Friday, April 6, 2018

FULL HOUSE Renovation, Part 1

After nearly 18 years of living in our house, we are doing some major renovations - some are much-needed, like new flooring and carpet (turns out builder-grade carpet is not meant to last for 18 years), some are more on the cosmetic side, like updating the hall bathrooms, and one - the kitchen - is to make it much more user-friendly.  While we could have potentially done some of this work ourselves, the truth is most of this is beyond our skill set, plus we wanted it completed in a reasonable time...which most definitely would not happen if we were doing it.  So we hired the same contractor that we used for our master bathroom update, and the fun began last Tuesday.

Day 1:  Jeremy, our contractor, arrived and we made a plan for where to put the rest of the furniture because I'd hit the despair point 24 hours earlier...I really didn't want to have to keep my car outside of the garage after our recent hail storm, but where else could the furniture go?  Turns out, my office made a great holding spot - his crew took out the carpet, pad, and tack strips (since tile would be going in there later) and everything got moved in, covered with plastic, and then the doors were closed and taped up to minimize the amount of dust:
Left:  piling all the furniture inside my office
Right:  wrapped up and sealed inside, somewhat akin to an episode of Breaking Bad

Then the demolition began - the crew started removing the kitchen cabinets, the bathtub and surround, the floor in the hall bathrooms, the mantle over the fireplace, and they even started jackhammering up the tile floor in the kitchen.  Paco and I stayed inside the master bedroom, away from most of the dust.  The crew closed down the A/C vents in the bedroom, closets, and bathroom so that the dust wouldn't get inside, and that helped somewhat.  Paco was only bothered once by the noise, and that's when they were really pounding to get the bathtub out.  But I put him in his crate, and he immediately stopped barking and settled down:
Oh man, I didn't notice that I'd parked his nemesis, the vacuum cleaner, right next to his crate.  Sorry, Paco!

The best surprise came late Tuesday afternoon, when the noise stopped and I decided it was safe to open up my bedroom door - the columns, which I have never liked, were gone!  And instantly, the room felt larger.  Check out the before and after:
Now you see them...
And now you don't!

Day 2:  Torrential rain made the entire house feel damp because the crew had a window open to vent the dust from the tile and floor removal.  This was a long, long day.  And because we got so much rain (a record-setting 4.5 inches for that day), they couldn't take the debris outside to the dump trailer, much less get the trailer to the dump as it would have gotten stuck in mud.  So this is how the house looked at the end of the day:
Goodbye, glued-down wood floor...
Goodbye, kitchen.
The kitchen looks so big without anything in it!  The ventilation machine is in the bottom right of the picture - this is what was pushing a lot of the dust outside.

Day 3:  Clear and sunshine, yay!  I think this was the worst, dust-wise.  They had to sand the paint off of the concrete floors, as well as remove the rest of the wood and tile, and all the adhesives.  I met with the electrician and went over where we were moving outlets, etc, and then I put Paco in his crate and left him to go to my volunteer gig at the hospital.  When I came home, I had something visibly done toward the renovation, instead of only seeing the demolition - our light switch just inside the kitchen changed from a single to a triple (or a 3 gang, as I learned in electrician-speak):
This will control the overhead lights, the pendant lights over the sink area, and the new under-cabinet lights, which you can see the wiring for in yellow.

Day 4:  This was nice and short - the plumber came and installed the new bathtub and valve for it.  Here's Inspector Paco checking everything:
Dis where baftub was.  Glad to see it gone, rilly.
Wat?!  Oh no.  Thot I waz safe from bafs.

Day 5:  Drywall repair.  Believe me, there is a lot of that needed, but the crew got quite a bit done in about half a day.  They will need to return to do more, but here's some of what they did:
Ceiling where one of the columns was, plus the drywall where mantle over the fireplace was repaired.  We are going to mount our TV on the wall, so we had to lose the mantle so it wouldn't be too high.
Inspector Paco approves of the pantry wall repair.

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This was our first week, and it was a doozy.  I was warned about the dust and general upheaval, but you really have to experience it to see how bad it is.  After seeing how hard the crew of 3 - 5 people worked each day on the floor removal, I'm really glad we went with paying for demolition instead of doing it ourselves.  Chip Gaines makes it look easy and fun, but the truth is, it's not.  This was worth every single cent to not have to tackle ourselves...shoot, I think it would take us a month to get everything removed!

As I did when I wrote about our master bathroom redo five years ago, I'll also write about what isn't going smooth - I'm not going to say what went wrong, because I have every confidence that whatever happens will be taken care of...as was the case when the valve where the water line from the refrigerator started leaking hours after the fridge had been moved.  A phone call was made and shortly afterward Jeremy appeared with parts and he fixed that valve.

Another thing that happened with almost every plumbing fixture that was removed was that the valves ended up leaking.  Again - not my problem, thankfully.  Jeff and I have done some home repairs over the years, and this kind of stuff always happens to us, which causes stress and consternation - did we break it due to our non-professional skills?  Nope, it happens to the pros, too.   Good to know, and it was so nice that we weren't the ones rushing around to fix everything.

Stay tuned - the saga of the house renovation is ongoing...

24 comments:

  1. This doesn't look like fun to have live through in your house. I would be tempted to go for an extended visit with a relative and come back home when it was done! I imagine this is hard on Paco too. I'm sure the end result will be worth it though!

    Hopefully if you guys are running this weekend it will go better than last weekend with no one falling.

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    1. Right now I'm going day by day as far as tolerating the dusty mess and very cramped living quarters. When I hit moment by moment, well...that's not going to be pretty. But hopefully that won't happen before the house is finished!

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  2. We need to do this but I don't want to live through the process! I wish it could be like on TV...

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    1. It would be so nice to meet with the designers and then just show up a couple months later to a beautifully finished and decorated house, that's for sure! Not in my world...

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  3. I think you've perfectly explained why some people just leave their house as is: don't have the skill and/or gumption to do it themselves, or don't have the $$ to pay someone. I would be on the side of paying - because I don't have the patience for any of that. I'm excited to see the finished rooms!

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    1. Having skilled people do this is the way for us to go; I watch what they're doing and am learning so much...mostly, that I don't know all that much when it comes to home improvement, LOL.

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  4. Wow - good luck on the reno!! I'm excited to see your after pics. Our house desperately needs an update but it will have to wait a bit unfortunately. Hopefully I can get some ideas from you!! :)

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    1. I just realized I used the word "reno"...a word I tend to despise because it sounds lazy and trendy. Maybe I've been watching too much Fixer Upper??? :)

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    2. Hah - I try to not use the word reno too much but it just rolls off the tongue, thanks to all the HGTV shows, I'm sure!

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  5. Well I think its exciting to see! The difference in the dining room without the columns is amazing! And I love seeing Paco inspect everything. They certainly got a ton done in just five days!

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    1. Yes they did get a lot done - makes me really happy we went with this contractor, as they've been really good about pushing through the work.

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  6. Oh can't wait to read and see more. I would have been afraid to remove those columns for fear they needed to be there to hold something up. I assume they were just there for decoration?

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    1. We made sure the columns weren't load-bearing - they were to make the openness of the area look like a dining room, I guess? I don't know, I never liked them and am so glad they are gone.

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  7. Over the course of 10 years, my husband and I remodeled our whole house in stages. It was difficult and I thought about divorce many times (LOL) but the final results were worth it...and we are still married. Hang in there!

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    1. Appreciate the encouragement, as this is really close living quarters for Jeff and I (and Paco, and Henry) - luckily our grouchy times haven't coincided, so we are managing...so far, LOL.

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  8. WOW your house is going to look amazing once it’s all done! Love how big the room looks without the column! Our carpet needs changing also...whoops.

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    1. The roominess of the room without the column is what everyone who has dropped by notices immediately. I love it!

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  9. My work is going through renovations right now and it's a NIGHTMARE (trying to work with the noise and having to dust my desk (and everything on it) every, single day)--but it's finally coming together and is well worth the extra annoyances; so HANG IN THERE! It's going to be LOVELY once complete and you'll be glad you did it. Nice move doing it in the spring--although sounds like you have a lot of rain--at least it's not too cold or too hot; so open windows are not bad!! Can't wait to see it finished! (*Puppy hugs to poor Paco--not too much longer little guy!*)

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement - the dust is unbelievable. But we picked the right time of the year to do this, what with needing to have the A/C off - we'd be dying if it was in the summer (which is when I originally thought we'd get started).

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  10. Of course you know I can't wait to see how the kitchen turns out :D

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  11. Living in a reno sucks, plain and simple. Especially with a major one such as you are doing. That's the plus of hiring it out - it sure does get done a lot faster. I can't wait to see the kitchen. Those are always my favorite room to see transformations in - then bathrooms.

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    1. You are not kidding about living in a reno...it's getting tiresome. I cannot WAIT to show you the kitchen when it's done, though! :)

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  12. It's impressive how much they can get done in a week! (Way more than you ever could yourself, right?!!? (like you said!!!)). I have lived through this and know how bad the dust is. Wait until you think you have it all cleaned up, just to have more settle over the months... ha. ;)

    The room looks so much bugger without the columns! Good call! I love reading this and can't wait to see more, and of course, it all finished!!!

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