This summer has been pretty awesome. Between all the side gigs including two weeks at summer camp, training jiu jitsu, surfing with the boys and handling business at home; it’s safe to say that I’ve kept myself pretty busy.
One of the biggest and most expensive changes happening at the house is that Caitlyn and I decided to apply for the Mills Act. What this means is that we are going to be adding our house to the list of historic homes in Anaheim. This also means retrofitting the front of the house back to its original condition. The inside can be whatever you want but what the public can see from the street has to comply.
Most notably, the vinyl double pane windows will be swapped out for single pane wood framed glass and the brick on the front of the house has got to go.
Speaking of Which
When we were getting quotes for the windows, we had signed a contract with the first company because they were running a special deal but it was the guy from the second company that showed up and blew us away. His name was Brian and he spent like half the time with us chatting about the brick wall and why double hung windows are the best. It was only after he offered to grab some tools from his car and persuaded us to start demoing the wall right then and there that he actually measured the windows. Honestly, I could see why some customers would be turned off by this but for us, it was exactly what sealed the deal with us. He just cared so much and had such an appreciation for the craft and our house. After he left, we immediately cancelled with that first company and booked with them. Kudos Brian.
For the next few days, Caitlyn spent all her free time with a hammer and chisel working on the bricks. I get the fun job of using a little 3″ saw to rip the plywood and peel off the board. Caitlyn works for hours on the wall and I get the 3 seconds of pleasure. #marriage
The Front Lawn
While all this was going on, I decided that our sprinkler system needed to be updated because a few heads weren’t working and I was convinced that there was a broken pipe. so I watched some YouTube videos and did a little research. Turns out that there’s a pretty dope rebate on the B-Hyve controller system which makes it basically free or less than $20 for Anaheim residents. The most fun part was wiring up the controller and running the wires. Thanks Dad.
While Caitlyn was at work one day, I grabbed a shovel and dug up a line across nearly the entire yard to realize that the pipe was fine. Caitlyn comes home to a giant brown skidmark on our lawn and cue the awkward laughs of “what the hell did you do to our lawn?” Of course, I dug it up all stupid without thinking about putting the grass back nicely.
At this point we also realized that our half of the parkway doesn’t have a sprinkler feeding it. A few minutes later and we noticed that the little bits of cement in the grass turned out to be an entire decrepit walk path from the original owners. Dirt and grass had covered it since who know when.
Just another weekend project to add to the list.
At Last, The Garage
Ever since the last day of school, I had been planning/dreaming of getting the garage into a place of near emptiness with a neat little workshop area in the corner.
When we bought the place, there was already drywall and insulation up complete with a ceiling. We had been thinking that someone was living there in the past because there were holes in the cement where a freestanding wall has been erected and studded to the floor. We never found a drain, so where did they use the toilet?
Anyways, the garage was in pretty crappy condition. Luckily for us, we don’t have a ton of stuff and are able to park a car in the garage with everything pushed to the walls. We only had to patch in the new windows and wall areas, paint and reorganize to get it in a functional state. The floor will have to wait until after the Mills Act work gets done.
And On The Last Day
Before heading back to school, I spent nearly the entire day in the garage putting up pegboard, a surf rack, hanging a mirror, mounting a vice and resurfacing the workbench. I’m so pumped with how it all came out.
I’m so excited to have a little space to keep clean and work on house projects. I had to rewire the sprinkler controller to fix an issue and within 30 seconds, I had a wire nut, my wire strippers and some 14 gauge wire in my hands. Like I tell my students all the time, it pays to be organized.
Been doing a little more around the house in the past weeks between starting school and preparing for our first hosted event at the house for my bday. We finally finished tearing down the entire brick wall on the front of the house but before I did that I spent five hours hunched over the sprinklers trying to get them perfect.
What I realized about installing irrigation is that doing the whole thing at once is really easy. What makes it so simple is that you have control of the endpoints for instance completely redoing the pipes. You start at your water source and do whatever you want until you get to the actual sprinkler heads. If you miss the mark by an inch or need to nudge a pipe over, easy peasy.
What’s super hard is making two pipes meet when you have no control over the endpoints. That’s what happened here. In short, we had three older water valves with a much short width between the inputs and outputs. When I replaced them, I had to rig up some crazy double street elbow set up with a swinging arm to get the angle right. I ended up going to Home Depot so many times that the last time I went I just bought like 12 pieces of everything and brought the store with me, no more running out for some bullshit 3/4 connector piece cause I ran out.
As you can see in the photo we got rid of the horizontal wood beams on the front porch because they were added much later (maybe the 70’s) and needed to go for historic purposes. I’m gonna miss the footrest support but I like how open the porch feels now. I can’t wait for the brick planters to go to open it up even more. Lots of porch hang time in the near future.
Lastly, you can get a full view of the front porch in all it’s original wood glory. All those white marks are holes that were shoddily patched up with drywall mud (wtf?) Turns out that the whole front wall was drilled into to pump insulation between the studs. Our best guess is that is was done in reaction to the nightly disney fireworks. It could also be the alternative which we just found out about.
Check this out
In the garage, there are marks in the cement where studs were blasted into the ground and anchored down. The entire garage was already drywalled up and even had an insulated ceiling installed. Since the beginning, we thought that someone may have lived there at point. Without a drain in the floor, that thought slowly faded away but the question still lingered as to why the garage was set up like that. The previous owners used it like a swap meet sales floor with boxes everywhere and were surprised that we wanted to fix it up. For sure, they had nothing to do with it.
Our neighbor Ed, who’s lived there forever told us that the previous tenants before them were in a serious christian rock band and spent hours practicing in the garage. They were worried about the incessant noise thus put up some money and insulated the walls. This would explain the secondary floating wall in the middle of the room nearest the garage door. They wanted to keep the sound in while cranking out the tunes. Anyways, it’s pretty cool what you can find out when you actually talk to your neighbors…
The walls are closing in, literally.
As we count down the last few weeks before our Mills Act deadline, we decided that we needed to repaint our fence and knock out the ugly brick planters near the front door.
Every weekend up until this point has been spent either lesson planning or working on the house. The nice part is that this process has brought us closer together and strengthened our marriage. Honestly, it’s pretty fun getting you hands dirty with the one you love.