And so it begins. Again. Ok, for those of you just joining us, this is a chronicle of the DIY (design it yourself – we leave most of the heavy “do-ing” to the professionals) antics of me and my hubby as we set about improving our 1920’s house. We’ve just completed the kitchen, master bath, guest bath and bedrooms (though I have more decorative touches to add to those rooms soon), and are about to set forth conquering the dreaded family bath.
We call it the family bath since that’s who uses it most: our family and friends who stay with us when visiting for holiday affairs, or just to get away from their citified lives. We call it dreaded because it’s a logistical nightmare, and one that’s sure to test our budgetary limits. So, I thought I’d take you guys right on through the process, sort of from the beginning to the end. The actual beginning was about 4 years ago when we bought the house, but the drawings and purchasing only just happened, so I can share the process with you.
This is the AFTER post. There are no days or weeks to quantify, save for the 16 (plus) weeks that have passed full of work (that’s over 80 days!), and the months prior to that full of planning, shopping, drawing, contemplating, anticipating. There are no more major events happening (I hardly think the installation of a new panel schedule for the new electrical warrants a photo shoot). All that’s left is to enjoy. Oh, and completely rearrange our second floor, and deal with the basement that looks like a stage 3 hoarding situation is happening. But I digress.
First, I must thank everyone who wished us well, who read up on what was happening (even if reading up only included looking at the photos), who showed us love and interest during this life altering process (who partied with us on Saturday!). Your support, your interest, your excitement helped when things got tough. Which they did. And when they were going well, your interest fanned the flames of our passion for the project. I am so glad I took the time to blog it out. It made the whole process so much more fun.
Mid-week 15, day 73, and the plumbing is finally done! Shockingly, the heating install went well, smoothly even, and the last tasks to complete the punch-list for Team Plumbing were done in less than one day. Relief, disbelief, joy. Wow, we’re seriously almost done now. (Thanks, Matt!) We’ll still need a final plumbing inspection, but it’s looking good, working, and helps us get to the next (last) stage of our renovation: completion.
Team Carpentry was back, including Dave (duh), J.J. (as a jack-of-all-trades helper again), and Jonas (the cabinet/furniture guru among them). Dave worked the last bits of baseboard trim, completed the cutest (can I say “cute” about something that’s made of wood and metal?) little radiator cover that cleverly removes (!!) for access to the heater, and began the process of moving out of the garage (that could take days). J.J. worked his way down the punch-list, painting windows, corbels, touch-ups on walls and doors, and vacuuming debris along the way. Oh, and he fixed a tile that got cracked during a small carpentry adjustment. All in a day’s work, eh, J.J.?
Okay, so it’s been a bit since my last post. About a week. Week (mostly lucky) 13. Days 61 through 65. What a week. If I can even remember back to the beginning, last Monday, day 61 (which was a holiday, or so I’m told) was just Dave and I trying to stay focused, and on task for another big week. Dave spent some time building light rails (to hide the undercabinet lighting), and finished up working on the infrastructure for the floating shelves in the baking nook (not as simple a task as one might think!). I spent the day painting – what I was painting I can barely recall – and would still be painting now were it not for the flu that snatched me from vertical to horizontal sometime on Thursday (hence the mostly lucky week 13). But I don’t want to jump ahead.
Day 60! We made it! Well, that was Friday, and I’ve been so busy since then that I didn’t even get a chance to tell you about it. So, Friday capped off a great week (and capped of 12 weeks of work so far!). Caleb and J.J. finished tiling and grouting the backsplash, Dave finished building the pantry nook (which I LOVE, by the way), and started working on the shelves for the baking nook, while I cleaned, sanded and painted the radiator covers for the entire first floor. We were all busy, motivated by the Shakira and Beyonce channel on Pandora. (Let the record show, this was a request by the boys – they even sang along to some of the diva-tude. It was rather cute.)
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 57 started off great. Stone getting worked on (sinks, seams and sealer!) and paint happening all around. And then I got ill. Feverish, sleeping all day, sick to my stomach ill. Not fun. So I missed the rest of it. And now we’re finishing day 58. So it’s a combo post, not because nothing happened, but because sickness struck again. Ugh. (Still mending, not quite 100% yet… maybe 67%? Perhaps 78%? Remains to be seen.)
But, my health issues aside, so much has changed in a day! The whole house is painted, or nearly so, tile is being installed, countertops are in, the sink is in, the dishwasher is in place… we can almost imagine a day in the not too distant future where we’ll actually get to have a kitchen! It’s so good. So, first, on Tuesday, Team Stone finished up the install on the countertops (which look UH-MAY-ZING, by the way), and Team Dave finished painting, oh, just about everything! (Love you, Dave!) I staggered downstairs at one point later in the day (in my pj’s, looking ever so pathetic, I’m sure) and was amazed by how much paint can change the feeling of a space. No more do we have paint samples painted all over the walls in the foyer, or dingy looking trim. It’s all fresh, bright, and clean. It made me as happy as anything can make someone in my state. (I promptly went back to sleep.)
Day 40. Forty. Forty days, plus weekends. Eight full weeks of living in a home littered with sawdust, hammers, drop cloths, and nails (among other things). Forty days of having crews of people in and out, toiling, sweating, laughing, bleeding, aching, exhilarating, working on our home. It’s really become their home, in a way. I mean, it’s their job, their workplace, their 9-5 (really more like 8-6, but you know what I mean). And it’s our home, too. What a conflict, what a dance. Soon, though, and slowly, the identity and the ownership of the space will return to us, and we will return to it with open arms.
Day 39, and I’m still reeling from the quantity of things that got done today. First, a roster of people working at the house today: Dave, Eric, Frank, Brad, Matt, Josh, Caleb and J.J. (I’m out of breath just listing them!) Second, a list of things they worked on: sinks, faucets, toilets, refrigerator, dishwasher, wall ovens, cooktop, trim paint, door jambs, shower tile, door removal, stair sanding, floor sanding, clean-up and reorganization. (Phew!) The project just went from plodding along to full-throttle in the span of a day.
Day 38, and man, am I tired! The house was a hustlin’ and a bustlin’ today, with various Teams staying here as late as 7pm. We had Team Carpentry working the cabinet install (wall oven unit and fridge/pantry area), Team Tile working the shower, floors and thresholds (they worked like fiends today!), and Team Brad working some more electrical install (beginnings of wall ovens and an errant outlet that needed to be done before I covered it with a pile of boxes). So much was happening, and while I had to sneak out to run a few errands, I definitely sensed that change was afoot.