Friday, March 27, 2009

Brick Recycling Day

We were running out of bricks to patch the old ducts & chimneys in the house and happened to come across the Eden condo construction site, where 3 old rowhouses have been demolished on Champlain St., on the way to dinner one night. Eric tasked me with going over there today and charming some bricks out of the construction workers. I was fortunate enough to find "Mauricio" who was just learning English (that's what he told me in Spanish) who told me we could have all we needed. He said someone else had already taken 7,000 of them but there were PLENTY left! Mauricio let us into the brick graveyard from the alley behind the bars on 18th St. Fortunately they passed Eric's weight, size & sight test so we started loading up 3 DC recyling bins full (we ultimately made 2 trips)! While we were collecting bricks, there were odors of oil and gas for some reason (probably an old chimney), and Rod commented, "this is kind of awesomely third world." It felt good to be recycling something 100 years old. We got about 150 bricks for free and Mauricio now has fewer of them to haul & dump. It was also fun to imagine what people on the street were thinking when they observed us strenuously hauling these very heavy recyling bins down Champlain St! The baby steps of progress continue...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Celebrity is Among Us

J. Roddy Walson and the Business out of Baltimore is 1 of my favorite 3 bands and Rod, the lead singer, has been helping us out the past few days! We are super grateful (and he totally rocks so you should go see him... and everyone in the band has exceptionally good hair).

The Crew

Cleve removing the master bath framing that was hanging on by 1 or 2 nails, and Eric in his hard core construction gear. Cleve is best described as the co-General Contractor of this project. He's flipped a few houses in the past and he and Eric spend hours contemplating how best to tackle different tasks/problems each day. I met Cleve about a year ago at the Walkersville reunion lacrosse game. He and Eric were the tallest, thinest & oldest guys on the field. I watched from the bleachers with mom Blodnikar & a PBR.


Eric and Cleve have decided that most of Jerry's work needs to be ripped out and redone correctly. It pains me a little to see regress instead of progress, but the final product will be better and last longer (and both of these guys are perfectionists). The main problem is that the 2nd floor joists are undersized and not pocketing into the brick walls far enough, which makes for a bouncy floor. The subfloor is already glued & screwed over top of the joists so that needs to be ripped out too. They also removed every inch of plaster from every wall. This picture shows the master bedroom with the rafters removed. We are thinking of creating dramatic vaulted ceilings (12-13'), which will actually save us the cost of replacing the rafters but carry the added cost of a little more drywall. Someday when/if we add the 3rd floor, the rafters will have to be replaced to be the floor for the new level, which will be somewhat invasive, but still I think the vaulted ceiling for 5 or so years will be cool and worth it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Finishes... the fun part!

Picked up a few more finishes yesterday (since ebay sent around a 10% off coupon): this very cool Minka Aire Artemis translucent ceiling fan. And I found a great deal on our kitchen faucet (about 2/3 of normal price). Eric & Cleve are finishing the basement point-up today and we're just 1-2 days from hiring Stanley to handle the masonry, concrete & plumbing scope. I love progress, even baby steps of progress...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Calling All Volunteers

Eric, his brother Brian, friend from Walkersville Cleve, and I spent Sat & Sun tuck pointing the basement walls and only made it about 1/2 way through! We're on a tight budget now and Eric has a little more time on his hands, so we're going to try to do a lot of the work ourselves - tuck pointing, framing, drywall, painting, electric (maybe) etc. If you know anyone interested in day labor or volunteering, we'd love some extra hands!