Monday, July 23, 2007

third floor ready to rent!

Here's a copy of the post we put on craigslist today (courtesy of cindy, rental manager)....

500 square ft. large alcove studio apartment available August 1st.
· 3rd floor, lots of windows providing great light, high ceilings
· large eat-in kitchen
· recently renovated, freshly painted
· ½ block from Prospect Ave stop on the R train
· Close to Park Slope restaurants & shops
· 20 min walk to Prospect Park
· Short term lease (6-9months)
· $1300 per month includes heat and water (gas and electricity are
. 1st months rent and one month security (credit check and references required)
· Sorry no pets or smoking inside
. Email for appointment, showing on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th
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final touches to the third floor apartment...

besides the stairs, we spent most of the weekend on the third floor, pushing to get it done. we really want to have this place ready to rent by august 1st. we patched drywall, sanded, drywalled, painted, sanded, cleaned cabinets, painted, and painted. as of sunday night it's aaaalllmost ready. it feels really good to have an apartment at this point of completion; feels like some actual progress is being made.

anthony s. came over and helped us out again, this time with painting and with installing new mailboxes. big thanks to anthony!

the bottom pic is melissa, thinking about her favorite tune, "lucky lindy." she'll sing it for you sometime if you ask her.

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extreme stair makeover.

this weekend we tackled the stairs in the house. in the middle pic you can see what the original linoleum looked like that was covering the stairs; it's still on the top stair and hallway in the photo. we were pleased to see that the treads all appeared to be in basically decent condition, which then led to the decision to refinish them instead of painting them or covering them with something. at this point, we're only going to refinish the treads, then we'll paint the risers and banister. maybe someday we'll refinish the whole thing, but the crunch is on to focus on getting the top two floors of the house ready to rent out to tenants. we just don't have the time to tackle all of that right now.
luckily, we had some help this weekend; robert c. came over and helped us disassemble and repair some of the stairs that had come out of the wall. it's amazing how much better they feel when you walk on them now...they no longer shift and creak (at least not as much). the flight going to the fourth floor were the worst, and a lot of them had to be redone.

the top pic is of cindy, stripping. the paint from the stairs. we're trying a number of different things to get the paint off as much as possible before we sand them. it's not the most fun job, and cindy got a few burns on her legs from the stripper. it's strong stuff.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

current tally...

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melissa's garden skills

one of the great things about our house at the moment, is the back yard. after working at our respective jobs during the day, then coming home and changing clothes and working on the house, we often end the day with a tasty meal (generally cooked by cindy or melissa) in the back yard. melissa has been working her magic, and plants keep appearing everywhere. it's really nice to have green things growing at home, and to have a spot to come to to relax for a minute.

the tree in the back of the yard is a peach tree. the previous owners said that it grows really nice peaches. maybe we'll have an "everything peaches" party in august...

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kitchen work, etc.

one of the projects i worked on this weekend was building a small shelf behind the stove and extending the countertop to make room for a dish drain in the 3rd floor apt. (compare to earlier kitchen pic for contrast). thabo plumbed in the sink and is working on ceiling fans and fixtures.

we also started to refinish the wood floors on the fourth floor, and spent most of last sunday running floor sanders. everybody got to take a turn, so this is truly a group project. i debated posting pictures of our progress so far, but have decided to hold out so that i can do a photo essay (if you will) showing the process from start to finish.

and, a pipe on the fourht floor sprung a leak, so thabo and i spent way too much time trying to fix it. with no success. we got the leak to stop, but haven't got the pipes back together so that the water works in the bathroom up there. very frustrating.

oh, and cindy and melissa painted the fourth floor bathroom last week, too.
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Friday, July 6, 2007

Neighbors, Visitors,.....Housemates?

I believe we've mentioned the fact that we live on a very friendly block. No one can seem to figure out what exactly we're doing in the house, where we're living or even who is married to whom. But everyone is very interested. The kids are also interested, mostly, it seems in Dan and Melissa. Apparently Melissa looks exactly like a popular "American Girl" doll. Which makes her very popular. Dan is popular because, well, we don't know for sure, but it could be due to any one of his many exceptional characteristics.

The friendlier we are the friendlier they the point where our friend Nancy (far right) opened our door and marched in unannounced today. Melissa was trying on her new shoes for me, and suddenly there was a Nancy in our livingroom. Currently there are 8 teens sitting on our stoop. So we might be mysterious, but we're apparently not very threatening.

Hanging Cabinets for our Country

On the fourth we hung cabinets. Actually, Cindy had to work, Melissa and I took a break for a nice long picnic with friends in the park and Dan went to a concert, but when we weren't doing that we were hanging cabinets. Anthony Showalter came over after the picnic and helped out. I feel badly that we didn't get a picture of him helping, so here's a picture of him from his profile on Amazon. (Anthony, I must say you look a bit blank. Perhaps a picture with more facial detail would get a better response.) The response you're getting from us is a great big thanks!

Anthony as seen
on Amazon

The (almost) finished product

After dark a couple more friends joined us for fireworks on our roof. We could see three different displays, but couldn't here any of the booms. Silent fireworks are kind of eerie.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

update on roach fridge

remember the fridge from the june 26 post? we put it out in our front courtyard area, just to get it out of the house. we discussed reselling it, but felt that wouldn't be right, given that it was infested. we talked about putting a "free" sign on it, but felt that we'd have to add "...has roaches," and then no one would want it anyway.

in the meantime, someone just took it.


third floor kitchen, etc.

last friday, thabo and melissa rented a van and picked up a used kitchen (cabinets, stove and matching microwave) on the upper west side. most of it is being installed in the third floor kitchen, with some creative cutting of countertop to make it work.

other stuff that happened this weekend: melissa weeded and planted in the backyard, thabo did battle with a ceiling fan, cindy and melissa bought various supplies, we went out for mexican food. melissa baked a rhubard strawberry pie, and dan ate more than his fair share of it.

and here's a picture of the fourth floor sink, as is. we got a free vanity and sink with the used kitchen, and we installed that. pictures of that to come.
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this is what we spent part of the weekend doing, finishing drywall on the fourth floor. the bottom picture gives a nice view of the lightwell that used to be in the closet, and is now in the apartment. it really helps light the place up.
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Monday, July 2, 2007

commercial break.

since i'm feeling badly that we aren't updating the blog at the pace that our audience desires and, dare i say... demands, and since i'm currently not at home (read: at work) and don't have access to post pics of recent work projects, it's time for another commercial break:

most of you have probably seen or heard of this blog, but i thought i'd post it in case you haven't. it's about a guy who bartered a paperclip for a house. pretty impressive, and a good example of how the www can work for you (assuming you have a paperclip that you want to get rid of)!

also, if you have a question you'd like to ask about our house, the work, etc., please post a comment, tell us who your question is directed at (thabo, melissa, cindy, dan, the cats that climb around on our fire escape, or the roaches), and i'll do my best to track them down, get the answer, and post it along with your question on an upcoming blog.

here's an example:

nathan g. from everett, wa writes: "could you ask thabo how he feels microloan programs could aid someone who is interested in starting a green business, and how the current renovations you are doing on your house reflect this?"

thabo's response: "When Russia and the United States speak along the same lines, it tends to have an effect, and therefore I appreciate the Russians’ attitude in the United Nations,” he said. “We’re close on recognizing that we got to work together to send a common message.”

hopefully that answer's nathan's question, and sheds some light on the situation. that's the sort of personalized, in-depth information you can expect when you interact with our blog.

pictures of recent work projects to come shortly.