Day 32, and we had another quiet, hot day. Dave skittered about painting, joint-compounding and finishing things, while Caleb got to tiling. And tile he did. It’s so satisfying to see something that you’ve drawn or imagined come alive just as you’d hoped it would. Lucky for us we got paired with a meticulous, careful, organized and happy tile contractor because he fits not only our expectations, he also fits with the actual project (details, details, details). I feel incredibly lucky, still, again, to have such an amazing team. So lucky.
Week 7, Day 31, and we’re in for a quiet start to the week. With a solo Dave working on punchlist-type details in preparation for a more active end to the week, we were able to NOT set the alarm for the first weekday in, well, 6 weeks. I slept until just after 8, and it was splendid. Dave picked up trim, painted, joint-compounded (spots here and there dinged by construction life), and just generally tidied the spaces. Fussed, I think the word was?
Upon closer examination of the cabinets, we noticed some issues with the paint finish – due in part to the fact that not all of the protective shipping pieces stayed on as they should have, so some of the cabinet doors were a tad bit dented, cracked or scratched at the corners – so we had a meeting with the cabinet people. A few door fronts are being re-ordered, and we’ll try to touch up some of the other spots where the finish looks like it’s been rubbed off (or chipped off) already and some bits of raw wood are exposed (not what we expected for brand new cabinets). Some of these issues are apparently common (but not foretold to us) to white painted cabinets; others are special, just for us! Hooray! (Voice thick with sarcasm, here.)
Day 30 and Phase 3: Finish has officially begun. Cabinets are on the wall! What a transformation! Seriously, it makes such a difference to have furniture (so to speak) in the room. We went from concept to reality in about two hours. It was wild. While I ran some errands in the morning, Dave and Eric conquered the range-top side of the kitchen (the east wall, left side). When I got back, we had a kitchen! Well, sort of. But compared to how I left it! Wow! Of course they didn’t do the whole room in two hours, that was just how long I was out. The installation will take a few more days to be complete, but they made good headway, especially considering that they started on the least plumb/level spot in the room. Nice work, dudes, as ever.
Day 29 and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Sunny, breezy, warm, but not too hot – spectacular. And it came just in time. The dreary weather had taken its toll on the Team, leaving them listless, tired, and just plain exhausted. Yet they persevered, rallied, and managed to turn out a day full of detail work, full of intricate measurements, and full of hauling themselves up and down ladders in search of a finished exterior. Success! Despite the stain (which we will apply), they finished the exterior! Brad finished his exterior electrical (save for the last doorbell – hey, a potential movie title!), and Dave and Eric finished shingling around the windows (including moving some fragile, antique shingles from one part of the house to another for continuity’s sake), and painting the trim on the new windows. What a relief to have one part of the job wrapped up! I know they needed the sense of finish more than we did (we’re no where near normal inside, so we didn’t so much mind the exterior as it was), and the knowledge that they got it done was not unappreciated. Good work, dudes!
Day 28 and the rainy gray weather just wouldn’t go away. But, Brad managed to do his outdoor electrical work without any trouble (I even “assisted” by standing at the foot of the ladder, and by holding a light while he wired it). We had planned on re-wiring the post light, but when Brad took a look at both the post, and the feed for the electrical, he discovered that the wiring was relatively new, and could be saved (hooray! savings!). The ground wire hadn’t been tied into the outdoor outlets, making them a bit scary to use, so he fixed that up, rewired the box, and voila! Safe outlets! Brad’s main work for the re-wire is almost done, which means that the next phase we’ll see him for is Finish! Within a few weeks, we’ll have outlets, lighting fixtures, appliances and switches energized and buzzing with power. I can hardly wait!
Day 27 and work cruised along steadily. Floors were sanded lightly to give the next coat of poly something to stick to, and a second coat of poly was then applied. The west bedroom closet floor was coated as well, and finish trim was installed inside the closet. Primer was applied, and the room was cleaned within an inch of its life (He even mopped! Thank you, Eric!). Durock was installed in the master bath, shelving niches for bath products were set in place, and the floor for the shower was packed into position. And, electrical work continued in the basement and upstairs main bath (where detective Brad found that previous electrical work we had done was NOT done correctly. Grr). Slow and steady was the name of the game today, and, appropriately enough, we had a reggae mix on to soothe the day along. Groovy.
Week 6 (!), day 26, and the weather matched my energy level. Gray, heavy, damp, cool. I would probably rather have been making soup, baking bread and watching sappy movies all day. Instead, there were three teams working – with three separate music choices – in three separate areas of the house. In the attic, we had Brad and his helper, Ian, completing the smoke detectors, and replacing all the floor boards; in the master bathroom, we had Caleb preparing the shower floor, and setting the in-floor (radiant) heating pad; and, on the first floor, we had Dave and Eric brushing the first coat of poly onto the stained kitchen floors. Busy, busy, busy.
Day 25 (Friday) was long. For everyone. The sanding continued on the densest floor known to man until after lunchtime, taking longer than had been hoped for (so it seemed). No matter, though, as the Team managed to get a coat of stain on the floor! Likely the only coat of color, the process will continue with at least 3 coats of polyurethane to seal and protect the floors. The process seemed the most physically taxing on the guys – so much crouching, bending, squatting, being on their knees on hard surfaces, reaching, scrubbing, you name it – but it also seemed to elicit a different kind of excitement. An excitement at seeing the early stages of a finished room? Perhaps. Excitement at conquering the antique floors? Possibly. Let’s just say, the enthusiasm poured into their work, and the floors came out beautifully (from what I can see from the doorways and the outside porch – we can’t walk on them yet).
Day 24. Day twenty-four. For some reason it seems like a long, long time ago that we started. We are almost at the end of five weeks of actual, constant work, and six weeks with no kitchen. Here, at the (almost) midway point in the renovation, I can start to feel the shift toward finishing. We’re sampling floor stain colors, talking about logistics — where to move our furniture, when to move our furniture, making space in the garage for a workshop — the final flooring phase of the project, discussing plans for a maybe-sometime-next-week cabinet delivery (!), and hoping to get to bathroom tiling started early next week. Things are starting to feel final, pieces of the puzzle are slotting into place, and the house is starting to feel like it will be finished.
Day 23. And. We. Have. Floors! The guys did a tremendous job, working at a steady pace all day long, blending the new floors with the old, and making the space feel truly whole for the first time ever. It’s amazing. The only hitch we had was when Ke$ha came on the radio, and I had to insist that they use the iPod Touch we have set up for them (we use it to play Pandora internet radio for them, even though Dave and Eric resist at every turn). Our musical tastes don’t always match, but I draw the line at teen pop when floor nailers and saws are running. I think, in the end, they were happy to have the music changed (David Bowie station today), though I don’t even think they noticed the horrid “songs” that were playing for part of the day. Shudder.