The slow pace continues: kitchen in progress

Things continue to move,  but extremely slowly. Even our contractor seems a bit frustrated. Or maybe he’s just afraid of the gleam of insanity in my eyes. Anyway, the kitchen cabinets and appliances were delivered last week, which was very exciting and encouraging:




























The cabinets and appliances filled three rooms. How was it all going to fit in the kitchen? Here’s how:

Stage 1













Stage 2:














Stage 3:


























A ways to go yet, but getting there. In addition, we have the built-in shelves and coat closet, which was designed by Tom and the kitchen builder. They did a fabulous job and I love this!







Next post will focus and painting and (I hope) tiling. Colour is coming!


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Floors and stairs

They’ve started to install some flooring, and we have new stairs to the basement, but as usual there are some delays and dramas.

Maria’s room is now recovered with the same bamboo flooring as the living room/dining room. I can only show you the living room floor, because Maria’s is now covered in paper. Not so pretty. But this is pretty:

















And our basement stairs have been replaced:







The old ones are on the right:








So that’s it for pictures. Apart from flooring and stairs, it’s just been more drywall taping and some priming. Boring for pictures.

A few more delays have happened. The drywaller got hemorrhoids, so he was out for a day. The vinyl installer is backed up, so our kitchen floor hasn’t been laid yet, but it should happen later this week. So far we’re about a week behind on our new longer schedule.

As for drama, we received a phone call from the excavator (see blog post number 1 or so), saying the contractor hadn’t paid him and he was going to file a lien against our house. And of course he called at 6pm on a Friday. We were out and one of our daughters took the call and was totally stressed our by it. Tom called him back and got the details, and then we left a message with our contractor. He called us back the next morning and explained what had happened, and that he had worked everything out. Also, the guy had no legal right to put a lien on the house. Whew! Crisis averted, but honestly, we really didn’t need the added stress.

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We have walls!

The drywall has been going up, but also coming down. Here are some of the upstairs walls. (There’s been a lot of work in the basement as well, but I don’t have any pictures yet.) This is in the kitchen:








Our TV wall:








The front wall (which will be covered with shelving):







The other side of the kitchen:








More random walls and bulkheads:














This shows the transition from the kitchen to the sunroom, with our little exposed brick reminder of the the outside wall that was:







Finally, our stair dilemma. Because we’re widening the basement stairs (which run directly beneath the main floor stairs), we had to removed the wall under the main stairs and bump it out 4″-6″. First the workers forgot this and rebuilt the wall in the original spot (to the left of this picture):







After we reminded them of the plans, they roughed in the wall as design by our architect:








We hated it. The picture doesn’t do justice to how stupid it looked, though it would have made a great Hot Wheels track. It also ruined the sight-lines from the front door, blocking the view of the sunroom. We hated it. We told them to take it down. We’re going to keep this part of the stairs open (with a railing, of course) and close it off at the bottom. As our contractor said as we apologized for the changes, “It’s just time and money!” Indeed.

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The countdown begins

We got a new schedule from our contractor. 7 added weeks. But at least we have a timeframe that seems reasonable. What complicates things is Grace moving back in before things are done. Her bedroom is also the kitchen, so she’s going to get woken up early every morning, and I’m going to lose my quiet room. Tensions will rise.

On (Good) Friday we meet with the kitchen builder to finalize the plans.

We’ve been doing some shopping for lighting for the dining room:








And the back door:








As you can see, we’re going for a sort of Arts and Crafts look. My dream is to love in an Arts and Crafts design bungalow. That will probably never happen, but at least I can try to evoke it in our decor.

Apart from that its been a time of roughing in. Electrical:



















The downstairs bath:



























Something a bit more pretty is the siding which is almost finished in the back:






















They’re putting in the insulation, which mean drywalling should start soon. Dust central! But things will begin to look nicer.

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More budget busting

Wow, it’s been a long time since I updated. It’s been nearly of month of delays and added costs. It’s pretty typical for a renovating a 100 year old house, but I was hoping we’d get lucky. Still, it could be worse.

The budget-busting  is coming from the basement. When they dug up the drain, we were surprised to see how thin the layer of concrete floor was, directly on top of dirt. Obviously, this was meant for a cellar, not a finished living space. Digging up the drain caused cracks throughout the concrete, to the point where the floor needed to be completely redone. On the plus side, they promised to give us an inch more headroom. That’s a big plus. On the negative side, all the new work is adding nearly $10,000 to the bill.

So  they dug out the concrete, except around the furnace and water heater, and, as the picture will show, have dug down a few inches:
























They’ve also wrapped the addition:








As for the kitchen, nothing has happened. The builder was hoping to get us the plans before he went away for Spring Break (must be nice), but that didn’t happen. So we’re back to waiting. I’m sure our March 31 end date, won’t be met. It would be great if we could move out of the upstairs before Grace moved back in from university (mid-April), but I’m not optimistic. End of April?

In the meantime, we’re trying to find ways to cut costs.

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A slow week

Not much doing this week, although I do have pictures. Mostly we’ve been waiting to hear from the millwork guy who’s making our kitchen. He was struggling with how to deal with this big honking duct sticking out from the wall, between the kitchen and the sunroom that doesn’t show up on any of the architectural drawings of the kitchen (what were we paying for?).













After waiting a week, we’ve been told we can turn the duct so it lies flush against the wall, returning the kitchen plans back to their original layout. Things will start moving with the kitchen, which then means the electrical and plumbing can get started.

Speaking of plumbing, the basement is also in a holding pattern as this:






now looks like this:













The clay drainage pipe to the sewer system is being replaced. They have dug up the basement (I can’t do laundry, since there’s a pile of dirt in front of the washer and dryer), and then delivered a backhoe to our front yard. And that is all that’s been done. So we keep waiting.


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Lots of words

I’ve haven’t posted lately because there’s been so little worth photographing. We’re at a pretty boring stage, visually speaking: framing up the walls and installing ductwork. The ductwork has been a source of stress, as suddenly there are bulkheads in unexpected places and late night doubts: “Wait, how are they going to send heat upstairs now that we’ve changed various plans?”

Things are working out, but we still have a big issue with a duct in the kitchen which will have a big impact on sightlines (and is something the draughtsman for the architect completely overlooked). We’re in discussions now to work out a solution.

The day our heat was completely disconnected (the contractor brought us very effective space heaters) our hot water heater stopped working. We rent our heater, so we called the company and they gave a 4-hour window for the tech’s arrival. He came in the first hour, but never found me (upstairs away from the construction) to tell me he was there. So although the heater was fixed, I kept waiting. And waiting. For four hours. Then calling, and waiting on hold, and waiting for a return call. For another hour. Finally to be told he had been here, fixed the heater, and gone. Hmf!

On the up side, we finally met with the kitchen builder, so things are finally moving in that department. We liked him a lot, but we’ll see what his proposal costs. Fingers crossed it will be surprisingly low. We could really use a break.

Oh, and we’ve had our first (and I hope only) major “uh-oh” surprise: they have to dig up the basement floor to replace a major piece of plumbing. No word on if this will add to the cost or the time. Any chance this reno will be done by Easter?

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