Sunday, December 4, 2011

Break on through to the other side...

This week the living room extension in our new addition went from this:

To this:

The wall between the addition and the rest of the existing living room finally came down!! It felt like a huge step in this neverending process.

We were worried that it would make the living room too big, but it looks great! As you walk in the front door now, your eye goes straight back to the new fireplace. It will make for a great focal point once it's installed. The gas fireplace is that big black box on the right in the photo above. A trench was dug outside for the pipes, and the gas company should be coming to install the gas lines early next week. I can't wait to see it in place!

This new opening will get trimmed out with wood and the top header will match the existing beam that runs across the ceiling on the other side of the room. There is so much light throughout the whole living room now with those three new windows added. Plus the french patio doors in the new entryway shine some light into the living room as well. I can so picture myself curling up by the fire in here with a nice cup of tea. :)

The drywall in the rest of the addition was completed last week, and all of the joints were taped and mudded.

Here's a view of the bathroom, looking out into the mudroom. You can see just a hint of the doorway to the living room extension:

Having the living room wall down now, we can really see how the addition flows with the rest of the existing house. The layout all makes sense and feels very natural, which is exactly what we had in mind. Nothing seems like it was tacked on as an afterthought.

This coming week, our contractor is going to finish mudding and sanding the joint compound on the walls and ceiling, then will prime and paint by mid-week. (We picked out paint colors today, which is the most difficult job for some reason. I'm too indecisive! I think we're happy with our choices, though.) The floors in the living room will also be hightened to match up to the addition. Then the electrician will finish up the details like the outlets and light fixtures.

I never thought I'd say it, but we're so close to finishing up this phase of construction! Once the crew is out of here, the very first thing we're doing is lighting a fire in the fireplace and putting up the Christmas tree!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A quick update, and some thankfulness

Just a quick update before the Thanksgiving holiday... the drywall has started to go up in the new addition! We are psyched!!

Here's Lucy checking out the new mudroom, looking into the living room extension:

The crew insulated the exterior walls earlier in the week, and then starting drywalling yesterday.

Below is the framed-in fireplace in the living room addition, with an actual ceiling in place! It's really tight in here right now with so much equipment, so it's tough to visualize, but bear with me...

Here is the other end of the new living room, with the fireplace on the right, looking back out towards the new mudroom:

It's incredibly gratifying to see actual walls and ceilings up in the addition. It feels like we're somewhere near the end of this seemingly endless project.

The crew started installing drywall in the new bathroom as well, but as of this afternoon only got the ceiling and some of the walls in. (Inexplicably, they decided not to cut around the window before they packed up for the day...) The framed-in section on the right is going to be home to our washer and dryer, behind bi-fold doors:

Here is another view of the recently drywalled mudroom, from the kitchen:

Unfortunately, the kitchen itself hasn't changed and is still a total mess:

At least we got out of cooking anything for the holiday! ...Womp, womp.

Not too long ago, our contractor had planned on being completely finished by Thanksgiving. What a hilarious notion that is now, huh? There's still so much to do, but it feels like we're getting there finally.

To get serious for a moment, though, I am incredibly thankful to have had the support of our families throughout this whole chaotic and stressful process. While 2011 has definitely had a ton of ups and downs and changes galore, I'm so thankful for everything we have and everyone we share it with. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Interior framing is done

Since the kitchen was ripped apart, the crew has been working on finishing all of the electrical and plumbing work, and the final inspection was completed this morning.

They rebuilt the back wall of the kitchen, which now separates the kitchen and new bathroom:

The majority of our kitchen cabinets will eventually go along this wall.

The fridge will move to the left a smidge, so it won't be quite as close to the opening to the new mudroom. I love the light that filters in to the kitchen from the new patio doors. Ignore our dryer over there on the right, which is currently waiting in this doorway until it gets hooked up in the new bathroom. (Isn't that where all dryers belong, in the kitchen, inconveniently blocking pathways?? Thought so.)

The rest of the interior framing was done as well, which has been great since we've been able to actually see how the new rooms are divided.

Here is a view from the new mudroom, looking into the bathroom:

Our new, super-wide shower was installed as well. Here you can see the shower in place on the left, and the new mudroom straight ahead:

The vanity we picked out for the bathroom is in that box there.

In the living room addition, the fireplace was framed out between the windows in the back of the house:

The wall between the existing living room and new space hasn't come down yet. That should be down in the next week or so.

Now that all of the electrical and plumbing is completely finished, our contractor plans on insulating and starting to hang drywall next week. We'll also have the old window in the kitchen replaced with a brand new one. It's been getting really cold and drafty downstairs at night, so I can't wait for the addition to be insulated!

I never thought I'd see the day, but we actually have to start picking out paint colors soon. It feels like we're never going to be finished with this construction, so the thought of actually nearing some kind of end is tought to fathom. Hopefully by Christmas I'll be able to hang stockings over my new fireplace!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Kiss the kitchen goodbye!

So I got home after work today to find that our entire kitchen has finally been demolished!

You'll remember that back when I explained our plans for renovating the kitchen (which later turned into a much larger renovation with construction of a new addition), the kitchen looked like this:
Welp, the kitchen is now stripped to bare bones and looking like this:

All of the cabinets were ripped out today, as well as the majority of the countertops. The big opening on the right is the new 3/4 bathroom in the addition. There will be a wall built there between the kitchen and bathroom, and the new kitchen cabinets will eventually continue across that wall.
The drywall was removed, revealing more of the solid wood beadboard that we encountered in the rest of the downstairs when we renovated last summer. The crew dropped the ceiling and pulled up most of the laminate floors. Underneath was a layer of white linoleum, and underneath that is hardwood flooring (which you can see in the corner above). Unfortunately the wood flooring in the downstairs doesn't look to be in good enough shape to refinish, so we'll likely still be sticking with our plan to put down tile in the kitchen, new mudroom, and new bathroom (plus also installing new hardwood floors in the living room addition, current living room, and dining room).

The wall behind the fridge (where there is currently a sheet of plywood) will be an opening into the mudroom (you can see the new patio doors in the background there). This corner used to have a window and door:

Much like the newspaper pages we found inside the walls in the rest of the downstairs when we demolished last year, the kitchen had some interesting artifacts beneath the drywall, like this old roofing material label:

Here is another view of the newly opened up kitchen:

Such a disaster!

I do feel like this is a step towards some major progress, though, so I'm excited! Hopefully we'll have the back wall in the living room taken down soon too, so we can really get an idea of how the new addition will blend with the rest of the house. In the meantime, we certainly won't be cooking any meals in here...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Siding is complete!

Things have been pretty busy the last couple of weeks, with traveling for work, a freakish blizzard in OCTOBER (which dumped about 6 inches of snow on us), and other life stuff I haven't had much time to post any updates. Plus, progress has been much slower than we hoped lately, and we've been a bit more frustrated with each day that passes. Contractors, grr!

After the framing was completed (which I showed here), the French patio doors and new windows were installed. We were very particular about the type of door that we got, and we're happy with the decision so far.

This particular model has grates inside the glass as well as blinds that are able to open and close, and be completely raised or lowered. Awesomeness. Since the neighbors' backyard abuts ours, having that privacy option in the back of the house will be huge!

After the windows were in, the siding began to go on.
The new windows were trimmed out as well, to make them more similar to the existing window frames on the rest of the house's exterior. The soffits were installed beneath the roof to ensure we don't have issues with drainage or ice dams/icicles:
I'm honestly so pleased with the way the siding came out. It lines up near perfectly with the old siding, and you can hardly tell that there is any difference.

The new siding is vinyl, while the old stuff is (aged) wood. You can only see the difference close up, and even then it's pretty minimal.
The crew did a great job of lining the boards up so it's almost seamless. I had envisioned the new space looking like a super noticeable add-on, but we think it actually looks like it could've been part of the house all along!

Beyond the windows and siding getting installed, the plumbing for the new bathroom is roughed in and ready to be finished off. We bought a bathroom vanity and faucet a couple of weeks ago, which has since been sitting in the middle of the kitchen (naturally).

On Monday our new fireplace was delivered, and is now also sitting in the middle of the kitchen (again, natch). We decided to go with propane as a heat source, since digging a line to the street for natural gas was going to cost literally thousands of dollars. With propane, we can stick the tank way out behind the detached garage (I was worried that it would have to sit in the backyard like an eyesore) and run a line to the house for a few hundred bucks instead. So, that was the winner! Running the propane line will be one of the last parts of this whole job, but I can't wait until it's all hooked up and keeping us toasty warm this winter.

This week the crew started framing out the interior walls (which I'll take pictures of when it isn't pitch black dark!) and started breaking through to the inside of the house. We're meeting with the electrician tomorrow night to map out where all of our outlets and light fixtures should be, which is exciting. Picking out spots for fixtures makes me feel like we just might be rounding the corner towards the finish line here.

The original timeline was supposed to have work wrapped up by the end of October. Here we are in November with so much left to do. It's frustrating being powerless in this situation... we can't force our contractor/the crew to go any faster, and certainly don't want to burn any bridges or cause them to do bad work by making a stink. They know we're losing patience with the pace of the project (especially as it's getting increasingly colder outside, and we've got several inches of snow in our still-yet-to-be-graded backyard) but there's not much else we can do. Fingers crossed that we're actually finished by Thanksgiving!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Roof up, tree down

The exterior framing for our new addition is now complete!

The roof was built today, and it's getting easier to imagine what each room is actually going to look like.

Here's a view looking towards the new living room extension:

And here is a view looking the other way from the living room extension, towards the new 3/4 bathroom:

The new shower was dropped off today too:

It's a super wide shower (at 48") and needed to get into the room before the interior walls went in, as it likely wouldn't fit through the doorway afterwards.

The french patio doors and windows will be installed in the next couple of days.

The crew plans on breaking through to the inside of the house by Thursday, joining the addition to the existing interior. It'll be so exciting to have the walls down and be able to actually see the new space!

Last week the hated pine tree finally came down too! The top half was carted off, but the bottom half needs to be discarded still. The stump will be ground down and filled in.

I've already noticed more sunlight coming into the living room with the tree down. I'm so, so happy to have it gone. No more pine needles everywhere!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Framing progress!

Most of the exterior framing went up today, and it is really starting to take shape!

It's getting easier to visualize how the whole addition is going to come together, now that most of the exterior walls are up and there are spaces for windows and the french patio doors.

The fireplace, which will be flanked by two long windows, was framed out as well in the living room addition.

The window at the far end will be in the bathroom.

Taking down the siding will be the next step. Then after the addition is fully framed in and enclosed, the crew will break through to the inside and attach the new roof to the original framing.

Lucy is already dreaming about all the time she's going to spend longingly gazing out of these new windows!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Partially framed

Despite some rainy days that caused some delays, work on the addition has progressed nicely over the last week.

After the foundation was fully set, it was backfilled and work started on leveling and grading the rest of the backyard.

A ton of dirt was removed so that water will properly drain away from the house when it rains.

The rest of the yard still needs to be graded. And that pine tree is coming down on Tuesday! Once the tree's out of there, the crew will be able to grade the rest of the backyard without having to work around that.

In the meantime, it's crazy to see how far they've dropped the yard down so far. It's probably two or more feet lower right now in the back. Branden kindly posed to demonstrate the height difference between where the ground level was and where it is now:

(He looks thrilled, huh?)

After the foundation set, the crew started laying down the support beams for the plywood to rest on.

The purple bits sticking up out of the ground are boards of additional insulation.

By the end of the week, the crew had started getting some of the framing up for the walls, and had put down the plywood for the flooring.

It's definitely exciting to have something to stand on out here and to start to get an idea of what it's actually going to look like.

A lot has changed in our plan since we found out that zoning laws would require us to build out 8 feet instead of 12, as we had originally planned on. The biggest question for us was what to do with the new living room extension. We decided that, to give ourselves some more usable wall space in that portion of the addition, we would move the french patio doors to the center of the addition instead.

This illustration (drawn over the image above) might help to visualize what the addition is going to look like when it's done:

Moving the doors to the center of the addition, in the new mudroom, will enable that left-hand wall in the living room addition to be usable. We had originally wanted to put the doors there, but realized that it would mean that the new living room space would be pretty useless--every wall would have either a doorway or fireplace to work around.

We also reconfigured the bathroom so that we can fit a wide, 48" shower as well as the washer and dryer. We're psyched that we have enough space for everything and can add a three-quarter bath instead of just a half bath.

Can't wait to see the rest of the framing go up this week!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A solid foundation

In the last couple of days, we've made a ton of progress with getting in the foundation for the new addition!

First the crew poured the footing, adding rebar for extra support.

After the footing set, the wooden forms were removed.

Then the interlocking forms were placed to prepare for the foundation sides to be poured.

That giant boulder under the house was cleared and made ready for the concrete to be poured over it.

The next day, the interlocking forms were arranged along the perimeter of the foundation and the concrete was poured between them.
You can see the rebar supports sticking out of the top of the foundation. Those will eventually be trimmed down.
After the foundation is fully set, the forms will be pulled off. After that, the flooring and framing should go up quickly!

In the meantime, our front yard has become almost as much of a mess as the backyard...
Between the bobcats, cement trucks, and pickups that have been driving through the front yard over the past couple of weeks, the front yard is pretty well destroyed. We'll definitely have a lot of work ahead of us next spring!