20th St Remodel: Not…Quite…Done…

Are we there yet?


I’m sure I’m the only one who feels like it’s going on forever. You’ll likely think there’s been quite a bit of progress since the last post because, objectively, there has been. Here’s where we’ve been if you’re just joining and want to catch up:

September 16: The hazmat guys are back for their final stop to remove the last 2 windows upstairs and the last one downstairs. These windows on the north side had to wait until a bunch of electrical stuff – the panels are on that side of the house – got resolved.

For a moment the living room was Very Bright. Then they slapped plywood over the windows for several weeks until they got around to putting the new ones in.

September 17: We officially and literally broke ground on the construction of the new duplex…..

…and 30 minutes into it hit a gas line. I was at work when the general contractor called about 8:15am to let me know, and to ask for help getting the tenants out who had been unresponsive to the workers’ knocking.

I called them and left a voicemail and headed back to the house, a walk that’s about 8 minutes. By the time I got there, the tenants were out, and PG&E was there already. I could smell the gas as soon as I crossed N Street 1/2 a block away, and could hear it from about 100 feet away.

Gratefully nothing bad came of it other than the production of getting it fixed. All kinds of PG&E vehicles showed up and shut down that whole side of the street…

…with traffic control (see the guy at the top of the photo with the sign), digging into the street, the whole nine yards. They had to completely redo the line. Yes, it was marked. There’s a dispute about whether or not the line was deep enough or if the guy should have just stopped with the machinery and used a shovel earlier than he was planning to. Thankfully, not my fight and we have no interest or expense associated with it. The gas didn’t get turned back on in my unit until 10:30pm that evening.

September 18: They’ve started to reconstruct the front porch. Notice the lack of siding on the north and the two window AC units; that will look very different by the end of this post.

Progress made in trenches for the foundation.

September 23: The front porch is almost done. It didn’t have a roof before and I’m very excited about this look and function. The 4 posts on the 2nd level were the original posts that were on the first floor before. They salvaged as much of that earlier porch as they could so they could reuse it. Helps with the city’s historical rules in addition to keeping costs down, and just being sensible. Notice the yellow tape blocking off the frame for a concrete slab.

September 24: Like something out of an alien movie, the HVAC guys start installing the refrigeration lines that will be part of the new system. The upstairs unit will have 3 blowers, the downstairs 4.

This was the state of my kitchen for 4-6 weeks, after they removed the window which would be replaced with the door. I never did get used to it being so dark all the time.

The door was put in – sort of – and at least I have light again. It’s north light so pretty indirect and my favorite kind. I’m looking forward to having a functioning door opening up to a functioning deck. Soon.

September 28: I took this day off just to burn some time and it turned out to be a good thing. There was a lot happening, with 3 different crews on site: the regular 3 guys who are always here that work for the general contractor, 3 HVAC guys, and 5 working on the foundation of the new duplex.

My house was pretty torn up most of the day but they did a pretty good job of putting it back together. Except for the dirt. The house was Filthy at the end of the day. I’ve mopped a LOT this month.

The foundation guys were laying the framing for the concrete mold.

The state of my bedroom most of the day.

Eventually this space will be occupied with a detached garage for use by the occupants of the new unit in the back. The stairs on the right – the only way in and out of my unit at the moment – will go away as the area becomes a walkway.

I was sitting right in that chair – where I am at this moment also – one morning when they suddenly and literally start coming through the walls. They were right outside my window starting to tear the old siding out and at some point I guess punched something too far. Notice the breaks in the wall behind the artwork in addition to the one towards the bottom. Eventually all of this will get fixed, along with all of the inside window trim which in some places is in pretty bad shape post new window installations.

September 29: The concrete slab for the stairs gets poured. From left to right that’s Jeremiah, Randy and Brad, the 3 normal guys. Then Mike the general contractor talking to the concrete guy.

October 6: Good progress on the stairs.

October 9: Starting to lay plumbing for the new duplex. And, redwood for the decks of the existing one. Coming soon….

October 9: Siding on the northside complete. The stringers (a new term I learned that I really didn’t need to know) for the stairs are in and painted in the correct color. HVAC is completely running – notice the 2 compressors, one for each unit, and the window units are gone. The piping is still a bit of a mess but they have plans to clean all that up and hide it somehow.

north side of the house still looking like a mess

Just a reminder that this is what it looked like last time. (That’s more for my benefit than yours…)

The front is shaping up nicely.

door replaced window in kitchen

You saw this door earlier, but notice the little white thing top right – that’s one of the HVAC blowers: 3 upstairs, 4 downstairs.

New windows are in the living room, with the HVAC blower top center. And, the window unit is out of the window on the left. I’m surprised at the difference that made in the lighting of the room….

…and so happy that I have a nice little view of the neighborhood now. I’m shocked at the affect this has on me. I really do love Midtown.

The blower in the bedroom, top center. Having AC in the bedroom – even though I’ve only used it one day since it was installed – was a revelation. I’m sure heat will be even more so. This room was impossible in extreme weather. During that awful heatwave we had in August I slept 5 nights in a row in the living room. And in the winter, I use a space heater and electric blanket in here. The only other heat in the house is the wall heater in the living room and no way that can turn the corner it would have to to make it in here. So I’m looking forward to winter now with insulation and better heating. Should make a huge difference.

And that’s it for now. I won’t do another update until the remodel is completely done – whether that’s 2 weeks or 8 weeks – and then we’ll just see how far the new construction has gotten by then.

Thanks for coming along for the ride and I hope you’re safe and well wherever you are.

4 thoughts on “20th St Remodel: Not…Quite…Done…”

  1. Hi! Love your blog, and being a part of the process from the comfort of my recliner! 😂 It’s exciting to see the pics, especially because everything is looking so great. Thanks, Steve. ❤️

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