Sunday, November 30, 2008

What Happens In Hawaii

While Thanksgiving is a holiday I very much enjoy, I doubt that I have ever been able to enjoy one as unusual as that which just passed. It involved taking a whole week to partake of the fun and frivolity of Waikiki, near Honolulu, on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. As a long-time fan of Hawaii Five-O, it was especially thrilling that the Ilikai served as the week's accommodations. It is a famous landmark there, in part because it's where Jack Lord is standing as the camera flies across the water in the opening credits of that long-running CBS show. The Ilikai opened in 1964 and certainly looks dated amidst all the other highrise hotels and other buildings around there, but I definitely dug it. (In case you're wondering, the Thanksgiving meal was partaken at Jameson's by the Sea, up in Haleiwa, on the north shore of Oahu. I had a delicious Cajun blackened Ahi tuna, and no one else in the group had turkey, either. It was quite good and the view looking out at the Pacific, with those breezes blowing in through the open windows, made it all the better.)

So, a few days into my trip, I get a call from my General Contractor Pete. He simply wants to know what the temperature was in Oahu (at that time of the Hawaiian morning, it was probably upper 70s), and he noted that it was a "balmy 44" in Winston-Salem, with a light drizzle. He also gave me an update on what all they'd been doing while I was yet again away.

Later in the day, while our happy crew was off at Pearl Harbor, Pete checked in with me again to talk about how we'd handle the exposed part of the foundation under the new addition, as he was getting ready to order materials. Because I've got some compromised brick facing under the bay of my bedroom window, he thought it best to put a stucco exterior covering on that bit of exposed foundation, beginning at the steps from the parking area to the porch and wrapping around all of the new addition. This picture is when I took that second call from Pete. You can see the USS Arizona Memorial in the distance (click on this picture to enlarge, if you wish).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Footings Prep

The foundation in the addition has been dug out and a pile of dirt removed. Well, red clay, actually (this is, after all, Piedmont North Carolina). Pete LaRoque has taken depth measurements so that we're all clear, and the crew is pounding it down to be ready for concrete to be poured in, after the prep work gets inspected by the City. It sounds like a helicopter is landing in my back yard, but for the most part, all of this work is music to my ears.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Starting to Dig

The digging has begun. The crew secured the plumbing that was exposed on the backside of the house today, making sure it was well-insulated since it is certainly becoming very winter-like outside. They tied in with the existing sewer line and got that covered over. The Bobcat was worked pretty hard and managed to end up with a flat tire, which delayed things for a while. Foundation to be poured and masons brought in by week's end? Perhaps!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend Wacky Weather

Well, we've had our first near-mishap, although nothing critical or bad. Funny weather, really: nearly 2 inches of rain since Thursday led to some water in the cellar, and a warm front brought wind gusts up to 30 mph and what looked like would become thunderstorms. The sky looked pretty ominous most of the day, and the flights home from Houston this morning were pretty bumpy.

Anyway, the tarps on the back of the house had a tough time with the wind, so my general contractor Pete LaRoque was here twice today: once to get the water out of the cellar, and then back again to re-attach the tarp covering the exposed back of the house. Here are a few pics.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Attic Stairs Deleted

I bought the house from an organization called FIRST (Forsyth Initiative for Residential Self-Help Treatment), a group that worked with individuals with chemical and alcohol dependencies. Before they decided to sell the house, they'd begun to finish off the attic in anticipation of housing more residents up there, and they'd built a staircase in the upstairs hallway to get up there. As of this morning, though, the first steps to restoring that grand open landing were taken when the partial stairs were removed. Here are before and after pictures of that landing.

Bathrooms Flushed!

It’s good to be home for a couple of days, after having to only hear about and see pictures of the initial stages of the demolition. When I came in from Virginia last night, I found that the crew had finished removing the two bathrooms on the back of the house. As of this morning, the entire back of the house is tarped, but we’re mighty worried about the forecast of heavy rains (upwards of 2.5 inches) expected between now and Saturday.

Another Kitchen Demolition Shot

A wee corner of the kitchen demolition that I'd not uploaded yet:

Pictured looking on is Pete LaRoque, the general contractor.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Goodbye, Kitchen!

By the end of the first week, Pete LaRoque (the general contractor) and his crew had not only gutted the targeted areas, they'd managed to make the kitchen and mudporch disappear. There's quite a pile 'o'rubble now but it is awesome to see them move with such dispatch.

In anticipation of this whole ordeal, I'd assumed that the future would hold for us a lot of turkey sandwiches and a lot of eating out, since the kitchen would be demolished. Here's how great my General Contractor is being: he set up a temporary kitchen in the dining room, including wiring for the stove and plumbing for a utility sink.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Update

OK, so tearing off the back of your house sure does create a lot of dust!  And that's without even making any plans yet to refinish the floors upstairs, which will be a whole 'nother matter.

It's clear that my interior decorating skills know no bounds...this is early American unique chic, porcelain style.  I'd say we now have a lounge, not a landing.

Look: no waiting!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Day One Demolition: Mudporch

The crew made pretty short work of it today. The kitchen, mudporch, and master bathroom have all been gutted, and here are a few pictures to get you started...

BEFORE: Mudporch toward back of house:


BEFORE: Mudporch toward front hallway:


Not a Lime-Green Pinto, Exactly

This picture helps you to know that this is now a serious enterprise:

The Porta-Potty (in a tasteful lime green) and the dumpster both arrived over the weekend.

Before-After Demolition

Here is a pre-demolition picture of the back of the house:

It took all weekend to do it, and I definitely needed the help of Shane and Beau, but the house is all ready for the demolition to begin.  This meant clearing out everything from the kitchen, the butler's pantry, the master bathroom, the unused water closet on the main hallway, the mud porch, and the main upstairs bathroom. There's no way we could have had the annual Halloween blow-out party and also gotten everything packed up and moved.  I finished up about 9 o'clock Sunday night before my 4-hour drive to Luray, VA, where I'm working today and tomorrow.  But we're ready to go!

UPDATE: Here's a sample Before and After of just the master bathroom closet: