Life on a slant

I haven’t gotten used to the sloping floors yet and don’t intend to live with the extreme ones forever. I am saving all my pennies and will one day — maybe in five years? — have the back end of my house re-built.

One contractor explained to me how they can tear up the floor and put in new beams underneath and make it all nice and level. But considering the fact that the entire rear end — the part that juts out — has sagged, I think I’d prefer to start from scratch. A butt-lift, I guess. The windows are crooked, the walls are bulging out and it’s all too drafty around the windows anyway.

Here are two shots of the back alley (a really nice back alley by the way):

2017-09-17 06.59.422017-09-17 06.59.47

For a reason I’ve yet to understand but hope to learn, many, many of these houses from the 1920s were built like these: of brick, but with a little “wooden” extension stuck on them. Originally they would ALL have really hung/jutted over the driveways and garage doors like the one on the house right behind the deck there. I suppose once cars got bigger than Model Ts, everyone had to add on and extend their garages out underneath the appendage so their Caddies and Chevys would fit.

Now MY house, sadly, looks like this:

2017-04-22 23.38.42

Look closely and you can see the tilt down to the left. Also, someone added stucco to the brick around the left side (not pictured here) but very, very badly. The structural engineer was incensed! Why add stucco unless there’s something to hide? That’s my question. (Because if you wanted it to look better, you would have put the stucco on properly.)

The house has/had a kitchen door around there on the left, too (like the neighbors’), so would have had stairs coming down from it to the alley. Stairs gone, door covered up.

Since some water is leaking into the garage wall at one spot (right under that door, I think) when it rains really heavily, I’m going to have to remove the stucco as soon as possible and see what’s going on. I hope that can be patched easily for the meantime.

Anyway, back to life on a slant…

It really is a strange sensation — almost dizzying — when you walk DOWN in your kitchen. Most houses’ kitchens here are in U-shaped configurations with the sink below the rear window and plenty of cabinet space. Mine has been moved to all go along the left, straight wall. I put that one wall cabinet up (by myself, yes) on the opposite wall, but when you walk over the get something out of it, you have to readjust your hand and reach higher than you’d thought. If you get what I mean.

I also put a kitchen cart on that wall for some extra storage space and initially just had those composite shims stacked up under the legs. I bought shims in bulk quantities! Oh, yes.

Then one day I came upon a bright idea…there MUST be height adjusters you can buy and put on yourself. I was right! And you can get ’em…you guessed it…cheap on Amazon!

They are a godsend!

2017-11-07 17.08.19
The ones above you can screw onto a large vertical surface if your furniture is so configured. They were ideal for the bed in the back bedroom. The ones below, you drill a deep hole of the right width into the leg of your furniture, put them in, they catch onto the bottom and are really, really adjustable.
2017-11-07 17.17.02
Kitchen cart! This is on the less sloped part of the floor, I moved it back later and had to readjust them.

Then we go upstairs to the rear bedroom, which is officially the guest bedroom, but if you get dizzy or discombobulated, let me know and you can sleep in the front bedroom.

Here are the feets of the furnitures up there:

2018-01-29 21.21.02
This is the leg of the head of the bed! On the left only. The foot of the bed has one too, but not so extended.
2018-01-29 21.21.12
The feet of the nightstand next to the bed. These are just little plastic furniture feet.
2018-01-29 21.21.36
The feet of the desk/table under the windows. I might put the proper height adjusters under the legs one day.
2018-01-29 21.21.46
And the feet of the blue trash-day chair. Supported, too, so your back doesn’t go out of whack sittin’ in it.

Now, really, all of the floors in old houses are always crooked a bit. But this is really too extreme. So someday, we’ll rebuild the rear end of the house and make it all like new again. We being “me” and “my money.” When I have it.

Until then, I can live fine with the old recycled kitchen, but I have plans! I have plans!

PS: If you are still worried about what the structural engineer wrote, believe me, so am I. But the repairs that have been done are old repairs. The pier he complained of? Well that beam it’s holding up is dead-on, perfectly level. So, they fixed THAT, just not the door or threshold above it, but they’re being held. I’ve had all the walls in the basement and garage re-parged (that means covered anew in cement). I will be able to see if the walls start moving. THEN, I’ll worry.

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