Wall: Done

Well… the wall is mostly done. I will now write the rest of this post in FAQ format.

Q: Holy crap…what’s with that huge fence on the left side of the building.
A: That isn’t ours. No idea why there is a new 16′ high fence over there. But, PAY ATTENTION THIS IS A POST ABOUT THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WALL EVER BUILT ON AN ALLEY. EVER.

Q: What did the mason say, once the scaffolding was down?
A: “This wall doesn’t belong in an alley”

Q: Are you accustomed to square, sturdy walls?
A: No, this is going to be an adjustment for everyone on the team

Q: whoa! Did you add a 2nd garage door?
A: Yes.

Q: Are those arches over the windows structural?
A: You betcha.

Q: What is with that tiny little door on the right side of the 1st floor?
A: That is a rough-in opening for a standard door. This garage is just that big. We could probably fit your garage inside this one several times over. We just choose not to – just know we could.

Q: Besides the new doorways on the first floor, what else has changed?
A: The windows on the 2nd floor are in their original configuration. The wall is built with original brick. The cornice is a match of the original. The 2nd floor loading door has a new steel beam overhead instead of the huge (and hugely weathered) one that was originally up there.



After one day of brick removal

…A few more days of brick removal

I think my twelve year-old self would really enjoy this: the masons have started working on the alley side wall of the carriage house. The work involves erecting scaffolding on both the inside and outside of the wall and removing an ungodly number of bricks. After they get everything down, they’ll built a new wall with two new features: 1) plumb lines 2) a 2nd garage door.


Have You Heard About the Pit?

There was an oil change pit taking up about 1/6th of the first floor. Out back, we had a pile of rubble. Naturally, we filled the pit with the rubble on hand. Here is Steph posing in the upper section of the pit. The lower section (about 4′ deep) has already been filled.

Here it is, ready for a concrete slab…. you’ll note the railings are gone. Hopefully, this will provide a lot more workspace. Of course, while most of the railing was bolted together… about half of the nuts were welded onto the bolts for good measure….



The Destructive Nature of Water

Rotten Joist

This is why we had to pull up the floor the the carriage house: the roof had leaked for some long period of time and the floor joists were absolutely shot. The roof no longer leaks but the damage has been done. Also… These were 2x10s going across a 24 foot span! This floor would have been pretty flexible when new and at this point it could barely support one or two people.

It’s Gunna Rain

It’s been raining for a while here in Troy. We weren’t going to move around our cement rubble (from our last project) in the resulting mud so we turned to an indoor project: Removing the 2nd floor from the carriage house! Half of this project was done several years ago by a previous owner.

Hydraulic Jackhammer

I was a little scared of the electric jackhammer the first time I used it…. well. that wore off. Here is something bigger and scarier. Turns out, you can rent one of these machines with almost no questions asked – ok, they asked some questions, “where are we delivering this?” “Should we include the bucket?” oh. and… “so, have you ever used one of these before?”


The driver told me to operate it “balls to the wall,” a phrase I haven’t heard in about 10 years. He was right, the jackhammer got seriously destructive at full throttle… of course this makes for pretty twitchy controls.

I think we managed to irritate the whole block running this thing at 10am on a Saturday. But. that’s how Troy is. It snuggles into its overstuffed couch for the winter. Then it emerges, pent up, with a long list of projects in May.