Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let Me Tell You Why I Suck at Blogging

I've clearly fallen off the blog bandwagon. Don't worry, there's lots to report. I'm just keeping busy trying to save the neighborhood.

So in honor of all of you, this photo is for me.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Ladies & Gentleman....The Doors!

Okay so I know I'm really behind....we've been busy. More on that later.

I wanted to share that we found a suitable salvage door at a nearby salvage shop, White River Salvage

The door we're replacing is this monstrosity.

We wanted something that was similar to the original back door off our kitchen. Here's a photo.

Say hello Miles. Hello Miles!

And here's the one we picked out.

Very close...except without the dividers in the glass. We opted for this one because there is a three pane transom above the door and the wife couldn't handle it if the transom was three panes across and the door was two. Sheesh!

And, we're changing the door around so the door opens inward and we're adding a full-view screen/glass door for the exterior.

So Miles can look out the window.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Oh That's Sweet......A Hugger Tree

Well with all the bad storms we've been getting in Indianapolis lately, we knew we'd somehow be affected.

We didn't have to worry about flooding because our house is up on a small hill. So if our house ever floods, well then there's a lot of people that are really going to be screwed.

And since we're on a hill, I have this fear that one day our house will be struck by lightning. Well, not this time.

So what does that leave? Oh yes. The wind.

Well Monday's wind apparently scared one of our maple trees so bad that the thing decided to grab on to our house to keep from blowing away.

The problem is that he stretched just a wee bit to far and broke himself. Now we've got half a tree stuck to our house and a few hundred dollars worth of damage to our new roof.

Plus, we're going to need to have call a tree guy to get in here and remove this thing.

Spectacular! Mother nature can be a real bitch sometimes.

$300 to take the branch off the roof and basically butcher what's left of the tree so the other damaged portions don't fall on it too.

Next up is the estimate for the roof damage. Hopefully it won't be too awful.

Hmmm....wondering if I can apply for a FEMA grant to help pay for the damage....

Oh Nothing Major....Just a Small Fire

So the other week while the painters were priming the back of the house, they bumped the conduit that houses the (dated) electrical wires for the motion detector light.

Apparently this severed the lines and shot sparks up the side of the house which then lit the side of the house on fire.

Nothing major. Right? Hey does wood burn? Oh....oh my God! Holy Crap!

Actually it really wasn't bad. It just lit some of the paper under the shingles on fire. Luckily they were around when it happened. And it was promptly extinguished.

So this past weekend....the light you see in this photo....was permanently removed. Because hey, I'm not really into burning my house down. Not yet anyway...I'm close.

That removal process itself is worth a post of it's own as 6 foot 4 Brian had to fit his entire body into a crawl space the size of a coffee table to reach the wiring for that light.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I'm Flattered

So I installed this little software thingy called Sitemeter on my page. It tracks your blog visitors so you can see how many people are reading your blog.

It also shows you the pages that referred visitors to your site. Anyway, I happened to notice that I was receiving a few visitors from a website called The Arts & Crafts Society. When I clicked on the link to investigate I found the following:

Blog of the Month

Read about the trials of restoring a Stickley bungalow at Damn You, Stickley Bungalow!. The house is spectacular.

Wow! Really? I'm honored. Thank you!

Welcome to those that have joined us from The Arts & Crafts Society. Feel free to look around and kick the tires a bit.

My home blog is your home blog.....or something like that.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Thanks for the Help.....You Jerks

It's so great living in a neighborhood where everyone helps each other out with their home remodeling projects.

Just last week some friendly neighborhood folk decided that they'd like to help us paint our house.

Unfortunately, their method, while unique, would take just a wee bit longer than the old brush and roller method.

And yellow isn't really part of our paint scheme.

But thanks for the offer.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I'm On a Roll

4, count them 4 blog posts today.

Actually, I guess this makes 5.

Your Firearms Are Useless Against Them!

Saturday I noticed a bee had found it's way into the bathroom. At first I didn't think much of it other than OH S**T A BEE! Our windows had been open for a few days and perhaps one snuck in through a hole in a screen somewhere.

Then a few minutes later, while taking some laundry to the basement, I was greeted by another. And another...and another..... And 7 more after that.


How the hell does that happen? Do bees even like basements?

After successfully coating my entire basement in Raid, I went upstairs to let the dogs out. And cry a little. That's when I noticed it. Just outside the back of our house was a swarm of bees buzzing around a hole in the side of the house.

Here's a photo of the hole....and yes, that's our plumbing...and no, I have no idea why it's like that.

There were easily 50 to 80 bees buzzing around the hole. I was pissed off. And a little scared. Mostly scared.

I flooded the hole with Raid (Thank goodness that stuff shoots out in a stream). After a few confusing seconds of watching their brothers and sisters die, the rest packed their little bee bags and left town.

Good thing the wife wasn't home. She would have moved out permanently.

Anyway, while thinking up a title for this post, I was reminded of the following scene from Tommy Boy regarding bees.


Do You Want Some Fries With Those Shakes?

They've started pulling off the cedar shake shingles on the South side of the house. The entire side will get a new set of shakes and any old shakes that aren't totally destroyed will get re-used on other parts of the house. the name of preservation...and by preservation I mean cost saving.

And this is the view from the attic looking out. This was a little disturbing.

I wasn't expecting to see that much daylight.

Nor was I expecting to see the bat that wandered in through the gaps in the wall.

Time to change my pants.

Pink and Purple Houses

The painting has started....well sorta. The priming has started. The painters started on the lower half of the house last week and had much of it primed by the time I came home from work.

It was weird looking. Not because our primer is purple....but because our house doesn't look like a pile of garbage anymore.

Well, okay. At least it's a purple pile of garbage. It's appealing to those that like purple garbage.

And let me just state for the record that picking out paint colors was one of the worst experiences of my life. I hope I never have to go through that again.

After 13 quarts and 5 mini samples....we finally have our colors.

For those that are interested, we chose the following: (All are Benjamin Moore)

1st Level: Bittersweet Chocolate
2nd Level: Fatigue Green
Trim: Fairview Taupe
Sash: Townsend Harbor Brown

Amazingly we're getting lots of comments from people who like the purple primer color.

That doesn't include one neighbor who remarked "That's not your actual color is it?"

No sir....that's not our actual color. By the way, I've never told you how lovely your faded pink bungalow looks. No really, I love it.

Recycling and Reinvestment

Last year when we removed the aluminum siding, we decided to take it to the local scrapyard instead of just throwing it away. It was an easy decision when we found out the scrapyard was paying 36 cents a pound. Plus it made us feel good that we weren't filling the landfill with something that could be reused.

So we scraped about 4 or 5 truckloads worth and pocketed about $850.

However we weren't able to remove all of the aluminum. When we started on the exterior of the house a few weeks ago, we told our contractor to save the rest.

There was more than we expected. In all, we salvaged another 250 pounds.

Last weekend we fired up Old Smokey for the first time this year and headed off to the scrapyard.

I say "we" because the lovely wife accompanied me for the first time. She had never been to the scrapyard before. It was like a grade school field trip for her.

You can imagine our combined joy and sadness when we found out that the price of aluminum had gone up quite a bit since our last trip. They were now paying 72 cents a pound.

We pocketed a little more than $188 for this trip. Joy!

Had we waited to take all the siding until this year, we would have doubled that $850. Sadness :-(

So what did we do with the extra $188? Buy a light fixture? Put it towards paint? But some new fangled household tool?

Hell no, we spent it on booze! And lots of it.

The Near East Side Pub Crawl was that evening which conveniently allowed us to reinvest those dollars with several local bars.

Maybe it's a good thing we only got $188. That would have been one hell of a hangover.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Hey Baby, Nice Shingles!

So the roof's finally done. We've gotten several complements on it. But I'm not sure how to take those.

Shingles are shingles. Sure, there are differing degrees of shingles. Different colors, sizes, etc., etc...

We agonized over our shingles. Our roof, if you haven't noticed, is very prominent on our house. Okay prominent is an understatement.

That thing is a freaking olympic ski slope.

Anyway, we knew that our choice for roofing would be a critical one since everyone is going to see it.

This was our roof before the replacement. Grey-three-tab. Basic.

It did it's job. I had no complaints. I just knew that if I ever had the option, I'd like to upgrade.

So we had the option. And we upgraded. The original roof was cedar shake. One of our contractors told us that if we wanted to do the roof in cedar shakes, we'd pay upwards of $15,000 in materials alone. So that was an easy "no". Instead we chose a triple layer asphalt shingle that would give us the appearance of real cedar shakes.

We opted for Certainteed Landmark TL (the TL is for Triple Layer). Picking the right color took FOREVER! But we think we're satisfied.

And here's a close-up shot

We also think we made the right decision because we keep getting complements on it.

Now I'm really nervous about what they'll think of our paint colors.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When it Rains it My Dining Room...OH S#%@!!!!

As you may have noticed from my previous post, we're getting a new roof. Well, the weather hasn't exactly been real cooperative lately. We seem to have had more rain days then sunshine lately.

When you're trying to replace your roof, and it keeps raining, well that can cause a few problems.

After a short mother's day weekend with the inlaws, we returned on Sunday to find it raining, in not one, but TWO rooms of the house.

The dining room, which yes, is on the first floor, got it the worst. Water poured in through the cracks in the plaster and drained out of the box beams onto the oak hardwood floors. Both ceiling and floors are screwed.

It also rained in the top floor of our second story sunporch. We had partially finished that room with new drywall but hadn't yet painted the walls because we wanted to do the floors first. I guess, it's a good thing we waited. Because now we need to re-do the ceiling.....again.

Here's a shot of the dining room ceiling with water stains and cracked plaster:

Dining room floor aftermath...notice the warped floorboards:

Sunporch ceiling water stains on drywall:

Our contractor feels terrible. I understand. I would too. It wasn't his fault. It was the roofing contractors fault. Luckily, they've offered to pay for all the repairs. Depending on what the final cost is, they may turn it over to their insurance company.

It could have been worse. I'm over it. And that's why, boys and girls, it pays to make sure your contractor has insurance.

On a positive note, all of the plants we stored in the sunporch over the winter didn't need watering when we got back.

Now playing: Starsailor - Good Souls

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Someone's Getting a Facelift

So we've finally started the exterior rehab work. Our house is a disaster right now.

After the roof is done, most of the exterior carpentry will start. We'll be replacing a lot of cedar shakes as well as patching some bad spots in the siding.

Then comes the paint. And I'm not kidding when I say that I've been to the paint store 13 times. Let's just say we're thoroughly testing our color options. Thoroughly.

Two colors down.....two to go.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Speedheater Infrared Paint Remover....Does it Work? Part 1

We got an unexpected Christmas present this year that I'm looking forward to testing out now that the weather is nice.

Okay, well I guess it wasn't completely unexpected. I put it on our wish list but I didn't actually expect to get it.

The Speedheater Infrared Paint Remover claims to remove paint safely and easily using low infrared heat.

I tested it out in the basement on a set of shelves we've been stripping for...oh like 4 years. It seemed to work but I think it takes some getting used to. It was the middle of December and I was stinking up the house so I decided I'd wait until Spring. I'm curious as to how much paint it actually takes off versus chemical strippers.

The wife and I are pretty meticulous when it comes to stripping our woodwork. Typically we use chemical stripper but that stuff isn't cheap and it isn't exactly good for anyone to touch, breathe, eat, look at, talk about....etc.

My thought is while this might not negate the need for chemical strippers, it certainly might help us minimize the use of it. So I guess I'm setting low expectations.

We've got a few things on our porch to strip over the next month or so....I think I'll give it a try.

Has anyone used it? What are your thoughts?

And yes Carmen, you may borrow it.

Now playing: The Gutter Twins - Bete Noire

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Our First Room....Our First Mistakes

So if I haven't mentioned this before, this is our first house.

Em had lived in a historic house all of life before she went to college. I had lived in one in Kenton, Ohio up until age 10 when we moved to Cincinnati. From then my family lived in an apartment until I left for college in 1994.

So, I had zero preservation experience, zero home repair skills, zero pretty much everything when it came to managing a house. In fact, until we moved to this house, I had never even mowed a lawn.

Think about that. I was 27 before I mowed my first lawn. Wow...can't say I regret missing out on that joy. I hate mowing.

Anyway, so Em was the only one of us with any preservation experience. When we moved in she had just received her master's degree in historic preservation from Ball State. She had also spent much of her teenage years helping her parents restore their four square in Huntingburg, IN.

That wasn't enough to stop us from making a few mistakes in our restoration. But, I guess most people go through a trial & error phase when they do these things. You try, you fail, you adjust, and you hopefully avoid making the same mistakes twice.

One mistake I wish we hadn't make occurred during the restoration of our first room. The one we lovingly called the "Pink Room".

Pink carpet, pink wallpaper on the walls and ceiling. We even found out that the girl who used to live in that bedroom was named Rose. Rose later apologized to us and said "My parents never should have let us pick out our own wallpaper"

It was the first room we conquered and almost finished. You can see slideshow of the restoration here . In terms of decor, it's the least "arts & craftsy looking" room we have right now.

I say almost finished because we still have a stencil to paint on the wall. We found an original stencil underneath all the wallpaper. We traced it and plan to recreate the design just above the paint line near the ceiling.

So what was the mistake? Well after stripping and staining all the woodwork, we coated the woodwork with polyurethane.

What? Really? That's the mistake?

Sure, some might not consider that a mistake. However, we now we wish we had used shellac or lacquer. The latter two are favored by preservation purists.

Now that we're working on our second room, we don't plan on making the same mistake. And believe me, if that's the only mistake we ever make, I think we'll be okay.

But I seriously doubt we'd ever go back and re-strip and finish the wood in lacquer or shellac. We've got plenty of other things to keep us busy.

Like mowing the damn lawn.


I forgot that part of the original intent of this post was to share our trick for removing wallpaper. Em learned this while working on the restoration of the West Baden Hotel.

Score the wallpaper using the sharp tip on a 5-in-1 or something else with a sharp edge. We tend to score diagonally downward in one direction and then go back over the area in the opposite direction.

Then, we use a garden pesticide sprayer to spray a mixture of 409 and hot tap water on the wallpaper. You don't need a ton of 409. Maybe one cup of 409 for every 3 gallons of water. Let it sit for a few minutes and then start scraping. It's worked for us several times and it's cheap, quick and easy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

And Welcome Back .....Again

So this seems to be a habit of mine. Write a post or two, take a year off and just comment on everyone else's blog.

So have we been hard at work? Sorta. Is that what's motivated me to write? No.

Our friends over at Irvington Bungalow have been relentlessly blogging away over the past few weeks and I refuse to be outblogged. So I'm putting on my game face.

So what's been happening in the Ol' Stickley Money Pit over the last few months? Big changes are just around the corner.

But first let's catch everyone up on a few things that have happened that I neglected to talk about.

And while I get my thoughts and photos together, here's a little inspiration for your viewing pleasure.

Prepare to meet your match, Irvington Bungalow

Now playing: AC/DC - Its A Long Way To The Top (if You Want To Rock In Roll)
via FoxyTunes