Scary Stairs

 

When someone builds a house, or remodels it their marks can be seen long after their work has ended, leaving their legacy mark on the house. In the past I have captured some of the horrors that the previous owner of this house left behind in work that looked pretty till you scraped the surface. The stairway that was taken out as a part of Replacing One Wall: Surprise Yeah Right was one such example. The stringers of the old stair case were built out of 2×8’s, which meant that by the time they were notched for the treads there was only a little over an inch of material tying the whole thing together. It was no wonder that no mater what we did these stairs were noisy. They have now been replaced with 2×12 stringers.

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Just a little bit better right. I was unfortunately not around for most of this process, but each of those notches had to be marked and cut by hand. I am sorry but I don’t have that kind of stability when I cut.

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Between the new stringers going into place and the new treads being installed there was a day or so, but after not being able to get upstairs for a week there were a few items that we needed from our bedroom and the full bathroom upstairs. We started a game of climbing up and down the 1.5″ edge of the stringers and holding onto the stud wall for support. 145.jpg

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The new treads are 2x as opposed to the old 1x so they are much more sturdy as well as being just a little bit deeper. Now our absurdly steep staircase is just a little over code steep. The treads are installed upside down and unfinished without risers for the time being until we are able to finish a couple of big projects upstairs. Then we will be without stairs for a little while again the treads are stained and finished. We are looking to go with a dark stain and light grey risers when it is all said and done.

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Redevotion

This corner of the web is dedicated to C & L Rausch Farm in Indiana. This is a 10 acre hobby farm and 101 year old home that are all going through a major transformation. While I have been documenting projects for the past couple of years it has been hit and miss, and this is a redevotion to the cause of sharing our many projects with family, friends and future friends who want to share in our adventure. 4-17-13 010.JPG

 

Replacing One Wall: Surprise Yeah Right

Christmas time brings a two week vacation from work some years, and for Christopher this year was one of them. We agreed that the downstairs bedroom was so close to being finished that he would take down the old lath and plaster on the west wall to finish that room, and build our under stair closet. True to form out 100 year old house had just a few surprises tucked up her skirt for us. Opening up the bedroom wall showed us that some studs were missing, bent or in other ways buggered up. The old original oak was still there in places so it was a pain to get that hardwood out where it had been messed up. We got to see old classic construction with hand chiseled beams, old cut 2×4’s that are actually 2”x4” and handmade square nails. Once we get past reconstruction we have discussed turning some of those old beams into shelves for pictures and finding a way to show off some of those crazy old nails.

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Christopher continued to take apart the walls of the stairway that you walk under to get to the bedroom the real horrors started to show up. The stairs turned out to be horribly under built. Where a 2×12 stringer should have been present only a 2×8 was found. It was quickly obvious why the stairs were so loud and the treads kept cracking on us. Rebuilding the stairs became the top priority. That took tearing down one wall to multiple walls that were in one way or another connected to putting in new stairs. By the time that the dust settled on demolition related to putting the new staircase in the stairs were down with the adjacent walls in both the upstairs and downstairs bedrooms.

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Half of the wall that separates the dining and living rooms revealing more cut beams and sagging in the walls.

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The flooring down to the joists in the area where the stairs would go back in.

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This one project has kicked off work in 5 different rooms of the house so there will be lots of adventures to come.

Kitchen Backsplash

At long last the kitcken backsplash is done. We used Apex metallic adhesive tiles from Menards. We used the champaign color with a mix of long and short grain tiles. To back up though the kitchen previously had no backsplash.

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I was very grateful for a video by Apex with installation instructions.

I choose the center of the stove hole to be my starting point, and used a vertical line as well a snapped line based upon the unlevel nature of the countertop.

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I did use the oil based primer, but as I went through the install many of the tiles did not adhere well and I ended up using the adhesive as well. One great thing about our kitchen is that we have a lot of outlets around the countertop; this is also unfortunate when it comes time to tile around them all. This is where the jigsaw came into play. While I could use thr mitter saw for straight cuts such as under the cabinets,  these entailed a lot of little cuts.

Overall I have to say that I am happy with the way that it came out; while it does have its imperfections I am proud to say that I did it. Even if it took a lot longer than advertised. I finished the edge with the countertop with an almond colored caulk so that it does not draw attention like clear or another color might have. It in a nice compliment to the beige countertop.

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I soon hope to be able to call the kitchen done, but until then we will keep moving forward with the details.

Under the New Roof

The storm that we had last fall did some damage to the south side of our roof (Power of the Wind). A little while back we had the roof replaced on the south side of the house (New Roof). In the process the inverse dormer was covered over but it was not removed so Christopher went in to tear it out from the underside.

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Shows that there where two slopes to the dormer
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Partially pulled spart

There was also some damage to the insulation due to leaks as well. We took the money that we were given to get new insulation.

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A small stack

I moved around what was still in the south attic and not damaged and then started filling in with the new insulation from there.

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The last piece will be taken care of once we get a bit more work done on the plumbing and electrical.  The top attic will probably wait till fall when it cools back down.

Walk in Pantry

When we first looked at out old farmhouse it was apparent that storage space was at a premium. The kitchen was no exception.  For a pantry we had two shallow cabinets stacked and bolted to a wall by the half bathroom. The dream has always been to build a small walk in pantry in the kitchen. With the extensive kitchen remodel that we have done it was the perfect opportunity; and with the refrigerator moved out of the corner we had the perfect spot.

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Christopher did all of the framing and tile work on the new pantry. With out 9′ ceilings the drywall was a joint effort. The shelves have all been tracked to add future flexibility as the requirements of the space might change.

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We also went for the deepest stock shelves that would work in the space to maximize storage; really by walk in we mean that there is a small area to stand inside the door.

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We still have a little finish work to take care of as far as floor trim, door trim; and painting the door. Once the door is finished it will have a chalkboard interior to write down menu options and shopping lists. That will have to wait for another project update when we move into the final details phase.

Kitchen – Almost to the Details

This post is a little late but it is still an update. While we had sometime off over Christmas and snow in, Christopher put in a lot of work to get the kitchen close to just being details.

The tiles are all set minus the last partial row and some grout work. This also means thar the island has been reinstalled with its new orientation. We are really happy with the space that has been created and the new flow. Once the fridge is able to go in it should be great.
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The is a cabinet that used to be in the kitchen to go over a fridge but it was too short. We have now been able to put it back into place where it will fit over the new fridge location. I am excited to be able to move the big roasting pans up there and out of the corner cabinet.

The can light ledge is also looking great. With a taller profile to hide the guts of the lights and is also hanging square to the wall.
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The display cubbie that backs the downstairs shower is installed and is just waiting for stain.
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The biggest task that is currently on tap is to finish all of the drywall seam and fill work. With so much new drywall this will take a while, but after that we can start to focus on the details.

It is amazing to see how far the kitchen has come and I look forward to its eventual completion.

PS We have still not settled on paint or the backsplash.