Well, after the dust settled, a bit, we readied ourselves for the job that we fretted over the most: the plumbing. If you have ever hired a plumber, or ever needed one, you will understand that, on the whole, it can be frustrating to get them to call you back, to get them to show up on time, or to charge a fair price (seriously, $150 for 10 minutes of work?). But, in this case, we were lucky again. Thanks to Brad (our favorite electrician, and all around great guy) we were referred to a new plumber who squeezed us in and totally helped us out. And of course he’s called Dave. Why wouldn’t he be?
I may not be a robot, but Team Carpentry (with some help from friends) were like machines tearing out the worst parts of the family bath (namely: everything). It seems like forever ago that we started the process of designing, shopping for, and hiring for our family bathroom makeover. But it was more like a few weeks ago. Boy, things change, though, once you rip down some walls, and rip out some fixtures. In a good way.
When I decided to have the closet re-imagined, I never imagined how much work that would actually be. Of course I realized it would be dirty (removing plaster is mighty dusty work), and that it would require fitting larger people into tiny spaces (sorry Team Help A Sista’ Out!). But did I realize that there would be all the components of a full-on renovation? No, not really. We had demo, framing, drywall, taping and mudding, caulking, finish carpentry, trim, electrical (still to be done), and even some flooring (a threshold needs to be added). And of course painting, but I’m doing that this time around, to save costs and to make me feel like I’m earning my keep. And all these steps are (were) taking place at a break-neck pace as compared with our previous project. Ah, nostalgia.
Day 59 was busy, eventful, and soooo satisfying. Team Dave got here early and began working on the math and layout for the pantry cabinet right away. Since the weather was mainly dry, and pretty much sunny-ish (partly sunny – I get it now, weather people) he decided to dive right into the carpentry since the rain has been keeping him indoors painting for a week. (Plus I think he craves sawdust. It’s a sickness. I don’t think he’s getting treatment.) Shortly thereafter, J.J. and Caleb arrived at immediately started walking tile up those walls. It was a great start to the day (especially after the whole plumbing fiasco from yesterday).
Day 35, and the day’s end marks seven total weeks of having various teams of dudes ripping apart, and then rebuilding our home. With about 4 (or 5, depending – I’m no fool) weeks remaining, the work has begun to take on new meaning, and have new power over our collective moods (finishing something, anything, feels great! – half-done stages feel a smidge omni-present). Each mini-project either intersects, interferes with, or interrupts another project, and planning them out – considering all the things that life throws at everyone (babies being born, deaths in families, various seasonal illnesses, etc.) – has been mind-boggling to witness. Dave has done/is doing a spectacular job coordinating the three ring circus, just as Eric, and Team Tile, Team Electric, Team Drywall, Team Plumbing and Team Frank (ha!) have done amazing work juggling through rings of fire.
Day 34 and the gang’s all here. Well, Eric is back from a trip to Arizona where he’ll be moving when this project is over (we’ll mis you, Eric!), and Team Tile and Team Cabinet Hanging were at it in full effect.
I have some unfortunate updates regarding the cabinets. Our cabinet dealer, Artistic Interiors, specifically the owner Jorge Ribeiro, was less than willing to do anything for us regarding the design confusion and the quality of the cabinetry. I would NEVER do business with them again, and would advise anyone out there who is looking for cabinets to look elsewhere. I don’t want to use this platform as a chance to smear businesses – we are very proud and happy with every single other person who’s come into our home – but I felt the need to warn against this businessman, and his inability to put our happiness ahead of his wallet. In the end, his offer of $100 worth of product to alleviate our issues (the actual cost for new materials would have been $230) was reneged, and the time he offered to do touch-ups himself was also withdrawn. I should add that the original total cabinet cost was twelve-thousand times that much, and that such a paltry gesture was insulting (that’s 0.83% for all you math nerds).
Day 33 and the oppressive heat was the star of the day. At one point, around 2pm, the car said it was 101 degrees outside, and yet, the heat did not stop the progress. In fact, everyone even took turns working outside. I guess it was better than rain, or snow, or gale-force winds, but, man, oh, man, was it HOT out there!
Lots got done today, and lots was happening all around. Caleb’s car – which had refused to start yesterday – was being worked on in the front of the house (eventually, though, sadly, it had to get towed after all), Dave was painting in the garage, and J.J. and Caleb were cutting tile near the side fence. The sun just kept pouring down heat, while paint was slathered on quickly (it seemed like it was drying in half the time it normally does), wet, noisy cuts were made by the tile saw, and the dog pouted because we wouldn’t play with her in the heat. (Sorry, baby dog, but you’re not dying of dehydration on my watch!)
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.
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!