It’s day 12 of our renovation and as of this morning there are exactly 5 walls left in my house. The last 2 weeks have been a firestorm of demo and dumpsters and dust. I’ll say this – those demo guys earn every penny of their paycheck. It is so gross in there with all the lathe and horsehair plaster dust and nasty, black cellulose insulation falling from the ceiling. By the time you read this, there won’t be a single wall left in my house and the only ceiling left will be the original cofferred one in our old family room. We’re keeping all the original floors and salvaging what we can for patching in later.
I’ve been at the house every single day, sometimes twice a day (micromanage much?) but I love seeing the transformation, even if it is really ugly right now. So far we are right on schedule (and budget) with the exception of one audible we called – the removal of our chimney. We had been debating this even before we started the project but weren’t sure about it until we saw the space opened up. It was enormous (over 7′ wide and 2′ deep) all the way up from basement to roof. Removing it gave me an additional 14 sq ft on both the first and second floors.
It doesn’t sound like much but that’s 14 more square feet in my kitchen and master closet. The nostalgic part of me is sad to lose a wood burning fireplace but in 4 years we never lit it once. We’ll be putting in a gas insert and new marble surround which, if I’m being totally honest with myself, I know we will use a million times more (just a flip of a switch? yes, please!)
Things have been busy on the outside too. We knew when we bought the house that the big wrap around porch we love so much was in rough shape. It was sagging at the corner and we knew it hadn’t been built on concrete footers…just good ole’ wood posts on the dirt back in 1914! At the outset of the project, we knew this was the big wildcard. It was really a “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” kind of scenario budget wise. After opening it up it’s not exactly the worst case scenario but it’s close. No real structural support, old concrete stairs pulling away from the decking, wood rot, etc, etc.
So now it looks like this. The roof and bead board ceiling are in good shape but the decking, columns and footers were not, so it’s all been removed which means I GET A NEW PORCH! AND STAIRS! Woohoo! We’re planning to rebuild it exactly as it was minus the stairs which were terrible. I’ll design some new ones with proper handrails, etc.
Next week (and the one after that) will be spent digging a big hole in the backyard for the addition and then digging under the basement to gain additional ceiling height. Pray for no rain and that there isn’t like a river flowing under my house or anything. I also need to order windows! Back soon with details.