Our Retro Bungalow

Our Retro Bungalow
The journal of the making of an old house into a lovely new home.

Monday, September 30, 2013


I had every intention of getting this put together and posted yesterday,
but as they say...
"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry".
There is much to tell about the happenings of the week of 
September 23rd through 28th here at The Bungalow.
Let's get started, shall we?

Dave got several floor joists set.

And then...
our inspector came out to see if Dean's work on the rough plumbing was up to snuff.
It was, of course, and passed with flying colors.
However, when he was here he took a look at the floor joists, and although he didn't need to at that time, he called our attention to a few things - two of those things being a bit frustrating and the third being nothing short of thrilling.

Frustrating thing #1.
Inspector Mike said we needed load-bearing microlam headers
over the windows in the east foundation wall.
Dean emailed our engineer because this detail was not specified in our engineering plans.
The engineer said that we only needed microlam headers over the larger, north-east egress window;
the smaller windows are fine. That was good news because Dave
already had the joists down over the smaller window, but not the egress window.
So, I guess we were only held up a little on this one, but the thought of taking out two
floor joists to correct the issue was a bit unnerving.

Frustrating thing #2.
We'd secured all the plating with 2" washers on the foundation bolts. Inspector Mike said they needed to be 3". We checked the engineering plans and, sure enough, the specs called for 3". We'd just assumed the washers that came with the J-bolts could be used.
This meant that the floor joist on the south end of the house that was already installed had to come off.
So, I went out and bought 97 new washers and Mr & Me changed 'em out in the dark that night;
well, all of them except for the south and north ends, which needed to be counter-sunk
and the counter-sink holes needed to be made bigger.
They're all done now.

The third item that Inspector Mike brought to our attention was that the header for the
basement hall could be hung up, INSIDE the joists with joists hangers instead of
between the two stud walls on either side. This means that we have a flush ceiling transition
into and out of the hallway INSTEAD of a head clearance of only 6 feet and 4 inches!
Dave had installed it correctly, but didn't know we had this other option. I was SO THRILLED.
I told Inspector Mike that if we both weren't married I give him a big, giant smooch for
letting us know we could get rid of that low spot.
He didn't have to let us know - he wasn't here for that.
Dave undid his original work, removing the header and, with help from his son Michael,
re-installed it in the floor joists above. I'm still giddy  over the fact that we won't have
that drop in the basement ceiling, which is already low to begin with.
If you go back to the first photo you can see the second installation of
that beam just above the blue ladder. It makes me SO HAPPY.

Moving right along...
I helped Dean with some final rough plumbing connections, setting the slope for it and
getting it all buried. He then wet it down real well to get it to settle and compact.
I'd show you a photo of the pipes sticking up out of the dirt down there in the basement,
but it's dark and I don't have one so you'll have to use your imagination or just take my word for it.


our favorite excavator team came back to fill in our mote system
and level out our garage floor.
And they brought in several loads of rock and road base.
They also laid the conduit for our electricity hookup, tore out the ancient concrete pathway to the front porch and took out the old, tired, overgrown shrubs in the front beds.
Can I just say again how wonderful it is not to have to hike up and over that huge 
mound of dirt or around the motes to get to our vehicles or the mailbox. 
It's awesome. 
In fact, we can even park "in" our garage! 
There are no walls, of course, but we can park in it. 

It's late.
Let's wind this up.

On Saturday Mr rented a mini track-hoe to dig for the deck roof footing,
the front gable footings and the basement window wells.
YES, of course, he had FUN "playing with" little excavator.
he dug up a couple of
 and not the good kind of surprises.

As he was digging just under the north-east basement window where the
old furnace/storage room was he hit metal!
Heavy metal.
About a foot underground he discovered a large, steel box about 5 feet long
by 2 1/2 feet wide by about 3 1/2 feet deep!
It was full of liquid.
Turns out, it was the oil cistern for the original oil-burning furnace in the house.
That explained the odd copper tubing coming into the house on that wall that Dean hadn't understood.
The old tank had been there since the house was built in '55, but probably hadn't been used in over 25 years. It apparently still had a bit of kerosene still in it, but is mostly it's full of water.
So, we've got to figure out what to do with the contents and get a larger machine to
pick it out of the ground because, even if were empty, the thing weighs a ton.

When he went to dig out the footings for the front gable and porch overhang support,
he found that the old, concrete front porch had a 3 foot foundation wall.
We were not expecting that.
The foundation wall sits right on top of the location for the footing.
It's not a minor complication.

When the sun went down Saturday evening and it was too dark to work anymore and Mr was just too worn-out anyway, he was disappointed that we hadn't gotten more done than we had. He thought we'd have all the window wells in place by then, but there are only two that are installed so far.

These posts have turned sloppy.
There is just so much to do and about all I can manage with this blog is throwing it together.
Despite that, I will continue to post so we can keep a record of this adventure we've undertaken.
I'll go back and edit later when I have more time
and I really have no idea when that'll ever be.

Thanks for stoppin' by if ya did.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Slow and Steady

We thought we'd be further ahead when the sun went down
Saturday evening, but that's basically how it goes with construction.
Here, in a nutshell, are the bigger things we got accomplished.

(Captions are at the top of the photos)

We got the triple plating done.
We triple plated it to get a few more inches of height in the basement.
Ya wanna know what's super cool about these sill plates?
The bottom plates are salvaged redwood 2x6s from the back deck that we
 tore out and the top two sill plates are salvaged joists out of the attic. 
Recycled, reused, repurposed
and best of all...

Dean got all the rough plumbing done.
He'd thought about hiring a plumber just to give him some guidance
on installation, but didn't. He learned a lot from 
doing online research and felt confident he wouldn't need any hired help.

Dave got the bearing wall in the basement framed. 
The bearing wall for the stairs, the north wall of the north-east 
bedroom and the south wall of the storage/utility room are also framed.

We'd envisioned having the floor trusses set and the OSB laid for the main-level floor by now,
but as I mentioned, Dean spent most of the week figuring out and working on the rough plumbing.

  We visited Home Depot's tool rental again.
This time we needed a concrete saw to make another cut in the
 basement slab for a plumbing vent. 
Dean also cut out part of the old patio where the footing for the deck roof will be and
 he sliced out a big chunk of the old concrete front porch to accommodate the footing 
for the front porch overhang.

And Mrs Brunty got the chance to relive one of her favorite childhood memories.
She got down in the trenches and knocked off all the foundation ties with a little 
sledge hammer just like she and her twin sister, Aubrey, did 13 years ago
 when we built our Pleasant View home and they were 9 years old.
Okay, so maybe that isn't one of her favorite memories. 
It's too bad she didn't have her "first other half" here to relive that memory with her. 
Thanks, Lars. 
You're a good sport.

We're looking forward to this week's progress.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

All Caught Up

It rained yesterday...
a lot.
Therefore, we didn't get a ton of work done, 
but here's some of what we did do.
We rented a demolition hammer (which is basically a mini jack-hammer) 
and Mr Mossi cleaned up the jagged edges of concrete along the walls
 where we had removed parts of the basement floor a while back.
He also chipped out parts of the original load-bearing 
wall footings to clear the way for new sewer pipe.
And while Mr Mossi worked on that,
I dug up the old sewer line...
and started the trench over to where the new sewer line will be planted
and then hooked up to the old sewer line outlet.
It's glamorous work, I know, but somebody's got to do it.
And Al?
She pouted because she wanted to play ball and we were too busy to play ball.
But when it started thundering she glued herself to my legs.
Have any idea how hard it is to dig trenches with a German Shepherd glued to your legs?
Yeah. You're exactly right. As if diggin' trenches isn't hard enough as it is.

And now, hopefully I'll get caught up on our previous happenings here at the Bungalow.
Here's the "Reader's Digest version":

Dave worked on getting the anchor bolts laid out...
and after drilling all the holes, he got them sunk and epoxied in.

Then he started putting the sill plates down!

It gets better!
On Thursday our foundation guys came and put up the forms 
for the foundation walls of our garage and filled 'em with concrete.

Then they came back the next morning and...

stripped the forms.
It's awesome, isn't it!

we got our first order of lumber delivered from

It is SO exciting now that we're done
tearing down and we are finally
About those J-bolts and STHD14s and such that I mentioned in the last post...
those are just a few things I've had on my 'grocery list' the past week or so.
I'm getting quite an education out of this project and pride myself on learning all about
 the nitty-gritty components that go into building a home, knowing what those components are for,
 what aisle to find them on at Home Depot or where to find them in town.
That's just another fun aspect of this whole, wonderful adventure.

A couple more things before I end this post...
a shout out to our sons-in-law,
and our daughter,
Natalie -
who all showed up and were a huge help when we poured the footings for the garage!
Thanks again for being wonderful.


These guys -
the company that put up the forms and poured the foundation walls for our garage.
First -
they showed up early...
days early.
That rarely happens with contractors.
Second -
I didn't go to school on Thursday.
I needed to be here to go over the blueprints with Dan, their foreman, on bolt,
strap and drain placement,so I was here the entire time they worked. Upon arrival,
these men literally jumped from their trucks (there were 3 trucks), immediately began throwing
forms off the flatbeds and into the trenches, placing rebar, digging where they needed to and setting forms. Every one of those men was in constant motion until the job was done.
It was exhausting just watching them!
They made me proud and I'd never even met a one of them before Thursday morning.
They worked like men were made to work.
And what's even better than that?
*Not a single curse word*
*Not a single cigarette*
Good, good men.
Makes me happy.

That's it.
I'm caught up, Reader's Digest style.
It'll have to do.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Some of what's been happening while I've been in a blogging slump.

There is so much to tell.
But, as usual, I'm gonna try to keep it brief.
So, here are some pictures with a bit of commentary
to cover what's been going on here the past couple of weeks.

First, and definitely least...
we removed the fore section of the back deck, 
leaving the other half up because it works well for a 'staging' area.

In other, more significant news...
we had talked of hiring out the framing.
It was Mr Mossi's idea.
We got three great bids on the job.
When the third bid came in, we sat under the old 
walnut tree and discussed it for a good, long while.
Dean enjoys framing; it's his favorite part of construction.
Under the walnut tree that afternoon, he confessed that the only reason he had suggested 
hiring a framer was to have me in the house for Christmas and out of the trailer for winter.
That's just like my husband.
I told him...
a) I want to be able to say that we built this house when it's all said and done.
b) I'd rather use the oodles of dollars we'd spend paying framers on other things.
c) I am willing and able to spend the entire winter in our cozy little trailer; even Christmas.
The days are rapidly growing shorter and our weekends are only one day long
because we do our best to observe the Sabbath.
we hired a helper. 
This is Dave. 
He's a contractor from way back and knows the ins and outs of construction. 
He's also a member of our ward, a neighbor and the husband of one of the ladies I visit teach.
 Dean has really liked working with Dave. 
Dave has had some really good ideas and insights that have helped us a lot.
 What a blessing!

here's what else has gone down.
Mr Mossi built the forms and installed the rebar for the garage footings.
When the county inspector came to do the standard procedure inspection, 
he commented on how perfect and well built the forms were - 
nothing like you see footing contractors build. 
Have you met my husband, the perfectionist? 
He takes pride in everything he does.

Dean took Monday, the 9th, off from work and ordered concrete for the footings.
It turned out the be quite the adventure!
Because the concrete truck very nearly fell in the footing trench!
They called another mixer to use as an anchor.
And they called in a back-hoe.
And they called in a wrecker.
We even had two North Ogden Police officers show up just to watch the spectacle.
And our Cowboy was captivated the entire time.
At the end of the day everyone, including the mixer, went home safe and sound.
That's the kind of ending we like.

While the mixer rescue was going on, there was no time to waste -
we're working with wet concrete here, folks.
(above photo before the mixer was in peril)

In addition to the garage footings...
there was the footing for the basement stairs and
the SE basement window and
the old doorway opening to fill with concrete and finish.
We actually ran out of concrete  to fill the old doorway opening because the last of our order 
dried out in the mixer while it was stranded on the edge of the footing trench.
No big deal. 
I just ran to Home Depot, got an 80 pound sack, Mr mixed it up in the wheelbarrow, 
shoveled it into a bucket, hauled it up the ladder,dumped it in and smoothed it down. 
And then there were footings...
They're beautiful, aren't they.

There's more.
Much more.
Today was a BIG day and I'd love to tell you all about it,
but it'll have to wait til tomorrow because 
I just really don't want to do this anymore tonight.
So, tune in next time (hopefully tomorrow) and hear all about
the excitement of foundation walls, J-bolts, Simpson STHD14s  and such.
G'night, y'all.