get a better view."
  • It's obvious that Steve and Norm are talking from a script

Finish your drink if:

  • Steve breaks anything
  • The historic preservation board turns them down on something
  • They actually finish a house project
  • The old This Old House music accidentally gets left into a Renovation Guide remake

Finish the whole bottle if:

  • Norm breaks anything
  • Anyone gets arrested for violations of historic district zoning
  • They ever sell that big house they renovated for themselves
  • You buy that big house they renovated for themselves (though realistically, the guys and WGBH could probably buy you a bottle... you'll need it

The Bruce Irving Memorial Rule:

  • If anyone watching the show should happen to think, "hey, what a well-produced show!", please email a drink to the producer of the show, Bruce Irving of WGBH in Boston. (submitted by some guy named Bruce Irving)

The Perverse Reverse Cause-And-Effect Rule:

  • If Norm and Steve drink, you have to break something. This rule often comes into play at the end of a big project, where they commonly have a big party. See reruns of the California farmhouse project for details. We're of course not responsible for whatever you break, sorry.

Friday, January 20, 2006

So now we know why the previous tenant had a $2000 gas bill...

The furnace runs full tilt, not sure if it's a thermostat issue or what. The gas had been shut off right after we closed in July, and trying to be frugal, the significant other decided to deal with it later. After proving he was the owner, the gas was finally turned back on. Hot water, yippee! We actually spent New Year's Eve in the house, and I woke at 3 am in a tropical heatwave.

The furnace also makes some amazing noises, so we're back to the space heater solution for now. The only real issue with the space heaters is that everything is on the same circuit, so there's a very, very minimal amount of work that can be done when it's cold. You can run a shop vac, but throw in another tool and everything grinds to a halt pretty quickly.

I have also found a tiny piece of history. Joe removed the smoke detector at the bottom of the stairs, and apparently the previous owners didn't bother to remove the smoke detector when they stripped the wallpaper or re-plastered. It almost looks they plastered over the wallpaper, actually. During the summer I found some pieces of plaster in the floor with vintage wallpaper from the bathroom, but for the most part we haven't had many remarkable historical discoveries. There is some wallpaper/brown paper covering in the closets but it's so damaged it's not all that interesting. This looks like a schoolhouse of sorts.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

creeping into the 20th century...slowly but surely

I haven't been to the Dirty House in quite a few weeks given the bathroom situation and my aversion to gas station restrooms, but Joe has been hard at work and it's getting close to completion. After removing most of the walls, plumbing and all of the subfloor, the tile is finally complete. The wood paneling is up and waiting to be stained. The toliet flushes-yippee! The tub has it's new home under the window, allowing for a lot more room in here.
How we found it...


The destruction....

Almost finished....

The townhouse goes on the market January 5...just a few months behind schedule;) Now I have all the minor repairs around there to get completed and hopefully it will sell quickly. 3 were sold just last month, 1 within a few days so fingers crossed! We have a mere three weeks to make this place habitable....
Now if we can only get that pesky furnace to work...

Saturday, October 15, 2005

We have no bathroom...

It started innocently enough....I asked that we replace the toliet and the sink before we moved in. I wasn't asking for an ENTIRE new bathroom, I was okay with the awful vinyl tile for now...
I spent 8 hours removing the wallpaper from the 80s (1980s) a few weeks ago, and then discovered that there was "some" water damage behind the toliet. This is what I saw today when I walked into the living room (yes, that's the ceiling and Joe's backside visible through the gaping hole).

I proceeded upstairs to survey the project. ...panoramic view below.

The first photo is where the toliet used to be. The window is directly across from the door, and the sink used to be to the left of the window. Oh, and there used to be drywall.

Below is the wall to the right of the window. Note the new hole in the wall framed with the lighter color wood.

The photos below are the view from inside the bedroom closet on the other side of the wall.

Why would we make a new hole in the wall? Because our grand vision is to have the clawfoot tub against the shorter wall under the window. Unfortunately it's about 3 inches longer than the width of the room.

This is where the toliet used to live. You can see the refinished living room floor below. After examining the toliet plumbing, it was determined that this will require a professional who knows how to work with cast iron....

Bascially 50% of the bathroom floor has been removed, partly due to rot and partly to access the plumbing that needs to be moved.

On a positive note, Joe is learning how to do plumbing all by himself. A lot of work has been done, but we still can't turn the water back on in the house.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The New Stairs

The stairs after removing the carpet....

And the stairs now...
all broken treads replaced and finished! This portion of the stairs cost $35 for maple wood with some polyurethene finish.

I love the smell of burnt urine in the afternoon....

The bathroom project has begun. The old, scary toliet is now sitting on the tree lawn. Classy.

The smell in the bathroom is unbelievable, the tiles and subfloor are soaked with urine. We figured it had been soaked up into the drywall as well, so that's gone now, too.

Of course none of the bathroom fixtures have shut off valves, so he had to turn off the main water line. That still didn't stop the water completely, though, and the water started leaking again through the ceiling in the living room. Yes, the same one that was patched before we even bought the place! Evil toliet!!!!! Note that the water is to the left of the giant patched area! Yes, I asked to smile for the photo as he started removing the ceiling.

Joe started using a saw to remove the flooring and the smell became unbearable for me. The saw starting burning the urine soaked wood and I had to leave. I never knew that such a terrible odor was possible.
Afterward, Joe told me that there's now a hole from the bathroom through the living room ceiling....can't wait to see that!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

stairs, lights, doors, oh my...

We have stairs! Okay, we have exactly 3 stairs that don't scare me, but the rest are on the way this week. As these were covered with carpet upon purchase, we had no idea that nearly every one was cracked beneath. And yes, the nasty plywood at the top is now gone, in previous post.

Ugly ceiling fan in kitchen=gone
Ugly light fixture at the top of the stairs=gone

Most of the rooms don't have fixtures in their ceilings, so not many too replace thankfully. This project wasn't on the radar yet, but these were discontinued at the big hardware store so we couldn't pass up that deal. We have one more but not sure where it's going quite yet.

Bedroom projects...
Joe finished painting the bedroom, but decided to see what was under the painted closet doors. Never expected them to look like this. You can see the paint color a bit better in these photos, it changes a lot in the light and doesn't photograph well. The first photo shows it the best. If I could only hold the camera straight...

Things under the floor...

Today Joe decided to find out what was really under the nasty plywood boards at the top of the stairs. I was convinced it would be a disaster. Joe's theorry was that a previous owner from long ago just wanted to raise the floor, my theory was giant hole. Optimism won this battle. Compared to the finished floor in the bedroom, it does look bad, but it will be no match for Joe's now expert floor finishing skills!

Since Joe was feeling so adventuresome today, I asked that he explore the hole in the flooring of the second bedroom that we have yet to tackle. I pulled out an old Cheetos bag a few weeks ago and caught a glimpse of the debris in there, but the hole was too small to continue excavating. Joe pulled up the broken board and..

Batteries, toy cars, wheels from something, Pokemon trading cards, bandaid wrappers...all from this hole in the floor.

We can't figure out what the *$&%^ this is...

Unfortunately, no jewelry or cash. However, we did find pieces of the old bathroom wall down there with wallpaper intact. Very quaint little flower pattern.

I continued with the wallpaper removal project in the bathroom, saving the best for last-the area behind the old toliet. As I summoned the courage to reach back there (dousing the area with bleach hasn't seem to do a thing) I realized that the old leaky toliet had really damaged the wall. Joe decided that we would probably need to remove the whole wall. We had planned to expand the bathroom eventually, but it seems that the odor is not going away until the wall goes. That'll take 2 weeks;)

Cats with good taste....

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

some before and after photos

My paint stripping project is coming along on the built in pantry. I have finished the drawers (right) and removed the paint from the bin pulls.

I am still working on removing the wallpaper in the bathroom. Thankfully, wallpaper wasn't covering most of the walls. There is some ancient wallpaper in the 2 existing closets, but this has to be even less fun than cleaning....

Above is the nearly finished bedroom floor, prior to painting of walls and trim. This was the "blue" room with the nasty carpet and layer of some sort of faux wood laminate. I can't believe it...

Joe painting the bedroom walls a very light salmon pink faux finish and trim in a light brown- without overhead light fixtures (or any fixtures yet) it's tough to photograph some areas of the house.

Here's what the heat registers looked like before.... and now...not the best photo, but the registers look like brand new, yet old.
The walls are painted a variety of shades of white to take advantage of the little light that gets in, it's hard to see the texture in these photos.

Once the awful porch is demolished and restored to what it should be, there will be more light in the living room.

Cost of the War in Iraq
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