Monday, April 30, 2012

The Back Hall: What I Forgot to Mention

It occurred to me this weekend that I should have included the back steps in Friday's post about the back hall. The back steps are poured concrete, and the landing just outside the door slopes toward the house. It is awesome. It is also part of the reason why we have leaks. Therefore the jackhammering I referred to on Friday is primarily to remove the steps. We will have to be smart about supporting the roof though, because that wall is built on top of the steps. Also pretty awesome.

I'm curious what we are going to find as we begin demo. We really wanted to start ripping down the wallboard over the weekend, but we played it smart and held off. Why hold off, you ask? Well, first of all we need to figure out where we are going to store all the trash. We also need to figure out where to put the litterbox for the entire project. I hate the idea of it coming back into the house, but we have little choice. So, we'll try to figure those things out this week and get started on the messy stuff next weekend.

Dark and rainy today. Yes, that is moss growing 
in the welcome mat. Ahhh, life in Portland.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Back Hall: It's Kind of Gross

I've mentioned before that when we moved into this house we fully intended to demolish and rebuild the back hall. A well respected contractor quoted $15,000 last summer, and we decided we didn't want to spend that much money on unlivable space. So, this summer's big project is to "fix" the back hall to the best of our DIY abilities and attention span.

The back hall is a decades-old enclosure for the basement stairs, so removing it entirely is not an option. The landing at the bottom of the basement stairway is large enough for the litterbox, and that is where it will stay. Even though I scoop every day, I really like not having it in the house.  The back hall is also the most direct connection between the house, specifically the kitchen, and the back yard. Therefore space for shoe storage and a dog towel are required.

Door to back hall from the kitchen.

Looking toward the back door.

Looking back toward the kitchen.

There were no codes considered what-so-ever when this structure was built. You can see that the space (where the dog is) is pretty tight. Those are 19" FLOR carpet tiles, so we have about two feet clearance below the railing. Some band-aid projects in this space include rebuilding the railing, replacing the flooring with some as-is IKEA laminate, filling and sanding all the holes, replacing one window sill, and replacing the back door twice. The back door is an absolute headache and probably deserves it's own post. The biggest problem is that it opens over a two-level landing. Not safe!

Back door, landing and top basement step. Gross.

Looking down the stairs. More gross.
(Mostly mineral deposits or mold, I'm not sure which.)

View from basement. And more gross.

Oh the things you live with for far too long. So stay tuned. This will take months to complete and much more than just a fresh coat of paint. We may need some help with the jack-hammer, though. So who works for beer?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Jet Lagged

I had no plan for today's post, and I'm not feeling creative at the moment. So, I'm taking the easy way out and sharing some pictures from vacation. They are all urban shots showing something that I don't see everyday here in Portland.

Piles of bikes.

Monster paintings.

Bakery to window shop.


Medieval street.