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Sullivan House: Renovation Log

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  • Lately:

    - Dave finished rewiring the carriage house
    - Dave installed a new porch outlet
    - Dave swapped a few outlets and switches
    - Continued reorganizing the attic
    - Begun fixing up Perry's room (bit of an unfinished mess in there)
    - Planted a tree! Aaron's Sourwood now lives in the south yard.
    - Aaron removed one of the beds in the front yard (used the plants to fill in elsewhere with better sunlight & made more yard space)
  • This past weekend:

    - Attended an all-day historic home restoration workshop
    - Bought window repair supplies
    - Cleaned out workspace in the carriage house
    - Disassembled one of the kitchen's wood sash windows
    - Removed glazing and paint from the frame and both sashes of that window and the lower sash of another
  • October was a huge month:

    - Jackie scraped & drylocked the basement workshop walls
    - Lincoln & Jackie masonry painted half the workshop
    - Aaron continued working on the kitchen window
    - Andy and co. fixed the carriage house roof & structure (!)
    - Jackie primed Perry's closet
    - Lincoln cleaned & painted the workshop floor with epoxy
    - Contracted a facade restoration service (for repairing & painting the siding)
    - Bought and assembled shelves; figured out shelving / storage plan
    - Jimmy & Ryan moved Nicole's studio to the newly-appointed basement room
    - Work began on the total restoration of the house's street-facing sides
  • November's first 3 weeks have pressed onward:

    - Facade restoration continued & finished (street-facing sides)
    - Metal roof (shake shingle style) was installed on the carriage house

    - Ryan hooded the attic windows & reinstalled basement storm windows
    - Ryan repaired some basement windows so they'd close properly
    - Aaron continued work on the new pub beer shelves
    - Jackie painted Perry's closet
    - Nicole moved her office space into the workshop & finished setting it up
    - Bought a high-power heater for the basement
    - Bought a chest freezer (we need the capacity...)
    - Dave fixed a shorted outlet & moved/re-wired the security system
    - Fixed great room radiator cover (never got reinstalled properly)
    - Reinstalled solar-powered yard lamp for winter

    Buttoning things up for winter after this week, and then it'll just be interior projects til spring rolls around.
    • Rearranged the network area, installed new switch rack, mounted stuff to the network wall
  • - Prepped the pub for painting the ceiling
    - Reorganized the cellar room to fit more paint & supplies
    - Cleaned the main floor of the house now that 6 weeks of contractors is over
  • Cleaned the main floor of the carriage house?
  • No, the house. It was kinda a trainwreck of mess from all the foot traffic and supply-dropping.
  • OK, it just seemed like I wasn't there to see and thought most of the main effort was in the carriage house.... Thanks for expanding.
  • This winter we've been taking it nice and slow while weathering the severe cold and snow:

    - Top of the front stairwell ceiling was painted by Joe
    - Danny came and fixed the ceiling seam in the kitchen (water damage)
    - Danny replaced a support missing under the back stairs (rotted)
    - Planned out spring renovations
    - Andy came to discuss spring projects & take measurements for the carriage house doors
    - Aaron & Lincoln disassembled and paint-stripped 2 kitchen window wooden sashes
    - Aaron cleaned & restored the 2 sashes
    - Ryan cut new glass for the 2 sashes
    - Aaron re-puttied & Lincoln repainted the 2 sashes
    - Cycled out more lights with LEDs
    - Patched and sanded holes from moving alarm system
    - Scraped & oil primed the patch of ceiling in the turret we originally left unpainted due to water damage
    - Aaron cut temporary trim for the backdoor
    - Took out a mortgage (whew) & changed home insurance
    - Dave replaced 5 more light switches with antique push-button models
  • March:

    • Sanded, primed, and painted pub ceiling (high fives to Benson & Marie for helping)
    • Dave put the porch light on a timer
    • Benson painted the turret & kitchen ceilings (where we did patching)
    • Contracted for carriage house facade repair
    • Built & placed raised bed gardens in south yard (we created a nice two-level effect with a little path going down the middle (A PATH, A PATH!) (SHH!))
    • Bought a shrubbery (not kidding)
    • Cleaned the front & side yards of trash & debris (3 trashcans) & unpacked carriage house from winter
    • Started repairing carriage house facade
  • Pics dammit!

  • April & May it was all about the carriage house and backyard:

    • Dave installed new light fixtures on first floor of carriage house
    • Dave wired the entire second floor of the carriage house (6 lights, 5 outlets)
    • Dave installed a heater in the half bathroom (just in time for it to get warm!)
    • Dug a stump & water pump foundation out of the back yard
    • Planted a dogwood & cherry tree in back yard
    • Painted the iron tub in rustoleum and made it a backyard planter
    • Dug out the sidewalk from 2 inches of dirt on the north side
    • Filled & planted 6 raised beds on the south yard
    • Aaron de-ivyed along the entire fence on Calumet to make way for flowers
    • Carriage house facade was cleaned, scraped, repaired, caulked, and primed (3 weeks)
    • Carriage house on alley side had structural & foundational repairs done
    • Continued planning how to finish the second floor of the carriage house
    • We did two coats of paint on the carriage house siding (3 full days)
    • Repaired the carriage house stairs (they were a bit perilous still with 1 missing)
    • Did an alley cleanup day that included removing bramble & litter
    • Trashed some more junk from the carriage house
    • Sold the paint sprayer, broken lawnmower, & broken snowblower
  • Summer 2014 slowed down the pace, as expected:

    • Andy built & installed new custom replica carriage house doors on the alley side, an entry door, a trap door on the second floor, and the two casement windows upstairs.
    • Dave installed lights on the carriage house in the alley & replaced a couple more lightswitches with antique versions.
    • We got halfway done with painting the back of the house & porch, carriage house trim, and new doors.
    • Aaron continued planting flowers everywhere and preparing for next year's landscaping.
    • We moved all our house pieces & supplies to the second floor of the carriage house, where Aaron has spent many afternoons organizing and cataloging. The attic was cleared over the course of 4 days as part of this process.
    • We assembled 54 framed black & white photos of friends helping us with the renovation process and hung them in the hall & stairs.
  • Awesome :)

  • edited April 2015

    Year 4! Step it up!

    So far in in April:

    • Cleaned out the first floor of the carriage house.
    • Installed pavers in front yard under the garbage & recycling cans.
    • Bought 5 planters & decorative grass and put them in the alley.
    • Shoveled excess dirt out of alley.
    • Bought and shoveled a yard of pea gravel into the backyard.
    • First coat of red on the ballisters on the back porch.
    • Primed the trim around the yard door of the carriage house.
    • Finished the first paint coat on the carriage house trim (gray).
    • Removed the pub porch screen door.
    • Scraped and sanded door trim on pub porch door.
    • Removed hardware from both back doors.
    • Packed up the pub & turret (first floor) in anticipation of floor sanding.
    • Significantly cut back the front yard hedges & raked out the beds for spring.
    • Aaron has an entire mini green house of flowering plants started in the attic.
    • Installed LED lights shining on the top section of the turret.

    Over the fall & winter, the upstairs of the carriage house was also fully organized into a wood workshop by Aaron. Last month, work also started on de-creaking the front staircase (via Andy & Danny).

  • edited April 2015

    Today:

    • Emailed a wood window restoration expert.
    • Emailed Andy a project list.
    • Contacted our electrician (he's out of town for a month).
    • Ordered custom wood screen doors for both back doors.
    • Disassembled the office doorway & pocket door.
    • Contacted the missing pocket door roller's manufacturer for a replacement (still in business!)
    • Aaron primed the new upper carriage house window frames.
    • Aaron painted carriage house trim.
    • Nicole continued painting the back porch banisters.
    • Brian and Kyle continued stripping paint off both back door frames.
    • Started painting the trim on the back of the house.
  • This week:

    • Got & approved an estimate for floor refinishing (entire first floor & both staircases).
    • Reviewed spring house projects with Andy & Danny.
    • Found replacement hardware for the office pocket door, ordered & received.
    • Contacted a second window restoration person & scheduled visit.
    • Spec'd out a loan & worked on project financing.
    • Started brick border around front porch.
    • Started landscaping south yard.
    • Visited sandblast & powdercoating shop ahead of radiator project.
    • Scheduled Soley to fix pump & drain radiator system.
    • Bought more exterior paint & supplies.
    • Removed miscellaneous hardware from turret window.
  • Over the weekend:

    • Patched & sanded exterior trim where a plant hanger got ripped off.
    • Aaron finished priming the carriage house windows.
    • Aaron second-coated the trim on the lower back of the house.
    • Continued packing up the first floor.
    • Visited by window restoration consultant.
    • MIsc. priming and painting in the backyard.
    • Got out the damaged radiators for pressure testing this week.
    • Cleared out area around carriage house doors so Andy has room to work.
    • Gave a tour to a fan of intoDetroit. (My life is weird).
  • This week:

    • Andy & Danny installed the final new carriage house doors & trim.
    • Andy fixed the creaking front stairs.
    • Fixed the broken plank on the front porch.
    • Got all the carriage house doors keyed the same.
    • Fixed the latch on Kyle's bedroom door.
    • "Buried" a dangling dead electrical cable in an electrical box.
    • Approved quote to begin window restorations.
    • Scheduled floor refinishing to begin next week.
    • Continued packing up first floor.
    • Continued painting back of the house.
    • Ongoing budget reorganizing and juggling.
  • Weekend:

    • Removed stair treads (back stairs) from the second floor down to the basement landing.
    • Tore up flooring on basement stair landing.
    • Opened up the office exterior door.
    • Continued painting ballisters on kitchen porch.
    • Continued stripping paint from back doors' frames.
    • Continued painting back of the house.
    • Continued clearing first floor for floor sanding.
    • Installed stays on second floor carriage house windows.
  • Nice work... I cannot wait to see the place at EPIC!

  • This week & weekend:

    • Reinstalled pocket door (uhhh... still needs work).
    • Moved radiators out of the first half of the first floor.
    • Pried off bead trim along bottom of the baseboard in most of first floor.
    • Floor sanding started (40 grit drum sander on main areas; spot repairs; stairs to basement).
    • Aaron finished painting lower half of the back of the house.
    • Primed trim on new carriage house doors.
    • De-graveled the back porch & stairs.
    • Installed new hooks for the backyard lights & put them up.
    • Did wood & paint stripping research & made some related purchases.
    • Aaron worked on an irrigation system for our hanging plants.
  • Last 2 weeks have been a bit slower with the house torn up for floor sanding. Fast & furious work will resume the 30th.

    • First floor hall, turret, office, pub, and backstairs were all sanded.
    • First coat poly on backstairs, turret & hall.
    • Two coats poly on office & pub.
    • Spring planting.
    • Aaron installed the irrigation system for the porch hanging baskets.
    • Cleaned out the alley.
    • Andy patched the inside of the coat closet.
    • Andy delivered our new kitchen thresholds which Randy installed.
    • New screen doors arrived.
    • Put a deposit on window restoration.
    • Put a deposit on final facade restoration.
  • edited October 2015

    The rest of May thru today:

    • Refinished the front stairs (start to finish).
    • Second & third coats on the back stairs.
    • Cleared the great room.
    • Hauled the radiators to the sandblasting shop.
    • Added a "frame" to the floor around the fireplace.
    • Gutters installed on the carriage house (minus 3 downspouts).
    • Andy & Danny installed the custom-milled trim where missing in kitchen & bathroom.
    • Andy & Danny patched and mudded in the coat closet.
  • The rest of summer 2015 thru yesterday (Sunday):

    • Aaron milled new columns for the attic's north windows.
    • Rennaisance restored the north facade & rebuilt the north attic windows.
    • Andrea restored the office & turret windows.
    • Andrea restored the attic windows; only the south is reinstalled so far.
    • Radiators moved back into place.
    • Nicole painted the kitchen radiator.
    • Removed the back stairs radiator for painting.
    • Brian scraped clean the backstairs radiator & Nicole painted it.
    • Demolished broom closet in back stairs.
    • Aaron finished painting the trim on the carriage house peaks.
    • Aaron painted the second floor carriage house windows.
    • Painted carriage house door & window trim (first floor).
    • Continued painting carriage house doors.
    • Painted kitchen porch ceiling (coat 1).
    • Removed old hooks & boards in coat closet.
    • Patched screw holes in coat closet.
    • Removed a giant load of junk from the basement & attic.
    • Taped out cracks in the back stairwell first floor.
    • Spackled the back stairwell.
    • Mudded out the tape on the wall the radiator is on.
  • This should round out 2015:

    • North & turret attic windows reinstalled.
    • Identified carpentry work to be done in 2016 around attic windows.
    • Finished reinstalling radiators.
    • Finished painting carriage house doors.
    • Cleaned the attic in anticipation of new roof (debris is going to fill the attic).
    • Closed on new mortgage to finance 2016 projects.
    • Painted ceiling of kitchen porch.
    • Planned 2016 budget and investigated roofers.
  • edited August 2016

    Jan - June, 2016:

    • Front doors restored (both sets).
    • Trim in vestibule & first floor turret restored.
    • Cleaned & clear-coated original tile floor in vestibule.
    • Stepping stones added to carriage house.
    • New threshold and step poured at carriage house yard door.
    • Minor repairs to multiple doors that warped slightly.
    • Fixed door from front porch into office.
    • Trimmed in that same door.
    • Added screen doors to that same door and the north door.
    • Replaced lightswitch in Kyle's room.
    • Replaced light fixture in basement turret.
    • Fix attic electric line cut by roofers (the line was in the wrong spot, not their bad).
    • Bought cheap removable window screens for 7 windows in increase airflow in summer.
    • Tore off previous two roofs (including original shake).
    • Replaced main roof with new architectural shingle and all-copper flashing.
    • Replaced turret roof with new cedar shake and capped with a copper weathervane.
    • Covered front left skirting and walkout in new cedar shake.
    • Rebuilt turret "widow's walk" (think "crows nest") completely and sealed in rubber.
    • Rebuilt & sealed rotted "Queen Anne water return" on northwest roof corner.
    • Completely reorganized / moved every single thing in attic twice due to roofing (it all had to be covered in the middle of the room due to falling debris).
    • Painting touchups were done to several parts of the facade.
    • Opened a revolving credit line with my credit union.
    • Aaron made new wall-mounted boards for coat hooks for the first floor closet.
    • Got all 5 trees & the lilac trimmed - possibly their first ever.
  • July 2016:

    • Porch roof was finished in cedar shake.
    • Final roof repairs, flashing, and cleanup.
    • Thus ends the 2-month roof replacement project.
  • edited May 2017

    In the fall, Soley replaced the water boiler / domestic hot water combo unit. It had developed a leak in the condenser which was determined to be a fault in the unit's design, since corrected. The upside is: free brand new boiler with a new 7-year warranty. Not a bad trade-off for having a little water on the basement floor! We also used the necessary draining of the system to replace a few radiator bleeder & control valves around the house.

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