Friday, March 30, 2007

Lattice be gone!

Flashback: It's the end of January and we just found the house listed on Craigslist. We throw the kids in the car, mapquest the address, and hit the road. It's an adventure. Driving through the hilly neighborhood we finally see it. The Rummer in the ad... "custom ranch with atrium". We sat in our car in front of the house for a long time.

Should we go up and ring the door bell? Should we peek through the windows?

We drive off. Some how we end up back in front of the house... sitting and staring. Enough! I get out and go up to the front door and ring the bell. No answer. The front door is a Home Depot french door with blinds hanging over the windows. I try to peek though small openings. Through the blinds I can see it! Lattice... everywhere. I run back to the car not impressed.

The atrium area is covered in lattice (and CARPET?)... and where is the glass? Steve assures me the lattice would be one of the first projects. And last Saturday it came out. All of it. Plus we took out the carpet in the atrium—revealing pristine cement. We will have that polished (possibly stained) soon.

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Starting at the bottom… sort of.

Well, we’ve been working on this place for just a little more than a week and here’s some of what we’ve discovered so far. (I will post pics when I download them off the camera)

1- The floor in the living room does indeed slant toward the outside. At first I thought we had discovered the Rummer Vortex, but it seems that the ground under the chimney has settled about 2 inches, bringing the back part of the house down with it. Our home inspector noticed it but was at a loss: there’re no foundation cracks, no rotten beams, no visible evidence of settling. In fact, he went as far as to suggest that maybe the builder messed up and just measured things wrong. In any case, we’re hoping that when the room is filled with furniture and an area rug or two, the tilt won’t be noticeable.

2- As you may have read in Haley’s posts, there were water stains (and some mold) on the particle board sub floor, mostly on the back perimeter. I’ve since pulled up all the icky, crumbly sub floor and the floorboards are all dry and just fine— except for one small section in the living room with issues. One floorboard, has about 24-inches worth of dry rot. The beams under it are fine and there is a new sill plate on top of it,* I’m going to mix up some two part epoxy and fill in the rot with space age polymers. (Git Rot + capillary action = solid floorboard)

*Although the roof has been replaced within the last year, there was some damage caused when it was leaking. They replaced some floorboards in the master bedroom and damaged sheetrock and framing in the master and living rooms, but didn’t crack open the living room floor to fix the floorboard rot I found.

3- We’re going to need to put in a beam between the hallway and the atrium. It looked like there would be one there, but there wasn’t. In order to glass in that wall, there needs to be a beam. I’ll let the contractor take on that job.

I’ve also discovered that I’m not 18 anymore. I feel like I was used as a punching bag and have lost count of all the little nicks and cuts on my arms and hands.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Phase I

I thought now might be a good time to tell you what our plans are for this cool house.

1- New floors in every room except kitchen & family room (those will get re-done in phase II... or maybe III, or IV...)
We're putting cork in the master bedroom, living & dining rooms. The two front bedrooms will get new carpet. The loggia & hallway will be done in a snappy VCT (mostly white with black flecks.) the concrete floor in the atrium will get polished and maybe stained.

2- Reglass the atrium, with a bonus glass wall. The previous owner covered the atrium with 4 large skylights, two of which open. They did a pretty good job and we'll be leaving that alone. BUT they also removed the glass walls & sliders that encased the atrium. We'll be replacing the glass, but since it now has a weatherproof ceiling, we aren't going to replace the slider. the bonus is we're going to replace the solid wall between the atrium and the hallway with a glass wall.

3- Restore the opening between the dining room and the family room. Right now it's covered with diagonal cedar tongue & groove paneling. I'm hoping that when I take the paneling off it will be obvious where the original opening was.

Tomorrow we'll get going on chiseling off the loggia tile, removing the hallway wall and taking off the diagonal paneling in the dining room.

The real reason

Aside from all the work we are going to have to do to this place...
it really is worth it.

Snapped this last night after we ran outside to escape the mold spores!

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Demo begins.

We decide to tackle the master bedroom floor.
1. Rip up old carpet, pad, and tack strips
2. Remove baseboards
3. Prepare subfloor for new cork planks
4. Simple!

The subfloor looks great...
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... but wait, what is that over there?
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... and over there?
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A closer look...
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Mold??? YUCK! Don't touch it!!!
We hurry home, shower and wash all of our clothes.

I'm calling a contractor today.
You really have gotta love the flat roofs...
apparently they fixed the roof, but did not repair the damage inside. Nice.

(I think I have a tickle in my throat.)

What were they thinking?

We went for a walk last Sunday in our new neighborhood. The sun was out, and people were working in their yards. Perfect day to get out and check out the neighborhood. It's a fantastic collection of modern homes nestled on the side of a hill in suburbia... interesting roof lines, post and beam construction, manicured landscapes... and smack dap in the middle of it is...

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The McMansion... What?

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Still for sale... and price reduced!

MCM Heaven

I'm still in shock! Three weeks ago I was meeting with an interior designer to upgrade the interior doors and select a new shag area rug; and now we are selling the house!

Why? Because we found, fell in love with, and bought a Rummer just East of Portland. It needs a little TLC to bring it back to it's MCM glory, but the "post and beam" bones are great.

We got the keys last Wednesday, and the demo is scheduled to begin on Monday. Thank goodness Steve is handy! Because he... (oops) we are going to be busy.

I'll keep you updated on our progress, but the house warming party is scheduled for late June (possibly July.) Here are some pics...

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hello there.

Bonjour amigos!
Well, neither of us have ever tried this whole blog thingie before... so if things are a little disjointed at first, remember we're on a learning curve here and things will get better! I'm Steve, I write commercials, am learning to surf, play drums in The Verbtones, and dig MCM style. Haley is my wife of 15 years. She's an amazing graphic designer, is learning to surf, puts up with noisey band practices and luckily, she digs MCM style, too. I was born in SoCal, raised in NorCal and have lived in the Great Pacific Northwest since 1990. Haley was born and raised in NE Portland. Together we're attempting to raise our two nutty kids, ages 8 and 12. Life is kooky, but always a fun adventure!

Okay, the house... It's a 1976 Mid-Century Modern house built by Portland builder Robert Rummer. If you're familiar with Eichler Homes, you're familiar with Rummers... Mrs. Rummer saw an Eichler in California, dug it, and Mr. Rummer started building Eichler-clones in the greater Portland area. (Check out for great info, pics and links.)

Needless to say, Rummers sell quickly and usually for a lot.... well a lot to me, but not a lot compared to Eichler homes in Orange, Palo Alto and other $$$ California cities. Somehow ours flew under the MCM radar and we were able to work out a deal.

Here's how I first saw it in the open house ad on Craigslist. (Yup... we found it on Craigslist!)

Not too much to look at from the front, but the backyard!!! WOW! And inside has boatloads of potential, too. This blog will show what we're up to, what surprises lurk under "improvements" made by previous owners and why we're doing what we're doing. If you see something interesting and want more pictures or if we have some 'splaining to do, please leave a comment and I'll get on it!

We hope you check in often and laugh at and learn from our mistakes! It'll be entertaining... I promise!