Sunday, June 10, 2007

Incredibly Productive Weekend

The Vests came up to lend a hand around the house, and my word! they put the kaibosh on--well, lots of stuff, actually.

Super-chic Minimalist Valances

Ladonna helped (we're loosely defining "helped" here as "did all the work while Melanie looked on and occasionally said, 'Can I do anything?'"--a role that suited me down to the ground. NB: In my defense, I did make breakfast--mmmm, migas with homefries!) turn the red cotton/linen panels from our old kitchen into super-chic minimalist valances for the new kitchen.

The project was complicated by the fact that the two windows have casings (I think Chuck called them "fascia"?) of differing widths, and by the fact that we were winging it sans pattern. The resulting perplexities account for the slightly manic look on Ladonna's face in the picture below.

Ladonna, celebrating the first completed valance

What you cannot tell from the above picture is that my stylish, minimalist valances have a single, stylish, minimalist pleat down the middle:

Valance with attractive box pleat

Nifty, no?

Both valances, installed

Now I get to go out and buy a bunch of red doo-dads (candles, vases, &c) to sprinkle insouciantly around the kitchen to tie the nutria-and-red theme together.

New Outlets
Meanwhile, Chuck and Matt worked on adding some outlets to the living room. Here is why this operation was necessary:

"Electrical work" à la Matt & Mel

The one wall on which it is logical to put one's entertainment center is a wall that contains no outlets whatsoever and is framed by doorways, making extension cords a somewhat inelegant solution.

When we asked Chuck's advice on the subject, we were delighted to hear him say (as he does with reassuring frequency), "That is NO PROBLEM." And then it got very technical with romex and breakers and boxes and so forth. He & Matt decided to run some of this romex (which resourceful Chuck fortunately had a stash of) in the crevice between the bamboo & the walls, underneath the quarter-round. You can sort of see it in this picture--a yellowish line running along the baseboards, hooked into the outlet to the right.

During their excavations, they discovered interesting things about our house.

For example, the baseboards are actually rather thick pieces of lumber--there is no wallboard behind them. Instead, the wallboard sits on top of the baseboards, making them look much thinner than they truly are. The wallboard, therefore, doesn't get anywhere near the floor--it starts a good 10 inches up.

In addition, there is a horizontal piece of wood running behind the wallboard/baseboard juncture. This means that we couldn't run the romex up inside the wall to a receptable installed on the wallboard--that piece of wood was in the way. So they had to install the outlets in the baseboards instead--not ideal, but better than no outlets at all.

Dating the House
Matt & Chuck also got to take a look at how the wood was joined. It used a "shiplap" join, which Chuck described as an ancestor of tongue-and-groove joints. Because of this, he thinks our house probably actually dates back to the early 1900s, not to 1935, as all of the legal docs say.

Chuck finds a shiplap joint.

Interestingly enough, we've had other bits of evidence that point in that direction. For example, our next-door neighbor, 80-some-odd-year-old Mr. Merreck, was raised in this house, which he says his parents bought in 1920. At the time, he says, it was a farm house surrounded by several acres of gardens. He also says that the current study and master bath were just an L-shaped porch in that day, that the mudroom was a hall, and that they drew water up from a well underneath the back porch.

But our other next-door neighbor to the south, who apparently works on historical homes here in Elgin, says that he thinks it's even older than 1920. It was Matt who had the conversation with him (so I don't know the details), but apparently, he's basing his opinion on something to do with the windows. Would like to learn more about this.

Après Chuck, le déluge

We also mentioned the fact that we had concerns about the air conditioner drip pan upstairs, which didn't seem to be draining properly. Matt had been planning to tackle it with a plumbing snake this week, but Chuck decided to get on it right away (which was probably the right decision). In a small miracle of preparedness, he happened to have an air compressor with him, so he and Matt first blew out the primary and secondary lines, then washed the primary out. Violent, algae-colored gushing ensued.

Here, too, we learned all kinds of stuff. For example, the wee little pipe by the kitchen door is our secondary line (when it drips, we need to get up into the attic and clean out the primary). The pipe by the mudroom has been disconnected and serves no purpose (Chuck theorizes that is was the original secondary line, but as people stopped using the mudroom as an entry, they weren't able to keep an eye on the line, so they disconnected it.) The primary line is under a rock. Yes, that's right, it's under a rock. Odd place for it, I would think, but I'm no civil engineer.

That broken piece of paver covers the hole where the primary line exits.

The pipe is buried, and under the rock is where it empties itself. Whatever. Anyway, it's all cleaned out now, so here's hoping for the best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, dear reader, do not let Mel fool you. While I was dealing with my "manic mode" she cut the lining off the old curtains, ripped out hems, helped hang the valances, and was going through her own "manic period" as was evident by the boxes that kept flying down the stairs from the upstairs bedroom! The girl WILL TAME THIS HOUSE!

Would not have missed this week-end for the world!


Related Posts with Thumbnails