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Although silent, I have not been remiss in my renovation activities (entirely, anyway). For the last couple of months(!), I have been working on the living room and bathroom remodel. Much of my time has been spent simply prepping the space. I tend to be a bit anal-retentive when it comes to this part. I like nice, straight walls and as a result, a lot of time is spent shimming them appropriately to accomplish that. I also tend to experience scope-creep, with this project being no exception, but I’ve done my best to curb it.

While all of the walls were open, some positive changes:

1) I ran new circuits for the dining room (20A), parlor (15A), bathroom (20A), living room (20A), and garage (20A). I can now officially declare my house to be free of live knob and tube wiring!! (Some of it remains entombed, unfortunately, but not connected.) The only old, non-grounded Romex-type stuff is localized in the basement and that can be fixed at my leisure.

2) The plumber replaced all of the old cast iron and galvanized pipes associated with the bathroom all the way into the basement. In the process, we discovered why water was leaking out of the laundry room light fixture–the cast iron that ran from the bathroom to the vent over the laundry ceiling was leaking, so that pipe was replaced too.

3) I insulated the walls. For some, that will be considered a travesty, but it is done. The kitchen, laundry, and office are located in a 1930’s addition. The ceilings are lower than the main house, so the attic space in that addition was “open” to the living room above the lowered ceiling. Some of the pictures show about three feet of insulation going down the wall which looks odd, but only without knowing that the attic space is immediately behind the insulation.

4) I replaced the “french doors” in the southwest corner of the living room with a salvaged double-hung window seen here. In the process, I replaced all of the cedar siding in that corner. At some point decades ago, someone added galvanized metal corners. I removed all of those and restored the original, mitered corners. It looks so much better now. Although perhaps it would seem a travesty to remove the doors, they were not original. It was obvious that the original window in that corner was a cottage-style. Evidence of the framing still remained when I opened up the wall, so the decision to remove them was made easier by that. Now I wonder if the matching pair of doors in the dining room also replaced a cottage window. Perhaps I will find out when I redo that room.

5) Over the years, the house has settled and a PO had leveled out the floor in the bathroom. To make a long story short, I sistered on new 2x8s to provide additional strength and rigidity. It made a big difference. And while I was at it, I completely replaced the old subfloor.

6) I replaced the old ductwork to the bathroom all the way from the basement up. It’s so much more efficient at moving air now.

Some less-than-positive outcomes of this project:

A) The intent with the bathroom was to make it a master bath and change its layout. Unfortunately, due to its location and the existing structure in the house, it couldn’t become a master bath or even have the fixtures relocated. Hrmph! Figured if I was going to get a whole new bathroom, I wanted a whole new bathroom but it was not meant to be.

B) I was going to cheap out and get the vinyl/acrylic walls for the bathtub/shower but when the plumber and I went to put them in, we decided they were the crappiest, cheapest, junkiest things this side of the Mississippi, so they went back to the store. Now I’m having tile installed. I wasn’t a real fan of adding another $1000 to the cost of the project, but it is what it is.

C) Sometime in the 30’s or so, they added a basement under most of the house. They installed I-beams to jack up the house, but left them entombed in the living room ceiling when they were done. I knew they were there and that at some point the ceiling had been lowered to cover them up. When I took out that dropped ceiling, I discovered that they had originally been boxed in after the basement work was done. I want the high ceiling again and plan still to box them in. The problem is two-fold: 1) the cost, and 2) they didn’t exactly put the beams in in a symmetrical manner. So my beamed ceiling will be off and probably look stupid or at the worst, amateurish. Oh, well.

D) Due to a host of reasons, I was not able to address the causes of or resolution for the floors being out-of-level. On the up-side, it would appear that it has been this way for about 100 years, so the likelihood of it getting worse are slim to none. The plate on which the bathroom floor rests is clearly out-of-plumb, but the lath in the dining room was applied plumb to the existing walls, so it has clearly been that way since the early 1900’s.

Enough droning… On to the photos.