Lately, there has not been much visible difference to our home. However, much has progressed. The electricians have been here every day for two weeks, the plumbers were here for a week, and in the past two days, the HVAC people have been here to redirect and install new heater vents.
Naturally, we have made changes as we bundle up each morning, coffee in hand, and evaluate everything. We have decided to eliminate the windows in the guest room study, and allow extra space in the room via the French doors alone. This decision was largely as result of budget and the additional cost of installation. We had originally planned to leave the existent windows, but were talked out of it by our contractor.
We have decided to expand the mud porch into the kitchen to allow room for a stacking washer and dryer. The electrical and plumbing for this eventual set up has been an additional expense.
We had always planned on under-counter lighting in the kitchen. Our contractor suggested that we visit the lighting store to evaluate the various colors of fluorescent light. We visited the store and determined that we hated the fluorescent light, and that the upgrade would use LED lights instead.
We thought that we had picked the perfect kitchen sink and kitchen faucet until we really took the time to visit a specialty distributor. As a result, we have chosen a higher-end sink of better quality and a pull-down faucet with touch control (that $150 upgrade was my husband Jimmy’s choice).
Also, I decided we should install a ceiling fan in the back bedroom, and Jimmy wants to expand the doorway between the dining room and living room to four feet. Those are a few other up-charges being thrown on the stack.
Today we shopped for the pocket door to the half bath. Of course, we decided on a heavy sliding French door with frosted glass.
Oh my! It’s so much easier to make choices when making a house ready for market. My operating principle then is “get what looks good and is inexpensive”.
I went away for a girls weekend, and have come back with a mighty infection on my chest from a spider bite! My low-grade fever makes we want to sleep. Good question: where do you go to hide out when you are sick and your home is overrun with men with tools destroying walls?
Here’s what we have so far:
- The wall from the hall to the guest room has been opened in preparation of interior French doors:
- The exterior wall of the same room has been opened and the French doors installed today:
- The walls between the two back bedrooms have been removed (along with my office and our linen closet).
- They have prepared our bathroom for busting open a new entrance from the bedroom, and to create the 1⁄2 bath accessible from the hallway:
We custom ordered the exterior French doors so that they would fit between the existing windows. Our contractor thought that they would look squished because they would have to use shared moulding. And, especially on the exterior, they would allow nowhere for sconce light on either side of the doors.
Yes, we had this discussion previously, and I didn’t “get” the problem it would create until now. So, it looks like we are going to replace those two windows with narrower windows. Dang it! We could have made the French doors wider and eliminated the windows altogether. Oh well.
On Day 3, they cleaned all of the fallen insulation off the floor and covered it. I can hardly believe that our hardwood will survive that. At the end of the day, the electrician came to check out our old knob and tube wiring. The place looks like Snakes on a Plane. Funny thing is, it is totally operational.
On Day 4, they installed in the window in the kitchen and also opened the hallway to the kitchen. Effectively we have one, dark (no lights there), open “room” where the kitchen, mud porch and hallway were.
Below is a picture from the mud porch door, taken on Day 5. You can see that the hallway wall is gone. Also here you can clearly see the snake-like knob and tube electrical:
Here’s a tip we learned: have lots of serving trays and extension cords handy! We had to move our makeshift kitchen from the back bedroom to the living room, and then last night we moved it from the living room back to the back bedroom. The connecting “hallway” from our bedroom to the living room currently doesn’t exist anymore. In the morning, that space is filled with workers.
By the end of day 2, or “demolition day”, we learned that despite our many hours of prep work, we weren’t prepared at all! Here’s why: we had thought (hoped) that the house would roll out in stages. Apparently not! The deconstructionists wanted to take down the walls for the bath, the French doors and the bedroom. So, everything in our office (now acting as the kitchen and dining room), has to be relocated to the living room. Our wine storage area (a secret access door in the basement to the crawl space) has to be relocated to the garage. Oh, yes, and it looks like living room will also be our bedroom. I’m essentially living in my living room!
Here’s what the house looks like now, a mere 8 hours later. This is where my stove was:
Another picture of the kitchen, toward the dining room:
This is where the mud porch quarter toilet used to be:
My mud porch, taken from the side entry:
This is where my kitchen window and sink were located:
It’s not all bad, however. During the deconstruction, I learned some amazing things about our old house. Here’s what we found:
- Some 2 x 4′s stenciled with “SAN MATEO MILL, SAN MATEO”
- 2 areas of framing signed with a signature
- Yards and yards of knob and tubing. And a fuse box.
- Not a dry rotted board anywhere (yet).
- One of the first layers of kitchen paint was a deep, earthy Dijon yellow. I love it and am keeping a chunk of that plaster.
Day One is our prep day. We set up our kitchen and dining room in our office. We emptied every cupboard and shelf. We boxed up anything that was attached and hid it in the garage or basement. So now we begin! Here are our “before” photos: