6/22: Up on the roof

June 27, 2006 at 4:09 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

ChimneyI braved the rooftop today to remove three chimneys and a giant antenna – perhaps qualifying the home for tallest building in Albany.  OK, a slight exaggeration, but this antenna was mammoth and the house looks much better now.
The chimneys were all in poor shape as I could remove the bricks with my bare Roof without a chimneyhands.  The mortar was pretty much just sand making for easy demolition – no sledgehammer required.  We plan to keep the main chimney for the living room fireplace — it will need repair, but is still functional.  The others served no purpose, as they were vents for old cook stoves or furnaces.


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6/21: Fun in the Sun

June 27, 2006 at 4:02 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

With the weather improving I decided to tackle a few outside projects this week.  The awning over the apartment doorway was poorly designed and in bad shape. 

Awning Before

You can see in the photos above hoAwning Afterw it covered part of the trim to a window and basically looked awful. 

With my trusty sawzall I had it removed in about an hour.

                   Sans Awning

After much deliberation we decided the added-on enclosed porch from the kitchen door had to go.  It was rotting — to the point where you could move the outside wall with one finger — and the foundation was crumbling.  The difference is striking–see before and after photos:
 Kitchen Porch Before                Kitchen Porch After
The kitchen will get a lot more light now that the window over the kitchen sink is exposed.  This side of the house always felt like a series of bad add-ons.  Removing these two eyesores has resulted in a much cleaner, less muddled and more original appearance.

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6/15: Attacking the Apartment

June 20, 2006 at 5:09 pm (Articles on the House)

The demolition continues this week as I’ve been tackling the back apartment area.  This part of the house was the last addition (still very old) and has been used as an antiques business — we have the old metal sign “Joss-Dale Antiques.”   Most recently it had been used as an apartment with a separate entrance and its own kitchen.  I removed the kitchen — the metal sink and matching cabinet was dated 1952.  It’s rusty, but pretty cool actually. A couple of closets were added along the way, one in 1952 based on the newspaper they used as insulation to cover up a doorway.  Old Paper

One newspaper I found in the closet has been very well preserved; it’s dated March 11, 1964.  There’s a great advertisement for the NEW 1964 Chevrolet Impala with features such as: cigarette lighter, back-up lights, two speed wipers and a light in the trunk.  All this for just $2,399!

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6/12/06 Dumpster Duty

June 20, 2006 at 5:03 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

Dumpster No. 2Another day, another dumpster.  We found the floor again after hundreds of wheelbarrow loads full of wall and ceiling debris.  Got a flat tire on the wheelbarrow.  Went to Home Depot and bought a replacement wheel.  Got a flat tire.  Went back to Home Depot and plunked down $39.95 for an "airless" tire.  Worth every penny.
The main house is stripped down to the studs in nearly every room.  Now it's off to tear up the apartment portion.  We are meeting with the foundation guys this week to see what the cost will be to replace the foundation under the apartment.  Once that is squared away, we'll try to correct the sagging throughout the rest of the house.  When the house is level and on a solid foundation, it's roof replacement time!

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6/8/06 – Thieves

June 8, 2006 at 5:06 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

We were robbed last night.  The thieves made off with my mini-fridge, microwave, American flag and about 40 CDs.
The little weasels must have been spooked as they threw the CDs in our large dumpster out front — not sure if they intended to retrieve them later or just didn't like my taste in music.
All my tools were safe in the utility trailer at our main house and this incident helps reinforce our decision to buy the trailer when we started this project.  You simply can't leave any valuables at the project house — even if it's secure — because you're bound to have "visitors."
The little cockroaches got in through a side window and then used another window to shove the fridge, microwave and flag out as all the padlocked doors were still in good shape.
The Albany Police came and filed a report, dusted for fingerprints and talked with neighbors to see if anyone heard or saw anything.  The police were very proactive and are following up on some strong leads based on some strange folks in the area on Tuesday.

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June 1, 2006 at 2:54 pm (732 Walnut Updates)

OK.  I was wrong.  There you go.  Remember the 100+-year-old ship print I found hidden inside a wall?  Well, I took another look at it and clear as day it's dated 1967 in the left hand corner.  Bummer.
It does make me wonder how it came to be placed there AFTER 1967.  The entire wall was lath and plaster – not sheetrock – so it must have been an outside job.  Perhaps when they altered a nearby window they had to remove some siding and decided it would be fun to trick a guy like me into thinking he had stumbled onto something really old.

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