Wednesday, October 30, 2013

In which there are doors and windows and windows and doors

This week has been one of choosing things.  We have had to make a decision on windows and doors.  The door decision was one of "Oh look, a great deal on doors, should we get them now?" as the Marden's lady sang in my ear..."you should have bought it when you saw it at Marden's"  As many of you know, Marden's has always been a great source for us for building materials. We have purchased tiles, cork flooring, rugs, beds, appliances, etc there.  We happened to be in the Marden's in Brewer when we came upon some really nice doors, solid core with Douglass Fir veneer.  
They are beautiful, heavy, and well made.  The only problem is that they do not have every door we need for the building.  After obsessing over them in the store for over an hour, we gave up and came home.  I then found the same doors on-line, in all the sizes we needed, for about 60% more than they were at Marden's.  We went through the door schedule on the architect's plans and made a list of doors that we could find at Marden's and cross checked to see if we could order the rest. We were able to get most of the bedroom and bathroom doors, the washer/dryer closet doors, and one closet door.  The master bath has pocket doors, which we can order online and which I think will be so gorgeous when installed.  I have this vision of the second floor of the apartment looking like a ship interior, and I think these doors help that vision along.

We made the decision to go with some less expensive pine 6 panel doors for the commercial spaces.  They are not cheap pine doors, but rather, highly figured solid doors that are quite heavy.  We found most of the ones we needed at Marden's.  So we came home in the truck, hauling 10 doors in the truck bed.  I cannot believe all those doors fit in one truck load!  We didn't bring enough padding, so had to strip off some clothes to wrap around the doors.  That would be my sweater and Greg's coat acting as padding!
Anyway, they are all stored nice and neat at Little Bohemia, which has been closed down for the winter.  We have three fire rated doors to buy, and those run about $1200 a piece, so any savings we get is very important!

We also had to make some decisions on the windows.  We need to order 39 windows off the bat, and that ignores the first floor facade of the building.  We decided to go with Marvin windows that are fiberglass on the exterior with matching exterior trim.  We have to custom make the three large windows on the basement level, which is fine, since they are important for the retailer who eventually goes into that space.  I have just gotten the final quote, which is reasonable, but daunting.  I think we will go ahead and order them on Friday the 1st of November thus completing our week of door and window hell.

Monday, October 28, 2013

In which the shape of the shop space down below appears

The shop space is being framed in

You can make out the door frame that opens out onto Federal street.  Very cool!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

In which we got nailed

Lest you think that the only thing going on at Slum and Blight is happening on the outside, I have prepared some photos for you, dear readers, showing our nail escapades.  Having had three to four coverings recently removed from the ceilings, each joist from the floor above had lots of protruding, leftover nails embedded in the surface.  Needless to say, we were not looking forward to removing these, as it had to be done by hand.  Some of the nails were longer finish nails for the beadboard ceiling (remember that?) and some were shorter nails from the original plaster and lathe ceilings.  We thought it would take reality it only took two of us about a day and a half for the first floor.

Oy! may the gods help us!  At least I gave my calves a workout today climbing up and down the ladders!  My shoulders kill, but it is done.  Greg admitted that he kind of liked it...there are two more floors to go, my sweet!  

Pretty ceilings!  Now comes sanding...sometime later down the road.

We are currently in the throws of fenestration frustration.  We are about to order 43 new windows and since we have a choice, have a centrally located business that we think MUST look good from the outside, we are a bit overwhelmed.  We don't want to go the cheap windows are just that...nor can we afford to have the gorgeous windows I would like to put in, each with individual panes of glass and nice wooden mullions...We think we have decided to go with Marvin windows, but are still tweaking some of the details.  We think we got a really nice deal from Al over at EBS, so we are putting in some detailing that will upcharge the quote given.  By Tuesday we shall have made the decision and be happy about it.  

Since we are so focused on windows, we've decided to take a Sunday drive to Marden's in Brewer.  We were there last month and they had some really nice solid wood interior doors that Greg and I both agreed that we loved (will wonders never cease??).  I think they are about half what we would spend in town.  I haven't counted the doors we need yet, but if we need 43 windows, we probably need 25 doors, so any savings there would help.  Photos of the doors to come soon!
Happy Sunday! 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

In which we have some concrete walls!

A beautiful day reveals beautiful cement walls that have to cure for at least 10 days without the building weight on them.  So, we have walls now, or at least partial walls.  There is a story here, so bear with me.  The jacking firm didn't want to risk any damage by raising this big old heavy building any more than they had to do.  So, the foundation building firm said that was fine, but they couldn't fully pour the walls and would instead, have to hire a mason to come in and finish the walls with cement block.  Unfortunately, the jacking firm had one of their I-beams in the way of the wall at the back of the building, so that also has to be built up with concrete block.  I dunno how they are going to get the I-Beam out of the way there, but after all, tomorrow is another day.

 Unfortunately, the jacking firm had one of their I-beams in the way of the wall at the back of the building, so that also has to be built up with concrete block.  I dunno how they are going to get the I-Beam out of the way there, but after all, tomorrow is another day.

I love this photo of Greg standing in the soon-to-be-doorway of the lower level retail space.  For those of you who have been trespassing when no one is around and crawling around under the building (you know who you are, and so do we) This is the side of the basement that will have wooden walls, windows, and a door for the newly minted retail space.  

Look at how beautiful the footings are!  And for those of you, my dear readers, who think "I can't believe he just wrote about beautiful footings, whooda thought?" You are right!

And just so you understand the method of our madness, the rear of the building was raised first so that new foundation walls would be able to support the building perfectly before the front of the building gets raised.  These walls you see below are next.  

In which I love me some Slum and Blight

This will forever be my favorite photo of the ole' girl.  

In which the forms are built and cement is poured

While I was away, all of this happened. The forms went up, the drains went in, and the workmanship of Joe Thornley and his crew is magnificent.  

These are the forms for the foundation walls of the addition going up.  It was supposed to be our elevator shaft, but we have since abandoned that idea.  Now the top two floors will become more space for the apartment, which works well too.  

 This wall was so tall that we had to add a support column to it. When I say "we," I mean everyone but me.
 Hopefully this drain system will keep the basement space nice and dry, a feat considering we are at the very bottom of a very long hill. While I was driving my mom to Florida, Greg spent days here hand digging for the drainage system....its ok though, he left me quite a project underneath the building!!

 This is the inside view of the addition.  I got back just in time to see them pour the walls 

A good shot of the big dig...Its about 8 feet down from grade.  Most of this channel was hand dug.  The drainage system is under the stone.  Once the walls have cured, this will all be back filled and graded.

Getting ready to pour!  This area has to be done in sections because the wall is so tall.  The corner in the lower left of the photo will get an initial pour of cement, then rebarred while still wet, and then more forms will be built on top tomorrow and the rest of the wall will be poured. 

I stood inside the building, watching them pour cement into the forms for the foundation walls through the hole in the floor where the chimney used to be.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013

In which I think we are Boston back in the 90s.....The Big Dig!

The Faulkingham entry!

The Faulkinghams took the barn down a few months ago and last week they used their machines to dig the drainage ditch and dig for the foundation work.  The worker in the photo below is standing in what will be the elevator shaft pit.

 There is nothing left of Winston's machine shop under the building.  Now the old girl hovers over the site on six steel I-beams

After Greg sent me these photos, he said they would have to dig a lot of the rest by hand..."the rest???" I thought...The cement guy wants to go deeper to tie the concrete to the ledge with rebar

HA!  I never thought we would have enough debris and fill to grade the land where the barn used to be.  Look at all that dirt!

In which I try and catch up.

So much has gone on the past several weeks that I find I cannot keep up!  D & S Jacking from right here in Northport worked their magic and found they only needed to raise the building an inch to straighten her out and get the sag out of the middle of the building.  Their work was done by last Saturday, right when I was getting on the road to drive my mom to Florida.  We took a week to make the trip, stopping with friends in Maryland for a few nights.  While away, John Faulkingham came with his big excavator and dug...dug...dug all around the building...but I will leave that for another post.  

When Scott Richards and crew raised the building, all the pressure came off the foundation and it pretty much just collapsed.  As I was cleaning up, I came upon the four cedar tree trunks that were holding up one side of the building.  Each "post" was about 6 feet tall and I thought, all right, I will muscle these over to the dumpster...they each weighed about 2 lbs...dry as toast, these five supports were holding up a 5,000 square foot three story building...AND the building was 20 tons heavier before we gutted it!  

 But she stands straight and tall now!

I thought this shot of the old girl was disturbing and scary...just wait until the photos from the next post!

I mean, really, look how straight she sits!  

Gotta love this photo, it shows how insane we are to take this project on!
 The brick foundation just crumbled

This is the last I saw of the building before I left to drive to Florida.  Faulkingham is just starting to dig and he is pulling up pieces of the granite ledge...oy!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

In which we are still tired from the move

If you are a local, you may have noticed that something is afoot at Slum and Blight! Greg and I worked like dogs on Monday to finish up bathroom tear out, and get rid of the old steel stink pipe that traversed the building under the second floor, then went straight up through the third floor and the roof.  Our favorite bartender turned construction guy, Dan Waldron, spent the day taking the old furnace chimney down.  He said it was so full of creosote that he wonders how the building never caught on fire.  Evidence of that is the three layers of wall behind the chimney that were stuck together by creosote!

Here is the action shot....Dan, four stories up!

and me safely on the ground.  Dan said he wouldn't step on the roof, so he is doing this from the safety of a cherry picker

 The blackened Dan made it down to the first floor, look at that creosote streaked wallboard....gross

Our dear departed chimney, along with some bricks from the crumbling foundation!

Together Greg and I worked from about 6am to 10am on Monday morning filling the dumpster and packing it as tightly as we could.  Some of you early morning walkers may have seen me out jumping up and down on the top of the demo heap attempting to get one more piece of wall on top!  We think this is dumpster #9

The steel stink pipe was really heavy and we were worried that it would come crashing down through a floor if we weren't careful.  We were very careful!  Each section of pipe must have weighed 100 lbs... I must caution everyone, the weight is not the only bad part about this...the dried debris inside the pipes was what gave me the heebies....ewwwwwww!

When we got the pipe out from between the floor joists, we were able to cut through the "temporary" joists under the old elevator doors to open up an interior shaft and gain access to the upper floors from inside the building.  That was a big accomplishment!

 A happy Greg on the second floor

"'Ole Creosote Dan"

We now have a good sturdy ladder strapped in place for stairs.  

All this before 9am when the building jackers got there..  Scott Richards of Northport and his team arrived to put their equipment in place.  Great and honest group of people, thanks guys!  Scott told me he was amazed that the building was only out of whack 3" with 7 steel I-beams, jacks, and wooden cribs, they jacked the building just enough to level her out and take the weight off the walls.  
 The first hole they put in the side of the building!

 After they raised the building, Scott said I could take down all the wooden walls and supports...most just came off with one tug!
 The log on the ground was one of four original cedar posts holding up the Northern side of the building,  When I went to try and pick up the 5 foot log, I almost tossed it right over my shoulder it was so light!  All four of these cedar posts were dry as bones...How this ole girl stayed upright and only 3" out of straight, I will never know!
 Look how straight she is!

See the brick foundation wall at the lower left in the photo below?  Scott said "oh yea, I should push some of this over so it isn't so dangerous, so he just pushed and the whole wall came crashing down. the pressure of the building was keeping it together.  
 Greg told me they had to replace that beam at the left in the photo below because it was sticking into the space the excavator needs to work.  I didn't go down today because I didn't want to have to see them lower the building back down, replace, and relift.  Ugghhh.
  I think the old girl likes it.  The floors are straighter and the door at the back of the first floor won't open anymore. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In which there is so much going on...but I will just address the bathrooms today

I have photos and blog fodder for several entries over the next couple of days as there is so much going on at 'ole Slum and Blight.  We must have had about 10 people working there today at various times.....and, of course we are an official work site now!
'cause we have a port-a-john!

Speaking of bathrooms......We didn't think this one was up to code, so we've decided to remove it...entirely, along with the one next to it. 

While we are at it, this wall has to go too...but the studs stay until we can figure out the beam appears to be somewhat cracked.  

Already removed the toilet and the sink from this bathroom.  All that remains is the graffiti....for those of you who are still racking their brains to decipher what it says:  "Tinder & Thayer Big Fat Liars"  This greeted us in the bathroom when we finally took possession of the first floor of the space on September 1.  

This is about day two when all the sinks and toilets were removed and we started working on the layers of walls.

The gorgeous avocado green sink is cast iron.  It has gone to a better home now.

The walls came down with the sawzall and some brute strength...seeing as there were either 40 screws or 8" nails in everything!

Greg loves demo...look he is wearing a mask and hardhat!

The last of the bathroom goes.

Just in time for our favorite building movers to arrive...moving???  Stay tuned....