Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 2-7-16

Sunday, February 7, 2016,

As I walked today, I was reminded of Aesop’s fable of the North Wind and the Sun. It was in the low 50s, so I was wearing long pants with a lightweight French terry jacket over my T-shirt. Whenever I got in a patch of strong sun, I was glad I hadn’t opted for sweats, and almost tempted to take off the jacket, but then I’d walk into the shade, and the light wind would make me glad to keep the jacket on.

351 N. Summit Street

My prediction about the insulation was incorrect. Yesterday the foam crew was there again, and it’s clear they’re spraying the inside of the house as well. The fiberglass batts have been used in the ceiling. I ran into another construction voyeur (he and his wife are building a home in a new subdivision), and we discussed the house, which he noted incorporated “many nice touches.”

111 Magnolia Avenue

I’m afraid I’m going to have to close the books on this one. Although there’s still a portolet on the property (as can be seen in the photo below of the completed driveway and walk), as well as piles of brick scattered around and a retaining wall that appears unfinished, there are increasing signs of habitation (if not actual residence), so I’m no longer comfortable leaving the street to snoop around.


Although it’s not in the Bluff Neighborhood, I’ve been keeping an eye on 160 Fels Avenue, where you may recall that a small cottage was demolished. Yesterday the foundation was being poured, and the operation had attracted a small crowd of spectators, getting in on the ground floor, as it were. Some of these may have been interested neighbors, but I believe they also included the future residents. I deduced this from the fact that the group included two adults and three children, one of whom, clearly not enthralled, was sitting apart thumbing a mobile device.

The lower part of the slab may be a large porch but is more likely a double carport, while the detached slab may be for a workshop (the previous residence included a detached workshop with a separate driveway). The dappled sunlight made it difficult to get good photos.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 1-31-16

Sunday, January 31, 2016,

A balmy day today encouraged me to take more photos than usual.

308 N. Bayview Street

This mailbox post is new. Although you can’t tell it from this photo, the post itself is grey, to match the house, and the housing around the mailbox is white. The shape of the roof matches the tent-shaped chimney cap.

This leisure arrangement is not new, but conditions lately have not been conducive to enjoying it (translation: it’s been too cold for me to want to stop briskly walking in order to photograph it).

351 N. Summit Street

Workers were present yesterday spraying foam insulation in the garage, upstairs and down.

It appears that fiberglass batts will be used in the house proper.

111 Magnolia Avenue

It appears that the driveway and this walkway will be poured concrete.

The courtyard has been completed; the covered walkway connecting the garage and the house is raised above the courtyard level.

Although the exterior is not complete, there are signs that move-in has begun. This open door shows the foyer of the garage apartment.

Shutters have been installed in all the windows of the house, and a peek through the shutters of the laundry room showed laundry equipment and piles of laundry. Since there was a car parked in front of the house, I beat a hasty retreat.

Returning today, I found further signs of habitation but no signs of current occupancy, so I ventured to snoop further.

These views of the back courtyard show the completed back entry porch and a nearly completed outdoor kitchen on the porch of the garage apartment.

120 Kiefer Avenue

Remember this house? After six months of inactivity, something appears to be happening. So far the only signs are a portable toilet, a dumpster, and a building permit, but we will continue to monitor the site.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 1-24-16

Sunday, January 24, 2016,

The achingly blue sky in some of the photos below may give you an idea of how the weather has changed: our balmy but overcast days have given way to brilliant sunshine and clear skies, but with temps in the high 30s and bitter wind (NW 16 mph when I was out yesterday). Any shelter would have been welcome, but only one of our subject houses is still open.

351 N. Summit Street

Outside, there is no discernible change, but I took some photos to show the roofing, which is complete except for the two porch roofs, which I am assuming will be of a different type—perhaps standing-seam metal.

The roof of the garage is intriguing. I have no idea why it is split this way—perhaps to permit easier access to the window via ladder?

Here is a shot of the actual shingle pattern, followed by a close-up detail of the shingles.

Inside, the pipelaying continues. Since one of the terminal points is in the fireplace, I’m betting on a gas firelighter. Perhaps the other lines will go to gas wall heaters?

This connection is in the middle of the kitchen, perhaps for a gas range in an island?

Here are various other plumbing/HVAC connections of interest. I leave it to the reader to speculate.

111 Magnolia Avenue

No photos today, as masons were working on paving the courtyard both yesterday and today. I’ll try to have a better report next week.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 1-17-16

Sunday, January 17, 2016,

Very little to report this week.

351 N. Summit Street

No discernible change.

111 Magnolia Avenue

Well, the bags have been opened, and it turns out the contents are not in fact “rocks” but paving stones.

Work has begun on the pavement around the pool, and presumably the area between house and garage will be similarly paved.

The back entrance porch is also being paved.

These rather terrible photos (shot through a dirty window) show that work has been done on a marble counter and tub enclosure in the master bath.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 1-10-16

Sunday, January 10, 2016,

Very little to report today, I’m afraid.

308 N. Bayview Street

Further landscaping here.

351 N. Summit Street

As promised, a couple of shots of the house with the new roof on.

Inside, I am intrigued by the piping. My first thought was radiant hot-water heat in the floor, but this doesn’t look quite right for that. Time will tell.

111 Magnolia Avenue

The rocks are still bagged, but the bags have been moved out of the area between the house and the garage, and loads of sand have been dumped.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 1-3-16

Sunday, January 3, 2016,

No post today, as I am working flat out (and in rather a panic at this point) on my book review for Tuesday (below), but I did notice as I was power walking past 351 N. Summit that, sometime in the past few weeks when I wasn’t paying attention, (most of) the roof has been shingled. I’ll have photos next week.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 12-27-15

Sunday, December 27, 2015,

I didn’t think I would have anything to report today, but in fact, not wanting to disappoint my loyal readers, I have found a few items of moderate interest.

308 N. Bayview Street

This front photo is only subtly changed from last week’s, but some plants have been added to the beds in front of the porch.

These photos of the carport from the rear alley show that the upper level has been sodded and landscaped, but many potted plants and other outdoor items still remain to be placed. I have also realized that the last photo we had of the back of the carport (September 20) was taken before the brick driveway was laid.

351 N. Summit Street

No change.

111 Magnolia Avenue

Last Sunday evening my husband and I visited the Wales West Light Railway to ride the Arctic Express. We shared a carriage with two small boys and their parents. As the train was loading, one of the WW employees, warming up the crowd, came by and spoke to the boys, asking what they wanted for Christmas. Getting no answer (presumably the boys had been trained not to speak to strangers), he asked, “Do you want a box of rocks? Do you want a bag of snakes?” Needless to say, the boys were nonplused, and the joker moved on to another car. But I was reminded of this incident when I visited 111 Magnolia Avenue this weekend and found that the latest addition is a delivery of bags of rocks!

The bags are plastic canvas, warranted for only a single use, and in this case one can see why, as some of the bags had split, allowing the contents to be identified as definitely stone—presumably flagstones. Will the entire back yard be covered with flagstones? Time will tell!


Since it is not in the Bluff Neighborhood, 160 Fels is outside my bailiwick, but since I’ve previously included photos of it before and after demolition of the existing structure, I’ll post these photos showing that construction of a new house has begun, with trenches dug for the footings.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 12-20-15

Sunday, December 20, 2015,

Things are really winding down this week, with one house completed, one stalled, and the third locked up.

308 N. Bayview Street

The last of the sod has been laid, so, barring any startling changes, we bid goodbye to this house.

351 N. Summit Street

Although a crew from Diamond Masonry were supposedly loading up unused bricks last week, clearly they did not pick them all up. Perhaps these will be used for the fireplace surround and/or for the front walk.

Interior work was limited to wiring—not very photogenic.

111 Magnolia Avenue

This week both house and garage apartment were securely locked up so there are no interior photos, but the side entrance steps have been completed, and the garage door has been installed.

This view from the front porch shows some of the new landscaping.

This landscaping is on the east side of the front yard.

The graveled area on the east side of the house has two AC units.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 12-13-15

Sunday, December 13, 2015,

308 N. Bayview Street

At last we have sod, and the homeowners have decorated for Christmas.

Time will reveal the plans for this unsodded area—perhaps a flowerbed.

This seems like a good time to retrieve, for comparison purposes, a couple of photos of the original house that this (mostly) replaced. It was the home of Frank and Leona Feltus Newman. A resident of Fairhope since 1949 (and widowed in 1969), Mrs. Newman died, age 99, in June 2012, leaving a son and daughter living locally, as well as Thomas the cat, who has been adopted by the new owners, joining their own dog and two cats.

351 N. Summit Street

There was no discernible change this week, but on Saturday a crew from Diamond Masonry were removing the unused bricks.

111 Magnolia Avenue

Plenty to report on here. The front yard has been sodden and extensively landscaped, and I had to retreat to the street (even across the street) to take exterior photos because the sprinkler system was enthusiastically drenching the sidewalk.

The front steps have been completed, and progress has been made on the side entrance.

Inside, the fireplace surround and mantel have been completed.

Countertops have been installed in the dining room and laundry room.

In the kitchen, a sink and some countertops have been added.

In the master bath, sinks await the installation of countertop.

These boxes in the master bedroom are intriguing: a mirrored, four-door, three-drawer console and two mirrored one-drawer, two-door consoles. Perhaps they are intended for the closets? Or one might end up in the bathroom, on the east wall where pencil markings indicated some sort of cabinet.

Stair treads have been installed.

Upstairs, in the room at the top of the stairs, countertops and an intriguing sink have been added.

The half-bath on the hall has been papered with grass cloth.

Sinks and countertop have been installed in the Jack-and-Jill bath and in the “upstairs master bath.”

I hadn’t previously noticed this window in the toilet room of the “upstairs master bath,” which will make it much less claustrophobic. One thing I really like about this house is the amount of natural light, with windows in many of the closets and all the baths.

A parting shot of the landscaped house.

Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 12-6-15

Sunday, December 6, 2015,

Not a lot to report this week.

204 N. Bayview Street

It’s possible that this new section of fence and gate were added at the same time as the gate across the driveway. If so, I hadn’t noticed it till this week.

308 N. Bayview Street

No sod yet, but there are indications that a sprinkler system has been installed.

351 N. Summit Street

Still no change inside, but the outside is now complete, all brick and siding installed and the chimney finished.

The siding must have come from two different lots, as there is a noticeable difference in color between sections, as can be seen here between house and garage.

111 Magnolia Avenue

Outside, work continues on reworking the front and side steps. Inside, brocade wallpaper has been hung in the powder room.

New (or previously unnoticed) cabinetry has appeared in several places, including this wall unit in the passageway between living room and master suite (which is also the entrance from the back porch).

This vanity has been added in the bathroom of the “second master suite” upstairs.

This cabinetry in the “bedroom” at the top of the stairs, together with the fact that the room has no closet or bath (which I had not previously noticed), suggests that it will be an office/study or an upstairs sitting room/media room.


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