Monday, November 28, 2011

The Wreckage Becomes a House Again

The Cheney Cottage is starting to feel like more than a project to us - it's starting to feel like a real house.

We have done a lot of work since the last post, and progress is being made. Almost all the trim, (including the baseboards) has been reinstalled upstairs. On the surfaces that don't have huge holes in them where the beams went through (there are a couple), the walls have a finished look to them.

There are a couple bedroom walls that are so badly damaged they have to be removed and re-plastered. Tom has been taking them down, and fortunately, they are all exterior walls - so he is taking the opportunity to insulate the walls.

The paint stripping is moving along well. The dining room is done, and we've been trying to finish all the scraping in there. Jimmy, one of our neighborhood handymen, has been working with us on this, doing a great job. The living room ceiling is probably 70% done, and most of the trim is done (except the baseboards)

The front porch is mostly done as well, with siding installed and the original handrail back in place. Since the stairs originally went down along the house, there was only one handrail, so we have to replicate it on the other side. But we have the existing one as a model, so it shouldn't be that difficult to do.
The porch and railing
One of the things that has made the house feel more together is that we spent a day cleaning. We picked up all the various piles of paster and dust, and vacuumed the floors throughout the house to remove the dust. It made a huge difference, especially when we're working.

Yesterday, Johno stopped by and we sat out on the porch steps and watched the neighborhood go by, drinking tea and eating pound cake. We've had beautiful weather, and it felt great to sit and be part of the street scene. All the neighbors stop by and ask how the project is going, when we think we'll be done, and to tell us how much they like the house. And with it back together, sitting on a foundation and with a new roof, we're liking it a lot more too!

So next weekend, the re-plastering begins.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Finishing the Porch

The porch is pretty much done. Except for the railings on the stairs, and the shingles on the roof, the porch is finished.
The mostly completed porch
We started by making the rafter tails that support the roof over the stairs. Then we made a dutchman in each to connect them to the existing rafters.

Next, we put 1x6 up to create the porch roof. We also installed the last two decorative supports (the ones under the rafter tails by the stairs). One of them was missing a piece, so we made a replacement piece and glued and nailed it on.

Then we put building paper on the roof to make it weatherproof - and the porch will now protect the stairs.

The view from the front door
We also spent some time this weekend working inside, finishing the trim in the downstairs bathroom, cleaning up, etc, Next weekend, the railings go on the porch, and the plumbing work begins in earnest. We'll also install shear walls below the porch, and start adding the last of the siding (along the crawl space).
The look of the porch, circa 1962

The porch today
With the roof done, the house is pretty much weatherproof, and we spent part of the rainy day on Saturday just listening to the rain on our new roof. Nothing like knowing the house is now safe from the weather!

We also had a visit from one of the firefighters, who told us about the fire in the apartment across the street. All three units are now empty, and the fire pretty much gutted the middle apartment. We don't know what plans the owners have for the building, but for now, it's boarded up.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

62nd Street Happenings

We spent Sunday at the Cheney Cottage, working on the porch - to mixed results.

We installed the last pieces of decking, did some work on strengthening the railings, and figured out what pieces went where. Things were moving along and we were making pretty good progress. But then, late in the day, I was putting up the pieces that support the roof on either side. They are mostly decorative, but give the porch a distinctive look. I couldn't get them to fit right, and I finally realized why: we put the horizontal pieces in at the wrong spot.

So next weekend, we have to take them out and reinstall them, then redo the support pieces. It'll make the porch look like it did originally, and will be a much cleaner look - but it's a pain in the ass to have to re-do work. I'm kicking myself for this - it is pretty clear in one of the pictures from 1962 how the support pieces connect, and we somehow missed it.

Except for the porch roof and railings, the porch is mostly done. We hope to get it all finished on Saturday.

We also had a couple visitors - blog readers who hadn't heard that the BAHA House Tour was cancelled. That was my fault, as I never posted that we weren't having the tour. When the BAHA Board came to see the house, we all agreed that the site was too rough for many of the BAHA members, and that we'd wait until the house was in more finished form. So Andus came by to bring flowers for the tour, and then Claire came by to see the house. She got a personal tour, so I hope it was still worth the trip. (Claire: I need your last name so I can add you to the guest book!)

In other news, there was a fire across the street today. Pete Alvaraz, who lives in the two story house across from us, filmed the fire in the apartment building next to him. It looks like it was a pretty bad fire, damaging both the second and third floors. Pete uploaded a video of the fire to YouTube.

We're looking forward to being back on 62nd this weekend and getting some work done. Although having a break has been nice, we're anxious to get back to work. It's supposed to rain tomorrow (Thursday) and Sunday, but since we now have a roof on the house, we're not worried about the weather. We just need to keep working!