Category Archives: House of Rock

Dismantling of a Box Spring

If you ever have to choose between dismantling a box spring and purchasing a truck so that you can bring a box spring to the dump? Buy the truck.

Yesterday as I prepared the House of Rock for a new tenant, I found myself with a box spring that needed to be discarded. “No sweat,” I thought, my ruminations saturated in overconfidence, “with tin-snips, a knife, and hammer I bet I can knock this out in 20 minutes!”

It took two hours – and I was INDUSTRIOUS.

The concept is simple enough: Cut off the fabric backing and the mattress pad, remove the springs or spring assembly from the frame, dismantle the frame, and roll the spring assemblies to fit inside one or two of those big black garbage bags.

Conceptually, that’s exactly what I did. But each step was a labor of Hercules. Wrestle and slay the Nemean lion? No sweat. Try rolling a matrix of metal into a cannoli.

Anyone who dismantles a box spring deserves an Olympic medal.

Off the beaten path

Prior to moving to Clinton, CT, I had never lived outside of a city. As such, I’ve never had experiences with nature creep – that is, the slow but inevitable incoming tide of nature as it slithers, wriggles, and scrabbles into, around, and through a home. Prior to 2013, I only knew a pest as a mouse or a fly. Oh how unexposed I was! Since purchasing this home, every year we’ve fought off a different invader.

Year 1: Drain flies

Drain flies live in drains! Imagine that! Thankfully we caught the issue before it became a problem. We bought BIO DRAIN by Invade and it worked pretty well. It also smelled pleasantly citrusy and was easy to use.

Year 2: Carpet moths

If weird little cocoons show up on your carpet, be forewarned your carpet is being slowly consumed by this bug that matures to a moth. Thankfully, the treatment is easy: Vacuum like you’ve never vacuumed before! Also? Ceder and lemongrass spray around the perimeter of a room. It took us a solid 30 days to rid ourselves of these pesky bust mostly benign bugs.

Year 3: Artillery Fungus

What the heck is artillery fungus? It’s a spore that lives in mulch and launches tiny black modules all over your property. So far, this is the most annoying pest I’ve encountered. These spores can fire 20 feet in the air! AND, you can’t even pressure wash the spores off of siding you have to individually scrape off each one AND THEN you have to go around with a toothbrush and scrub off the residue.

How does one prevent artillery fungus from attacking your home or car? You can’t. It just happens with Mulch.

Occasionally (rarely) I miss the nature-less city.

Kitchen of Rock: Complete

The Kitchen is complete.

It has come so far from its point of origin when the drop ceilings and poor fluorescent lighting were marginally worse than the gross tile counters and the aging appliances. Eventually, everything was replaced. The first wave of changes came in 2009 with the new ceiling, lighting, and appliances. This weekend we finally completed the second wave of changes with the counters and cabinets.

Before (12/2004):


After (6/2014):


I am so relieved that it’s done.

Kitchen of Rock: Counters!

Today we look at the counter work at the House of Rock!

First, removal of the existing counters!

The peninsula came off no problem. Not so with the other counters.


I took this second picture during a frustrated break as I tried to figure out how I could possible get the counters off.


Finally, I made the easy decision: get help.

I hired a contractor to get the last counters off and help professionally install their replacements. The work is still underway, but this next picture shows where we are at the moment.

New Counters

Looking good! We still have to cut the holes for the range and the sink and get the last of the backsplash up and secured. This is heaps better than our starting point for sure.

Kitchen of Rock: Cabinets

The Kitchen of Rock has been undergoing a significant transformation as it prepares for its life-transition to rental property.

1. Cabinets: painted
2. New Hardware installed
3. Counters removed
4. New Counters installed
5. Backsplash installed

Today, we look at the cabinets and the hardware. Check it:

Note: 80’s wood colored cabinetry. Also, we’ve removed all the drawers and a few of the cabinets. Ignore that. Also, we removed the hardware prior to this picture. It was overly ornate.

In Process:
So… much… painting…

Oooh! Classy.

House Purchase

Tomorrow, Jen and I close on a new home – this home needs a name.

We’ve been toying with naming our final destination “The Keep” as a reference to both long-term possession and the strongest portion of a castle; built to protect. But… this house doesn’t quite feel like a Keep.

The new house is positioned on a very localized hill. It resides about 30 feet above all adjacent houses and, also unique amongst the neighbors, ours stands above the recorded 500yr flood record (though I question the source of such data).

As the house is expected to survive any flood, we were thinking of referencing Noah’s Ark. Conveniently, Ark is also defined as a repository for sacred items (i.e. Ark of the Covenant). We tried to identify the items most sacred to us and came up with one potential name:

The Ark of the Oven-Mitt.


Not bad.


The House of Rock has over 1200 sq feet of carpet within its walls. The Carpet is spread across 8 rooms:

1st floor: bedroom, dining room, living room
2nd floor: 4 bedrooms, hall+stairs

Carpet replacement comes in three steps
1. remove the old stuff
2. lay down packing
3. lay down the carpet

I contacted two companies to start: Empire Today (national) and Colonial Flooring (local). Both companies came in at roughly the same price. Empire at $4500 Colonial started at $5000. In typical salesperson fashion, both companies ‘started’ at pricing much higher ($8000 and $6000 respectively) and then found ways to reduce the price down to those above.

Affordable carpet (not the cheapest, but certainly not the most lush) runs at about $1.20/sq foot for material. With 1200 sq feet, I’m looking at ~$1,500 for the material – the rest is packing and labor.

Perhaps the easiest way to reduce cost is to do the demolition yourself. That took $500 off the Empire today quote, and $600 off the Colonial quote. Colonial, being a local provider, was more flexible in their negotiation and ultimately offered me $3500 to Empire’s $4000.

Let’s talk Demolition.

Things you need: 1 sharp box cutter, gloves, safety masks

Cutting the carpet in 3 foot sections makes it much easier to handle. While the Empire Today guy was visiting us, he showed us a quick and easy way to pull up, and manage used carpet. We took a video to share the tricks with you! Check it out:

(note: I am wearing a sweet DJ Lokash tshirt.)

Next comes the packing, or the carpet pad. Packing is rated by density and thickness. 6lb and 8lb are fairly standard on the weight side. That’s pounds per cubic foot packing. In the ideal world you’d like to have a thicker softer pad for living areas and a thinner denser pad for high traffic areas. In the case of our place, we chose to stick with the affordable. Since we won’t be living there, there is no guarantee that the carpet won’t be damaged by rough living. So I’ll likely find myself replacing the carpet again in 10 years no matter what.

I’m hoping to have all the old carpet up and out before Christmas then it’s on to the next project!

House of Closed.

The House of Rock is currently empty of tenants. Purchased in December of 2004 and consolidated in July of 2007, over the nine years of ownership this House has seen 14 residents and one official significant other: Mike D, Jesse, Mark, Sander, Tom, Jon, Liz, Jason, Mike K, Mike P, Nick, Kevin, Brian, Shaun (& his wife Jessica)

Their tenure at the House have varied from 3mo at the shortest to 6.5years at the longest (I am not including myself in the data set) with five of the tenants holding their rooms for 4 years or more. I can hope that most persons used the House, with its good community and mostly affordable rent, as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Perhaps the most startling aspect of this transition is the suddenness of the House’s emptying. The House went from a population of 4 to 0 in one month.

The House has experienced quite a physical transition as well. Tons of work has been done on this thing in the time that we’ve lived there:

1. Kitchen ceiling and appliances replaced
2. Electric fuse box made new
3. Garage floor poured
4. Garage doors installed
5. Driveway replaced
6. 1/2 the Roof newified
7. Closet built
8. Both Bathrooms rejuvenated
9. Pizza oven constructed
10. Dining room made mature

And now that it’s empty it’s undergoing one more facelift before it will graduate from House of Rock to House for Rent.

1. Basement de-watered (done!)
2. Carpet recarpeted (in progress)
3. Kitchen recountered
4. Paint!
5. Fix the tiny annoying things

We’re hoping to have all items complete before the spring so we can start renting to a family once we buy a new home of our own. I’m not sure how well that will go; it’s a tough market. Still, the House is a pretty great place. It has a wealth of space and a lot of attributes that I hope will be used with appreciation by a family looking for this kind of home.

You’ll likely see some posts over the next month chronicling some of those changes.
Tomorrow? Carpet.