Monday, March 12, 2018

Basement Fireplace Demo


I'm not happy about writing this post.  At this very moment, K's sub-contractor is in our basement destroying the fireplace.  :-(   It's loud and I'm sad.

Here's the thing with the fireplace....  In my opinion, it was cool-looking!  It was original, 1950s pale long brick...  I liked it.  The people who built this house built that fireplace.

But the negatives...
-  It's HUGE.  It juts out into the room way more than is comfortable, especially once you include the thick tiled hearth.
-  It has never worked since we lived here.  It probably hasn't worked as a wood-burning fireplace in 30 or 40 years.   
-  Water has been leaking into it for all that time...  Water gets in through that little chimney stub out front when it rains.  We can hear it pouring into the chimney and fireplace.  K is certain that the whole thing is full of mold.
-  It would cost thousands of dollars to get it back into working condition.  And then what?  Neither of us actually wants a wood-burning fireplace in the basement.  If it was upstairs, maybe.  But that's not how this house is structured.

So, away it goes.... K is reclaiming the space.  And I'm pouting.  Can't help it.  :-(

This is what the fireplace looks like/ looked like when we bought the house.  We took down that smokey mirror right away.  There was an electric insert inside that looks like logs that glow when you click the switch.  No heat, just a little glow.  That stayed in there, probably until just yesterday!

And here's a picture from 4 or 5 years ago.  K mounted the TV over the fireplace mantel.  About 3 years ago she got a larger TV and put it on the wall opposite of the windows.  So then the mantel became a display shelf for lots and lots of Packer memorabilia.

So down it goes.  The space will be better used with it gone, I do know that.  It will create an entire usable wall, make for a better furniture layout, we won't have to worry anymore about the kiddo tripping on it and cracking his head, etc...

They are also pulling down the ceiling tiles.  Most of them are in good shape, but some were not and some were missing, so it made the whole ceiling look kind of junky.  K is not sure what she wants to do with the exposed ceiling, yet, if anything.  Possibly she'll spray the whole thing white, but we'll see.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Basement Window Replacement

K's college friend has been working with her off and on for the past year or so.  It's been nice for her to have someone else to help with the workload. 

Starting a few weeks ago, the two of them have been working on our basement in between projects for clients.  I'm not sure why she chose to start working on the basement now-- it's not really an urgent project, but maybe she just thought it would fit in well between the other paid jobs.

To start, they replaced the double window in the main room of the basement.  This window was maybe original to the house and maybe not.  Once they opened up the wall it actually looked like the original window was smaller, because there was some concrete repair added to the cement block around the window.  Either way, it wasn't a great window-- pretty drafty, rattled a lot when the trains go by. 

The egress pit outside the window also wasn't to code-- probably couldn't really call it an egress at all.  So they dug out the egress pit a TON.  Made it fully to code and lined it with some solid pressure-treated wood, landscape fabric, and stone.  She also had to make a lid for the pit, since our two-year-old would probably fall down the hole the first time we ventured out in the yard this spring....

K had a salvaged window from a home addition project a few years ago, and she'd been storing it in the garage all this time.  It was bigger than the window that was here in the basement, so they had to knock out TWO additional rows of cement block! 

It lets in a ton of light, and it's a better-made window.  It should cut down on the street and train noise coming in.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Mudroom Light Fixture

The beautiful glass light fixture in our mudroom was cracked when we bought the house.  Big surprise!  ;-)  Actually, I was surprised that there were even glass fixtures at all in the mudroom and hallway.  Every other one was broken, I think.  Anyway....

K brought home a same-size and same-era fixture and we decided it would be okay to replace the original fixture with this "new" one-- which was salvaged from a 1950s kitchen she just remodeled.

"New" on the left, and the original fixture on the right

They're both pretty, really heavy glass, similar look.  As much as I hate getting rid of original things from this house-- this fixture was already really broken.  At least we got to see what it looked like and were able to find something similar with which to replace it.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fence Post Progress

After the busy holiday long weekend, with family visiting and a lot of prep for the fence-- K got all of the remaining fence posts ready for the wooden fence!
Wednesday and Thursday were both really hot days, in the low 90s, but she worked right through it.  On Wednesday, I was able to help her set a few posts during the kiddo's nap, but she kept going after and did at least 20 more.  In addition to the posts her father got set over the weekend, we now have them all set up and ready for the boards.

Cement bags and poles waiting

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fences, Limestone, and Lithographs

It's been a fun 4th of July weekend, so far.  K's dad, sister, and our niece are visiting until Tuesday (the 4th.)  K's dad wanted to help us with our new fence, and today they got a ton of work done.

Over the past couple weeks, K and the guys who work for her have mapped out and mostly dug the post holes for our new fence.  But today K and her dad got like 10 posts actually measured and cemented in.  They did all the tricky ones, she said-- so after these, the rest will go in really quickly.

Bill, my father-in-law, was working really hard in the heat all day today.  For a long time this afternoon, he was digging on the side of the house where the fence will end at the path coming from our mudroom door.  I took a break from the kids and he showed me how he was running into a bunch of old stone and rebar about a foot under our "sidewalk."  The stone was chipping away, but of course he couldn't get past that rebar without a saw.

He showed me a cool rectangle stone that he dug up, and he had noticed that it had a really smooth top.  As I looked closer.... I noticed that it had writing on it.  I ran inside to grab a wet cloth, then wiped the dirt off it as carefully as I could.

There is careful etching in about 10 fonts on this stone... laying out the pattern for a Cashier's Check.
Unfortunately, through either the shovel chipping at it or just its original condition, there are chips missing in parts that could've probably provided some identifying information.  But, still.... what a cool find.

I had only a slight idea of what this was-- that it would've been used for printing.  But I would've expected the text to be reversed.  So that when it was printed the text on the paper would be correct.  I did a bit of searching online and quickly found that I was correct-- this is a lithographic stone, used for printing.  Some stones that I saw online had the text reversed and some had it the correct/forward way.

The stone is 8.5" long by 6.5" wide by almost 4" tall.  Pretty, white limestone, and lots of dirt on the sides.  Really cool....

K's dad unearthed more stones that were stacked up beneath our cement stairs and then the blacktop sidewalk leading to the alley.  Could these be more printing stones...?  He said they looked like stairs underneath our stairs.  We may not find out, though-- they got the post set and filled in the hole with cement.  I guess those stones will be left for another 50+ years for some future owner to discover....

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Almost-Complete Bedroom

Our bedroom is one of my favorite places in the house.  It's so calm because there is very little in it.  Four pieces of furniture -- bed, bench, and two nightstands.  And I love all those pieces, so it looks so simple and lovely to me.  Our bed frame is from Ikea.  The nightstands are from Target and I love them because they look so much like the ones I really wanted from West Elm.  But these nightstands saved us $300! The bench is also from Target, and was a wedding gift my my sister and brother-in-law.

The bedside lamps are from JC Penney, the Jonathon Adler collection.  The navy blue curtains are from... Bed, Bath & Beyond, I think?  We've had them for quite a few years now.  The gray and green bedding is from West Elm.  The new decorative pillow was my gift to K for our 2-year wedding anniversary, and it's from Etsy.

I think of this room as complete, but there is nothing on the walls!  We should probably get some art and photos in the room, and we've talked about it quite a few times, but it's just so simple and relaxing in there right now without anything...  I'm not sure I want to change it.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Complete Bathroom

Our bathroom....  is done!  We have a tub.  We have a huge shower.  We have a new vanity with two sinks and a big, mirrored medicine cabinet.  K is so relieved, and we both love this room. Baby V is also thrilled about the tub.

Storage on the left

Deep tub with storage ledge and spacious niche