Mill Creek Haunted Hollow: Construction BLOG

Entry 165: June 19, 2013
My official "permit in hand" photo. It was ready a while ago, but it took me this long to get up to Everett on a day they were open (closing at 3pm and being closed on Thursdays made it a pain-in-the-butt.)

Took pride in wearing my Haunted Hollow tshirt when picking up my permit.

Yes, this is me! Down about 80 pounds and very happy about it. Still have a way to go, but I feel a whole lot better about myself and any day-to-day activities.

Posted by Bethany: Way to go!! On Everything!!

Entry 165, Continued: June 19, 2013
Work has been keeping me busy, but I managed to get a tiny bit of siding done yesterday afternoon. It's not a lot, but every little bit helps.

This is what the side looked like before I started.

And this is what it looked like an hour later when friends stopped by to visit.

Had a couple hours after work to do a bit more siding, so I put up the bits around the front window casing. Took some time to measure out the gable and casing.

The exposed top will get covered with molding and corbels, then the tower roof will go up.

Proud of my handywork. Still trying to decide how I want to finish out the gable inset.

It was a nice afternoon and the house is really starting to come together (on the outside).

Posted by Penumbra: Looking good! You've been so committed for almost three years! And it's really starting to pay off!
Posted by Blackfog: Love seeing how much you have accomplished TK! Looks awesome and glad you finally got that permit in hand!

Entry 166: June 20, 2013
Now working on the house today. Good news is, no leaks!

Posted by Rumsfield: I thought something looked odd about these pics until the one you just posted - we have been washing away all week over on the "East Side" The work looks fabulous and Congratulations on the weight loss.
Posted by Gereardina: I've been reading this thread, and let me tell you, you are doing a fantastic job. It's awesome that you finally have the permit. And congratulations on the weight loss. You are gaining health!

Entry 167: June 22, 2013
Cleaned up the electrical box to get ready for the inspection. Had to make sure all the wires went through the double sill plate, down the wall, got stapled to the stud, then go into the box (through proper NM connectors), and get wired into the proper breaker.

Took some time to clean out the garage enough that I could get to the box safely and make everything look good. Should be nice and clean for the inspector now, too.

Before I started, the wall was covered with stacks of wood, cans of paint, and all sorts of clutter. Couldn't even get to the panel, had to lean over tarps and junk to do anything.

Closer view of the panel. It looks so nice, I had to take a pic. I just hope the inspector appreciates the improvements.

And closer still. The next thing I need to do is relabel the panel so I can remember what each breaker operates.

Posted by Forever Haunting: It's all looking fantastic. From reading the above, does this mean that the county disapproved your original design for the central tower? I think your original design had a high mansard roof on the central tower.

It looks great. I am just curious. Thanks.

The battle that took six months (November to May) was over the total height of the structure. So, for six months I was working off a temporary permit that allowed me to do the work, but not complete the tower roof.

There are various codes in Snohomish County, and some of them contradict each other because of the early, rural nature of the county and the needs of the farms. At first, there was a concern that since I live in a PRD (Planned Residential Development) rather than just a R-9600 zone -- which is standard residential, that the maximum building height was only 25 ft instead of 30 ft. I knew that was complete hogwash because there are other homes in the development with gables peaking at 30 ft. This was resolved easily, when the county employee who made the 25 ft claim could not find any source material to back it up, so she dropped the claim and reverted to the R-9000 standard height restriction of 30 ft. This was great, but it wasted six weeks ov everyone's time, and my original tower was still at 32+ ft.

The next thing I had to do was go back through county codes and get all the information I could about height limits, how building heights are calculated, and how different roof structures are assessed. (This is where it really pays to do your homework). I found out that different roof types; Gable, Gambrel, Hipped, Mansard, Shed, etc., have different sets of calculations to determine their true height. For instance, the most common type of roof for our area is a gable roof. For a gable roof, you measure from the average grade to the ridge on all sides and then take the average. That's your height. For a mansard, they say the height is from the average grade to the deck line (that's the outer top ridge of a mansard. It's where you would see the trim and iron work. I also found codes from 1966 that detail height limit exceptions, including structures such as a) tanks and bunkers; b) towers, masts, poles; and c) silos, turbines, pumps.

Originally, the county engineer was measuring the roof height by measuring from average grade to the top of the tower roof, since that was the tallest mansard roof. I corrected her, quoted SCC, Section 30.23 and SCC, Section 30.23.050 to confirm the proper way to calculate the height of a mansard roof, then pointed out where the mansard roof actually was, excluding the tower, and explained SCC, Section 18.76.070 regarding height limit acceptions for towers. To show compromise, I also lowered the height of the tower by 6 inches.

All of that took six months of back-and-fourth, research, redrawing of plans, stress, and other anquish. Granted, there were other things they wanted me to do, so it wasn't all about the tower height, but that was the big thing holding up the permit. The other issue was a previous remodel I did (without a permit) which they needed me to get approved before issuing the new permit. The deal was, if I could prove valid conscruction and plumbing, I woulded have to het a new plumbing permit added to the rest of the permit stuff I was already applying for. My plumber friend came through and wrote up a nice letter, which they accepted, and I was able to get the previous remodel plumbing passed without having to add it to the new permit -- so that was nice.

Posted by Forever Haunting: Wow! I am supremely impressed with your ability to persevere through all the hassles. Thanks for the update and for sharing your progress with us.
Posted by BadTableManor: Following you on Facebook, and loving all your posts. Great job!

Entry 168: June 25, 2013
I have officially requested the electrical inspection. Don't know when it's going to be scheduled, but I submitted the request.

It seems, just like any other group you request to come to your house, I have no idea when they're going to arrive, so I can't plan for anything else today. I'm not even sure they're coming today! I requested an inspection online, and all it says is, "Pending".

I don't know if an inspector is going to knock on my door at 8am, or if I'll get a call at noon telling me to expect someone between the hours of 8am and 2pm tomorrow.

Posted by GhostTown: I absolutely HATE HATE HATE HATE it when you can't get a time from people. One of my largest pet peeves is people, companies, businesses, etc. that cannot set a date and keep it.
Well, I keep going to the site and my status just changed from "pending" to "request taken". So hopefully, that means the ball is rolling and they'll call me with an inspection time window. Probably won't be today, which is just fine by me. One more day to make sure everything is in order.
Posted by Katshead42: Wow it's truly amazing the amount of work you've accomplished. I look forward to seeing the finished product. Thanks for sharing this.
And, out of the blue, the inspector arrived at 2:30pm. No call, no warning, just pulled into the driveway. I'm lucky I was home! I have, of course, failed the inspection because of rules I have never heard of, special breakers I didn't know about, and little caps I'm supposed to put on the end of MC cables. (This list goes on.)

These are all little things and I'm really glad the inspector was so nice and pointed everything out. So often they can just be grumpy and mean-spirited, this guy really wanted to teach. I appreciate that.

Entry 168, Continued: June 25, 2013
Okay, the inspector left and I have 15 business days to get the following 15 issues up to code, or else I need to call and request an extension. - REVISED

1. Provide GFCI protection for the weather-proof receptacle on the balcony.
  - Bought from Lowes. $18.49 for GFCI WP/TP.
2. Install AFCI circuit breakers for the new receptacle and lighting in the addition.
- Bought from Lowes. These are damn expensive! $36.97 per breaker.
3. Install lighting for attic storage space above the garage.
  - Bought from Lowes.
4. Provide 3-way switching for the stairs to the attic spaces.
  - Bought from Lowes.
5. Install a handle tie for the feeder/circuit to the sub-panel.
  - Something Lowes doesn't sell. Might have to check Ace Hardware, or order something online.
6. Secure all NM cables (other than those in holes through framing) according to code within 12" of boxes with connectors or within 8" of single gang non-metallic boxes.
  - Going to trace all the cable in the addition and add staples where ever they need to go.
7. Install nail plates at all locations where the cables are less than 1-1/4" from the face of the framing.
  - Going to trace all the cable in the addition and add a plate guard where ever they need to go.
8. Complete the roofing or ensure that the attic space is completely free from leaks for inspection.
  - I'll put up the base for the tower and wrap to whole thing. If I can do it, I'll get the rafters and sheathing in place.
9. Use a listed MC connector and short prevention bushing/insert for the MC cable in the panel.
  - Going to pull out the MC Cable and replace with 12/3 NM.
10. Expose the MC cable circuit or provide viewing holes for inspection of the MC cable that has not been inspected.
  - Going to pull out the MC Cable and replace with 12/3 NM.
11. Use a listed splicing device (wirenut or other approved method) for all equipment grounds in all boxes.
  - Oversight on my end. I use the twist caps on hot and neutral, just didn't use them on the grounds. Now I'll go back and put them on the grounds, too.
12. Provide protection or re-route all NM cables in the top attic floor area so that they will not be damaged.
  - This is simple, I just had some extra length spooled at the end of the run. Cut the excess and I'm all good.
13. Add ground bar to sub-panel to separate ground from neutral.
  - Bought from Lowes for $3. I do like the simple, cheap fixes.
14. Install nail plate protection for the branch circuit (home runs) wich are in shallow grooves on the top of the garage joists.
  - Bought from Lowes. Found 9 in. nail guards. I'll insert them and should be good-to-go.
15. Install bubble covers and type wr/tr rated recepticles for the weather-proof locations (exterior).
  - Bought from Lowes. Found two TR/WP outlets for $1.87 each.

Posted by Bethany: Glad he was willing to educate you & tell you what you needed to do. Hopefully you'll be ready for your next inspection soon.
Posted by Gerardina: Good thing you are already taking care of (many) things on your list. Keep it up! I know I'm not the only one sending you good vibes here.

Entry 169: June 27, 2013
I've got my list of fixes and I've got 93% of my supplies ready-to-go. I worked my butt off yesterday at my day job, so I'm hoping to have most of today to get all the electrical checked off. I've already taken out the pesky MC cable and replaced it with a new run of 10/2 for the old outside porch outlets (I ran 10/2 so I can plug in a 30A breaker for Halloween. It's really nice to have 30A for multiple foggers). So that's two things checked off the list already.

I might forgo the handle tie clip for the single-pole twin 30A breaker and just replace it with a 2-pole 30A breaker I have that is already tied. See, That's three things off my list, and that means I don't have to drive out to Home Depot to buy the one thing Lowes doesn't carry! That means I have 100% of the materials I need to finish everything.

Dang, I'd better get busy.

Entry 170: June 28, 2013
Took longer than I care to admit, but I finally wired the 3-way switch at the top of the stairs correctly. The diagrams make it look simple, but the former home owner that installed the switch the first time made it very tricky. Lesson learned, you can't always trust wire color when another DIYer has come before you!

And this, boys and girls, is what they call, "up to code" right now. But hurry, because it could all change next week, or the week after.

Entry 170, Continued: June 28, 2013
It was a hard day re-running lines through the garage to bring everything up to code, but it was worth it. Plus, it was a pretty good workout. I have no idea if I'll be able to move a muscle tomorrow, but it was great exercise.

I apologize for the dirty mirror, I've been busy.

Posted by MissMandy: lol you look pooped! I can only imagine what a relief it will be once you can wash your hands of all the technical crapola!

Entry 171: July 10, 2013
Back from vacation and ready to finish the remodel. Already completed all the electrical notes given to me by the inspector and I've called for another inspection, which may happen today or tomorrow (depending on their schedule).

I'm also starting on the main tower roof. Yesterday, I took off the temp roof that saw us through the rainy season and put down the true subfloor for the tower roof. Today, I hope to cut out the 16 rafters and, maybe, cut out the framing for the mini-former round windows, too! Let's see how far I get.

First thing this morning, took a picture of the new tower roof subfloor.

Now I just need to cut out 15 more.

Entry 171, Continued: July 10, 2013
The Electrical Inspector just called and will be here in a few minutes to check out all the work I did. It's a different inspector than last time, so I'm crossing my fingers and hoping he doesn't find anything new.
Posted by Bethany: Sending positive vibes your way!! Good Luck!!

Entry 171, Continued: July 10, 2013
Different inspector, didn't pass, but I'm getting a lot closer. The electrical inspectors are very nice and very knowledgeable. I'm learning a lot and I think it's all for the better. Another day or two to fix stuff and I'll schedule another inspection. Down to the nitty-gritty now. Only six items on the list this time around.

1. Tamper resistant receptacles required in office.
  - Install receptacles. I had already installed them in the bedroom, but didn't know I had to put them in the office area, too. Oh, well.

2. Recessed light in closet shall have cover installed.
  - Bought from Lowes ($8.98). Install cover.

3. Use a listed splicing device (wire nut or other approved method) for all equipment grounds in all boxes.
  - Double-check all receptacles to make sure they have the ground wire nut. Found three that need the ground wire nut added.

4. Install AFCI circuit breakers for the new receptacles and lighting in the addition.
  - Installed and tested. All three (1-15A, 2-20A) functional. This took too long because I had a cheap light socket where the
    neutral and ground were touching. This was causing the 15A breaker to trip every time I turned it on. After a lot of testing
    and exploring, I found the problem and now everything is working great.

5. Re-route all NM cables in the top attic floor area so that they will not be damaged.
  - Run line through studs (with nail plates) and through rafters (1.25” min. from edge)

6. Secure all NM cables (other than those in holes throu8gh framing) according to this code article and within 12” of boxes with connectors or within 8” of single gang non-metallic boxes.
  - Add cross brace above and below sub-panel to staple NM cables.

Posted by Mr.PumpkinGrin: A grand stand applause to the work you've done so far TK421! I'm in the process of trying to convince my loved one to do the same. I'm actually going to school in the fall to do architecture so I can design these sort of things and projects for Halloween enthusiasts!! Or people that just love the look in general. Love love love!!!! Awesome Job!!

Entry 172: July 13, 2013
I've taken lots of pictures, but I'm having some trouble with the camera, so here are two shots taken with the my wife's smart phone.

Starting to put the tower roof on. If I build from the base up, I can put the shingles on as I go and not have to do as much on a ladder later.

Zoomed in a bit so you could see the tower better. There's a trap door that gives me access to the tower from the attic, so it's pretty easy ti get up there and work.

Posted by Boneyard Girl: It's stunning, TK421! The amount of work you've put into this project is truly impressive - the transformation so far has been incredible. I'm eagerly awaiting the project's completion, and I'm even more excited to see what you'll do once Halloween rolls around!

Entry 172, Continued: July 13, 2013
I got the camera working (new SD card wasn't uploading) and here are some other shots of the tower build.

Cutting out the rounds for the first of the four dormer windows.

Starting to cut the tower roof rafters.

Eight rafters cut and assembled. Just need to carry them up to the tippy top of the house.

Starting with two sides so I can add the roofing paper and shingles as I go.

After years of planning and dreaming, I can finally see the tower roof come to life.

A beautiful day to start some sheathing.

Start with rectangles and cut to fit when I can measure against the other side. This gives the best fit at the corners.

Saturday afternoon and I'm slowly putting on the shingles and cutting the panels to fit.

I can't wait to be done. This is going to look great.

Double rafters on either side of the dormer help secure the sheathing. A second round will be added to secure the roof of each dormer.

This will be the front dormer.

Looking down the trap door from the tower roof into the attic space.

Posted by The Halloween Lady: TK I am sooooo impressed!!!! Plus it looks like you are finally in the final stretch. Yeah!!!!!
Posted by ChinClub: Your house is just so beautiful!
Posteed by Ckenyon1964: Hey TK421... As I posted before, this is just incredible. I have no words.

I'm curious... what has the reaction been from all of your neighbors as they have been watching the construction? I know that if I was a neighbor, I would be spending my time sketching out ways to make my house change to compliment yours... that's how inspired I am by your work.

So, what do the neighbors think??

The neighbors have been really supportive. Lots of compliments and everyone asks if we'll be done by Halloween. I don't see too many people making plans to alter their homes, but no one is out front picketing my remodel or throwing eggs at the house, so that's a plus!

Entry 173: July 15, 2013
Just submitted request for what should be the final electrical inspection. I have to say, the electrical inspectors have been absolute pros and very, very generous with their time and knowledge. I was very nervous going into this part of the inspection, but they are incredibly gracious and kind people. I had nothing to be afraid of. If only the county was like this -- people wouldn't loathe them so much.
Posted by Bethany: If I was your neighbors I'd have to move out of jealousy, or move in! Good luck on the hopefully final electrical inspection!!

Entry 174: July 16, 2013
12:22pm and I'm still waiting for a call from the Electrical inspector. I really hope it's one of the two gentleman I've previously seen. They were both very nice and they're now familiar with the house, so a follow-up inspection should be quick.
Posted by S.O.S.: The house is remarkable... truly awesome.
Good luck with the inspection and please be careful up high. You don't need to fall and make it a genuine haunted house!

Entry 175: July 17, 2013
Good morning. The inspector never arrived yesterday, so I'll be playing the same waiting game today. I know I'm ready to pass, so I just need him to come out and confirm I did the few things he told me to do. Should be a quick and polite visit . . . when he actually drops by.

Entry 175, Continued: July 17, 2013
We have passed our electrical inspection! We are now good with the state! Next up is the framing inspection, but I have to put in a few beams first.

Posted by MissMandy: The house is looking amazing TK!
Posted by Katshead42: The house is looking awesome.
Posted by Stick: One down, great job on passing the electrical inspection.

Entry 176: July 18, 2013
With the electrical inspection out of the way, it's time to get busy with the last of the framing. So today, I took out the old front door and started the process of putting in the new double doors.

This is what the door looked like just after starting this morning. I took out the drywall and started removing the studs.

Studs out.

Our front door is no more! Talk about committing.

Looking into the house from the new opening. This is what I was shooting for.

Cleaning up the entry. Getting rid of the old sill plate and other junk from the former wall.

My wife being attacked by our six year old. I was just trying to take a picture of the door-free entryway.

This is the old landing of the stairs. I'm going to cut the landing back to the same depth as the other steps.

The new doors are mounted, but it's just temporary. I need to fine tune the hinges and put in the threshold.

The new doors in place at the end of the day. Not bad. Not bad at all.

End of the day so we decided to have a cookout and some smores in the front yard.

Entry 176, Continued: July 18, 2013
Thought the two white bulbs in the porch couch lights were too bright, so I took some blue paint and painted two light bulbs, let them dry, and put them in the couch fixtures.

This is what the door looked like just after starting this morning. I took out the drywall and started removing the studs.

Plugged the two bulbs into the couch lights and they give off a nice blue glow. Subtle and a bit spooky. I like it.

Entry 176, Continued: July 18, 2013
We are having a major remodeling weekend!! My sheet-rock friend has lent me some buddies and we ripped out most of the drywall on the main floor, we're putting in new glulam support beams, and putting up new drywall. House is a mess and I don't have time to post photos, but I promise I'm taking plenty. When I have time, I'll post a bunch!

Hope everyone else is having a fun, productive weekend!!

Posted by Ghost of Spooky: Wow it's come quite a way since last I dropped in here. Glad to hear the electrical passed inspection and love your little comic relief there! Looking good TK and really glad your friend and his friends are lending a hand this weekend for a big push. Hope you guys make a big dent on the inside.
We're getting a ton done on the inside right now. Big changes. As for the cauldron, right now my girls are filling it with flowers, but it will have something very different in it come October.

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