Saturday, January 8, 2011

I've Been Making a House (with lots of help)

That's right folks, I'm not dead, but I haven't posted in a long while. The biggest reason for that aside from the holidays was that in October I moved into a house and started renovating it. I'll have to get some before and after photos up, but it started out looking like a pack of wild dogs lived here with holes in the wall, nasty smells and trash all over the place, and a patchwork of half-assed and jury-rigged repairs spanning back at least a decade.

Started out by gutting the place out: carpet, old heaters, nasty linoleum and congolium tile, trash, filthy counters and cabinets, etc... and about $200 worth of scrap metal behind the house which paid for a new front door since the old one had a hole rotted in the bottom almost big enough for a cat to get through. Then it was on to drywall, cleaning, and since my old house's lease was up: sleeping in the gutted shell of the new place. Waking up every morning with a nose full of drywall dust and no heat turns out to be a good motivator for getting to work.

My dad, me, roommate Justin, several of my friends, and some of my dad's friends and associates helped straighten out wiring, replaced every receptical and switch in the house, added a bigger circuit breaker panel, dropped the ceiling in the kitchen and hall to make room for central AC among other things, replaced ratty and chilly old windows (though there's still one left right now), and painted just about every surface in the house but the slab.

We also cut down and hauled out two big sycamore trees and a really big oak that had roots sticking several inches above most of the front yard, had ruined the driveway, and were threatening to do the same to the slab of the house though luckily it hadn't already. We also put up a privacy fence on the side of the house where the neighbors are a little too rowdy to want much to do with.

I also got two sets of 45 watt solar panel kits from Harbor Freight during the holiday sales and snagged a couple of nice big batteries from work as a storage bank, it's just sitting on the roof mounted to a pair of 2x4s. It's been working quite nicely and I've had my laptop and phone running on solar power ever since without running the batteries down even when it was cloudy several days.

And to top it all off the next and hopefully last big projects now that the house is starting to feel more like a home are to put a new roof on (and increase the pitch as well as change some other stuff about it), enclose the carport as a garage/workshop so I can finally stop working on things out in the weather and not have to worry about my tools walking off or getting wet, and turn the back porch into a master bath with attached laundry closet. Oh yeah, and we have to paint the outside once that's done. Still lots more to come, but holy hell it's come a long way already. Once I've got my workshop done up I should be able to more comfortably work on stuff, so stay tuned!

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