Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Turn on Your Highbeams

When you stand at ground level in the parking area and look up at the huge gable (I think it's 38 feet across) they're building on the back of the house, it's pretty clear what delicate and tricky work this is. Pete and his crew didn't rush it and, sometime Tuesday afternoon, he couldn't keep the happiness and pride out of his voice after he checked both with the laser and with his level: the center beam was perfectly centered, perfectly level, and right on target where he wanted it to be. The rafters were added one by one and the skeleton of the main rear gable took shape. These pictures are from Tuesday, December 30.

The nice weather of Monday and Tuesday has given way to the blustery winds of a cold front moving through, and the gusts are really kicking it today, the last day of 2008. Pete and his crew will work tomorrow (New Year's Day) to get as close to dried in with the roof as possible. Mel Jones's crew is continuing with roughing in the plumbing as well. These next two shots show progress on sheeting the roof, which is particularly chilly work today while the winds do a lot of whipping and gusting.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Draining Thought

I woke up pretty early this morning with the following thought in my head: this snazzy little addition to a pretty great house will involve five new toilets and nine new sinks. It does not appear to be in my nature to manage well the challenge of picking out plumbing hardware and fixtures and such, and each time I sit down with those books, I find it a bit overwhelming. This is exacerbated by the recognition, to which I might be attaching too much importance or significance, that whatever decisions I make will be confronted daily (and multiple times each day, often) and will remind me over and over again whether I ended up liking what I chose or not.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Raise High the Roofbeams!

Man-o-man, what a gorgeous, gorgeous day it was today. I am finally writing in "real time" for the blog, having caught you up on all the pictures that I've taken in the 10 days since the blog was last updated. The forecast looks awesome this week, up through New Year's Day, so Pete's plan is to get the roofing system completed that will extend from the high peak of the current house roof and that will create a large gable over the 2nd floor bathrooms. These two shots show the positioning of the initial beams for this. Pete hopes to be shingled and set before the rains come this Friday. "I don't want to buy any more tarps for this house!" he told me this afternoon.

On another note, the plumbing crew has begun roughing in PVC pipe, but I can't decide that that is interesting enough to photograph yet.

Aerial Views of the Kitchen

In the calm of the post-Christmas weekend, I did a bit of traipsing around in the attic space over the kitchen, which let me capture these views from up in the rafters. First, looking from the main kitchen area towards the breakfast nook or eating bay, with the wetbar to the right of those windows and the doorway into the kitchen at the far right of the picture:

This next shot is still from up in the attic space, but you are looking the other way, from above the eating nook towards the kitchen proper. The doorway into the kitchen is now at your far left, and you can see the three walls where all the cabinets and appliances and such will be. At the back right is the exit from the kitchen into the back hallway (where the laundry room is) and the exterior door leading to the parking area.

Finally, this is the attic space over the kitchen:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

December 28, 2008

The end of the long Christmas weekend, and I thought I'd better capture a bit more of the framing before Pete and his crew returned to work and continued transforming this into an amazing addition to my house. These first three pictures all relate to the interesting bit of design that my architect Sam engineered for the main upstairs bathroom (that's positioned in the middle, between the smaller bathrooms being added on either side for the two back bedrooms). This first shot is from the downstairs looking up, with my back to the butler's pantry. In front of you are the main hallway coat closet (left) and the guest powder room (right). Up above, you can see on the left the plywood-covered doorway from the stair landing that will gain you access to the main upstairs bathroom. Alas, you will enter about four steps lower than that bathroom needs to be, so there will be stairs you'll mount once you walk into that bathroom. The new guest bathroom for the southwest corner bedroom is at the upper back of this picture. [By the way, I believe all these pics end up being clickable, so you can open them up to something a bit larger. That's necessary since my labels on this picture get a little squished.]

Now, this next shot is one I really like. You are looking down on the hole where the landing for the main upstairs bathroom will be. I climbed a ladder so that the camera has captured the view from 2nd floor ceiling height, looking straight through to 1st floor, floor level. Really dwarfs that ladder down below, doesn't it? Try not to get vertigo from studying it too closely:

The reason for this shot is because it really captures nicely what the walls of the old house look like, once you tear away the other side of them. All that one-inch lathe board with the mortar that oozed through from the plaster walls on the other side, plus that old, old sturdy and solid lumber that has helped this house endure for over 100 years:

The framing has been done now for designating the two smaller bathrooms for those back upstairs bedrooms. This photo was taken from the northwest bathroom looking across the opening for the main bathroom's entry door, with the southwest bathroom at the far end.

I do hate a small shower, so this gives you a small hint of the shower for the southwest bathroom. I guess the perspective or size would have been more clear if I'd had someone standing in it, but you'll see it one of these days and you'll know what I mean:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

If I were feeling especially tech-savvy and creative, I'd've set up these two shots as a mouseover, so that you could see the switch from "no window" to "window" in a more dramatic fashion. Instead, I'm giving you side-by-side before and after shots on the cutting out of the window for the northwest back bedroom's new bathroom:

In the quiet of an absolutely beautiful Christmas day, when late afternoon brought some golden sunlight to the city skyline, it seemed a good chance to pause and capture the house from the northwest:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December 23, 2008

Ah, a sunny but cold day, for sure. A few more shots now, starting with a full frontal on the whole house:

And a shot of the crew working in the chill air but still making good progress (this shot is from the south side, as I stood in my parking area):

This is looking into the ridge built between the roof over the kitchen area and abutting the second floor bathrooms, a necessary feature to properly channel rainwater on the roof:

And finally a fun shot up through the temporary ceiling beams over the second floor bathrooms area, capturing a very pretty blue sky:

Saturday, December 20, 2008

December 20, 2008

By the Saturday before Christmas, Pete and the fellas had completed framing the exterior walls for the second floor bathrooms and gotten it tarped in anticipation of the continued rainy trend that has characterized this December. (Hasn't North Carolina been in a drought for about three years?!) It's interesting to me to look at how many of the photos on the blog show cloudy days...sunshine is a rare feature of this otherwise happy chronicle.

You can also see what the back of the current single bathroom wall looks like, including the tub/shower plumbing on the left, with tub in lower left; and the back of the medicine cabinet in the upper right corner of this shot. This tiny but full bathroom will be demolished once the addition is completed, which will restore that back bedroom to its original configuration.

I suppose it's a bit grand to be doing a project that involves the creation of four and a half new bathrooms, but I really would like my guests to have the best amenities I can provide. I mean, I love it when I'm visiting someone's house and I get a bathroom all to myself. Perhaps this is a sample of when I might actually be believable if I say I think the Golden Rule has some I'd better walk the walk.

Friday, December 19, 2008

December 19, 2008

A few more fun shots, related to getting the roofing over the kitchen area completed, and framing the second floor bathrooms that are being added to the back of the house.

Delivery of lumber for second floor framing:

View from Kitchen, through ceiling up at 2nd floor bathrooms area:

Three more shots showing continued progress on the addition from this day:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rooting for the Roof

Today, Pete and the guys were working full-tilt because he was determined to get the roof system over the kitchen area up and in place. And he did it. Of course, the darned weather is making everything more complex than it might be otherwise, because he has to get things to the point where it can all be covered and tarped. As I write this, at about 6:20 pm on Thursday evening, he and Robert are still working on getting the last of the covering buttoned up.

But it was another great day of progress. The following pics show the construction of the back wall for the 2nd story bathrooms that are being added onto the back of the house and then the rafters and sheeting for the main extension of the 1st floor, mainly comprised of the kitchen complex.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Peeking at the Leaking

This has been one of those really annoying rains, really. It's not that the wind has been exacerbating its effects so much, but it has been steady enough that pools of water settled themselves into strategic places on the tarp and now we've got more than just drips: we've got three places of standing water on the sheeting of the sub-flooring. It's a shame to see it soaking in there but we've got limited options here.

I've got a couple of shots from this morning: (1) a puddle in the kitchen, that's sort of between where the cooktop island and double-oven will be; and (2) the laundry room, about where the washer and dryer will sit up against an outside wall just inside the door to the parking area.

Rain is expected off-and-on through this morning, and then again around 8 pm tonight. It looks like a tad more tomorrow night and even a bit on Friday morning. More rain will come this weekend.

Not good.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Joist Joust

The weather was good enough on Monday, December 15, for the crew to peel back that great expanse of tarp and work on the ceiling joists over the addition.  Some of it involves the flooring system for the 2nd floor bathrooms that I'm adding, and then the rest of it will be joists combined with rafters for the roof over the kitchen, laundry room, and back hallway.

Today, Tuesday, was a wash...almost literally. It was a day of rain and the guys barely got to do anything. Pete sent them home with a half-day's pay. This shot was taken about 7:00 am before they got here; you can see the puddles on the tarp and the overall dreary morning that was being ushered in. I was looking down on it from the upstairs window on the stair landing. What you're looking at is where the tarp is covering the breakfast nook/bay seating-eating area.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting Prettier

It seems I've got a bit of catching up to do, because I've not been nearly diligent enough with my postings. So I'll be getting some more photos up this evening while I've got some time, starting with a shot of one of the rare sunny days we've had in December, which let me grab this shot of the improving front appearance of the house:

How Firm a Foundation

Too much traveling, too many national conferences (and the afore-mentioned junket to Hawaii), and too much bad weather here in Winston-Salem. So my updates are overdue and I'll just have to load up this post with a series of pictures to show what has been wrought in the last two or three weeks. Let's start with some shots of the footings, followed by the foundation, and then capped off with where the guys were installing the flooring joists and first deck of sheeting:

I left for four days of work in Virginia, and when I returned, the first floor of the "kitchen complex" had really taken shape, with the framing of the walls. In anticipation of tonight's rain (and several nights of rain this week, we think), Pete and the fellas got it covered with the biggest tarp I've ever had nailed to something that I own.  For contrast, I'm setting this up as Before and After shots, with a few pics from October 2003, when I bought this wonderful old heap of loving wood.  First, two shots from 2003, from the north side of the house:

And a shot taken today, from the same side of the house, showing the 1st floor kitchen complex addition.  What's at this end is the bay with the breakfast nook:
Okay, next...back to 2003, with a shot from the south/southwest corner where my parking area is:
And today, when there was just a little sun early this morning, again taken from the parking area on the south side of the house:

And to complete today's overdue update, a few shots of the inside framing. But let me first say that coming home last night and walking into this space for the first time was one of the most exciting, exhilarating, thrilling things I've done in a while. It is taking shape! I can see the sweep of the kitchen space extending out to the breakfast nook, and how the master bathroom will be, and the anteroom outside the kitchen where a powder room will be.  This is a pretty incredible leap forward for me on this whole project, and I'm just a bit giddy about it.