Monday, April 30, 2007

Actual Real Blog-worthy Progress

For the first time in a few weeks I feel like I'm making some real progress again. Yesterday I finished stripping the other front parlor window opening and primed both. This morning I was ready to remove the two old windows and install the new Pella units. First thing was removing the old units. A couple of screws and they were good as gone since the window stops were already removed from inside and out.

Trim primed and old windows removed

Next I had to add a 1x4 piece to the top since the window was a bit short. It looks like when i gave my dimensions to order, they took them as rough in opening size, but what I gave was what I wanted the window to be. Anywho so I installed the filler which ended up looking fine, then cut and installed the window stops.

Filler piece and stops added to opening - note old weight pulleys visible

Next came time to try out the window for fit, then finally install for real. Once everything was shimmed and plumb and swell, the screws were set through the jambs and the shipping straps cut. I checked the window a few times opening and closing - and satisfied with that, moved on to the next.

Shimming the new window

Both windows are installed and ready for some touch up, caulk, and a final paint on the trim work. I still have one more parlor window on the side, but that needs to be stripped down first. I will probably do the three dining room units next since the paint comes off just looking at them - this is the sunny side.

Two more down - eight to go! least on the first floor

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Another Slow Week

Well another week of lots of work.... but not on the house. I picked up the garage door Sunday and it should work out great. Hopefully I can get to this project early this summer. On a bummer note, the windows I bought for the foyer window seat ended up being advertised wrong and won't fit, so the search once again continues. The guy I bought the garage door from just happened to be a custom window maker - so if a salvaged pair can't be found, I just may have him make them for me. He also gave me a good education on using a moulder/planer and some recommended brands. I'm currently shopping for one to start making the woodwork later this year. I already have all the red oak I need.

I picked up a neat map of Ridley Park from 1909 which shows the Hall house and the rest of the town at that point. I'll get this framed later on and display it somewhere in the house. I also picked up a postcard of the Penn Ave sister house I posted last week - a really awesome find. As soon as I can get the drivers working for my scanner with Microsoft VISTA (did I mention I already hate Vista??!!) I'll post it.

Fun stuff, but sure beats snaking sewer lines

After my 10 hour days at work, I've been able to get an hour or two starting to strip the the front parlor windows outside trim and sills. I wanted to get this done before I install the new windows, especially since I need to modify the stops a bit. So far one is done and I've started the second, it's quite thick and slow going. Also the second coat of mud is almost done in the powder room.

All stripped, ready for primer and a new window

Friday, April 20, 2007

Motherboard Meltdown

As if my plate wasn't already full, the computer decided to crash big time this week. I hoped that it was just the processor, but turned out the motherboard went belly up. In the good old days a few years back I could just grab a motherboard and be back in business, but the computer people have caught up and really have "their" stuff tangled in to the point where you can't swap parts anymore. So a new tower later I'm back online and the posts can continue. There was a time when I would have a few spare computers laying around built from thrown out computers sitting on the curb (which still had plenty of good parts).... the good ol' days.

salvaged window for butler stairs

Not too much to report. The window came for the butler stairs and looks great! Will need a full redo like the main staircase window I just restored. I have one coat of mud done in the powder room. I started scraping a parlor window outside casing/sill to start getting the windows done. I want to do any stripping first before I put the new Pella's in. I got a great deal on a garage door on EBAY and will pick up Sunday - my one day off. It is an all wood roll-up built to look a set of carriage doors, only 2 years old, and complete with opener. These are BIG money and I grabbed for a fraction of new cost. Plus will definitely make the garage look authentic compared to the more modern fiberglass/steal units.

first coat in powder room

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Porch Column Sneak Peak

I finally got a chance to open up and put together one of the new columns from Pacific Columns. It looks like they will work just fine and I managed to measure things right for a change. The quality is as good as I hoped and these suckers are HEAVY - about 80 lbs. a piece. I have all the equipment I need ready, a plan, and all I need to do now is make some flashing pieces to go over the top, which prevents rain water from getting inside them. They also need to be cut down to 5 feet instead of 6, which was the shortest they had available. The taper start about 1/3 up, so you have some room to cut before the diameter start to change.

In other progress, I'm in transition from the dining room to the kitchen/bath mudding. This is usually when I go looking for all the tools I've lost over the past project and finding the floor again under the dirt I've made. With the kitchen and powder room, I had to disassemble the kitchen table, island, hoosier, and stove. I need to get the GE Monitor Top out too, but not sure how yet! I brought it in myself, but had a chain fall over one of the joists above to raise and lower the mechanical part that sits on top of the cabinet (it's about 200 pounds). Unless I make holes through my new drywall job, I don't have this option again..... I'll get back to it later. I also had to remove all the bathroom items too. And where to put all this???? That the bigger question.

Today I finished up some loose ends in the bath - boxing in around the stack that sticks out a hair past the wall and adding corner beads. Tomorrow will hopefully get first coat of mud. I also finally put up a paint sample outside to see if it's what we like - you would think a 50 degree day would not be asking for much in the middle April, but not this year, it's taken almost 2 weeks to get a chance to do it. I like it, not sure if it's what I was going for or not. We'll see what my better half thinks and maybe try one or two others.
Finishing up another 70 hour week at work - phew... and only two more of them to go! Then progress will pick up again around here - and as a bonus, the piggy bank will be full again. But I guess I can't complain with what I've still been able to get done in the little free time left right now.

foyer closet painted - bring on the next project

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dining Room Colorized

The dining room is finally painted. Continuing in the Arts & Crafts color scheme, this time I used a Glidden color, since the Behr didn't have just the right shade... but I wish they did. The coverage is a far cry from the Behr (which isn't the greatest either) and definitely needs a second coat. I've been one coating everything so far till the woodwork, etc. is finished and then will finish up with a second coat to wrap up the downstairs restoration. I'm happy with the color choice and the drywall work appears to be better than I thought it was going to be once painted. I still need to finish stripping around the windows and the one remaining baseboard. The 4 accent lights will go back (already restored) and I still need to start restoration on the Gas/electric chandelier. Of coarse there's plenty of woodwork to be reproduced in another phase of the downstairs resto, and windows will be done next month.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Who Needs 10 Fingers??

I finally was able to finish the sanding in the dining room and the foyer closet this weekend and get them primed. Just to make this more challenging, it appears I broke my finger when snaking out the main drain. The first day I used the machine, I hadn't used one that size before - it's got some fight to it. Wearing rubber gloves, when that snake would start to wind, it would want to grab the glove and get wrapped into it. I had a few close calls, then finally that SOB grabbed on good wrapping the glove completely in till my fingers got jammed. Now to add to the problem, the motor had to come to a complete stop in order to be reversed... so when I grabbed the switch and tried to reverse it, the machine just kept on snaking my hand. Finally shut the machine off, then had to try and untangle the glove and get my hand free. It pinched two fingers pretty good. Well they looked ugly for a few days, but then the bruising went away, but not the swelling on one of them. Things subsided a bit till unloading the new windows I smacked it and disturbed something. By now the swelling hadn't come down in over a week and when moved a certain way - curses fly right out of my mouth! I'm no doctor, but I'd say it's broke. It's not the first time, so I didn't bother sitting at the hospital for 5 hours just to get a splint and a doc telling me to lay off the hand for a few weeks - yea right.... a little thing like a busted finger won't keep me from pushing ahead. Bought a $5 splint and good as new - though cutting-in while painting is not as good, at least now I have an excuse for the wavy lines.

I bought the leaded windows for the foyer and the porch columns came today. I also finished the template for the wrap around window seat in the Dining Room. Next will be painted Dining Room pics.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Foyer Window Search Over?

I located a pair of windows that just may be a winner at a salvage place online. Waiting for shipping totals but price is very reasonable. They are a slight compromise from original, instead of a wood muttin lattice pattern, these are leaded glass in a lattice pattern. Size is almost perfect fit too. Stay tuned. Still waiting for the window I bought for the butler stairs. If I buy this pair than the first floor will be done, and a huge sigh of relief since I have had a lot of heart burn over figuring out all these windows. The second floor will be easy, all Pella's like what I just ordered for the double hungs on the first floor. The third floor dormers are a no-brainer, I am getting new wood/aluminum clad and have the original grills replicated. These were the same design as the stained glass window I just restored for the stairs.

Here is another shot of the foyer windows, taken around 1912 with little Wally Hall playing with his wagon and bear - neat pic. Notice this shot shows the windows with their storms on as well.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Bare Minimum Progress

Night work and house work don't mix and you know which one is taking a hit right now. So this has been more of a research and regrouping period. Sanding is at a snail's pace in the dining room, I get about a wall a day sanded which are now done, still need to do the ceiling. The foyer closet is ready for prime and paint when I do the dining room. I picked up a sample of color for the exterior that I hope to apply next week when it warms up again. The back needs to get painted soon since it's been in primer all winter. Looks like I'll be using Valspar from Lowe's since that seems to be the best value without sacrificing quality. I picked up 5 gallons of the white for the porch and trim work. I picked up three more doors on EBAY from the same guy I bought the pantry - yea I payed for doors this time, but at $50 a piece for unpainted doors, seemed pretty good to me. They are 28" doors which I needed to build closets in the two front bedrooms - all I have now are mostly 30" and the two 28" doors I had are only paintable do to some damage, which I can now use downstairs for the powder room and dishwasher closet instead of the larger 30" which are larger than really needed.

The windows arrived and I had a fun 2 hours getting them, paint and a window price for the window seat. Then didn't get the screens so had to go back - add another hour. Other than the hardware not being brass, everything looks OK and ready to go.

I'm still debating what to do with the window seat windows. Look like getting two casement style with the lattice grill work (custom) to match what was originally there will end up setting me back at least $1500. Getting a pair with the standard divided light grills is around $900. I've had no luck finding originals in the size I need. I bought a pair a few months back with beveled glass that matched the sidelights for the front door I'll be installing, but they're a few inches narrower and I now don't thing will look right when installed. There's also the matter of being able to open them and efficiency which getting an original probably won't allow. But I do need to come up with something this year.

1930's picture of Sarah Hall showing original window seat windows

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Sister Of Hall House

Not much progress to report - too busy makin' money for the summer projects. Here are two angles of the house two blocks over almost identical to the Hall house. The basic structures are the same, but it is lacking in a few details. The added porch roof is missing, the basement door is on the side under the main stairs inside, the foyer window seat is raised to make a bay window with a large sill instead of a seat, the design of the main front dormer is different and the side is standard shake instead of the staggered pattern on the Hall house. I got to go inside when it was for sale and the wood work is more traditional where the Hall house is much more arts & crafts influenced. Also the inside is watered down with less builder accessories as I guess you call them - no foyer fireplace or closet, no wrap around seat in the dining room. But it does have a nice 3 pane stained/leaded glass window on the landing above the ledge instead of the diamond window I have under the ledge. I would trade for this option - it is really nice. I also like the arch better outside on the top of the house than the angles one I have. I still was able to answer some questions going through it for basic trim work questions and it did lead to the discovery of the door between the two front bedrooms - which I still would probably not know about if I hadn't seen it here.

sister house

Hall house

sister house

Hall house

Oh.... the sewer line is FINALLY clear, and I didn't have to call anyone - whew, that was close! I now have a new appreciation for drywall sanding, at least for a little while...