Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Bondo? Good Luck, Idiot.

Wow, so I decided to fill in the rotten parts of the storm windows I took down and stripped the other day. Turned out to be a little harder than I'd imagined. I used Bondo's wood filler, which is an experience all its own.

First, I tried it on the salvaged door that was installed in the NorthWest bedroom. The door originally had the old mortise lock and the rest of the house has your conventional style doorknob, so the old holes needed to be filled. I grabbed a couple chunks of scrap wood to fill the majority of the hole, then smeared in the wood filler.
Let me explain the process of the wood filler.
Step 1: Mix stinky chemical A with nasty chemical B to form noxious fume putty.
Step 2: Don't puke from the smell
Step 3: Fill necessary areas of wood
Step 4: Sand down to flat and prepare for paining

Doesn't seem to hard? Well, first off, Step 1 should have been take everything outside so your house doesn't smell terrible all day. Step 3 is considerably harder than it sounds. This product sets in 3-5 minutes. Take note that these 3-5 minutes are not all totally functional. The first two minutes are a little runny, so anything you apply on a vertical surface will slide down. The third minute? Primo. The 4th and 5th minutes are when the putty turns from snot to boogers (sorry Mom) and begins to become impossible. It starts to stick to itself and pull up the stuff you aready laid down well. Enjoy.

I kind of got the hang of it once I got going on the window frame out in the front yard (yay ventilation) which turned out surprisingly well considering how much of the frame was rotten in the corner. (this is the best photo I have of the before showing rot)

I still need to sand down the results of my putty-day, but I'm feeling pretty confident about the whole project right now.

In other news,

I'll be going down to Minneapolis this weekend for an American Institute of Architecture Students conference. Between the seminars and architecture firm tours (cool!) I'm going to run out to an architectural salvage place or two. I have a pretty short list (and budget) so I hope to get 1. a floor grate for the dining room 2. heat registers for the second floor 3. 1920's medicine cabinet and 4. vintage mailbox. Anything else I should look into that I'm forgetting? Let me know. I'm going to compile some measurements tomorrow so I don't have to call home to my roommates and make them run all over the house with a tapemeasure. This weekend is going to rock. Very exciting!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Howdy, Neighbor!

Last night I volunteered to help with the Good Neighbor Campaign at NDSU. Greek Life, along with a couple other organizations at NDSU, meet with the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association to put up doorhangers that list off some general resources for homeowners and renters in our community. The Roosevelt neighborhood is the part of Fargo that extends from downtown to the university, and is where a lot of college students rent apartments and houses. This event has been put on to help ease some of the problems that occur between the perminent residents and the, often rowdy, student rentors.

I had the opportunity to meet with some officials from the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association and discuss some topics that I have concerns about for our neighborhood. I'm pretty sure that I'll be becoming involved in some way with the RNA (not to be confused with the NRA) in the coming months. It was really just nice to meet some other homeowners in this community, since most of the people I know around here are just students renting.

After my last post I did end up making my way to the basement to strip those storm windows. I took the glass completely out because the glazing was so terrible so now I need to make a trip to 'the Depot' to pick up some more glazing compound. One of the windows has some pretty bad rot on it so I'll be playing with some wood filler too.
One last thought; With everybody moved into their bedrooms (for the most part) we were able to start arranging the living room to NOT function as bedrooms. Check it out, it's like we have a real living room now!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Today's Special: Quick Projects.

Today was pretty productive considering how little time I had to be messing around with the house. After staying my first night in my bedroom (as opposed to the living room for the last 2 months) I went to my first class... a difficult feat for this sleeper-inner. Afterwards, I came home for a couple work hours before my second class.

During that two hour span I changed out the light fixture in my bedroom and replaced the lightswitch. The lightswitch was dirty and yellowed, so I replaced it with a nice new white one that looks ten times better with the crisp white trim and coverplates. The fixture that was hanging in the room was pretty small and generic; it looked like this:

I decided that I would prefer something more like this:The old one is still in usable condition so I'll donate it to the ReStore this week. I'm actually pretty excited about that because most of the things I've removed from the house are in such terrible condition that nobody could use them.
This little quick task also had one bonus; I know which breaker turns off the second floor now! It only took about four tries, but I got it! Is it weird that the whole second floor is on one breaker? I guess I don't know too much about electrical systems, but I think that's kind of unusual.

After my second class, but before my dinner engagement at 5:30pm I removed the thick plastic covering the exterior of a couple windows. This was found on the north window in the dining room, the window on the stairway landing, and the little window to the right of the fireplace. I'm sure the reason it was on the windows was because the storm windows leak cold air like crazy in the winter, so I removed them so I can re-glaze and repaint them before it gets too cold out.

I'm gunna bust out the 'flame thrower' tomorrow and take 'em down to bare wood and pull out the old glazing compound so I can redo the glazing after work tomorrow night. That's of course if I can hold off on firing up that heat gun that I love! Here are the two from the fireplace wall. When finished they'll be the new trim color, so I couldn't just do the bad one, they wouldn't match and I'd freak out. Anyhoo, here they are (can you spot the rot?):
THEN, after I finished supper I came back and installed a storm window I salvaged off a demolished house onto the window on the landing. I finished that before my 7:00 meeting! Woo hoo! Now you can actually see out of the window, whereas before the plastic was so thick all you could see was a blur. You can kind of make out the stained glass landing window of the neighboring house/apartment conversion. (which should be restored... another story altogether)Upon further thought, I think I might just start stripping paint tonight. Is it weird that I love it so much? I'm such a loser!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm Back!

Has it really been that long since my last post? Wow, sorry!

A lot has taken place since the last posting, so hold onto your hats ladies and gentlemen!

First of all, I finished my project in studio (sorry, no pictures yet) and had a fairly good critique at my presentation. That was the largest hurdle; kinda took precedence over house projects.

My roommate and I took all of the tools in the house and placed them on shelves in the basement. It is so nice to not trip over tools right and left upstairs, and it's also nice to be able to see all of the tools in one place. Nice and (kinda) organized.

I finished paining the trim in the NE bedroom and I got the closet painted as well. Mom came up to Fargo on Friday with my twin sisters and painted the ceiling in that bedroom, the NW bedroom, and the first floor bathroom.

With the ceiling painted the NE bedroom is finally ready to be occupied. FINALLY! I just finished mopping the floor, and after I'm done with this post I'm going to begin moving in furniture. It'll be amazing. Here's another recap of the progression:

Do you like how I just painted out where the missing window trim is? You can barely even tell that the woodwork was notched out. I'll replace it sometime, but until then this works pretty well.

This weekend was amazing, although I was not in Fargo for most of it. I drove down to Minneapolis for the NDSU Bison/U of M Gopher football game. Wow. Of course, NDSU prevailed and we celebrated that night out on the town. We also stopped in at the U of M's Sigma Nu chapter to hang out with some of the members there. Their house was built in 1930 and has some really cool architecture. Very different from our big boring box Sigma Nu at NDSU! This morning before I drove back up to Fargo I drove down some streets with old historic houses and just admired how cool some of them are, and how cool it would be to fix up some of them. I'll have to get one after college when I move down there, if I haven't burned myself out on rehabbing!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Production Week = No Progress

Sorry loyal readers, I've barely been home to sleep this week so there's nothing to report. In my Architecture studio class we are assigned 3 projects a semester, and the week before the project is due is when we have to do all of our drawings, 3D modeling, and presentation work. This usually means that Nate doesn't see his eyelids for more than a few hours over the seven day period and the rest of his life is placed on hold. The project was due on Thursday, but now has been pushed back to Monday, so expect to see changes at the beginning of next week. Until then, sorry for the boring!

Friday, October 5, 2007

100% Plumbing!

This week is homecoming week at NDSU so I've been up to my ears in activities, but I did have a little time to manage to fix the sink in the upstairs bathroom. If you don't remember I started repairing a faulty valve somewhere around a month ago, and I guess I didn't know exactly what I was doing so it still hadn't worked until I fixed it two days ago. I replaced both valves and supply lines to the faucet I installed last month. Much to my amusement everything worked, no leaks, on the first try. Booyah! Now every place in the house where water should come out has water coming out the right way. To quote Martha Stuart, It's a good thing!