The Campsie Project

An account of the renovation of The Neglected House on the Wonderful Street in Wonderful Downtown Lexington, Kentucky.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Episode XIV: A New Closet

Okay, I've got the star wars bug a little bit, forgive the cheesy title. I came home today (to the Bassett house, that is) just extra special dirty. Lucy and I decided to add a closet in the bathroom, and I got to "frame it up." This is something that I really enjoy doing, this rough carpentry stuff. I still have no idea about hanging drywall. That's going to be Mike's bag, I guess. For now. Mike's the contractor, right? It's been a while, huh? Well, this just in: Theoretically, we hired a contractor, which has been kind of an ego-blow for me. It's not that I can't do it, I keep telling myself, it's that, I can't do it nearly fast enough. So Mike's gonna help us get down the road, is the idea.

star drive screw headMoving on from my previous favorite tool, the flat bar, it's the drill making a surprise comeback on the vintage tool trail, and really making it happen for me lately. That and Patron Builder Todd's indespensible miter saw. Between the two of those and a box of star screws I seem to be able to really go lego upstairs. Love those star drive screws! - I guess they're expensive, but I'm not building a whole house, so that's okay. And they allow me the so-far unnecessary luxury of taking things apart if I—ahem—screw something up.

So it's been awhile, right? Soooo much going on. Got side tracked by brother chris' wedding, and replaced blogging with beer, briefly. Stories of that looney affair are (or will soon be) at Mingle Freely, my other blog, people!

Back to the construction—

We're covered up. We've got a lot going on, and yet, haven't been "on site" in awhile, until this weekend. We've got Pedro, our favorite brickman and his assorted crew hard at work on the terribly neglected tuck-point work on the house. It's becoming apparent to me that water-damage has been huge at Campsie Place. Pedro is a gifted mason with funny stories, a wonderful demeanor and Lucy has promised more on him soon. PS: You can email her to demand that she contribute more to this blog.

Meantime, we have tackled a couple of worthy projects:

  1. stripping the stairs - the stairs were really a mess. one of the first things we did after we bought the house was to strip off this jake-leg monkey business where somebody had tried to "enlongate" the stairs by basically building stairs on top of the stairs and then covering the whole thing with carpet. Uh…yeah. We followed up on this mission a couple of weeks ago by ripping the paneling down in the stairway, which created the ever-popular domino effect (becoming an old friend) where, in order to fully remove the paneling and take the stairway down to the studs, we had to actually remove the treads, some of which were split anyway, clear out all the debris and re-install them. Of course the ones there are really just pine 2 x 10's (talkin' like a carpenter, finally, huh?), and later we'll rip them off again and replace them with oak.
  2. framing a bathroom closet - I spent less time than I would have imagined framing in a closet for the bathroom. As I said before, drywall? I have no particular idea. But if you want me (and lucy wanted me) to bang together some 2 x 4's so we can have an inset closet in a wall that's already been ripped down to the studs? I'm your man. And I'm almost certainly over-brimming with premature pride. I just hope contractor Mike doesn't have to rip down the whole thing. We'll see…
That's a quick update. Sorry it's been so long. More reports to come on Pedro and saving our bricks, and contractor Mike coming to the neighborhood to do some serious ass-busting on our behalf.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Campsie Photo update!

It's time for an album, folks, and I'm not talkin' about Hall & Oates, here. I'm talkin' about Jeffries and Points. And THE PROJECT. Haven't done a photo-tour recently of the Campsie Project, so… shall we?

Right this way, please for NEW PICTURES OF CAMPSIE!


Also, for those who may have missed previous galleries, here's a repost. Through the magic of Ofoto (I mean—Kodak Gallery), you can go see what it looked like when we bought it, or at The Housewarming Party, or the Legendary Digging Party or the basement jacks that Patron Builder Saint Todd installed.

NOTE: You should not need to log in if you don't want to, but it is a decent service, if you're up to your ass in digital photography like me. (But I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention Flickr, which is way cooler.)

We're feeling better, doc.

We were feeling a little hopeless rcently (but it's passing). Glum. Over challenged. You know, like people with a house half-torn apart.

Tearing up seems to be the specialty of both lucy and I. It’s kinda scary. I started to get allergic to it recently (lucy might tell you that “allergic” is Mick's new over-used emotional adjective), feeling like we by god needed to be doing some building up; enough with the tearing down. I think we’ve reached a point of panic over not finding any more things to tear down (or at least choosing not to, which is a kind of progress) and being a little too clueless about how to fix the things that we’ve torn down already. There’s this vague agreement that we’ve got to move in here. Soon. Or at least, as soon as possible.

That doesn’t have the imminent ring to it that I wish that it did.

So much work and then there’s moving. Hence, the overwelm-ment. Overwelmation. Take or pick, they both mean, shit, dawg! What we gonna do?

Well, looks like we gonna hire ourselves a contractor.

The idea is that if we don’t, it’s just going to be forever before we move in. This work is like some sort of self-replicating optical illusion, though. The closer you look the more there is to do.

Lucy and I have basically defaulted to either tearing stuff up, or buying things when this realization sets in. Not that we’re as bad as others might be. I mean, it’s not like I’ve bought any major tools yet. We bought a shop vac, okay.. Really we’ve gotten pretty far on crowbars, small lumber purchases, a hammer, hex screws, and gloves and kneepads.

The thing is, it’s actually easy to put off doing anything with a trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot. We go in, walk around, say ‘what were we looking for?’ and leave with a box of screws. So, I’m just saying, financially, it could be worse. Today, for instance, we actually bought stuff: a medicine cabinet, a wall heater, and an exhaust fan. All needed, for sure. But this led to the regular ‘chain reaction effect,’ which in this case was: how the heck do you install a wall heater?

Electricity is bedazzling us, friends. How does it work? We do not know. But we’ve heard that it has great potential.

So we’ve got these imponderables (or infinite poderables):
  • Upstairs wiring – it’s knob and tube, dube. We gots to partially rewire! (not new info)
  • The behemoth that is the bathroom – can mick just be proud of his demo work and “framing lite” and turn it over to a pro so that it might get done this century?
  • The bedroom closet door addition – see previous
That’s where we are, or aren’t depending on your degree of optimism. Mine is actually high, but keeping eyes on the road is sometimes tricky.

To close pleasantly, here’s some of what actually did happen today.
  • Climbed up on the roof and unstuck two painted-shut windows. Hurray, sweatbox upstairs!
  • Did a quick frame-up where the bathroom door used to be, so that drywalling can happen. Now how d’ya drywall?
  • Set some braces in the wall, so that the new medicne cabinet will hang and not come crashing down in another exciting episode.
  • Finally did some important listing. There a lot of non-hammer swinging work to do on this project, and I think Lucy and forget that. Therefore, the listing, and some phone calling.
Coming soon: The Contractor Cometh…

We’re getting there.