The remodeling project is progressing – the insulation is up on the kitchen walls and the ceiling, and dry-wall is set to begin next week. Our kitchen is starting to look like, well, at least some sort of a room. A series of inspections have happened (and I’m told we passed), but more to come. We’re still waiting on delivery for doors and windows, and kitchen fixtures will be confirmed next week. The downstairs basement still has a ways to go, but little by little it too is coming along. Its progress – not fast progress, but progress nonetheless.
As the workers prepare for installation of the can lights in the kitchen, the ceiling looks like its dripping with Ramen noodles…or worms…or in more morbid terms, getting ready for a western-style hanging…yippee ki yay. It seems rather dismal and dark now, but with 12 lights going in the kitchen plus 3 pendants, we should be light and bright in no time.
Wouldn’t you know it – the day that our contractor knocks down our outside wall coincides with the cold snap that hits town. So while half our house is boarded up with plywood, we’re cranking the heat trying to keep ourselves warm. But we manage to deal with it with big fuzzy slippers and lots of blankets on the bed.
As part of our kitchen remodel, we’re also converting part of the basement into a wine cellar, and making it look a little more “finished” by adding drywall, flooring, paint, etc. Out with the circa 1970’s wood paneling, and in with a more polished appearance. The ideal hope is that we can turn my husband’s “man-cave” into a more distinguished, and less frat-boy look. This will be the budget part of our remodel, because after all is said and done, the basement is really just a room beneath the house, so spending a suitcase full of dough on something that will always be “just a basement” doesn’t seem to be well-advised. But after owning the home for 9 years I have finally failed at keeping my hands off what was supposed to be Carl’s man-cave, dude-dwelling, rumpus room, male sanctuary – a room that is his to decorate, a home for his own TV, video games, Sony Wii drum-set, and his much-admired high school jacket. So many times I wanted to gussy-up the place, and so often I was told “hands off”. But now, as we found ourselves embarking on the journey to re-do the kitchen, it seemed the perfect opportunity to finally clean up the space a little. So the “hand’s off” turned into “let’s not spend a lot of money”, and that’s where we are today.
To keep the rest of the house (relatively) free from all the construction dust, the team put up walls of plastic. A small zipper allowed access when necessary, but as the plastic walls were only held up by painters tape, frequent zipping and unzipping would result in the wall falling down so it was frankly just easier to avoid the walls altogether. The dogs seemed especially annoyed by these new additions to the house, as they could hear people on the other side but the opacity prevented them from thoroughly checking out the intrigue of what was happening on the other side. The first few days of construction we let them sneak a peak, but as the job got messier it was best to keep them on “the clean side”.
Sometimes its nice to get a nod from the past. As our contractors were tearing apart the walls of our kitchen they came across a gift from the previous owners. The previous owners of our home had remodeled the kitchen in 2002, and had taken Polaroids of their own kitchen remodel and stashed them in the wall for the next time someone decided to tear apart the kitchen. So this small little bundle of 9 photos which showed pictures of open walls, insulation and electrical wiring became our glimpse into the long-ago progress the past owners had made on their own kitchen project. Should we do the same, and provide a gift to the next owners who decide to remodel? But Polaroids are so last-decade. Perhaps we should leave a memory card? A USB stick? Or a URL to this blog? Just a little ‘wink and a nod’ to give the brave owners a a smile as they embark on their own journey.
Today was a full day of demolition. The construction guys arrived promptly at 8am. After being greeted ferociously by our little dog, Gracie and enthusiastically by our big dog, Monty, and everyone’s butts were appropriately sniffed and greetings had everywhere, the guys got to work on pulling apart more of our home. Our lead contractor left to go to the city office to pick up the permits and said he would be right back. The rest of the guys got started putting down paper to protect the floors, and making walls out of plastic in an attempt to stop the dust from infiltrating the rest of the house. It felt as if we were being quarantined for some infectious plague – all that was missing was the yellow “do not enter” tape. The guys then started with the symphony of the day – the gently echoing orchestra of men cracking and beating the tile in the existing laundry room, which will now be part of our kitchen. ‘BANG, BANG, BANG, POP, CRACK, BANG’ and so it begins. The latter half of the day was spent working on the basement – tearing the circa 1970’s wood paneling off the wall (finally!) and tearing apart the existing closet and makeshift bar downstairs. I tried to ignore the sound, but it resonated throughout the house. How does anyone live through this full time? The dogs seemed a little agitated by the noise, but the biggest problem were the plastic sheets that blocked their access to part of the house. How annoying!