Thursday, May 10, 2012

Learning As We Go

     Despite my good intentions, it just seems like I can't do better than one post per month! We have been continuing to get the infrastructure for the future kitchen in place and MUST have a finished flooring material in the space by July, per Nationwide. (We find their slogan a bit deceiving...)
     Since the last post, Steven and I have done more work on stabilizing the floor joists, and we also reframed an exterior wall to accommodate the window that will go over the kitchen sink.

Can't you just imagine the future refridgerator sitting right here? I know I can :)
In order to have the floor in the kitchen level with the adjacent entryway floor (the hardwood seen at the bottom of this photo), we had to sister a new joist onto each of the existing ones to raise the floor. This also provided needed reinforcement. The joist in the center of this photo was barely hanging on! You can also see where we uncovered an original window opening, but there is now a garage behind the wall seen above. "Gas" is written where the range will be someday :)

     Now would be a good time to share "Subflooring Saga or: How I Learned to Drive a Truck Without Losing my Shit Sheet Lumber"... On March 25, we decided to go ahead and buy a few sheets of subflooring since it would be needed soon. We loaded the sheets into the bed of the pickup and headed home. THUD! (That was the sound of our subflooring falling out of the truck and landing on the 231/431 South on-ramp.) For those not familiar with Huntsville, this highway is basically a slightly slower interstate. I pulled over, Steven bolted out of the truck, and ran back to the lumber. About three cars had already run over it by this point... I sat in the truck, not immediately sure what to do. I decided it was too far for us to carry each one to the truck, especially considering that the gap between the highway and the guard rail was about two feet wide on this overpass. I had to drive further south, then u-turn to swing back by Steven. It probably goes without saying, but I got out of the driver's seat and Steven drove the rest of the way home. Lesson learned: tailgate must be in an upright position when transporting sheet lumber! I've come to believe that simple trips to Home Depot or the like only exist on HGTV...
     In the above photo, we were gearing up to demolish the exterior wall to prepare it for a new window.

Out with the old window...
... and reframed for the new! It was around this point that I proposed a new rule in home renovation: If a project requires removing an exterior portion of the house that is large enough for a person to walk through, we should probably get some help. While the house was open like this for a couple of days, we obviously couldn't leave it unattended. Despite all of Steven's planning and preparation to have all the needed materials and supplies, we still had to make several trip to Home Depot when unexpected situations came up. During those two days, I mostly felt like the food and supply gofer. Another lesson learned: modern 2x4's are smaller than historic 2x4's...

Open house: day two. Steven's getting leverage with a gardening fork to pull down the last vestige of the chimney. Yes, the chimney is long gone, but this brick facade still had to go.

After taking out a whole chimney and fireplace, this little wall was a piece of cake. Steven had the whole thing down in just a couple of minutes!

For some reason, catching falling objects in a photo is really exciting to me, haha!

It was a close call for the new herb garden, but nothing was squished!

Adding exterior sheathing and filling in some gaps with Great Stuff spray foam insulation.

Finally, a view of the interior after reframing and sheathing.


  1. We knew that the original 2x4's were exactly 2" x 4". What we didn't know was that the 2x4's from the 60's or 70's are a quarter inch thicker than the ones now. Hence the 1/4" plywood on the new studs to fill the gap.

  2. You two never cease to impress me! This is not something I'd ever take on; I think I'll stick to the crafts! Nevertheless, it is looking great! :)