Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Excuses, Excuses

I'm still here and still alive! Tamara's doing a great job keeping up with Ted Stevens getting searched (but he can't be corrupt! He's a Republican!) and Ebay shutting out gun-related sales.

I'm reading my daily blogs, but other than that, I'm spending my days finishing my baby's nursery.

We took one reasonably large room upstairs, which the previous owners had emptied for conversion into a master bath, and demolished it down to bare studs. The house is almost 100 years old, so it's sturdy, but drafty. The studs are very close to actual 2-inch by 4-inch dimensions--about 1 7/8 x 3 7/8. In contrast, modern "dressed" lumber 2 x 4 boards are 1.5 x 2.75 inches (I think?) Anyway, the outside of the house is clad, under the modern vinyl siding, in oak boards a full inch thick. The house is like a giant exoskeleton! The only problem is that there are quarter-inch gaps between many of these boards, and absolutely no attempt to insulate the outer walls. Each room is finished in plaster-and-lathe with about seven layers of wallpaper slapped over it.

So demolition entailed a dumpster, hammers, crowbars, and a LOT of dust and dirt. It didn't help that the walls and ceilings are full of coal soot. We looked like miners most of the time.

Anyway, once the room was down to bare studs, I used expanding foam to seal every opening to the outside, plus all openings into the attic. That was a LOT of foam. then we framed a new dividing wall into the room, which divided it into a larger section, a small section, and a reasonably wide hallway. Luckily the two doors into and out of the room are aligned, so the hall could be straight.

The larger of the two sections is the baby's nursery. The smaller is the bath. It's looking like it will have to be a half-bath at the moment, but if I can cram a shower in there, I will. Currently we have one filthy, slanting, slapped-together bathroom converted hastily from a porch, serving a family of four. This will not do, especially for five!

Anyway, I replaced the ancient single-pane counterweighted window with a modern unit, added insulation, wired in 5 ground-fault circuit-interruptor outlets (temporarily wired into the old lead from the rat's nest of wiring in the attic, but with a line run down to the basement to be attached to the new service and fuse box the minute it's ready) and a small fan/light with a digital dimmer control for both. In a fit of ambition, I even added a vent and ductwork to be attached to the central air/heat pump when that's ready. The pine board ceiling went in next; I like the look of it, and the bonus is that one person with a ladder and a soft mallet can install it by himself. For the past two days, I've been hanging drywall and slinging mud.

Now that I'm done with breakfast and blogging, I'm on my way back up to finish shimming and hanging the frames for the pocket doors. I hope to be completely finished with the baby's room this week and get a good start on the bathroom.

When I'm done, you should be able to go upstairs in the house and see two doors and a tall open portal. One door will be one twin's bedroom (they share it now.) The other door will be our master bedroom. Through the open doorway you'll pass into a windowless but well-lit hallway where you'll see three more doors. The pocket door on your left is the baby's room. The next pocket door on your left is the upstairs bath, and the door at the end of the hall leads into the other twin's dormer bedroom (currently sort of a junk room; it's going to take a ton of work, but maybe less than the room I'm working on now.

I'll try to put pictures up when I can.


Matt G said...

I'm highly impressed.

I'm also very tired.

Take a nap for me, would you?

Laughingdog said...

a modern 2x4 is actually 1.5"x3.5". It starts out as a 2x4, and loses a half inch in each dimension from the surfacing process.

Don said...

Yeah, I measured one awhile ago. Oops.
Those old ones are rougher than the new ones, but man, are they solid things.

The manufacturer claims one person with the right tools can take these pocket door kits and hang one (including the door) in about fifteen minutes.

Well, OK.

It's taking me the better part of a day to put in two of the things. Of course, I'm currently starring in The House Where Nothing Was Square, and that probably doesn't help.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how I can cram in a shower in that half-bath. I think if I put a small sink right in the corner against the doorway, then the toilet against the opposite wall but offset further into the room than the sink, then I might be able to take the whole end of the room against the outside wall for the shower and a little storage, and that might be enough.

Unfortunately, even if the shower fits that way, it means either I have a window in the shower (we'd paint it or frost it, but how do you keep it watertight?) or lose the window in that tiny room. I'd like to have the same size window as the baby's room to keep the symmetry from outside, but it may not be possible. Maybe a small enough window, set high enough, wouldn't have problems from the water. I don't mind using vinyl windows, but . . . I don't know. Heck, maybe I'll just flash around it in copper, use matching color accents around the room and call it decoration.

Don said...

Weird. That post started out so masculine . . .

Ambulance Driver said...

"Unfortunately, even if the shower fits that way, it means either I have a window in the shower (we'd paint it or frost it, but how do you keep it watertight?)"

Glass bricks.

Matt G said...

I think knicksgrl0917 is trying to tell you to get character verification...

Don said...

Could be. I like the glass brick idea! You could never open it, but that's only one small room. You'd at least have daylight in the day time.