September 18, 2005 14:58


As you've no doubt noticed, there haven't been that many updates here lately. While I HAVE been taking pictures of the progress, there's nothing really useful to report. Most of the work done has been electrical. Crawling under the house takes far more work than crawling around in the attic. In addition to that, I spent a lot of wasted time moving stuff around so I could get to the walls. I finally yesterday just gave up on that and put two folding tables in the dining room and stacked all the stuff on or under them. Now I have room to work.

We also have been spending our time involved with various school activities, job hunting, yard sale, and cleaning up the yard. The trash pile is gone, spare a good rake job. We bought and transported a car from the oklahoma city area, put up another car for sale after some needed repairs, and fixed the recently purchased car once some battery problems were diagnosed.

Needless to say, progress on the house hasn't been so obvious. But there should be some pictures in a few days that will show some.


August 27, 2005 22:25

Living/Dining Room Wiring Scheme

Now that I'm finishing up the wiring for the living and dining rooms, figured I'd discuss what we're going to have and give opportunities for any last minute suggestions. First off, there will be three circuits, each 20 amps. One will be dedicated to audio/video equipment, and another circuit each for the two rooms. We have specified two likely locations in the living room where a TV and various electronics equipment could be located. At each of these locations will be the standard cable/phone/ethernet connections, along with a 3-gang outlet box, for a total of 6 outlets. The intention in the future would be to replace those outlets with outlets that have a built in surge protector. This way, we won't require pesky power strips. Since the code limits the number of outlet pairs on a circuit to 10, these 6 sets will be on a single circuit and we'll leave it at that. Each location will also have a 2-gang box that contains wiring contacts for all the speakers in the room, one located at the location of the TV, and 4 others in the 4 corners of the room. The speakers can then be connected based on their position on a surround sound system. Two of the three walls will be taken care of. We'll have room for a desk, and several ethernet jacks, just in case there's a lan party. Always minimise your wires.

The speakerwire will actually be 14g electrical wire. Since my discovery that very little 14g wiring can be used for electrical, and eventually maybe none at all, I'm from this point on running 12ga wire for all electrical. However, I've ended up with a supply of 14ga wire that is now functionally useless. So I will therefore use it instead for the in-wall speaker wires. So that won't be going to waste.


August 24, 2005 23:23

An Entry by Gertie

Wow! Restil let me have a shot at writing the house news this time. Sorry the pictures are soooooo far behind. We will try to get some pictures of the finished work on here very soon.

Currently we are working on the livingroom/diningroom. Work has begun on the outside trim around the new windows, and we picked up the rest of the new windows for downstairs today.

Everyone is pitching in now, though the girls are pretty busy with school and the musical and all the rest. They seem to really enjoy their new schools, and come out of their buildings with smiles on their faces everyday.

I can't wait to show off the great ceiling fan we found on sale for our bedroom. Annabelle-bob has made it clear she loves the new master bedroom, but still favors her position at the top of the stairs where she can play queen of all she surveys.

Finally settled on the floor plan for the new addition. We have decided to just do a full redo of the kitchen right where it is, though we are exchanging a door for a window and vice verse in the process. The addition is going to be a master suite, complete with a very lovely bathroom and huge walk-in closet. I can hardly wait!


July 10, 2005 12:00

Things I got wrong

Some of these are code issues, other are city of Denison issues. But here is a list of things I've done incorrectly per the inspector(s).

Sanitary T's cannot be used on their back or side, but only upright.

Double headers must be upright.

12 gauge wire must be used everywhere to power a recepticle, and must be protected with a 20 amp breaker.

Power wire must be stapled within 1 ft of any recepticle.

Anti-scald handles must be used in a shower.

S traps need their own vent.

Outlets must be pigtailed, the inserts cannot be used.

Arc-fault breakers must be used on any electrical in a bedroom.

Other than the plumbing, everything was easy enough to fix. There was, of course, a long list of additional requirements, but all things I hadn't yet gotten to, and as such do not cause me any additional grief.


July 07, 2005 13:22

City of Denison Rules

The City of Denison adopts various national codes for electrical, plumbing, etc, just like most cities do. And like most cities, they have a few ammendments specific to that city they also apply. Some of them can be kinda strange.

For instance, although the electrical code allows 14 gauge wire for outlets, protected by a 15 amp breaker, Denison has a 20 amp minimum. This means you must run 12 gauge wire from the breaker to all outlets and switches and it must be protected by a 20 amp breaker. 15's are not allowed. However, it's acceptable to use 14 gauge wire as a switch-leg. This is the wiring between the switch and the light fixture. 14 gauge wire protected only by a 20 amp breaker.

Drywalling one of the bedrooms now. Hope to have that finished today. We'll start on another room tomorrow. Then mud them both. Outside trim for the windows is kinda urgent too. Wouldn't you know it, the short time period that I have exposed windows, we get an unusually large amount of rain.


May 26, 2005 16:00


First off, I have rats. Plural. In the house. Well, they were in the house, but I encouraged them to pursue alternative living arrangements lest they become intimately familiar with the business end of a sledgehammer, which was the only rat smashing instrument I had accessible at the time. It was at this time I decided to cover the holes in the floor. This means I need to implement a rat control scheme, likely consisting of some combination of rat poison and Anabelle-Bob.

Building inspector came by today and did some inspecting of my... umm.. pre-permit work. Encouraged me to go get a permit and mentioned a few plumbing issues that would need to be fixed. This will set me back a few weeks, but better to fix it now while I can avoid going backward too much.

New pictures will be posted tomorrow. I actually have several pages of them to post, but for various reasons I've held off on it.


April 20, 2005 12:56

A floorplan

This is the first workable floorplan I've come up with, although I'm not entirely happy with it yet.


April 17, 2005 17:45

Design my Addition

The addition consists of a 17x24 ft area which will comprise a downstairs bathroom, kitchen, utility closet, and laundry room. A graph paper outline has been provided below. Here are a list of requirements:

The utility closet needs to be large enough to hold a furnace, air conditioner, and at least one water heater. The bathroom has to have an entrance from the doorway next to the stairwell as well as one from the office, which will in the future become a master bedroom. A closet measuring at minimum 6'x8' must be accessible from either the office, master bath, or both. Instead of having one single bathroom, a half bath may be located off the hallway and a second master bath off the office. The master bath must have a toilet, sink with some counter space, and a bathtub and shower. The bath and shower can be shared or separate.

The laundry room must have a washer and dryer, with the dryer having access to an outside wall. There must also be room for 6' of hanging rods for drying some clothes, some of which can hold 5' garments. A slop sink and a bit of counter space are also required.

The kitchen needs enough room for all essential appliances (fridge, sink, range, microwave, and dishwasher). Extra counter space is also a plus. A moderate sized pantry needs to be placed somewhere. The separation between the old kitchen and the new one need not be walled off. Part or all of that 12' expanse can be open, as that's not a load bearing wall. The dinette area of the kitchen will be located in the old kitchen area so there is no need to make room for it in the new one.


March 15, 2005 01:08

More News

Ok, it's taking a LOT longer than I wanted it to. I guess that's how these things go. Actually, in all fairness, things are going at about the speed I'd expected them to, but things I had hoped could wait until after I'd moved in, instead had to be done sooner.

When I moved into the house, it had working plumbing and a functional bathroom. The initial plan was to fix the downstairs bath up just enough for it to be useful, find a way to get hot water into the place, and let me move in there so I could proceed at a fast pace. I was going to fix up the rooms nicely enough to live in them, with the intention of redoing each of them, one at a time, at a later date, adding insulation and new drywall and electrical as I went.

Instead however, the electrical in the house turned out to be a royal fire hazard waiting to happen. The floor needed levelling badly before I was going to be able to fix the upstairs bathroom, which I needed to do before I could tear out the downstairs bath and proceed with the addition. The old plumbing really had to go, but we looked at possibly doing something temporary, just long enough to get something more permanant in. Came across some massive termite damage in the halls, and so punched into the adjacent room. Finally decided it just made more sense to strip all the rooms now, before trying to live in them. Insulate them, put up new drywall, redo all the electrical and other wiring, etc. Then a cold freeze hit in late december, breaking all the pipes, so that took the plumbing out of commission, and so instead of bothering with a temporary fix, we ripped everything out and went for a permanant solution. The current solution DOES have the advantage of being done correctly and won't likely need to be fixed anytime before the house has passed onto others, but it also means I can't move into it until certain basic facilities are available.

What this boils down to is the fact that while I could easily work 12 hours a day every day on the house, instead I'm forced to work at most 6 hours a day, for around 3 days a week. The upstairs bath is finally reaching completion, and at that point I'll start staying at the house. I really expect things to move along more quickly at that point.

Stripping the rest of the rooms will be the next task once the bathroom is done, and the chimney needs to come down. The office and bedroom above it need to be leveled before I can put those rooms back together. It has yet to be determined what the exact problem is, although we've narrowed it down to two possibilities. Either the rock foundation wall has sunk, taking the sill with it, or the sill has rotted through and the wall will need to be jacked up and the sill replaced. If it turns out the sill is ok, just a little lower than it's supposed to be, the easiest and most probable solution will be to rip off part of the office floor, sister on some new joists which are level, then put down a new subfloor. This will make the downstairs room level. It won't help the upstairs any, but that floor, while not perfectly level, is also not all that bad, and a creative use of the low wall would eliminate any further need of levelling that floor.

Also, while the termite damage is extensive, fortunately, they seem to find the planks more tasty than the studs. The planks probably provide a small amount of support for the house, but are otherwise structurally unnecessary. Most of the damage will either be stripped off or just covered over. The termites are not active and likely haven't been for 30 years, and therefore aren't an issue anymore. So far, there are only two studs that need to be replaced. The only real concern is one of the sill plates has some termite damage. I've yet to determine how bad it is, and likely that will be fixed with extra surrounding supports.


February 23, 2005 23:51

Messages to Leave Behind

As the first room is about to be finished off, I'd like to leave behind some messages or trinkets for future generations to find when they dig into walls in 50-100 years. I've found a few treasures while ripping into the walls, and perhaps there are more to come. It would be nice to let a future owner have the same pleasure. So... what should I do? What should I write? Something mysterious... something cryptic.. A hint of a legacy, long since moved on? Bring on the ideas. :)


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