Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Movable Feast

When we started to gut the interior of our home, we originally thought we’d do it one room at a time. But we soon learned that it was nearly impossible to contain all the dirt and dust so we decided to get it over with and do it all at once and be done with it. Despite the conditions, this was the right thing to do…It was better to get the demolition past us and live with the “rustic” walls as we took care of all the plumbing, wiring, etc. We have become quite intimate with every aspect of this home…including the lovely studs and floor joists.

For the most part we are living primarily upstairs with the exception of the kitchen…you know, the heart of the home (in this case a black malignant heart with barely a beat). But do to the wiring, plumbing, and all the structural needs, we periodically need to move camp to another location.

We are now on our third (and hopefully final) location of our temporary kitchen. First we had this:

Yes observant people, that is daylight you can see through the walls. We lived with this kitchen for about 9 months until we moved to our next location…but at least there was running water, a sink, and a range…until we made our next move.

Lovely isn’t it? Yes this is Camp Yosemite. Here we had no water, no range, no sink. All appliances ran off one circuit so you had to time things so they wouldn’t blow the circuit breaker.

We have now lost most of the furniture and moved to our latest location (in our future T.V. room). We are down to a real “minimalist” movement—so we can easily pack things up when it comes time for insulation/drywall. We do, however, have that wonderful new-fangled thing, which if I remember correctly, is called an electrical outlet (We still use extension cords, but at least they don’t come from the garage, but from the house itself! Wooohooo!)

The good news is that we have ordered our kitchen cabinets, we are about to order our appliances, the inspection prior to insulation and drywall is right around the corner, and we should have a “real” kitchen by the end of July (but you know how time frames seem to get extended)…I can’t wait…I don’t think I’ll ever eat take-out food again.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

10,000 Mechanicals

This is our second house renovation. On our first home, we couldn't wait to do the "cute" stuff first--you know, the yard, the floors, painting and the like. Then we would later discover that we had some "mechanical" (and also electrical and plumbing) issues that needed to be resolved--only to tear up the "cute" work that we had done previously.

We have learned our lesson...On this house, we have lived without paint, without new furniture, without walls, for god's sake, while we concentrated on making sure all of the mechanicals were done before we we did the fun stuff.

We have installed new heaters upstairs and down. We ran new gas lines (and oversized them considerably), new electrical, we ran new plumbing, and insulation. We installed "smurf" tubing all over the place so we could easily run T.V., phone, computer, and speaker wire where ever we wanted. We ran "chases" (the 2" grey conduit) so we could run structured media wires from the crawl space to the attic (where the Structured Media Center is located).

Although much of this is "overkill" and some will not be used for quite some time (some, perhaps, not at all), it is much easier and cheaper to do it now....And, hopefully, will keep us from tearing up some of the "cute" stuff that is sooooooo soon to come.

It is hard to resist the temptation to get the fun stuff now...and it is also hard to pour money into stuff you won't even see when the walls are done, but in the long run, I think it will be worth it.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tankless Water Heater

As we have gone through the process of rehabilitating this house, we have tried to live by the motto:

"Do it right. Do it once. And never do it again!"

So as we have added mechanicals, we have tried to pick items that would last, be energy efficient, and, hopefully, pay for themselves over time. With a number of items, I was afraid I might have "buyers remorse," but so far I'm glad we chose quality items (even though it took more out of the pocket book than we hoped).

A prime example is spending about 2 times the amount of money for a normal (higher end) conventional water heater and splurging on a tankless model.

We chose the Noritz 84DV (direct vent) and so far it has exceeded my expectations...endless hot water, a nice small package (in the picture below, the water heater will be enclosed in a closet), quality construction (my plumber friends say this will be the last water heater we'll buy...we'll see), and our energy bills have already seen a decrease...I'm glad we purchased it.

If you are thinking of replacing your water heater, you might consider one of these...but you will need to make sure you have enough gas going to the appliance, a place for venting, and a few extra bucks in the wallet...But if you are like me, you won't have buyer's remorse after your purchase.