Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Before the Rain

The base of the dining room cabinet, ready for refinishing

Jimmy has been hard at work in the dining room, doing the final scraping. There is only the door to the kitchen left to scrape - everything else has been done.

The built in cabinet in the dining room

Outside, Tom cut the tops of the fence posts to match the design of the newel post inside the Cheney Cottage. Except for having someone come into the gate and steal our Sawzall, everything went well, and the fence is mostly done (except for painting it). We're going to hold off on building a front gate until after the walkway and stairs are completed.

Unfortunately, there are a series of storms lined up to hit the Bay Area, so work is probably going to be pretty much stopped for the next couple days. We hope the guys can get back to working on the framing of the first floor of the Delaney House in the next couple days.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fences and Foundations

The foundation for the bay window at the front of the Delaney House

The Delaney House has a new foundation. It's not sitting on it (yet), but it's there and ready.

On Wednesday, the foundation was poured, and the guys spent Thursday and Friday stripping the forms off the concrete, and starting to put the sole plate down on top of the foundation.

The cut out for the back door of the Delaney House

This is exciting to us because it's real progress - a new foundation is definitely progress - but also because we're getting closer to getting the Delaney House back on terra firma. Next week, the guys will start building the exterior walls that will support the Delaney House, as well as the beams and bearing walls inside.

Looking from the front toward the back - note foundation for bearing wall in hallway

And then the house will finally be sitting on its new walls, ready for all the interior improvements, as well as siding, windows, doors, etc.

Meanwhile, out front of the Cheney Cottage, we finished the new fence - at least, we got it put together. Assuming it doesn't rain tomorrow, we will paint it and finish the posts.

We also replaced the window in the front of the Cheney Cottage, the one with the bullet hole left over from when the house was sitting in the field in Albany.

Dale also was over on Friday, and put the purple paint on the west side of the house. Although the trim is still mostly not painted, the house is definitely looking more like one house!

Tomorrow: we hope to paint the fence, and I plan to install the hard wired smoke detectors.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

An Exhausting Day

We got a lot of the fence built today, but it was pretty exhausting. Tom's back is better but still not back to normal, so he was moving pretty slowly today. So it took more time and effort than we had expected.

In looking at Chalet style houses, it seems most of the fences are rustic looking: split rail is common, but so are picket fences and board fences. We thought about doing a board fence with cut outs to match the cut outs on the porch railings, but we realized this would probably be a graffiti problem. So we decided to build a picket fence, and we bought some used 2" wooden rods from Ohmega - 48 of them, each one 7 feet long.

We started by taking the wooden poles we had bought, and cutting them down to 3 1/2 feet long. Then we ripped each one in half - so we ended up with 192 pickets for the new fence.

The we set the 4x4s on the new retaining wall. The 4x4s were the corner posts in the Delaney House's old basement, so they are true 4x4s (a 4x4 made today measures 3 1/2 by 3 1/2). However, because the hold downs for the fence are made for today's 4x4s, we had to use the router to remove some wood to make a place on each post for the hold downs. Then we had to drill out bolt holes, and set the posts, making sure they are plumb.

After that, we put up the horizontal boards between the posts, and started nailing up the pickets. We also moved the old gate over so it's now situated at the opening where the stairs to the Cheney Cottage will be. Eventually, we'll build a new gate for the fence, once the stairs are in, but for now we're re-using the old gate from the chain link fence.
A new fence and an old gate in front of the Cheney Cottage

The fence isn't done - about half of it still needs pickets, so we left the chain link on that part. And on the left side of the property, the chain link is where the driveway will be.
The fence and the opening for the driveway

But again - more progress. Just so exhausting. I need a drink.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Ready to Pour

The forms for the new foundation under the bay window of the Delaney House

Progress has been made on the Delaney House foundation, and the forms are all in place. On Tuesday, the inspector from the City of Berkeley is coming to make sure everything is done correctly. Then on Wednesday, the pumper and the cement mixer will arrive, and the new foundation will be poured.
The forms for the south east corner of the foundation

We spent quite a bit of time yesterday with Andus, Henry and David, going over all the plans. It turned out that a couple details needed to be adjusted, so we called David Inlow, the engineer for the Delaney House, and he gave us the thumb's up for the change. The plans are getting straightened out,

We're still getting everything together to build the front fence. Tom threw his back out yesterday, so he was not up for working today. I spent time stripping paint, doing a little wiring etc, and then we picked up the last items for the fence. Assuming his back is okay tomorrow, we hope to build most of it.

We also noticed that the Satsuma Plum Tree that we moved from Karen's house in Oakland is now starting to bud out. It seems the tree really did survive and is getting ready to produce leaves and (hopefully ) plums.
New leaves on the Plum Tree, silhouetted against the Delaney House

New buds on the Plum Tree

So tomorrow we hope to get the fence in place. After the foundation is poured, we want to get Hilary to dig the trenches for the sewer lines, so the pluming can start to go in. Next weekend, we should be installing drain lines inside the house, getting them ready to connect to the new sewer lines.