The long, slow winter

This has been one of the warmest Michigan winters I can ever recall, but the days are still short, the nights still long, and the pace still slow.

External electrical wiring

The wiring is... less than classy. But it works.

Things are progressing, albeit slowly. We’re finding a new work/life/renovation balance; having this giant new project has understandably thrown us all for a bit of a loop and we’re all discovering a new rhythm.

Our electrician is still working on the upstairs outlets. I’m not extremely thrilled with the compromise that has to be made (essentially, we could either take walls down and make new runs or run external wire harnesses that look more appropriate for a corporate cubicle wall than a Victorian home). The cheap option had to win out; our renovation budget is not unlimited. For now, we’ll have to deal with ugly wiring in our bedrooms until such time as we can revisit the idea of doing electrical properly. Think 5+ years.

The hydronics fellows from Soley came by and spent an entire day pressure-testing the heating system. Based on the fact that the kitchen radiator had blown out previously due to freezing, I had a deep fear that there would be more damage to the system. My biggest fear of all was that some of the radiator pipes had burst inside the walls. Judging by the condition of the cast iron sewage pipes that were broken in the basement, it wasn’t a stretch to imagine the radiator pipes similarly degraded.

The news was good and bad: The bad news was that two more radiators were bad (Kyle’s bedroom and Lincoln’s bedroom). The good news is that replacements are relatively inexpensive and available at the Architectural Salvage Warehouse. The best┬ánews is that the pipes were all good.

Lincoln already picked up another radiator for under $150. We have a spare radiator in the basement that we’ll have to test. If it works, all we need to do is heft it up to the second floor and we’ll have a sealed system.

That means it’ll then be time to make the big move: A new condensing boiler system.

A clean fireplace

The fireplace, newly cleaned out and opened for business.

In the meantime, we have light. We have a relatively secure perimeter. The break-ins seem to have stopped the day the lights went on. We spent the weekend doing major cleaning and reorganizing. The living areas are all relatively clean. I made major progress in the basement laundry area with a shop vac. I cleaned up all the spider webs, dust, dirt, and debris and now the laundry room is actually starting to look functional. I even hooked up the washing machine and it works, although I discovered new leaks in the utility tub (Andy’s not gonna be happy about that).

The winter is long and slow, but the time is nearing when we have to start planning a move-in. In order to make the house livable, we still need to tackle two major areas: The bathroom and the kitchen.

Baby steps.

9 thoughts on “The long, slow winter

  1. That sums things up for me. Slowly moving forward at the pace of the people helping us, trying to find the right pace between too-slow-to-make-it-in-time and too-fast-to-make-good-choices.
  2. How is the city's permit process? Expensive? Or are they fairly cooperative?
  3. Looking good guys. I love the fireplace! More photos of the brick work detail please.
  4. I came across your website last night, and I was riveted by your story. It's so familiar, yet so unique. I am your neighbor on Avery (bet Willis and Alexandrine). I bought my house last Feb and completed renovation (if that really ever happens in a 100+ yr old house!) in July. I had many of the same issues, except -- thankfully -- the persistent break-ins. I'll stop by sometime soon to introduce myself and to offer help. I'd also love to show you my house (not nearly as grand as the Sullivan House), so you can see that there is light at the end of the tunnel! I'm excited for all of you, keep up the good work.
  5. I just wanted to say that I've been absorbing this whole blog the past hour after reading about the renovation on the Model D website. A huge WELL DONE on making this project a reality. I made the move to Detroit last summer (New Center/Midtown) after longing to find a spot of my own in the city for the past 10 years. I'm not a Detroit native, however I totally associate with the feeling of "coming back home." Thank you for committing your time to the Detroit community. It's determination like this that is slowly breathing revival back into the city. :)
  6. Beautiful fireplace. Good that the break-ins have stopped. Keep up the great progress, please. Looking forward to maybe seeing it in April :D Brian, check your email on Icrontic for more on that, please.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *