There really isn’t much to report about the house. They poured concrete in the interior retaining wall. It has to set for a few days, so the bunnies are chilling at home. Went to bed at 9 o’clock to just relax and read. I woke up at midnight with a magazine on my face. I slept like a rock until 7:30 this morning. I have nothing but yarn dying going on this weekend and maybe a few hours of catchup time at work. A good thing because I am beat.

Amy asked:

Okay, so what exactly is going on? Are you getting a new furnace? Why did you get rid of the fireplace? It’s all very exciting to watch in photos, I’m just a little confused…

Here’s the skinny:

Back in December when Mike was still here and he was still in uber house repair mode after sucessefully repairing the kitchen drain and icemaker, he called a couple of builder guys to give an estimate on taking out the furnace flue. We had been heating with wood and had gotten some estimates for installing a new furnace but put that off when the fuel priced spiked after Katrina. But all the proposals we had gotten for a new furnace (converting from oil to natural gas or installing a heat pump) were for venting out the side of the house. The flue would not be used at all. We decided it would be nice to get rid of it and punch a pass through from the kitchen to the dining room with a breakfast bar, also increasing the counterspace in the kitchen.

So, Joe the Contractor came by to look at the flue and give an estimate. Joe had been working on my friend Linda’s house. She had spent a year being screwed over by Art the Dumbass. Joe has completed 60% of the work on her new build in 5 months and had amazing references.

When Joe got to the basement to look at the furnace he saw the place basement wall that is bowing in. Evidently the basement was dug out at some point after the house was built. A some point they also built an interior supporting wall in an attempt to stablize the bowing wall.

When I bought the house 4 years ago, I had a structural engineer add a letter to the inspection detailing this very issue. He said it was a better fix than what was the norm. But Joe showed me where the center beam was listing 5Ëš to the right. Cracks have been reappearing through the patches and my wood floors are separating. In otherwords my house is falling off the hill.

Both the flue and the chimney have powdery mortar and needed to come down before they fall through the roof. Since my little 1929 bungalow has only 4 interesting features, I decided to redo the fireplace as opposed to removing it altogether.

So the plan goes down like this: They removed the fireplace and flue. They have pored concrete into the existing supports. Once the concrete set up they will shft the weight of the house to the interior support wall, remove the exterior wall. They will rebuild it in cinderblock, seal it with waterproofing stuff and reface it with the old brick to match the rest of the houe. They will add a proper drainage system for the rainwater from the carport and house to the street. They will then rebuild the fireplace, punch the pass through and add the breakfast bar. Redo the damaged walls and ceilings with sheetrock, paint and add recessed lighting in the living room and dining room.

According to the contract it should take 2 months. I figured It could be more like 3-4 months. But according to Joe they should be 80% done by the end of next week–TWO WEEKS FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PROJECT.

It has not been altogether too painful. And judging from the horror stories I have heard from folks getting work done on their houses, I am VERY VERY lucky (she says knocking on wood). None the less, I will be glad when the house is done.