Monday, October 29, 2012

Picking Up Speed

The finish line is in sight, and Tom and I have decided we need to sprint toward the end.  So we've up our efforts on the Cheney Cottage, and we're trying to get the house done in the next couple weeks.

We're making a lot of progress.  This weekend, Tom started refinishing the floor in the living room.  This involves renting floor sanders and sanding off all the accumulated dirt, paint, stain and glue on the floors, getting them down to the wood.  The first pass of sanding takes the longest, so he only finished that this weekend, but already the floors are looking a lot better.

 The living room floor, after the first rough sanding

Another view of the living room floor

Tom the floor sander, hard at work

Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen, working on installing the beautiful marble tile counter.  We went to Import Tile in Berkeley and found these tiles, marked way down from their original price ($26/sf).  We paid less than $11/sf, and the tiles are beautiful.

The marble kitchen counter

The counter in place

We still have to add the backsplash, which will probably be a blue-green glass subway tile.

We're also taking care of many of the small details.  One in particular made a big change, even though it was a small thing to do: we installed the doorknobs, escutcheons and door hardware on all the upstairs doors.  Now the doors actually look more finished, and do not have gaping holes where the newer lock ets were drilled out by the University.

The doorknob for the front bedroom

In the Delaney House, Dan has been making progress.  He has built the wall for the third bedroom, so the hallway now stretches from front to back on the second floor.  Having the stairs still strikes us as incredible, and we can't believe we can go so easily from the first to the second floor.  It makes the house really feel like one house!

The view down the stairs of the Delaney House

The new stairs in the Delaney House

Looking up the stairs at the 11 foot ceilings (yet to be repaired)

The new wall in the hallway, looking toward the back of the house

So next up, more floor sanding and the installation of the backsplash.  Once the floors are done upstairs, we'll install the radiators, and the heating system will be working.   There's still trim to paint in the bedrooms, kitchen and bathrooms, and then we should be close to done with the Cheney Cottage.

So we hope to soon have a family living in the house - the first family to live there since the late 30's!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cheney and Delaney, moving forward

Well, actually, neither house is physically moving - and I'm certainly thankful for that! They are both on their foundations and staying there.

But we've made a lot of progress on both houses:

In the Cheney Cottage, we now have running water in the sink - a huge step forward. Bill Reyno has been spending a lot of time in the crawlspace with his crew, and the heating system is going in.

The upstairs bathroom sink, with running water

Tom and I spent time last weekend patching the floors on the first floor, and Dan followed up doing some of the smaller holes.  So the downstairs floors are now ready to be refinished - the job for  this weekend.
Tom climbing out of the crawlspace while we work on replacing floorboards

We are on track to actually finish the Cheney Cottage in the next couple weeks.

In the Delaney House, the stairs are in, and the downstairs walls have all been built. The upstairs framing is mostly done as well.   All the beams and reinforcing have gone in, and the house is solid and ready for plumbing and wiring.

So the plan is to finish the Cheney Cottage soon (kitchen counters, more plumbing fixtures, floor refinishing and woodwork finish).  Then we'll tackle the Delaney House, finishing wiring, plumbing and working on finishing walls and ceilings.  The hydronics still need to go in at the Delaney House, and then the topping slab poured and the first floor installed over it.

The amazing part for me is how the houses are both really feeling like houses again. The Cheney Cottage, once we got the plaster in place, seems to have moved back to being a real house, one where soon people will be living. The Delaney House started feeling more whole as soon as the stairs went in - we no longer have to climb the ladder to the old front door on the second floor. That door will remain in place, but will lead to a second floor balcony (formerly the front porch).  

There is still a ton of work to do. But both houses are becoming more and more complete. It's amazing.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Continued Progress

In the Cheney Cottage, things are moving along quickly.  The heating system is being installed, the plumbing is approaching completion - and most exciting to us, we now have a working toilet in the upstairs WC.
The toilet in the WC in the Cheney Cottage

But most of the progress has happened in the Delaney House this week.  Dan and his crew have gotten all the new floor joists and beams in under the upstairs bathrooms, so the house really is structurally sound.  The walls for the downstairs bathroom and bedroom, along with the utility room, are now all in place.  And the doors are at the shop, getting put into jambs and made ready for installation.  

 Three brightly painted houses

The most noticeable change is the paint.  Dale and her crew have been working on scraping and prepping the house, and now there is a coat of paint on the sides and back of the house.  The front of the house isn't ready for paint yet - there is still trim to put back and porch columns to install.  But the sides of the house that have been painted are looking good, and the 140 year old redwood siding has cleaned up amazingly well.  The house is also weatherproof - a good thing, considering it rained this week.

Lots more to do.  But continued progress.  Come by and check it out!