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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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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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

And off we go! Let there be no more rain in the living room…

Posted by in Renovations

So first things first. The roof had to get fixed. It was BAD, and was leaking so much, the carpet inside was soaked. Yuck. Funny thing is, we started the roof fix-ups a few days before the title got transferred (it was SUPPOSED to be officially ours days earlier, so we had scheduled the roofers already, and decided to go ahead, even if we didn’t have official official ownership yet! We DID however, get approval from the sellers to do this.) It was unbelievably quick. Just a few days. They…read more

Lay of the land

Posted by in Renovations, The House

Our house was built as a single family home in 1908. Most Alameda houses were built as summer houses for wealthy San Franciscans. Our home is a “catalog home”, there are other homes on the island that look  like ours, but whoever built ours added some bits that don’t really go with the style – the architect at the time must have hated these additions! But I kinda like ’em. Who knows what the layout was originally – you can see a few places where there used to be doorways,…read more

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TODO

Posted by in Renovations

So, what do we need to do with the house? Quite a bit. We are so lucky to have gotten an FHA 203k rehab loan (more on that later), otherwise this project would have been difficult to afford. The process is such, that we had a federal housing administration consultant, who went through the house, much like a home inspector, and wrote down an extensive, multi-page report on everything that needs fixing to bring the house up to an acceptable health & safety level.  So, here’s everything that we’re doing:…read more

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