Monday, October 26, 2009

why go further north for fall foliage; got it right here

This shows a mix of trees in my mom's front yard; next one is a big maple just up the street from there.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Old adage is true about "Assume"

You know the old saying about "assume making an bleep out of you and me". Well, for me, that is true relative to getting the dual sided gas fireplace in the living/dining room. I thought, incorrectly, that I was arranging with the heating/cooling contractor to install it. They thought some one was building a brick fireplace and they were only to put in gas logs. There is no brick fireplace and chimney, of course, and I need venting and a 'see thru' firebox to put gas logs into.

I thought I was done making decisions about the fireplace when we decided to create mantels and surrounds in the living and dining rooms matching the existing chestnut one and to face the walls and hearth with marble tile. Sigh. Hopefully, the general contractor will be able to recommend where to purchase the firebox and vent piping and I can get something simple and not too costly.

hiss .. whoosh .. fortunately no BOOM!

I've been away on vacation cruising on the Norwegian Jewel as far north as Quebec City, Canada in the St. Lawrence River. I expected I would have lots of pictures to post when I returned because the contractor thought they would start sheet rock while I was away. It was not to be.

With the ramp finished more siding was added to the front and to the front side next to the ramp; most of the rough electrical is installed but not tied into the box yet (more on that later), and most of the rough plumbing is installed but the gas feeds are not complete yet.

So here's the tale of hiss .. whoosh .. no BOOM:

Part of installing all the new water lines and adding gas feeds is removing all the old piping including the water lines to the hot water heating system. In the south west corner of the basement is a small room where the new electrical box is located and my sister was storing Christmas decorations and accouturements. In that room was a set of brown rusty, crud covered pipes attached at the wall in the corner. None of us knew what it was, may be old water pipes? So two men were assigned to remove that piping and they started in with a reciprocating saw to cut them out. First there was a slight hiss but no smell. Then a big whoosh with a slight smell and they beat it out of the basement. The smell increased and one of them drove down the block to the volunteer fire station to alert them while the other warned everyone else on site. The gas company was called and dispatched a team. At the fire station, no one was there but the Newfield Police Department is in the same building and so they were told and immediately called the fire chief and the volunteer ambulance crew before dispatching the police car to block off the street and get people out of neighboring homes.

This quick thinking and action by the men on site, the police, volunteer fire department, and volunteer ambulance corps prevented any injuries and no explosion for which I am entirely grateful, especially that no person was harmed.

So how did a live gas main connection come to be in the house that wasn't the new one I had installed this summer? In 1928, (the date is known because it is painted on the connection at the house line to the old main), a gas line was run into the house for a stove. Somewhere in the late 40's or early 50's, the stove was changed out to be electric and the piping was capped off in the house but nothing was written on the walls or pipes as to what the situation was, and the connection to the gas line at the street was not capped off. Many years later, the gas company ran a new line down the street and that is what my house is currently attached to with a fancy new meter on the outside of the house. The gas company, using some aerial photos, came along the street and supposedly disconnected all the old lines from the old street main into the houses. Guess what, they missed one. They had to get a metal detector out to find out where to disconnect this one during the 'incident'. Now it is all safely disconnected and the old gas line is capped at the main.

The story doesn't end there. The old equipment used liquid mercury in the regulator. So mercury spilled and vaporized. The gas company is still working on getting the mercury readings back to safe levels. The final step after all the vacuuming and chemical scrubbing is to paint the concrete block walls in that room. Fortunately for me, all the clean up costs are on the gas company's nickel because it was their mistake. Unfortunately for my sister, the Christmas decorations and associated accouturements have all been permamently contaiminated by mercury and will be removed by a hazmat team. When I called to get the new gas line, I asked about the old line but they had no information in their current database.

So here's some photos of work that did get done including parging of the addition's foundation and of the new door that will be going in the back.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Busy Friday ..

Plumber, electrician, framers, and deconstruction crew all at work. The ramp is getting finished; more electrical runs and pipes for jack and jill bathroom are being installed. More deconstruction of the walls and ceiling in the old part had to come out so new electrical lines can go in. This uncovered some wall studs that still have bark on them. Speculation is that the lumber was milled on site since this was 1920 when it was built.

Drylock on the basement walls have already made a difference in the humidity level even though only half the basement has been treated so far. Where the dehumidifier had to be dumped twice every 24 hours, now we have gone 48 hours and only had to dump once. When the floor get sealed with epoxy later, it may not even require a dehumidifier.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ramp started

The ramp work was started. Still more rough electrical being done. All the old circuits are being replaced and new ones run for the addition. Decided not to put overhead lights in the coffers in the living room as the rope lighting on the sides should emphasize enough and table and floor lamps will light spaces in the room for reading, playing cards, doing puzzles, watching tv, etc.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Framing passed inspection; one glass block window in

The framing was finally done and passed its inspection today. This means insulation can begin soon.

Search for light fixtures found 2 for over sink and back counter. They are halogen pendant lights. Recessed lights over island and under cabinets will light the rest of the kitchen. Re-thought the lighting style and went with a psuedo-tiffany style for the foyer. Dining room gets a small scale chandelier in smoked glass that will play off the marble fireplace surround nicely. Still thinking about what goes into the coffered ceiling in living room besides rope lights in the cove part.

One of the glass privacy block windows has been constructed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More work, no photos

Work continues inside the existing house with more framing, plumbing, and such. Picked out the glass block style for the 2 front windows. It is called icescapes and looks like rough ice. Very good at letting in light and if you are 15 feet away you don't even see shapes. Should be very private unless someone is standing directly outside the window on a ladder. Even then you might see a bit of color but no defined shapes.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

not much to photograph but lots of work done today

About 1/3 of the plumbing rough-in was completed today. Had to put the toilet off center from the existing window but centered in its surrounding area. Same goes for the pedestal sink in the back bathroom.

The plumber has to put in new venting stacks and negotiate with the HVAC guys for space where to tuck things. Normally, this is all done ahead on the architectural plans for a new house; but that doesn't work for a renovation that is as complicated as this one where rooms are being re-purposed.

The HVAC guys began running ducts -- not the old fashioned take up extra ordinary amounts of ceiling space in the basement kind -- the new soft aluminum round tube that is covered with insulation and then black plastic. It is nice because it can be tucked up in between floor joists and make simpler turns.

The metal door to the ice house crawlspace was installed. This involved cutting down the block work and adding additional parging when the original coat was damaged in cutting away the opening for the door.

More work was done on parging the pillars on the new front porch. Went slower than before because the air temperature has cooled considerably. The plan came from the architect for widening the front porch and adding a ramp that my Mom can use her walker on.