Mill Creek Haunted Hollow: Construction BLOG

Entry 224: January 1, 2014

I really thought I would be done by now! The drywall is all up, walls have been painted, molding and trim is going up, etc. All I want to do is be done with the county. I can't believe the inspectors have dragged things out this long.

I will probably never "finish" the house because I'm always finding something I want to change, but please, powers-that-be, release me from this abominable consort.

This is what the house looks like right now.

Entry 225: January 8, 2014
Waiting for the inspector to arrive. This should be the final inspection. If the last few things get approved today, I'm done! No more county, no more Planning and Development Services!

The wife and I trying to figure out wall colors for the guest bedroom, which is currently our oldest daughter's room.

I need to prime the walls of the master bedroom, but I'm very happy with the window casement I put together.

We seem to be having some trouble picking out the right color.

Entry 226: January 17, 2014
Waiting for the inspector to arrive. This should be the final inspection. If the last few things get approved today, I'm done! No more county, no more Planning and Development Services!
Posted by Defenestrator: I have to say, I've honestly been hoping and waiting for this particular post.
After all, how could you have done all of this wonderful stuff, and NOT put the secret bookcase door in.
Posted by Mordessa: Crossing fingers for you!!!!

Entry 226, Continued: January 17, 2014
W E   P A S S E D ! !

We are officially complete in the eyes of the county! No more inspectors, no more extensions, no more pressure! Now all I need to do is finish the interior (i.e., finish painting the walls, instal new carpet, finish the window molding, etc.)

Posted by Berthany: Congratulations!!!
Posted by Defenestrator: Congratulations....well done and well deserved!
Posted by PrintersDevil: Yeah! Party time!!!!
Posted by S.O.S.: That is great! Congrats!
Posted by Stick: I am so happy to hear the you have passed the inspection. Congratulations
Posted by Ckenyon1964: Great news!! Congrats and can't wait to see more pics!!
Posted by Dionicia: Congratulations!!!
Posted by Rev. Noch: Wow! Excellent! I can't wait to see the final product.

Entry 227: January 19, 2014
I know it's not pretty enough to frame, but it sure is nice to see.

Posted by Chops6965: Well done and congratulations! It's nice to see your project coming to an end. I know it's been a roller coaster ride for you all. I can't wait to see some photos of the final product.

Entry 228: January 28, 2014
I'm entering my house in a remodel contest with "This Old House". I think it's a pretty impressive remodel for a novice craftsman with no real training! Plus, I'd love to put a big WIN on the board for haunters.

Posted by Bethany: Great Idea & Hope you WIN!! Your redo was Phenominal
Posted by BadTableManor: Wishing you good luck, not that you'll need it. The work you've put into your home is amazing!
Posted by Stick: I hope you win to Tk with all the headaches you had with getting the permits and stuff it would be a great finish.

Entry 229: January 30, 2014
Okay everyone, please go vote for me!

Follow the link: From Cape Cod to Victorian Curb Appeal

Entry 230: February 1, 2014
Just a reminder of what's happened. Over the past 18 months, I ripped my house apart and turned it into a Victorian manor suitable for haunting. It's always been my dream and I got tried of building styrofoam facades, so I went ahead and built the real thing. Well, now I'm (mostly) finished and I've entered the house into the 2014 This Old House America's Best Remodel Contest. Please do me the favor and follow the link and give me a vote. To vote, go to any of the photos for my entry, "From Cape Cod to Victorian Curb Appeal" and click on the stars in the upper right of the photo (5 stars is the best rating). Thanks!

Entry 231: February 10, 2014
Working on the stairway wainscoting. Found a great app on my phone that lets me use it like a level and it will give me a digital display of the exact angle. This is great because now I know my stairs run at an angle of 38 degrees. This makes cutting all the angles for the wainscoting a lot easier.

Bottom of the stairs by the front door. I put this section together a few days before and painted it, then started working on the stairs.

Putting all the pieces together takes a lot of time.

The wainscoting is up after many, many specific angle cuts to get all the trim to fit just right.

Starting the painting process. Have to get all the painting done before we replace the carpets.

On this side I had to adjust the wainscoting to fit the light switches. I think it came out pretty good. Now to get a good wall plate.

It doesn't show that well in these photos, but I'm using a semi-gloss paint. When it dries, it still shows some of the grain and looks very nice.

Got the bulk of the painting done. Now I need to get the smaller brush and go back in for detail. I also need to put the top rail on.

Almost complete. Most of the paint is on. Now I just need to put on the top rail and install the hand rail.

Entry 231: February 14, 2014
The interior painting continues. I've finished the wainscoting, now it's time to start the long process of stenciling the damask pattern on the wall.

This is a two part stencil, so it takes time. Sponge on stencil A, let it dry, then go back and sponge on stencil B.

It's like watching mold spread.

Almost done with all of the stencil A placement. Once the stencil B goes over, it really flushes out.

Entry 231: March 3, 2014
Took the weekend to tackle another little house project I've been meaning to do. Finally took out the wall separating the stairs from the living room and built a railing and grand newel post.

Started by taping off the drywall to minimize the dust and debris caused by the saws-all.

The wall section has been cut out. Just like a giant puzzle piece, now it just needs to be popped out. (then dragged out of the house like the heavy, dead body it is.)

Well, that's it. Thanks for watching! I love the light it lets in to the stairwell and I don't think it's a danger to kids or cats at all.

Remove the old 2x4 posts and then replace with sanded and routered 4x4 post (with the help of the proper level and piston jack).

New support post in place. This will become the decorative newel post for the balusters and railing.

Flat top plate for baluster base rail to secure to.

Starting to put together the details of the newel post. I have to admit, this took a lot of time.

More detail going into the newel post. At this point, I discovered my table say is no longer willing to rotate it's blade 45 degrees. I had to flip it over and fight with it a lot. I guess my next project is to take the table saw apart and give it a very good cleaning.

Better shot of the detail going into the newel post.

More newel post detail.

As the day progressed, I continued to router and add detail to the newel post.

Fitted the base rail and have started cutting and placing the balusters. I now know my stairs are on a stringer angle of 38 degrees. Isn't that great?

Getting the balusters in place was tricky and involved some language I'd rather not use around children, but it got done and I'm still married, so it's all good.

Balusters are all in, railing is secure, shirt molding is in place, cap molding is on top, some trim molding is now going into the rectangle cavities in the newel post. It's really coming together on Sunday afternoon.

A bit more molding near the top. I like this bit of crown molding with the dental in it. I'm going to continue this accent molding across three other columns we have in the kitchen.

Entry 232: March 12, 2014
Today we finally get the new carpets installed! It's been more than 18 months since we've had wall-to-wall carpet upstairs. Since the remodel, we've been living with some carpet and some bare subfloor. Today, that ends.

Moving the furniture out of the way. You can see the old, dirty carpet and where the new subfloor is.

Took the bed apart. Found pennies, socks, a book, etc.

Moved all the furniture out of the other bedroom so they could carpet that, then moved everything out of the master so they could carpet that.

Here's the new carpet going into the guest (oldest daughter's) bedroom upstairs.

A shot from the top of the stairs looking down. They've removed the old carpet and this is the new, soft carpet pad.

The carpet padding as seen from the bottom of the stairs.

And the stairs with the carpet almost completely installed.

This photo is actually a bit later (obviously) but I wanted to show the master with the new carpet and the furniture back in.

Entry 233: March 28, 2014
Well, with the remodel mostly done, we decided to step up and host the extended family Easter Party this year. Of course, that means we need to finish a lot of "little things"!

Finished the molding around the kitchen beam and columns.

Built the box to go around the hood vent and added some molding.

More molding to finish off the beam and column, and some simple crown in the kitchen to give a clean transition to the ceiling.

Believe it or not, I'm still working on the stenciling, but this is what we have so far.

Jack giving me the glowing eyes from his spot on the couch. It's kind of like living with Sheldon Cooper. He loves that spot because he's right in the middle of everything and doesn't have to move. In this picture you can also see how taking out the stairwell wall really opened up the space and the entry. It's made a huge difference in the feel of the living room.

I'm really proud of the newel post and the wainscoting. Definitely brings a 19th century feel to the entry.

My wife's assigned project was to get all the family photos and build a collage going up the stairwell. I think she did a fantastic job.

Entry 234: April 20, 2014
It's a Haunted Egg Hunt in the graveyard! Bonus points to any one who can spot the skeleton in the pics!

Easter was a lot of fun. This was out first year hosting for the family, and while only about half the clan could attend, I think it was very successful. It may even become the new spot for the family easter party!

Ready, set, gooooo! Every year we have an easter egg hunt for the kids. They seem excited!

I'm absolutely shocked...the weather cooporated.

Everyone hunting for those elusive little plastic eggs.

My daughter Samantha (10yr) helping a cousing. Ignore the tombstone and skeleton arm behind them. ;P

No time for counting! The hunt must go on!!

Looking everywhere they can.

My four year old, M.J., running to show how many eggs she's found.

Still a few more eggs to find.

Counting them up to see if all the eggs have been found.

There's always at least on discussion during the hunt on how old is too old.

One more egg has yet to be found.

Samantha, our 10 year old, has found her limit. You can see her joy.

That last egg is always the hardest one to find.

M.J. stops to check and see if her basket count is correct.

After a while, looking for the last egg just becomes tedious. Time to bring in the grown-ups.

The kids will run and dance while the adults hunt down that last egg.

Well, I'm sure it will turn up during gardening.

Entry 235: April 29, 2014
One of the projects I had started before Easter I was unable to complete due to an inability to solder the final coupling, but now it's all done. I have completed the remodel of the upstairs guest (oldest daughter's) bathroom. I'm very happy to be done, and my daughter is very, very happy to have her bathroom back and to be able to shower upstairs again!

This is what it looked like before. Ugly, and everything covered in pink formica.

I removed all the formica, pulled out the linoleum floor, put subway tile in the shower, beadboard around the rest of the bathroom, and put in a pedestal sink.

Took out the old shower fixture for a new one that works much better. Added a "rain shower" shower head as well.

Lots of storage in the bathroom now with cabinets and my daughter's stuff scattered everywhere. I even took some molding and framed the mirror.

More built-in storage with some shelving similar to what I built in the master bathroom.

Entry 236: May 2, 2014
Finally getting around to some of those "lost projects" I've been meaning to do. It seems whenever I want to work on the exterior, or have the time, it's been raining. And when the weather is actually nice out, I'm stuck inside working, or running around with family obligations. Needless to say, it's been a busy Spring. My folks have put their house on the market (looking to downsize) so I've spend some weekends over there helping them with various projects and repairs. I've also been busy with work, which is a good thing, and having four daughters in school tends to take up some time. Anyway, I finally got outside on the two really nice days we had and finished some trim on the round doors and put up some much-needed siding on the far side of the garage to eliminate the final leak.

This is what the two dormer doors above the garage have looked like for the past year.

I added small eave plates to either side and cut angles to slope new shingles.

I also cut and added more facia to the upper sections that would work with the existing lower sections.

It took some time, but I also cut siding to fit up the sides of the dormers. Doing all of this eliminated the last, pesky little leaks that were still getting in when it rained.

This is a shot of the far side of the garage by the shed. This area had been bare sheathing for a year and, every time it rained, water was coming into the garage. I had temporarily fixed the issue with plastic, but over the sunny days finally got off my duff and applied the proper water-proofing underlayment, siding, and molding. I still need to paint the siding, but at least now, its water tight.

There's still a lot of painting, siding, and fretwork I'd like to get done. Hopefully, my free time and some dry days will coincide.

Entry 237: May 16, 2014
Taking time this week to finish the little bits of siding and I've started painting the house.

Finished the little patch of siding on the left side and the small patch on the back side of the tower. Also painted everything, did some cualking, etc.

This top side of the tower had been house wrap for the past year. Finally cut the last pieces of siding, installed, caulked, and painted everything.

Got out the spray gun and started painting the side of the house. Got pretty far, but then the paint gun jammed and I had to stop and clean everything out.

This top section of tower was also nothing but house wrap for a long time. Put up the last of the siding, trim, and panelling. I still need to install corbels for that side and I need to put in the drip guard under the tower roof edge.

Just a fun pic of the house from my neighbor's yard.

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