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That old house

Blog series by BillyJ consisting of 11 parts so far

Part 1: Old house - new kitchen

08-19-2011 03:55 PM by BillyJ | 10 comments »

I began this project a while ago and just now had some time to start writing about it. This is one of those projects that hold a surprise behind every swing of the hammer. Here is what I have to work with. It’s an older home. Built in 1939, it started out as a three-room house. Owner after owner left their mark. Unfortunately, almost all of the additions and renovation jobs were done by people who owned stock in fastener or plaster companies. The plaster is that good stuff –...

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Part 2: Out with the old and in with the new

09-02-2011 04:22 PM by BillyJ | 14 comments »

I left off sharing my experience with a new surprise behind every wall. It continued through the entire demo. I finally got to the point where I wouldn’t be surprised by what I found (or didn’t find). Fortunately, most of the framing by the renovators who previously pounded a nail in the kitchen was good. Here are some of the things that I have to work around – plumbing. The stack going to the upstairs bathroom runs against the exterior wall – that happens to...

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Part 3: You'll finish when?

11-14-2011 10:44 PM by BillyJ | 3 comments »

Although I told the client MANY times that this remodeling job will take a long time, I do not think she believed me. Working by myself, and for only a couple of hours a night, it is rather difficult for real progress to take place. There were many items that put a crimp in me accomplishing a lot, the least of which is a demanding client. I left off in the last installment showing a gutted shell, with only a little plumbing and electrical completed. Time now to install the windows. The...

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Part 4: Change order #10,999 and counting

12-04-2011 07:38 AM by BillyJ | 5 comments »

I am honestly not keeping track of how many change orders have taken place, because most of them originated from me opening my big mouth and suggesting a different approach. Just when I thought it was safe to move on to another segment of the job, changes in design take place. Who cares – right? Finishing the drywall went well. I recently picked up a Porter-Cable 7800 Drywall sander and vacuum and couldn’t wait to use it. Although this is a small job, I brought it along just so...

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Part 5: Light moved and arches constructed

12-06-2011 08:48 PM by BillyJ | 3 comments »

I was able to move both the light and construct the arches in two nights. It would have been much easier incorporating the arches into the original design, however, I found it was not all that horrible building off site. Laying everything out on a 1/4 OSB board, I drew a 70 5/8” circle. Allowing for the 1/4 drywall, I cut and assembled the two sides. After that, it was glue, screw, block, glue, screw, and finish. I find using the 3M #61 spray to hold the molding is a lot easie...

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Part 6: Not quite there, but on my way

12-31-2011 06:45 AM by BillyJ | 5 comments »

I’m almost at the point where I can begin making the cabinets. After months and months of demo and rebuilding, the cabinets are almost in view. Although designs change almost daily, I can see an end to the renovation. There were only a few items left to complete, finishing the tiling was next on my list. The tiles were handcrafted in the early 1940s by an artisan. Fortunately, the original owners purchased more then enough for the kitchen when they put the tile down. I had four boxes...

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Part 7: Perhaps within a year???

04-02-2012 04:48 AM by BillyJ | 6 comments »

I’m very rapidly approaching the 1-year mark on this renovation. It seems like a lifetime of work that keeps going. SO many things have changed, I hardly recognize the initial proposal. In fact, I just looked at the proposal, and this remodel has increased at least 3-times in size and scope. It is not longer the original plan; that went to the wayside almost immediately. Here is where I stand. 1. New ideas make more work. The painting is finished (I think), and there should not be...

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Part 8: Down to the wire - crunch time

06-29-2012 03:08 AM by BillyJ | 9 comments »

July 6, 2011. At 7:53 a.m., to be exact. I began my journey into a world of changes. Changes in design, scope, content, and finally – me. As Jerry Garcia would say – what a long, strange trip it’s been. I’m doing many things at the same time. Although I had plans for various aspects of the kitchen to follow a sequence, today just proved how quickly my priorities change (I should say – forced to change). The customer purchased a small TV/VCR that will be mounte...

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Part 9: Same day, different ...

07-23-2012 10:55 AM by BillyJ | 10 comments »

Borrowing a phrase from Sandhill – just another day in paradise. Another cliche – hopes and dreams of mice and men. There are many I can use to describe this ordeal. The pain of having wisdom teeth pulled, root canals, setting a broken bone – none of them compare to this on-going Ground Hog Day type of job. I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel, but I think it is nothing but the oncoming train. My list of “never again’s” is multiplying daily. ...

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Part 10: The End - (I think)

01-07-2013 04:19 PM by BillyJ | 15 comments »

This project was completed in early December, but still had a punch-list to finish off (touch up painting, 3rd screws in hinges, etc.). Overall, everything on this job went well. I can’t say I am sorry that I took it on, as I learned a LOT in this never-ending ordeal. When I was working on that list last night, she handed me her “list” of things she thought were missing. She was 100% correct – they were all missing because every item was new to the project. I told her ...

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Part 11: Yes, this IS the final installment

01-11-2013 05:57 AM by BillyJ | 11 comments »

Now for the details of the remodeling. Original budget: $14k. Final budget: to be determined (right now we are double the original amount). True, I am finished with the kitchen, and I believe she does not have any further plans for the kitchen, but the “house” now became the former kitchen. I think she has enough for me to do for the rest of my life. EVERYTHING was upgraded during this remodel. From the 1/2 dozen different door knobs I bought, to hinges, slides, lights, etc....

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BillyJ

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