20th Street New Duplex: Back on Track



For a variety of reasons, movement on this project slowed during the holidays then started up again mid-January. Some good progress has been made since so I thought it was time for an update.

As a reminder and for those who may be new to this portion of the blog, the entire project includes a facelift of the 120 year old house – an upstairs/downstairs duplex (I live upstairs), and construction of a new modern duplex next door but on the same lot. The remodel of the existing house was complete in November. If you want to see where we started and how we got here, you can review previous blog entries all from this page.

12/30/2020: We finally got all of the outside lighting up and I’m super happy with it. I love the warm look it brings to the house at night. And the lights are LED with sunlight detection, so they just go on and off automatically as it gets darker and lighter outside. I love that feature!

View from the alley at the back of the house.

1/14/2021: The first load of cinder blocks arrive to build the firewall required for the new construction.

The foundation had been poured on Halloween. So 2.5 months later, we were finally taking the next step.

1/25/2021: This lot is zoned commercial so there are no setback requirements (residential building codes typically require you keep at least 5 feet open between building and the lot line). We are building to the lot line to take advantage of the space. Because of that, a firewall is required by building code wherever we are building to the lot line. So that’s essentially the entire east and south borders. It needs to be 12 feet high for the 1-story parts, and 23 feet high for the 2 story section in the corner.

1/25/2021: Making progress. Weather gets in the way of them moving super fast this time of year. We had hoped to get this done in November so we could avoid all that but oh well. This is the south wall.

1/25/2021: The east wall. That building is the American Heart Association on O Street.

2/3/2021: More cinder block arrives.

2/3/2021: These 2 buys did the entire wall by themselves.

2/9/2021: The 12 foot portion is complete.

2/23/2021: The 23 foot portion is complete and they’ve drilled holes into the wall which the framing will hang from.

2/26/2021: Concrete gets poured into the cinder block wall to solidify it.

2/26/2021: The concrete is coming out of the hose, they are moving it along the top of the wall to fill it in. (And by the way, see that building in the background on the right? That’s One Community Health, where I will start work tomorrow as Chief HR Officer. Pretty excited about that, for so many reasons. They already have me listed on their leadership page!)

3/1/2021: The first drop of lumber arrives for the framing. It was a scene out of comedy capers I swear. When the siding for the remodeled duplex was delivered, it came in 20 foot long pieces like this, too. But the forklift was able to get above the 6 foot security fence of the parking lot next door so it wasn’t a problem. Now, of course, there’s a 12 foot wall there. The forklift driver is asking me – at 7am – what he wants me to do with the lumber. “Beats me.” This is what I pay people for :). Luckily, Randy, one of the guys who’s been here most days since July, showed up shortly after and had the answer, which was the same as the only thing I’d thought of: pull back the temporary security fence across the front. I watched the forklift driver try to navigate these tight spaces between the foundation and the house from the 2nd story porch. After a while I decided it was best to go inside. Pretty nerve-wracking. In the end they had to just dump a bunch of lumber in front of the house (much of it still there) and just move it by hand piece by piece.

3/8/2021: the first of the framing goes up.

3/8/2021: As seen from my 2nd story porch.

3/12/2021: Dan asked me to send him photos of the progress. He noticed right away this didn’t look right – those doors and windows are supposed to be the same height. We pointed out that to the guys that Monday.

3/19/2021: Things start to take shape. This is the same wall as the photo above it, just from the outside. The door height has been fixed. This is the front entrance of a 2-story unit that faces 20th Street.

To the right of that, this is a single car driveway leading to a single car garage. We’d wanted a tandem garage here but the city wouldn’t allow it to open up to the sidewalk that way for safety reasons.

Front unit – living room window and sliding glass door that faces the existing duplex.

3/19/2021: Same wall as above on the right, window of a mother-in-law suite on the left.

3/19/2021: This is a mother-in-law suite that’s a part of the 2-story unit in the back.

Front door of the back unit on the right – enter from the alley. Where I’m standing there will be a detached 2-car tandem garage, but that will be the last thing to go up for access reasons.

3/7/2021: And in the mean time, I’m still living here of course. The weather has improved enough finally to enjoy the great new balcony off the kitchen that was part of the remodel. Ash fixed a great Sunday brunch when we had our friend Laura visit.

And that’s it for now. If there’s enough progress in another month or so I’ll be back!

4 thoughts on “20th Street New Duplex: Back on Track”

  1. Kevin Downes says:

    Enjoyed your blog. And nice progress on your duplex project.
    Your pictures are very clear and detailed.

    1. Steve Haas says:

      Thanks, Kevin!

  2. Karen Keene says:

    Great progress on your construction project. It’s exciting to see the pictures!

    1. Steve Haas says:

      Thanks! It’s coming along – finally!

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