February 03, 2010

Lucy.... we're home!

The past few days have seen a miraculous change in Healdsburg... no rain! The tree in a neighbors yard has burst into bloom with beautiful salmon colored flowers and the sun keeps peeking out from behind the cloud cover. Is it really possible that spring is knocking on our front door? The weather change has brought joy and positive energy back to 227 North Street. The evenings that we spend working, although still in the dark, are pleasant and productive. And things are finally moving ahead.

    Magic water supply lines, in "ya cant make no mistakes" red and blue... for those who are not trained in the art of PEX plumbing, that's red for hot water and blue for cold, are snaking all over the house.  Pex tubing and Sharkbite fittings have been a boon to our restoration. We installed the water supply for the entire house in three days, just cut the tubing, push on the fitting, and move onto the next. It is hard to believe it is that easy, but it is. The fittings are expensive, but I believe we spent a thousand dollars in materials, and saved twenty thousand in labor to install copper.
    Waste lines and vents for the sewer system are virtually complete and almost ready for pressure testing. We plan to test it ourselves for any leaks before we call for inspection so that we can pass with flying colors! The fire box has been placed and its flue runs straight up the old chimney chase next to a flue for the water heater and the exhaust pipe for the ground floor furnace. So many mechanicals, and it seems they will never end. Phillip is on the verge of completing electrics on the first floor and is moving skyward to the second and third, which only leaves gas lines, telephone, television cable, and perhaps wiring for sound, and we can finally begin insulation and interior shear walling. Someday in the near future all of these walls will be sealed up and we will forget the torture of the magic that lies beneath them.

The photo above left shows a wonderful invention called adust-a-box. They are electrical boxes that allow you to adjust their depth after the walls are sealed closed. With the turn of a screw the box will move forward or backward up to an inch and half either direction. Gone are the days of box extenders or longer screws too apply switches and cover plates to electric boxes that are embedded too deep into finished tile or plaster work.  

Garry has graciously returned to Healdsburg to give us a hand. He has taken on the restoration of the windows in the Living room, the gallery, and the first floor bathroom. Slowly he is working his way through a hundred and forty years of paint and crap that currently graces each window sash. Once stripped, repaired, glued, and sanded, he will add them to the stack of recreated windows  for priming and glazing, roping and weighting. 

With decent weather and a little luck on our side, 227 North Street may actually be water tight for the first time in who knows how many years. 

If you are wondering about the title of today's post I will share with you a fascinating occurrence that takes place at 227 North Street on an ongoing basis. On the weekends while we are are working the days through, folks are often found standing outside on the sidewalk looking up at our house. If we happen to be near by it is a welcome break to meet the friendly faces and have a chat about what we are doing. But then there are the others who simply walk in and start having a look around. It is quite astounding to be up on a ladder hammering and drilling away, and notice person, or worse a group of persons wandering by inside the house. The most common expression from them is "don't mind us, we're just being nosy!" All you can do manage to do is stare at them in dumbfounded wonderment at the nerve. And then try to steer them gently toward the front door. I guess I missed the "public property, come on in" sign on the door, or perhaps that is just how it is in Healdsburg. We have decided to give it a try ourselves, so if you happen to see us open your front door and walk in to have a look around, "don't mind us, we're just being nosy".