Category Archives: demolition

I used to love it, it used to be pretty…*

*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.

DURING: Our plan is to redo the railings to match the other side of the house, use cedar to wrap all the pressure treated (i.e., ugly) lumber, and to replace the storm door that pretty much failed after our kitchen renovation.

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.

read on…

Don’t let it kill you, baby, don’t let it get to you…*

*Lyrics from Tom Petty And The Heartbreaker’s 1981 hit The Waiting (is the hardest part).

Client Renovation: end of Week 1 and days 6 & 7 (if you missed the beginning of this tale, read about it here and here.)

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.

read on…

Obligation, complication, routines and schedules drug and kill you…*

*Lyrics from Radiohead’s Little By Little from The King of Limbs album. Clearly, I’m obsessed. Try here for the remix. Also clearly, I have some more music shopping to do.

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.

read on…

You’re on a roll and now you pray it lasts…*

*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.

read on…

You may ask yourself, what is that beautiful house?…*

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).

read on…

You know you’re gold, you don’t gotta worry none…*

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?

read on…

Guess what, I am not a robot…*

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.

read on…

Love it all, love it all, love it all…*

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.

read on…

What’s happening all over? I’ll tell you what’s happening all over…

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.

read on…

Investigation – you’re the doctor collecting all your pay!

Two plumbing issues (read: shut-off valves that don’t, in fact, shut anything off) and a few days later and we’ve got the cabinets out! There’s been a bit of a delay to the start of the contractor’s demo, but we got such a good head start that I think we’re in good shape. Plus, we really needed the time to catch up on finding places for things to be. This house is looking like an episode of Hoarders!

With our kitchenette and dining room squished into the living room, we’re adjusting to the limited range of cooking options (looks like pre-made pesto will be a staple this summer), and the general slovenliness that is improving 2/3 of a home while you still live in it. Our electrical contractor is doing an amazing job ridding the house of suspect wiring issues (knob and tube, mainly), and just generally making me feel safer (plus, he cleans up after himself! Bonus!). We even have the two upper bedrooms and the main bath hooked up to new, up to code wiring! This is helpful especially to Jeff, as his computer being shut off for hours at a time, for days at a time was not fun for him.

On to the pictures!

Very cool 1930’s? 40’s? linoleum tile, buried underneath two other layers of flooring. There’s a layer of red oak underneath that we’re hoping (fingers crossed!) to be able to salvage, at least partially.

The former owners’ grandchildren remember red, metal cabinetry in the kitchen. I bet it looked sharp in its heyday.

Evidence of a swinging door from the dining room to the kitchen! Man, I wished someone had saved the door!

Piles of rubble, only to grow. Still have to remove nails to help wood become salvageable.

I kind of like how land-fill-y it looks. Seems so destroyed, in a good way.

Contractors were doing some investigating. Hmm, looks expensive, whatever it is.

Free at last! The last cabinet was removed, and suddenly there was all this SPACE! I’m hopeful that this feeling of space will be preserved in our new design.

Sigh. I can’t say how happy I am to see the entire space like this.

There’s the last cabinet, under the back window… Bye, old girl! Good luck in your new home!

Next up: the bathroom!