5 min read


I'm not there, but lots of people are!
The "hallway" that goes from the living room (seen at left) into the kitchen, now with drywall on some of the walls and ceiling.

The long silence since my last post has nothing to do with 615 and everything to do with my travel schedule. Last weekend, we headed to Muncie, Indiana, where my parents-in-law live, for the solar eclipse (astonishing), then I drove to West Virginia to give a lecture at Marshall University (went very well), and yesterday, I drove on to Nashville to help out my mom (and maybe to go running where it's really truly springtime).

At 615, there is much progress! The new garage door has now been installed. Here's the before and after:

Note the pile of demoed material in the carport – when I get back, I will order another dumpster and try to find a strong young person who wants to make a little cash to help me load it. (Some of those bags of old plaster weigh 70 pounds and have holes poked in them by the lathe nails. Not so fun!)

Daily Heating and Air Conditioning came out and installed the shower fans in the two bathrooms we are remodeling (first and second floors) and also ran the new ductwork for the first floor bathroom. The next photo shows the first-floor bathroom with some orange circling to indicate the ceiling fan installed above the new shower space and the heating duct on the floor.

That floor ductwork will vent out through the toe-kick of the drawers of the vanity. (Warm air on your feet as you brush your teeth!) There will also be a heated floor throughout the bathroom to make it even more comfortable in Michigan winters.

With some minor work, we discovered that the back bedroom/office space already has a duct that will work okay! So that saved trouble and money. The guys from Daily also ran a new duct for the "heated chamber" that will keep the first-floor bathroom's plumbing warm in the winters. Here's a look at that space in its current form:

That dark grey soft thing above the pipes is the new ductwork to the toe-kick vent. (In this photo, you can't see the vent for what will be the heated chamber containing these pipes.) The sign hanging from the ceiling is a note from me to the electricians asking them to move those two new garage lights to the other side of the joist they're attached to, because right now they are in the space that will include the heated chamber.

The HVAC inspection happened Monday and led to a full approval. The step after that was the "building" inspection, which happened yesterday (Wednesday). The person handling that inspection for us is our framer, who is also a general contractor – a guy who has been a serous help to me.

He predicted the building inspector would be satisfied with everything except the insulation in the back bedroom and bathroom ceiling, because the blown-in had been significantly removed in spots for the electrical work.

His prediction panned out, but he called me with a plan of how he's going to get this fixed for me with new blown-in where it's needed. (Like I said, he's a serious help!) In the meantime, we are able to proceed with drywall on the first floor, and so...

Yay!!! That's the first-floor office/bedroom back wall and ceiling, roughly drywalled. (The first-floor bathroom is to the right.) The blown-in insulation will be injected through holes made in the drywall later. Then the holes will get sealed up by the drywall finisher and will no longer be visible.

Here's how the kitchen ceiling looks:

The soffit where the new second-floor drain pipes run isn't going to look at all bad once it's all drywalled in! (That's the drop-down space you see on the kitchen in the back.) The framer did a great job minimizing that soffit.

Before the back bedroom/office got drywalled, I asked our animal control guy – who rescued us from what seemed to be a fountain of mice a few years ago – to come out and look at something at 615 for me. He confirmed my assumption that this (below), found in the office/bedroom ceiling by the electricians, is a long-inactive nest:

He had a good look around and determined it predates the current roof and soffits because it's clearly old and there are no holes through which animals or birds could currently be getting into that space. He removed the nesting material and the space will be filled with, um, more conventional insulation.

In terms of other things I've found in the last week or so, there's this:

I discovered it in a pile of blown-in insulation that had fallen to the floor when I was cleaning up. I got to play the game of "Who owns this?" and determined it's probably the electricians'.

The remediation foreman from last week found this stored up in the rafters of the furnace room:

Yes, that's a BB-gun with a box of BB's. I wonder if it was used to deal with whatever was making that nest years ago (presumably a red squirrel), or if a teenager who used to live in the house had stashed it up there to hide it from his parents. (I have a guess about who it would have been, lol.)

Today, we are expecting more drywall hanging around the first floor and a delivery from IKEA of the materials for the new cabinetry for the "dead space" in the kitchen. That's the space opposite the breakfast nook.

On Tuesday, the electricians come back and hopefully finish up the second-floor bathroom rough-in work that was delayed by the surprise need for vermiculite remediation. The medicine cabinet space there has now been framed, which means the electricians can now correctly position the new sconce wiring.

After electrical rough-in is finished, the drywall can be repaired in the second-floor bathroom. Then comes the tiler to do the first and second floor bathrooms. Considering we started the interior work only in early February, we are doing pretty great!