I haven’t posted an update about our home renovation in a LONG time, but Alex and I have been working on the house quite a bit lately. We’ve been doing lots of demolition, and we’re getting very excited about seeing our vision come to life. We have set a goal to finish a large portion of the inside of the house before the warmth of spring arrives. That way we can focus on the outside of the house in the spring.
This update is a bit disjointed, mostly because we’ve been working on things all over the place. Please see the home & garden page for previous updates, and here is the post with the before pictures of the house.
Anyway, when was my last update…where did I leave off? Ah yes, it has been almost 7 months since my last house update. Oh my! I last mentioned that we were putting a new sliding door and front window in. Those did get put in, but I neglected to mention that before dropping out of the blogosphere for a few months. Oops!
Demo of the old kitchen
Several months ago, W & L came over to help us with the demolition of the old kitchen, and took a load to the dump for us (such a big help!).
Destroying that old, nasty, moldy kitchen was invigorating!
We found another gem of a message left for us from the teenage girl who used to live here (see the middle of this post for one of her previous writings). Apparently, she was fairly prolific. This was on the back side of the base underneath one of the cabinets. Who knows how she even stuck it there?
The old kitchen is going to be our new master bathroom, and we had to take everything out of that room before we could close off and finish the new kitchen. So last weekend, I finished taking the drywall out of the room.
I also knocked through one of our closets into our bedroom so we have an entrance to work on the new bathroom.
My combination bedroom/sewing room
If you recall, I had our clothes hanging where the opening is in the picture above and my sewing stuff in the closet on the left (because there is no other clean space in the house). I was forced to reorganize the room. So, now my sewing stuff is right beside my bed–which, I’m not going to lie, is actually pretty amazing. I can literally just roll right out of bed and on to my sewing chair on days that allow for sewing time.
Another positive is that I can be in the same room with Alex in the evenings. So I’m hanging out with him, but I can get some stuff done. The sewing tables are also by the window, which I love!
Progress on the new kitchen
We had a few setbacks with getting our upper cabinets up in the kitchen. One of the problems was our table saw. It broke a few times, and Alex has been using a skill saw to cut the cabinets out. He was using his dad’s skill saw which is bulky and heavy, so one of his early Christmas gifts was a new skill saw.
We had one of the upper cabinets hung for a while.
But we had to take it back down to re-cut because Alex changed his corner cabinet design.
So we got stuck in a rut for a while and didn’t make much progress on the kitchen. But last weekend, Alex put some of the upper cabinets up in the new kitchen.
Now that the old kitchen is all torn out and we have an entrance into the space through our bedroom, we can wall off the rest of the kitchen (to the right of the stove in the picture below) and finish the rest of the cabinets. YAY!
The garage walls
A couple of weeks ago, Alex built the walls to close the garage off from the rest of the basement.
We actually have a door between our garage and the rest of our house now.
The section just behind the garage wall (to the left of the door in the picture above) will be the laundry room.
Demo in the living area
As you saw in the pictures of my grandparents’ visit, one day this summer I took down the drywall in the living and dining area. While they were here, they helped me remove the stray nails and the stray staples on the floor left over from removing the carpet. I’m glad they were OK with hanging out in our unfinished house. They both like projects, too.
A couple of weeks ago, Alex started taking apart the fireplace.
We both aren’t fans of that brick, and the hearth takes up too much space in the room. We’re going to put a wood burning stove in the fireplace opening, extending the pipe up the existing chimney. Eventually, we’ll put a nice mantle around the opening, too.
Open floor plan
We decided not to move the stairs, after all. However, we are going to make the stairs as open as possible. In preparation for building the new stairs and putting the beams in on either side of the stairs (on the living room side of the stairs), I ripped out all of the drywall and the door into the basement.
As you can see, upon Alex’s request, I popped the vertical boards off of the stairs, being careful not to damage the steps. We wanted to get an idea of what the open stairs would be like.
I stepped on a nail for the first time after taking all of this stuff out. I’m always really careful, but since it had been a while since my last klutz moment, unfortunately, my number was up. It didn’t push too far into my foot, but it was still really painful. I kept thinking to myself, this must be what it feels like to get stabbed. Can we say, hypochondriac? Geesh!
We also tore out the ceiling, so we could see what the framing around the stairs was like.
As we looked at the open stairs, we wanted to see how open the entryway will feel when we’re done. So, I moved all of my sewing stuff and we started to tear into the walls of that weird cubby in the upstairs bedroom next to the stairs.
There are few things more satisfying than smashing into that nasty paneling and ripping it out.
The rooms will feel so much larger without those pointless cubbies creating a tunnel to the dormers. It makes the space more usable and bright.
We then moved into the bathroom, and widened our path of destruction.
We removed the bathroom wall next to the stairway.
Alex continued to remove the drywall between the other bedroom and the bathroom.
I had the task of removing tiles from the bathroom floor. I got to smash the tiles with a hammer and scrape them off with the shovel.
Tiles were flying everywhere since everything in the house was so open, at this point. Two nasty blisters later, I had the tiles removed from the bathroom floor. I have a feeling we’re going to be finding those bathroom tiles everywhere for a while.
For anyone wondering, we will eventually have a bathroom on that level. The new upstairs bathroom will be in the same place as our original plan: in the corner behind one of the rooms.
An expanded vision
Once we had opened everything up, we started making some changes to our original plan. We’re going to open the entryway even more, meaning we will push into the attic. The entryway will feel so open and bright.
Alex cut through part of the subfloor above the main level, as you can see in the picture below.
That whole area from the stairs over to the wall below in the main level will be open to the entryway.
We also decided that we will open up the attic space behind the wall at the top of the stairs and put a skylight in. That attic space will also eventually be open to the kitchen below. So from the kitchen and the entryway, we’ll be able to see all the way up to the top of the inside of the house.
We’re also thinking that we may add loft spaces above the upper level rooms on either side because the space in the attic is tall enough that Alex can stand in it. Those loft spaces would be open into the middle section of the house (with railings, of course), and we would add skylights on the backside of the roof for light.
It’s difficult to explain what it will look like, but Alex and I are definitely on the same page and we’re ready to make some progress putting the house back together.
To the dump and back again
By the end of this week, we will likely have been to the dump about four times. We have been to the dump so many times they probably recognize us now. I’ll be glad to no longer be on such familiar terms with the landfill.
We’ve taken so many loads to the dump that I think we may have to wallpaper our house with these sheets.
Last time we were there, I decided I’ll have to come back and scavenge when it’s time to decorate and furnish our house. I saw several items in one of the trash piles in almost perfect condition. I spotted one of those bases from an old Singer sewing machine table. I’m kicking myself for not ignoring Alex’s protestations and taking it home to use as a base for a table in my future sewing room.
Did you see curious little Newton exploring in some of those pictures? You’ve no doubt noticed that he pops up randomly in pictures on the blog. I’m thinking it might be fun to create a “Where’s Waldo?” type of game for readers to play, only it’ll be called, “Where’s Newton?” I’ll award a prize to the first person who can spot him. He won’t be in every post, but occasionally he’ll show up, and if you spot him, you’ll win something. What do you think? Anyone want to play?