Ten Projects for 2010: A Review

I could also call this post "The Many Ways in Which We Sucked in 2010," because we got remarkably little done on the house. We did lots of other things. But you know, this house is supposed to be our primary hobby and it just got neglected this year,

1. Finish off the hallway

I got started on this and then just... stopped. The problem is that the work is super, super hard, and tedious, and it tweaks my worst old-age injuries.

I started out strong, with a plan, and we quickly removed the last of the wallpaper clinging to the walls and set up some scaffolding.

Then basically nothing more happened all year long. My bad.

2. Kitty room

A project we finished! And right up at the top! It was actually a pretty fast project, a couple of days on a weekend and we were done. Now we have a nice little cat room where there are litter boxes and cat food that the dogs can't get to. It gets kind of hot in the summer but is nothing like it used to be in the winter.

3. Fixing the walls in the back parlour

This simply did not happen.

4. Fix up the floors

Since we didn't get the hall done, we didn't make any attempt on the floors. However, upstairs in the back bedroom we pulled up the carpet and sanded the pine floors, with disastrous results. That makes us think a few times about attempting a larger version of the same project, but we will probably do it anyway because the vinyl tiles are so damned ugly.

5. Stripping paint from the woodwork

We did a bit of this this year, but have decided to hire a guy who did some similar work for a friend to get some of it done for us.

6. Build that arbor in the side yard

It started with widening the path, which went fairly quickly.

We got off to a good start, digging post holes and setting the posts. We even made a cutting template for the cross-pieces. And there were some delays, like the brain-o moment of realizing that unfaced lumber doesn't fit into standard fittings (luckily our neighbors lent us a power planer and that was solved), and then finally we got totally hung up on constructing the cross-pieces.

You might say we accomplished nothing from July until now, but that's not quite right (in November we got the side trellises in place, after all). We spent some of that time doing CAM drawings so we could take the cross-pieces to Techshop and machine them on the Shopbot (a computer-controlled router, basically), for which we also needed to take some classes. We've been delaying work on it because the new Techshop location in San Francisco (so much more accessible than Menlo Park) was about to open up and we have been waiting for that. A few days ago I learned that they had brought the Shopbot there online, and now we are good to go as soon as we get the right bits and can book some time there.

7. Finish roofing the chicken yard

We kinda-sorta did this. We got off to a great start with the West side of the yard, getting 90 percent of a roof installed. It is so much nicer to work in there now. But the back is still aviary netting, and we never got around to putting down the last bit of hardware cloth at the end.

8. Put an electrical panel upstairs

Didn't happen. It might happen as part of the work we're doing this year.

9. Get started on the upstairs/under stairs bathrooms

I got started on the drawings for this (though I have had to completely change them since redrawing the plans for the house), but we didn't get close to closing the foundation permit, so no progress. Of course, last night we spent an hour doing some more measuring and researching toilets online, and we're highly motivated to get this done this year, so it could happen. The nice thing is that it doesn't require a major design review because there are no external changes.

10. Finally close the foundation permit

We spent the first part of the year in legal wranglings with our mendacious former contractor, trying to get the settlement money out of him as he bargained and threw tantrums insisting we had to take down everything on this site that contained true and honest reviews of his incredibly inadequate and even criminally negligent work. That delayed us, and we had some further delays because of travel (a few weeks in the spring on a road trip, a week on a retreat in August, three more weeks in Turkey in the fall; it was a busy travel year), weather, and permit requirements. In the next two weeks we will refile for the permits along with the required major design review, and this will happen. But pretty much nothing happened last year.

Added later: Having been chided in e-mail, I should note that we did some projects that were not on the list, most notably finishing the back bedroom walls, including stripping the nasty mastic off the paneling. Noel also spent much of the early winter on the roof with sealant, and now our roof is relatively watertight, or at least it doesn't rain indoors any more.

We've got some crazy fun stuff planned for this year, including a project to take our minds off the major design review delays. It will involve digging in the cold and rain, which should be awesome.

posted by ayse on 01/01/11