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

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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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

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The Good, Bad and the Ugly, part three: THE UGLY.

Posted by in The House

This could also be called “the funny / sad” installment. When we first saw the place, there was a sleeping bag and a 24 oz can of Tecate in the back yard. The house had been empty for almost a year. Remember that game, PipeMania? This reminds me of that. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pipe_Mania  Inside the unfinished basement / garage, there was a finished room, with carpet and drywall and shades. We called it the Dungeon. Somebody left their pants by the window. Close to the Dungeon, there was a shower and a…read more

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The Good, Bad and the Ugly, part two: THE GOOD.

Posted by in The House

After showing you the scrary bits, it’s time to present the good stuff. There’s a lot of good in the house. It’s been left practically untouched for decades, so there’s a lot of charm left. No bad 80’s wallpaper anywhere. Original kitchen cabinets from 1906. Tiger oak mantle. Pocket doors. Coved fine plaster ceilings. Intricate picture rails. Beneath the gross carpet are beautiful wood floors that have never been uncovered. They’re the original redwood subfloor. The doors and doorknobs are all antiques – even the hinges of the doors are…read more

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The Good, Bad and the Ugly, part one: THE BAD.

Posted by in The House

Like I’ve told you already, there’s quite a bit to fix around the house. But thought I’d share a few highlights: The roof: 4 layers of roofing (you’re supposed to have max 2), including the original cedar shingles. The roof leaked so bad, it came through the living room (the roof will get it’s own post later). The paint: so old, that it’s worn down to bare wood. Good thing is, you can see what color it has been. (Cream and cream – I’ll tell you later what we have…read more

The Hunt for the House

Posted by in The House

We thought we had a wishlist that wouldn’t be possible: House, not a condo or tenancy in common Nice neighborhood (were looking in Berkeley, North Oakland, Albany and Alameda) Yard, bigger and sunnier the better Over 1,000 sq ft Walkable, close to transit and a grocery store 2-bedrooms or more, or 1-bedroom with bonus space (for an office and guestroom) Commute to SF downtown < hour Vintage home, pre-1950’s, preferably 20’s or older Income-generating potential: mother-in-law-unit Cosmetic fixer, so that we can afford the house and the renos, nothing major……read more

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