Monday, February 20, 2012

Catching up

It's been ages since I last updated, and a ton has happened at the house since. We finished the first phase of construction on the addition, and it was a five-month long nightmare. Our contractor took months longer than originally anticipated, many things were done wrong and needed to be redone, and it went way, way over budget. To review, this project was started in August and was originally supposed to be completed by October. In mid-January, we ended up having to tell the contractor to stop his work even though there were a couple of loose ends left. We moved his equipment out and changed the locks on the doors. Like I said, it was a nightmare.

We've just begun working with a new contractor to have the flooring installed and to finish up those loose ends from the previous crew. We're having ceramic tile put down in the new bathroom and the mudroom/entry. We had originally planned on tiling the kitchen as well, but just discovered that since the kitchen floor is so uneven (it's in the old, 1920s part of the house, not the new addition), tile will eventually break apart and isn't the best choice. So now we're going to be putting in hardwood flooring in the kitchen instead, since wood is more flexible and can expand and contract. And since the dining room and kitchen flow together, we'll need to continue the new hardwood into the dining room as well. We hadn't planned on changing out the floor in the dining room as well yet, but we've learned to expect the unexpected by now.

Anyway, here are some pictures to catch up what the house is like currently...

We're loving the extra space in the living room, and the added windows make this room so bright and sunny all day.
We've been using the fireplace pretty much every single night. It's pretty amazing being able to just flip a switch and have the flames ignite. (Yes, I'm easily impressed.) We still need to build a mantle on this wall, and are toying with the idea of laying a few marble or stone tiles in front of the fireplace as a hearth. We'll see what happens.
The living room is pretty enormous now (measuring 15 x 30 feet), but it actually feels really natural. It actually seems like the room has always been this way, and it's hard to imagine what it used to look like.

The wall with the piano used to have a closet door on it. We had the closet door moved to the other side of the wall, so it now opens into the kitchen instead. It makes so much more sense, provides a long wall for the piano, and the closet is a ton more usable now as a broom closet/pantry.
We're looking into the possibility of putting hardwood floors down in the living room as well--since we only have plywood down in this new section right now--but it's such a huge space that it definitely isn't cheap. We may end up just recarpeting this room instead. We'll see!

I love how the french patio doors in the new mudroom can be seen from the living room and the kitchen, and the light just floods in through them.
This mudroom is being tiled this week, and you can see a sample of one of the tiles on the floor in the picture above.
The tile is going to continue through that door into the bathroom.
Having a bathroom downstairs has been such a great upgrade, since before this addition the only bathroom in the house was upstairs. We weren't sure how the space would work at first, but it ended up being plenty big enough.
We realized afterwards that we easily could've gone with a bigger vanity in here, but we weren't sure how much space we'd have until we saw the room built. That may be an upgrade we'll make down the road.
My favorite part of this space, by far, is the laundry closet. There's so much storage space and having first-floor laundry is a huge bonus. The new shower, on the right in the photo below, is super wide and should be the perfect spot for Lucy to take her baths!
So, that brings us pretty much up to date. We've been really discouraged throughout this process, which I think is why I haven't been very motivated to update this blog. I'm trying to be more positive as we move forward through these next steps. The last several months have been difficult and trying, with our world basically turned upside down, and we're not done yet. It's kind of amazing how the stress of a project like this can be so exhausting emotionally, mentally, and physically. I know it'll be worth it when it's finally finished, so I'm trying to keep focused on that end result.

As of right now we have tile and hardwood floors to put down, as well as some loose ends to finish and/or fix (like moving a couple of HVAC vents that were put in wrong). Then we have cabinets and countertops to install in the kitchen (which we haven't even ordered yet) and then we'll be DONE. So even though we still have an empty shell of a kitchen, and lots of major stuff on the to-do list, I do feel like we're getting closer and closer to finally being finished with this endless saga!