Seattle House Update

Here is part 2 to the ongoing remodel of the Seattle house.  If you missed part 1, or need to refresh your memory of what it looked like, here is a link to part 1.

This post brings us to September.

By the time my family was in Seattle for my mom’s memorial, the construction on the house was going full speed.  One of the biggest changes to the house was the addition of a new electrical service panel.  The old one was over 20 years old and had been recalled by the manufacturer for a fire hazard.  Nice, yeh?  I also didn’t want the wires coming in over the driveway on the south side of the house any longer and wanted the service moved to the north side of the house.  Since I was upgrading the electrical panel to a 200 amp system and moving it from the south wall of the basement, moving the service on the outside of the house did not cost that much.  There were some code issues with this which forced the electrician to install a tall mast over the chimney in order to get some clearance from the street, but other than that, there were no issues.

This photo is from the front yard looking at the new mast.  The wires have not yet been installed.  I told the electrician to leave the TV antenna up.  You’ll also note in the photo the outside motion lights under the eave.  These were left in place, however the conduit containing the wiring for the lights were removed.  As part of the whole house wiring upgrade, he removed all the external wires on the house and re-roped all of that from inside the house.  So all the added cables for TV, satellite TV, internet and motion lights (some added by me, some by previous tenants) were removed from the outside of the house.  So, that conduit you see in the photo is now gone.  The photo on the right shows the mast connecting down to the new panel.

Down on the ground, the electrician ran a new conduit from the panel, around the chimney and then re-entered the house.  This conduit is plastic and can be repainted later, as can the mast.  The piles of bricks are from the egress window well.  You’ll see that in a little bit.  Notice all the cables attached to the outside of the house in these photos?  Yes, all gone!!  Tenants, uuugggghhhh!

Inside the house, the new electrical conduit ran the length of the main north/south beam and back to the laundry room.  Originally, the plan was to have the new panel on the wall right where the service entered the house, but that would have put it right in the living room and I was talked out of this.  I’m glad I was.

In the photo on the left, you see the new conduit entering the house and following the beam.  In the right hand photo you see it continuing along and the new panel near the bottom of the photo.  In the bottom photo you see the framed out wall for the laundry room and a good view of the new electrical panel.  In that same photo you see the closet that will be in the laundry room.  If you look closely under the stairs, you’ll see another wall under the stairs.  This wall is separating the office side from the laundry room side.  The network panel will be on this wall under the stairs facing the office.

Having all this electrical work done was very expensive.  It was easily about 20% of the total cost of the remodel.  On top of all the wiring in the basement, we had the entire upstairs, attic and outside re-roped as well.  It’s a huge relief having everything brought up to code in the house though.  Well worth the investment.  My electrician was great too.  He had a background in networking too.  I wanted a LAN system installed in the house during this remodel, both in the basement and upstairs.  He did this for me and knew what I was talking about.  He talked me into a network panel for the house as well.  When he mentioned this, I balked at first, till I talked to some friends here in Boise about it.  To a man, they all said,”Yes, do it!”

These next two photos show the new office (the old work shop).  On the back wall of the photo on the left you see the old electrical panel.  On the photo on the right you can see the wall under the stairs better and the laundry room in the background.  The wall the old electrical panel is on is the south wall.  The laundry is in the southwest corner of the basement.  Note all the wiring hanging down all over the place.  Crazy.  The electrician really had his work cut out for him.  What a mess.  The furniture you are seeing is the items we bought at Ikea.  They all will be staying with us after the remodel.

On to the laundry room.

The photo on the left is me standing in the doorway to the laundry room.  For reference, the new electrical panel is on the left (behind the shadow of my finger).  The washer and dryer will eventually be installed on that west wall.  The washer is there already in this photo.  To the immediate right of the photo is a small alcove that wasn’t in the original plans.  When they framed things out they found some dead space in the wall and we decided to leave it open to give us a bit more shelf space for towels, etc.

The photo on the right is where the laundry room cabinets will end up.  The plumbing on the wall is for the utility sink.  The other side of that wall (where the ladder is currently standing) is the walk in shower for the bathroom.  To the immediate right of this photo you can see the saw blades in the bottom corner of the photo.   The blades are sitting in that alcove I mentioned.  You can also see the new wall framing around the window above where the dryer will be going.  These windows will be awning style windows and will open with a crank handle.

Here is the new 95% efficient furnace.  In the background you can see the 14-year old water heater.  Ouch.  I’m glad they made them well back in the day!  You see that duct work following the wall and hanging from the ceiling?  There will be two of those on that wall in an over-under configuration.  One is the hot air out, the other will be the cold air return.  The contractor, Rich from Rich Design Group, had to get a special waiver to do this.  The building inspector was hesitant, but realized how space was important and if they were both run along the ceiling we would have lost about 8″ of overhead space.  The problem with running them along the wall was, by code, they could not be against an exposed wall.  They had to be against an insulated 2×4 or 2×6 wall.  Again, space was important.  So, Rich got the inspector to sign off on that silver insulation you see on the wall.  It is rated to the same insulation rating.  So, the inspector went along with it.  The two pieces of duct work will not hang all the way to the floor, so there will be some shelves framed out into the wall to use up that space so it won’t go to waste.  In fact, no space in the basement went wasted!  We used every nook possible for shelf or storage.  The yellow pipe along the ceiling is the gas pipe running to the hot water tank.  That was later removed as well.

These next three are the bedroom.

The bedroom is in the northwest corner of the basement.  The photo on the left shows the closet on the left and one of the two windows.  This is also an awning window like the laundry room.  The bed will go right where that red air compressor is on the floor.  The metal brackets on the foundation wall is part of the earthquake retrofitting that was done for the house.  You’ll see those brackets all around the foundation in these photos.  The photo on the right shows the new egress window.  It’s not really new.  It used to be the same size as the other awning windows.  They had to cut it out to make it to code.  It is boarded up right now since the windows are still on order and haven’t been installed yet.

Here is the bedroom closet.  The piping in the back wall of the closet is the plumbing for the sinks in the bath (our next stop on the tour).  To the left is the short hall way leading to the bath and living room from the bedroom.  In that hall way you see a beam sticking out from the support wall.  That beam will form one side of the door leading into/out of the bedroom.  If you go back to my previous post about the remodel you’ll notice the toilet has been turned around.  There wasn’t much of a choice on this.  Because of the way the bathroom was laid out, the toilet really had to be turned around.  This was kind of bummer since it was very expensive to have this done.  They had to jack hammer the concrete floor out, dig down to the piping and rework all of it to put the toilet right in that spot.  The same had to be done for the shower drain.  The plumbing in the basement was also a large part of the cost of the remodel, as you can imagine.  The toilet you see in the photo was a temporary one put in by the contractors so they didn’t have to use the bathroom upstairs.

So, on the left, I’m standing in the doorway to the toilet room looking back at where the bath cabinets are going to sit.  There will be two sinks, two mirrors and two lights up above.  This was also a point of debate.  Do we do one sink or two?  Again, the more expensive version was chosen.  But it made sense.  You can’t really call it a master bath with just a single sink.  The argument can be made that, yes you can, but really, you can’t.  We had the room for two sinks so we decided to go with it.

On the right you are looking at the walk-in shower.  All the old pipes on the wall have been torn down and re-worked to flow against the all or through the walls.  A lot of head space was gained by this.  Oh, yeah, it added about $2,000 to the bill too.  Unbelievable.  You can see all the new poured concrete on the floor where they had to dig out the drain for the shower and new toilet location.  The shower head will be on the foundation wall to the right of the ladder.  In the wall closest to the camera, you can see the copper pipes for the shower on/off valve.  The on/off valve was put on this wall instead of under the shower head for two reasons.  First, if it was put under the shower head and something broke or it needed replacement, we would have to cut out the tile wall in the shower to get to the valve.  The way we have it now, we just have to cut out the drywall and get to it from behind the valve instead of cutting tiles off.  The other reason is we can reach it from the comfort of the dry side of the shower and not have to reach into the water stream from the shower head to adjust the water temperature.

I’ve mentioned a couple times the support wall or main beam in the basement.  This wall/beam runs north/south in the basement.  We used this beam for the wall separating the bedroom from the new living room (or entertainment room) in the basement.  Putting this wall here also added to the support strength to the beam.  Rich installed a new beam into this wall as well.  This added strength to the beam for the upstairs.  These photos were taken from the bedroom side.  In the photo on the right you see the new beam in the wall.  It is set into its own new concrete pier and then strapped down for earthquake retrofit.  All the beams were re-enforced for earthquake retrofit.

Lastly, back outside.

On the left is the new gas tankless hot water heater.  Originally this was going to be put inside the basement in the laundry room.  But of course we had issues with that.  The main problem was the venting for it.  Code would not allow it to vent near any windows or doorways.  So, the laundry room was out because it would be too near the bedroom window from upstairs and I refused to put the vent out to the front of the house.  So we moved it outside.  My only request was that I didn’t want it visible from the street or back yard.  So we put it on the north wall behind the chimney.  This way it is not visible from the street.  I was concerned about security too (imagine that?).  But it comes with a tamper resistant housing that has a lock on it.  It’ll keep bored punks from screwing with it at least.

On the right is the hole for the new egress window well.  The giant silver thing in the top left of the photo is the wall for the well.  If you look closely at the window you can see where the concrete was cut out.

That’s it for now.  I will update some more next week.


2 Responses to “Seattle House Update”

  1. Seattle House Update, pt3 « News From Summit Ridge Says:

    […] Seattle House Update, pt3 January 2, 2010 — rich If you have missed, or need a refresher, here is part 1 and part 2. […]


  2. First Impressions « News From Summit Ridge Says:

    […] this is your first peek at the Seattle house remodel, you can see part 1, part 2 and part 3 at these […]


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