16 January, 2009

Home Improvement Resolutions for January 2009

We decided not to make a list of New Year's Home Improvement Resolutions for 2009. Our list of uncompleted projects at the end of 2008 was just too depressing. Instead, we're going to do a month-by-month list of goals that we might reasonably be able to accomplish in a 30-day period. This is what we want to accomplish for January, and where we're at now that it's the middle of the month:

1. Remove drywall and shelves in our "electrical room" and clean room [Done]

This room was a disaster. I forgot to get a picture of what it looked like before I started. Every inch of space was cluttered with stuff [read: junk] left behind by the previous owners, including 30 odd cans of old paint now waiting in the garage to be hauled down to the recycling center. [Note to self: On next home purchase, make sure we have it in writing that the seller will have all of their possessions removed; don't just believe it when they say they will.] Above is a picture of some of the bounty I dragged out into the laundry room. This is maybe a fifth of what was in there.

Here's the closest thing I have for a before picture; the window in back had been replaced last month, and then replaced again a few weeks later after this picture was taken when it developed a stress crack [thank you, Scientific Window, for your 20-year guarantee]. The electrical room is so named because that's where our service boxes are for both units, which are off to the right in the photo. These were "upgraded" in 1970, based on a receipt we found in the basement. Ted had already removed the ceiling board in this room, and I was about to remove the shelves and wallboard, behind which were literally hundreds of spider egg sacs and a quarter-inch of coal dust.

After (at right): I think it took about six or seven hours total to remove and break down the wall board, clean every surface of coal dust, scrub down the floor, haul the junk out to the garage, haul our old metal shelves in, and stock the room with supplies--both ours and the previous owners--we think we might actually need. I know, I know, it still looks like a grotty basement room to the untrained eye, but to me it's a haven of order and [semi] cleanliness. Behind the wallboard (dated 1926) was the wood-slatted wall shared with the storage room. You can follow that link to see what the boards look like.

Also in the electrical room, we found the fireplace insert for the second-floor unit. Okay, we knew it was there, but it was pretty filthy and covered in spider egg sacks. This was the first real opportunity I had to drag it out and get a good look at it. Here it is with most of the dirt knocked off of it.

It needs to be rewired and derusted, but it's pretty cool. On the underside of the logs are two lightbulbs, one red and one whitish-yellow, to simulate that warm fireplace glow. At present, the tenants upstairs are using a modern light-only fireplace insert. I have no idea if this restoration project will make it to my list of things to get done this year or not.

2. Get the rest of our possessions out of Mom's other house so the new tenants can settle in. [Done]

We did manage to do this, but an unexpected flood in the basement kept us over there more often than we planned.

Okay, so those are the only things we've accomplished on the list so far. Here are the rest of the goals for January 2009.

3. Install new light on back porch

This is for the landing leading to the upstairs porch. At present, it's a bare bulb.


4. Finally finish cleaning and reassembling the 1920s toilet in the basement that we took apart a year ago and bought replacement parts for in June.

Seriously, I'm sick of tripping over the pieces, and we really need another working toilet.

5. Finish removing grotty old ceiling board in both the mechanical rooms, and demo the wall inbetween them.

Two boilers, two water heaters, two rooms to house them. We refer to these rooms as the Mechanical Room and the Tool Room, the latter so named because that's where all our tool chests and assorted fix-it gear have ended up. And the wall separating these rooms? You can hardly call it that, it doesn't even reach the ground, but sort of hovers over the floor drain.

6. Install new door to Ted's office, which currently does not have one.

We found a door at Menards to match the five-panel doors we have downstairs already. It's sitting on its side, still in its packaging crate. We just need to find age-appropriate hardware. This does not mean that the door will be stained and finished, but it will be at least be hanging in place until we can get it finished.

7. This is on Mom's list, to select a replacement sink and toilet for the first floor unit's bathroom.

After a year of using a bucket of water to make sure everything flushes down properly, it's time. It's strange how normal that act has actually become. The ridiculousness of it only crosses my mind when I have to explain the procedure to guests.

Alrighty, that's it. The pressure is on! Only two weeks to the end of the month. Any bets if we'll get it all done?

1 comment:

Tonia said...

Oh, I bet that six-pack of Diet Coke was mighty tasty after years and years! ;-)

I found out the hard way just how bitter old aspartame can get! ;-)