Thursday, July 31, 2008

House Update

As you might have noticed, I've had little to say about the home improvement project. Let's just call it a summer haitus. Once I got the kitchen functioning, I thought a couple months off to let the wounds heal might not be a bad idea. Okay, that's a lie, I've just been enjoying the great weather too much to be bothered to work on the house much. I did make some progress with the kitchen windows this month, but that's about it.

As we wind into the dog days of summer -- though truth be told, the weather has generally been great this summer, with relatively few really disgusting DC days -- I expect I'll be more interested in being inside working on some project than outside in the swamp. But I wanted to reflect briefly on how far I have come in my first year.

The majority of what I did in 2007 was make the place livable. It looked a bit like a crack house when I moved in. Apropos of crack - that reminds me, while cleaning up the yard a couple weeks ago I found a crack vial. Full. Judging by the wear and tear on the plastic bottle, it looked about late '90's vintage, possibly Marion Barry era. I can't count the number of little cocaine baggies I've found before, but this is the first time I've found actual drugs back there. I guess this is proof of the old adage: "Only users lose drugs."

But moving on. I tore up about 20 contractor bags full of 50 year old, partially decomposed carpet, and found generally beautiful wood floors beneath them all. I sanded and finished one stretch in the downstairs hallway. I replaced the toilet and vanity in the bathroom, the latter of which was beyond description, having rotted into an entirely new form of life. My friends were afraid to go near it. I put in a washer and dryer; replaced the ancient boiler; upgraded the electrical panel to 250 amps. I installed a temporary sink in the "kitchen" so at least I had running water and could wash dishes. All these were necessities for basic civilized living. And once that was done, I rested for a few months.

Then, becoming restless, I began the real kitchen project in December, which is chronicled here in the archives. It started with completely tearing down the ceiling, revealing the significant plumbing issues. So I had to replace just about every inch of plumbing in the house before I could even begin construction in the kitchen. I installed cabinets, wired the thing up, fixed walls, put in the counter, and went through endless other details to get the kitchen to it's "mostly finished" state of today.

The last thing I did was replace the windows in the kitchen, also described here, which brings us to today. The kitchen has a bunch of finish work to do, which I plan to begin soon. This fall I'm going to fence in the back yard, and with any luck, install ductwork for central air conditioning over the winter. This is a task much better suited for cool weather since crawling around in the attic during the summer is as about much fun as being waterboarded by a power tripping marine.

So, to reflect upon the last year I wanted to put up a few pictures of "before."

Original kitchen, in the addition (which will be torn down and rebuilt at some point). My favorite part is the sink drain.
Original Kitchen

Where my new kitchen was built. Facing the back of the house. The original kitchen is through that door.
Kitchen Facing East

Another shot of the "new kitchen" room. This is the wall with the windows where the countertop was installed. I dismantled and rebuilt the cabinet on the opposite wall.
Kitchen built-in cabinet

Not-quite-current picture of the kitchen, after construction. I've since replaced the windows and drywalled the ceiling.
Kitchen Counter 1


Carrie M said...

got here from dating is dead and *gasp*....I. LOVE. your. kitchen. gorgeous.

and is it me or does that totally sound like that could have double meaning? LOL

Jamie said...

Thanks, it's been a labor of love. An as yet incomplete one... but I am getting close.

And you have a dirty mind. I respect that.