Sunday, April 27, 2014

In which I go away and the lower level gets cleaned up and readied for a floor this week

I had to go out of town for a few days for work.  After last week's floor pulling up, post hole digging, frame painting frenzy, I was actually looking forward to the 10 hour car ride to Philadelphia (which only took 7 hours 45 minutes both ways!) and a few days of rest and sleep in a comfy hotel bed (Doubletree rocks for that!) 

I arrived home yesterday around lunch time and Greg and I went down to the building for a look around.  The boys had been busy readying the lower level for a concrete floor pour this coming week.  My first reaction was how big the place is!  WOWZA!
The photo below shows the new addition

I love posting these photos because it makes me realize what a long way we have come.  Here is a shot of the basement right after we bought the building and I started in on the 15" of concrete and dirt flooring that we had to remove from the building.  I couldn't stand up straight here. The cedar posts in the center of the room are about 6 feet tall, and weigh about three pounds. The next photo shows almost the same view but now with 7.5" tall steel support posts.  We replaced the old beams with new LVL beams and cut them up into the floor joists above.  This place will stand for another 150 years at least!

There will be much more natural light when the three full-light doors are installed 

The poured concrete floor will be level with the bottom of the door frames in the photo below

Hard shot to get a sense of anything, but this is the old wall the faces the Dockside restaurant.  Of course it was made of plywood, cardboard and plastic.  

The same wall is here, now made from cement, wood and glass
The new floor gets poured Tuesday

Thursday, April 24, 2014

In which we have window trim!

I am on the road in Philadelphia.  By the time I left yesterday morning, all but five of the window frames had been painted and installed.  Granted, these photos are a few days old, but they do give a good indication of what the window trim looks like.  I like it, the shape of the window itself gives the plain window frame a bit of visual interest.  The hope is that the clapboard might start going up this week or next.  

I do love this view of the building.  

By now all of these window frames below have been installed. 

very excited!

NYF finished pulling up the floor Tuesday, the same day the electricians installed the new power pole for the food trucks that will be installed in the back lot.  Over the weekend, we did some work to the lot by removing some storm damaged trees and lopping off some branches on other trees.  I spent some time looking for a motorized earth auger to dig the 5 foot deep hole we needed for the power pole.  I ended up hand digging the hole over two days, and figured it was deep enough when I had my head and shoulder inside the hole and couldn't reach the bottom.  The pole has been put up, and now we are just waiting for CMP to flip the switch.  The week of May 1st will have Fox on the Run food truck serving breakfast sandwiches and other tasty food!  

I am sure you are all sick of digging photos from underneath the building, so I won't post any more here.  We found that the lower level is still wet from the small river that runs under the building, so new digging is going on to install more drainage.  I hear  from Greg that our cement guru wants to pour the floor next week.  When that happens, we will be on our way to finishing that floor and getting it in showable condition.  

Monday, April 21, 2014

In which I tell a floor saga.

An acquaintance, who happens to be a good, honest floor refinisher called me last week to ask about an ink on paper that he had in his house.  After answering his question, I immediately wrote him to say that I had been meaning to contact him about refinishing the first floor of the Ocean House.  I had been adamant about saving it.  We've had our share of leaks over the last year and I knew we had to replace some of the floor.  I was headed over to meet him at the building and he called, said he was already there and that there was no need to meet up.  The floor was beyond saving.  He said he would wait and show me what he meant.  
 First, he pointed out all the places where the floor was cupped....there were twice as many places that were separating, etc.  

Then, he said that there were about 5 different floors, some fir, some yellow pine, some wide board, most 3" wide.  

There was new damage and old.  The column replacement didn't do the old floor any favors.  

It would cost more to repair than to replace.

All of this would have to come up, and fast.  

The first floor was a mess, the cold room was still in place from the winter and there were boards and sawdust everywhere.  I am still painting trim, Greg is mired down in a project and I am scheduled to leave town on Wednesday for a trek to Philadelphia.  What do we do!  We get our ass up at 5 and start the day, is what we do.  We also hire a nice young fellow, son of great friends, and someone we knew needed to pay off a speeding ticket....three days should do the trick.  

First, I had to move and/or throw away a bunch of stuff.  NYF (nice young fellow) was due at 8am, so I got up, went to paint for two hours, got to the building and started clearing.  We did about a third of the building the first day....Or rather NYF ripped up most of the floor, while I moved the lumber yard from one spot to the next!

Poor NYF got to pull up the part of the floor that was screwed down...which meant the whole middle section!  I relieved him for a while, removed a floor board and found this little green army Jeep, the kind I used to play with, screwed down underneath the board. A shim perhaps??  

On the first day we uncovered the original lift doors.  Each floor had a set of these doors that could open, probably in order to move baggage for the hotel.  These heavy doors were completely rotted through.  On the floor above, the doors were charred black from a fire that swept through the floor.  Scary to think this place had a fire once!  

We are almost finished taking the floor and the nails up. We should finish tomorrow and then Greg and I have a hankerin' for solid hardwood hickory if we can find it at a good price.  I remember buying a cord of hickory wood for our fireplace in Chicago when I had roommates back in 1991.  Gorgeous wood.  I can't wait.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In which I use my old camera and realize how good the photos are!

I pulled out my real camera yesterday to take some shots of the progress at The Ocean House.  I forget how nice photos can be when taken with something other than a camera phone.  The photo below shows the progress on the front of the building!  Yay for new, not rotten moldings!!  As I think I said in the last post, we had to special order the crown molding, which should be here today and ready to paint. All I can say is thank gosh the stuff is pre-primed!  I just picked up the new transom window frames to paint today too.  I really am excited to get some glass in those and get them back into place.  Looks below like we are waiting for some hurricane to come along!

I love that I took this photo from across the street, sitting in my car.  The detail and the clarity are great!  The lighter colored caps on the returns are metal and of course don't match, but they are paintable and do protect the caps from rot.  Now to protect from the pigeons! I love the plain style of the moldings and I think they add a lot of character and charm.  Now I cannot wait for the roof and the siding! 

We've finished almost half of the window frames, so the rest shouldn't be so bad.  I have to hurry though, May is almost here and I need to do some painting and cleaning of cottages before the season starts!

I also have to start working on this area, where the food trucks are going.  We have to get a power pole into the back corner to service the vehicles that will be there.  Anyone want some beams??

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In which we continue the painting and start doing other chores

We are working behind the scenes these days, trying to line up heating system quotes and roofing quotes and learning about the benefits of solar panels and whether we can afford them right now.  The boys are working on building the moldings around the roof line, which can be a very slow process, but they are doing an amazing job.  I blew back into town from my sojourn to New York to find that the boys removed the rest of the moldings from the front of the building.  They do this when I am away, I think, so that I can't stop them.  Greg told me that all the moldings and trim had to go because of the rot they found either behind the boards or on the boards themselves.  Don't worry though, new boards will be coming as soon as the special sized crown molding arrives, shipped from somewhere in New Jersey.

We are still in the thick of painting the frame surrounds for the windows.  I just completed the 14th frame.  Pretty soon it will be nice enough to paint outside or something.

We are also trying to dry the basement out in preparation for setting in drains and pouring a floor.  When the addition had no roof, a lot of water got in the lower level and froze there.  We also want to wait for the ground to really thaw out so that we can level the dirt with a sand layer and get to work.  It is getting to be the busy time for everyone and we need to get moving before all our subs move onto other jobs.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

In which I just ramble on about stuff and show more photos

Greg and I spent the weekend locked in the painting studio where we got about 1000 board feet of moldings painted.  As Greg needs to move into another project for his real business, I will be painting the rest over the beginning of this week.  The building is coming along and we have a meeting with the power company today about what it might cost to move our power underground and get this pole out of the way.  They are also coming to shut down the power so our amazing electrician can pull the box off the building and move it so the boys can install one final window and finish wrapping up the building for winter...oh wait, I mean spring...

You can see where the last window goes in the photo below. 

I am happy to report that the porch really doesn't impinge on the afternoon light.  This photo was taken out the front windows around 5:30 pm last Friday.  

And what a deck the apartment has!  I didn't really think it would be that useable, but here I sit, in a comfy chair, around 5:30, looking towards the bridge.   

 You really can just sit, put your feet up, and watch the town of Belfast go by. 

I need more to go on, but I think the apartment is haunted.  A previous tenant told us that she used to hear someone walking around the apartment in the middle of the night, I walked into the first floor of the apartment one afternoon and heard scurrying of feet above.  When I went to check it out, I didn't see anything.  Then on Friday, I toured a friend through the apartment, went back outside with them and then decided to make a video of the construction in the apartment.  When I got to the second floor, the radio was on...when it hadn't been turned on when I did the tour.  I still need some convincing, but for now, I think we have a friendly ghost, whom I will name Casper.  

Saturday, April 5, 2014

In which there is video!

I shot a Video of the apartment yesterday in its current guise.  

Have a look!

And if anyone wants something to do on a rainy Saturday in Maine, come visit me!  You all know where I am!  I primed 200 board feet of 1x8" trim boards yesterday among running around town a lot.  Today is a first coat of finish paint, "Regent Beige," let's just call it tan, shall we?  Or, perhaps "mocha frappachino."

In which we play throwback Thursday, a few days late!

September 2012, three months before we bought the place

April 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

In which we are painting fools, and I mean fools!

A truck from Viking lumber arrived at Sunny Side yesterday and dropped off 1400 board feet of pine trim.  Combine that with the window frames that are already made up, and the results are tiring to think about.  Greg and I are doing our part to prime and paint all the trim as fast as we can.  Greg already painted about 1000 board feet of trim, which, if you are a regular reader, you know is already going up on the building.  

So we are painting fools!  I want to get all of this done before I have to leave for NYC next week (same day Greg begins jury duty!)
Color us frenzied, or tan, whichever you prefer.

Mid paint on one of the 7' tall window frames

The painting studio! Note the finished frames stacked up over the fridge

The delivery yesterday, the stack of 12" boards are around the corner

Thursday, April 3, 2014

In which we trim, trim, and trim the building.

People will think I am nuts, but I don't like plastic trim.  I don't like fiberglass trim.  I like wood trim.  I insisted on having wood trim all around the building.  I think wood trim just looks better.  This might kill us, it might be the bane of our existence in 10 years or so, but I like wood trim.  
The boys down at the building think I am nuts.

Greg spent the last couple of weeks painting trim boards at the only available warm room we have...the downstairs at Sunny Side cottage.  It has sat vacant for the winter and is now being put to good use.  I started there yesterday, painting the trim surrounds for the windows, which the boys have pre-made, so all I have to do is wrangle these 7' tall frames onto saw horses and prime the hell out of them...and then give them a few good coats of tan paint.  That's right, tan.
Yesterday afternoon, I primed two of the frames while on an hour long conference call. (shhh, don't tell)  

The more exciting photos are here though.
You might remember my post from May when Pegi, Greg and I were deep into designing the dormers.  Well, those dreams are being realized now that the trim is going up on the dormers.  I have been warned about pigeons and water and all sorts of famine and pestilence stories with regards to me wanting the dormers trimmed out as mini versions of the front of the building, but this is where I want to spend the money to make the Ocean House the pride of lower Main Street.  This building has languished too long on the wrong side of despair and it deserves a new life and a new look.  Call me crazy, but this is how I feel.  

I was asked the other day by a city official why we just didn't tear the building down and start from scratch.  Despite me losing confidence in said official's capacity in wanting to preserve the integrity of the downtown area, I proudly told said official that it was important to me to renovate, not obliterate.  

I love this old building and seeing these new dormers trimmed out and crisp looking gives me great joy.  She is coming back to life day by day.  Though the trim on this particular dormer isn't quite finished yet, it is looking awesome.

One of my favorite details on the dormers are the replication of the very geometric details under the returns.  You can just see the cove molding going on at the left side, that will continue on the front facing.  I get goose bumps just looking up there, it makes me happy.  
My hat is off to the boys from Whitecap builders, they understand that this building will be a focus point of downtown and they are stepping up and doing an excellent job.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

In which it is Spring, finally, in Maine and activities turn to building the porch.

The boys started on the porch for the front of the building a few days ago and as of last night, we could enjoy a tremendous view from the second floor.  I arrived at the job site yesterday morning to a proud foreman on the second floor coming out of the door and asking me what I thought of the porch.  "I %$^&&* hate it" is what I said, and with a straight face I told them to stop work and start taking it down.  "It doesn't work for me." I said.  There was dead silence among the crew as I locked eyes with the foreman and reiterated that he take it down.  "You're serious" he said.  I didn't crack.  He grumbled that he would bring a chain saw the next day and tear the thing off himself.  I looked disgusted as I shook my head and said "April fools!"  I thought he was going to walk off the job right there.  I think he got hell for it all day from the boys.  Poor guy.
The porch looks great though, just what the building was missing.  

If you haven't read the blog all the way through and know the building without a porch and are wondering why we are putting a porch on, take a look at the old photo we use for the blog.  There was a porch on the front of the building around 1900.  The site lends itself to a porch, we have the space, and it looks great.  I am not sure the porch was originally on the building, but Greg and I talked at length about it and decided that to really stand out in town for renters and shoppers alike, we would need something that no building on Main Street had....a porch and a front courtyard.  The second floor of the porch will be amazing for apartment renters who want to sit on their porch in the morning with the paper and a cup of coffee and watch Belfast awake.

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, the original color of the building was a cream yellow.  Wait, did you get that? Let me stress the point here.  The original color of the building was yellow.
Some of you might know the story of how we spent 45 minutes in a meeting defending our choice of yellow clapboards for the exterior of the building. We ultimately went with another color because we had so much opposition to our choice of yellow.  Well, I am here to say that the original color of the building was not too far off our original color choice.