Chronicling the cleanup and restoration of our house and property in northern Michigan

Chronicling the cleanup and restoration of our house and property in northern Michigan

Friday, January 21, 2011

Not your typical bathroom window...

This past weekend I made a solo, extended weekend trip.  I headed up on Saturday and stayed through Tuesday.  My goal for the weekend was to begin to tackle the master bedroom.  This room has a few strange "features" that just have to GO.  First and foremost, the "window" between the bedroom and the bathroom.

Obviously, this "feature" wouldn't allow for much privacy.  What it does allow for is the sharing of a myriad of sounds and smells.  We did finally unravel the mystery of this strange and bizarre opening, and it actually makes sense.  The original owner's sister was very ill, and when building the house this room was intended to be hers.  The owner was afraid that if she fell while in the bathroom he would not be able to hear her, hence the "window".

This is also the reason for the next special and exotic feature of our master bedroom.  A sink...right there...out in the open.

You'll also note in the photos a smaller wooden panel to the right of the mirror.  This is a clothes chute which is accessible from both the bathroom and bedroom.  It is also a second means of sharing the aforementioned sounds and smells, and so must also GO.

I arrived at the house on Saturday around 2:30 PM, fired up the wood stove to warm the house up, and then headed over to the local ACE Hardware to pick up the necessary supplies.  I got back, made some dinner, and dove into the demolition of the window and the framing.  By the time I couldn't push myself any further the window looked less like a window, and something more like this...

...and this...

...and the clothes chute looked like this.

First thing the next morning I dove right back in.  I wanted to get the drywall cut and secured, and a coat of joint compound on before diving into the sink demolition.  This all went pretty quickly.  The window was double everything, because I was also working on the bathroom side.

Just a rough first coat to fill in the seams and to secure the tape.  With that done, it was time for the sink to go.  This was a bit more involved than just removing the sink and attached dressers.  I also had to remove all of the associated plumbing, including the hot and cold supply lines coming through the floor and the drain pipe routed through the wall.  I really lucked out with the supply lines, as there were shutoff valves for both the hot and cold lines feeding this sink.  I only had to shut off the valves, cut off the pipe after the valve, and pull the pipe up through the floor.  Even better, I'll be able to tie into these lines later for the future downstairs bathroom.  BONUS!  For the waste pipe, I cut that off from the main drain pipe and capped it off. I then capped off the pipe inside the wall.  I'll be leaving the capped off PVC pipe in the wall.  There's just no need that I can think of to go through the demo required to get it out of there, now that it's not tied into the drain system.

After getting the dressers and sink apart I tossed it all outside.  After some majorly gratifying abuse with a sledge hammer it all ended up looking like this!

Thanks to the burn barrel, that's one fewer trip to the landfill.  Y'all can't do that in the big city, folks!  That was pretty much it for Sunday.  I dove back in on Monday, and was able to get a few more things done.  I removed the wood valances from the windows, laid in another coat of joint compound on the window, chute, and hole from the removed plumbing.  I also had various other areas to touch up with joint compound, the result of a removed shelf and several wall anchors that left nice sized holes when I ripped them out.  All said and done, it came out pretty well.  Here's a shot of the wood valances and the aforementioned shelf, before removal.

I'll still have a final skim coat to do the next time up, but it's nearly ready for painting.  Honestly, I was really hoping to get a lot further.  Yes, I even deluded myself into thinking that I would be able to get it painted.  Still, I'm pretty happy with what I got done.  Here are a few shots of where I ended up.

By no means did Shelly get off easy.  In fact, quite the opposite.  While I was up tearing into Shangri La, Shelly was back in Ohio prepping and painting the kitchen.  She's working her butt off to get the house ready to list in February.

Now, I have taken a little bit of abuse (not too much, but a little) for not doing anything to relax while up at the house.  Believe it or not, I find working on the place to be very therapeutic and relaxing.  Still, I do understand what these well meaning folks have in mind.  So, I figured I'd better do a bit of what they're talking about, and bring back some proof.  I took a short drive over to Ocqueoc Falls and hiked in to see what it looked like all iced over.  I was truly glad that I did, and I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures at least half as much as I did taking them.

And, here's one final shot.  This is the front of our place and a bit of our view.  If we ever begin to wonder why it is we want to move up there, do you think this picture would be a decent reminder?  Yeah, I agree.  :)

Thanks for visiting with us.  Until next time!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Planning for "The Remodel"

While on our last trip up we took measurements of the whole house so that we could begin planning what we want to do in the way of remodeling.  The first BIG job is going to be the finishing of the basement.  We're moving from a house with 1,500 square feet of living space to one with just 750.  With the foundation being mostly above ground, giving us full size windows and easy means of egress, the basement is a HUGE untapped source of living space.  Here are pictures of the current basement layout, and what we're planning for the remodel.

As you can see, this is pretty much a blank canvas right now.  There's still some work to do to get it to this state.  There's some shelving and a work bench that needs to be removed, along with a bunch of power and hand tools.  Old Dale used to use this as his workshop.  I'm moving the workshop out to one of the barns.

Click For Larger Image

Here is what we're thinking is our shot at utilizing the space as best we can.  We considered adding some storage space, but opted instead to add the half bath.  This still leaves us with some minimal storage space under the stairs, and we still have ample storage space in the barns.  We're way too used to having a bath and a half, and we know that if we don't add it now it's not likely we will later.  We'd regret it every time one person is in the shower and another person has to "go".

I'll be working primarily from home, hence the "My Office".  The plan is to make the office large enough to accommodate a sofa bed so that the space can also be used as a guest room.  The picture shows a standard door, but I'll probably go with a pocket door to leave more room for the sofa bed and such.  The Bedroom will be our son Mike's room, and we certainly can't leave out our home gym.  The laundry area won't change too much from what it is now.
Click For Larger Image

Though this will be the first major renovation we'll be doing, we'll be tackling some smaller projects before taking this one on.  I'm heading up this weekend with plans to dive into the master bedroom.  I'm hoping to get everything shy of flooring done over the long holiday weekend.  I'll post an update for whatever I accomplish.

Talk to you all soon!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Last trip of 2010

We closed down 2010 with one final visit to Shangri La.  We headed north for the Christmas holiday, spending a few days down state with family, then headed up to the house.  I took the week between Christmas and New Year off, so we were able to stay at the house Sunday through Thursday.  We didn't have a whole lot on the agenda for this trip.  It was mostly about relaxing and spending some time together.  We know what's in store for us for 2011, and I'll admit it's a bit intimidating.  We decided to just take a week and regroup before it all starts.  Here's our to-do list for just the first half of the year:

  • Start new job in Michigan
  • Get Ohio house ready to sell
  • List Ohio house
  • Sell Ohio house
  • Move into an apartment in Ohio if house sells before son graduates in May
  • Go to Disney with son's high school band
  • Get son graduated
  • Host two graduation parties, one in Ohio and one in Michigan
  • Go to Outer Banks, NC for son's graduation gift
  • Move to Shangri La
  • Begin renovation of Shangri La
  • Get son settled in to college
I still targeted a few small jobs around the house.  I finally tracked down the parts I needed to get the oven working.  This is the oven we moved from the basement to the kitchen, displacing the old stove that we were afraid to use.  :)  We now have a working stove in the kitchen.  

The Old Stove
Stove from the basement
The other project I targeted for the week was the continued clean out of the small barn.  With sledge hammer and axe in hand I broke up any old wood "stuff" and fed a burn barrel.  Other than a few non-combustible items I was able to get it pretty well cleared out.

Before Cleanup Began

Current Condition
Other than these two projects we relaxed and just enjoyed being up north.  Kyle and I managed to go skiing on Wednesday at Nubs Nob.  This was our first time skiing there, and we'll DEFINITELY be going back.  

You know, it's strange.  All of the work we've been doing, because we had to squeeze a whole lot into whatever weekends we could get away, we always felt a sense of urgency.  Now that we're moving there we feel so much more relaxed.  We know that we'll have plenty of time to do not just what we need to do, but what we want to do to make it truly ours.

Until next time!