K. Scott's House

Before Pictures

(September 2003)

These are photos I took of the property before I moved in about September 2003. Any stuff you see in these photos was stuff left by the previous occupents.


(October 2003)

I think the first thing I did was to remove the stank-ass carpet that was in living room and the den. The carpet was paper-thin in places, wrinkled all over and smelled of mold and dog. I didn't even wait until I had replacement rugs I just grabbed the crowbar and up it came. The rugs were added weeks later. Turns out the living room had old 70's linoleum tile underneath.

Living room/den before

Living room before

Living room stairs before

den after

Living room after

Living room stairs after

Back Yard Wire

One day, shortly after moving into my new home, I was raking junk in the back yard and came accross a wire. No, big deal right, unless...

Yes a quick test with the volt meter tells me that this silly wire coming out of the ground about 12 feet from the house is HOT. Crap. So I dug it up and watched it disappear right into the concrete slab. Crap. Did I also mention that it was burried in EMT (morons). So, I played breaker tag and found that it is on the same circuit as half the living room. Crap.

So, I did what any good new home owner would do. I capped it and forgot about it.

wire found

wire dug up

wire capped off
(September 2012)

After two water line breaks in the laundry room I finally started to renovate the whole room. In the process I found where that back yard wire connected. It came up through the concrete slab and into a single gang box in the wall between the north half of the room and the exterior closet. I cut it, removed as much as I could and spray foamed the hole. I don't have a picture of the srapy foamed hole however.

Other end of wire
(June 2014)

Then, two years later, I decided to start putting a walkway around the house, largely to keep water and vegitation from the foundation and to hopefully look nice. This was the final opportunity to remove the rest of the now disconected wire.

Before removal

After removal


(December 2003)

Of course no house is complete without broadband internet access. Fortunatly I had this crazy basketball hoop setup in the back yard anchored to 4 inch steel pipe. The pipe was anchored like three feet into the ground with concrete. I am not joking when I say this was the most structurally sound object on the property. It was a real bitch getting out of the ground. But once out it made a very nice pole for my wireless antenna.

uprooted pipe


(January 2008)

My wireless provider discontinued their service. I have since taken down the antenna.


December 2003: The only heat the house came with was one small fireplace in the den and one "gravity fed" gas wall heater in the hallway. That's it! These people must have been from Alaska or something. The house got down right frigid. So, the first major project was a heater. I decided to go with a roof mounted dual purpose (gas forced air and refrigerated air) unit. Before I could do that, I had to upgrade the electrical service to the house.

Old meter

New Box

October 2003: The house came with a rather nice Mastercool II swamp cooler, but it had to go to make way for the new unit. Once it was installed I spent the next month running ductwork throughout the house.

Mastercool II

Rented a crane

Remove the old unit



December, 2007: I never really trusted the wooden frame that was built for my AC unit even after I added stronger lag screws. So, I had a local HVAC guy install a proper metal frame.

Move the unit

New metal stand


(July 2004)

Ever wonder why one part of your yard is a lot greener then the rest; especially when the rest is a blasted wasteland? Yup, you guessed it; Sewer leak.

Broken clay/PVC pipe

New ABS pipe

at propery line

only 3 inches underground

A hole the city fixed

(October 2005)

Well, my repair was good but where it connected to the old concrete pipe was pooh pooh. Also, the fact that the sewer line ran just a couple of inches under the concrete slab of my future hottub worried me for several reasons. So, in goes the new line.

old line

addition line

mechanical ditch digger

human ditch digger

90 to my old drop

old drop into main

a plumber

a ditch

diggin up old line

all done

new cleanouts


(July 2004)

About the same time I was working on my sewer line, Qwest decided to run fiber down the alley behind my house.


cut my sewer line?

pieces of my sewer line?

2 cut phone lines, one sewer

Power Line

(August 2004 -)

After Qwest trenched my phone line they came out with a trencher to dig a new line to my house. According to them it had been cut too many times to be patched again, so I convinced the trenching guy to dig the trench 32 inches so I could bury my overhead power line as well. However, since there is a serious lack of competent electricians in Socorro the project is still in progress.

I have been able to bury my tv coax though.

7 months later

inspection finally passes



I was sick

so I stayed in

old pipe gone

old wire gone


(November 2004 -)

My den, which is a converted garage, still had a garage floor. My goal was to remodel the entire room with heated tile, track lighting and new paint.

Den New Power

In order to use my new electricly heated floor, I would need better power. There was a sub panel feeding the north half of the house with two breakers. It was old, scary and insufficient. I wanted a new one.

old panel


100 amp BOX

Den Tile

The floor was the most work. I had to remove carpet, carpet nailers, fill cracks, level the floor all before I could even think about heating elements and tile.

removed step

removed railing

diagonal pattern

diagonal pattern

diagonal pattern

square pattern

square pattern

square pattern

square pattern

floor leveling

floor leveling

underfloor heating

underfloor heating

thermostat wires

my friends helped

dougan trowel


all tile cut

ready for grout

grouted and wet

grouted and dry

Den Track Lights

Since the floor was a dark grey or almost black, I decided it would represent the stage of a theater. To continue this idea, I purchased track lights that resembed fresnel lights, complete with barn doors.

just out of box

on the ceiling

on the ceiling

and now powered

Den Paint

(October 2005)

I needed a good paint scheme that would help represent a theater and also reflect the light well from the track lights. I tried several color schemes. I wanted a red component to represent a theater curtain and for a while I thought gray would go well with red. I was wrong.

I paid a visit to Sherwin Williams for paint advice. The brick wall ended up being a solid SW-6260. On the two side walls, one large and one small, I used SW-6600 base coat and ragged SW-6601 as the topcoat.

red and gray

faux finishes

Ah, hell no

hidden elec. wire

small wall

big wall

small wall again

Den Drywall

(August 2006)

This part of the house was a selling point and an annoyance. There used to be a wall between the original living room and the garage addition. At some point, this wall was removed. When this happened a cheesy "box" was erected across the span, I suppose to look like a nice big support beam. There is no support beam, my house is help up with wishful thinking. I liked the openness of the combined rooms but the silly "box" always looked terrible.

Since there is no support beam why not finish the thing off in drywall? If for no other reason then I tend to hit my hed on it. So, one day I pulled off one of the planks that made up the "box". The house didn't collapse so I got the sledge hammer. A good and proper mess was created soon there after.

removed a plank

found wire

removed wire

applied sledge

look insulation

added braces

cut 2x4s

remoevd trim

first drywall

metal corner

spray foam

more drywall

need more corners

built door frame

added door

added drywall

ready for paint

Finished door
(April 2009)

Some trim was still missing.

missing trim

added trim
(January 2014)

Finally got around to finishing the paint. Painted the ceiling and trim round the red walls.

Painting ceiling

Finish paint

Finish paint


(July 2005)

Early in 2004 I decided I was going to re-insulate my attic. The idiots before me had "insulated" the attic with 16" wide R7 rock wool for 24" centers. Morons! I was going to replace it with 24" R30. After removing the insulation from just the den I decided to hire someone to finish the work.

old attic insulation

16" R7??!!

that's gotta go

Fortunatly, in October 2004, god attemted to destroy the city of Socorro with hail. He did a pretty good job.

front yard

this was average

Lucky for me I was insured and thus began the replacement of my roof in July of 2005. They replaced everything down to and including the decking. It was rather springy decking even before the hail. They also replaced the trim and porch roof. Since they were replacing the decking I asked if they could install new insulation. They said sure.

old trim

new insulation

new tar paper

new tar paper

porch roof gone

new porch roof

new shingles

new turbines

finished roof

finished roof

finished roof

September 2008: The paint on the fascia board was peeling so I stripped it off and applied an oil based primer this time.

Stripped trim

Oil primer

New Appliances

(March 2006)

I was getting tired of my closed not getting very clean or dry and my fridge leaking every summer. So, thanks to some creative financing from a not-so-local Home Depot, I purchased a new washer, dryer and refrigerator.

fridge hole

new fridge

washer/dryer hole

new washer/dryer

Block Wall

Ever since I purchased the house I wanted a block wall in the back yard. My neighboors are ok with the idea so I am slowly working on the project.

(August 2006)

First, I had to move the sewer line because it was going to be right under where I wanted the wall for about 10 feet. I forgot to mention this when I had the entire line replaced. Then I had to have the gas meter moved because it was right where the wall was to go.

before move

after move

a plumber

with assistant

October 2006: I then began looking for the type of blocks I wanted. I wanted a color other than the normal grey and also a texture. I also wanted a very well built wall and a reasonable price.

Liking the right

good texture

colored mortar

February 2008: After months of looking I discovered I can't have all of that. After becomming dissatisfied with my options I chose to go with my neighboor's pick of a wall builder. The price was right and I was tired of looking and arguring.

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

South Wall

West Wall

West Wall

West Wall

West Wall

West Wall

West Wall

West Wall

North Wall

North Wall

North Wall

North Wall

North Wall

North Wall

North Wall

North Wall

North Wall

North Wall

North Wall

There was a big wind storm the night this small piece of wall was put up. The idiot hadn't filled it with concrete yet so it fell over.





Originally I wanted a 12 foot gate. I had a 12 foot gate with the previous chain link fence. I told the moron I wanted a 12 foot gate. He replied that ten feet was enough for a cement truck. I repeated that I wanted a 12 foot gate. Guess what. I got a ten foot gate. Fortunatly I was home the day the goofball was assembling the gate and I was able to show him how to do it right.





Other assorted pictures.

South property line

12in deep footing

he did use rebar

15" for 6" blocks

blocks in footing

bad rebar

power and cable


hand smoothed crap

not his fault

pre-existing humor


cracked already

August 2008: After less than two years, the wall that the looser built was collapsing. I could shake it with one hand and see through a big crack. I found a much better contractor and had him send his wall guy to fix it. He also added cap blocks which the boob never did.


Big crack

Cap Blocks

North Wall

Pilaster footing

rebar refit

West pilaster

South pilaster

West wall done

South wall done

rebar refit done

September 2007: I thought that I could build pilasters to hold a wooden gate in the front of the house. However, after an investigative dig exposed three seperate pieces of foundation and a water line I decided to call an expert.


and water

March 2009: I hired the same professional mason that fixed my wall to build pilasters for a gate. And on June 28, I hung a gate I purchased from Pacific Gateworks.




wet pilasters

dry pilasters

gate front

gate back

Ceiling Plaster

(January 2008)

Most of the ceiling in my house is plaster complete with non-knocked down texture that descends up to one half inches. So, on a whim, I tried scraping it off with a putty knife and a chunk about one inch square fell right off leaving a smooth plaster surface behind. A quick trip to the hardware store to buy special ceiling scraping tools, and away I went.

first step

close up

finished area

Second step


New Toilet

(May 2009)

The toilet that came with the house was about as old as the house. It was very small and flushed poorly. In comes the American Standard Champion 4 with elongated bowl and right height. The box says it will flush a basket of gold balls but I haven't tried it yet.

old toilet

toilet removed

damned bands

repaired linoleum

toilet installed

Bathroom Caulk

(Apr 2010)

The mold on the shower caulk was to entrenched to be removed with cleaning supplies, so new caulk was the solution. During the process I learned the many layers of my shower stall.


Crawl Space

The crawl space under my house reveals many sins in the construction of my house.

(Jul 2008)

First example, is the laundry room. I assume it was constructed when the garage was, but if that is so, then why is it at a different level? After construction it looks like it was refitted with new water lines. Notice the large gaping hole that was dug for new water lines and never filled in. Notice the bottom, yes bottom of the slab.

Gaping hole

Bottom of slab

Hole in block

(May 2010)

The floor joists are 2x6 on 16in centers atop doubled 2x8 beams on 5' centers. The footers are not exactly level and certainly not smooth.

Only three beams

Very strong twig

non-level sisters

Foot in footer

Laundry Room

(September 2012)

After two water line breaks in the laundry room, I finally started to renovate the whole room. I installed a door on the outside closet portion of the room in preperation for gutting the room. The water lines ran through a wall that was drywall on the inside, pegboard on the closet outside and occationally some pieces of insulation. They probably froze all the time but just ever bad enough until that big freeze in Jan. 2011.

Outside closet


And some plaster

I had added some R30

Demo begins

The next several pictures are exactly how I found things when I removed the drywall and plaster. Seriously! Duct taped insulation and 2x4s completly cut through. I'm not making this up.

R13 Duct tape

Cut top plate

Vent stack?

Cut stud

Really, I didn't do this

Drywall but

no insulation

But nails every 5in

Washer drain/supply

close to 16in centers

Check the drill holes

2 lenolium layers

Cut rafters to bend roof

Removed Header

I had wanted to keep some of the drywall/plaster of the north part of the room around the window. But, it turned out better to replace it as well. I was able to remove an entire sheet of drywall with just my hands. I think there was like three nails holding it in place.

It came right off

Mud to look like plaster

Insulation here and there

insulation under 2x4?

Now that the demo was finished, I could start renovating.

2x4 studs

16in on center

Drywall, tape and mud

R-30 ceiling

Recessed cans

Added nailer

New galvanized

and PVC


220v for Dryer

Tape and mud

Remove old insulation

This was once a shower stall

This was once toilet

Prybar for scale

New R-13

Slab above living room

Stapled in place

Drywall over window

Then cut it out


Toilet drain

I'll keep it


and clean


(May 2014)

I never liked the idea that there was no seperation between the foundation and the yard. This allowed water to come in contact with the foundation which can increase errosion of the foundation. Also, it allows vegitation to grow right up against the foundation and the house which was already pulling off the stucco. Finally, since I don't have rain gutters, the runoff causes unplesent ruts in the ground and just increases the water and vegitation against the house. So, I decided to create a paver walkway around the house.

I did this in three sections: the north side of the deck in the back yard, the south side of the deck in the back yard and the side yard, and the front yard.

I planned for the pavers to be an inch above grade and to slope away from the house at between 1/4 to 1/2 inches per foot. Since I was using this Brock product, I dug only about five to six inches below grade. This way there would be an inch of paver, 3/4 inches of Brock, 3/4 inches of paver sand and the rest was corse crusher fines.

Finally, I had all this river rock in the front yard from the previous owners idea of landscaping. The grass had moved from the soil and was overtaking the rock. Since the rock was not doing any good under grass and weeds, why not use some of it against the house.

I strung the strings to be at the top of the paver which should be about inch above grade. This means I could used a regular 2x4 to screed the crusher fines, as the top of the crusher fines would be 3.5 inches below the string.

Back Yard North

Before work

Dug out/stucco patched

Geotextile added

Compactible gravel

Edge restraint added

Edge restrains for pavers

3/4 inch pipe

for screeding sand

Pipe removed

and patched with sand

Brock added

Pavers with spacers

Edgers, more edge restraints

River rock and fill added

Grouted with polymeric sand

After work

Back Yard South

Dug out

Side yard before

Stucco patched

Side yard dug out

Stucco painted

Edge restraints added


Paint was a little dark


Front Yard



Old spigot in the way

with an electrical ground?

Replaced with new hydrant

Drain away from house

Stucco patched

Crusher fines

compact better wet

Up to wall footing

Tombstone for Halloween

Edge restraints added

Oops. Forgot geotextile under the crusher fines

Brock on top of paver sand



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K. Scott Rowe