Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The biggest project I have ever taken on.

So I find myself showing people crappy photos of this on my phone a lot, so I thought that I would just post here.

Amy moved her business out of the house over a year ago. We were out of space and it was driving me nuts. She rented a store front in a neighborhood a few miles away. Paying rent is for suckers, so when I saw a building that we could potentially afford we pursued it.

This is the dump that we bought. It is on the other side of our neighborhood, would hold value and could work. We bought it knowing that we had to put a roof on and do some other work. Not ideal, but better than renting a similarly crappy place further away.

So we thought we would get rid of the flat roof and put a new sloped roof on. That shouldnt be a big deal, right? In order to get a building permit, we needed the use code to be changed. It was  zoned commercial grocery, meaning that we could use it as a grocery store. To use it as anything else besides a house, we needed to go in front of the zoning board, or just move in and use it and never get a building permit, which is what people had done for decades.

Multiple trips to the office downtown (they dont answer phones or email...) we end up with an engineers drawing of what we needed. That drawing surprisingly costs a lot of money. Also the engineer downtown says that doing what we want to do is "new construction" and we have to abide by new construction commercial codes.
This is what happens when framers find  out that it is new construction. They tore the old frame building down and left the toilet. They used the toilet. No seriously. Also at this point we did not have a building permit, or a change of use. We basically went from having a very small asset to a very large liability. Fun.

This is gnarly yinzer dudes framing a building.

The framing went crazy fast. This gave us some delusion that it would be a quick process. Everything was behind schedule and over budget. If you have children, send them to trade school.

Finally the inside mostly done. We redid the cement floors, added a door and did some trim. Our friend Matt did the shelves. They are huge. That wall is 16' high.

 Blurry photo of the shelves and the desk. Looks pretty sick. Matt was so into this, it was really crazy how he built each box, and then mounted them one by one. He left a small gap between them to create that  dark line.

 Matt and super fast bike racer Mark Nicol collaborated on making a library ladder here.  It is on a track and moves side to side. Seems easy until I tell you that the floor is like 4" out of line. In the middle there is a ball joint that acts as suspension and allows it to move around to make up for the floor not being level. Pretty smart.

Finally, this is it. We did metal siding and big windows. There is so much natural light inside, it is crazy. There are 4 skylights and those big windows.  Pretty cool.

Google tags: Lawrenceville Pittsburgh 15201 art studio metal sales metal siding garbella studio screenprinting studio  custom shelves  library ladder  DIY library ladder 

Monday, September 02, 2013

Finally some real adventure...

It has been a while since I have done anything super exciting. It takes a decent amount to be in over my head.
I did some research and found the quehanna trail in pa. It is the most remote part of pa and from what I could read online it's pretty out there and remote. 
I packed my scooter up and headed off with the intentions of doing a 50 mile loop. I would start at Parker dam state park and do the quehanna trail to the eastern connector (shortens trail from 70 to 50 miles). 
Overall I was impressed. It was well maintained. Well signed. Lots of trail registers to keep track of progress in case people go missing. 
Being alone was okay and I played it as safe as I could. I would cook dinner a few miles before setting up camp. I would hang my food and my backpack in different places and not wear any clothes that I coined in while sleeping. 
The scariest thing that happened was after cooking on the second day, I was walking along banging my treking poles on the rocks as I stepped when a rattlesnake spooked me. I jumped sooooo far and screamed like a girl. It was the largest rattlesnake I have ever seen. It rattled a few more times as I walked away. Holy shit. I think statistically larger rattle snakes actually put off less venom, but whatever. 
That night I listened to eastern coyotes howl all night. 

Overall a good time.  However compared to out west or when I did the great divide it was not as remote As the Internet made it sound. 

120 miles of scooting to the start. 

Basically all that I saw for a few days 

Proud of this bear bag. 
Sunset a mile or so after rattlesnake incident.