So in this post I’m gonna write some nasty things about work that was previously done to my house, and I want to set a little ground rule that we’re not using my blog to mock other people’s taste. I was in the neighborhood with some friends this week and I made a snide comment a picture window added to the front of a house. It wasn’t an improvement. And then I took a second look and saw a man sitting on the front step, and I kind of wished I was dead. So when we’re discussing other people’s aesthetic choices, we’re gonna be polite even if we don’t like them. That being said, one of the defining features of my house is the terrible, terrible workmanship on just about everything that was done to the house in the past 10-20 years. If I had a contractor come to give me an estimate and found out that he had done work on this house before, I would ask him to leave and probably wouldn’t mince words when telling him why he’s already fired. So using the same etiquette that I’d like to maintain in the real world, here’s what I’ve been up to:
This weekend the wall between my existing bathroom and middle bedroom/future bathroom came down. The previous owner moved it about 2 feet over to make the bathroom bigger, and now I’m moving it back to where it used to be. And when I say he moved it, I mean he hired crackheads to do it. The wall was probably about 5 degrees off level, the studs didn’t reach the ceiling, there were blocks of plywood filling gaps in the framing, there were way too few screws holding up the wallboard, and most of them were densely clustered in just a few places. Everything was held together with screws, and where a doorway was filled in, the door jamb was left in place and joint compound was smeared right over it. When they took the old wall out to make the bathroom bigger, they left the old header, and then framed down the ceiling to its height just in that part of the bathroom. They made absolutely no effort to line up the new walls with the old ones, and it looks like they put two layers of wall in front of each other at the same time. They cut holes in the flooring all over the place and then just covered them up with thin plywood that I thought was for leveling the floor. Yup, pretty special! Oh, and I didn’t mention that they zig zagged the supply lines to the bathroom sink with twice as many elbows as they needed. The good news is that since there was next to nothing holding any of this together, it was really, really easy to rip out. So here’s a few shots of all this going away.
You can see that my bathroom sink is gone. It was in the way of where I want to put… my bathroom sink. I’m just moving the wall the other side of it. The good news is it looks like I’ll be able to keep the old bathtub and toilet until the new bathroom is done. I’ll just have to go downstairs to wash my hands in the kitchen sink. I’m thinking of taking down the cabinet above it and hanging the bathroom mirror in case I wash up to go out in the house and need to shave there. Yup, I’m living high.
In other news, I picked up two more doors at Philadelphia Salvage this weekend. I go there often, and I think everyone who works there knows me by name now. You may recall from the previous post that I got 5 matching doors there that I’ll be using in the upstairs hall. When I saw that they had 5, I decided to buy them first and then figure out how to make them fit. Then I get them to their new home and find that they’re exactly the sizes I need! Now, whereas those doors were probably from a house similar to mine, my bedroom’s new closet doors are from Kate’s Hall, a circa 1902 mansion in Chestnut Hill that’s sadly been demolished. They might be a weensy bit grand for the house, the closets I’m putting in would be beyond the wildest dreams of just about anyone when my house was built, let alone the working class people who would have bought a house like mine.
I’ve also picked up a few more keyhole covers and a doorknob/keyhole back plate that’s a pretty good match to what’s on the 1930’s door to my basement stairs. If I ever put an “original” mortise lock onto my vestibule door, now I’ll be able to do it. And I say if, but unless this project sucks the life out of me, I’ll probably end up doing it this summer. I actually got 2 of these back plates, but the other one was free, and is bent and possibly unusable. If I can straighten it out it still won’t be quite right but it’ll be good enough for the back side of the basement stairway door. There are still a few things I need for my doors, but I’m almost there!
And before we go, here’s the last surprise I got before I left yesterday.