It’s been a LOOOONNNGGG time since I last posted about the house we bought in Lakewood back at the beginning of the year. That sentence probably dripped with foreboding . . .
Honestly, it has gone surprisingly well for a 122 year old home remodel. The one thing you can always count on during a renovation (and I mean ALWAYS) is that it will take longer, require more work, and cost more than you anticipated. ***If you disagree with me on this point, please email me and teach me Jedi master–because I still haven’t figured it all out after doing this for a long time. ***
The problem you face when you remodel a home is that one decision can have a domino effect on the rest of the project. For example, when I decided it was better to gut the house completely vs. the original plan of leaving as much of the existing walls intact as possible.
This of course made perfect sense when I made the decision. My electrician told me that if I gutted the house, it would cost me 1/2 of what it was going to cost me to fish new wiring through the existing walls. My other tradesman agreed that it would save me some money on their jobs as well. Heck, I even got a great bid for the new drywall.
So . . .
Do you remember the story of Pandora’s box?
I am pretty sure that Pandora’s box was a 122 year old house, and she just had to know what was behind the plaster. What she found when she torn it open was a lot of problems. She wanted to close the box immediately, but she couldn’t. The only way to close the box is to fix all of the problems first.
Unlike unsuspecting Pandora, we knew this would likely be the case when we opened the walls. But we still did it, and we still couldn’t foresee everything that we would need to do.
In the end, we ended up:
- Replacing the plumbing in the entire house (not planned)
- Rerouting the existing duct work to the back bedrooms, and adding new ducts to the third floor master bath (partly planned)
- Re-wiring the entire house (this was planned at least)
- Hiring a structural engineer and reframing the third floor to support the live load necessary for it to become the master bedroom / bathroom. (Planned)
- Removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen, and the wall between the dining room and the back addition. (Planned)
- Removing the old staircase to the attic (which was located in one of the small bedrooms), and replacing it with a brand new stair case with access from the second floor hall. (Not Planned)
- Sister two joists under the main bath that previous plumbers hacked through (Not Planned)
- Turning the two small bedrooms into one larger bedroom. (Not Planned)
- Extending the main bathroom by 1’6″ into the hallway to gain some much needed space. (Not Planned)
- Framing a full bathroom, bedroom, & closet in the attic (Planned)
- Removing the poorly designed ceiling in the addition and vaulting the ceiling per the structural engineers instructions. (Not Planned . . . But by this point, why not?)
- Re-insulating the entire interior of the house with Rockwool Insulation, and adding Safe & Sound batts to the interior wall. (Attic was planned . . . whole house not so much)
This doesn’t include the fact that I now need to install new trim in the entire house (windows, doors, and baseboards oh my!). Or that the drywall guy who gave me that sweet bid back in February disappeared like a fucking unicorn . . . In hindsight, I should have known his bid was too good to be true.
Needless to say at this point, but it has been a lot of work fixing all the problems in Pandora’s box. However, I am still glad we did it because we fixed all of the problems that would have been hiding behind the walls for the next owner. Not only that, but we were able to change the layout of the house and add some truly awesome features that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
Now, the drywall is up and we are almost ready to paint. Eat your heart out, Pinterest! The photo worthy finishes are almost here.