Sullivan House: Renovation Log



  • edited April 2013
    Today, li'l ol' me:

    - Moved all the big stone slabs out of the backyard
    - Outlined all the beds-to-be in the backyard with bricks
    - Graded an 8x16 ft area along the back of the house (where we dug out foundation) - just me and a shovel
    - Transplanted a rose bush. Pretty sure I killed it.
    - Used pile of dirt under dead pine trees to fill in holes left from pavers

    Was *awesome* weather out for yard work.
  • Basement wall demolition started today with Brian, Kyle, Perry, Alex, Aaron, and Jeff. I came back from the hardware store after a couple hours and continued on into the evening with Brian, Nicole, Aaron and Kyle.

    - Demolished all wooden walls in basement (and wood rack)
    - Identified & removed nails from salvageable wood
    - Continued pipe insulation
    - Started removing the toilet (half the floor bolts are stuck)
  • Today, Aaron and I:

    - Improved the new wood racks in the carriage house
    - Organized, sorted, and cut the wood in the carriage house
    - Moved the salvageable wood from the basement to the carriage house wood racks
    - Sorted the trim in the attic and removed any that wasn't door/window trim
    - Threw more junk in the dumpster
    - Cleaned out the top floor of the carriage house (done for now)
  • It has been raining all week. Every time I decide the weather is super nice and I'm going to start doing yardwork, it rains within 30 minutes.
  • Got a second unsecured loan to continue renovations into summer.
  • edited April 2013
    This past weekend (Aaron, me, Brian, Nicole, and Kyle):

    - Shoveled muck out of street and alley (unbelievable amount)
    - Raked out beds, front yard, and parking strip down south side
    - Cut back ivy off sidewalk, fence, and side of house
    - Removed ivy from the corner of the front yard
    - Removed vines from south side hedges
    - Removed last header & stud from basement wall (wedged into place)
    - Removed more wires & electrical conduit from basement
    - Brian & Nicole continued basement pipe insulation (finished third roll)
    - Reworked backyard bed placement

    Dumpster is now full.

    Gutter installation and basement repairs are both scheduled for Tuesday.
  • edited April 2013
    On Tuesday the rain gutters were installed, all the masonry repairs in the basement were done, we removed the rest of the toilet from the basement, and Aaron continued removing vines from the fence. Yesterday the dumpster was hauled away and Aaron came up with a design for rail post caps for the front and side entrances.

    I noticed water escaping between the roof and the new gutters on the north side during the rain (site of a preexisting leak), and they're returning tomorrow to investigate.
  • I assume they also installed downspouts to route the water away from the foundation once it hits the ground?
  • edited April 2013
    Ryder said:

    I assume they also installed downspouts to route the water away from the foundation once it hits the ground?

    Yes. One of them crosses the pathway to walk between the houses (terminating in the front yard), so that'll need to be converted to an underground tile at some point. The one in the backyard is likely to become a rain barrel.

    They also gave me a quick lesson in drilling out the downspout rivets so they can be removed for painting, and gave me a bag of extra rivets to replace them afterward. They also provided (per my request) a few extra pieces of downspout for when one inevitably gets crushed underfoot.
  • edited April 2013
    Gutter installer returned today and installed a piece of flashing between the roof and gutter where the leak was occurring. It was caused by the roof deteriorating down to wood in a small area at the valley between two parts.
  • Fri-Sun:

    - Scraped loose paint off basement walls
    - Dave started installing new basement lighting
    - Worked on backyard landscaping
    - Worked out strategy for finishing basement for Expo
    - Big Home Depot trip for basement & backyard supplies

    Took it a littler easier this weekend as we had different guests in town on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Mon-Tues:

    - Dave installed a ceiling light fixture in Perry's room
    - Dave installed the rest of the new basement lighting
    - Continued landscaping backyard
    - Accepted delivery of pea gravel for backyard
    - Covered backyard in weed barrier
    - Shoveled and spread 3 yards of gravel
  • edited May 2013
    Aaron and I had a busy weekend.

    Saturday: Bought perennials & porch baskets at Eastern Market, did weed barrier edges around backyard.

    Sunday: Bought perennials and new porch chairs at Home Depot, cleared ivy & leveled back corner of backyard.

    Monday: Spread 2 yards of compost/topsoil mix in front & back yards, placed plants where they'll be planted in backyard.
  • edited May 2013

    Aaron and I planted all the perennials in the front yard, and about 1/3 in the backyard. I moved the first 5 wheelbarrow loads of the second pea gravel delivery into the yard.

    Dave fixed the light switch in Perry's room (entire box had to be replaced, big mess), put the floodlights on a switch, and installed a dimmer in the basement. He also reconnected power to the carriage house as step 1 for improvements out there.
  • Wednesday

    Aaron finished planting perennials, I shoveled 10 more wheelbarrows full of pea gravel into the backyard (filling in the edges of the main area) and put the rest of the 50/50 mix into trashcans for storage.


    Aaron and I assembled and setup the new backyard lighting and fire pit. Raked out the pea gravel to level it. Ate dinner out there, because, DAMN, it's awesome now.
  • Are you adding any sand to the pea gravel to help solidify the gravel?
  • edited May 2013
    @Qch2002 no we haven't added any sand
    • Perry and I completely and finally and totally finished the pipe insulation in the basement. Never Again™
  • edited May 2013
    I bought and transported at 28' extension ladder (and 6 ten-foot plants) on my station wagon's roof. I have no roof rack. It was a thing. It involved twine lashings.
  • Yesterday, Aaron worked on the post caps and a gate solution for the north side of the house. We discussed the remaining basement & backyard plans for before Expo. Dealt with Cardboard Mountain in the foyer (we rely on for so much of this stuff it's crazy).
    • Finished all network drops upstairs: Perry and Kyle now have two Cat6 jacks in their rooms
  • Yesterday: Continued laying ground cover in backyard. Planted last 2 perennials.
  • This weekend:

    Finished backyard ground cover (pea gravel into back corner, 2 more yards)
    Began cleaning out basement for Expo (sweep & vacuum, brush down walls, remove more junk)
    Cleaned out & scraped paint off iron tub in carriage house for making it into a planter
    Cleaned backyard chairs
  • The past couple weeks:

    Aaron built and installed a fence gate!
    Aaron continued work on the post caps for the porch stair rails
    Brian collected quotes on finishing the basement floor
    Demolished pantry shelves in basement (omg nasty)
    Moved more stuff out of the basement to the carriage house
    Installed a large floating shelf in the kitchen
    Brought an extra bed back from parents' house
  • This weekend:

    Brian spliced the backyard lights where a squirrel chewed thru them
    Aaron did *all* the yardwork
    Lincoln prepped basement walls for painting & rustoleumed some shelves
    Lincoln demolished the wall & doorframe on the last flight to steps to the basement

    And listen. That last line item sounds like a couple hours work. But when it's a FRIGGIN' FALLOUT SHELTER it becomes a day-long demolition. Triple layer drywall, metal flashing between the trim and frame, and enough nails to hold it for another 50 years if it hadn't met my crowbars. Gigantic mess.
  • Primed, patched, and painted basement stairwell
    Scraped, brushed, and drylocked many more basement walls
    Finished rustoleuming basement shelves & put them to use
    Hung Nicole's wall garden in the kitchen (this is getting a horrible review on their website - required 10 screws, a plank of wood, and probably 90 minutes of labor to accomplish this)

    Jackie was here helping all weekend, yay! Ryan, Brad, Jimmy, and Esti all helped last night too.
  • Knock Knock.. anyone home?
  • edited July 2013
    Ryder said:

    Knock Knock.. anyone home?

    Yes, but I decided July was my month off (from big stuff). After a year and a half of spending nearly all my free time on major projects, we needed some respite, especially after the big push to finish things for Expo. Aaron's been doing killer work on the yard for the last month.

    Here's a small list of other things:

    - cleaned up from Expo (took about 2 weeks)
    - cleaned out the foyer, carriage house, and office
    - fixed all the wall hooks / shelves in the bathroom
    - repairing a kitchen cabinet door
    - unhanging & patching the wall from the failed wall garden
    - put up a hammock in the backyard
    - fixed the rain barrel once and for all
    - hung some things on the first floor walls
    - moved the keyboard out of the pub
    - removed some weed trees from backyard
    - got a security system installed
    - ordered some elm trees for along Calumet
    - ordered curtains for Perry's room

    We're looking at getting the bathtub planter finished and the carriage house's dangling gutter removed in the next week or so. I also have to wage a battle with Detroit bureaucracy over my incorrectly assessed property taxes.
  • - Hung the mailbox
    - Aaron put the post caps on the front step rails
    - Started budgeting / prioritizing the next round of projects
    • Added a roommate
  • edited September 2013
    Past week:

    - Dave installed 3 outlets & a light switch in the basement
    - Dave has begun reworking the carriage house electrical system
    - I ordered antique replica light switches for the rest of the house (minus bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen)


    - Separated lead & glass in the pile of twisted lead glass windows in the carriage house
    - Cleaned up the carriage house interior (prep for reinforcing it)
    - Filled a bagster
    - Aaron added a new guard rail to Kyle's bed (he insisted on moving it away from the wall)
    - Made a new to-do list

    We'd put away our to-do list when Expo started and left it away for 2 months. There will be a blog post soon about why it returned now, but suffice to say: we're seriously underway again.
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