Bluff Neighborhood Construction Report 10-30-16

I’ll lead off with some updates and corrections. With regard to last week’s post, I have been advised that the potted plant came courtesy of another neighbor, Neacie Middleton. Thanks, Neacie!

As for the mysterious exercise equipment shown in my October 9 and October 16 posts, I have been informed by neighbors that it is used for American Ninja Warrior training, after a TV show that is very popular with the boys in the neighborhood. The mother of two of them wrote, “Yes, we have ninjas in training here on the bluff. (Thank you to Pauline for assistance in extending their training course with pool noodle hurdles and the like.) I’m certain that you all feel much safer now. J

252 N. Bayview Street

When I visited yesterday, cleaners were just completing the job of sweeping and cleaning up the mess throughout the house. They agreed with me that it had been pretty horrendous. For example, here’s one of the downstairs bedrooms as seen on September 17.

Here it is yesterday after cleaning.

Much of the junk had been moved to the bathroom (after the tub and toilet had been cleared of the debris shown in my October 9 post).

And here’s the “back room” after cleaning. By the way, the “demolition plan” I mentioned last week confirms that the kitchen sink (right) will be reused in what is now the laundry room.

Now that the back room is so cleared up, I noticed for the first time this depression or recess in the flooring.

From looking at a photo made in August (detail below) the area appears to have been the site of a raised brick hearth. The wall-mounted air conditioner (or possibly heat pump) suggests that, when this room was added on, it was not included in whatever HVAC system was used in the original part of the house. So I’m speculating that this area was a fireproof platform for a freestanding woodstove or gas heater. The wall behind it was probably covered with asbestos, metal, or some other fire-resistant material.

I have no theories at all about the gaps in the flooring in the back bedroom.

I am assuming that the next major step in construction will be flooring, but, as noted before, this is going to present a challenge. In some places where there was at least some hardwood flooring before (as shown in the first photo below, taken July 9), it has now been taken up. What remains is disintegrating plywood underlayment, which will surely have to be replaced. What flooring remains is much spotted with joint compound and will have to be sanded down.

At some point in the past month, a bead board ceiling has been added to the screened porch.

The ceiling of the open porch displays even more beautiful salvaged bead board.

I mentioned last week that the front steps were becoming dilapidated. Their deterioration was even more evident this weekend.

The brick planter is also falling apart, or perhaps being demolished, since that seems to be part of the plan.

Above the front windows, something is now finally happening. Some of the MiraTEC trim has been added in a layered fashion, tapering from top to bottom, that will be quite attractive.

352 N. Summit Street

Progress has been made both inside and out. When I passed yesterday, workers were applying a metal roof, which today appears complete, though there are still scraps of roofing lying about (in the background of the last photo, you can see 351 N. Summit across the street).

Inside, insulation has been applied upstairs.

As prescribed by the plans, blown foam is used in the outside walls and fiberglass batts in interior partitions.

Either the insulation crew cleaned up after themselves very well, or they did a much neater job than I’ve seen at any other construction site. These few crumbs of foam were the exception, as most of the floors were quite clean.

351 N. Summit Street

At a neighborhood picnic last Sunday, I buttonholed Vance McCown, the builder/owner, and asked him point-blank whether his house was at a standstill. Oh, no, he protested. Although there is no discernible change downstairs, “the floor guy” is working on tile work in the upstairs bathrooms. This crate contained scraps of the marble being used for the showers and floors.

I also commented on the staining of the front door (only), and again he corrected me: in fact, all the doors have been stained; the front door just has a darker stain. The rest have a sort of pickled appearance; here, for example, is the door from the breezeway into the kitchen.

Sometime since mid-September (I’m not sure when because I haven’t been around the back of the house in a while), the back (left, west) portion of the fence, which previously was taller (see photos in my August 7, August 28, and September 18 posts), has now been cut down to be shorter than the front (right, east) portion.

In the front yard, a circular area has been marked with red paint. That will be the location of the dish that can be seen in the background, which will be made into a fountain.

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