Thursday, October 25, 2007

Oh boy. Here we go.

Well it's clearly been far too long and there's a lot to get to because I haven't just been sitting on my hands. I've been using them to build things. However, first things first, please say hello to our new friend.

His name is Butters and obviously he's really cute.

He's the friendliest kitty I've ever known.

Sarah is actually really allergic to cats but how can you resist this? You cant. You simply can't.

Okay, back to building stuff. When last we spoke we had just poured the concrete floor. It was nice but it was pretty cold looking so I added some stain to the sealer to warm it up a bit.

It's hard to see it in pictures but I really like it.

It turned out sort of clay colored and nicely varied. I was scared about that one but I got lucky.

We also built a special wall upstairs. We had to build it as part of the balcony project (which we'll get to later). This is the back of it, no drywall on this side yet.

But just look at this side! Pretty huh? I told you it was special.

This is what you see when you look up at the loft from below. The windows aren't installed yet, just leaning there for effect. They're going to swing out though and trust me, they'll be charming.

We found this really pretty wallpaper in the first book we looked at. It's what grandma would want.

Speaking of walls, this is the dining room all framed out (filled with Sarah's stuff moved here from Philly). There are lots of rooms framed out but we'll get to those in detail some other time.

Here's another view.

Okay one final project to look at right now. Do you remember that way back when we decided to build a balcony and I said that Jonathan was a genius for figuring it out? Well I take it back. It was genius in a way and I'm going to be glad it's there but what a pain in the whole body it's been. Here you see the underside. Brand new joists, sistered 2x10's for strength and a bonus 2x6 for added stiffness since we're going to be putting tile up top. Everything is held together with bolts and glue. Okay, not such an exciting picture.

Topside now. 3/4 plywood with two custom built trenches to handle the rain (only one visible). The whole thing slopes toward the trenches and there are drains on each end which run down and out into a storm drain.

Obviously plywood is whatever the opposite of waterproof is so we need a little something more. This is PVC membrane with a whole complex set of folds to handle the drain. It took me quite a few paper models to figure that one out.

Oh, just for the sake of context, this is the balcony looking out from inside. Obviously the tarp and those old looking boards are just temporary.

Here Butters helps unroll more membrane.

When it was all glued and seemed and sealed (which took forever) we filled it with water for 36 hours to test it. It doesn't look like it here but it's about 6 inches deep at the drains.

Concrete goes down on top of the membrane. Because we're pouring such a thin slab we had to add these magical looking fibers to strengthen it.

Here's my friend and helper Dave mixing the concrete. Dave mixed concrete all day long which is really hard work when it involves carrying 80 pound bags of concrete up the stairs. We mixed and used thirty 80 pound bags which is to say 2400 pounds of concrete before even adding water.

Here's my friend and neighbor and generally very helpful guy Chris with what looks like a pile of pooblets but which is actually properly mixed concrete.

Dave created a special dryish mix so that it wouldn't shrink and crack and weaken. It was stiff enough that Butters could walk on it but if we tried to it would have gotten stuck in the treads of out shoes and ruined our nicely formed trench. It was necessary but it made it hard to work with because it didn't flow at all and it all had to be placed rather carefully. We put metal mesh in too which complicated things still further. Concrete mix aside though, the real point here is that Butters is cute.

Many many hours later Chris smoothes out the final spot with a magnesium float. We were all sore and tired and long since ready to be finished. I ended up with this intense chafing at my knee and ankle from rubbing against wet concrete and sand for so many hours and I figure the Dave and Chris were just as beat down (just as beat up? your choice). Anyway, thanks guys for a little bit of above and beyond.

Ta-da! Okay it doesn't maybe look that exciting but trust me, it is. In seven days we can start tiling. Hooray. Hooray.