Doug & Marie's Kitchen Adventure

A daily progress journal

Archive for the ‘Daily Log’ Category

November 6: Moved In

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We’re very close now, just a few inside items, and the porchlet. Our list is down to under ten to-dos and you probably won’t be able to see many of them in the photos here. We’ve made breakfasts, lunches and dinners and enjoyed spending the last few evenings nestling in. Marie has all her favorite knick knacks on the shelves now. We’ve trialed and errored ourselves into putting the right pots and pans and silverware and glasses into the right drawers and cabinets. We’ve found the right place for the calendar. Tonight we returned our favorite art to the kitchen (thanks Bonnie). You get the idea. Here, take a look:


I have yet to wash the windows, but otherwise, this scene is complete.


The painter was here today and added another coat to the door, with one more to go. We’re looking forward to taking the masking paper off the door.


Countertops were treated today so they are now in use. Marie is definitely smiling.

I’m thinking there’s only a couple more posts in this job. Maybe a nice sunny day shot after the masking paper is off the door. And a photo of the porchlet. Might even get a picture of Joe Petrina and our architect Stephanie Tottingham next time they come over for a visit. Thanks for riding along on the journey!


Written by Doug

November 6, 2009 at 9:54 pm

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October 31: Almost

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It’s been a very busy few days around here, with all of the trades represented to do their part to get the kitchen across the finish line. We’re not quite there, but as you’ll see, almost.


East in the foreground, west in the background. Still need the beveled glass windows in the cabinets (and all the Franciscan); seal and enhancer on the soapstone, paint the trim under the windows; a few more lights. But it’s definitely useable (we’ll keep the soapstone covered until we treat it with the seal and enhancer). 


Probably one day of painter’s time with touch up and to hit a few of the late trim pieces that were added. But we’ve started to move in some things and make this place look like home.


We’ve unplugged and defrosted the “camp fridge” that has been in the green room since July and moved the cold stuff into the new fridge, which is a dream. And we’ve used the stove to boil some water! The cabinet immediately to the right of the fridge is dry stuff (cereal, etc.) The cabinet on the wall is a spice cabinet, and it’s filled.


The door went in yesterday, and it is soooo smooth and solid and nice, and weatherstripped. Remembering the door that was there (which we loved in its quirky, drafty and worn way) makes us smile. Still needs one more coat of paint, hence the masking in the windows. Door stop on the floor behind it so it doesn’t hit the radiator. Note that we’ve added the chair rail (which you can see in the east kitchen) which is a tip of the hat to the former kitchen. Shoe box out on the porchlet (which still needs to be completed: rails, pickets, column, tongue-and-groove deck, etc.).

The assignment for today has been to vaccum and gently wash every surface (more like a tack cloth rub on everything). Here’s Marie’s job, which she is really looking forward to…really!


Several generations worth of Franciscan Ivy and Apple need to be washed and sorted into the cabinets.

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October 31, 2009 at 12:09 pm

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October 28: Cabinet fronts, fridge and heat

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A very busy day in the kitchen: at one point we had nine guys in here, doing everything from working on the cabinets to installing the gas lines, to installing the radiator. Take a look:


A few things to look for here: cabinet and drawer fronts now in place; the gas line coming out of the floor in the spot where the oven will go tomorrow. The trim around the convection/microwave oven; the wood trim (not yet painted) under the middle windows. The baseboard on the far left. Cabinet and drawer pulls will be installed by Friday.



The east kitchen. Beveled-glass doors go into the upper cabinets. The action on the cabinet doors is so nice and smooth, it makes you want to just stand there for a while and open/close the doors (and the memory of what was there–ugh–makes that an especially nice experience).



The fridge will still nestle back a bit into the slot there. It’s a perfect fit. The plumber comes tomorrow to connect the water supply to it, and the electrician is back to heat up the appliances, install the remaining fixtures, and make them all work by adding a second circuit panel in the basement.



Here’s the radiator that used to be in the nook. It’s now installed in the west kitchen and all connected up. Unfortunately, the guys from Rainbow Heating found that the run from here to the boiler–and the rising angle of the copper pipe to get there–may be too much for the simple gravity system. It did get warm, but barely. Joe Grogan, the Rainbow boss, called tonight to talk about fixes: he was thinking about putting a tiny pump in line to this radiator. I remembered some advice that my Dad once offered about our system: he suggested that we should think about installing a pump for the entire system so that instead of waiting for the heated water to make it circulate, a pump would move things along much more quickly. So, I shared that with Joe, and he’s investigating the equipment and cost. We’ll figure it out and either way, the radiator (recently painted by Leon) is a thing of beauty in that spot.


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October 28, 2009 at 10:00 pm

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October 26: Floored

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Tim and his helper were here today to install the marmoleum floor, which really dresses up the room. You can see that it has multiple personalities depending on the light. Check it out:


We had a good conversation about seams, and chose to install one single piece from the nook doorway all the way through to the back door (our seams run east-west). It does give us a seam up the middle (and another one in the east kitchen about mid-counter), but there was no way to do this without having three seams. Hopefully, we’ve made the right choice by choosing to protect the highest traffic area and sink with all one piece. This photo was taken without a flash and it has a lovely warmth to it.


This shot, taken with a flash, brings out more of the blues in the floor. Hmm.

Andy the finish carpenter comes back tomorrow to complete the trim, add baseboards, etc. Big appliances on Wednesday.

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October 26, 2009 at 9:42 pm

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October 23: Let there be light!

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Randy the electrician was back today to connect up all the wire he pulled back in August, and to hang some of the fixtures (a bunch are still on order). These two schoolhouse fixtures are in the west kitchen, and match one in the east kitchen (see below). You can see that Hughbert finished the tile…trim needs to be added below the windows, but the tile is done. All the stuff is up on the counters because Monday the floor goes in.



Another view, taken from the door. Gary installed the convection oven/microwave today, visible on the left there under the paint. Lucy, as usual, right at my side.



Taken from the east kitchen looking west. The switch on the tile above the east counter controls the under-cabinet lighting (which has not yet been installed, but looks very nice…I saw it today). I actually did tonight’s dishes in the east sink. What a treat to not have to haul the dishes up and down the stairs, and to have light!

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October 23, 2009 at 8:45 pm

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October 22: Making a Splash

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Splash related items today include near-completion of the tile backsplash (grout tomorrow) and installation of the sinks and faucets. They work! Water in the kitchen, yahoo.


Hughbert worked on the tile today and got it nearly finished. A few improvements and adjustments to make, and grout. Look carefully and you can see the garbage grinder on the right side under the sink, and the faucets.


Still need to put the apron trim under these windows, but you get the basic idea. And the sink works!



East sink (Doug’s sink) with backsplash. The flange sticking up on the right basin is the stock fitting that the plumber set there (and I removed after I took the picture). The Insinkerator flange has been installed. Note the “air switch” just right of the sprayer, which operates the disposal. I can hardly wait to put these into use. I’m not carrying the basin of dishes downstairs tonight: I’ll do the dishes right there.

We met with Joe today, and his wrap-up guy Gary, and set the remaining timeline: Floor on Monday and Tuesday; appliances, cabinet work, radiator installation and minor painting Wednesday; more of the same and return of electrician and plumber on Thursday to hook up appliances; door installation on Friday. And then we can move in! One week from tomorrow. There are still some minor items, including completion of the porchlet, but it feels like we’re rounding the last bend.

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October 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm

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October 20: Nook Floor Complete

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October 20, 2009: Marie inspects the newly refinished old oak floor in the nook. 20 years ago, when we first moved into the house, we started to peel up tile that had been glued down on this floor, but didn’t get too far before realizing that peeling it all off, and  restoring the original floor was just too big a job in the context of everything else we had to do. Now it’s done, and it looks great.

The floor guys finished their work today and it turned out very nicely. They tell us the boards on the left were replaced many years ago, and that the boards on the right are original. You can also see the perpendicular boards right at Lucy’s feet. They had been pretty messed up over time, but the guys did a nice job of restoring them. So there’s no transition bar between the floor in the nook and the floor in the dining room, which is nice. We’re expecting a small transition piece into the new kitchen once the new floor goes down, but they’ll be installed at virtually the same grade.

The now-perfect floor highlights the far-less-than-perfect finish on the wainscot and other trim in the nook, so refinishing the vertical surfaces in there is coming onto the radar screen. Earlier in the project, Marie made a strong push on painting all the woodwork in the nook: wainscot, trim, etc. I think she’s relenting on this for now. We are carefully considering having a booth and table built for the nook, along the lines of something you might see in a cozy restaurant.

No tile today…that will be tomorrow. More pictures to follow then.

Written by Doug

October 20, 2009 at 6:23 pm

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October 19: Nook Floor in Progress

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Sorry, no picture tonight. But a bit of an update, since you are wondering:

The two floor guys spent the entite day here, much of it removing the rest of the black mastic goo that was hardened onto the floor. They told us it gummed up their sander a bunch of times and in the end they went out and rented their own heat to help loosen the goo. Fortunately, they were successful at that, allowing a full sanding of the floor and patching of holes. They found a couple of interesting anomalies: the room part of the floor is original, but the walk-through part has been replaced before. Hmm. They also found that the last part of the floor before it transitions into the dining room is made up of boards that run perpendicular to all the rest of the boards. Tonight, the whole thing is an unphotogenic  uniform wheat-colored surface because they’ve applied a filler to address the cracks and holes. Tomorrow they’ll buff that off, sand again, and then apply the finish. Finley was here today still recupe-ing from the flu and he said it was really loud all day. They plastic-ed off the nook (to keep the dust from the rest of the house), so tonight we have to walk outside and around to get to the basement. Hopefully one of the last nights in this seige that we’ll have to do that.

In other news, Sergei was here and completely picked up all the construction debris in the backyard, so we’re looking a little more together on that score. Joe confirmed that all of the hardware and lighting has been ordered. And the audio guys were here to move one of the wires so that we can relocate some of the audio equipment to a more strategic location.

Tile starts tomorrow (it’ll be an interesting dance with the floor guys…they’ve spread out into the rest of the kitchen) and should be done by end of the day Wednesday. Electrician and plumber back on Thursday to hang fixtures. We’re definitely getting there.

Pictures for sure tomorrow night.

Written by Doug

October 19, 2009 at 7:53 pm

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October 12: Counter Tops

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A big day for the west kitchen. Pat the cabinet guru was here all day working on getting the maple countertops installed. Looking pretty nice. See for yourself:


Remember, the cabinet and drawer fronts are not on yet. They’ll be the last pieces to go on so they don’t get dinged. The stove goes in there on the right. Tile backsplash all the way around.



Looking from the old “east kitchen” into the addition. Doug’s workspace in the east, Marie’s in the west.

Scheduling problems prevented the tile guy from starting this week, so the job will be quiet for a few days now. The floor guy came to look at the nook today and will be here next Monday-Tuesday to do that floor. Tile guy on Tuesday-Wednesday next week. Marmoleum goes down two weeks from today, then appliance move-in day on Thursday the 29th. Joe was right: in time for baking Halloween cookies (in response to Marie’s question about will the kitchen be done in time for Thanksgiving…).

Written by Doug

October 12, 2009 at 5:48 pm

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October 11: Nook Floor Redux

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It’s the most annoying job we’ve done in a while: peeling old tile and thick mastic off the original oak floor in the nook. Peeling is not the right word, because it actually takes about three passes at the stuff to do it right. Yesterday we pulled out the contemporary wood floor that we put in in 1990. Then we started in to heat gun every single dang tile on that floor. Maybe a couple hundred, all glued fast to the oak underneath. Check out the work in progress:


For the first pass, you heat gun the top of the tile and pull it off, which leaves the glue underneath. You heat gun that and scrape. Heat it again and scrape. Not fun. You can see the oak beginning to emerge there on the right side. Don’t worry, Marie didn’t do it all, though she did a bunch while I was off being a soccer dad. We actually had a nice double-team system down with one person applying heat and the other person applying elbow grease. Blisters to prove it.



We had the tile checked to make sure it wasn’t asbestos (it wasn’t), and had good ventilation. If you look on the right side in the center of the picture you can see the holes where the radiator plumbing used to come up. We’ve moved the radiator to the west kitchen, freeing up some floorspace in the nook, and we’re considering having a carpenter build a booth-like unit. Hmm. Sometime this week the floor guys come to remove the remaining little bit of glue (we actually got all the tile and most of the glue up) and refinish the floor. It’s been a busy weekend ’round here.

Goals for the week: Maple counters in the west kitchen; cabinet and drawer fronts installed; stove and convection oven installed; tile backsplashes underway (completed?); paint fully completed; nook floor; back door installed. We need to keep the momentum going just a little longer…

Written by Doug

October 11, 2009 at 4:03 pm

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October 8th: Local Color

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Leon and his crew of painters have been busy, just about done with both interior and exterior. The last of the cabinet frames are in, and the soapstone counter has been installed in the east kitchen. We’re getting there! Take a look at these scenes from this afternoon:


Leon, with head cloaked for painting, steps back to check his work. The bed moulding under where the soffit meets the wall, the brackets, and the foundation are all that remain to be painted outside. The foundation gets the dark green to match the existing foundation. The porchlet and stairs are not complete, and will be the last item to be built and painted once everything inside is done. Note the green paint visible inside!



Another view of the exterior. The guys are painting the entire existing west face of the house as well as all of the addition.



Wow. Look at that. It’s the same green as we had in the old kitchen. The windows are beautiful and crisp. Leon has not painted where the tile backsplash goes (which will be installed next week). We’re using white subway tile with a nice black detail line that runs through. Stove, convection oven, and maple countertops go in next week.



Another view of the back wall. Tile backsplash goes on the left. The tall cabinet with green backdrop is where the fridge goes. Cookbooks above. The cabinet to the right is a pantry, with door. Wine rack above that.  We really love this window wall, and all the light it allows into the space.



East kitchen, with the new soapstone counter (part of which is still masked from paint on the right). Tile backsplash behind the sink up to the bottom of the window sill, and then wrapping around under the cabinets. Under cabinet lighting. The over-the-counter cabinets get beveled-glass doors. Cabinets on the left get doors. Dishwasher in the lower left.

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October 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm

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Paint and Normalcy (sort of)

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Painters are here this week with the intention of being completely done by Friday. Today the guys primed all of the trim in the kitchen. Color (the same friendly old enamel green) comes next. Outside, the window sash is done…take a look:



We’ve reclaimed the bedroom, making it a nice parlor-like reading or chatting spot too. Finally.


Not completely set up, but you get the idea. Room for some art on these big new walls…

Written by Doug

October 6, 2009 at 10:23 pm

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Witness to Progress | Catching Up

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We’ve been gone for the last 12 days, and during that time, the guys have made solid progress. Have a look:


Cabinets and drawers are in (but not drawer faces). All the interior and exterior trim, sills, etc. are on. Marie spent part of her first afternoon back in Portland placing pans, pots, lids and other kitchen items into place to see if it all fits.



I think we’re convinced that it will all fit. Note the lazy susans in the corner. The fridge goes into the large opening behind Marie. Workmanship looks really sharp.



Looking back into the old kitchen. The tall cabinet is where the fridge used to be.


In addition to the nice progress, we found that the bedroom was done, and so we moved in last night, fresh from 24 hours of traveling and two very long plane trips. What a treat to have that room back. We look forward to catching up with Joe next week to get the revised schedule on the kitchen. Not much left on the inside: countertops, tile backsplash, cabinet completion, and painting, painting the walls and trim, installing the floor and setting the radiator and the final details of lighting and plumbing fixtures. Outside: exterior paint; porch deck, stairs and railing. Yippee!

Written by Doug

October 3, 2009 at 3:35 pm

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Cabinets and Siding

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Thanks to technology, and the advanced reporting techniques of my siblings, we have photos to share of the kitchen adventure. It’s been a week since we’ve been able to post anything and during that time good things have happened. Cabinets are in place, floor underlayment has been added, external window and door trim, siding, framing for more of the porchlet, brackets back in place. The guys have been busy. We can hardly wait to see it!


Window trim, siding and brackets now in place.


West wall

The west wall, now sporting the cabinet boxes. No interior window or door trim yet. And new underlayment placed on the floor. The gap in the middle is for the range, which won’t go in until mid-October. The back wall gets a nice subway tile backsplash. And no hood here (it would conflict with the windows), but a powerful fan in the ceiling directly over the stove.



Howard takes some photos, which he sent to me via phone.

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September 28, 2009 at 3:35 am

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September 18 | Vanilla Room

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Victory at the end of the week: the drywall mess is cleaned up, even though an accretion of dust covers every surface in the house, awaiting the second and third pass of cleaning, as Bonnie described in her comment. The zipwall was taken down today (the tent-like thing) which makes life a little more pleasant too. The painter moved in today, priming the kitchen and bedroom, and adding some old plaster-like texture to the new back wall in the bedroom. The finish carpenter moves in on Monday for interior door and window trim, while the siders work on the exterior. The painter returns on Tuesday-Wednesday to paint the kitchen and to finish the bedroom. Cabinet boxes get placed on Friday. With any luck, the bedroom should be back together by next weekend. It feels like we might be over the worst of it now.

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September 18, 2009 at 4:56 pm

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September 15 | Dust Storm

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It’s everywhere. Floors, walls, windows, dog. I was home this morning, in the strong horizontal light, when the drywall guy started in with the sanding, and it looked like a blizzard, a million particles wafting on the air currents. Above is a shot of the bookshelf top between the dining room and living room (from the supposedly clean side of the zipwall). It’s finer than talc and it’s everywhere. Thank goodness we’re near the end of the drywall process. Joe says Thursday will be the end, and the painter will be here on Friday to start priming.

Below is a look at the results so far. The floor looks like it is covered with snow. That’s dust and clumps of the mud-like material. There’s actually a good layer of kraft paper on the floor, which will be rolled up after Thurday.


Here’s the rest of the schedule, as amended in our project meeting this morning:

This Friday: Interior priming begins in the kitchen and in the bedroom. We’re getting a quote on painting the whole bedroom.

Week of the 21st: Interior window and door trim and exterior siding completed. Painting well underway. Porchlet framing complete.

Week of the 28th: Installation of the cabinet boxes and frames begins; doors and drawer fitting to follow. Tiling fits in here somewhere. Exterior painting? Possibly back in the bedroom?

Week of October 5th: Cabinet installation complete. Painting complete. Trim complete. Porchlet complete. Plumber and electrician return to complete installation.

Week of October 12th: Flooring installation. Installation of radiator.

Week of October 19th: Ready to move the appliances in. Electrical trim and plumbing install complete.

Without this light at the end of the tunnel, from the perspective of this upside-down and dust-covered house, we would be at the edge of weariness. These guys are the best and we’re very happy with the work, but as we transition from the summer routine to the more orderly world of work, homework and school, we’re ready to get our kitchen, dining room, nook and bedroom back. Not complaining. Just ready.

Written by Doug

September 15, 2009 at 8:01 pm

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September 9 | Rock On

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Sheetrockers were busy today. Everything is sheeted, which means the first course of mud and tape (and dust) starts tomorrow. No action on the porchlet yet.


The edge of the stove (far left), corner cabinet, and fridge on the right.



Interesting to note that the smell in the construction zone has gone from the sweet smell of Douglas-fir framing lumber, to the cardboardy-chalky smell of drywall, punctuated by a hint of the treatment that’s been applied to the windows. Not a bad smell. The smell of progress!

Written by Doug

September 9, 2009 at 7:29 pm

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September 8 | All Dressed Up

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A bit of a lull during the long weekend around here as we wait for drywall to catch up with the project, but I think we’re there now. Here’s a look at the way things stand today:


The siding crew stopped by over the weekend and wrapped the addition. They’ll be back once the porchlet railing and column are in place. Greg the framer was here today to cut the stairjacks, which you can see in this picture. Sergei will be getting after the porch items tomorrow and this week. With any luck, the siding and window trim will be in place by Friday.



The drywall arrived today, so Sergei installed this zip door to try to prevent dust. It looks a bit like a big shower curtain, and we’re hoping it works. We need this contraption because  the kitchen and the bedroom will be filled with dust over the next 7-10 days. The drywallers start tomorrow. We’re probably at the high point for the disruption factor. As you might imagine, just moving around the house is a bit of a challenge. As I carry the bin of dirty dishes downstairs to wash each night (and back up clean to the kitchen/green room), I tell myself that it’s all part of the adventure.

Written by Doug

September 8, 2009 at 6:46 pm

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September 1 | Water Power

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It was a very big day in the infrastructure department, not just for the kitchen adventure but for the whole house. Pictures tell the story of the day — and it has to do with plumbing — so let’s have a look.

The sub-contractor doing the boring of the water line arrived about 7:45 with a cute little caterpillar type drill. They lined it up on the hole that Sergei dug yesterday next to the water meter, and then they prepared to do their magic.


Let the drilling begin! The guy on the left sits on the machine and adds drill sections as it moves into the soil. The guy on the right has his foot on the drill, which is about three feet long, as it begins its journey underground. When the guy on the left throws the lever, the drill disappears forward into the ground. Once it’s all the way in, the operator grabs another extension, twists it into place and repeats the pushing. It took less than 10 minutes for the drilling. It would have taken a day or more to dig a trench back there by hand, and would have left a wasteland of the landscaping.



Drill powers forward. As the drill (assembled now one extension at a time) begins to inch forward, the guy with the receiver/probe is able to track its exact location. As it moves, he gives direction to the operator, who is able to make small adjustments that make the drill move where he wants it to go. In a period of about 10 minutes, the guys guided the drill under the sidewalk and stairs, around the side of the house and all the way back to a 2-foot by 2-foot by 2-foot hold Sergei dug next the foundation on the north side. Below, once they broke through into the hole, they hooked the new water pipe to the drill head, added a tracer line (the blue cord in the photo below so future water location sensors can find it) and pulled the whole shooting match back through the hole, disassembling each drill section and stacking them nicely on the machine. One of the eeriest parts of this was listening to the drill moving through the rock as it worked its way through the soil. Even though it was about 30 inches below the soil, the cracking and grinding of rocks could be clearly heard on the surface.



In less than an hour, the drill guys were gone. And then the plumbers came to replumb the house. They began to cut and remove all of the old galvanized and copper piping, which is no small task in our maze of old pipes. Below you can see the old stuff piled in the driveway, and the new stuff ready to be put into place downstairs. Unfortunately, this was the cleanest and most orderly moment of the whole day.



Below, you can see what the guys were up against: literally rotting old galvanized pipes. This shot below shows where one of the three old sinks was located. There is now water to the two sinks on the right, the washing machine has been moved over, and the drains all tie into each other nicely.


Written by Doug

September 1, 2009 at 9:48 pm

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August 31 | Let There Be Light!

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We have windows! Sergei was busy today installing the windows. The three windows in the center are above the stove and are fixed in place. The six double-hung windows on either side all work. When closed, the tops line up all the way across, which was a nice little piece of math that Joe did. The double hungs are only a tad smaller than the existing windows in the east kitchen, but these are much more weatherproof than the old single-paned jobs (which we still love).



The view from the southwest corner. We met with Joe and Sergei tonight to discuss the approach for window trim (and for completing the porchlet) and we’ll be using the same approach to trim established elsewhere in the house. It’s actually really handy to do this because when you need to know how a particular piece gets trimmed out, you just go look at the other windows. It’s going to look great when this face gets siding, window trim, drip cap, etc. Notice how Lucy is in many of these pictures. Interesting to note that the ones she is not in she’s probably out of the frame at my heel. She is my constant shadow, which is nice.



From the northwest. We’re really glad we added the window into the north wall (there on the left). It completes the feel both from the inside and the outside. Note that the drapes are off the bedroom windows (far left). We’re still out of there…the inspector OK’d the insulation, so tomorrow Sergei will install the shear wall plywood there (closing off that doorway forever) and we’re one step closer to having our bedroom back. We’re going to repaint in there, and refinish the floors too.


Tomorrow is a big day in the plumbing department. The boring contractor arrives at 8:00 a.m. to start the magic of tunneling under everything, deep along the north side of the house and then through the foundation in the laundry area where the new service will enter. They’ll also be pulling out the old galvanized, removing one of the sinks (the shallower one of the three) and connecting up to new plumbing. We’re out of water for the day, but tommorrow night…higher water pressure (we hope)!

Later this week, Sergei will be busy on the porchlet (which has strong design connections with the front porch yet maintains its own identity); the stairs; and the subfloor. The clapboard and trim team will also likely be here to do their thing. And the fan for over the stove should arrive as well. We’re going with a 350 cfm kitchen rated fan as opposed to the Laurelhurst fan in the north wall (which is now a window). I know Stephanie will be disappointed with this, but the window was a higher priority for us.

I’ve also found some interesting house archaeology, which I’ll write about soon. Fingers crossed for a trouble free plumbing operation tomorrow!

Written by Doug

August 31, 2009 at 9:32 pm

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August 29 | Insulation Complete

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The inspection went fine on Thursday, so yesterday the insulators were here much of the day cutting and placing the foam insulation in the outside walls. Take a look:


Ready for the weather. You can see three types of insulation in this photo of the addition: to the right is the foam block material, which comes sandwiched between foil. There’s the yellow bat insulation below the windows and the woolly looking stuff above the window, and in the ceiling. They’ve hit every outside wall and are will be back to do under the floor. Interesting to note that the guys were so focused on filling gaps and pockets in the wall, they actually filled the sash weight cavities with insulation. Uh oh. Need to pull that out before we close up the walls…

In Portland, the inspector comes back to check on the insulation as well as everything else, so he’ll drop by Monday morning to make sure all is well,  and to give the final go ahead to close up the walls.  Sergei says he will be installing the windows on Monday and hopefully beginning to lay out the landing and steps. The drywall arrives on the job Thursday and I guess the crew comes in on Friday to begin hanging drywall. That process is probably going to take about two weeks. Somewhere in that time, we’ll get back to the plumbing, including the tunneling in from the street.

We’ve made a change on countertops. We’re going with maple in the addition, but we’d planned a beautiful slate material for the east kitchen, which we’ve been warned off against by Joe and by the counter fabricator. We spent part of the day yesterday at Oregon Tile and Marble looking at and selecting the perfect slab of Pietra Del Cordosa soapstone, which is beautiful. OTM takes material selection very seriously, arranging a “viewing” of four different slabs (about 85 inches by 155 inches…they’re big) for us to stew over. I think we’ve picked the right one. Good thing we’ve been on vacation this week to be able run around and figure out the details.

Written by Doug

August 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm

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August 26 | We’re Wired Now

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The guys from Coho Electric were here all day today “slinging wire” once we had approved the switch and plug locations. They hung the can lights over the stove, wired up the boxes for the pendant lights and wall sconces, wired in the location for the exhaust fan and were very patient with us as we considered and reconsidered switch locations for various lights and appliances. Tonight, we’re all wired up.

A crew from Technocom were here all morning and wired in Category 5 and other low-voltage lines that will allow us to control music and sound in several rooms. They wired up speaker locations, a jack to plug in an iPod, and phone lines. This was a very busy place.

Sergei was busy framing in the now-old doorway in the bedroom, doing some demo on remaining plaster and wall surfaces, and a variety of other tasks. He got ready for window installation (maybe tomorrow?). And he kept a very clean jobsite.

Tomorrow the inspector comes to take a look and approve (or require changes) so the insulation and sheetrock can go forward. Stay tuned. Here’s a look at some shots from today:


Looking from the old kitchen to the new. Note the sconce box over the right window (there is one just like it over the window on the far left); the can lights; the plugs and switches; and even the plumbing for under the sink.



Last day for the door. Sergei has framed in the opening in advance of sheeting it with plywood. The spacing allows for mounting a spice cabinet in the left bay. Fortunately, we’ll take down the temporary plywood mounted into the door between the kitchen and the nook, allowing access to the space from the first floor.



Above, here’s a look at the ceiling over the stairs and landing. Below is a look at what it will look like, based on what it looks like out front (but with just one column, not three as we have out front).


Written by Doug

August 26, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Posted in Daily Log

August 24 | The Beginning of Upside Down

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From last week’s transitions to this week’s new developments. Take a look at how our week started:


Kitchen remodel? Hey, you’re thinking, I thought this was a kitchen remodel…  The inspector has asked for additional shear strength in the wall that essentially connects the addition to the house, which just happens to be our bedroom wall. So, this morning, Marie moved everything out, and Sergei started in removing plaster and lath. The door on the far left goes from our bedroom into the kitchen. But it’s going away and that whole wall will be sheeted with plywood to add extra strength and rigidity. Tomorrow, we’ll probably lose that doorway, meaning our only access to the basement from the first floor is to go outside and around.

While this wall is open, the Petrina crew will add insulation, which will be nice, and we’re going to move the electrical receptacle and the phone jack to a more convenient spot than directly under the window. Marie is picking out some new paint colors for the room…and I think we’ll have the floor guys refinish this floor when they refinish the floors in the nook. Some of the bedroom furniture is tarped and still in the room. Some is in the bathroom, some is in the living room. That’s what I mean by upside down. We have the makings of a Laurel and Hardy routine: the kitchen’s in the green room, the bedroom is in the living room, the bathroom is upstairs. Thank God for the porch. Now, where did I leave my keys?

It’s going to be a while before we’re back in there, so we’re moving downstairs into the administrative suite, which we are keeping very organized…you have to have one room of non-chaos in the house.



Old stairs revealed. Marie was very busy today. In addition to ferrying kids to and from soccer and the pool, she found time to strip several layers of linoleum off the stairs, revealing the original, nicely worn Douglas-fir treads. She’s sore tonight after all the ripping and scrubbing, but satisfied with her work. I think we’ll just sand and paint: Marie’s thinking red for the stairs and an off-white for the tongue-and-groove. Nice work Marie!



Door Number 1-2-3 (4). Your point of reference becomes a bit challenged when the space you know (knew) morphs into something different. On the far left, the door into the bedroom, then the door downstairs, then the door to the nook (taped off). And finally the temporary construction door to the outside. The two surfaces that are green are the only remaining walls with original plaster on them.

The sub-contractor doing the boring was not here today, so no plumbing fireworks, which is just as well, given the changes to the traffic pattern for today. Most of the plumbing rough-in is done…the next milestone will be the new water service from the street and then replacement of the galvanized pipe.

We’re still excited with the progress and fully engaged in where we’re going, but tonight we can feel the first tinge of wondering when it will be over and we can get our lives back. Another transition of sorts. Could be, too, that we’re just tired. Onward!

Written by Doug

August 24, 2009 at 8:12 pm

Posted in Daily Log

August 21 | From Big Stuff to Small(er) Stuff

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Today felt like a turning point here on the kitchen adventure, for several reasons, some of which you can see for yourself:


Looking back from the addition. In the view above, you can see how far things have come, starting with the floor, which is down to the absolute basics: the old planking nailed on the bias to the floor joists. All of the old floors are gone. Demo in the old kitchen is just about complete, and you can see some lath and studs showing in the background. You can also see Marie and Lucy, perched on the landing just outside the door (that’s a temporary construction door, don’t worry). Marie is sitting on her favorite shoe box, which fits perfectly in that space. The hole in the floor is where the downdraft vent used to be for the old stove…the opening helped the radiator guys (Rainbow Heating Co.) run the copper pipe over to the radiator location (which is just behind the temp door). If you look up, you can see the box for one of the pendant schoolhouse lights that will hang there.


One element of the turning point today is that the subs arrived in earnest. The electrician (Coho Electric) arrived and hung all the boxes for switches, plugs and lights. He’s ready to run wire on Wednesday, after we make a few more decisions about fans and lights. The plumbers moved in just after lunch and have pretty much roughed in all the new plumbing. They’ll be back next week to collaborate with the boring contractor who will be drilling a new supply line from the street into the house, and then they’ll pull a bunch of the old galvanized out. The roofer was here this morning and finished shingling the new roof. The radiator guys finished their rough in and will be back once the floor is in place to set the radiator in place and make sure everything is operating OK. Dan the cabinet maker was here today (now that the inside is looking so tidy and accessible) to take measurements for his shop drawings, which we get to take a look at next Tuesday. David came today and hauled out a huge trailer of junk, making it look a little tidier around here. And today was Jeffrey’s last day on the job, so he left notes and ideas for the subs, and for his replacement Sergei, some of the notes literally written in Sharpie right on the walls. Thank you, Jeffrey, for your hard work to get the job this far. We have enjoyed working with you and learning from you.


The new look. Marie and Lucy soak up some peace and quiet in the late afternoon on the landing just outside the kitchen door. This shot shows four of the five windows (the other one is around the corner to the left). The stairs will come straight out toward the backyard from the landing. Restored brackets will go back up when the siding goes on. The windows will go in next week. Siding could start anytime after that. Also, check out the huge spider web just to the left of the roof peak. Looks like Charlotte has been busy!



Northwest Corner. Here’s another view that shows how the addition relates to the house. See the water spigot in the middle of the short wall on the addition? We’re also contemplating mounting a light (or at least wiring a box) into that wall up high. Roof vents are in up above. The fascia boards still have training wheels because they haven’t been trimmed yet, which will likely happen after the permanent (old) brackets get put back in place.


So, major progress in a short time. Six weekends ago, we were out there tearing the old deck off. Now, it’s built, roofed, plumbed, wired, heated (almost) and ready for the smaller, tighter, cleaner pieces like cabinetry, windows, cabinets, tile, lighting fixtures, etc. Plumbing should be pretty far along next week. Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, where we’ll approve the shop drawings. We also need to finalize our exhaust fan needs. We’ll map out the audio system early next week and hopefully get that network installed. Sheetrock gets delivered next Friday. The windows should be in by then too. We’ll be moving out of our room for a couple weeks starting on Monday to make room for the guys to install a shear wall of plywood where the door into the kitchen is now, and to demo the plaster and lath behind the bathroom sink to replumb those supply lines without having to cut through the tile in the bathroom. I think it’s about to get messier (or at least dustier) around here. Lots of moving parts, and some important decisions to be made yet. You’re going to have to look a little closer to see the progress now as we enter this stage of the job.

Written by Doug

August 21, 2009 at 8:49 pm

Posted in Daily Log

August 17 | Radiator Move

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If you have problems with your very old circulating hot water system–or are just trying to move pieces of it around like us —  and you don’t live in Portland, I’m inclined to feel sorry for you. I had a chance to spend some time today with two brothers who work on boiler systems — Joe and Jake from Rainbow Heating– who learned the trade from their Dad and refer to his wisdom throughout their daily work. These guys know their stuff, can explain every aspect of hydronic heating with enthusiasm, and have a great attention to detail.


The octupus at the top of the boiler. You can see the new copper pipe added downstream of the valve with red handle in the center of the picture. This valve used to send hot water up into the kitchen directly overhead. The guys put new copper in here and made the run about 12 feet to the west to feed the radiator in the addition.

Today, Joe and Jake succeeded in pulling the old radiator out of the nook, pulling out  and valving the old supply and return lines, and running new copper pipe up to the spot where the radiator (relocated from the nook) will stand in the kitchen addition. These guys are connoisseurs when it comes to steam heat and the art and science of pipefitting. Two memorable interchanges today:

Joe the hot water guru pointed out where a radiator used to stand in the original kitchen…right in front of where our fridge used to be. Sure enough, you can see the 45 degree elbows pointing to where pipes used to go up through the floor. A new tidbit of information about the original old house.


Radiator-less nook. Here’s the nook minus the radiator, which used to stand sentry just under the windows at the far end of the table. With it gone, the room will be heated (we hope) by warmth from the rest of the house, particularly the radiator just around the corner in the dining room, and the relocated nook radiator in the kitchen addition. Now that there is a little extra room in there, we’re thinking of deep sixing the table (which usually has a table cloth on it) and going with a square table and benches or more chairs. Visualize the really nice built-ins at Vista Springs Cafe.

Several of the pipes that went up to the nook radiator had clearly been finessed when installed 100 years ago to hit their targets exactly. Slight bends and exact angles. The guys admired these almost as works of a master, and observed that it took one very big guy to bend these thick-wall pipes to the exact configuration. “And I can just about guarantee you the guy who did it didn’t speak English,” Joe added, with pride. I didn’t ask, but sensed that his family business has been handed down through big Italian guys who knew their way around steamfittings. It was a pleasure to watch them work, and to see them keep the trade (and the memory of working with their Dad) alive and well. Rainbow Heating Co., from Gladstone.

Meanwhile, continued progress. Jeffrey finished sheeting the roof and readied it for the roofers on Friday. Casey continued the demo in the old kitchen, yanking up flooring (he found a newspaper from 1982 used as shim material in one spot), and removing the door trim. Dan the cabinet guy was here with the boss Joe Petrina for a detailed discussion of the drawings and the space that will help him complete his working drawings for the cabinets. The floor guy came to take measurements. The window and siding guy came to confer with Jeffrey about his installation work, probably still a couple weeks away. And we met the new job foreman Sergei who will be taking over from Jeffrey at the end of this week. It was a busy place.

Written by Doug

August 18, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Posted in Daily Log


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