Sullivan House: Renovation Log

Day 1:
February 1, 2012

We need to secure the perimeter.
Fire extinguisher
Deadbolt for garage door
Deadbolt for back doors


  • We installed braces against two week entry points and reinstalled the grated window in the basement from the burglary. We cleaned out the first floor except for the kitchen and removed three trashcans worth of garbage. Supplies and materials were collected in logical places.

    We also bought respirator masks and protective gloves.

    Brian took "before" pictures of the whole mess on that floor.

    More offers of help came in.
  • edited February 2012
    • Came back with Kyle to begin cleaning out his room
    • Moved a bunch of shit
    • Threw out three bags of trash
    • Swept the random piles of fluff (exploded stuffed animals? Pillow filling?) from all over the second floor
  • Maybe a Heidelberg spinoff gone wrong?
  • Stuff was everywhere. Kinda creepy.
  • Is this a thing that would be useful?

    Does trash pickup happen in your neighborhood?
  • Is this a thing that would be useful?

    Does trash pickup happen in your neighborhood?
    Heh. Picked up two of those today :)
    • Cleaned up more of the second floor bedrooms
    • Took trash out for the first time (As in, City trash pickup)
    • Showed the house to two friends
    • Moved large sheets of drywall to central area
    • Cleaned up bathroom
    • Cleaned up Perry's room
    • Shot some b-roll footage for any video projects. "Before" shots
    • Met two more neighbors
  • edited February 2012
    The "Clean all the Things" party, Day One:
    • Bagged almost all the trash
    • Removed a significant portion of the trash
    • Organized the attic
    • Begin organizing the carriage house
    • Pulled nails out of walls on first and part of second floor
    • Hung gate access to back yard
    • Repaired fence in back that thieves broke
    • Unhooked broken radiator in kitchen
    • Turned water on—Identified broken pipes
    • Removed window AC unit from front room
    • Blocked off windows on first floor
    • Removed all vines and debris from back patio
    • Scraped all old flooring from kitchen
    • Introduced myself to the police, let them know we were moving in
    • Met several neighbors
    • Swept a significant portion of the house
    Jeff, Jim, Leah, Kati, Jon Z, Colette, Ryder, and Sarah joined Nicole, myself, Lincoln, and the kids.
  • edited February 2012
    "Clean all the Things", Day Two:
    • Filled 2 more Bagsters (cleared the rest of second floor & attic)
    • Removed main room's carpeting
    • Removed attic carpets
    • Swept second floor and attic
    • Collected furniture & tiles into centralized places
    • Sealed off master bedroom for mold removal
    • Identified doors (extra vs. missing)
    • Gave tours to new people stopping by
    • Repaired some of the missing plumbing in the basement
    • Removed stumps from newly-cut tree growth (weeds)
    Mike and his kids, Ryder, and Jason joined Nicole, Brian, and I this day.
  • edited February 2012
    • Met two more neighbors
    • Filmed a big chunk of B-roll footage
    • Made a Home Depot run to pick up supplies
    • Introduced ourselves to our new neighborhood Domino's
    The front room looks significantly different.
  • edited February 2012
    Plumbing day:
    • Met up with Andy Davis (He's our contractor. We highly recommend him)
    • Identified most of the missing copper
    • Installed new PEX pipes where copper had been stolen
    • Capped off hot water lines temporarily (baby steps. Cold first.)
    • Ran new PEX pipes from basement to second floor bathroom
    • Turned water on to test cold system
    • Cold water works!
    • Discovered leak in main sewage drain, right at the basement floor
    • Did significant cleanup of back yard, mostly ivy
    • Reassembled rosebush trellis in backyard
    • Met three more neighbors
    • Managed rose bush, tamed it back into the trellis
    • Got rid of several more bags of trash
    • Showed the house to my parents
    • Initial diagnosis of what it will take to get bathtub hooked up
  • We were at the house for ~5 hours. Andy and Ryder joined Brian and I.
    • Forgot my key
    • So I picked up the mail
    • Heh.
  • edited February 2012
    • Took gate off so electric company could have backyard access
    • Finished off major PEX pipe runs for plumbing to second floor
    • Tacked all PEX pipes to ceiling joists properly
    • Installed pressure valve (it had been stolen, sloppily) on water heater
    • Installed new drain on water heater
    • Cut off unnecessary pipe run in basement
    • Took accurate measurements and pictures for asbestos abatement quote
    • Capped off first floor bathroom water lines
    • Met with boiler/radiant heat tech to diagnose and quote heating system
    • Wept when he showed me the extent to which the boiler is damaged (we may need a new boiler)
    • Met two more neighbors and their dog today
  • Water heater, not water tank :)
    • DTE came out and did phase one of power restoration
  • Another burglary today :-/
    • Reinstalled fence over back yard entrance
    • Called the police and had them walk through
    • Looked around for what got taken
    • Identified entry point and reinforced it
  • I have my suspicions that it's someone who specializes in renovation tool thefts. The theft was extremely targeted; nothing was moved or damaged. Back door was forced open, the only tool worth taking was taken. Exit.
    • Checked electricity, still off
    • Checked perimeter
    • Went to City Assessor to drop off form. Took all day.
  • edited February 2012
    Jackie came to help today. Thanks, Jackie!
    • Removed four large bags of heavy trash from basement
    • Explored laundry chute for tacking down pipes. No go for now
    • Shoveled snow for the first time
    • Taped off living room for paint removal on damaged chimney
    • Tested electric service; still off
    • Began paint removal from living room chimney
    • Began paint removal from master bedroom chimney
    • Did some preliminary scraping of paint in Kyle's room
    • Went to Habitat for Humanity reclamation place to see if they had a kitchen radiator replacement. No go.
  • edited February 2012
    • Showed the house to a reporter from Curbed Detroit
    • Showed the house to a friend
    • Matt and Nicole went to Architectural Salvage Warehouse and found a replacement radiator for the kitchen
    • Checked on the house. Secure.
    • Checked electricity since DTE said it was on. Not on.
  • Are all the breakers just off?
  • They are now, since I turned them off :)
    • Secured premises again, since an intruder had been through (nothing taken). Possible squatter or homeless person seeking warm shelter
    • Despite DTE's claim that power is on, verified at the pole that it's not
    • Walked through with electrician (grounding and new outlets are being run today)
  • for security; i've found that a simple mortion detector alarm works wonders. it's small, cheap (around $20), operates on AA batterries, and has an adhesive back so you can place it wherever. can usually find it at Home Depot. won't stop people from getting in (you rarely can if the house is empty) but it scares 'em awae before they do any damage.
  • edited February 2012
    Thanks for the suggestion, RSA! We'll definitely look into those.
    • Electrician wrapped up most of the top floor wiring and properly grounded the entire system
    • Andy installed mortise locks & dead bolt on the rear door
    • Andy removed window from the rear door and sealed it temporarily with drywall and a wedge
    • Andy used the old door knob from the back door to give the coat closet a door knob (had been missing)
    • Reviewed and revised game plan for prioritizing remaining projects & budget once power is restored. Took measurements.
    • Andy showed around the insurance inspector because Lincoln forgot about it and overslept
  • edited February 2012
    • Power is on!
    • Electrician continued work on grounding lines
    • Reviewed additional electrical needs for quoting
    • Installed a timed light in the front, a motion sensor light in the back (and notified neighbor to watch for it), and left a light on in the kitchen for the night.
  • edited February 2012
    • Electrician continued upstairs bedroom wiring
    • Electrician repaired outdoor light (we hope?)
    • Andy broke drain pipe out of basement floor
    • Andy replaced both broken iron sewer lines with PVC
    • Did sewage line testing
    • Andy got quote for & is ordering replacement window for stairwell
    • Discussed repair plans for main room
    • Cleaned more trash out of basement
    • Removed two old kitchen cabinets, found mummified bird corpse
    • Cleaned all litter from outside along sidewalks and alley
    • Showed house to @KristinDetroit and Jon
    • Showed house to another new neighbor
    • Removed all screws and nails from interior walls
    • Cleaned out Perry's closet
    • Removed all stealable scrap metal from premises
    • Saw suspicious character in neighborhood, called police
    • Cut down old fluorescent light fixture in kitchen
  • edited February 2012
    Ryan P joined Nicole, Lincoln, and myself.
    • Repaired various holes in back of carriage house wall
    • Vacuumed and cleaned fireplace
    • Trimmed all front and side hedges
    • Shoveled matted-down leaves from front walk
    • Moved many construction materials from first floor to attic
    • Significant cleaning of laundry room
    • Removal of major debris from laundry room
    • Hooked up washing machine
    • Cleaned garbage and debris out of washing machine
    • Tested washing machine
    • Began debris and major trash removal from second basement storage area
    • Met another neighbor and her dogs
    • Removed more scrap metal from premises
    • Swept foyer, front stairs, downstairs hall, main room, porch, and front walk
    • Organized and stored construction materials and supplies that were in foyer & main room
    • Cut and removed all coax (some was strung across facade hideously)
    • Assembled second lamp and put it on a timer upstairs
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