The current job site is located somewhere on this map:
The map is from 1909. I dug it up the other day because the client had a feeling that his house's footprint, as it stands now, is a little different than it was originally. He was right, but it took pulling up this Sanborn map from 1909 to verify that; it turns out that the back 20'-30' got demo'd at one time or another, probably around the time the house got rehabbed in 1989. The foundation from the back section that got demo'd still remains (and apparently makes building a fence all sorts of not fun).
For anybody not familiar with St. Louis neighborhoods, what you're looking at is the Central West End, which (I think) is a pretty awesome neighborhood in general. Much of what you see on the map still stands today, and is in excellent shape.
At first glance, the map shows mostly residential stuff. Houses, apartments, etc. And a school.
When I looked closer, along Olive, I saw something that caught my eye: Park Automobile Co., 4432 Olive. Know what kinds of cars they dealt with? If the internet is to believed (when has the internet ever been wrong?!), these:
100 years ago, a stone's throw from where I'm taking part in some serious demo & reconstruction work for a residential client, these cars were getting worked on or fixed or built or whatever it was they did in the shop @ 4432 Olive. But those 3 cars - Thomas Flyer, Baker & Autocar - were the associated companies. And with the neighborhood's building stock largely intact relative to the 1909 map, it's not hard to picture these cars scooting up and down the neighborhood's streets.
I've driven past 4432 Olive each morning this week (the 1-way and private streets make getting to the job site a little circuitous) and thought nothing of the building standing there. I think tomorrow will be different.
More demo today. We finished removing the deck boards on the 2nd floor deck, and the we tore out the finished ceiling/drain system underneath said 2nd floor deck. And to nobody's surprise, it was a ridiculous sight.
The deck-to-house connection, that's been taking in water (the house portion of the equation, which isn't good) and is the reason everything's being replaced. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what failed, because what we've discovered is layer upon layer of half-assed work. We've discovered multiple layers of foil-thin flashing, none of which appears to have been installed very well. There was no housewrap/vapor barrier between the siding and sheathing, also a no-no. There was duct tape (seriously). And there was a LOT of caulk.
Oh, and the deck boards had been replaced at some point, so there was a million holes in the flashing from the screws that held the original set of deck boards in place. This probably didn't help the water shedding problems.
But the big winner of the day was the "waterproofing" of the ceiling fan electric. In all fairness, there was a piece of flashing sort of fastened over the whole setup, but still...if and when you see this much caulk used, on anything, ever...there's a fantastic chance somebody didn't do something the way it probably should be done:
Started a new project today. She's gonna be a handful.
2 existing decks are involved, 2 new roofs, an exterior wall replacement including windows, doors, siding...all kinds of fun. And it all needs to get built, more or less, on top of the foundation of the 1st floor deck.
1 tiny problem: the existing 1st floor deck has the sags. Bad.
See the bubble in the level? It says we're level, right? It's not the best pic, but can you see the giant gap between the deck and the level?
What you can't see is this:
Left end of the level = sitting on the deck
Right end of the level = sitting on my pry bar, sitting on the deck.
Long story short, the deck is out of level by about a full inch over the length of the 4 foot level. Which means it's probably more like two inches out of level in the very middle of the deck.
This is not good. Want to see why the deck is so far out of whack?
Where do I start?
The double 2x10 beam that supports every single deck joist, well, it's spliced together, and it's not even a good splice by splicing standards.
The double 2x10 beam that supports every single deck joist, it's sitting on top of a brick (what you can't see is that only ONE of the 2x10s is actually sitting on the brick).
The double 2x10 beam that supports every single deck joist, it's not fastened to the concrete pier - at the midpoint of the beam - below it in any way, shape or form. So everything's free to move as it pleases, and over almost 30 years, things have moved. A lot.
Whoever built this gets a "C" for effort and a you-need-to-go-back-about-4-grade-levels for results. No sense in building on top of this construction sh*t show, so tomorrow will start with trying to make this situation exponentially better, and infinitely more solid.
This chunk of reclaimed wood was way too cool to cut up and repurpose, and even if I'd have wanted to, it was pretty rough in a lot of spots; insects had gotten into 'er at some point. But at 3" thick and 16" wide, she's still plenty solid, and sometimes you just have to let things be exactly the way they are.
I was doing some work to an old chunk of reclaimed wood that's been sitting around collecting dust for entirely too long, and I came across a few old square cut nails buried in the lumber. There's no way to know exactly how old the nails (and subsequently, the wood) are, but I'd guess these little dudes were made no later than the 1880s.
I've got lots of old bowling pins.
I've got lots of old bowling alley lane flooring.
I've got a client that wanted some unique, funky lighting.
Silly amounts of rain recently + flooded shop + a little down time between projects = I had to purge the shop of some of the scraps that have been hanging out in my shop for way too long. Scrap reclaimed wood business card holders were born, and lots of 'em. Here's the process (spoiler: it's not complicated).
Some days off are pretty uneventful. Today was not one of those days; I got to check out the inside of one of midtown's raddest buildings in an effort to chase down some work from the next tenant. Oh, and the building's original use? Laundry. Laundry!!