The Campsie Project

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

Monday, June 27, 2005

Ladies Day of Destruction

Get this! Mick left town and I hosted a "tear down the walls and rip out the kitchen fiesta fantastica!" We were lead by my new angel friend-Laura (proprietor of Cabinets and Designs on Walton Ave and carpentress extroidinaire). Laura has been itchin' to rip somethin' up ever since she set foot in 239 Campsie. She has assisted Mick n me with a kitchen plan complete with the cabinets...I mean it—she actually hooked us up with some stylin' German made '60's era cabinets not to mention the Jennaire gas stove (down-draft and convection oven included). Laura gave me the courage I needed to tear into the massive energy blocker of a wall that laid at the bottom of the steps.

I decided to make this one a "ladies only" work party. First Anne showed up with a sledge hammer and some garden gloves. This sculpture artist and gentle, kind mother of sweet Olivia really knows how to swing a violent blow to plaster! Next came Sonya—wife of patron saint, Todd and dental hygenist with a soft touch. Sonya took care of snappin the nasty ole kitchen cabinets off the wall-a task I had no desire to attempt. She was rewarded with a few items left behind by the previous owners-cookie sheets, cookie cutters and the like. Watch out—next came Joanne with Jason's crow bar. She knawed away at the remnants with me till happy hour. We tore into her bag o chips and huge vat of home-made black bean salsa before we threw in the towel. I thought it was over until Esther showed up. I was exhausted, filthy, scarred and marred but I couldn't just sit there and watch her rip down that soffet in the kitchen by I pressed on.

Ya know-I've dealt with a lot of male builders, carpenters and tradesmen in my day. I've gotten the "listen here li'l lady" look too many times. I can't tell you haw proud I am that my girlfriends and I did this one on our own. A little of the "feminine touch" goes a long way!

Thanks li'l ladies! Ya done me proud...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Catching Up with Campsie!

Let's face it—

We're just way behind with The Campsie Project. I know it, you know it. We all know it.

And I'm not just talking about the blog either! The house, crimony, the house!

The thing is, I told Lucy before we ever started this, that I was looking for something to do that was so overwelming that I would have to throw it up for the universe to help me. Note: That would definitely be this. But it's coming along. Nice things are happening, but the funny thing is how, the more we get done, the more it becomes apparent how much there is to do. Let me restate: there is so much to do.

It's been said, that if we feel overwhelmed, we need only think of Esther's House (what—no blog?!), our California friend, a block away, who is renovating a 2 1/2 story victorian. Esther ain't got utilities. Okay, love ya, Esther!

Over at Campsie, we're thinking of picking up the pace. We've had some wonderful help from Contractor Mike and Co. who have:
  • replaced upstairs knob-and-tube electrical with la moderne
  • blown insulation into the roof and walls
  • set fixtures and switches all over the place
  • drywalled extensively
  • finished out my "yikes" doorway
  • closed up the original (new) bathroom doorway
  • put in a new auxiliary service in the basement
Right on, guys! Fast, yes. Still, we've got much pick-up work to do. Lots of minor sanding issues. My newly built closet, they were nice enough to mud, extending my reprieve on learning to mud drywall. Every friggin' person I talk to says the same thing: "It's an art…" (insert mocking, sneering, baby voice: "eet's annn arrrrrrtt!!!") Sheesh… I don't know. I'm sure it is, but it better be a quickly learned art—like cell phone photography. 'Cause I gotta get it done…

But Lucy and I have been workin' right along. This weekend was a good one. We did some fine stuff, like dry walling the staircase, and…and…okay—we dry walled the staircase, though! The next step is mudding. We're trying a variety of products and techniques, seeking the ultimate balance between quality and can-we-just-get-this-done-ness. Lucy's been doing a great job at spackling (spackling? mudding? what exactly is the difference?) the myriad of gentle cracks, gentle reader, that plague the upstairs bedroom. I did some of that, too, but she excels, I believe.


Besides, I got sidetracked yesterday when I saw where brickman Pedro had pointed out where "creeters" (pardon my Mexican) had been roosting—underneath the lip of the roof line, in this brick-surrounded bird nest fortress. I dug it out with a long stick, standing on the second-story window ledge, and—I tell you—what a stink. Not dead bird, no-no-no… More of a frat-house-for-birds kind of smell. Sooo gross. I eventually donned the respirator, despite the fact that I was out in the wide-open air, clinging to the 1950's TV antenna. After doing my best to clear the nest out, I moved on to Great Stuff. Which is addictive, I might add. Luckily, I didn't break my neck stuffing trash bags up in this crack and filling it in with the amazing foaming stuff. After, that, I gotta tell you, I could hardly stop. I was out on that ledge for at least an hour looking for holes to fill with fantastic foam.
So we're getting there, Next steps:
  • Lots of sanding and paint prep. Inside and out, really.
  • Trying to get a handle on the laundry room situation.
  • Getting the floors refinished
  • and 10,000 other things!
Well, that's what we signed up for…so be it…Jedi.