Monday, June 6, 2011

Trim and Wire

It was yet another wet, chilly weekend working on the Cheney Cottage. Which is a pretty strange way to describe a June weekend in California. Once again, the lot on 62nd Street is muddy and flooded. It's a lovely place to spend the weekend.

We seem to have gotten the tarps repositioned so the roof is again not leaking, except in one or two spots. Tom went out and bought some metal pails, which are strategically positioned to catch drips, so we're doing well with preventing further damage, beyond the wet plaster where the drips are coming through.

But it's brought up the need to replace the roof, which is something we've known about but have been trying to ignore. We can't ignore it any longer, and so, even though we can't afford to have someone do the roof, Tom and I will start tearing off the old roof, and re-roofing the Cheney Cottage, probably in the next week.

In an earlier post, I talked about how we have gotten too old to do some of the work, and roofing was definitely high on the list of what we're too old to do. The roof of the Cheney Cottage, with jerkinhead gables (otherwise known as "clipped gables") on all four sides, and steep pitch, is difficult to work on. But as we have always said "Poverty is the Mother of Invention", so our lack of working capital has made us younger - or raised the age of roofers in the Bay Area.

Anyway, we'll try to do it without falling off and breaking our necks. Stay tuned for that.

In other news, the wiring is moving along, and we probably have about half of the interior wiring completed. It's a big job, and at time complex. I had to sit and again figure out how a three way light switch works, so I could wire them in correctly, but I got it done, and a lot of the outlets are now roughed in as well.

When the Cheney Cottage belonged to the University, they upgraded the wire by running conduit along the surfaces, and through the walls, and mounted electrical boxes for switches and outlets on the surface. But for the house to really be a residence again, we need to put the outlets and switches in boxes that are recessed into the wall. In many places, it's easy to do, because the plaster is missing, but we still have enough walls where we have to cut through the plaster to put new electrical boxes.

Cutting through plaster and lathe is dirty and dusty, and often cracks the surrounding plaster. But as we already have tons of plaster to patch, what's a few more holes? So now the front bedroom has a wall switch that is connected to the overhead light, and all the wiring is hidden inside the walls (or will be when the walls are patched). Doing the wiring also includes fishing the wire through the walls, so this weekend Tom spent a lot of time in the attic, drilling holes through top places and fishing the wire down for me to grab. It sounds easy, but again: dusty, dirty, and often frustrating.

The other big job that is progressing is we're continuing to work on the exterior of the house, and we have a lot of the trim up on the front and on the east side. It all looks somewhat bizarre, with the old wood trim covering the new wood siding, but once the house is painted, we hope it'll look like it did in 1902.
The Cheney Cottage, with much of the second floor trim re-attached.
So progress is being made. Next up: more wiring; starting to install the plumbing; the foundations for the front and back porches; and the new roof.

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