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Saturday morning brings planning for the day, coffee, cartoons, and never enough sleep for what we all usually have planned. Ok, I lied about the cartoons, but I really do miss them - they were the highlight of my week growing up. But we gather weekly with the rest of the above to extoll the projects taken on in our houses and apartments, often a step-by-step, how-to diary replete with pictures, and the comment section used to ask and answer questions and get ideas for the upcoming stuff.

That would be our normal Saturday morning. Thing is, I never, ever claimed to be normal - personally I find it to be rather dull. Instead of a completed project, today's post is a general preview of remodeling an apartment at light speed. The Falcon made .5 past light speed, I'm going for at least .7 by avoiding sleep.

I closed on my house in February 2009; a two-family foreclosure built around 1915 or so. We bought a two-family with one specific goal in mind: kids. Knowing the spiraling cost of daycare far surpassed what we would be able to afford, the rental income would offset the cost of one of us not working - which turned out to be yours truly. I have no patience for corporate left, and it turns out the wife can't really withstand a terrible 2 year old all day (there are mornings she literally RUNS out the door).

Three months after closing, I convinced my friends Geoff and Tamar to move into the second floor apartment. In exchange for a reduced rental rate, they agreed to help with various projects, general maintenance, and identify problems as they arose around the house. By all accounts, they completely lived up to their side of the agreement and then some, but as time passed could no longer keep up with the cost of heating oil, which I have been fronting them. After 4 years, they decided to move to her father's condo, as his health is not the best. Even now that they aren't living here, they have been coming up to help with what they can, when they can.

This still leaves me with an empty apartment I have to re-rent ASAP. Over the years we've done quite a bit to the place, from wiring to plumbing to insulation; but a full remodel is not possible while occupied. As such, I kind of enjoy getting this done, as it will greatly improve the value. My biggest obstacle is the aforementioned 2 year old; I can't let him wander an unfinished apartment, and my wife doesn't get home until 7PM or so. Hence the lack of sleep. I've been working sometimes until 3AM, and still getting up around 7AM to care for him during the day.

So consider all this a big "before" picture of what I've been doing. Hopefully the next diary is the "after" picture....with the place rented. With such a tight deadline (ASAP), I have to contract out some electrical and GC work - no matter how much coffee you feed me, I'm still only one person. And it just figures that I finally got a new video game; someday I'll play it again.

Photo-heavy from here out; a general picture, and usually one highlighting Teh Stupid.

First, the kitchen. I gave them extra time to move their stuff, but I had to start work immediately. With over a 1000 square feet and a mortgage, there's no time to lose.

And now Teh Stupid: the bottom of the window sill above the forced hot water radiator. If you're going to paint the original woodwork, PRIME FIRST! Otherwise the latex bubbles off the wood over time. All I did was look at the window sill wrong, and the paint fell off.
Next, a quick shot from the living room into the dining room replete with tools and radio. Doesn't look too bad, right?
Until we turn a corner. This is the head board of the windows facing the street. I reiterate that Geoff and Tamar didn't do this, it was like this already.
I'm guessing the previous owner's son (who the neighbors have told me had a serious drug problem) threw a tantrum one night.

Onto the second bedroom. The first bedroom was actually in good shape, so no photo worthy of posting. This one shot exemplifies some Stupid, though.

The rest of the house has original hardwood floors, so what's with the magenta carpet? You should never ask a question you don't want the answer to. It's not even really installed, just cut to fit. When I pulled up the corner, I found that someone had been nice enough to paint the lovely hardwood with an off-white enamel. Additionally, if you look closely at the baseboard, you'll see it's the original; a thick board with the top edge cut at a 45 degree angle, lovingly stained and varnished. Being in the realm of Stupid, some idiot at some point thought it was a good idea to paint that beveled edge the same color as the wall. Sigh....

Onto the bathroom. One of the very elderly neighbors told me before he passed the houses in this neighborhood were built in the time of outhouses. Toilets were added in the 50's, and there was only a tub - no shower. Modernization has changed that; modern Stupid forgot one thing: leaving a full size window in a shower is a really bad idea.

And a close-up of said window. Our bathroom on the first floor is the same, so when we bought the place I painted the entire frame (after priming, thank you) with Valspar Cabinet and Bath enamel. After four years, it needs touch up, but has withstood the shower very, very well. I plan to do the same for this one.
Finally, the living room. A general shot, the windows face a screened-in porch, which being on the second floor has a decent view - you can actually see over the other houses in the area. The door to the porch is an original, 9 paned type in decent shape - although some weather-stripping is in order.
Not altogether bad. There's no central light, but this actually works out for a good TV room. If you look closely at the far corner, you can see a small part of the ceiling; Stupid paints it the same semi-gloss, diarrhea color as the wall. Needless to say, I'm painting all the ceilings in the apartment.

But, the grand-daddy of Stupid for today. I hate wallpaper, always have. If you paint over wallpaper instead of first removing it, I'll be inclined to slap you should we ever meet. Since the walls here are the original horsehair plaster, I can give a pass on painting over it, as removing the wallpaper would likely disturb the plaster to the point of then needing sheetrock. That, I can understand.

This, I can't forgive.

This is the edge of one of the doorframes. That corner that's peeling away is the wallpaper. After a close inspection, I realized what had been done. Over the horsehair is wallpaper, over which is paint, over which is TEXTURED PLASTER!

Don't do that. EVER. If anyone reading this ever intentionally puts textured plaster over wallpaper, I may have to hunt you down and beat you; in my opinion, that's Stupid on a level worthy of corporal punishment. If I attempt to scrape it all down, the horsehair will likely start coming down as well, and I haven't the time or money to rock an entire room (or two, as the dining room is the same).

So that's the "Before" diary. I've been hitting this place like a bat out of hell on coke, working until 2 and 3 in the morning. Everything I'm doing to this apartment is pretty much what I would do to my own place - which it is, even though I don't occupy this floor. When I bought the supplies for the job, the cashier asked if I wanted to put this on my company card - I guess 5 gallons primer and a 5 pound tub of spackle made her think this was for a job. In a way, it is; after all is said and done, the monthly rent is part of my income, but one I don't have until the apartment is re-rented.

OK, the floor is open. What's everyone else planning for the spring?

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