We’re plugging along over here at Treehouse… with all the stuff that takes a long time, and doesn’t make much of a visible difference (plumbing, HVAC, electrical)  Exciting changes to note, however:  a new concrete patio, another wall opened up, some furnaces and duct work, a new baby roof, and most exciting for me… some cob blasting!  Check it out:


backyard before

Old porch is gone, new patio poured!  This new patio is also the footer for the new deck.  Also notice the Furnace lines to the new furnaces, and the new roof on the little side addition.

backyard now

At some point when this house was split into two apartments, a bathroom was added (it’s the small portion that juts out on the side of the house)… As the guys did the demo I realized all they did back then was enclose part of the old porch and call it a bathroom!  Even the roof over the bathroom was just the original porch, which due to years of neglect was completely rotted and warped.  It definitely needed to be replaced.  Because my new second story deck is going to go on top of this addition, we needed it to maintain a low profile, so we couldn’t do a standard sloped shingle roof.  The guys tried to talk me into shortening the deck and just not have it go over the addition, but that would mean major impact to the layout of the 2nd floor apartment.  As in, I would have to say goodbye to my double-doors-onto-deck dream.  Um… no way!  Instead, I paid a little more and had a rubber roof put on so I could keep the deck in its entirety.

rubber roof

Installed and running… just in time for the cold weather.  It hit 12 degrees here in Pittsburgh this week!  The only thing I can say about these new high efficiency furnaces is that they are loud!  Not at the actual unit, but a whirring sound at the outside exhaust. The furnaces at the loft building are like this too. Not sure how you can get around it, but I suppose that’s the price you pay for a lower heating bill?



This was super exciting… this is some of the last framing that had to happen and I still shocked myself with the effect.  One of my main design goals in this house is to bring as much light in as possible.  Especially in the first floor unit.  Because of the stairwell and bathroom, there are very few windows on the side of the apartment, which kind of made that middle living room into a cave.  By opening up a double doorway between the bedroom and the living room, the spaces flow together… making that middle room way more inviting.  I’m not going to lie, my heart fluttered a little bit when I saw this!

first floor framing

(what it looked like before)

first floor framing before


I’d say the biggest splurge on this project (other than the deck) is opening up the ceiling at the second floor.  It would have been much easier to leave the ceiling height as-is, with the centuries of coal dust up in that cavity enclosed for another century or two.  But I just couldn’t take  knowing that there was a whole volume of space up there.. especially when the ceiling height was only a little over 8 feet (read: depressingly low).  So we tore down the existing plaster, hauled away the coal dust (the guys are still complaining about that one), and finally cob blasted the joists.

Joists before:  (blackened from years of soot)

joists before

And a million pictures of the joists now      because… just looooook at them!!!

second floor joists

second floor joists 2

second floor joists 3

second floor joists 4

That last one was the neatest discovery… look at how the beams are joined together around the chimney.  Everything was so nasty before the blasting that I seriously didn’t even notice details like that!  They sure don’t make ’em like that anymore.

Well after this post we’re roughly half way through construction!  Soon all the rough-in and prep will be finished and the guys will be able to start closing walls in…  so that will be another major jumping point.  I can’t wait to share that one  =)


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