It has been two months now since we closed on the Sheridan house. Our biggest priorities at the beginning were to secure the property, clear the lot, get the power turned on, get heat, get running water, install a security system, and complete a majority of the required demolition. We are still working on getting water, but, all things considered I think we are doing alright. The holiday season was a bit of a distraction, we both (like everyone else I hear) were sick for a bit, and working in the bitter cold has been rather demoralizing. With January more than half way through the worst should be behind us though, right?
Because we will be changing the layout of the kitchen and bathroom, the original builtin medicine cabinet will have to go. I am considering bringing it home, refinishing it, and installing it in our master bathroom. We have been searching for something to use that works with the historic character of our home and I think this could be perfect.
Our number one priority when we closed on the house was to secure the property. We replaced all the deadbolts and door locks, boarded up any broken windows, and had all 11 basement windows replaced with glass block. I have to say that the glass-block windows have felt like our biggest win to date. I found someone that built them off site and came and installed them over the weekend. Having it done that way cost almost half of what it would have otherwise and they look perfect. If you or anyone needs glass-block windows installed let me know and I will give you the number for who we used. I can't recommend him enough.
Once the property was secured, J had an electrician come out and install new breaker panels and had new meters installed and a line run to the house. The delivery is all new and up to code; inside the house is a different story though. While some of the circuits were redone at some point, a lot of the house is still using knob and tube. We want to replace all of it with new wiring, however, because it is a multi-tenant structure the city will not allow us to pull our own permits. So, we are still trying to find an electrician that will work with us to do this job as affordably as possible. It has been frustrating though. Getting quoted $15,000 for work that you know how to do yourself but can't because of government red tape is infuriating. I still don't understand why the city won't let us permit the work, it is still all inspected, but whatever. What can you do.
With at least some power up and running we were able to get a furnace installed and a security system set up. This was actually quite a nerve racking process. For reasons, we ended up getting a furnace installed before the alarm system was working. I don't want to go into too much detail now, but let's just say, we still have a furnace, but, we did end up sleeping there for 5 nights and peeing in a bucket. I will tell you all about it later, but it really deserves it's own post.
While all this other stuff was all going on we were working hard getting as much demolition work done as possible. The house had that awful asphalt siding that looks like brick put up in the 30's. I spent a good week pulling it all down and removing the nails to reveal the original clapboard underneath. The original siding is in pretty decent shape and we plan on restoring it in the spring. Another big demo project was removing all the damaged plaster and warped lath on the first floor. Being an unconditioned space for 15 years took it's toll and many of the keyways had broken on some of the walls and the lath had buckled and was warping the surface. The only thing we could do was to take these walls down to the studs. The walls that were problematic seemed to be concentrated around the kitchen and bathroom. This makes sense since both are big sources of moisture, which will degrade both the lath and plaster. It doesn't seem like it should be that much when I write it out, but we have filled over two dumpsters with all the stuff we have pulled out of this place.
The last big thing I started working on is restoring the original windows. I have about half of the windows removed and have stripped about half of those down to bare wood. They are showing their age and many are in need of more extensive repairs, but most are salvageable and will be just about good as new when done. It is proving to be a exhausting job, but I am sure I will say it was worth it in the end.
Moving forward the next couple months I will be primarily focusing on getting the windows done. We will also be getting the plumbing and electrical work done once the second furnace is installed. Once all that is done, we can close up the walls and move on to the fun stuff like painting, restoring the built-ins in the kitchen, repairing the original doors, and refinishing the oak floors (we just picked up a floor sander). Once the weather starts to warm up again I can turn my attention outside and to the lovely clapboard and trim that is all in need of some love.