Blueberry Fields Forever

Back by popular demand!

Posted by in Renovations, The House

Life got a bit overwhelming in 2014, with work, and the house and all. So the blog got pushed aside.  But now we’re back! Now where was I….  The move We ended our lease in San Francisco, then extended it by a month, when the renovation finish deadline got delayed. Couldn’t move in before we had plumbing or electricity! Luckily our landlady was going to move into our place herself, and before that, start some minor renovations of her own. So she was accommodating. Thanks Carol! That wasn’t enough time,…read more

I’m blue… du bi dee da bu daa….

Posted by in DIY, Renovations

The original paint was bad. Flaking. Old. Very beige. Actually, all the houses around ours were beige. So it had to go!     It was amazing how quickly they scraped it all off. Especially at the back (pic above), seemed to come off very easily.   The house seemed to have always been white, cream or beige. Poor old lady was starting to show her age. She hadn’t been cared for much, so lot of rot.     But the windows had had more of an interesting variety or…read more

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A Solid Foundation

Posted by in Renovations, The House

It’s finally done! Here’s what happened: Everything was torn out. Old apartment in the basement, being one built without permits, had to go completely.Old insulation, drywall, pipes, electrical – everything. The chimney had to be demolished as well, as it was structurally unsound, and took up a lot of space. Venting of the stove and someday, the fireplace, can happen in the cavity where the chimney used to be, just with a skinny metal pipe instead of leaky bricks. I will be reusing the bricks outside as materials for a…read more

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Where we’ve been and where we’re at

Posted by in The House

Most of these posts are of things that happened in the past. This one is a “here’s what’s happening right now” type of post. Because we have had quite the adventure recently! Here are some highlights and low points: We moved out of the apartment, and both my hired help – the move-out cleaner and my carpet cleaners – canceled at the very last minute! Luckily I got a very nice young lady off Taskrabbit to help me clean. And a carpet guy who was also awesome. So it worked out in the…read more

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Stairway to nowhere

Posted by in Renovations, The House

You could see through the old stairs. They also bounced considerably. It was one of the main concerns to deal with, before anything heavy could be carried up the stairs, to redo them. The old stairs had a metal railing. It was original to the house, but to be honest, I didn’t really care for it. I thought it was a later, cheap addition. Anyway, they wouldn’t pass, as the new stairs would need to be up to building code standards. So the railings had to go. Then came the…read more

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More buried treasure!

Posted by in Alameda, History, The House

As promised, here’s the second installment of the treasures. There will be a third, perhaps more. Lots of nooks and crannies yet to be dug through! Can’t wait. These are by far the most historically intriguing finds. Like I’ve told you before, the house was built in 1908. The city was formed in the late 1800’s, before that, it was ranchland, and three little towns. Our house would have been located in the town on Encinal, had it been built earlier. \ I was surprised, looks to me, that most…read more

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Spit and glue

Posted by in Uncategorized

The poor, old garage door had seen better days. On the inside, in the dark, it didn’t look SO bad. With this picture, I realized it probably wasn’t going to be something we could keep forever.     The bank had bolted the door with plywood. The construction crew kept driving the bolts through the door, twice a day, every day. The problem? The insurance company inspectors had driven by, and they didn’t like the plywood. Bad timing, because that’s just when the roof was just OSB sheathing… so looked…read more

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Buried treasure!

Posted by in Alameda, History

I just KNEW there were some treasures to be found! Behind the drywall, there were old newspapers that had been used when the house was remodeled the 1920’s. They were Oakland Tribunes. September 26, 1920, Sunday issue. These were mostly too far gone to read. There was something about Lenin financing worker’s strikes in the USA. Interesting. The main story was of a murder. Of course… if it bleeds, it leads! Murder Victim:  Jacob C. Denton was a millionaire oil magnate who was murdered by his mistress, Louise. Louise Peete, is…read more

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Demoleissön!

Posted by in Renovations

First there were walls. Then there weren’t! The entire basement was demo’d out. Before that, I went through everything with color-coded stickers. “Keep”, “toss”, and “recycle”. Some stuff went to Urban Ore (http://urbanore.com/), which is a nonprofit reuse & salvage store in Berkeley. We shop there a lot, made sense to donate the stuff we wouldn’t use there as well. They also got our other vintage stove. The third clawfoot tub we had went to Tom, the skilled craftsman of the crew, with whom I’ve had many long conversations around…read more

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Basement

Posted by in The House

The basement had half of it as a mostly unfinished space, with the garage, and the laundry machines, toilet and shower (not to forget the weird padded room). The other side had an unpermitted split-level apartment. It had a small kitchen, hall closet, and a bathroom on the side that had somewhat low ceilings. Really pretty basic, 80’s feel, including an avocado green sink. It had a set of wood cabinets in the kitchen that seemed to be of the same era as the house. And the exact same metal…read more