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!!