Every project is a journey of ups and downs.  Sometimes when you tear old wood paneling out, you find treasures… other times you just find a mess.  Sometimes your ideas work out and other times, the city shakes their finger at you for having such naughty thoughts.  It’s all part of the adventure… so here are the highlighted heartbreaks of the past few weeks:


Here’s what the back of the house looked like pre-demo:

back before

Here’s a little sketch of what my plans are:

back render marked

And here’s what The City has to say about that (marked in red):

1)  The City says:  NO HORIZONTAL RAILINGS.  You know all those railings you see in the magazines and on fancy houses?  Totally not code compliant, at least not in the city of Pittsburgh.  Reason?  A child could climb it like a ladder.  I was pissed about this until someone pointed out that my dog also could probably climb this.  The designer part of me hates that, but the part of me that doesn’t want my dog to plummet to her death?  That part understands.  Mostly.

 2)  I am replacing the old crappy very small porch with a bigger usable deck.  The City also says that my new deck has to be 3 feet away from the property line.  Even though the existing one is right up against it.  Only way around this is to get a zoning variance.  Which I am totally trying for.  Stay tuned for details on that process…

3) The City also says that my new air conditioning units have to be 6 feet away from the property line….. thus putting them at the corner of the house.  Yuck.


all transoms

I wasn’t planning on tearing out all the original plaster, but with the haywire electrical and other oddities going on in here, we decided to go the whole 9 yards and gut this thing pretty much to the studs…. thus revealing a ton of TRANSOM windows.  That’s kind of heartbreaking because I would have loved to open those up again.  Sadly, opening the transoms would be going backwards and I just can’t afford that.  The previous owner installed brand new windows  and brick veneer only a few years ago.  It’s definitely not what I would have done, but I also just don’t have the money to backtrack.  Boo.

bad chimneys

If you read the last post, you saw the general layout for these apartments… which is a bedroom at one end with a large open kitchen/living space that is divided by the chimney at the other end.  In general, the chimneys in the house are all fine… except the one in the 1st floor unit… which is really in terrible condition.  Like, really bad.  If I had unlimited dollars I would rebuild the chimney.  Buuuut I have to draw the line somewhere.  We’re going to fix it so it is at least not falling down, but it’s not going to be pretty.  So, no exposed brick in the living/kitchen downstairs.  I’m thinking tile instead?

And that’s it for the breaking of hearts… I’ll leave you with a few shots of demo porn so you can see what the place is looking like in general.


Downstairs Bedroom Looking Towards Living Room

downstairs demo

Upstairs Bedroom Looking Towards Living Room

upstairs demo


One thought on “Treehouse Week 3: tiny heartbreaks

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