Something that isn’t my house | Nile River Blanket Update

Nile River Ripple Blanket ... Progress

I always seem to have at least one blanket on the needles at a time.  For the last year it has been the Nile River Ripple Blanket.  Using Yarn i purchased at Stitches west two years ago while helping out Tactile in their booth for the fantastic color along with a plain old black from the craft store the blanket has a super nice hand feel from the colored nice yarn, and great shape/warmth from the cheap craft store yarn.

I am about 80% complete and this is totally my favorite point, where you get the warmth of the “blanket” on your lap while you knit on these beautifully dark and stormy weekends.

House Week 26: Putting Things Back in Their Place

Before the Taping and Mudding of the Drywall was a mad dash Veterans Day Long Weekend race to set as much siding as possible.  The goal was to power through as much as possible of the siding to ensure that we don’t crack my brand new drywall.  Awesome progress was made and in just over three days we finished most of the long walls of my home!  This did mean working by large lights as it was nearly pitch black each night when we quit, but it doesn’t look to bad in the daylight.  Actually i am super impressed with how much i LOVE my siding.  I know it’s what the house had before, but i think i had forgotten just how much character it gives to house.  Also it’s like putting an outfit on an androgynous paper doll, it just help everything make sense.

So the way this whole siding thing works is in lots of different steps, that all seem to involve painting.  The process has been something along the lines of this…

  1. Buy/Receive Siding
  2. Paint Back of Siding x2
  3. Cut Siding to appropriate length
  4. Paint Top and Edges of Siding x2
  5. Use Nail Gun (with mind of it’s own) to Set Siding to House
  6. Paint Overlap Area of Siding as fast a possible before father decides to put up other piece over the top of you x2
  7. Paint everything that is visible for a Third Coat
  8. Paint everything that is visible with different kind of pain to ensure it doesn’t Mold x2

Rinse and Repeat.  Needless to say I’m tiered of painting.  Unfortunately i decided i was tired when the earth decided it was time to rain so i got to paint on a ladder in the rain, oh the joy how i just i could put it into words.  Well it sucked, but at least i now get to lie in bed for an entire weekend while it rains and attempt to combat the cold that is threatening to destroy me.

Another push will occur in week 28 over Thanksgiving.  Yep, we know hw to celebrate all the holidays here in my family ; )  Below are the parents hard at work while i was between paint cans.  More outside pictures when everything is a bit more dry.

House Wk 26: Siding, a family affair

House Week 25: Completely Screwed Drywall

It finally starting to look like a house!!!  Week 25 brought the beginnings of real walls back into my house as the drywall was screwed onto the walls.  It’s amazing how much things change not being able to see through the walls anymore.

Drywall has been a long and painful road for me.  Six plus months ago i went through the rounds looking for a drywall guy.  I came across JR Drywall online and when he came out to give me a bid he was super nice.  As time went on i checked in with him letting him know in the summer that we were getting close (ever the optimist) and asked if he could come out so we could go through things once more just to be sure.  When he arrived at my house i immediately knew something was wrong as he was very short and stand off-ish.  First it was that i didn’t understand drywall and had lied to him about the size of the house, this after i had given him floor plans and walked with him on the job site prior to the initial estimate.  Next it was why did i think i deserved a level five smooth finish, did i think i was some one special, well of course i do, but more importantly … i’m paying for it.  All in all i was quite happy to see him rip up the contract and walk away … but it left me without anyone to drywall my house which was nerve wracking.

Wk 25: Screwed Drywall in Front Bedroom   Wk 25: Screwed Drywall in Looking through the Dining Room into the Living Room   Wk 25: Screwed Drywall in Living Room

* Front Bedroom, Dining Room Door to Living Room, Living Room Wall with Casement Windows*

I was back to square one, so i turned yet again to my trusty friend the internet to guide me to another drywall company.  And it did!  After speaking with a couple of companies and getting few estimates i decided to go with Barbero Drywall, and after seeing their work i am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  The Drywall was screwed on for the entire house in just under two days!!!  Next comes the Tape, Mud, and Smooth Finish.

Wk 25: Screwed Drywall in Kitchen   Wk 25: Screwed Drywall in Bathroom   Wk 25: Screwed Drywall in Hall side A

* Kitchen, Bathroom Shower Corner, Hall to Back Bedroom*

Not only were they patient while i actually got everything ready and signed off for the drywall but they have also been extremely clean, helpful, and have done a fantastic job.  Screws at the proper spacing or better, beautifully taped corners at the windows/doors, and they even helped me move the light cans in the bathroom after the last contractor had set them to far from the sink.  Out of all of the contractors i have worked with on this project so far i would have to recommend Barbero Drywall the most based on the honesty, reliability, and outstanding quality of work.  It’s nice to know that not *all* contractors are out get everyone.

House Week 24: Entry Doors

First off … doors!!!  I finally managed to get the entry doors back with them installed into their brand new jambs from the company i hired to do the work.  I say finally as it took five weeks to get the front, back, and bedroom French doors from them with 4 pieces of wood around them.  Suffice it to say I was more than disappointed.
I had originally hired the company, Wooden Window, to “remake” the original windows for the front of the house in the Front Bedroom as they were completely rotted out from being stored under the house for many a year.  It took about two weeks to finally get the person who the owner said “so and so will contact you tomorrow”.  I guess that should have been a sign, but them seemed nice so on i went.  Nice they were … some of the time, and the windows i got do look exactly like the ones that they were replacing, just in brand new condition.  The windows were actually not bad, they were just ridiculously slow.  Below are the original windows that are in the living room front wall which are still in fantastic shape so luckily they did not have to be replaced.
Wk 13: Original Front of House windows from 1921
The real problems started with the doors.  So a bit ‘o back story.  I really wanted doors for the house that would have actually been in the house back in the 20’s or 30’s instead of new hollow doors with plastic all over them.  I just wanted everything to actually look like it belonged once i get everything together.  I found both my back door and French doors at Urban Ore and picked out a beautiful front door at Ohmega Salvage which means i found doors without jambs, hinges, or any kind of weather stripping.  Apparently putting these things on can be a bit of a pain and we have been so crunched for time i decided to ask my new friends at Wooden Window if i could order the Jambs through them, of course they said through email with a smile.
The problems began when they said six weeks to make the three jambs which is insane.  I had been at their shop and they barely had anything going on or staged, lame!  Oh well, no judging so i just asked to please get it done as soon as possible as it was the only remaining thing for me to be able to get drywall, no problem i hear.  Well weeks of back and forth and finally they are ready and delivered (which is drama i’ll save for another day).  Having the doors in the jambs we set to installing them thinking one day max for all three.  Eight hours later we haven’t even finished the front door as the door was tweaked on the hinges and when closed stuff out a 1/2” at the top and was recessed in the jamb nearly the same amount at the bottom.  Seriously lame.  We moved on to the back door and set it in just under three hours which was acceptable.  When i called my rep at Wooden Window they didn’t answer, and it took two days to get an email reply even, you’d think they want to follow up on their work.  The story ends with a bitter gal who spent two hours on a Saturday in the rain listening the to owner try to tell us that it wasn’t there fault while he played with jabbing push pins into my new door jams. 
Wk 24: Back Door off the Laundry Room     Wk 24: French Doors in the Back Bedroom
Above are the back door and the French doors installed into their openings after about eight hours or tweaking from my family to fix the oversights of Wooden Window.  It’s better, well 50% better which is more than it was when they first delivered it, so i’ll take it.  I am trying to roll with it and treat it as “character” for the house instead of a massive reflection of the poor quality and communication of the company … it’s not working.
On a happier note i now have locks for the Front and Back doors that are beautiful and arrived exactly when Belmont Hardware said they would.  Belmont Hardware is a place i would completely recommend as their customer service was great, they called when they said they would, and gave me a discount since my father is an engineer!  I will definitely be going back.  I would take pictures of the locks, but they look weird not installed so instead i will regurgitate images from the internet for you imaginative pleasures.
Below is the Front Door entry set by Baldwin the “Richland”.  I really loved the brass inserts at the top and bottom, super Arts and Crafts!Baldwin_6999_LENT[1]
Below is the Back Door entry set also by Baldwin (they make good stuff!) the Baltimore.  This caught my eye for it’s utilitarian style for the back of the house where there is already going to be so much going on with the lemon tree, deck, stairs, and the French doors.6552.102[1]

House Week 23: A Siding Trial Run

As we finish up things on the inside it has finally come time to start working on some of outside items…like siding!  This may be more existing for me than siding has ever been for anyone in the history of the world, but you need the background…

When i first saw my house it was covered in siding, the beautiful siding from the 20’s with a 2 1/2” reveal, but it had not been loved over the years and the paint was cracking in a ton of places.  One of the many things that nearly disqualified the house from being obtainable with a loan was the cracking paint as it could have lead and would need to be tested.  Apparently there is a loop hole somewhere as after a few hours of my brother helping me to sand and paint over the cracks leaving the house looking like a chickenpox patient it was considered a-ok!  Below is how the house looked from the East Wall when i purchased it back in February ‘10.


Well even through the physical siding itself was mostly good, there was a ton of mold and moss growing on the siding, all indicating that it was down hill from here.  This meant that the siding was going along with the lath and plaster walls when everything was demo’d.  i knew it was for the best, but it was still sad to see it go.  Stage One for replacing the siding was to order *new* beautiful redwood siding, which was done and delivered in June.  At the end of June we had a family painting party to paint the back sides, with TWO coats, of each and every single piece of siding…over 5,000 sq feet.  This was when i blew through three paint sprayers in three days discovering how fast i could destroy a $600 piece of machinery.

All in all it’s pretty impressive to see siding pop-up back at week 23 as it means we have finally reached a point where we can begin work on the outside of the house and to hang the siding!  We had a day to play around with the new siding gun that makes everything go MUCH faster than a hammer and nails the old fashioned way.  To keep the look we are mitering each of the corners of the siding instead of adding a trim for them to die into.  This is more common on houses that have bay windows where you would not want to add all of the trim as it would look busy, but we felt it really added a cleaner look to the house, and heck…we have to cut the pieces anyways.  What’s one cut diagonally instead of straight when you can set the saw and it will stay.

Well we finished about the same amount (as shown below) on both the east and west walls of the house.  If this is any indication of the time that will be required i think it will go up in just a few days once we get the trim around the windows and doors finished.

Wk 23: A Siding Trial Run

House Week 22: The Ceilings were Jealous

After a week of installing my denim walls it was time to move onto the ceiling.  This was a ridiculously painful process.  Wait, i take that back.  It wasn’t painful to put the insulation in the ceiling between the trusses, it was painful to repeatedly put it back after it would fall out.

Something about me and the cotton insulation in the ceilings did not jive very well.  The walls would stay put until mom or dad decided to bang on the walls, when then understandably the insulation would promptly fall out and onto the floor leaving a new pile of cotton “dust” on the floor.  Unfortunately the ceiling insulation was all put in before we had finished the framing “adjustments” so that we could pass the inspection and get moving with the drywall soon.  This meant that after the two days of installing the insulation i spent another two days putting it back it after the framing updates.  Lesson learned, *WAIT* and do things in order if you only want to do them once.

One helpful item for helping to coheres the insulation into staying put were the same “wires” that we used on the floor insulation to hold it in place.  Luckily the wires come in both 16” and 24” widths as the trusses were mostly at 22” on center.  I started with no wires, but found a couple of places where nothing would stay up alone, so out came the leftover wires from the floor.  After the mass exodus during some pounding from my father i decided each and every piece that fell out was getting wired.  By the end of things nearly two thirds of the pieces had some wire reinforcement to help keep them inline.

24" Insulation Support Wire

Regardless i still loved the Bonded Logic Ultra Touch.  Nothing beats being able to handle insulation with your bare hands wearing only a dust mask to keep the cotton out of your nose (the other lessoned learned after a day of blue snot).

The below picture is from the Bonded Logic website, i love how much those kids are enjoying their super cuddly insulation!

UltraTouch Cotton Batt Fiber Save for Family

House Week 21: Recycled Denim for the Walls

Progress with the domicile has continued over the last few weeks so i thought i would catch everyone up over a few posts to break up all of the excitement.  Which it *is* super exciting, as usually silence means the person is too busy doing to be telling, which is totally true in my case.  So sit back and enjoy the catch-up slam this week :)

One thing my home would not have had in the 20’s is insulation.  Now this is a good and bad thing.  One nice thing about not having had insulation before would have made the demolition of my house back at week one much faster and less messy.  Well unfortunately I had insulation, and had even paid to have it “blown-in” prior to being allowed to buy the house.  So sadly that all went straight into the trash as it was completely unusable, lame government laws at work again.  Well moving on there really are not any other pro’s to not having insulation in your home.  Some of the main benefits:

  1. A “Temperate” Living Space – By insulating your exterior walls (floors and ceilings too), you drastically improve your home’s ability to retain a stable moderate temperature and help to reduce the loss of heating and cooling that used to escape through the walls.  Thus also reducing your heating/cooling bills.
  2. Not hearing your neighbors – Most insulation will also act a basic noise reducing agent, with the heavier insulations truly providing noise elimination between rooms and protecting your home from the outside world.  This may not be as critical between rooms for a gal that plans to live alone for awhile, but it an awesome must for someone that wants to study the cello and has neighbors that go to bed at 7pm.

While there are many kinds of insulation i wanted to try to stay as green as possible while (re)building my home which has been a super challenge with my Father who loves hazardous materials and disposable items.  So months ago i set off to find the right insulation for me.  I had heard about recycled cotton insulation made from Denim scraps but had not seen it.  I found a manufacturer, Bonded Logic, that produced all of the different “R” ratings (thickness of the insulation) that were required for my walls and ceilings and placed an order excited that i had avoided the super scratchy glass insulation typically used.

Below is the first delivery (1 of 3) of the Wall insulation from Ashby Lumber along with some insulation “relaxing”.  My little 1200 sq ft home required tons of insulation as we decided to insulate the interior walls as well for additional sound and climate control.

Wk 21: One Third of the Wall Insulation   Wk 21: The Trick to good Wall Insulation is to let it breathe

Part of the instructions is to “gently shake” the insulation as you remove it from the bags to help it regain it’s shape.  I found it was tons easier to leave it out on the floor over night before using it to really get it to pop back to it’s shape so it was pressure fit between the wall studs.  One of the best things was being able to “rip” the insulation as needed to shorten a piece, cut out for an electrical box, and to pull off pieces to fit in between all of my tiny studs all over the place.

 Wk 21: Wall Insulation Living Room and A New Pile    Wk 21: Ladders were a must for the Wall Insulation as i'm totally short

The total project of getting all of the wall insulation up took about 30 hours.  Not bad for one gal and i camping light!  Below are some additionally finished walls along with one of the fun to insulate walls from the original framing of the home where they used diagonal blocking.  It’s beautiful, but completely annoying to insulate so i can see why it’s changed to horizontal blocking since the 20’s.

Wk 21: Wall Insulation in the Dining Room    Wk 21: The original framing and fun shapes of the Wall Insulation