Saturday, December 26, 2020

House to Home, Volume Eleven - It's Looking Radiant

There was a day last week (and by last week I mean sometime end of October) when Bryan called me from a different job site and said he was talking with Jason - the plumber, who was on that same job site - and Jason asked why we are not putting radiant heat in the garage.  The original plan was for radiant in the new foyer/laundry area/powder room - all the other spaces that will have a concrete slab floor - but a Modine heater hanging in the garage.  Turns out it would cost about the same if we bag the Modine and go with radiant, although having a heated garage floor seems terrifically decadent to me.  Right?  But Bryan said after a couple of years the Modine would start getting noisy and since my bedroom will be above the garage I would hear it kick on and off.  A heated floor makes zero noise, and my car will be VERY happy in the winter when all the snow and ice will melt off the underside while parked overnight (hence the drain in the floor).  If the price is the same, who am I to say no to that kind of luxury.  Right?  He also said something about it being more energy efficient but I stopped listening when I realized I could walk barefoot into the garage in the middle of winter.  Why I would need to I don't know, but it is now an option.

Since we are racing against the impending arrival of Old Man Winter, which screws with the schedule of the concrete guys, Jason came over to rough in the plumbing on a Saturday.  That was November 7th, and here's StanLee checking to see if there's any activity he needs to supervise at 8:30 am:

Luckily it was a beautiful day, which honestly was weird for the first week of November.  I said it before but I will say it again - considering the late start we got on this project all the additional decent weather was a total gift. 


Before any trenches were dug I was able to make a last minute change to the size of the powder room.  The door from the foyer to the garage, in front of where Bryan is standing in this picture, is about eight inches further to the right than where it is supposed to be and although that means reconfiguring a coat closet, it works out to my benefit.  The powder room now gets to be about a foot longer, and I'm going to ditch a short length of interior wall right inside the front door (part of the original coat closet) in favor of keeping the space more open.  Accidental win/win.


 Now that the cement pond right outside my kitchen door is filled in, Bryan took down the Juliet balcony and Roxie was able to walk right out into her new foyer.

I think she likes it, although if there's a pile of dirt anywhere, she will find it.

Monday the 9th Bryan and Jake the bathtub guy came over to lay down the 2" rigid foam.

Mom had a front row seat for radiant tube installation, and this is how it looked when I got home.  Note this is just about the last day I will be able to take pictures with any daylight left at 4:30pm.





I picked up an awful lot of those blue foamboard staples so I'm gonna say Jason's accuracy was not 100% (sorry, Jason) but things are looking legit.  The concrete guys know we are ready and now we cross our fingers, hoping they show up in the morning.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

House to Home, Volume Ten - Looking Like a Cement Pond

It's a new week, it's a new month, and it's a whole new situation outside.  Good thing they can poor concrete walls in this kind of crappy weather.  Monday morning, November 2nd, view from the guest room window:

Exactly 24 hours later and the weather certainly hadn't gotten better:

They pulled all the forms off during the day and this is what I found when I got home a little after 4pm:

Woo hoo!  Super exciting.  There is a sleeve in the back wall for the water line (and maybe electrical?  I can't remember) and this one on the west side facing the road was a last minute addition.  It will connect to a drain in the garage floor.



Here's the guest room window view, then looking out the kitchen door:



When I back up a little, you can see I almost have a Juliet balcony in my kitchen!


Those 2x4s might keep ME from falling in the cement pond, but StanLee would fit right under there.

Troy was here again on Wednesday to start back-filling and compacting in the garage.  It's getting to be the time of year when I'm driving home from work in the dark, so good thing I've been "working the early shift."  My burglar alarm starts barking as soon as he senses activity outside, and these guys start their day a hell of a lot earlier than I do.  When Bryan told me I could live here through the whole process, he also said they would have me getting up with the chickens before the end of it.  No joke, people - no joke.  So now I go to work an hour early and come home an hour early, which allows me to see the progress in relative daylight.  Silver lining, I guess.






More fill and more compacting and more pushing dirt and boulders around on the outside on Thursday the 5th and GUYS GUYS GUYS!  I stood INSIDE my new front door!




Technically I did the day before also, but that was still quite a bit below grade.  Now I can walk right out my kitchen door!  Or more accurately, I can do a funky limbo move right out my kitchen door!

Here's the view from above on Friday, November 6th at 6:47am:


Mom and Roxie arrived to inspect the progress, and by the end of the day Troy had everything inside the cement pond buttoned up.



We're feeling the time crunch now because of the weather.  We got another reprieve (thank you, what a gift) but that means everyone on the planet who put their projects on hold is now hoping to jump start again.  The concrete slab pour is weather dependent and there's a bit more work to be done first.  That means Jason is up next.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

House to Home, Volume Nine - The Start of Something New

It's amazing how we went from tearing it down to putting it back up, practically on the same day.  Recap:  Troy showed up with his excavator to start demo on Monday, October 19th.  Two days later, on Wednesday the 21st, here is the only picture I have, which my mom took before heading home with Roxie:

Troy is marking out where he needs to dig the trench for the footings.  I was at my sister's house out of town all day so didn't see it in person again until the next day when I met Bryan to finalize the window package.  So this is mid-day on the 22nd:


There was a lot of measuring and leveling and checking right angles and probably a whole bunch of swearing about the amount of tree roots.  And rocks.  And more rocks.  Did I mention the tree roots?  The plumber was also there on Thursday installing a Rennai heater in the living room and I brought him a new kitchen faucet - the old one, which I loved dearly, was wrecked somehow when they worked on the water line switcheroo.  I'm a little vague on what happened.  The old pressure tank that I'm still using temporarily needed to be relocated because it was in the trailer, and the water line may have been replaced/re-routed/whatevered, but somewhere in the whole on/off, pressure/no pressure process the faucet suffered an internal explosion.  Or something.  A sediment issue?  I don't know, but it was fatal.

My next view of the progress was Friday the 23rd, after work.  I thought StanLee and I were just home for the weekend, but we ended up staying.  It was the beginning of the Hurry Up and Wait period.  Here's the guest room window view:


And here's the reverse of that view:


It's crazy how much this landscape changed over the course of a mere five days.

I had about a week to get used to all the open space (that last picture was taken from the road on Sunday the 25th) - there was no more activity until the following Thursday when concrete guys showed up to pour the footings.  Here are the obligatory guest room window views from 8:30 in the morning and again after work:



They were back again the next morning:

Time to put up the forms for the walls!  This is what I found when I got home from work on Friday the 30th:


(That one was taken hanging out the window at the top of my stairs - sort of above my kitchen door.  The window in this next picture.)





Subtle changes to the view from my thinking chair.


It took me a little while to notice that my garden fence was destroyed.  See those red metal things a few pictures back?  That's what they use to cart around all the wood forms, and someone dropped a full one on my fence.  Smashed it.



So far there have been a few things that have unwittingly been sacrificed, and this fence is not going to be one of them.  I don't particularly care for it, but it serves a purpose - all my daylilies are in that garden, and just a couple of weeks ago I spent half an afternoon planting 75 daffodil bulbs in there.  Without the fence as a visual barrier I'm 100% sure construction vehicles will drive right over the whole bed.  I'm leaving the bits and pieces there as a reminder and yes, the concrete guy is going to fix it later.

We ended October with this portrait of my house on Halloween.  I call it "Still Life With Buckets."