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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Progress and Thanks

Fence: Design by Amy, inspired by Dwell, build by Jon
Gates: Sourcing by Amy at Arcata Scrap and Salvage, 
Welding by Michael of Gone Welding:

Cement work by Jonah of Monument Settings.  He did a great job, was close to our budget, and his end project looked great!  He fixed a crack, filled it in, and sanded/stained.  

Saturday garage sale finds: 
$2 table saw
$1 metal shelves
$5 stool

Amy's sunning herself after a rooftop lunch on our fully modular deck

Amy said I looked "pretty" in the light working on the wire for the railing built by our plumber, John from Jorgensen Plumbing of Eureka.  I added the wire cable but the design was Amy's idea.

He was also willing to indulge me and Amy's crazy ideas and materials:

Amy building a bench for our shower

We decided to enjoy our hard work with a wine, cheese, and crackers dinner with a soak in our Double Slipper tub, made for two.

We got our tube here:
Jorgensen Plumbing did the install of the tub
Amy and I did the corrugated metal walls 

We are really happy with the outcome of how this room was transformed from a nasty little cave to a sleek start of a loft space.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Growing to Love

Let's be honest with each other. When we first bought the Coat Shop, it was the ugliest building we had ever seen. It was dark except for flickering fluorescent bulbs and smelled a bit like damp sewage. As I've explained before, every contractor or friend who walked into the place looked at us with pity and dismay. Some of you, gentle readers, expressed similar sentiments.

And the truth is, I felt the same way a lot of the time. It was a bit like finding oneself in an arranged marriage. Yes, I knew that buying a house was what I wanted to do. Yes, this property was well within our budget and had great potential. But was there an instant love connection? Hell no. I hated walking into the Coat Shop. Even as we made progress, the amount of work that lay ahead of us felt daunting. There was never going to be enough time, energy, or money to do all that we wanted to do.

Somewhere in July we hit the tipping point. Jon took over general contracting, we were able to link up with some amazing friends/carpenters/artists, and we worked our littles tushes off. And as the drywall came crashing down and we stayed up late sanding and sealing hardwood floors we found under the linoleum and we found a plumber who got our design ideas (and our budget) and built us the most beautiful shower in the world, I have started to fall in love.

Our fully modular rooftop garden. Brought to you by Jon

It's not a mad, passionate love. It is not the stuff of legends. But I'm starting to look forward to going home to it after work. I am curious how its day went. Yesterday, I even bought it a little wind chime- a gift for the Coat Shop for no reason except I thought it would be nice.

Last night, I wiped down our freshly sanded floors with a damp rag to wipe up any loose sawdust before we spread a hundred thin layers of polyurethane over them. It was painstaking. And y'all know I hate that shit. But last night it felt different. Tender. Worthwhile.

I think it's going to work out.

Working on our other project, the great River Wedding of 2011.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Powering Through

Jon has set up base camp in the Coat Shop. He is operating his business, North Coast Adventure Centers, from his laptop and cell phone in the storefront while building a roof top garden, replacing the water heater, and re-finishing the floors. He is a powerhouse, as evidenced by the fact that the pace of work has increased three-fold in the last two weeks.

Here are some things we've accomplished:
The illuminated signs for the building are up AND working!

We replaced the broken glass in the storefront with a wood panel, complete with address numbers and a mail slot.

We started re-finishing the wood floors and walls, using my all time favorite tools - a sander AND a crowbar.

Good times...

We spent the weekend trolling hardware stores for tools for these projects, and on our way back to the Coat Shop we passed an Open House sign in front of a beautiful Victorian house. We walked in and cased the joint. It had high ceilings, original built-ins, leaded windows - all spectacular. There were 4 bathrooms and the house seemed to go on and on, a labyrinth of lace curtains, ancient wallpaper, and more than a few "trouble spots."

The real estate agent chirped that there were hardwood floors under the carpet, but she didn't know the condition of the roof or the plumbing. Two years ago, I would have walked out of that house full of fairy tale visions of clawfoot tubs and mahogony floors. Now, I calculated engineering fees and feet of insulation,

As we walked out, I said to Jon, "Wow, that's a lot of house." Jon replied, "That's, like, $750 in dump fees." Word.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

2 roofs, a back upgrade, and beam hanging

OK, despite the month lapse in postings, we've been hard at work. We've hired and fired contractors, redistributed job responsibilities, done more demo, met and came under budgets, had contractors mess up (a lot), recruited friends to come help us out, and have started to get into a house-building rhythm.

Our major accomplishment of the month was repairing the roof. We added 6 skylights and a roof hatch and replaced the asphalt roof. All for $11,000, so I think we did OK.

What we've learned:
Amy is great at sourcing materials
I am good at making decisions and implementing plans
Amy has great taste
I can implement her choices and styles to look good
Amy is wonderful at researching options and presenting choices
I can negotiate to meet our budget and then push to stay on it
We are really good for each other

Below is a porch roof that we installed in the back of the building. Also, Amy installing wood beams on the front of the building. Note the High Life and stylish graffiti. We do have some nice trees on 5th street!

The back porch- our future entrance- is a work in progress. Note 1 of 2 installed steel gates (from the salvage yard. See previous post and video), redwood fencing, aluminum roof, redwood trim, flowers. I wrapped aluminum around the door hinge attachment points, trying to create a theme. But please don't look at the white window trim. It's coming off next week to be replaced by redwood like the fence. You can also kind of see the grey paint job as well. Amy's color choice coordinates well. I bought Amy the flowers.

Thanks for reading,