Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Attic Bones

Some time back, I headed up to the attic room to retrieve something from storage. This is what I found:

Maranda and I had already decided to replace the ceiling in the attic room a little at a time. The ceiling decided to start the process a little earlier than we'd planned. The picture above looks quite a bit better than what I found. This picture was taken after we cleaned up the collapsed ceiling and the blown insulation that was spread all over the place. You can use your imagination, but trust me that it looked very, very bad.

Here's a "during" shot, as we were putting up insulation and sheetrock:

Now that we have a couple of small sections replaced, it caused a bit of an itch* to get the rest done. I can now see how good it could look with a little more work.

*True, that itch may just be from the fiberglass insulation.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


First, check this out:

That's approximately 6,000 pictures of me turning our spare bedroom into a playroom for the triplets.

Second: Hey, I have a house blog! Who knew? Several things have happened to the house since June of 2009, and I hope to catch up over the next few days.

- James

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Backyard: Finished Product

Here's what the backyard looks like now. The girls love it, of course. And I love not having to stress over the lack of grass back there.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

You Load 16 Tons...

Okay, it was only three tons. But three tons is a lot of pea gravel to shovel into a wheelbarrow and cart into the backyard. That's six thousand pounds of pea gravel. It sounds like a lot. And my aching back says it was a lot.

Here's the front-end loader loading one and a half tons into my dad's trailer:


Relatively impressive, right?

So why doesn't it look like much when it's in the yard?


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Backsplash Progress

One of the first things we did when we moved to College Hill was to get rid of the old stove. It was a mammoth 1960s stove, six feet tall with push buttons. If it had worked, we would have loved to clean it up and keep it. But it did not, and it also took up the space where we were used to having a microwave (above the range), so out it went. We bought a new stove and microwave to put in, but we had to run electric to where the new microwave plugged in. This was the result:


We had to rip out all the tiled backsplash in order to cut a groove in the wall for the new wiring. We planned to replace it with new tiles identical to the old ones. We were going to get right on that.

That was two years ago.

In December of 2007, I made a New Years resolution to finish up some projects, including that backsplash (more "before" pictures at that link, including the original stove).

That was one year ago.

But today I made progress. Check this out:



Rather than replacing with the same white tiles, we've opted for tin ceiling tiles. These tiles are the same gauge and type of tin that was used for ceiling tiles around the turn of the century (the last century, not this one).

Eventually I am going to replace all the ceramic tiles with the tin ones. Also in the plan: paint the cabinets; switch the knobs out for polished silver knobs; replace the current light switches with original-style push button switches. I hope these items don't take as long as getting started on the backsplash did, but at least we don't have to be quite as embarrassed when we have friends over.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Old Pictures

Back when we had the new heat pump installed, we also put more insulation in the attic. There are a few of small spaces off the attic room, where there should have been insulation but there wasn't. As I was crawling around I found a couple of interesting items. They certainly aren't the sort of thing we'd take to Antiques Roadshow, but you also won't find them in the attic space of your average modern suburban home.

2008 11 06 01

2008 11 06 03

2008 11 06 04

2008 11 06 02

Friday, November 14, 2008

What's Wrong with this Picture?

Can you spot it?

2008 11 12 02

Here's a closer look:

2008 11 12 01

This is a melted wire nut. That's what I found after we lost power in our basement and living room the other night. None of the breakers had tripped, so I went to the back bathroom, where a fusebox-turned-junction box is. I could smell melted plastic before I even opened the door.

A guy from Tracy Electric came out and fixed it for the night, then came back the next day to beef it up more. He apologized profusely, and he showed me exactly what had happened, what he was doing to fix it, and what they would do the next day to fix it more.

Apparently the guy who actually did the work on our house in the first place hasn't worked on old houses before, so this has been a learning experience for him. Just another public service courtesy of College Hill House.