A Place Where No Dreams Come True...

Current Topic: The Breezeway Is A Lovely Feature. Unfortunately it is cold and wet and it's been kludged up like everything else here.

This Is Not The Grand Entry It Should Be...

The entry into the house is through the Breezeway. This is essentially a mud-room. A place where guests would take off their muddy shoes before entering the main house. There are exterior doors at the front, the back (which leads to an alley), and the car port.

Note: Look at this room. Would you want to take off your shoes and walk through this room into the house. If the mud-room is this bad what hideous bacteria infestation might be waiting for your feet inside.

The first observation here was the water damage. It was clear from the paint on, and the warping of, the ceiling "acoustic" tile that there had been several leaks before.

The house had 'supposedly' been vacant for at least a year (repossessed). The water damage looked at least as old as the roof which looked new. The Realtor did not admit to any leaks. It was winter. There were no visible signs of recent water breech so I thought we were alright here.

Except for the very pungent musky smell. This carpet has lived through many wet seasons. And it shows it.

At the heart of this room (one on either side) are these lovely cedar cabinets. Each one has two partitions. One for coat and shoe storage. The other with shelves. The one at the front has a padlock on it. I'll assume it was for booze storage with child lockup.

We started where we always start. With the floor. We removed a 'single' layer of carpet (unusual for this house) as well as two paired layers of linoleum and 1/4-in. plywood. Right down to the sub-floor.

Additionally. We knew right away that the ceiling had to go also. Being that the ceiling is insulated. And it had been leaking for a long time. The insulation would certainly be moldy and damp. In fact it had acted like a sponge wicking the moisture over vast distances of the subroof. You can really see the water (and rusty nail) stains along the boards.

Fortunately... We didn't see any signs of rot. And no real remaining mold. This really gave the room a chance to dry out.

Wow! The smell is pretty much completely gone and the subfloor turns out to be totally reusable. But wait... There's a bonus. A preexisting covered up access to the crawl space beneath the room already exists. This part of the house is very difficult to navigate from underneath so we were ecstatic to find this portal because sadly, it was obvious that we were going to be spending a lot of time down there.

Now this is an ideal room (relative location and size) for laundry, deep freeze, storage and whatever. And that was certainly what it was used for. Unfortunately... Everything in this room was an after-thought. The plumbing and electrical had been added poorly and the work was cheap and dirty.

If it isn't obvious by now. Well... This kind of work doesn't really fit within our standard guidelines. So... Down the hole in the floor we went. Several days later emerging with something reasonably safe and sane. We hope. We replaced all the electrical and plumbing (supply and waste) and relocated the fixtures within the walls additionally insulating the pipes and the wall. This looks so much better. Don't you think.

At this point. The wall and ceiling have been stripped. Including the water-soaked and rotted insulation The electrical and plumbing have been replaced. And the floor had been prepped with a 1/2-in. mesh reinforced concrete tile substrate which has been mortared and screwed to the sub-floor. This should be strong, and rigid, enough to support a tile floor.

The beauty of the tile floor is especially attractive for a mud room in a rental unit. Not only is it durable but it's very easy to sanitize. As a result it still retains the investment value even at a later sale.

Oh My... The roof is still leaking. Darn!

We knew of the failure and had already attempted to repair the roof above this section. Apparently not so good. Nonetheless we were still disappointed that we again needed to take time out to repair it again. The rest of the roof was in such good condition except for the seam at the breezeway.

We replaced the spent insulation with fresh and since we still had most of a roll of heavy roofing felt (tar-paper left over from the shower wrapping) we lined the ceiling before putting up the new T&G cedar.

The T&G cedar went really well. We covered the ceiling and the inside wall. We were fortunate that the cedar was locally supplied however it was still poorly machined. Mostly planer snipe damage. We literally hand-selected a hundred or so pieces from several hundred. And even then several of the planks have deep snipe. What a waste of good wood. Many of the rejects will never sell. Warping, cupping, bowing, snipe. We hand selected our pieces from a pile of about a thousand planks.

Geez Mr. Wilson... The roof is 'still' leaking. We're going to need a better repair strategy.

Finally... We found an acceptable tile for the Breezeway. Kind of a peach color with an irregular color and surface. Lovely. Our friends Randy and Ellen (owners of the local flooring store) found a closeout from one of their suppliers and made us a fantastic deal. Thanks Ellen.

We had a tile once that was similar in color and we used a grout which was close in color and were always disappointed with the contrast so we decided to do a test with the grout we selected. We were hoping for a good contrast from a darker grout as opposed to a wash-out from a grout similar in color. In other words... We wanted to see the individual tiles. If we wanted a solid floor we would have surfaced it in hardwood.

What we came up with is a kind-of 'brick' color to contrast the peach tile. What do you think?

We also decided that the exterior wall with the single glazed window in it (making the wall real-estate minimal) and all the electrical and plumbing looked horrible with all the added newness. Besides that the insulation was damaged and there were numerous holes in the plate letting cold drafts up from the crawl-space.

So we decided to replace it in character with the rest of the room. We repaired the insulation and wrapped it with the remainder of the roofing felt.

What a difference that made for about an additional $90.00. And.. With that done... It was time to grout.

Grouting tile is a surprisingly simple process. It helps, of course, if you have a good understanding of cement and aggregate chemistry. And maybe that's our problem. We have practical experience (concrete, stucco, mortar). We have a deep understanding of the material science. We know better then most the guidelines (rules) for a good grout job. But somehow we continue to be inadequate on this stage. By our standards anyway. Oh well!

Even so. The grout job turned out acceptable. Maybe even good by some peoples standards I guess.

And for the rather large storage cabinets at either side of the room. The only original part we saved. We refinished them and installed new 'fancy' hinges for the doors using a barely working jig with a cheap mini-drill-press to bore the new holes.

All in all. This room is a winner. It's functional, serves multiple purposes and has plenty of room so you don't feel cramped. It actually provides a warm welcome into a country home.

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The Kitchen Is 'Surprise' NON Functional -->