Tuesday, August 28, 2007

1,000 visits!

a quick note to say thanks for reading our blog! we've just reached 1,000 hits, which means at least a few of you are checking the site now and then. thanks for being interested in our project!

Monday, August 27, 2007

fourth floor rented, working on the hallway.

first things first, i'm happy to report that cindy has found our second tenant. we are now officially a full household, which is great. we're pretty darn close to our goal/timeline for finishing up the two upstairs apartments and getting them rented out, and i think we're all glad for that.

lately we've been focusing attention on the hallway. there's a bit of drywall work to be done, and we're continuing to work at putting the staircase back together and shoring it up a bit more. and we've started painting it, and it's been nice to see quick results. this weekend mike and sarin helped us put the first coat on the bannister and risers and hallway trim, even though it was ridiculously humid.

some neighbors on our block had a fundraiser for the american cancer society this weekend; the third annual event. it was pretty neat to see people from the block putting so much time and effort into a good cause. lots of positive vibes, which was really nice.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

fourth floor apt. ready to rent!

here's the post cindy put on craigslist today; another milestone of sorts in this adventure:
$1400 1 bedroom, available Immediately, South Slope

· 500 square feet
· large eat-in kitchen with tin ceiling
· Great open feel, good light, sky light in middle of apartment
· Beautiful hard wood floors
· 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)
· $1400 per month includes heat and water (gas and electricity are separate)
· Sorry no pets or smoking inside
· Please bring references & pay stubs

Email for an appointment. Monday 3pm-8pm, Tuesday 2pm-8pm
No brokers please.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

sanding down the fourth floor.

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this is a bit late, but i thought it would still be fun to post; these pics are from a few weeks ago when we sanded down the fourth floor, in preparation for staining them. everybody got a turn at the sander, and then we did a lot of edge sanding too. dirty work, but i think we're all pretty happy with the results. the finished pine floors (see two posts down) have a lot of character and give the space some personality. definately worth the effort.

a very clogged pipe (or: spending a day fixing plumbing under the fourth floor sink.)

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one pipe was clogged, which led to finding another pipe that was corroded and leaking, which wouldn't come off even with the help of a blowtorch and wd40, which led to a trip to home depot to buy a rubber boot and nipple (plumbing terms, folks), which of course threw everything out of alignment, which led to another trip to home depot where kevin the plumbing section employee taught me ancient plumbing wisdom, which led to me carefully cutting it out from the inside with a sawzall and cold chizel (and a triumphant shout when said pipe dislodged), which got replaced with a new pipe, that then led to finding another pipe that had corroded through and was leaking, inspiring another trip to home depot only to realize my wallet had stayed home, which necessitated a return trip for pipe, which eventually got fixed, which led to finding a third leaking pipe (actually the gasket inside was shot), which could only be replaced by replacing the two pipes adjecent to it (due to lack of choices in the plumbing department of home depot), which resulted in me buying about 10 pieces of pipe of various lengths and configuration because i didn't want to go back to home depot for a FOURTH time (last one had me biking in the rain), which finally (24 hours later), does not seem to be leaking anymore.

if there was a lesson to be learned here, it might be that it's best to leave a clogged drain clogged. or it could be that kevin-the-plumbing-guy-at-home-depot taught a man to fish today.

various menz's

cindy's mom and nephew came to nyc to see the place and help us get the fourth floor fixed up (as of tonight, it's ready to rent). that's tyler, expertly and confidently screwing a switch cover on. he also tried out the miter box and nail gun with great results.

here's cindy, thinking about how much fun she's having as she cleans. and cleans. and cleans. so much fun.

luckily, cindy's mom pitched in, and we got the last bit of cleaning done.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

knock down, drag out 4th floor extravaganza. and pie.

The only thing between us and a couple weeks respite is finishing the 4th floor and getting it rented. So we've been trying to focus our energies (and the energies of several helpful friends) to git er done. That's been complicated by the various problems that refuse to go away--un-plumb door jams, various radiator and (yikes) roof leaks, a random virus or two, and the distraction of living our everyday lives, just to name a few. Here are a couple of things we've managed to "git done" during the last week or so:

Finished the floors with natural tung oil (no tung in cheek comments, please)

Refinished a tub ( only "before" pictures available, and who wants to look at a dirty tub?)
Replaced the bathroom and front doors. Neither of these pictures are "before" pictures. The bathroom doors just salvaged. Yes, we have windows in our bathroom door.
Did some serious painting (many thanks to friends pictured)
And......baked some peach pies with the peaches from our tree in the back yard! Ok, so maybe not all of our energies have been focused on the 4th floor.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

adventures in renting part 1, sanding galore, dumb picture.

whew. it's been a busy week, here at home. some of us have been away on various trips, which left fewer people here to do the work. cindy has fully entered the role of Rental Manager, with a string of ads on craigslist, lots and lots of email inquiries, and a bunch of apartment showings over the weekend. things she's told me that she's learned from the process so far:

-if you like a prospective tenant, and they want the apartment, it's best to decide immediately whether to accept them or not. in nyc, the market is so tight that people just assume they didn't get the place and move on. bottom line, you can't be too choosy, especially if you find somebody you think will work.
-if a single person comes, and then arranges for their partner to come later to check out the apartment, they aren't going to take it.
-bringing loud and obnoxious friends along to look at an apartment basically assures that we won't rent to you.
-nobody seems to care that our common hallway is in a state of disrepair.
-more than one person offered to pay six months rent up front, that's how tight the market is here.

so, thanks to all of cindy's hard work (she went the extra mile with a bowl of candy, flowers, and music playing during the apartment showings), we now have a renter. who has paid us six months rent in advance.

and there was much rejoicing in the house. except for the fact that we now have to use the less than wonderful first floor bathroom, and give up the nice one on the third floor (which has been our main place of showering, etc.). we're trying to make it as pleasant as possible, but it's pretty nasty; holes in the walls, dirty tile, layers of grossness on the back of the door. it'll be another day of rejoicing when we knock that bathroom out and create a new, nice one. visions of sledgehammers dance in my head...

other work that's been happening has mainly included one form or another of sanding. we've purchased a belt sander and a palm sander, and both have been used hard already. i think they're two of the better tool purchases we've made, since renting these tools even one time basically costs the same as buying them. that little palm sander is the perfect thing to get into hard to reach corners and closets; all the spots that we can't get to with bigger sanders. the fourth floor is sooo close to being ready for stain, and thabo and melissa will probably put it down this coming weekend. i think we're all pretty excited to see the results; hardwood floors are one of the key components to making this place look better, i think.

here's a picture of me singing a song on my covered wagon. it's about sanding floors and killing roaches and gentrification.