modern architecture

This Mod House – 4 Year Progress Report

 

Hi, You Guys!  Oh my gosh, where do I start after all this time?  I just updated my ‘About’ page, so feel free to click over there, if you want a refresh of what this blog and I are doing here.  Quick answer: getting back to having fun sharing our on-going house project.

We all have projects of varying degrees where we live.  Some of us are nuts and buy houses that need tons of help, and spend huge chunks of time (years) making them our own.  ‘No pain, no gain’ seems to be ingrained in our belief system.  We are excited and optimistic and ‘up for the challenge.’

DSC_0017

Late winter 2013 – Bad start on the day of cabinet install…

Then, when work starts and things get too painful, we learn our limits.  Never again!!!, we say with absolute certainty.   Only to dive into the next project to come along.

We remodeled a house before this one, and one after (an investment property).  All came with big challenges, and all were so worth it.  I love doing this, even of it means some frustration and a few tears.  (Crying in front of a contractor did happen (twice), and I’m not proud of it, ugh.)

I left you hanging back in May 2014.  We were busy-busy getting ready for our daughter’s grad party.  A couple days before the big bash, the architect who helped us with the interior and exterior remodel came out to photograph our place.  I have been wanting to share some of his photos with you, so here they are, finally!

All photos below credited to John Dwyer Architect:

 

 

 

And there you have it.  Love these photos of our pre-party 2014 home!  I am so grateful John took these and was happy to share them with us.

Whew!  This feels really good to be catching up, but there’s so much more to talk about and show you!  We remodeled the basement summer of 2015, and John Dwyer designed a pergola for over our deck that was built this past summer.  There are new furnishings to show and upstairs bathroom remodeling plans in the works.  It’s going to be fun!

Many thanks to those continuing to follow our progress!  And if any new visitors would like to get an email alert when I have a new post, please join!  Comments/questions are always welcome too… Thanks again.  It’s great to be back.

 

 

Advertisements

Mod House Musings & Other Developments

Since I have not posted the entire month of October (shame on me!), I have lots to talk about.  So much to say, so little time!  Hoping I can give you a concise recap…  (Now that the house is quiet again after an active Halloween night!)

Hmmmm.  Gotta think about where I left off.  Oh, yeah!  The siding and paint job!

Image

The next step was to rebuild the second story balconies.

ImageThe guys started with the small one on the front of the house…  That’s stained cedar for the decking (except for the front board which was originally stained, but I requested another sanding because it was noticeably more rough than the 2 by 4s, so alas, it and the other face-boards were put up unstained.  More work for another day!).

ImageAbove, you see the master deck with the spindles.  Some were pre-painted, but we misjudged how many to do, so extras will have to be painted installed.  Shoot!

Below, there’s a view of the side balcony off the loft.

IMG_0565

ImageAll smiles after completing the job!

Balconies all up, just needing a little touch-up paint and stain.

So, one would think all is swell at this point.  Wrong!  I hated the railing height!  The proportions looked strange.  Here’s the back-story:  The spindles were cut as called out, and the plan said they were to extend 12″ below the balcony decks.  Before the carpenters got to work installing the spindles/railings, I was concerned we would see too much spindle from the inside with 12″ hanging underneath, and asked to have them installed higher.  Granting my wish, they were installed up 6″, making the railings 42″ tall, instead of the standard 36″ height.  I thought it would be fine, but after stewing on it for a few days, I knew what I had to do:

Admit it was a bad idea, and ask the guys to redo it.  That was hard, but it was the right thing to do, and now all is swell.  Lesson learned:  Trust the architect when it comes to proportions.  Here’s a pic of the master balcony with the much better railing height (Whew!).

IMG_0591

And that would be the husband painting our main level deck.  We were told it was too far gone to sand and stain, so we cleaned it up as best we could, and bought deck paint.  I thought it might be a good idea to go lighter than the house, but now that we have a first coat down, I can tell we need to go darker.  That’s just my luck, but not too tragic of a goof.  It always takes me a few tries to get a paint color right!

IMG_0608What the????  Major makeover going on for our front door!  Even the camera couldn’t focus on this crazy hue!  (But I can’t take credit for this one.  Totally our architect’s suggestion.)  It’s not the most attractive door to start with, but until we want to spring for a new one, some fresh paint will have to suffice.  You will have to wait to see how this turned out!  (I know…the suspense is just killing you, right?)

Coming up in the next few weeks, we will be getting the stained cedar accents installed on the house.  I think it will really add that somethin somethin it needs for some interest, and to break up the dark paint color.

One other development that happened in September/October is that I took a job outside of the house.   It’s retail, and my place of work is at the MOA (Mall of America).  People have been asking me if it’s fun.  Not exactly fun, but it is a new challenge for me, and that’s a good thing.  One perk is that I meet people from all over the world on a daily basis.  I never knew shopping there was such a destination.  We have always lived about 20 minutes away from it, so it has always been just another mall to us… Another perk is that my husband has been helping out a lot more with the kids and all the other stuff that happens at home.  Yeah!

Unfortunately, though, having a job does mean there’s less time for working on the house.  There’s still so much!  I have barely even started to decorate!  But, wait.  Remember this guy??

IMG_0600It might be a good idea to put that new sofa off a few more months, if ya know what I mean!

Back at It!

Hello, Friends.  So sorry to have kept you hangin’.  Although it’s been quiet on the house front the past few weeks, I have been itching to write.  And today is as good as any.  Actually, its better than any,  because today:

THE KIDS ARE ALL BACK IN SCHOOL!!!!

And!

THE SIDERS HAVE ARRIVED!!!!!

Both developments are nothing short of fantastic!  The kids are back having their minds engaged, and my house is back to getting whipped into shape.   And I am back with a few hours to myself for posting and tackling the piles of laundry/detritus from the long weekend.  So happy to have some good news to share!

Since my last post, the only house things that were worked on were the balconies.  I snapped a few shots:

 

 

DSC_0674

Here’s a photo from the archives, showing the master bedroom balcony joists that were cantilevered inside. Obviously, there were some rotten boards. We had high hopes of keeping them intact, maybe cutting them down from 8 feet in length to 4 feet. Inspector said “No way, Jose!”, and we were forced to cut them off completely

IMG_0163

Prep work.

 

 

IMG_0167

Joists cut into the house.

 

I really wasn’t too upset to lose the rotten joists… We all know Rotten=Bad.   But, there’s another side to the story (literally).   And that would be INSIDE.  Only look if you are brave!

IMG_0170

My brand-new dining area. Quarantined. New ceiling. Hacked up and thrown away like garbage!

Why the inside invasion?  Because we are wanting the new balcony to look like the old one design-wise (cantilevered), and that means new joists must run two times the length of the balcony inside.  Here’s one reason to remodel the exterior of a home before the interior!   Live and learn!

IMG_0178

The newbies: 16′ pressure treated boards.

IMG_0180

And they’re up! The new deck will be 5′ deep.  You can see the new boards are sistered to the existing interior joists inside.

IMG_0183

The inside shot.

IMG_0186

Finishing up some details, so that the area is ready for the siding material to come.

IMG_0187

And here’s the small balcony off our daughter’s room. Luckily the joists here were considered stable, and just some minor changes were required. Whew!

There will also be a mini balcony off the upstair’s loft.  Just enough space to swing the door open and sing to the tree-tops if so inclined!

Well, that’s about it for progress.  The dining space is still under quarantine, so the rest of the main floor is suffering the consequences of misplaced furnishing until the area is patched and painted, and we can put it back together.  Kind of a drag, but it should be remedied in the next few weeks -Yay!

And it’s almost time to get the kids!  Where did the day go?  The guys have been hard at work.  I haven’t even stepped out to see what they have done, but from the sound of things inside, it’s been a lot!  So look for a post in the not-too-distant future about our siding progress.  Liking the way that sounds!

 

 

  

 

House Love – Getting to the Heart of My Exterior Reno

It’s official.  The honeymoon phase of our relationship is over.  Sooo over!  I’m talking about my 49 year-old modernist house, of course.  (Because every minute with my husband of 18 years has been sublime, and exponentially honeymoony.  Ha!)

It’s nothing I didn’t see coming.  I knew this house needed a lot of work, and eventually the renovation would go from fun and games to a bit of a drag.  But as the saying goes “No pain, no gain”, I am hoping the “gain” manifests itself soon, or I may LOSE MY MARBLES!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love my house.

Our relationship is much too strong to throw in the proverbial towel.  I have seen it at its worst, looked beyond its rotting wood and peeling paint, and fell head-over-heels.  And , inside, it cleaned up really well.  So smitten with its new handsome maple floors and open-plan layout!  Who says they’ll never change?

Outside, the transformation has been slow, and things seem to be going in the wrong direction. What was supposed to take the month of June, start to finish, is now in its 3rd month, with no end in sight.  Why?  This bad-boy of a house has some serious problems, more than first understood.   Hint: That’s where this post is coming from.

And because no one likes a Negative Nelly, I want to assure you I have tons to be grateful for in terms of the house reno:  (45 minutes later…)  Well, I guess “tons” is a bit of a stretch, but I can say that I know in my heart that we will get the results we set out to achieve.  It just might take a lot more time than expected (and our first-born’s projected college tuition – Sorry Kiddo!).

Enough chattering….Here’s the photo scoop from the past couple of weeks:

Image

Guys hard at work installing the soffit material.

Image

You can see the soffit all closed up, with the continuous venting, cut around each and every of the 24 fin walls that enclose the window and door areas.

Just to be clear, the work shown above took about a week, and two of the days included a second “crew” on a second lift.

That Friday morning, there was an unfortunate (but not completely unexpected) discovery.  When starting to replace the worst siding panels, it was determined the wood underneath was rotten in the areas by the fin walls/windows and compounding the problem, the windows were improperly installed and flashed.  A meeting of the minds resulted in an entirely new plan.  The fin walls were to come off.  All of the siding was to come off.  The soffits and venting completed the previous week would have to be redone.  And when that got going, the observation of little/missing insulation in the walls led to upgrading the basic house wrap to a 1″ thick foam board.  Ultimately, this was good for the house.  But bad for the wallet.  Gulp.

DSC_0871

Removing the fin walls was a big job. The method of choice involved cutting it and prying it loose, and finally pulling it off the main body of the house using a chain.

DSC_0872

The lift supplied the power necessary.

DSC_0873

Lowering the top half to the ground.

DSC_0877

Temping where the fins are off.

Working in sections, the guys removed the fin walls and put up the insulation panels.

IMG_0046

1″ foam board will insulate and bring the wall almost flush to the window framing.

IMG_0149

The front of the house. Foam panels are on most of the house by the end of last week. The seams are still being taped today.

IMG_0128

Where there once stood a fin wall, a concrete support must be removed to the ground.

IMG_0132

Taking down one of 22 cement supports….

IMG_0125

Deck boards coming up to get at the concrete supports.

IMG_0135

The concrete needs to be taken below deck level.

I bet you may be wondering where we may be going with the design, now that we removed another original architectural element.  Our architect came out and drew up another rendering.  Here it is:

johanson-ext-2

It’s kind of hard to see the details, but we plan to trim out the windows with larger vertical boards to create new, but less dramatic fin walls to contain the stained cedar accents. The decking on the balconies will be cedar, and the railings painted black.  The siding material is still getting figured out, but we like the idea of painting it a dark charcoal.

As much as it’s difficult to be changing things up so late in the game, we know we need to do it right.  In the meantime we will be practicing patience and hope the change-order monster stays away going forward!

Oh, and I wanted to share what we found when we returned from a 5-day vacation!

IMG_0105

Surprise!

IMG_0118

Sure it’s a broken window….And we still don’t know the cause, but can you see the glass shattered away leaving the shape of a heart? I am taking it as a sign that our house loves us back.

This Mod House Exterior Remodel Begins!

After some unanticipated delays (having to find another builder and weather conditions (darn Minnesota!)), we finally have lift-off on the exterior work.  And as we wrap up the first week of this much-awaited phase of our renovation, I thought I should post and get you updated!  Here’s a photo montage of week #1:

Image

Back side of the house, basically pre-reno. The guys begin by removing all of the batten trim covering the seams of the Hardie Board siding.

DSC_0531

Battens carefully removed. We will be reusing some of this material.

DSC_0536

In addition to the batten removal, the guys started demo on the rotten decking of the two smaller decks.

DSC_0558

Decking off daughter’s bedroom and upstairs loft on the front and side of house.

DSC_0562

This deck is totally rotten and getting totally removed.

On day #3 (this past Monday), the crew of two became three.  I got them to stay still for a minute.

DSC_0594

Introducing the exterior crew: Chris, Nathaniel, and Forrest

These guys worked all day tackling the master bedroom deck and then went way up to get familiar with the awnings….

DSC_0583

One thing these guys are not, is afraid of heights.

DSC_0585

As you can imagine, taking apart the awnings from above is slow and dangerous, at best.

DSC_0596

Dismantling the awning over the garage.DSC_0602

The awnings on the second floor were too difficult to remove from above, so the next day a lift showed up:

DSC_0604

Still dangerous, but so much better. The awnings (all 14 of them) come down much, much faster.

DSC_0618

Our two story window wall has lost its visor. The house is taking on a new look without the “diving boards”.

DSC_0623

Yesterday a meeting of the minds was taking place on the roof…

DSC_0627

They invited me up.

DSC_0635

Just hanging with the roofer (far left), James, Mike, and Forrest. James and Mike are the owners of the renovation company we hired for our exterior project.

So here we are, 5 days in.  Things are going well, as far as I can tell.  No big surprises.  The plan is to get rid of all the rotten/rotting icky stuff.  Bye, bye existing decks and canted awnings!  An approx. 2 foot soffit will be added around the entire house to clean up the roof line, and we will be getting a new rubber roof (which is one of those things that cost a lot of money and go unseen–shoot!)  At the time of this post, we have decided to rebuild a mini balcony off our daughter’s room (Shhh! It’s a surprise!), and one off the master.  There are plans for a service door for the garage too.  Other than that, it’s pretty much painting the whole house, and adding some stained cedar accents on select areas.

So glad to be back at it–making this house our home.  And if you are wondering, I have more to talk about regarding the inside, just not more time today.  Plus, I have kept you too long already!  Thank you for reading and have a good one!