Open Door

Open Door
Indianapolis, Indiana

Thursday, May 31, 2012

End of May Update - May 31, 2012

May has been a fairly productive month at the Bungalow. We've made progress and we've had some setbacks. On the whole, I think we've ended on a positive note and we've done a lot with the opportunities presented to us. Considering this has been an unusually bad spring allergy season & our business has been so busy, we've made more progress than I would have expected.

                                        Rose bush in side yard in full bloom.

Ron has spent a lot of time this month doing demolition in the basement of the Bungalow so we can repair the wiring & plumbing. I've posted a number of blogs regarding the demolition and there are more to come. We even found a bathroom that we were previously unaware of. The basement is now mostly cleared out and ready for the next steps. All the walls and the ceiling are stripped down to the studs. In some cases, even the studs have been removed.  We now have a clean slate in the basement and Amanda & Eric have begun planning for the new space.

Now that the demolition is essentially complete, work on the plumbing & wiring has started. The wiring in the basement is easier to address because there isn't as much planning required as opposed to the plumbing. On the other hand, wiring to the first & second floors will be more difficult since we'll need to fish the wiring up through the walls. We need to develop a general plan for the plumbing or there will be a lot of rework to do. Unfortunately, it won't be just be a matter of attaching the plumbing from the first & second floors to the new pipes in the basement.

In addition to the work completed on the Bungalow, we have been slowly moving forward on the Horner House. Some of the stabilizing boards have warped, allowing the outer walls of the West Wing to move. More brick has been lost from the top of the west wall in the West Wing. Amanda & I made a quick trip to the property and noticed the changes. Panic immediately set in. We felt a little better after Bill came by and said it might not be as bad as it looked.

Amanda & Eric met with Bill, Bob & Sonny (a brick mason) on site to see what all needs to be done.  Sonny thinks the majority of the bowing in the walls of the West Wing is due to the second course of brick pulling away from the first course, and believes it will be a relatively easy fix when they start work on the masonry. He did, however, emphasize that we need to get the interior flooring reinforced and stabilized in order to keep more damage to the exterior walls throughout the entire building.

Also, according to the Sonny, the debris behind the limestone facing at the Southeast corner was probably put there during construction of the house, and is not the foundation beginning to crumble. Most likely the proximity to the railroad and the many years of vibrations just brought the broken bricks and debris to the surface over time.

Another new complication also arose this month. Amanda & Eric's house in Beech Grove was hit by the hail storm earlier this spring, causing damage to the roof & siding. Bill and the insurance adjuster met Amanda one afternoon to assess the damage. It was fairly substantial and the insurance may not cover everything. It now appears that it will cost them several thousand dollars to fix the damage. Since part of the plan was to use the money from the sale of this house for work on the Horner House, our funding continues to shrink. We trust that God would not have presented this opportunity without providing the means. We just need to work hard and keep our hearts open to the possibilities.

Ron's on his way to Ohio to get his antique motorcycle worked on. Once he gets back, he plans to get busy again on the plumbing. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Work on the Bungalow - May 24, 2012

Descending from the kitchen stairway, you enter the room in the south east corner of the basement. This is the room that is behind the back shower wall of the bathroom.

In the photo below, you can see the dark wood paneling on the walls and a built in cabinet with broken doors. There was a lot of trash removed from this room prior taking these pictures and beginning demolition. Once we determined that these walls were not load bearing, the demo went into full swing.

                                         Room in South East corner of basement prior to demolition.

In the next photo, you are looking under the stairs from the kitchen. It is behind this green wall under the stairs where the bathroom is located. You can also see the utility area, one of the furnaces and the chimney.

                                         View under the stairs from the kitchen.

Here's a view through the wall into the next room after they had removed the walls on both sides. This is looking into the big room on the north side of the basement. As you can see, there is a pretty nice bar area. The north side was much more finished than the south side.

                                         View from room on south east side to the room on the north side.

 And here are a couple views into the south east corner after tearing out the whole wall. Everything has been removed - cabinet, walls, studs, ceiling - the works. We're looking forward to a fairly blank canvas in the basement so we can then design what the space will become.

                                         South east corner after demo.

                                         South east corner after demo.

And next time, we'll take a look at the work being done on the north room and the progress that is being made there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Work on the Bungalow - May 22, 2012

As promised the last time, you'll get to see what was behind that wall in the basement. Imagine our surprise when we found a 3/4 bath behind the wall. So the Bungalow has a full bath on the second floor and 3/4 baths on the main floor & in the basement - well sort of.  Unfortunately, it's either been a long time since the 3/4 baths have been functional, or they were never functional at all.

This first picture is of the south wall of the basement bath. As you can see there is a riser right in the middle of the room. The wire hanging down used to connect with the outside air conditioning unit (which is missing). There is also a small hole where a pipe also went to the outside air conditioning unit. The toilet at least looks like it was functional - at one time.

                                         South wall - View 1

This next picture is a slightly different view of the same area. As you can see, there was a sink mounted directly on the west wall. The water lines & drain for the sink have all broken likely due to freezing. Looking to the left, you can see a small part of the wall of the shower stall. Notice that it looks crenelated (like the top of a castle wall). This is a block wall that has alternating thicknesses of block in the wall.

                                         South wall - View 2

This next view is toward the east wall from the laundry area. At this point, Ron & Tristan had already removed the west wall of the bathroom and the rubble had not yet been removed. If you look really closely toward the bottom of the riser, you can see a white pipe teeing into the riser. This pipe went to the sink. It was partially in the west wall, although another part of it had to be stepped over when entering the bath. This angle also shows that the bath was just open into the area with the furnaces & water heater. The utilities are in a tight little L shaped area which would make it quite difficult to work on them.

                                         East wall - View 1

In this final picture, you'll really need to use your imagination. Just to the right of the riser, you can see the crenelated shower wall, The shower is actually between the crenelated wall & the south wall. The faucets were on the crenelated wall. We just have to imagine that the shower head was also there since it is missing. There is a floor drain in the concrete floor. There's no evidence that there was ever a shower curtain but then there is no evidence there was ever a bathroom door, either. The walls in the shower do not go all the way to the floor joists so there is a gap at the top around the shower. (How ironic! I'm watching House Hunters and they just showed a bathroom in Sweden where the shower is right out in the middle of the bathroom. Apparently they call it a wet room over there. Seems rather drafty to me.)

                                        East wall - View 2

Given that we've had to do all this demolition, we're going to reconfigure the basement and do some rebuilding. Our business will initially be using this space so a bathroom is a good thing. We'll be gathering measurements and locations for all drains, outlets, etc. so that Eric & Amanda can draw up some plans. They'll be putting in some office space, equipment storage and a break room, too.

And back to my comments about both 3/4 baths not really being functional. The first floor bath has a square shower floor. On the east wall (about 3 inches from the east side of the shower floor) is an electric wall outlet. It isn't even a special bath outlet, just a normal electrical outlet. This had me really freaked out until we determined that there are no faucets or shower heads in the room. Apparently, they were still working on it because the drain did go through the floor but there was no pipe to connect it to in the basement. While none of us are plumbing experts, hopefully, we can make things just a little safer and at least meet code.

Next time, demolition continues in the basement and later it's happening on the second floor. We're getting a lot done but there is soooooo much yet to do.  We're working as fast as we can and keeping a positive outlook. Keep us on your prayer list - additional funding would certainly be helpful!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Work on Bungalow - May 17, 2012

Demolition and clean-up have been progressing slowly in the basement. It's hard to believe that the more they tear and clean out, the more there seems left to be done. Today, I thought we'd take a look at the laundry area and some of the progress we've made.

To get to the laundry area from the bottom of the back stairs, you turn right and walk to the south wall, then turn left. The right hand side in the picture below is the south wall, looking east (left). The area was originally full of trash, difficult to walk through and very dark. To the back and left of the laundry area, the 2 furnaces and other utilities are crammed into a very dark, tight space.

                                                      Laundry area before.

If you look closely at the picture above, you'll see that the dryer door latches with a slide door lock, the type you usually see on the door of a bathroom stall. We don't know whether they are in working order but the chemical stains, rust and door lock make it very questionable. With a lot of care (there were chemicals everywhere), Ron & Tristan managed to remove all the trash from in front of the washer & dryer.

Next, they began working on the space where the washer & dryer sat.  They were up on a wooden pallet and there was a partial wall behind them. They moved the washer & dryer into a cleaned area and began to remove the rotting pallet and more trash.

                                                      Last half of pallet, and trash, where washer & dryer stood.

                                                      Cleaned up laundry area

In the picture above, notice how great the clean-up is going. And notice the small opening between the utilities and the partial wall. At first we weren't even sure there was a space behind the wall. It looked like a tight squeeze to get through the opening in the wall due to the utilities on the left side of it. And, of course, the pallets and trash made it feel like an obstacle course. We finally had a cleared opening that we could get through and a little light so we could see what was behind the wall. Progress is being made!

And in our next blog, we'll see what lurks behind that wall. Spoiler Alert! (Thankfully, it was actually a good find for a change.)

Once again, stay tuned for more to come...

Thanks for following our progress. We enjoy sharing it with all of you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Work on the Bungalow - May 15, 2012

Due to a number or issues (allergy season & extra hours at work being the main ones), I'm running a little behind blogging on what is actually going on. Work on the Bungalow is continuing, and will be for quite a while. We need to tear out the basement walls and ceilings so that we can repair the wiring and plumbing. It is truly amazing what all we've found as we've moved forward with the demolition in the basement.

First, there was a lot more water damage than we'd originally thought which adds to the allergy issues. Luckily, it appears that most of the damage has been done either by missing windows or downspouts that allowed the water to run off the roof and then down beside the foundation of the basement. We're getting the downspouts under control and hoping that will resolve the problem. (The windows have already been boarded up and we're planning to fix windows soon.)

The main room in the basement appears to have been used as a family/party room. This was a large room that was paneled and had a nice bar area built into the east wall. Unfortunately, this is also where several of the downspouts were causing problems, including behind the paneled bar. So here are pictures of the main room during demolition. These are pictures looking both east & west.

                                                       This is in the main room looking West. Demo is in process on walls & ceiling.

                                                       Another view looking West with more demo done & some cleanup completed.

As you can see, we are making progress. It certainly takes a lot of time to both do the demo & clean up the debris afterwards. Ron & Tristan are making a lot of progress, although it is slow going.

                                                       Demolition looking East in the main room.

                                                      Another view of the demolition in the main room looking East.

Notice that they are having to use masks due to the dust and mold. We don't know what all is in this area and they are changing their masks daily.

                                                        This is the south wall where the utilities are.

The next set of posts will show the cleaned up "main room" along with some of the other basement areas. If nothing else, this house keeps on surprising us.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Work on the Bungalow – May 8, 2012

Work on the Bungalow is continuing. In order to be more efficient when repairing the wiring & plumbing, we’re concentrating on doing demolition in the basement. This will also make the house much more allergy friendly. In fact, due to my allergies, I haven’t been in the basement since about last year at this time.

The basement has 2 entrances. It can be accessed from the outside, where a stairway “addition” has been added. As you can see from the picture, the stairway is attached to the rear wall of the outside of the house. The stairs descend to an opening in the back wall of the basement (in the NW corner) heading south to a landing where you turn to the east and step down into the basement. 

                                                      Outside entrance into the basement.  

The other entrance is from the kitchen. Again, the stairs go down heading south and turn east for a landing & 2 additional steps down.  The landing, however, turns at the south wall and turns east. This stairway is in about the middle of the south wall. We’ll need to put together a drawing so everyone can “see” the basement layout. The next 2 pictures are of the the kitchen stairs.  

                                                       View downstairs from the door in the kitchen.

                                                       View of the kitchen stairs from the basement after some cleanup.

The basement had been used for storage and there were a lot things that had gotten wet. The mildew smell became pretty overpowering during the hot March & April days. Everyone has to wear a mask when working down there, just to be safe.

                                                       Christmas tree & other items in background after some cleaning.

                                                       Halloween decoration that have yet to be cleared out.

                                                       Laundry area with trash.

                                                       Main room with an assortment of trash.

Notice the eclectic mix of items that we have unearthed.  There are holiday decorations, pure trash and other assorted items. Ron & Tristan have been shoveling the trash into bags for disposal. We’ve made a lot of progress in the clean-up but I’ll have to save those pictures for later. And most of the demolition is completed but that’s yet another blog. We knew this all had to be cleaned up prior to moving in but it's become a bigger priority in order to get all the wiring & plumbing fixed. We're back to making progress!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

End of April 2012

This has been a very eventful month. As most of you have already read, we did a lot of work on the Bungalow in April. Much of this work was set back due to the break-in, however, there has also been a lot of progress.

Last April, we didn't yet own the Horner House but we did a little yard work to try and make things a little more presentable. After our unusually warm winter, the grounds were even more overgrown this year. Ron has already mowed the lawn several times this spring and trimming has been more aggressive than last year. This has made a major improvement in the overall look of the property today.

                                     We think the yardwork makes the property look much better than in the recent past!

We got the gas and water turned on allowing us to make some major progress toward making the Bungalow habitable. Ron was working on the electric system, making sure all circuits were safe and documented. All of the cold water lines were repaired to the valves in the kitchen and baths. All leaks had been repaired. Unfortunately, we had a break-in which resulted in a lot of damage to our repaired electrical & plumbing systems. Here are some pictures of the damage done during the break-ins.

                                         All the wires were cut going out of the fuse box.

                                         The copper pipes in & out of the water heater were cut along with all the water pipes.

The basement had been dried out, however, with the recent heavy rains, things are a little wet again. Ron needs to replace the end on the downspout again to see if that dries the basement out again. (The whole "doing it again" thing is getting really old.)

We’ve done some major demolition and cleaning of the basement in the past several days (more to come). And we even found a ¾ bath in the basement that we knew nothing about! So now we have 1 full bath & 2 ¾ baths in the Bungalow – all of which are temporarily non-functional.

And we’re keeping on keeping on – hopefully making progress…

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bungalow History – Part 2

We know that both the Horner House and the Bungalow sit on Lot 1 in Downey & Brouses Subdivision of Irvington, In. But, we don’t know exactly when the Bungalow appeared. We were curious why someone would place a bungalow so close to the Horner House so we tried to figure out how, when & why it “appeared”.

We did find out a few interesting facts. We have a copy of the 1925 Baist Map showing the Horner House and garage on Lot 1. (This map also shows the other Second Empire, the Riches House, on Lot 24. Notice that the house fronts on Emerson Avenue. This house was moved to front on English so that a gas station could be built on the corner of Emerson & English. I’m not sure what the actual date was for the move.) We also have a Baist Map for 1941 that shows both of these houses. But the Horner House is the only house on Lot 1. 

So we know that the Bungalow was not on the property in 1941. We didn’t find out any more details until we went to the CPAC (Christian Park Active Community) meeting back in September. We were asking if anyone knew anything about the Bungalow. One of the men spoke up and said that he knew the history.

He said that his father had owned the Bungalow when it sat on the Northwest corner of Emerson & English. If you look at the previous maps, it was on Lot 7. The house was moved in order to build the service station that now sits on that corner. This took place sometime in the 1950’s.

We’ll need to do some more digging to figure out exactly when it was built & when it was moved. I never really realized that it was so common to move houses. Much better than today’s knock it down & move on mentality. We’re glad it’s still here!