Second Story Addition Home Tour!

This post is long over due, but I wanted to wait until more shear wall was up to post it. Every picture I took (before today) just looked like a box of toothpicks.

You know how they say, “That’s something only a mother could love”?

Well, the pics I took looked like something only the original designer could figure out.

Which translated to: totally boring and a waste of time.

Sooooo, reeeeemember this?
no roof2_second_story_addition

Check it out now!

The hole for the front door and the entry room on the right:

The stairs SW began and still needs to finish:

So that we can get rid of this stupid thing:

From the top of the stairs if you would turn your head left and then right:
tour7x_second_story_additio tour6x_second_story_additio

Yeah, I know we have two kids, the other one wants the old master bedroom downstairs…I’m still getting used to the idea…decorated in gray with “accents of turquoise” she tells me. She’s 7, wtf?

The Master Bedroom, it’s 17’x20′ and that is just the bedroom people, not the bath:

View from the bathroom into the bedroom:

View from the bedroom into the bathroom:

A less clustered pic of the entrance to Mike’s closet:

Red’s room: Entrance and Alcove Bed
tour12_second_story_addition tour13_second_story_addition

She is going to have a bed that looks like this:

Red’s balcony:

Entrance to the Jack & Jill bath from Red’s room:

Entrance to Jack & Jill bath from the spare room:

Spare room:

See what I’m talking about? Mishmash toothpicks.

Last but not least, the view from the back:

We’re Done!!!

Not really, but it felt amazing typing that.

We did frame almost all of the second story walls and we did put about half of the roof trusses onto those walls (not nailed into place but kinda leaning on where they may end up). And I say “we” in the most general of terms here, because I’m pretty sure between work and the kids I only nailed one wall together. Add the heat exhaustion and I can’t remember anything else. Somehow I also took pictures.

Luckily, I’m more of a finish carpenter than rough carpenter and so my lack of skills at this point will be made up for later.

As of right now, there is only one small wall left for the exterior and one small wall for a closet/bed alcove in Red’s room.

We have not attempted the stairs yet, so we are still using the scaffolding and ladders to get up onto the second floor.

However, it has been pretty exciting these last couple of days. We can actually see a lot of progress. With all of the rooms framed out we can actually do a complete walk through, so tomorrow I will post the framing house tour.

When I take pics of it now from the street and back hill it just looks like a big mishmash of wood walls. It’s hard to see 3-d with 2-d.
(mishmash front)

(mishmash back)

There have been a few minor hiccups along the way (of course) where would the fun be if everything went as planned? Suffice it to say on paper everything works, in real life it always works out, but not necessarily as it is on paper. Walls were re-assigned, doorways moved (my closet door *ahem* – I’m still burning about this one – was moved a few inches back and a corner of my closet was angled to make the hallway more roomy – screw roomy I need shoe storage!)

The point I’m driving home here is, even if things don’t go as planned, if you want to enjoy the process (which I do, I reeeallly do Mike, I promise!) you have to let go, be flexible, and be thankful that you even have a closet home!

Here are some pics of the “process“. The pics above are how it looks right now though.

The wall with the entrance to the master bath:

A bunch of the small walls all stacked up and ready to be nailed in place:

Some of the walls being framed and already nailed in place:

El Capitán

Look at this Jolly guy:

My dad, for over 30 years, operated a residential and commercial plastering business, but because of the economy they had to close their doors. It’s been pretty sad to watch a man who was top in his field go to a standard employee who drives semi-trucks and holds no authority. My dad was amazing with what he did.

He was one of the pioneers for putting foam under plaster to create trims and shapes around buildings – now they sell those pre-made shapes at big box stores. He also had textures that were never replicable and people always paid high dollar to have him do their jobs-knowing they would get an amazing product. He never up sold anyone, instead he helped people see a beautiful vision of what their home or business could look like and they always willingly signed up for it. For years my parents operated their business as a sole proprietor-never worrying about being sued or personally liable because the way they did business was just that good.

Can you tell I love my Daddy?

Red and Grandpa:

Enough with the sob stories. We all have them.

One other thing my dad was known for was how hard of a worker he was and how much he expected everyone to work at his level. So much so that they nicknamed him The Captain and because of that he named his business Captain Artisan. El Capitan was one of the hardest bosses to work for because he did not like shotty work and he bossed everyone around with an iron clad tongue. However, he managed to have several of the same employees throughout the life of his business.

When we mentioned we were going to be building on to the house my dad (without hesitation) said he wanted to do the plaster portion on the exterior of the house.

Now I know why.

The man showed up Sunday afternoon, with only a hair shy of 4 hours of sleep. He loaded his truck and trailer (all by himself – the man is 60) with tons of scaffolding. Let me tell you-this shit is heavy. He was barely out of his truck when he began barking orders to anyone within ear shot. Immediately, everyone dropped what they were doing – even the air conditioner guy who just came to get measurements (with his son no less), and began unloading and setting up scaffolding around the entire house. My dad only left his post to show proper ergonomics of holding the long boards and to shout a little closer to the poor person’s face. Then casually walk back to the front of the yard to watch the progress.

My dad loves bossing people around.

In the end, though the work was grueling, and The Captain was unyielding, the results were worth it. We now have continual access around the entire house to finish framing, install windows, lath & stucco the house, add trim and siding, paint, etc, all without maneuvering a ladder.


I don’t have any pics of my dad yelling at everyone (The Captain wouldn’t allow any sort of time wasting activities like picture taking), but he looked a lot like this:
Captain Brownlee during a ceremony to pay homage to the British soldiers who died in the war, in Stanley

(minus the snow.)

(image source:

There’s So Much Room to do Activities!

There’s So Much Room to do Activities!

It’s been a whirlwind of activities here at the Hambel house. Between building an addition, full time work, and last minute trips to the park/zoo/pool before school begins, I barely had time to realize how long it’s been since I’ve updated this blog…but don’t worry, Mike didn’t let you guys down, he bugged me about it almost everyday for last four days he has been home. So, here it is!

Last time I wrote we had just had a bunch of our friends show up and help us lift all the floor trusses into place. We are so far beyond that now that I feel like summarizing it all up may be a disservice to my timeline.

However, I won’t bore you with the dirty deets, I’ll just post the highlights.

After the floor trusses were up we had to nail metal pieces called H3’s on the left and right side of both ends of everysingletruss. There were 37 trusses. Next we had to “block in” between everysingletruss. By the end I was finding sawdust in every single dimple and crevice on my body. I helped by cutting a lot of the blocks for M and APH (an all purpose handyman who has been in construction longer than I’ve been alive) while they nailed them into place. That took forever.

The blocking looks like this:

That was about a day of work. I know. I’m boring myself just writing about it.

Moving on. The next day (and a few more after that) Mike and APH glued and screwed down the 3/4″ plywood subfloor. We almost got an OSB subfloor, but in the end we spent the extra money for the plywood because 1. It would have cut edges near wet areas and 2. In case we blow our budget and have to live with subfloor for awhile until we can squeeze pennies into tile or wood floors, plywood doesn’t look as bad. Can you figure out which point was mine? It wasn’t the first one…I’m the cheapskate in this relationship and although I would love to save on OSB, I would hate to spend on fixing deteriorating subfloor so Mike made a valid point.

After all the subfloor was in place it looked like this:subfloor_second_story_addition

Can you believe it? There’s soooo much room for activities!

And from underneath:

I’ll post some more progress tomorrow!