Friday, May 22, 2009

Major Progress!

Here's the front door and window opening to the basement apartment. Steps and retaining wall construction start next week. Also, plumbing began this week - here's the start of groundwork.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Basement redesign!

So, I lied about finalizing the basement plan, I guess. Eric laid it all out today with 2x4s and random poles and things and is now talking about some system where everything is on wheels and flexible and the renter can figure out how they want to arrange it all. For all you aspiring developers out there, 600sf is too small for a 1BR! We may even be down to 550 now since a curb has been poured all the way around the basement (this had to do with digging down & "containing the existing foundation" according to Eric) and there's just not enough room for everything!!

Tomorrow our plumber begins laying groundwork for the front drain and on Thursday he begins laying the storm/sewer drains, so that's when the layout really needs to be finalized. One the front drain is in, Stanley & his crew can pour footers for the new entrance & get moving with block-laying. The basement front entrance has been taking way too long - we think Stanley has been working a few other jobs & giving us the skeleton crew - but i guess we weren't ready with a plumber anyway. The weather will be great thru Friday so hopefully we will make a lot of progress!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Basement layout finalized

After much design review & input from our trusted friends & designers, we chose the floorplan pictured here for the basement apartment. We love the open floorplan, entertainment kitchen & natural light it features. We think it will work for either long-term or short-term rentals depending on our business plan. We were in a rush to finalize this since the plumber will begin laying groundwork on Wednesday. I feel like all of this is going to start to come together quickly once we have subs on board!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Test Pocket Successful

Eric spent all day Monday with our structural engineer, Tony Beale, going over how to put 15'6" joists between walls that are 15'0" apart (code says it must rest 3" on each side into the pockets). He planned all of this out in Autocad Monday night until 2am, bought the lumber yesterday and installed a new test joist today, by himself, sucessfully! It takes some brick removal & reconstruction but it's not too bad. We're hoping to find some helpers to get this done in the next couple weeks if anyone is bored....

Friday, May 8, 2009

"We've really hit the major league now."

This is what Eric said to me when he called me at 7am today. If you know Eric, you know 7am is early for him, but he was giddy with excitement. WASA brought a flat-bed truck-full of machinery to cut and jackhammer up the street and sidewalk in order to replace our lead water line. They shut down the street, made a lot of noise and Stanley's crew worked today too, so the place was hopping with progress! Pictures to come... We're hoping that everything will be at a good stopping point by the end of the month so we can go to the beach with my sis for 4 days (our first vacation and only a mini-vacation at that, since buying the money pit last July).

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Dealing with the utility companies is notoriously a nightmare, but we have no choice since we're trying to separately meter our basement apartment. Eric worked his magic with WASA earlier this week and tomorrow they are replacing the lead water line from the street to our property line on DC's nickel and from our property line into our house for $1500. This is $600 under budget from the quote WASA provided last fall. WASA has moved away from replacing lead lines street-by-street and now only does it on demand. It's exciting to have figured this out and impressive that they are mobilizing so quickly!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Finally a dry day...

Maybe some more digging will get done today!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The end is in sight...

Well, the end of construction is not really in sight but we are closing on a loan today which will allows us to finish the house, which is huge! We're getting more money than we need so we must exercise self control not to spend it on crazy, awesome finishes, because afterall, we will have to pay it back over the next 15 years!

Eric is still totally wrapped up meeting with subs each day (plumbers, electricians & HVAC guys). We're seriously considering, but need to do more research on a super low-profile HVAC system. Also we really need a plumber stat, but I think that saying is true that "plumbers are always busy" because out of the 6 we've been talking to for 1-2 months now, we only have 1 bid and it's over our budget unfortunately.

Eric has also redesigned the basement apartment layout. He's done a great job improving the size of the bedroom while leaving a lot of open space in the entry area. I think it's going to be beautiful.