Monday, May 26, 2014

In which we are referred to as icons.

Today was a quiet one at the ole' girl.  We filmed our segment for the Belfast, Maine version of the Pharrell Happy video with some friends dancing in front of the Ocean House.
Belfast's Happy Video
 Our favorite ex mayor emailed me to say: "I see you/ Greg/ the building and not much more: all are iconic."   How could we say no with such a smooth opener....I have never been an icon before and likely never will again. (and probably am not now!) So we donned our overalls and hard hats and danced to the Happy song in front of the building for about 30 seconds.  The link above is for the short trailer, the rest should be out soon.  It was a fundraising idea for Our Town Belfast, an organization that promotes downtown Main Street.  What a great idea, Mike Hurley!  He told me that there were 80 location shoots in and around town.

Lots going on at the building this week.  The sheet rockers are coming tomorrow to get the apartment rockin' and rollin'. The first floor of the apartment is cleaned and ready for them.

 I will be sad to see this pattern disappear behind wall board!

Heat pump installation will continue rolling along.

 I am told that three days should be all we need to sheet rock the two floors and then another several days for taping and mudding.  Greg and I step in at that point and start the bathrooms and the finish mouldings.  We need to find a good looking carpet that isn't too far off a sisal or something similar...low pile enough for other rugs to lay on top.

I am off tomorrow for about 5 days to drive my mom from Florida to NY.  See you all next week!

Friday, May 23, 2014

In which I get a little pissed off.

To the person who likes to throw their building debris in our dumpster....please know that we have to pay to dump your stuff and just because we look like a big project where cost is no problem, we are constantly looking to cut the costs of renovating the building so that we can actually finish it. Please, throwing four toilets in someone else's dumpster says more about you as a contractor than you realize. Hope you don't get caught...cause I am gonna try to catch you doin' it....then your name will be" toilet dumper" all over town! Please feel free to share this update. Thank you.

psst...beware the new security camera!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

In which we get totally foamed.

Glenn, our favorite foamer has been at the building now for four days.  It took two days to foam the roof, and so I thought he would take longer to do the rest of the building, but he moved right through the place.  He was late a day because one of his cows was giving birth!  The building is tight and a lot of extraneous noise has been quelled.  I believe the building is less likely to sway now, which was still a problem last week. 

This is the fourth building we have foamed with our favorite foamer and the mess just gets bigger every time!  

The apartment is now beginning to look like a space.  Everything is lighter and bigger looking.

The wiring and the heating and cooling system lines are installed, so now, after waiting about a week for the off-gassing to diminish, we will have the sheet rockers in.  

With the foam on the first floor of the apartment, the bones of the building stick out.  I would love to have these walls hand plastered between the support beams and the studs to keep this Tudor look.  But, that isn't possible because of the expense, so I will have to keep these photos to remember the look by.

The ceiling has been strapped for sheetrock.

The lower level space is the real surprise.  After foaming over all the grey concrete, the space is really bright.  

So, we are just now beginning to look for a renter.  1300 square feet +

the space is huge!

Friday, May 16, 2014

In which....history!

By the looks of the car in the photo, this has to be in the late 70s or early 80s when the previous owner bought the place.  I wonder if this was the real estate listing photo!  Thanks to Megan Pinette at the Belfast Historical Society for digging this beauty up!

Looks like the place was fixed up a bit.  Below is the photo of the building before we bought it. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

In which there is so much going on I think my head is spinning!

Our favorite contractor said that things will start coming really quick from now on.  He wasn't kidding!  Yesterday there were two guys working on framing the basement, two guys putting up siding, one working on the mouldings, our favorite foam insulation boys were there too, along with our favorite heating and plumbing guys...phew! I am showing the lower level to a potential renter tomorrow afternoon and this is such a small town that two customers at 3Tides on Tuesday night asked me if this potential renter had contacted me yet!

So, onto the photos.  Finally got the scaffolding off the side of the building yesterday.  We have to wait for the roofing company to come install flashing around the dormers before they can be sided.  The 6" wide crown moulding finally arrived after a SNAFU.  I got it all primed and painted and our favorite construction foreman installed it to wide acclaim.  I can't believe the difference a year and a half, a complete new foundation, structural supports, windows, dormers, and new siding can make!  

Now that big blue is gone, I really do love the colors together.

The building has quite the street presence now. There is a Facebook page called "You know you are from Belfast if...." and one of the moderators has been posing pictures this week of the Ocean House reconstruction and I love reading the comments about me a real boost.  The support the people in this town have shown to us has really been so tremendous.   We had an idea that people would notice what we were doing with the ole' girl, but we never imagined the whole town would be watching and talking about this project in such positive light.  Thank you all, you made us really sweat the details on the exterior and I think it paid off!

The new crown molding really completes the strong architectural lines on the front of the building.  I think most people thought I was nuts to focus so much attention on rebuilding the roofline mouldings, but the lines of this great building are what attracted me to it in the first place.  Just sorry that we couldn't save any of the original moulding boards...when I went crawling through the dumpster to retrieve some of the original crown, it was so rotted and damp in places that I knew we made the correct decision to take it all down and start again.

Framing out of the lower level.  The black piping you see coming down from above are the pipes for our heat pumps, which will offer heating and cooling throughout the year.

The insulation boys are hard at work on the third floor, where the electrical, the plumbing, and the heating stuff has already been roughed in.  I think they have one more day upstairs (state code requires 7 inches of foam in the roof and that has to be applied over two days so the foam can properly off-gas.  These photos were taken after the second day.

The foam will also add a lot of rigidity to the structure, which we need for such a tall building in such a windy part of town.

I took these photos while holding my breath because the place smelled to high heaven!  Greg and I opened all the windows for a few hours while we went out to dinner and that made all the difference.

Friday, May 9, 2014

In which I pontificate

Most days this project freaks me out.  We are pouring our hearts and souls and backs and savings into the Ocean House and when I log in and see my bank balance going steadily down towards zero, I have to try and get my heart rate down to normal.  

But, when I pulled up to the North side of the Ocean House today and saw the finished side of the building, I smiled inwardly.  This is what I have been waiting for, this is what all that other stuff was for.  We have definitely sacrificed a lot for this and to see the building as it looks below is so gratifying, so satisfying.  I hope that feeling holds, but I know it is a fleeting one.  I will be out back of the building most of the weekend painting trim boards, wondering when we will be done and if we can get everything accomplished that we want.  

I have to pat ourselves on the back and say "good for us"  This keeps us going.  Our vision is going to be realized.  Slum and Blight didn't beat us.  Hooray for the Ocean House!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

In which we have the big reveal...of sorts

I think the best aspects of the photos I post are the changes in the sky and the light. This was taken around 6:45 pm and the upstairs is incredibly sunny.  

Ok, so here is the big reveal about the colors.  Heathered Sage is the name of the color on the cement clapboard that we are using on the building.  It is taking incredibly long to install over the blue board as all holes need to be drilled and then hand-nailed.  So far, this is the result of three guys working two full days on installing the clapboard.  But the work is gorgeous and I think overall the building looks very elegant.  
I have to get used to the trim color, which I think is too dark, but the more the blue goes away, the more I like the overall effect of the colors together.   Frankly, it is a bit bland, but with the added color on the basement level and to the doors, the building will look very happy in the end.

Not too hard considering what we started with!

Monday, May 5, 2014

In which our first business opens shop in the back lot...Welcome Fox on the Run Foods

Ok, I shamelessly purloined the photos below from chef Lauren Jellison's facebook update from this morning.  I arrived at the building around 6:20 this morning to find Fox on the Run food truck already in place, bacon sizzling.  I quickly went to work trying, in vain, to make the back lot look a little nicer, with less stones and rocks and things to trip over right in front of the truck window.  I took a rake and added what pea stone I had to the area in front of the truck to just be more inviting than the old bricks were that I dug out of the ground and threw to the side.

Lauren and her food truck, Fox on the Run, will be serving breakfast and lunch from 7am to 3pm through May and hopefully on the weekends through the summer.  If you all go buy from her, we might just convince Lauren to keep her delicious creations in downtown Belfast! 

Below, behold the egg and ham breakfast sandwich.  She serves a damn fine cup of coffee too!

For lunch today there is a choice of a hot bowl of smoked chicken chili, a Cuban sandwich, or an awesome taco creation.  I believe the menu will change daily.  

 mmmm...welcome to our first business!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

In which we go back under the building....and it is gorgeous!

The doors are finally hung on their frames, no more plywood openings, and the floors have set so that we can go in and inspect the floor.

Look at all this room!  We have decided to try and keep the cement floor and stain it.  We haven't come up with exactly what treatment we will use, but it will be a rich warm tone, perhaps something like a burnished gold.  I have to call my conservator and ask her what to do.  She specializes in finishes and would be the perfect person to consult.  
I can't believe how big it turned out to be!  Even at 6'6", I  feel like I have a lot of room between floor and ceiling.   

These photos were taken on a particularly gray morning about 8:30am

In which we get an award!

We got an award!  I attended the 14th annual Maine Downtown Conference this year and we got an award for our work on restoring the Ocean House.  Recognized as the best project this year to change the face of a downtown Main street!  

We love the recognition and the validation of what we are doing, it really keeps us going.  We also love the support from our community, from folks we've never met before who tell us how beautiful the Ocean House is looking.  Thank you everyone, this means a lot to us.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

In which I yammer on about nothing in particular

We poured the floor for the lower level yesterday. Greg and I checked in throughout the day, but when I went to see the finished product at the end of the day, I was sealed out...all the doors have been locked to keep people like me out!  

Since I can't post photos of the floor, photos of the last window to go in on the first floor will have to suffice.  The window in the far left in the photo below was added just the other day. 

 and big blue is complete:

 We are still awaiting the 6" crown molding for the gable ends of the building, but most of the window frames have been painted and installed.  I have two frames out of 40 left to paint and I am just finishing painting the final 60 board feet of one x twelves.  All of the exterior doors are on-site and ready to install and the siding is going to start going up on Monday.  We were just told that to install over blue board, the guys discovered that the best way is to drill through the concrete clapboards and hand nail the clapboard with 3" stainless steel nails.  A regular siding gun blows the nails right through the board and into the blue board.  

We are also waiting to hear about the roofing bids, which are due next Wednesday to City Hall.  

Lots going on.  I am headed to the downtown conference in Waterville tomorrow.  It is a conference I started to attend last year about the best way to revitalize downtowns in the state.  Belfast is one of a handful of gold-star downtowns in the state and the conference is a good way for me to keep abreast of the best practices for building ownership and stewardship.