*Lyrics from Neptune City by Nicole Atkins. I heard this song on Pandora the other day and really liked her voice. Not sure how I feel about her more recent album yet, but I can confirm that her voice is attractive to me. Have a listen and let me know what you think.
Yeah, so, yeah. I’m a crap blogger. I mean, I hope you like what I post when I get around to it. But, I’ve been pretty unable to keep up lately. I have (what must be) a hundred half-finished projects sitting around the house, ones that I’m hopeful will be worth posting (I’m taking pictures as I go, but nothing is ready to share), but for now you’ll have to settle for some progress pictures of half done-i-tude.
*Lyrics from Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker’s 1981 hit The Waiting (is the hardest part).
Yeah, that’s right, I went old-school with my song lyrics today. But that’s because it fit too well. This past week, or rather 5 days spread across two work weeks, has been about waiting, primarily. Waiting for phase 1 to be complete, waiting for plumbers to arrive (which they finally did, but not without breaking promises to show up at least 3 times), and waiting for the electrical to be completed (which happened in a timely manner, but over a couple of visits due to a nasty cold). Waiting IS the hardest part. Mostly.
Days 2 & 3: Client Renovation
As predicted by Dave and Team Carpentry, demo and framing was done in two days. A full crew, fully caffeinated, fully focused and fully drenched in sweat ripped apart that room revealing ancient (ok, more like 90+ years old) lathe that was in good enough condition to be able to affix new drywall to. A bonus since that’s what Dave had hoped for. Also discovered (and expected, but not hoped for) non-plumb, non-level spots on the salvageable walls that will definitely make things trickier to install down the road. But, all in all, a successful two days of cleaning out the old to make way for the new.
*Lyrics from Matthew Wilder’s hit 80’s song “Break My Stride.” The video is pretty remarkable – the fashion, the dancing, the Solid Gold. I’ve been saving this one up for today’s post.
Day 1: Client Kitchen & Bath Renovation
It’s hard to imagine that last year at this time Jeff and I were excitedly and nervously counting the days in our own renovation, already hitting day 11 by the beginning of August. Well, today was day 1 for my clients’ (heretofore known as Mr & Mrs K) kitchen and bathroom renovation. I don’t know that they’re as nervous or excited as we were, but I know that they’ll be counting the days as we did. How can you not? I mean, when more than half of your house is taken over by teams of people, tools and materials; when the only sounds you can hear during the daytime are hammers banging, power tools vibrating, and things being heaved into a large, and loud, dumpster, it’s pretty hard not to pay attention.
And you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?
While enjoying some retro tunes (rocking the David Bowie & Talking Heads station on Pandora) with Jonas working in the background (making excellent headway on the family bath built-in unit), I started poking around in my photo archives. I was looking for inspirational spring images, you know, to get a burst of color, an inkling of growth, anything that could lift up the winter doldrums that have settled pretty heavily this year. Instead of flowers, or other springtime imagery, I found old pictures of the house, from right after we purchased it in the end of 2006. This house is rapidly becoming the place where I’ve lived the longest, and will probably be the place I think of as home for many years to come (whether or not we still live here).
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 5 started off with a complex question: do we want to preserve the ceiling height in the original part of the kitchen (8′-6”) or lower the ceiling (8′) to maintain a smooth continuous ceiling throughout the space? Budget issues prevented the best possible solution (i.e., rip off the roof of the addition and raise the outer wall to the proper and consistent height of the entire first floor), so we were left with two viable solutions. This was a complex decision because choosing either way created a whole slew of work and issues to solve (that had to happen before work could continue in any significant way), as well as compromises to the finished look of the space. Did we prefer the volume to the unity of a flat ceiling? Did we want to vault the ceiling and create a new architectural story? Could we find a light to address an angled ceiling in time for the electrician to move forward? Did they order enough/the right materials? Ultimately we all concluded that with either choice we had to give something up.