Wednesday, February 9, 2011

According to Urban Legend... #2

The urban legends of M&J's house continue when we discuss their (former) back door.
The back door had been an issue even before M&J purchased the house. Back in January of 2010, on the first day they went looking for their future home, M&J walked into this house and (J more than M) said "No way. Absolutely not. I will NOT buy this house." Oops. Never has J eaten words like she did in April when they purchased it...
They walked in to this house and they could not help the fact that they were fixated on that back door and how small it was:

We removed this home from our list of options for many reasons but, a few short months later, found ourselves purchasing this home and deciding to gut the kitchen and start over. After gutting the kitchen, we not only found a way to get rid of the door, but found out why there was such a little door there.
 The Last Photo of the Old Back Door

Number one:
The cabinets obviously took up so much space on that wall that the only door that would fit had to be 18" or smaller. So, when a former owner went to put in a door, they had two choices - tear out cabinets for a bigger door, or just buy a door that fits in the spot. Guessing they chose the option resulting in less work... and now, who's suffering?!?

Number two: 
That door had not always been there - after pulling out the stove and dishwasher, we found washer and dryer hook-ups. Obviously they had not always been located downstairs in the utility room, for whatever reason. This would explain why there was never a back door on the back of our house until it became the "cool" thing to do and everyone built decks on the back of the their homes and (obviously) needed a way to get outside.

Number three:
After lining up a local company to remove the old door, cut the brick on the outside of our home to create a larger opening, and install the new door, we found out how old that "hideous, ancient camper/trailer-house door" actually was - a whopping 6 years old. The purchase sticker, found on the outside of the door frame, showed that it was purchased in 2004. Sure showed more age than 6 years to us, but the proof is in the purchase sticker...

 Inside View of the New Back Door

Outside View of the New Back Door

Now, M&J are much happier with their new back door. The shades are a wonderful addition and it really comes in handy to have 36" to move through rather than 18" - especially when you're moving in modern appliances like a 35" refrigerator.
M even loves CLEANING the new back door...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

According to Urban Legend... #1

We've been told many things about the house we purchased since we bought it.
We've been fondly referring to them as "urban legends". Some things we hear are very believable, but others we feel may have grown to legends as time goes on. Numbers get larger, the ideas get crazier, etc. However, at this point, we really would not be surprised by anything that has to do with our house - we've seen it all. As our friends Clark and Eddie would say:
Eddie: "You surprised to see us, Clark?"
Clark: "Surprised, Eddie? If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I am now."
 Unfortunately, we've thought this many times throughout the renovation process.
Example #1:
Why was the dining room light off-center to the room?
While some have been odd, but fixable, problems, others have caused chaos and result in an interesting story. The light in the dining room was off-center to the room and we had no idea why. Eventually, we came up with something that we believed - they wanted the light there to transition from the entryway to the kitchen.
WRONG. Come to find out, part of the front porch became the sub-floor in the dining room of our house. When the first family moved into our home, the wife had a dining table that would not fit in the dining room. Rather than find a new dining set, they bumped the front of the house out and what was once the cement front porch became the "foundation" for the new dining room floor. This was not a problem for them as, at the time, they could cover the cement with a plywood board so the floor would be level to place their carpet on. 
 Before - Carpet

After - The Hardwood Floors
Now, you're thinking M&J are idiots - how could they not have checked to make sure that there was wood floor under all the carpet?!? Well, in fact, we actually did - M&J pulled up the carpet it two opposite corners in the living room to make sure the wood floors ran the entire length of the room. Since the answer was yes, they started rolling the carpet back (of course, planning ahead to make sure they rolled it towards the door to get this carpet out as easily as possible). When they got about 7 feet from the door, they realized there was a patch of plywood along the outer wall of the home, but it was too late - this carpet and padding was not going back down on this floor. After all the debris was hauled out, the lifted the plywood board and found... CEMENT!

"The Floor" 

 Where the Foundation of Our Home Meets the Inside of Our Home

After a few choice words were silently spoken, (no tears could be shed over this) we packed up our things and left for the day. It sat like that for two weeks before we even began to think about what to do - we had other more important things to do, like pack up our old house and get everything moved into this one. And now, nine months later, we're finally solving that huge problem by adding self-leveling cement, thin boards and weaving in and out with old and new hardwood. Once this project is done, we'll feel as if we've witnessed a miracle!

 After Wood was Removed to Re-Weave New Hardwood In
The Removed Wood

So what have we learned from this lesson?
- The OBVIOUS one is to lift up all four corners of carpet in your room before you decide it's a great idea to tear up your carpet - M&J we halfway there...
- Don't assume or make up a story as to why something is the way it is - just ask or do some more research. We all know what assuming does "Ass - U - Me"
- After three flooring experts say they won't touch your project, turn to your friends and relatives that have assured you that this is no big deal and can easily be fixed. We are now converted and believe we will (someday) have beautiful hardwood floors in our living and dining rooms and it will be all worth it.