I Should Have Put in a Firepole.. or a Slide.. or a Rope Ladder

Well now that my fantasy football season is over I guess it’s time to actually work on the house again(Rob Gronkowski broke into my house and raped me with a broom handle).

Before I could decide just what the hell I wanted to do in my kitchen I had to get the stair situation figured out. For reference here is what they used to look like

Going down them was described as “going down a ladder backwards” by a few crybabies. So this weekend I brought in some mexican day laborers and slammed in some steps.

So as you can see in this picture I switched the direction of the steps and since I am moving the door, I was able to cut out some floor to make some more headroom.

And this is how the stairs look from the basement. Much better than what was there. Wasn’t ecstatic over having to put a landing in, but I think they turned out nicely. You’ll also notice that I now have my 200 amp breaker box mounted.

One and Done?


No, I am not deceased, and no, this blog has not been abandoned(yet). It has been a few weeks since I made any major progress with the house because of a variety of reasons. One, I am lazy at times. Two, It being the fall season and me being relatively young, I had a large number of friends returning to college, so I wanted to spend some time out with them before they left to further their education and leave me behind(so lonely). Three, FANTASYYY! With the reemergence of the NFL season my addiction has me scratching my arms until sores show up. I used to play a lot of World of Warcraft when I was in college(keyword being was) and stopped. Fantasy Football is simply a different drug with the same effect. Luckily for me, watching football is a socially acceptable time to get polluted and drunk drive through a Little Caesar’s. Finally, we have been doing a lot of roofs lately and the absolute last thing I want to do when I get home is work on my house when I have been on a roof all day. I am willing to bet that my hands are filled with an abnormally high amount of fiberglass.

So now that I explained why I have been not working on my house, let me explain to you why I have been reinvigorated to finish this thang. IT IS FREEZING INSIDE OF MY HOUSE! Turns out that removing the insulation and ceiling of your house will lead to all of the heat leaving at a quite rapid rate. There is no point in running the furnace because guess what, that heat rises just like every other type of heat ever. I am unashamedly typing this at my parents house because I will not sleep in a house that is 48 degrees at 6am. The first night it was kind of cool because it reminded me of sleeping out at camp. The second night sucked because I had gas and was basically dutch ovening myself because my head was freezing if I left it uncovered. The third and fourth nights were a lot like the second. Tonight, the fifth night, I had to make a stand. And by make a stand I mean leech off of my parents. It’s nice here. There’s food in the fridge, its warm, it has wifi(my place doesn’t because I forgot to pay the bills last month). Why the hell did I move out? Too bad that they’re out camping and will come home tomorrow morning, it’s a pretty sweet setup I have going on here.

My goal for this weekend was simple : Get bitches and smoke trees. Make some progress on the house.

With one bedroom done I decided to take the demo into the rest of the living room.

I extended the wall down the rest of the length of the room to expand the dimensions of the second bedroom, took down the ceiling, cleaned up the ceiling, and then started kicking some ass and knocking down walls.

You can’t really tell it from here, but the entire ceiling of the kitchen has the rafters running the opposite direction of the rest of the house. I was pretty lucky that that ceiling didn’t fall and crush me while I was knocking the wall out. I won’t let faith alone hold the ceiling up though, so I put in a header to carry the weight.

So that’s how I spent my Saturday. What’d you guys do?

My next steps are to put some new windows in, pull wires, insulate, and drywall.

I Said Get Back In The Basement!

After I catch up with the current progress I will be going through the house one room at a time and post up some floorplans.

March and the tree fiasco had passed. I had been doing a lot of work in the basement and going all the way outside to get back into the thing during a severely cold April was beginning to get annoying. You can tell by this picture that at one time there had been death stairs that led to the basement(look where it is missing paint). 

So what was directly above this?

The previous tenants were getting up in years and wanted a main floor laundry instead of having to walk down the cliff that was the previous set of steps. So, they boarded over the floor, made it into a closet…. and never ended up putting in a main floor washer or dryer. Lucky for me I know a guy with a hammer and a flatbar.

The stringers that were in there only existed to hold up the closet floor and were easily removed and did not fudge up the rest of the house. I took two 2x12x12 boards as stringers and instead of cutting in treads, simply put 2×4 blocks on the sides and then put 2×10’s over the top to act as a set of temporary steps. Eventually I will be running the steps the opposite direction from the living room and this will make more sense when I do the room by room update. 

Alright! I’ve got new temporary death stairs! Let’s step down them carefully and see whats going on down there now.

Looks like they’re doing some kind of pirate radio from down here…. I don’t trust it… Let’s take a quick turn to the left.

Well, they’re either trying to make a kick ass robot costume or they have got a new furnace.

But I thought he was broke? Aren’t new furnaces expensive?

Right you are. I scored big time on this furnace. I was hanging drywall at a different house and replacing the hot water heater. I had moved the hot water heater out onto the front porch and let it sit there overnight. When I was working the next morning a man walked over and asked me if I needed to buy a hot water heater, as he had a newer one. I declined but said that I was looking for a furnace. It turns out that he was stripping his dead father in law’s house and planned on tilling it under. Luckily for me right before the guy keeled over he put a brand new high efficiency furnace and all new ducting into the house. I ended up with the furnace all of the ducting and hot water heater for $1500. After that, another neighbor walked by looking to buy the hot water heater so without even having the thing loaded up yet I sold it to him for $100(gas non power vent hot water heater) so for $1400 I had a few model years old 92% efficient furnace that hadn’t even been used for one heating season.

See all that white tape? That there is asbestos. Whenever I get bored of cracking open cfl bulbs and drinking the mercury I climb down the steps shake the heat ducts around while taking some deep breaths.

Moving that fat bitch of a furnace was….. a bitch. The red cylindrical drum was a giant cast iron pot. The way the furnace worked was a bunch of heating elements designed to burn diesel fuel(but now burned natural gas) super heated that thing until the thermostat told the squirrel cage fan to kick on. The only nice thing about the furnace was that when it finally kicked in and started moving air it was HOT. If you sat in front of it you started to sweat.

It is now the middle of April and it is still extremely cold outside. How am I supposed to stay warm for the next few days while I wait for the furnace man to come put this new one in?

Luckily I am used to living in cold houses, as this little heater barely kept my bedroom above 60 degrees while it was in it.

Another advantage of doing construction work for a living is having a lot of friends in the plumbing, electrical, and hvac fields. For $650 I had the new furnace installed and got an AC coil put in, so my house is all set for air conditioning once I get the outdoor unit. 

Well, that’s all for today. If some of this doesn’t make sense it is because I was working outside in the sun with a heat index of 106 degrees running a jack hammer. If there is some sort of glaring error or something doesn’t make sense I’ll come back later when my brain isn’t cooked and fix it.

The Things I Do In My Basement

So it was mid March, I was now a home owner, and I was broke because I had put down a large amount of money for my down payment. I was excited to move in to the new place and wanted to live here for a while before I started the main renovations. The cheapest place to start was the basement.

The room to the left of the dresser was the old coal room. Lucky for me this house was equipped with a furnace from the early 1960’s that was converted from running fuel oil(diesel) to natural gas. Oh…wait…. that sounds super inefficient for some reason. Turns out that for every dollar I spent I was getting about 33 cents worth of heat. This thing had to go, but due to me not having any money(come on we covered this earlier) it had to stay for the time being. That coal room on the other hand….

No need for that to exist anymore. The wall came down super easy, it was bucketing the cement out that was the worst part. Definitely got a good exercise for the glutes. After all of the crap was cleaned out I cemented in the new holes in the floor from where the walls used to be and pressure washed all of the walls to get rid of the coal residue.

So walls out, walls washed, new hot water heater purchased to replace the one from the 1970’s, let’s get drunk and paint some walls.

Turns out PVA drywall primer works awesome for lightening up a room. The water heater install kind of sucked because I am by no means a pro solderer and the pipes I was attempting to tie into were old soft copper. I can not wait to rip out all of the plumbing in this house because it goes through galvanized pipe, soft copper, rigid copper, and pvc. Thank god for pex piping. It is going to be wonderful to run this place with clean easily manipulated water lines.

Stay tuned because my next update will document the arduous tree removal process that took place over a period of three weeks.