Mill Creek Haunted Hollow: Construction BLOG

Entry 177: July 19, 2013
Okay, it's Saturday night and the house is quiet. I've uploaded the photos and here they are. What we've done in the past two days is pull down all the ceiling drywall in the living room, hallway, girls' room, and kitchen. put in glue-laminated (glulam) beams in the kitchen and the girls' bedroom as required by the engineer, put in insulation between the floors to help with heat and to reduce noise, and then put up new drywall, some mud, and skimmed the walls to smooth out the old, bumpy texture.

Friday morning, the guys arrived at 8:30am and immediately started tearing down drywall. I was able to snap this pic around 9:30am. I was shocked because my oldest daughter actually got up! Must have been all the banging.

Here she is again, this time pitching in! Removing one of the ceiling lights so we can take down that area of drywall. It was getting pretty dusty.

Peter and Efrain made quick work of the ceiling. I gotta get a set of those stilts! My brain was full of Halloween costume ideas all day.

Paper over the floor and plastic over the counters. More drywall coming down in the kitchen. Removing the whole lowered section in the kitchen that used to house some terribly ugly fluorescent lights.

My oldest, again, getting in the way of the camera. Notice there's no more drywall on the living room ceiling.

All the drywall down from the ceiling in the living room, and all the debris swept away. This was all done in about an hour!

Didn't take a before shot, but this is the girls' room with the ceiling removed. I had to insert a glulam to support structure above, so I took a photo to show where it went in. The county will want to see some pictures.

Another shot of the existing HVAC and the inserted glulam. It sets right next to the pre-existing 2x10, but it's super strong.

Started installing insulation between the joists. This isn't required between floors, but we put it in the help reduce noise.

More insulation going in above the living room, and the temporary support wall is in place to replace the sad and inadequate 2x6 with a structurally appropriate glulam beam.

More drywall down in the kitchen, just the recessed light area is left to be pulled down.

Entry 177, Continued: July 19, 2013
Worked for a few hours and then grabbed the camera again. Here's some more pics of drywall madness.

Believe it or not, this is still Friday. In one day, the drywall was pulled down, the new drywall in the girls' room was put up and mud and tape was applied.

Peter and Efrain were really fast with the drywall. Helps when you work as a team, have stilts, and do it for a living.

Sorting out the wires and fitting the big glulam in place (it's sitting on the breakfast bar in this pic). You can also see more drywall going up in the living room.

Nice shot of the 4x12 sheets of drywall going up in the living room. And, Yes, I have mounted on the front of my fireplace.

The wall cabinets have been removed in order to take down the rest of the kitchen ceiling.

This was the infamous spot where I accidently put my leg through the ceiling drywall when I was upstairs building the master bathroom. I had done a poor patch job, so this was the perfect time to take out the damaged drywall and start over.

It was nice seeing all the plumbing from underneath. I was even able to change the slope a little bit to help with drainage. Happy to say that after two years, there's no leaks or mold!

Interesting to see the layers when you remove a cabinet.

The drop down in the kitchen is almost completely gone. Need to move the exhaust fan venting over a bit before the drywall goes back up.

Another mini-project is moving the kitchen vent exhaust over so it will line up with the island cooktop.

Ladies and gentleman, the kitchen glulam beam is in place! No more sagging ceiling, just solid, sturdy support.

I was so happy to get the glulam installed, I took several pictures.

If you're curious, this is what the family room looks like right now. Not a lot of room for the family at the moment.

Entry 178: July 20, 2013
On Saturday, Efrain came back and mixed up more mud so he could go around and skim all the walls in the girls' room and the living room. I don't have any pics of that right now, but I'll post some later. I spent Saturday afternoon cutting through joists near the entry to fit another glulam beam and discussing light fixture options with my wife. I know we'll get there, but the past 48 hours has been a mad, mad rush.

Cut out the old header joist to make room for the new glulam.

I have to go back and widen some of these cuts so the 3.5 in. glulam bean can fit properly.

Like an alligator waiting to snap, another glulam lies in wait.

An evening shot of the skimmed wall. It's still drying, but the "new" walls will be nice and smooth. No more knock down texture.

The skim coat is drying nicely. The hole at the base of the wall is our air return for the furnace.

I put in the block ends between the joists above the new doors and I'm still trying to fit the new glulam in place.

Too tired to finish installing the glulam tonight. I'll probably have to trim back the joists a bit more in the morning before I can get the beam in place.

Tomorrow is Sunday and we can take a break, but Monday morning, they'll be back at 8am and I need to be ready with more stuff for them to do.

Posted by Bethany: TK excellent! Looking great. Love the double doors btw. So glad you have friends like yours to help you out.
Posted by MikieoftheDead: Sooo jealous! This house already looks so amazing and its not even done yet! When's the house warming party???
If it was up to me, I'd be dome in just a few weeks. I'll have to wait and see what the county says with all their inspections. I'm really hoping to be done by early September, maybe even Labor Day. I'd like everything to be complete before the girls go back to school.

Entry 179: July 21, 2013
Wife was feeling stressed about the furniture being crammed together and there not being any place for the girls, so I condensed things in the sun room, moved the hutch, cabinets, coffee table, and piano (by myself) and set up the table so everything looks clean and we have a nice place for meals. I did all of this in the last hour and a half while feeding the girls lunch and she is at church. I'm hoping she'll be happy and relieved when she finally gets home.


Noon today!

Posted by Im The Goddess: Great job. I wouldn't be as understanding either, but I will never have to worry about that. Do it yourself is no longer in my husbands vocabulary. LOL. Love seeing the photos.
Posted by Katshead42: Wow it's amazing the amount of progress you've made. Great job!
Posted by Dark Tiki Studios: You get to permanently make your house look like a haunted house, AND you have a cute wife?!? I am too jealous for words!
There are times I am jealous of myself! Our three younger girls (you've seen our teenager in previous pictures). This is what happens when you say "be silly" and hold up a camera.

Posted by Stick: Great looking family, TK.

Entry 180: July 23, 2013
Well, let's see, what did I accomplish the rest of the weekend (and a bit of Monday)?

I single-handedly installed the glulam beam above the front entry. This took a lot longer than I originally thought, but I finally cut back each joist properly and got everything to fit. I had to use my piston jack to push some joists back into place, but now everything is straight, level, secure, and up to code!

The existing joists are cut and the beam is ready to go in.

Lifted the beam into place and found I needed to do a bit more trimming to get the joists to fit properly. Resting th beam agains the wall and back to the saws-all.

After much grunting, the beam is in place. Now I have to align and secure all the joists.

Fuguring out some of the wires before I secure things too much.

Used my jack to push the joists into place, then secured each one with a hanger.

Tucking the rest of the wires away and securing the joists on the other side of the beam.

Trying to get a shot of the whole beam, from end-to-end.

Right side secure pocket. The beam rests on the triple king stud, which goes straight to foundation.

Left side secure. This side rests on a triple stud corner which also goes straight to foundation.

Fitting the ceiling recepticle for the entry light.

Labelling the wires so I don't get confused later when drywall is up (very important!). It's also really important to make sure everything works the way you want it.

The bottom step used to be a landing that was blocking the new door, so I cut that back to make it the same depth as the other steps in the run.

Another shot of the new bottom step.

For now, we have a little extra carpet, but I'll cut that back before putting in the rest of the hardwood.

Insulated everything! Ceiling, walls, nooks, crannies, etc.

Pretty happy with the insulation job. Should keep temperature and help with noise.

Now I just need to set the door properly and install the threshold.

Relocated the hood vent exhaust duct work over one row of joists so it can be centered over the cooktop on the island.

Nice and flush with the joists.

Cut a new hole for the vent and cleaned up the wiring. Also mounted a new receptacle for the light over the sink.

More wire clean up. Now that the lowered kitchen ceiling section is gone, I have to go through and move all the wires up into the new ceiling area and make sure everything still fits. It can be tricky.

It's very satisfying to see organized wires.

It really helps to have friends. Especially friends that let you borrow their stuff! The trailer is saving me a lot of time and money. In our area, it costs around $800 to get a dumpster delivered and removed. It's a lot cheaper to load up a trailer and drive to the dump. Then I'm just paying the weight fee, which is $105 a ton.

Entry 180, Continued: July 23, 2013
Haven't shown the wife yet, but last night I was surfing the inter-webs and I came across a deal too good to pass up, so I went ahead and ordered out new front door hardware!

The main picture color is a bit off, but the finish is Oil-Rubbed Bronze, which is the same finish we're redoing our interior lights in. My wife has a dream of Halloween outside, Steampunk inside. Can I love this woman any more????

Entry 180, Continued: July 23, 2013
One downside to the remodel push right now is that Jack, my dog, doesn't like all the noise. And when he gets scared and uncomfortable, he gets gas. Stinky doggy gas.

It's really nice to hear him snoring on the couch next to me right now. I know he feels safe, and that's a good thing.

Posted by Bethany: LOL Get out the Febreeze Air Freshener
Posted by BillyBones: What a labour of love, great job really looking forward to seeing the house when it's finished.

Entry 180, Continued: July 23, 2013
As part of the remodel, the county is telling me I need to have a smoke alarm in each room and a CO detector on each floor. Right now, I have the original smoke alarm in the hallway on the main floor and another one in the upstairs hallway. Do I have to rewire the 15A circuit to include a wired smoke detector in each bedroom? That's a lot of work (and drywall) I hadn't planned on.

And what about the CO detectors? Do those need to be wired in as well? I haven't even begun to shop around and I know nothing about the detectors. This is my first stop. I figured I would ask first.

If I can drop the circuit and just slap a smoke detector with a 9 volt on the ceiling of each bedroom, that would be nice and easy. But since nothing with the county has been easy so far, I doubt that's the answer.

I went to the U.S. Fire Administration website and found this:

What powers a smoke alarm?

Smoke alarms are powered by battery or they are hardwired into the home’s electrical system. If the smoke alarm is powered by battery, it runs on either a disposable 9-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium (“long-life”) battery. A backup battery is usually present on hardwired alarms and may need to be replaced.

These batteries must be tested on a regular basis and, in most cases, should be replaced at least once each year (except for lithium batteries). See the Smoke Alarm Maintenance section for more information.

This is helpful, but I think I need to find out what the county expects me to do.

I keep searching for specific information from the county regarding smoke alarms/detectors and CO detectors, but the information just isn't there. I find lots of PSA stuff about "smoke detectors save lives" and how homes need to have either battery powered or hard wired detectors, but there's nothing specific (that I can find) regarding placement or power supply requirements.

Posted by SavageEye: All areas are different however I can't imagine that you are required to hardwire those two items. We recently had some work done (windows and hvac replaced) and we were required to do the same. Battery operated passed inspection.

Entry 181: July 24, 2013
I went to the county site and found a flier. I can't find any place that specifies wiring the smoke alarms into the house. I know I'll have inspectors out for various things, like framing, mechanical, etc., so I can ask. I could also call when their offices are open. I just wish the information were more accessible.

Entry 182: July 25, 2013
Found out all the information I need regarding smoke alarms and CO detectors. The county/state has requirements on where you have them, but has no requirements on whether they me hard wired into the house or powered by batteries. They just want everyone to be safe and have them properly placed in the home. This is a relief, as I didn't want to rip up more drywall running wire to connect all the new smoke alarms they want me to install (one in each bedroom).

Entry 182, Continued: July 25, 2013
It's time for me to admit I may be addicted to remodeling. Last night I was looking at the partially drywalled living room and I thought, "I know I eventually want to take out part of the wall separating the living room from the stairwell, maybe I should just do that now." I'm not sure I'm going to do it right now, but it definitely tells me there's no end in sight to the remodeling.

This is the separating wall as it stands right now. The red lines show the area of the wall I'd like to remove.

I'd like to do something like this on the far wall that will remain.

I'd like to do something like this on the far wall that will remain.

And something similar to this, but more in keeping with the rest of the house, to replace the current wall.

One nice thing, the wall I want to remove is NOT load-bearning.

Posted by Bethany: Would it be easier to do it now then wait until you get everything painted, etc?
Glad the Smoke alarm & CO detectors can be battery only. One (figuratively speaking) less obstecle.
Posted by Wyatt Furr: Do it now while the house is torn up. It will open up the living room visually and help integrate the staircase into the room as a visual element. It also will make the front door entry area not so tight space-wise. Just a little interior decorating advice.
Posted by Stick: I have to agree with them above the house is torn up and messy so if you have the extra money, do it now it would be a little cheaper. It would be better than having the house done and a year from now rip up that part of the house and do it. As with Wyatt when you open the doors it will have that warm hello and welcome feel.
Posted by Lisa48317: Love it! Get pics of her using the sledgehammer! I'm no designer, but I like the look of the open stairway. There's my vote!
Posted by Ckenyon1964: I say remove it! Once you do, I really think it will open up that whole entryway and make the living room seem bigger as well. Guests will step into your home with a wide-open welcoming feeling.
Posted by Stick: If you do go and do this and the wife get mad at you tell her that is was all our fault we told you do it.
Yes, I was peer-pressured by the forum. You're all so wicked and pushy! Next thing you'll be demanding I finish the house, decorate for Halloween, build new tombstones and a new mausoleum, and start creating some skeletons that work with motors! Will you people ever stop?!
Posted by Stick: That is correct you can tell your wife that I twisted your arm all the way from the east coast and you did not want me to show up and hurt you more.
Posted by N2Darkness: Wow, been awhile since I saw this thread and you've made a LOT of progress. I almost think it would have been easier to almost tear down your old house and build a new one Really coming together now and should be outstanding come Halloween!

Entry 183: July 26, 2013
My wife just told me that she has the opportunity to attend a four night performance of the "Ring". Now that I know she'll be gone for 6-8 hours each evening, I think I may just "accidently" move forward with the stairs while everything is already open.

My oldest daughter is excited to help because she wants to, "swing a sledge hammer like they do in those home improvement shows."

Entry 183, Continued: July 26, 2013
Did a lot of drywall work today. Had some help and got almost all the drywall up downstairs.

The kitchen looks a lot different with the new ceiling. Mo more drop down in the middle of the kitchen.

The living room ceiling is now completely covered. Mud and tape soon.

The hallway is covered and looking good.

Living room ceiling looking in to the kitchen area. I'm going to wrap the beam in wood and molding.

The new entry is all sealed in. It's really starting to look like a home again!

Nice work around the light switches. Mud and tape will take care of the corners.

I framed out the vent and power for the hood vent I'll be installing. Can't believe how nice everything looks -- even the remaining hole in the ceiling.

Entry 184: July 28, 2013
Been doing a lot of "little stuff" this weekend. Getting beams in place and re-setting joists, trimming sub-floor in the attic, re-running a bit of electrical, etc. On Thursday, our internet/home phone just died, so we had to call and get a technician out. Friday morning, he spent a few hours at the house re-running cable everywhere. It was fantastic! Since the house is already in the middle of a remodel, he was able to update all the co-ax in the house, replace old splitters, and upgrade just about everything.

Finally took the paper off the front door windows. I can't believe how much light they let in.

They look pretty good from the outside, too.

Still sorting out how to finish the trim around the front door. I have several ideas and it's a struggle to pick what I want to go with.

Posted by Katshead42: Nice that looks fantastic! Great job!
Posted by Jenlea81: Been following this thread for awhile and am absolutely AMAZED and IMPRESSED by what you have done! It's insane! You may have said this before and I missed it....What do your neighbors think about all this? And how much does this increase your home value? Great Job!
My neighbors are supportive, curious, entertained, interested, intrigued, mystified, flabbergasted, and excited for Halloween!

I honestly have no idea what this will do to my property value, but on paper, it changes a 3 bedroom / 2 bath into a 4 bedroom / 3 bath and increases the square footage from 1800 to 2200 (plus an additional 800 square feet of storage!)

Entry 185: July 30, 2013
The main floor is almost done. Rooms are starting to get ready for paint!! One big thing I'm going to do for the main room (what we call the living room) is put up a coffered ceiling. Since we're basically starting from scratch with brand new walls and ceiling, we can pick any colors we want.

So, let me get some opinions from you guys! Should we go with white molding and a dark ceiling, or dark molding and a light ceiling?

This looks nice, and would allow us more light, or white, colored molding throughout the rest of the house. I also think the darker celing panels (in a gloss or semi-gloss) would give the illusion of a taller ceiling.

This looks more traditional, and lends itself to the victorian "exposed wood" style, with the incorporation of wood wainscotting, floor molding, door and window trim, etc. My concern here is that all the dark wood might make the room feel smaller.

Posted by Rev. Noch: I absolutely vote for the dark molding option. This is going to be amazingly awesome!
Posted by Plague: I want to do that ceiling myself in my "haunted" library. Have no clue on how to do so, however. Can you point me in some direction on a how to?
There are lots of websites out there to instruct you. Just google, "coffered ceiling" or "how to build a coffered ceiling" and you'll see plenty of diagrams and tutorials.

This guy did a really deep coffered ceiling, but the instructions and photos are really good. Since my ceiling isn't that tall, I'm going to make mine fairly shallow.

Coffered Ceiling: Step-by-Step

Entry 185, Continued: July 30, 2013
Installed the fifth glulam beam today, and did a ton of mud and tape on the main floor drywall.

Had to cut the beam outside and then lift it up through the bedroom window.

Removed the old double 2x10 joist.

At least these joists will stay the same. Just need to get the new beam into place and attach these joists to it.

And, like magic, the new beam is in place!

Looks pretty good running across the top of the office wall, too.

Living room drywall is up and the mud and tape is all done. Just need to let it dry and do some sanding, then it's time to prime.

The window and doors let in a ton of light. I can't believe how bright the area is.

Everything is so . . . white.

The kitchen ceiling looks great. It's such a difference to have a smooth ceiling and no more drop down fluorescent light box.

Still need to do the corner tape and mud for the ceiling/wall area in part of the kitchen.

My hope is to wrap the beam in trim so it looks nice. Don't know if I'll run a separator down the wall to distinguish smooth from tectured.

Oldest daughter looking at the smooth, clean walls.

The stairway still needs a lot of work. Sanding, priming, painting, etc.

I just can't get over how great the new ceiling looks, it's just amazing.

With everything being so bright, and so much natural light coming in, I'm leaning towards dark trim and molding.

Posted by Bethany: Will all your molding & baseboards be the same color as the coffered ceiling? I'm glad you have to make the decision on dark or light, I don't think I could choose.
Posted by Wyatt Furr: You changed your mind on the staircase wall? Just asking.
I don't think it's a load bearing wall because it runs along a single joist, but I'd hate to take it out BEFORE the framing inspection and be told it needs to go back, or that I need to install yet another glulam beam to carry the load from above. I'm going to let it stand until after framing and insulation inspections are complete, then look at it again. In the meantime, I'm going to do more research and see if I can be absolutely sure it's just an interior wall and safe to remove.

Right now, I don't want to do anything that's not "on the plans" to give the county any ammunition to drag things out.

Posted by Wyatt Furr: Good idea. I would hate the fact they could delay your project any more than they have. You have the patience of a saint sir, I would have lost it long ago. And nothing is worse than ending up on an episode of "Cops" and being dragged off to jail......Not like that has happened to me...unless you saw the episode ,then it was my twin brother...

Entry 186: Augist 1, 2013
Looking for some creative help. I have been searching for good pictures of Victorian wainscoting and interior design. If anyone can find examples of Halloween/Victorian wall panels with dark wood, good paint colors and/or wallpaper, please post so I can take a look. Trying to decide what to do with the living room.

Posted by Saruman of Many Colours: Something like this? [Edit: Just noticed that the Flickr page also contains link to a blog re: Victorian interiors too.]

And here's the Tumblr where I found the above image: Prospect Park Place West Victorian interior

Lots of inspiration there, I'd imagine.

Wow! That link to Victorian Interiors is fantastic! Thanks for the helpful post.
Posted by Jenlea81: You should definitely check out Old House Dreams. It's one of my favorite sites. It's all older homes that are for sale/were for sale across the country. It can be searched by architectural style and there are a ton of Victorians (obviously a fav of many). I saw these panels on the site - I'd like them in a deep stain...

Posted by Saruman of Many Colours: Glad to be of service.
Posted by Wyatt Furr: Try this also Victorian Homes Magazine. I used to have a subscription to this when I owned a victorian many moons ago. Also for victorian wallpapers and such. Hope you find what your looking for.
Posted by Dr. Phibes: Historical Properties. Maybe review some interiors of these historic homes for sale? I personally love reviewing this site.

Entry 187: Augist 3, 2013
First, it's my daughter's birthday! Samantha turns ten years old today.

Finishing the front entry by removing some of the hardwood floor so I can extend it to the new double doors.

The tape marks where I want to cut out each floor board so that I can slip new boards in place and have it look nice. With each board, I have to delicately cut as straight a line as I can just above the tape, then use my skill saw to cut down the middle of the section I need to remove. Finally, I take hammer and chisel and remove the chopped up pieces.

Took a while, but now I'm ready to bring in the new floor boards.

I don't know if I want to nail them down just yet because we're still doing some drywall and painting. I think I might wait until the drywall and primer is done a bit later this week.

This is a very strong, carbonized bamboo flooring. It's the greatest stuff in the world and, if I can find more, I will use it for everything I do in the future.

Entry 188: Augist 4, 2013
Went ahead and rented the angled nail gun and installed the new bit of hardwood floor for the entry.

I already cut and fit all the pieces, so I knew I could install the planks in short order and get the gun back quick.

And there's the new bit of hardwood floor. Nice, clean, and level. Now I can finish the threshhold.

Posted by Katshead42: Nice job on the flooring.

Entry 189: August 18, 2013
Been a while since I posted an update, but I promise I've still been working. I found a "Framing Checklist" from the county and I've been trying to check everything off before calling for the inspection. I'm getting close - in fact, I hope to schedule an inspection next week (maybe).

Jack was excited I was taking pictures. I really just wanted to show off the fireplace and wall.

The living room is coming together and getting cleaner. Some drywall sanding and then primer!

Another shot of the entry. Should I start calling it the foyer?

Finally fixed the front walkway by adding more brick to the existing path so it comes up and under the step to the front porch.

Another shot of the expanded brick path. The grey will fade after I wash it. Should match up neatly.

Behold the tower! The tower is really coming together. I was able to put on the dormer roofs and install two of the four windows. I'm really happy with how it's coming together -- very exciting.

Still working on the front doors. Changing and adding some molding and trim. This is going to be elegant when done.

Bought some flicker flame bulbs and put them in the coach lights. They're dim (3 watt) but they look great up close.

Finally getting the last of the shingles up. I was worried about this side of the house because it's the highest point, but losing some weight made me more confident on the ladder.

This is what the side roof looked like at 10 am.

And here is the "work area" on the roof.

Most of the shingles are on, just taking a break for lunch.

Posted by The Red Hollows: Can't wait for the big party. I'm glad we live so close.
Posted by Boogyman: I check this thread about 10 times a day. So awesome.
Posted by Harvestmoon: I am simply amazed!! I cannot get over how beautifully everything is coming along! You should be very proud!! Looks great so far!!
Posted by Scream1973: How do you find that hardwood in terms of scratch resistance, etc.? All the bamboo I have looked at I found dented and scratched easily.
The carbonized hardwood that I bought is super strong. It's as dense oak and, since its carbonized, it's got the same coloring throughout. This means that even if it gets scratched, just wipe it down with a damp cloth and it will go away. It's fantastic.

Entry 190: September 1, 2013
Haven't called for the framing inspection yet. Took the Labor Day weekend to get as much done as possible. Turns out part of the inspection is having the roof completely done, so I need to finish all the dormers and get the two remaining windows installed.

Also had to take a little time out to repaint the "littles" room. I painted the base wall colors, and then my wife took the rest of the weekend and painted the rainbow mural.

Here's the room with the primer done and the accent wall painted the base blue.

Oldest daughter taking a turn at painting in some details.

The final product. The other three walls are a light pink (which you can sorta see on the left side).

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