November 16, 2013

The Perch of the Porch

In addition to all of the structural work that has been completed on our porch, another part of this summer's restoration was directed at the porch roof.  For years the porch roof was metal sealed with aluminum paint.  Over time this roof had seen its fair share of wear and tear, and time had taken its toll on the metal roof.  It had been patched and repaired a few times over the years, but it was now in need of replacement.

The hideous metal roof could be seen plainly from space. 
One feature of the old metal roof was a ridge that traveled along its distance, near the edge.  The purpose of the ridge was to collect the rainwater and divert it to one of three holes in the roof that fed normal downspouts.  This probably worked well for years, but through aging, the ridge had weak spots where water was seeping through and damaging the wooden structure underneath.

The old metal roof being removed.
One of the pieces of the ridge was actually marked with the date it was installed.  Pat from Drury Designs snapped a picture and saved the board for us to keep.  It is a pretty neat piece of history from our home.

Rolling out the tar paper and placing the bundles of shingles.
Instead of installing a new metal roof, we opted to have shingles installed.  This way it would more closely match the existing roof on the main part of the house.  Since a portion of the porch roof wraps around the turret, conventional shingles were not a good fit.  With Pat's advice, we choose a line of shingles that provided a more textured look and would allow the roofer to cut the shingles to lay properly along the roof's radius.

Roofing begins.
Since the main part of our roof was already dark shingles, we chose a color that would blend well. When it comes time to repair the main roof we will use the same shingles.  The new porch roof looks amazing, and the eye-sore of the metal roof is like a long lost memory.

After the new roof has been completed.

October 5, 2013

A New Coat of Paint: Jacob's New Bedroom

While we were planning to have Nitka Painting come out and paint our playroom, we wanted them to paint our son Jacob's new bedroom while they were here.

We are having a new baby in January of 2014, so our little guy needs to move to a new room!

This room had many cracks that needed to be fixed.


This wall needed the most attention.

A few more repairs were needed here.

Jacob's new bedroom was pink, initially. We want to do a theme with monkeys, so painting it green and brown was the next step!



These radiator pipes will serve as "trunks" for a tree that monkeys will climb.
We need to get some fake palm leaves to complete the look.

After painting.

Wall art for our monkey theme.


September 18, 2013

A New Coat of Paint: The Playroom

One of the rooms on the second floor doesn't have a closet. We knew that we wouldn't want to use it for a bedroom, so the next logical idea was to use it for a playroom for the current and future Lenz children!

When we first bought the house, the color of this room was kind of like a "peachy-tan"... the same color that my sewing room was before we had it painted a lovely lavender color.

Before painting.

There were a few cracks in this wall that we wanted to repair before the room got painted.
A few small cracks on this wall needed our attention as well.
We wanted the theme of this room to be Dr. Seuss' books, so we needed a nice neutral color that would go with everything from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to Horton Hears a Who and The Cat in the Hat. White was not a part of the conversation, simply because the trim was already going to be white, and who wants an all-white playroom? We went with Easter Lily. It really does look white on the computer screen, but against the white trim, it has a touch of yellow.

Nitka Painting was called up again. They were able to come out and paint this room for us, along with Jacob's new bedroom, which is right next door to this room.

Another room painted!
After painting.
We like how it turned out!




September 11, 2013

Pillar Repair

When we first walked through our home, one of the things that we noticed was that one of the stone pillars on our porch was leaning. We knew we'd have to get it repaired someday, but that day came very recently!


This is what we have had to look at since we bought our house!
The stone pillar in the background of the picture was not exactly vertical either,
so it needed to be repaired as well.


Pat Drury of Drury Designs was brought on board to help coordinate the repairs we'd need to make to our 111-year-old porch. In addition to the leaning pillar, we also had some problems with the porch roof leaking, but that will be covered in a future blog post. We will also have more lighting installed along the entire length of the porch. We are really looking forward to that!

The first thing that had to happen was that our mason, Aaron from Vanden Avond Masonry, had to take the pillars apart layer by layer. Then, Eric from Roffers Concrete Construction had to come and dig out the old footings. He had to go four feet down! After that, he had to pour new footings for the repaired pillars. The final step was for Aaron to reassemble the pillars.

The disassembled pillars.

Eric removing concrete debris.

The excavating begins!

Four feet down.
The first part of the footings have been poured.

The rest of the footing has been poured.
The forms around the outside had to stay on for several days.
This is all that you can see of the footings - the rest of it is buried under four feet of topsoil.

Now that the pillars have been reassembled, we are so glad that we can cross off another thing on our list of renovations.


The stone pillars have been put back together... and they aren't leaning!
The mason did a nice job of making the mortar look aged, so these repaired pieces don't stand out
compared to those that didn't need repairs.







August 13, 2013

Now You See Them, Now You Don't

The restoration work continues on our porch and quite a bit has happened since our last update.  Pat and the team from Drury Designs discovered some dry rot in the beam supporting the radius of the porch and some rotted support beams on the underside of the porch.  Some of this was expected with the age of the house and all of it will be taken care of.

The team continued the work by supporting the corner from below and across in order to remove the wooden pillars and prep for the removal of the stone columns.

The porch corner is well supported during the restoration.
Soon afterwards, the mason arrived with the heavy equipment needed to carefully take down the columns and move the heavy pieces of stone.  The mason stacked and marked each stone such that he will know exactly how it needs to be rebuilt once the new footings are in place.

Where did the stone columns go?
We sure hope that Pat checks all the licenses of his sub-contractors.  While the mason certainly did good work, we are concerned that he is a bit young.

The mason?
We are very pleased with the progress that has been happening with our porch.  It is exciting to see this sore spot of the house get the attention it needs.  

August 9, 2013

You Never Know What You Will Find

We have found that this phrase is one often shared among owners of old homes, and our home has proven to be no exception.  From pipes that go nowhere, to walls inside other walls, and an exterior door that doesn't lead in, our house has given us all kind of head-scratchers.

One recent oddity was discovered while fixing up the room that will become our children's playroom.  Since many of the old electrical receptacles have layers of paint on them, I like to replace them as we work from room to room.  This particular room had a receptacle that was actually right in the base trim!  While this is the only outlet like this in our house, I have seen this in other homes in our neighborhood and it is fairly common.  Regardless, I fully intended on moving the outlet up into the wall and patching the painted trim.

This is not exactly up to code.
What I wasn't expecting was to find that there was no outlet box.  This particular outlet was just hanging out without anything between the wires and the wooden trim and lathe.  Further exploration yielded the light switch was the same.  Wow, that is dangerous!

New home and old home of the outlet(s).
 So I added a box further up the wall where there are now two, much safer, outlets.  The light switch also has its own plastic box as well as a Dr. Seuss's One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish switch plate to go with the playroom theme.

To Here or To There?
You just never know what you will find!

August 3, 2013

Dining Room - Windows

The dining room windows are finally done! We had the windows replaced last October, and I just finished the curtains last week.

Here is what the old windows used to look like:

A cracked pane in one of the old dining room windows.

The old dining room windows on the front side of the house. The lower window on the left has no glass in it at all!


The view from outside. 


This is what they look like today:

The new windows!


The view from outside.

Here are the curtains! The green in the fabric matches the wall color, and the dark magenta peony flowers match our chandelier. I got the new roller shades for my birthday. It's funny how your birthday presents change into more practical things as you get older!



The side window. There is no longer a big crack in the bottom pane!