The Big Reno Has Begun…

It’s been more than 2 years since we put our plan on paper – and I started my own demo.  It has been a year since we finally consulted a neighbor architect to finalize the plans we had been debating and to mediate/make the final decisions on some things that Tad and I still didn’t quite agree on. Last fall, we definitely decided to hire the vast majority of this project out. This spring, the contractor got on board and put us on his schedule.  A month ago things got started and it is moving fast!

Here is the quick and crazy catch up of the last month.

Day One – demo of a little baseboard and door/window trim.  It took about an hour.


Next day – some prep got done to protect the windows, window trim we want to keep, and the fireplace.

Protection during demo

They also built a temporary wall to protect the kitchen from the construction zone.



Then, the serious demo got started. Walls went first. This is the view from the front door with the walls gone – looking through the entryway, through an old door opening we didn’t know about, into the front bedroom, through the old bathroom, and into the back bedroom.


The old bathroom was kind of a demo day all by itself.


The old bathroom gone and all cleaned up.


Sorry to the neighbors that first weekend – this was their view. Tad wanted to keep it as yard art. Um – No.


The ceiling was next. At this point, I was nervous – it was a buyer’s remorse kind of thing.


Open to the attic. No going back now.


Weirdly, they left the entryway walls and ceiling until last.  Maybe, the orange walls and the light fixture made the place feel less like a disaster area?


Nonetheless, it is done. All the old plaster and lath is gone. The contractor has vowed to never take on another project that involves this kind of demo.  I don’t blame him…


The final phase of demo was the old flooring.  This was a discussion to the very end.  We all agreed that the old flooring was in bad shape and was not salvageable as the finished flooring.  However, I wanted to patch the bad spots and keep it as a subfloor.  I argued that the old flooring should stay as an homage to the old house.  In addition, removing the old flooring meant that the radiant floor heat tubes had to come down. I was not excited at all about that. Everybody was against me on the flooring issue. There was plenty of discussion about level floors, structurally sound this and that, strong plywood subfloors, and the list went on and on.  I finally gave in. It was decided that the old floors would need to come out entirely.  In preparation, Tad and I took the radiant heat tubes and insulation down in the basement.

Radiant Floor Heat Art...

Tad thought it looked like some sort of modern art.


I was thinking more fun house – or haunted house.


The floors started coming out. I was at peace with it. I was even kind of excited about nice, smooth, flat, new floors.


Then, I saw this. A pile of perfectly good, old flooring in the dumpster.


I freaked out. I called Tad and insisted we try to salvage it – he was like, “Ok”. I was formulating plans in my head for reuse – benches, table tops, accent walls, etc. I called a salvage company to see if they wanted to come pick it up – they were closed for the week. I went for a walk.  I got back from my walk and decided to sort the good pieces of flooring out of the pile for reuse.  I searched for a half an hour without success. There were no reusable pieces. It was rotted, warped, and/or splintery. I texted Tad and the contractor to say the old flooring was crap and that I had moved on. I gave them permission to ignore my craziness over the flooring.  This time, I really was at peace with the flooring situation.

The next day the new subfloor went in. I was good with it.  I am still good with it. I like it.


Though, there is a small strip of old flooring hiding in the back. It couldn’t be removed because the closet wall that isn’t part of this project is sitting on old flooring. One small victory for me – and for the old flooring. Now, I really have moved on.


Next was framing. The new bathroom lay out was contemplated…


New, taller openings were framed – to the bedrooms


and the entry way.


Back to the bedroom opening. The old bathroom window/new bedroom window was supposed to be enlarged to match the other window in the room.  I was looking forward to this larger window.  Then, Tad nixed the larger window thing. Tad has spent many a conversation trying to convince me that it is going to be just fine.  I am not sure.  I fear it is going to be similar to the studor vent situation. The studor vent situation still annoys me.


Tad insisted on using these engineered studs


to create a perfectly straight center wall – for the television.


New ceiling joists were next, since the old ones were sagging and cracked.


The attic decking went in as soon as the new joists were installed. Electrical started the next day.


Plumbing is in process, rough electrical is finished, and the structural work in the attic has been completed for now. Weirdly, the attic will get it’s own story in the future. Tad has a vision.


The tub has now been delivered twice. The first time it was the wrong tub.


The second time, yesterday, it was damaged.


Despite not having an actual tub to install, they went ahead and framed in the tub opening to try to keep this thing on schedule.


The door sizes were finally confirmed and ordered. We are hoping to match the doors we have in the rest of the house – solid fir, 5 panel.


It required some research on Tad’s part. Initially, the contractor’s source said it would be 8 weeks to get the doors because they were a non standard size. That wouldn’t work with the schedule. Tad did some research and found a source that is less expensive and quicker. So, they were able to get the pocket doors framed yesterday. Good job Tad!


Now we wait.  Apparently, the tub needs to be installed so the plumber can get the plumbing rough in finished before we can get the first round of inspections.

In the meantime, we have ordered and received the bathroom fan,


the bathroom vanity sconces (you don’t get to see the actual sconce yet – you have to wait until it is in the room),


and the bedroom bedside sconces (again, you don’t get to see the actual fixture until it is installed – the anticipation…),


the toilet (yes, it is one of those weird half tank toilets – we will talk about that decision later),


the sink (it is the same sink that we have in our other bathroom – we searched, but couldn’t find anything we liked better), Ronbow-24-W-Ceramic-Bathroom-Single-Hole-White-Sink-217724-1-WH

the faucet,


and the shower fixtures.



We have decided on the bathroom wall tile – a handmade accent mosaic for the vanity area and tub apron (I knew immediately that this was the tile when I saw it),


and an artsy field tile for the shower and toilet areas.


The hardwood flooring for the bedrooms and living/dining areas will be the same that we have in the rest of the house – engineered, character maple, random length and width. So, that decision was easy. We were going to go with the same company that we previously hired, but their pricing was 50% higher than it was 6 years ago. Tad shopped around and we will save a couple of thousand dollars. It pays to shop around! Again, good job Tad!


We are preparing for the air conditioning installation.  Yes, we are getting air conditioning!  It wasn’t initially in the plans, but we decided this was the easiest time to install since the walls are all open. Instead of a concrete pad, we went with a stone pad.  The stone pad was Tad’s idea. I set it in place today. Most people wouldn’t even care that it is stone rather than concrete.  We care. We like stone. We think it looks better and it will last longer – because it is stone.  It was also less expensive than concrete.  Again, good call Tad!


The front door was removed to protect it.  I wasn’t even thinking that I was going to do anything with it, but then realized it needs some help if it is going to last another 100 years. So, I tracked down a craftsman to restore this original door. Hopefully, he will pick it up this week and get started. I am still debating whether or not it needs new hardware as well…


It probably needs new hardware.  Yes, I have added that to my list – new front door hardware.

Next on the list – bathroom flooring and, now, front door hardware.

Oh, and, the vanity mirror.  I was thinking we were going to just reuse the old bathroom mirror. However, I went to Restoration Hardware today – just to look around.  Their vanity displays have really tall, skinny mirrors.  I want this in our new bathroom.


Totally cool, right?