Monday, December 5, 2011

New House - Mexican War Streets - Garfield Ave

Hi Friends and Family!

Well, it has been a while since I've done an update here.  I'll try and touch on the important things.

I am in a certificate program, World Christian Discipleship, something like a college class / bible study / accountability group / discipleship group. It is going well, and has helped me to be both more consistent in my prayer life, as well as more aware of my thoughts, and the spiritual world around me.

I am currently single and have been for a few months now.

I took a bit of a vacation and headed to Houston. I had a great time and really enjoyed seeing my friends. Thanks for all the hospitality you showed me down there!

I bought a house on Pittsburgh's Northside, in the Mexican War Streets, on Garfield Ave. It is a row home, fairly large, with 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, media room, and rooftop deck with a spectacular view of downtown Pittsburgh.  Currently, it is a complete disaster, and only one of the eventual 3.5 toilets is functional.

Big bullet points on the house:
New Roof, replace rotten decking & rafters (ended up being a huuuuge project)
Attach Deck Securely
Install forced air Heat & AC (including ducts)
Install master bathroom
Install 1st floor powder room
Install 3rd floor wet-bar for media room & use while on rooftop deck
Fix plaster
Complete new kitchen
Overall make-over with new paint & such

Here are a few "before" pictures.  When the roof is done (and maybe deck completed too) I will post some "progress" pictures.

Front Doors (french doors into tiny vestibule, then second door into foyer)

Interesting Vestibule Wall Paper

Living room, Dining room, Kitchen

Living room fire place, all in all there are 6 fire places in the house.

Dining room


Servant stairs, descend to kitchen.

Back room, sunroom.  There is quite a bit of rotten wood / water damage.  We removed the entire right wall & door combination and have framed in a new wall.  There will be 2 windows instead of doors.

You can see the porch roof sagging a bit from the rotten wood.

Under the main stairs.  I moved the basement stairs here, so that there is room for a powder room where they used to be.

Walnut handrail, pickets, and Newel Post.

I plan to keep the tub.

Here you can see a little bit of the plaster damage from the bad roof.

Third floor has 2 main areas. This will be the media / TV room.

This room is at the back of the house.  It will be a bedroom or office.  We removed the dropped ceiling and paneling from the walls. The windows will be replaced with something of a more-normal size.

Third floor bathroom and door to roof deck.

The terrible roof that caused all the damage... without which I would not be here.

The downtown view.  This picture does not do it justice. I will work to get a good night shot and a few more good pictures of what can be seen.

Work in progress.  We tore off the outside wall.  There is some dust in the air (not snow) :-)
We built a wall to transfer the loads from the outside wall. Then framed in everything we needed to, jacked it up an inch and a half, then reattached everything and it is as good as new!

If you have a leaky roof, get it fixed.
Thanks for reading!


  1. It looks like an awesome house. I can't wait to see what you do with it.

    oceans of love,
    aunt kathy

  2. Hi Tom,
    Clearly you have found your passion and I am happy for you. I look forward to seeing the end result in person.

  3. Can't wait to see the after pictures, Tom. We miss you here. -Teresa & John

  4. Hey Tom, the place is looking great! We should talk at some point. I'm your neighbor that lives directly behind your house. I think you are going to have your entire house finished before I get my front porch done at the rate you are going! The same guy who did the first round of refurbs on your place did mine as well. I noticed from your pics that he buried some of the bodies in the same places in both of our houses :) Shoot me an email sometime. mkuentz at gmail

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. “If you have a leaky roof, get it fixed.” - We usually repair our roof when the damage is already big. In this case, repairs might worsen the roof's situation and cause it to totally fall down. Regular maintenance is needed to keep your roof in a good condition. :)

    Jon Wright Industries