Monday, February 25, 2013

Down in a Hole

Extending the crawl space hole took up almost all of the weekend. Thanks to the neighbor and my father in law for helping with the dig.

Two days of crawling around in a tight space, hacking away at clay, shoveling it out of the hole, then shoveling it out of the area for hours on end has taken it's toll on me. Digging progress at the break neck speed of inches an hour was certainly not a motivator.

We tried to avoid widening the existing hole as much as possible. The hole was deepened and extended into the crawl space. Some foundation rocks came loose as we worked in the area so I may put in additional support bracing at some point.

Here are some pictures of the situation in the crawl space. Later in the day I fabricated a cap from some scrap sheet metal to fit over the open heat duct opening.

There was a mysterious brick structure extending under a large portion of the existing house. I'm not sure what the origin of this structure is but the support it provides is certainly welcome.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Basement Backfill

What a busy week, as usual. We visited a custom cabinet maker. We have collected information from a few different vendors at this point and are still weighing our options. To be clear, we aren't looking for anything "fancy" as my wife calls it, but we do want something that will last. When I say 'last' I mean a cabinet and door that will be structurally sound 50 years from now. We'll have more news on our decision process in the coming weeks... maybe, once we make a decision.

Back fill for the foundation was brought in recently. Also, the steel beam that will act as a new primary structural support was placed. in the pictures below you can see bracing in the basement to support the foundation wall as back fill was loaded into the void. The steel beam is supported by rough trusses at this point until it can be tied into framing.

Having the void filled between the new foundation and the old has allowed us to work in the area where the old kitchen HVAC vents came out of the house. If you look closely at the right side of the first picture above you'll see a garbage bag over some HVAC ducts. They run into the crawlspace of the existing house. We would like to do some work to get into this area.

Why would we want to crawl around in this space you ask?  The answer harkens back to a day when my wife and I attempted to install a water line for our fridge. We needed to run a simple 5ft of flexible line under the flooring. In the crawl space I made an attempt to get to the area where the line needed to be run. It turns out I was a bit too large to fit into that area of the crawl space so I did what any resourceful man would do, I sent my wife in. She was, of course, ecstatic to squeeze into the spider filled, dirt bottom, dark shallow void with barely enough room to take a deep breath. Detect any sarcasm? After that job we both swore that if we ever had the chance to make the crawl space a little less shallow we should invest some effort.

This was our chance.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Some Kitchen Ideas

We are starting to form some ideas for the kitchen cabinets and layout. We know we are going with a white cabinet with black granite counter tops. We are also leaning toward a door design that has squared panels (not the ones with an arch in the top). One option was to stagger the heights and depths of the cabinets. We think the staggered look is a bit more interesting than the plain look of having all the cabinets equal in size. Take a look at the difference below.

Note: The colors used in the generated images below are nothing like what we would actually have. The images are to illustrate the effect of staggering the sizes.

Above is the kitchen with plain cabinets of equal depth.

Above is the same layout with cabinets of different depths.

Decisions... decisions..  there is also some debate on whether to keep the furthest top cabinet that would be above the dishwasher. It seems to look appropriate in this layout but I'm wondering if not having it will help open the kitchen up to the adjacent living area.

There are also material choices to be made... do we go with solid wood or some sort of MDF? We are still in the process of talking with suppliers and getting samples in our hands.

Basement Blocking Done

The basement block is essentially done.  The masons came and finished the sealing job today. Some of these pics are from the previous day.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Basement Wall Almost Done

The masons almost finished the basement wall today. There was a little rain so they wrapped things up a little early.

This week has been eventful in the decision making area of the addition. We finalized a small change moving the laundry room/kitchen wall to the east by one foot (yes one foot makes a difference).

We also finalized the lower cabinet layout. There were considerations for both south wall windows and how they align with the 2nd story windows.  They will not ALL line up in any configuration so it's something we'll have to live with. We reduced the laundry room from 7.5 feet across to 6.5 feet.  The larger size seemed too massive when that extra foot could be used in the kitchen.

 View walking into kitchen

 View of kitchen from living area.

 Here is today's progress on the basement wall.

The glass block windows are in. They are just vented and will be under the new porch. We chose glass block to deter any critters that venture under the porch from burrowing into the basement.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Basement Blocks Delivered

With the footer in place and the pea gravel in the pit a delivery of concrete block was brought onsite.

A crane lifted the loads over the garage and down into the pit.

The masons started a tube fire to keep their sand and a barrel of water thawed out.

Some equipment left onsite.

Just another day in the mud arena.

The trusty horse rocks in the front yard. Perhaps one day they can once again find a place of prominence in the front yard.

The result of the backyard being too muddy for the bobcat to maneuver. They had to load the gravel by going around the house. Maybe we'll make a horseshoe drive in front of the house to make the best of this, hmmm?

Northwest energy still hasn't gotten our unused gas credit back to us, so we are still holding onto their tank in the front yard. They decided to sneak in one more 'automatic' charge to our credit card after we closed our account with them. We caught the charge and they refunded it the same day, why does it take 90 days to credit the other funds? Glad we switched providers!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Basement Snow Storm Delay

We got hit by a snow storm sweeping across the nation. Snow storm Nemo dropped about 5-7 inches of heavy snow onto our freshly poured basement footers. The concrete had set up nice over the previous day and was very well insulated. Hopefully the snow simply provided an extra layer of insulation and allowed for a solid cure.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Basement Dig

The major kitchen demolition was finished today and the basement was dug.

Once it was cut into sections, the backhoe made short work of the remaining kitchen floor structure.

Wires were pulled back into the existing basement for later use.

The old kitchen crawlspace with stone foundation.

The structure over the old cellar entrance was pulled off with a swing from the backhoe.

The old basement entrance was boarded up along with any exposed wall cavities.

We found this old staircase underneath the kitchen porch.

Digging continued in an area where there was rumored to be an old cistern well.

At about 8 feet down we started hitting water in the cistern well area.

We found the bottom of the cistern well at about 11 feet below grade. This must have been quite a chore to dig back in the day.

Basement digging continued.

Footing placement for the new foundation walls were staked out.

Aiden and Daddy in the hole looking up at how big the house seems. A temporary drain was run out to the septic tank.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Let the Demo Begin

Today we started the major demo work for the addition.The first task was to remove the old kitchen in preparation for a new and level foundation.

The metal roof was peeled up and revealed old cedar shingles.

All the the timber framing and sheathing was thick hardwood, this made for a difficult demo.


Gables were taken out rafter by rafter.

As the asbestos tile siding came off, the old clapboard siding was revealed. We also saw the location of an old door hidden under the wall. This must have been used as a back door when the house was first built.

The walls were cut into manageable strips. With the tractor, we pulled them down and loaded them into the dumpster.

Here is the location of the hidden back door as viewed from the porch.

As the evening arrived things were buttoned up.
A little plastic and OSB over the openings kept the heat in and the dust out.

Stopping for today. Tomorrow we'll dig into the floor and the structure covering the cellar entrance.