Monday, April 28, 2008

NYC in 10: Trim, Trim, Trim.

First, before the trim talk, last night I started working on the kitchen tile. Ugh.

It was a pretty straightforward job: peel off old tiles, lay down new tiles. Not too hard, right? No, not utill Nate decides to start doing things the right way. I already had a good part of the kitchen re-tiled but then, behind the fridge, I realized that the sheet vinyl underneath was coming up from the floor. "I should really peel that up first" I thought. Big mistake. I spent the next two hours redoing the work I had already done. Peel off the new tile, chip away at old sheet vinyl, replace tile. After about a third of the kitchen the sheet vinyl stopped coming off, so I had to use my scraper to kind of taper the edge off to the wood floor. Then I could transition from vinyl tile over wood to vinyl tile over sheet vinyl. Here's a photo of that transition.

By the way, check out how amazing that sheet vinyl was. I want to meet the person who decided that was the best option for their kitchen. Seriously.
Here's a photo of the part of the floor that is done. The rest has to wait until the subfloor dries out from the leaky shower. Yeah, that's on my to-do list too. Just imagine white cabinets and window trim. The hardware we picked up today was the wrong size, so we'll have to exchange that. Yeah, I forgot to measure it and just took a guess. Of course I was wrong.But, back to the main topic of the post: TRIM!!!

Yesterday Mom and Dad came up and helped me get started with the trim replacement. After a trip to the Depot to get lumber, Dad and I started cutting trim while Mom primed the boards. We replaced all of the missing baseboards and quarter-round trim on the first floor. Photos:

Today they came up again with my brother and sisters. After another trip to the Depot, we started with the crown moulding. After about a hundred bad cuts, we finally got it up. We've got some filling to do at the corners and seams, but it's good enough. Yeah, I don't think we have a future as a father & son crown moulding company. Next came the cap moulding over the window and door trim. Check it out!

After we finished, we moved upstairs and Mom primed all of the wood. We need a little paint yet, but we're on the home stretch.

Upstairs, Dad and I hung the trim around the North West bedroom door (inside and outside trim) Next we hung up the door to the linen closet. It went up really easily, much to our surprise. It only took, like, 20 minuets to hang an 80 year old door in a new frame in an 80 year old house. Everything just lined up level on the first try. After we put the trim up around that door, the family took off for home. It feels so good to have this much progress happen in two days. I'm feeling a little less stressed out. Next step? Finishing the baseboards and quarter round trim on the second floor, priming, then a couple coats of paint. Then big old before and after pictures. I love nothing more than some good before and afters!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Keep on Working: NYC=11 Days.

Today is all about plaster repair so I can paint. My heart's just not in this anymore. Remember back when I was fixing the walls in the dining room? Yeah, those turned out beautifully, but I think that's where the precision is ending. I've essentially conceded to the fact that the person who is going to buy this house is just going to be an investor who is going to rent it out to crack-heads who don't care a thing about it. Basically, I'm slapping the walls together so I can get paint up. I'm still going to be sanding and texturing, but if things end up a little lumpy who cares. At this price point in the market, new paint will be good enough for the house to stand out.

Here's part of what I did today. I patched up the holes in the ceiling of the hallway upstairs and taped along the edges. (sanding, second coat, sanding, texture, paint needed still)

And I'm in the process of patching up those holes on the stairwell wall. I know it looks terrible but I'm essentially skim coating over it. (more mud, sanding, second coat, sanding, texture, paint needed here)
I put the second coat of mud on the cracks in the stairwell, just need to sand, texture, paint those. There is a large crack up too high for me to reach though... we'll see what kind of scaffolding I can create with various pieces of furniture and scrap boards. I might write my next post from the hospital. We'll see.
So, yeah. I'm thinking pretty realistically now. I have a small handful of days left and years worth of projects, so I'm basically slapping a coat of paint over everything so it will look good for the next 6 months or so. I wouldn't be surprised if the house spends the next 15 years as a rental property that falls into greater disrepair, and eventually becomes a parking lot for the hospital around the corner. Can you tell I'm in a bit of a stressed out mood? The optimism is overflowing.

This doesn't help: May is next week, ladies and gentlemen. What's up?
Funny story though; I locked myself out of the house yesterday. I was stranded out on the porch until I had a great idea. That broken window that I haven't gotten around to replacing could be a good access point. The window was locked, but I slit a hole in the tape where there is a hole in the glass big enough for my hand to fit through. I took an old piece of weatherstripping and made it into a loop so I could catch it on the sash lock and open the window. I pulled the lock open, then up went the sash and in I fell onto the couch. I thought it was very 'McGuiver' so I felt pretty smart. At least until I remembered that my absent mindedness got me in that position in the first place!
That would be me re-enacting my break-in job. Smooth, huh?

Friday, April 25, 2008

I Hate Fargo. Can I Move Yet?!?

It's April 25th. It's 31 degrees and snowing. SNOWING.

12 days.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Photos of the Exterior Paint

Well, the windows upstairs need another coat of paint, and you'll notice the mismatched shutters. Give me just a little bit of time and that'll get fixed. It just adds to the crack-house charm right now. I have yet to scrape the excess paint off of the window panes on the doors, so pretend that I've already taken care of that. At any rate, here are the photos:

The house as I found it:
...and with a little green. Still in the works...

The front door before:The front door after. The trim was screaming at me that it didn't want to be treated like siding. 'I don't want to be white anymore!' Green it is.

The screen door was burgundy and white and ugly. I just slapped the green on it too and I think it looks better. I still need to clean up that glass.I hope that looks like a 1920's Arts and Crafts green, not baby poop green. At least it's clean and better than before!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

NYC in 20: Today's Theme is Curb Appeal

In probably every real estate book I've read, they all say that you should change up something on the exterior right before you sell your house. That way people who pass the house on a daily basis notice that there are changes taking place.

Well, I did that today. At least started that. I painted the porch door & door trim, front door & trim, screen door, upstairs front windows, and shutters. The upstairs windows and shutters need another coat, but I can square that away tomorrow.

The color I used was kind of an earthy green that I thought would compliment the white well. Hmm... it's growing on me, but I'm still not sure. I wanted something that was reminiscent of 1920's arts and crafts design, so I thought the green would work well. People will either think of arts and crafts when they see it or of a baby's dirty diaper. I'm hoping people will think of the first reference, not 'lets not buy the house with the diarrhea trim'. It was dark out by the time I finished, so I haven't had an opportunity to get a good look at the place. It was also too dark for pictures. Sorry, I'll get 'em tomorrow.

Tomorrow will mark my last day at the Hotel Donaldson, leaving me unemployed and ready to kick the house repairs into overdrive. With each little thing that gets done I can take a little bit of a deeper breath and my shoulders relax slightly further from my earlobes. I'm just kicking myself for being such a lazy putz this winter. I could have had so much more of this done!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

NYC in 22 Days! Panic Mode!

Wow, so I'm in a mad dash to the finish. Finish in relative terms... I could spend five years working on this house! So far I've mostly been running in circles trying to figure out the best place to start. A few days ago I painted the trim in the kitchen white
and this morning, on a whim, I decided to paint the walls in the kitchen. What is wrong with me and picking out paint colors? I can't seem to do it. I picked up this paint about five months ago. What is it that takes the paint from the nice light sage green on the paint swatch and turns it into a dark SEAFOAM green mess on the walls?

Ok, so it's a little bluer and darker than I would have wanted, but I think it's ok. It does make the white trim 'pop'. If the realtor says it will hurt the sale, I guess it did only take me about three hours to do the job. I still need to paint the ceiling and cabinets a nice pure white. Not a job for today. No way!

Usually I'm not one to be extremely boastful about things, but I captured this bit of sheer magic on film for you. It's me cutting in with a paintbrush. I haven't used painters tape in years and I think it's my best quality in the scheme of home renovating. Steady hand... check it out!

Oh yeah!

More to come soon. Nothing like an impossible deadline to keep you moving!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

More Photos! Wood! Stairs!

Ok, I just finished stripping paint for the day and I'm really happy with the results so far. I have all of the spindles done on three sides and have four of the backs done. I shot a few more snapshots because I'm really excited to see so much woodgrain going on!

Notice the laptop on the stairs. The ipod decided to take the 'dirt nap' (as my professor calls it) so the headphones had to connect to something!

Too bad the house smells like old, melting paint. Sorry roomies!

I believe I've made a decision...

I'm going to sell the house. I'll be working hard to get it ready to list in May. Plan to see big changes; big inexpensive changes.

My Realtor came over today and we sat down to talk about selling the place. She had a list of homes on the market now that would be comparable to my house once I make those fixes I posted a few days ago. Her estimate fell about where I expected it. Basically the value is higher than when I bought it, but the fees associated with the sale cancel out most of the increase. If I got my asking price I could make a little pocket change, but not too much. There'd be even less if anyone asks for closing costs.

Basically, I just need to not have this liability in North Dakota when I'm in New York, Paris, Milan, etc. What if I couldn't find renters? The furnace breaks down? Renters damage the house? Just too much to worry about.

Now for some news that's a little more fun: I'm working on the staircase today. Blasting off that paint with my best friend and favorite tool. See it there? Sitting on the newel post. Just waiting to play!

The two whitish spindles are the ones that, for some reason, someone decided to sand and prime before painting. Jerks! This is one time I'm glad that the P.O.'s were too lazy to do things the right way.

I found that a box works really well for dropping the hot paint scrapings into. The cardboard is easier to scrape against to get the stuck-on pieces off instead of newspaper or paper towels.

Anyone for some delicious chips? Paint chips? Now featuring 30% MORE lead!