For the first time in its approximately 120-year-old life, this grand old house has two functional toilets, and two functional bathroom sinks.

The upstairs full bath still has a lot of tiling to finish, not to mention be painted and have the fixtures mounted. However, what is done looks amazing and is hopefully a testament to what the original bath may have looked like:

The porcelain sink, the most expensive purchase for the room

The porcelain sink, the most expensive purchase for the room


Presley on our new low-flow, comfort height toilet

Presley on our new low-flow, comfort height toilet

Published in: on September 10, 2008 at 10:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The renovation thus far, in numbers

Years lived in home: 1

Total money spent on home improvements: $10K

Funds left in renovation loan: $1,200

Funds needed to complete all proposed improvements: $40K

Times Katherine has broken down in tears due to being overwhelmed by demo: 5

Swear words uttered by Jeremy during projects: 178,299

Rooms affected by renovation projects: 7

Rooms completed: 0

Boxes of slate tile installed: 5.5 (out of 36 purchased)

Average trips to Home Depot per week: 3.5

Returns to Home Depot: 7, including 1 bathtub (post coming later)

Dumpsters rented: 2 (1 10 cubic yard, 1 15 cubic yard)

Animals present in home: 1 cat (permanently) 3 dogs (guests), 1 mouse (ousted)

Animals present on property: numerous birds, cats, oppossums, racoons, groundhogs, moles, squirrels (Uh, yeah, we do live in the city. Go figure.)

Unnecessary gas lines removed, in ft: 60

New plumbing fixures installed: 8

New outlets/lights installed: 20+

Glasses of wine consumed: too numerous to count

Published in: on June 16, 2008 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Doing Laundry on the First Floor ROCKS!

Watch Jeremy as he describes his master plumbing efforts to make our laundry room functional. 

Have I mentioned lately how much I love this man? There are three videos following:

[livevideo id=CDEB77691F8542D28C69D73A14E088AF/435026/jeremy-mud-room-1.aspx]
Jeremy – Mud Room #1
[livevideo id=FBAA9C76220645DDBC5393D5ACB41955/435613/jeremy-basement.aspx]
Jeremy – Basement
[livevideo id=1960E6E3E1DA43D794C03A2129296030/435052/jeremy-mud-room-2.aspx]
Jeremy – Mud Room #2
Published in: on November 20, 2007 at 3:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

And the Lord said, “Let there be water…”

…and there was water. And it was good.

 Much has happened over the past two weeks, but the subject of importance for this post is plumbing. As in removing an old sink that was in a very unfunctional location, and moving it to a new, more functional one.

This is exactly what we did last weekend. Quite successfully, I might add. For some, this may not be a feat to jump up and down about. For us, this is the vindication that we can do just about anything in this old house that we want/need/desire to.

 The original kitchen sink (and cabinets and countertop) in the house was in a long hallway; think of a galley kitchen with only one side and no appliances. (The kitchen and stove were in an adjoining room.) This setup made no sense in terms of modern layouts, and one of the first decisions we made was to move the appliances and sink/cabinets to the room that was formerly used as a dining room. There was a downstairs bedroom that we are converting to the future dining room, and the choice of the future kitchen location made sense as it has a large window overlooking the side yard. It is centrally located in the house, and the shape of that room and the placement of the window just made perfect sense for a modern kitchen.

 So, over the past month, Jeremy has wired new 220 outlets for the stove and refrigerator, which were the first components toward building a kitchen. The second: moving the sink.

Original location, before:

 Cabinets, sink and coutertop in hallway location

Original location, after:

A half bath and butler’s pantry will be built in this location.

Old sink drain - plugged and vile smelling

We then had to move the existing cabinets and sink to their new location. The only problem? No existing plumbing.

Before cabinets installed

So, we planned out the sink location, dead center of the double window on the east wall of the old dining room, and drilled holes in the floor for the new water supply lines and drain pipe.

In the basement, we used a pipe cutter to remove about an inch and a half from the main hot and cold copper supply lines right under the new kitchen.

Jeremy using a wheel cutter to cut the pipes

We then attached Tee Joints (the shiny gold fixture above) that seals where we cut the line and has another valve for the new pex supply line that will run upstairs to the sink.

New hot and cold water supply lines

Next came installing the drain pipes for the sink. This involved about 20 feet of PVC pipe, cut and arranged with joints to create a slope of one inch per foot from the bottom of the sink plumbing:

 Sink drain view from the basement

…to the new PVC pipe that leads to the sewer: (note old, stinky, rusted pipe next to it)

New drain next to old

Finally, the puzzle of pipes for under the sink (S-trap, auto vent and faucet supply) were reconstructed from the practice run in the garage to their new home:

New sink plumbing

This whole process took two days. But there are no leaks, everything is level and plumb, and we have a funtional kitchen.

To sum up in pictures, before:

Before cabinets installed

…and after:

Old sink in its new home

Now, I realize this ain’t pretty – especially the makeshift island in the middle. But we are carefully planning out every detail of the layout before the new lighting, cabinets etc. are chosen for the space. The coolest thing about this area, though?

Running water!!

Published in: on August 5, 2007 at 1:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Meet the Consultant: G. Dale Freeman

Dale enjoying a beer and a smoke, illuminated by a lovely outdoor lamppost

(A.K.A. “Pop,” “Dad” )

While Jeremy and I are doing a swell job completing projects on our own, we could not accomplish everything we have (and will) without the help of friends and family. This is the first in a series of “Meet the Consultant” posts, where I’ll introduce the creative geniuses that are helping us achieve success in this monumental endeavor we’ve taken on.

Hailing from Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Dale is an experienced home renovator, electrician, philosopher, story teller, and proficient jack-of-all-trades. While his most notable accomplishment to date was rearing Jeremy into the wonderful man he is today (in my honest opinion), he also has an uncanny ability to visualize a situation over the phone and explain in detail why something isn’t working properly, what needs to be fixed and how to fix it. Even more impressive is his knowledge and skill in person.

Tiffany Ann, Dale’s right hand

This is Tiff, his vicious attack dog who kept Presley at bay during their last stay. Tiff weighs 3 pounds, tops, and is one third the size of Presley, so say what you will about my ‘fraidy cat. Tiff had a little adventure on her first day in Ohio City when she snuck out of the yard through a fence post gap; she saw the better part of the block before she was retrieved.

On his last trip, Dale and Jeremy completely demolished the kitchen ceiling, ran new electrical for the fridge and plotted out several future electrical and plumbing endeavors.  Oh, and he discovered that the lamp post by our back porch had indeed been converted to electricity (we just assumed it was still gas because, well, we hadn’t looked at it.) THAT was one great discovery in the astethics department.

His help has been invaluable thus far, and I’ll tell you what… this man knows how to instigate his son into making one heck of a mess.

Father and son, dressed alike and covered in dust 

Published in: on August 3, 2007 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

First Surprise, First Success

As every homeowner I know rammed down my throat in the weeks before we closed on the house, expect the unexpected. Surprises pop up when you least expect it, especially in old homes.

 Well, duh.

What I didn’t expect, however, was a big, dangerous, expensive surprise to pop up within the first 24 hours of homeownership.  When I called in our first gas reading, I mentioned that I smelled a very faint gas odor that morning – nothing I was worried about, just thought I’d mention it. Thankfully, Jeremy had taken the day off of work and would be home all day to let the gas company in.

Which he did, right before they shut off the gas to the house. Their equipment showed so many leaks in the gas lines that Jeremy said the machine was shrieking almost constantly.

Three days later, I had the day off and spent 3 hours with the world’s nicest plumber. He and his assistant removed 60 feet of unnecessary and dangerous gas line from our basement, and upgraded the remaining pipe. A very expensive, but very necessary endeavor. We now have a safe environment in which to live, and will probably save a ton of money in utility costs.

Oh, and we had our first major success this week, too. For under $10 and in under an hour, Jeremy and I fixed the leaky toilet. (Jeremy did most of the work, I basically stood there in awe of the 100-year-old plumbing in the bathroom floor.)


It was hysterical when he finished- we were both so afraid to flush it to see if the fix had worked that we had a “you do it,” “no, you do it” session for about 5 minutes.

And by Jove, there were no leaks when I hit the lever.  Watch our egos begin to inflate… we can do ANYTHING! Mwah-ah-ah.

Published in: on June 14, 2007 at 1:56 pm  Leave a Comment