Saturday, April 8, 2017

Renovation Updates

Home renovations are not fast.  At all.  I thought I already comprehended this, but then just to keep me on my toes, I realized they move even slower than I pictured.  

Regardless of how fast the progress is being made, it is at least being made.  Since it has been several months, I thought it was time for an update.

All of the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC is as complete as can be to this point.  We are waiting for the rough-in inspection.  It may have happened this past week or it may be coming up soon.  I'm not really sure, but that is the next step.  This means all the water lines are in.  The new wiring has been run everywhere.  Light fixture boxes are in place and all the outlet/switch boxes are in.  The ductwork is complete and the new HVAC units are in.  It took so many more months than I ever imagined, but it is great knowing it's in now.  I think it's also safe to say no more demo has to be done at this point.  Hallelujah!  After the rough in inspection, I'm under the impression the drywall can go up!  That step alone will help make everything feel much more complete.  The hardwood floors are expected to be patched in and completed soon too.

Distorted, panoramic view of the main living area, standing in the front door.

This will be the kitchen.  The area for the fridge is framed in and the end cap wall is framed.  The fridge had to be framed in for two reasons.  On one side the wall allows us to have a place for the thermostat and switches.  On the other side, the wall conceals a steel post that is supporting the steel beam that allowed the old kitchen walls to be removed.  The end cap wall on the other side of the kitchen allows for more switches and outlets.  This house ended up being a little trickier to re-wire because the exterior walls are all made of CMUs (i.e. cinderblocks).  It's quirky and I guess was a thing back in the 40s.  But it also means no outlets or switches can be added on exterior walls without having the wires run in conduits outside the walls - something we were not in favor of doing.

Upstairs fireplace.  Hubby is working on re-doing the brick surround.  Turns out laying brick isn't as easy as it looks.  Not really a good project to do with children around - a lot of inappropriate language may have been used.

Standing in the kitchen, looking out into the dining and living areas.

Standing in the kitchen, looking mostly into the dining area.  The knee wall that will surround the stairs is now framed in.  We debated having a railing, but decided a kneewall would help with the layout of the dining room.

The upstairs bath is completely gutted and just waiting to be redone at this point.  We're hoping to do all the tile work ourselves.

Our bedroom.  I cannot wait to have windows that look outside.  We currently have two windows in our bedroom...that look into creepy old window wells.  Ahh, basement life at it's finest.  But on the bright side, after four years of living in a basement apartment, it's easy to get excited about nearly everything!  Especially sunlight!

Also in our bedroom - trying to decide on paint color.  I'm leaning towards the middle color for our room and the bathroom, but a little nervous it will be too dark.  I'm also thinking the leftmost color is the winner for the rest of the upstairs.  I haven't even begun to debate the lower level.  

Bedroom #2.

Stairs!  It is so nice to finally have stairs!  For months we could only get to the lower level by going outside to a separate entrance!

Looking at the stairs from downstairs.  There will be a wide pass through hallway - somewhat wasted space, but oh well.

We decided to angle the doorway to this bedroom to open up the hallway to the area at the bottom of the stairs.  

Looking down the hallway towards the stairs.  A closet is at the end of the hallway.  The bedroom pictured above is to the left.

Laundry room!  After four years of NO washer and dryer, we will finally have a room devoted to just laundry!  It's probably safe to say my parents are more excited than we are.  They are saints who have been handling our laundry for the past four years!
Back out in the hallway, looking in the other direction.  

Bedroom #4.

Family room.  The shorter door frame was once the entrance to this room.  We removed some walls on the back porch/sunroom to allow the full size door to now be the entrance.  Once the drywall process starts, this will be completely closed off.  

A bit dark, but a panoramic view of the room.  

The entrance into the family room from the hallway was doubled in size.  Initially the hallway felt like a long, dark bowling alley.  By putting the bedroom wall at an angle and opening up this doorway, we feel like we've done all we can to reduce that issue.  I like that this room no longer feels so closed off.  The duct work ended up being rather complicated due to the lower level being a combination of cement slab and crawl space.  It had to come up through the floor in this corner of the family room and eventually there will be a wall enclosing it.  It felt like a big deal initially, but I think once it's done, we won't think about it that much.

The backporch/sunroom.  On the wall to the left of the door is the former opening.  On this side, Hubby plans to build a bench that opens to hold outdoor gear, with hooks and a shelf above.  There are no coat closets in the house - a "perk" of an older house!  This will be our way of compensating for the lack of closet space. 
Standing in the backdoor, looking into the backporch/sunroom.  You can see on the floor where the walls once were.

Back of the house.  The backporch roof had to be rebuilt.  For starters, it was done entirely wrong, but also to give it a steeper pitch to prevent water issues.  It is now a black metal roof.
Looking out a bedroom window at the metal porch roof.

This outdoor storage area was technically here to begin with.  However, it was not built with footers, and thus would not be able to support the weight of the concrete porch above.  Now it has proper footers, is the correct height, and as an added bonus when all of that was dugout a new water supply line was run at the proper depth!

Side view of outdoor storage area.  The large window you can see on the upstairs will become french doors.

Front and side porch.  It feels so good to have this concrete poured!  Now the construction of the porch roof can begin, meaning soon the whole house can get it's new roof!  

The full view of the front of the house.  I'm so excited to see how the porch roof will change the appearance.  Right now the house looks so small and unassuming from the street.  I never want a big house, but I think the addition of the porch roof will help make the house be noticed.

Exterior paint options.  We love the grey in the middle, but the porch is going to have cedar posts, so we feel that a deep greyish green will complement the wood and give a warm, inviting appearance.  The bottom green turned out to be far too light.  Picking colors is so difficult when your spouse is colorblind.  It involves a lot of one sided conversations.  I want his opinions, but colors kind of scare him.  Mostly, he just lets me know what looks horrid to him.  It's somewhat humorous how different we see colors.

That's where we are at this point!  Our initial closing date was a week ago.  Clearly, it's no where near ready for us to move in.  We're hoping progress can be made a little quicker now that it's mostly just putting it back together!  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Building Permit Is Up!

Warning, this update is going to go from the least exciting development to the most exciting development.  So, stick with me.  It gets a little better than the first series of photographs.

Since we are buying our house through Community Housing Partners, part of our contract includes 110 hours of work at the house.  We were recently given two more small projects to help us get in our hours of sweat equity.  The first was cleaning up the bits of wood, plaster, drywall, trash, and plastic in the area where the floors and joists have been completely removed.  A concrete slab is going to be poured in this area and before that can happen it needed to be cleaned up.  Today my dad and I hauled out many bags of debris.  Again, not the most exciting job, but it needs to be done for the next step to occur.  Eventually this area will be the landing at the bottom of the stairs, the downstairs hallway, and Tochterchen's bedroom.  There's a little girl in our house that is really looking forward to seeing her bedroom look like more than a demolition zone.




After - I have to admit, as I was leaving today I wasn't sure we had made much of a difference.  I enjoy looking at the before and after pictures as I post, because clearly the after looks much better!

Our other project was to remove a closet and wall that were right inside the back entrance.  We are pretty sure this area was once a porch, that was later enclosed, and eventually divided into a tight entry and a bizarre, pointless room.  We asked if we could remove the wall to open up the entry area, creating a mudroom/sunroom of sorts.  I don't think this area will be heated/cooled, so it may be more of a three seasons/sun porch.  It has a wall of windows and is on the south side of the house.  I envision a lot of plants out here, maybe a some comfortable porch furniture.

Before - standing in the backdoor, looking into the house.

Before - standing in the bizarre, pointless little room.  The only idea I had for this room was a craft room...which I was ALL for until I realized it's probably not going to be heated.  

Little cutie VERY excited to help with demo work!

It's not very often you're allowed to destroy things.  Here's our girl removing the shelf brackets in the closet.

Getting a lesson from Daddy about how to remove the drywall.

There's nothing more fun than hammering holes in the wall and not getting in trouble for it!

Good bye drywall!

Already looking better!

After - goodbye wall!  This was taken in the same spot as the before picture, standing in the doorway.  We LOVE how much more open it is!

After - standing in the previous separate room.  We love wide open spaces!

And last but not least, today I noticed the building permit was posted in the front window!  Before this week, the only permits were for demolition.  I was beyond excited to see things will start moving forward soon!  I struggle so much with patience and renovating a house is really going to push me to strive for more patience.  I am so excited to have a little more space, storage space, a washer and dryer, full size appliances, a yard, two bathrooms, central heat and air, windows that are more than single paned glass (think frost on the inside on cold mornings), a dehumidifier running constantly, and the list goes on.  As exciting as the future is, we keep having reminders to be thankful for where we are right now.  Our apartment is not perfect, but it has really been perfect for this season of life.  I am trying to rein in my excitement and not allow it to create impatience and dissatisfaction for right now.  Our life is exactly what we hope for - peaceful, simple, and filled to the brim with love.

A final photo - the front elevation!  It will be so exciting to see this little beauty take shape!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Slowly, but surely

From my understanding, it can be a lot more complicated to renovate a home than to build an entirely new one.  You never know what to expect in an old home and sometimes it's easier to start from scratch than to modify something that already exists.  Add to that, all the permits and additional structural evaluations and inspections...and well, you get a slow process.  

We feel so fortunate that we are getting a renovated older home, but we are not in charge of navigating the logistics of any of it.  Community Housing Partners takes care of all of that, as a part of the affordable housing program we are participating in.  We still get to have some input and we'll get to help with choosing finishes, but the important work is handled by professionals (you know, the parts that have a lot more to do with making sure the building is safe and all the proper things are supported and/or up-to-date).  Our new home needs such extensive renovations to convert it into a single family home, that I wouldn't have the slightest idea of where to start!

It has been a quiet several weeks over at the new house.  We were caught up in a whirlwind of illnesses and trying to catch up on work that was put of as a result of said illnesses.  It was probably for the best that nothing was happening - we really didn't have the time or energy to put in any work hours at the house.  

However, this week, a major point of progress took place!  The steel beam went up in the main living area!  This beam was needed to replace the load bearing wall that once confined the kitchen.  It is set into the rafters, so once the ceiling drywall is repaired, you will not be able to see it.  It went in on Tuesday/Wednesday and the remaining kitchen walls came out!  Woohoo!  The main living area is entirely opened up now!

In the basement, towards the front of the home, the floor joists had to be removed to properly enclose the crawlspace underneath.  It is possible that this area will end up having a concrete slab beneath it instead of encapsulated crawl space.  We have not heard from our agent/contractor which method they decided to use.  Either way, the moisture issues under this part of the home will be resolved and some of the walls will be re-positioned.  This shows the wall dividing Tochterchen's room and the hallway.  It's not easy at age six to imagine your very own room when it has no walls, floors, or ceilings.  But thankfully, our ever optimistic little lady is excited none-the-less!  

We should learn more next week about where things are with all the work permits, which will allow things to start moving forward for real.  I'm under the impression that all the plans are decided, we are just in the sometimes lengthy and messy process of securing all the needed work permits before work can begin.  

It's a good thing I love a good project!