A Down and Dirty Update

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted an update. Some people have been asking if we’ve either given up and decided to become trailer trash for life or if we’re all moved in to the house again.

Maybe in two more days.

At least that is what I tell myself everysingleday. The truth of the matter is, we will be lucky in two months if we are painting and moving back in. However, in order to get through each day living in the trailer I tell myself, “just two more days and we’ll be done!” If anyone out there is a runner you probably can relate because we make mantras like this with every breath. Sometimes when I’m running I will count all the street lights that I pass, then on my way back I count down from ten. Maybe it’s just me. But that’s how I cope. I lie to myself until it becomes reality. I like to call this positive thinking.

Others call it what it is: denial.


So where are we exactly in this project for reals? We are about 99.8% complete with everything we need to do before we put in insulation and start the next phase: Drywall and Finish Work.


See…lie to yourself til it’s true. It works almost every time.

Our inspector came by with his boss on Wednesday for them to both check it out. I guess the people at city hall see our house as a “teaching moment”. Apparently second story house additions aren’t done very often – especially with floor trusses instead of I-joists and especially not without a general contractor. They gave us a green light to call for combo inspection next week as long as we make a few minor tweaks…so minor they aren’t even worth mentioning.

I would have updated sooner, but all the guts of the house are absolutely boring details. The photos all just look the same.

Down and dirty highlights from this past month:

  • Lath inspection passed
  • Drywall delivered
  • Insulation delivered
  • HVAC upstairs and downstairs complete
  • Electrical complete – this includes rewiring the entire downstairs – what a nightmare that was, the smoke detector circuits, low voltage wiring for entire house network and smart tv’s.
  • Framing complete – all blocking, all nailers, all straps/ties/clips/nail plates, all of it done. phew. soooo happy about this hurdle
  • All the exhaust vents and a whole house fan (thanks to all our friends who talked us into this one)
  • A million other minute details not worth mentioning that are all expected to be in the wall before you actually close the wall up.

What’s left? Not even a day’s worth of work.

By next week we should be insulated and probably drywalling. Then the pics will actually start to look good again.

If anyone out there is interested in adding a second story to your house feel free to email, we’d love to hear from you!



Hot mop, HVAC, Electrical and a healthy dose of distraction

This month started with a bang…really. A huge bang to my head or ego or whatever.

I’m 30.



The last couple of weeks we have been working on the house, shopping for Christmas and trying to squeeze in a little family time.

And Elfie time

Can you believe this is our neighborhood? And you think we’re crazy…
december2_second_story_addition december_second_story_addition

We’ve also been steadily working towards our combo inspection and took one day off from that to work on our lath inspection (since that one is tomorrow).

See the paper on the front? That’s what’s going underneath our Hardi board.

The plumbing is officially done, thanks to So Cal Shower Pans who hot mopped our shower.

While Mike was at work I replaced the flapper on one of our old toilets because it wouldn’t stop running (high five to me and my old lady wisdom) and we are now back to using the in house toilet and shower.  Unfortunately, during demo, we must have cracked the tank in the toilet in our old master bedroom and soon to be guest room (sorry Evie, I’m just not ready to let you be all alone downstairs…maybe one day).

Now that toilet will need to be replaced cause it is officially decommissioned (special thanks to the Captain who finally did it in).

Check out the fancy shmancy light switches though! Mike says you can tell a pro diy (oxymoron?) from a regular diy if they “clock” their screws.

I also stained the treads we are putting on the stairs and painted the wood for the risers (cuz I am super anal about finish work being pre-finished before it’s installed). I also bought myself a nice new random orbital sander for the job (happy birthday to me).

As I’m writing this post I’m sitting in the livingroom, drinking coffee, in my pj’s with the heater running cuz Mike is awesome and he did the whole HVAC downstairs by himself (I was there to take pictures and hold his tools). We still have the HVAC to complete upstairs, but for now this will do.

And a little close up:

And the ducting:

Can you see my Halo?

Then Mike and I moved on to finishing all the electrical circuits. I nailed in all the can lights (there were 30), fixture and electrical boxes and Mike wired them up. We now have all of our lighting circuits complete throughout the entire house and some of our outlet circuits. Including the sconces (makes me feel so hoity toity to say “sconces”) in our stairway and master bathroom.

I am able to cook in my kitchen because, thanks to running gas, electrical and plumbing, it is now functional again! I’m serious! My outlets, lights, microwave, refrigerator, garbage disposal, gas stove and electric oven all work.

Look how happy pepper is for me!

Today I’m going to finish nailing in some straps and A35’s and some truss clips while M’s at work and the girls are at school. Tomorrow our drywall is being delivered. It’s like slow rewind through the demo phase!

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!

Weather Forcast: Bright and Sunny, no clouds


Demo day eight-hundred million, six-hundred and fifty-four thousand, five-hundred and eighty.

Not really, but it seriously feels like it.

When we will stop demoing? I am ready for a new blog category!


I’ve got this sneaking suspicion that this is what hell may be like. Demoing with no end in sight. Not a breath of cool breeze. Never ending thirst, 100+°F weather with the sun radiating directly down on me without even a hair of shade, while the drywall and sawdust clings to my sweat covered skin.

If you want to know what it feels like, even for a second, turn your oven to high broil, wait a good 15 minutes for it to arrive at desired temp, open oven door, insert head…or just let the heat billow out onto you. It’s #painfulunbearableabsolutelyhorrible. And we have no water.

Thank God for the saving grace of neighbors who don’t mind us turning on their sprinklers and hoses and dancing in their front yards like banshees.

Hopefully our rain dances don’t bring forth the rain.

Now for the fruit of our labor, and to help you procrastinate on whatever you need to do today: here are some pics for your enjoyment, while I hate on the fact that you are probably sitting in your favorite chair, with your favorite drink, eating your favorite snack, in your comfy, air conditioned house (with a roof), and a lovely smirk on your face.

The new entry way and area where the stairs will be built. Like that high window? That’s where the landing is going to be (well, 32″ below the windowsill because I am an OCD weirdo like that)…
no roof12_second_story_addition
no roof10_second_story_addition

The new porch and front of house (remember this pic?)

The floor trusses that will soon be on top of the garage and bedrooms, forming the foundation for the second floor sheathing:

The garage and bedrooms where those trusses will go:
no roof8_second_story_addition

Even my lego houses have no roofs…
no roof13_second_story_additionno roof11_second_story_addition

Aren’t the similarities striking? : )

P.s. That was Mike’s panorama pic at the top….it’s a little bubbly.