November 2011 Update

I have been spending a lot of time underneath my house

foundation plates attach the foundation to the sill plate

There is a bunch of new metal holding my house together. Drilling concrete and inserting epoxy seems second nature to me now. Of course, now that I know what I’m doing, I’m done with the seismic retrofit part of the project.

Simpson hold down holds the stud framing to the foundation

 

 

 

I mentioned these brackets in an earlier post. I bought them a long time ago and have been asking questions of my engineer and my contractor ever since. One thing that wasn’t readily obvious was that the hold downs are actually raised up away from the sill.

You call this sweat equity?

Simpson clip for tying the sill plate to the rim joist

palm nailer allows the user to get nails into tight spaces

For me I think it is more like blood and sweat and tear equity. I’ve left a fair amount of blood and skin behind while inserting these little clips into very tight spaces. My engineer tells me that contractors generally open up part of the floor in order to attach some of the clips and brackets that are necessary to add for the seismic retrofit.

 

I bought this palm nailer in order to get the nails into the tight spaces that I was working in. It was worth it for me since I really didn’t want to remove any of the floor that I had put in myself a while back. We’ve had a few small earthquakes lately and the “big one” is due any day. As my engineer knows, I am very motivated to do this job right. There is a bit of comfort in knowing that an engineer has calculated the forces and designed the seismic additions.

Finally finishing the lower level

finally added the siding and new trim

I changed this lower level window from a large picture window to a smaller window that doesn’t interfere with the new stair placement. I matched the existing siding and built a custom redwood trim for the window. I’ve kept the original siding in a lot of the lower level and also repeated the original siding design at one place on the upper level. I want to remember and respect the history of this little house and the use of redwood siding is part of that history.

This house was built with older growth redwood before our better understanding of sustainability. My respect for those trees is shown by keeping it in place rather than tossing it in a dumpster. The patch shown here is actually pine from New Zealand. Of course there are issues with shipping the material so far but there is apparently enough of a market for it that it makes some sense. My contractor used redwood which is usually well controlled to be sustainable these days. When examining the new redwood compared to the older redwood, you can certainly see a big difference in the tightness of the rings and the weight of the wood and even the darkness of the color.

Moving up my old furniture and thinking up new furniture…

washing the clothes tower bun rack

In the process of moving my furniture upstairs, I realized there was an opportunity to do a thorough cleaning. My clothes tower is easy to move around for cleaning but there is nothing like pulling the drawers out and hosing it off.

This tower is going to be very useful in my new but still small bedroom. I’m rethinking my tower entertainment system though. I think I will leave the “tower of power” downstairs and create a new iMac based entertainment system for the upstairs. I’m thinking of a new lower, “loungey” system that still has power management and wheels of course.

About dirk

I'm living in a very small house and documenting my processes and discoveries in the hope that it may be useful to someone else.
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One Response to November 2011 Update

  1. Barbara says:

    I’m really impressed Dirk–can’t wait to see it. Watch out for that “big one”!!

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