Wednesday, May 25, 2005

As Bad As It Gets

The current level of destruction in my house is unprecedented in the 3 years I’ve been working on it. It needed to be documented so here it is (pictures below). When you feel that your house is out of control you can come here and view this blog entry and feel that much better about yourself.

What I am dealing with now is the culmination of two major projects. The debris from one has collided with the debris from the other like two binary stars that could no longer over come the gravitational forces that kept them apart. Virtually every single room in a 3000 sq ft house and 3 garages has been affected by it. In some ways, it is the amount of space I have and not the lack of it that has caused it to get so bad. If I always have room to put something someplace, I can put it there and worry about it another time.

It started about 8 months ago. I dismantled a 1920s 2 story addition to my house. Up until that point the kitchen and bath I was using were in the addition. Once it came down I had to bring the original kitchen and bath on-line. The house has been in a permanent state of chaos ever since.

I salvaged as much as I could from the addition. All interior and exterior wood was beautiful old-growth redwood. I can’t bring myself to throw away any but the absolute worst of it. Two garages are filled with lumber. A third, which is my shop, is crammed with trim. Doors and windows ended up all over the place, along with doors in the house I removed for various reasons. The attic has piles of bead board and casing, a few toilets, boxes of kitchen stuff, and more lumber. One of the upstairs bedrooms that I used as a staging area when I dismantled the top floor still has some lumber in it.

The new casing that I had milled from the salvage lumber is piled in the upstairs hall, and more is in the front parlor. Also in the hallway is about 30 feet of really cool 1X6 crown molding that came off the exterior of the addition. The claw foot tub, toilet, and sink from the downstairs addition bathroom is piled up in the butler’s pantry. There is also more doors and flooring material in there. The scullery has cabinet fronts and draws for the soon-to-be kitchen cabinets, along with more assorted trim pieces and I think another door.

The dining room has cabinets from my soon-to-be kitchen, dishwasher, refrigerator, part of a sideboard I traded for a claw foot tub that came out of the upstairs bathroom of the addition. There is also some new trim for the kitchen and assorted other pieces that came out of the addition. The front parlor has a stove, dining room table, reproduced corner blocks and plinth blocks (milled from addition salvage lumber), the top half of the sideboard, and another cabinet for the kitchen. The back parlor has another stove (there will be 2 in the kitchen) and another cabinet that will be going above an apron sink in the butler’s pantry. The apron sink is in the kitchen I’m working on, and the reason it is there right now is because it is too damn heavy to move and I have no place to put it.

The house has fancy cut octagon shingles on the second floor. I had to cut a bunch of redwood shingles to reside part of the exterior after I moved the addition and I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the scraps. I have about 800 pieces of 6X6 redwood blocks, and about 1600 small redwood triangles. The garages were full so they still sit in boxes in the foyer looking for a home. Also, the foyer is a little table that I will probably be getting rid of but I haven’t yet so there it sits. Oh, and there are 3 strange brass chandeliers that my neighbor was going to throw away so naturally I took them. They are on the floor just inside the door where I put them 2 months ago. There is also a new fir door that came off the back porch when I rebuilt the alcove. It will be leaving but it hasn’t yet.

That is pretty much the whole house except for 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. The bathroom is my one finished room and my pride and joy so nothing gets put in there. The bedroom I use is also off limits. The other bedroom remains a guest room but things have begun to creep in. I'm keeping and 1890s parlor set that belonged to my Great, Great Grandmother in there.

As soon as I can get the kitchen done and the butler’s pantry squared away it should be much better. I can then sort of stand back and decided what I need and don’t need for all of the doors windows, trim, and lumber. I’m hesitant to get rid of anything at this point because you really never know what you’ll need. It is a bit over-whelming at times, but I just need to stay focused and keep working on the kitchen. However, it will get worse before it gets better. The new wood flooring for the kitchen is supposed to arrive some time soon. I need to pull up the existing 1X6 redwood flooring that is in there. It is in rough shape but there is a lot of good lumber in there. I have to find a home for 325 sq ft of new flooring and 325 sq ft of old flooring. It is going to be interesting.

These pictures don’t do it justice. It is much worse in real life.

Dining Room

Butler's Pantry



Front Parlot

Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2




Serendipity House said...

Hey Grex! I just wanted to let you know that I just really enjoy reading your journal. I so enjoy details, and yours is full of them. Oh, and the pictures of the demolition were fabulous!

I'm not into restoring our house, but it still fascinates me! Thanks for the great read!


Gary said...

Heck, my place doesn't look that bad and we aren't even living there yet. You need to consolidate all that stuff into two rooms!

heather said...

Look at the bright least by blogging about it you have proof that the house is that way intentionally and wasn't ransacked or abandoned! :) Hang in there, it will be so worth it when you are done.

Kristin said...

At least you have one room finished and uncluttered ... a man's bathroom is his castle, so I'm told.

Sean said...

Hang in there it will get better.. Your post reminds me of the current condition of my house - except mine is 700 square feet and two single car garages! The garage is 3/4 full of original trim, and doors that are waiting to be reinstalled in the house, and the rest a mix of tile, electrical and plumbing supplies. The other garage (which is about a mile away) is chocked full of French windows, old growth Douglas fir 2X4's and 2X6's and random bits of trim that we salvaged out of a house that was being torn down, and really neat plaster fake 1920's fireplace that looks like tile that was being thrown out, and a variety of Antique Furniture that I have found in alleys around the neighborhood... The house looks something like this: the living and dinning rooms have become my woodshop for the kitchen cabinets, so there is a tablesaw, router table, planer and a garden variety of sanders and hand tools, and piles of old growth scraps... the bedroom is the varnishing area for all of the doors and drawers of the future kitchen, plus some leftover materials from when i installed central Heat and A/C.. The hallway is the overflow for the bedroom so you have to dodge the rest of the cabinet doors... the bathroom is, like yours the only finished room and is deemed a crap free zone, although is hideously dusty... The office has the A/C condenser that has not been installed yet, the cast iron kitchen sink, light fixtures bought two years ago and not installed yet, electrical outlets and switches that have not been wired into the boxes yet,leftover granite floor tiles, tile saw, and my tool boxes. Somewhere in that mess is also the only real pieces of furniture currently in the house: a leather chair and ottoman. The kitchen is relatively clear at the moment since this is the project area, although the cupboards are filled with junk that need to be dealt with before I finish the interiors.. Seeeee, your not alone in chaos... and at least you can live in your hose, We still live in an apartment after three years... < sigh>

Becky said...

What I've always found interesting is after people tour our house they ask us when we're going to start filling up those bedrooms.
What are they talking about they are full? Would the baby's room be the one with the pile of trim with the rusty nails still attached or in the tool room with the saws-all and drill bits?

deb said...

our neighbours keep asking if we're done yet (the only neighbour that isn't currently renovating, or blind...) and i just laugh. our single car garage is full of good and bad wood, drywall, glass, doors, and firewood. our basement is part wood shop, part stained glass shop, part toy & bike storage and half the floor is dirt.

Greg said...

Thanks for all the kind words. It is good to vent. After reading Sean's post I had to go check my kitchen to make sure he wasn't in there. His place sounds just like mine, only on a smaller scale.

Jocelyn said...

Yep, 3+ years ago we had one room done in our 1200 sqaure foot place. And the dust was always bad. Even is you cleaned, it never seemed like you did, so we wouldn't bother. We do have the advantage of a basement and we have ALOT down there. Now, things are pretty normal (to us anyway). There are always tool buckets nearby and materials on the back porch, but the rest of the house is pretty functional. It is so worth it and it happens gradually.

I am so glad you got your blog back too. I was looking for it on Weds. and it wasn't there.