bardicvoice (bardicvoice) wrote,

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Remodeling Diary, Days 10-17

If you're only interested in my Supernatural posts, please pass this one by; there's nothing supernatural about it. This is simply the next installment on the total remodeling of my house, with links to photos.

The day numbers are links to the photos for the day. There are two days with no photos.

Day 10

Another exciting day here. The guys cut back the rear wall between the living room and dining room, so the opening between the rooms has gotten bigger, and they already patched the drywall and redefined the room arch. They started taping the drywall on the entertainment wall. Upstairs, they primed the entire hall, plus the laundry alcove; good thing I did all my laundry yesterday, because they disconnected my washer and dryer! They also started painting upstairs: the guest room and the library both have new soft pale grey ceilings in place of the previous bright white. I'm happy to report that the paint is a low VOC, so I'm not trying to sleep in a stinky house!

I think I found lights for the dining room and kitchen breakfast nook, too. I returned the non-Energy Star ones that I picked up from Lowe's over the weekend, and in place of them, picked up a legitimate Energy Star rated one for the dining room -- a semi-flush mount with a 17-inch frosted white glass shallow bowl with an etched flowing trim around the edge, taking a 55-watt 2C circline fluorescent bulb -- and from Home Depot, a smaller 13-inch frosted white glass shallow bowl with etched trim around the edge and around the center, which takes two ordinary 60-watt bulbs or CFL equivalents. The bigger one has a brushed nickel fitting while the smaller one has a white fitting. The designs don't match, but I think that the similarity between them should be harmonious.

Day 11

Things continue to run along. Today I came home to find that my kitchen entrance had an arch! Alfredo had roughed it in, and it looks beautiful even unfinished. It really changes the character of the place!

The guys also finished taping the entertainment wall and patching the arch between the living room and dining room that they'd cut back yesterday. Upstairs, they painted the hall ceiling, primed all the doors along the hall, and pulled out the cheapo linoleum that had been under the washer and dryer (the machines are now in the guest bedroom).

I emptied out the last of the linen closet tonight, so they'll be able to play with it along with the rest of the upstairs hall. My extra towels and whatnot sundries are now in a box on the floor of the master bedroom. (It's getting crowded in here ...:)

I also made one more purchase. Home Depot put its remaining outdoor furniture on a half-price sale, so I finally bought a table and chairs for my patio. It's a bistro set: two swiveling, rocking chairs with a square ceramic-tile-topped table. You can see them at full price (twice what I paid!) here: They're currently on will-call; I'm hoping to persuade a friend with an SUV (or one of the construction guys ... *grin*) to help me pick them up in the next couple of days, because the box is too awkwardly sized to fit in Skywise even when he's topless.

Day 12

Today they edged and finished the first coat ceiling painting upstairs and did painting prep downstairs, including removing register covers and door hardware (I have no place to hang my house and car keys any more! Whoops!) and doing more finishing work on the kitchen ceiling and arch and the arch between the living and dining rooms. The replacement skylight was delivered today, but no work was done up there. Alas, we've got a chance of rain every day coming up for the next week, so who knows what will happen when? They also did more work on the frame of the pocket door and primed the door.

I'm meeting with Paris at 9:00 on Friday morning to go over all the details on the living room stuff, including the new cabinet to hold all the video and stereo components, and the status of things overall. Turns out that Paris is way more than the A/V guy; he's the local director of operations for Elegant, as Josh is the regional director. I'm working with the top of the heap!

Day 13

Today is really the day where pictures wouldn't tell a story. There was a bit more paint prep work done in the front foyer, and there are more places where the first floor walls and ceiling were marked for pointing up to eliminate unevenness (dips, dings, and whatnot). There are some additional pencil marks on the kitchen arch, but I don't know what they mean; they also took off the doorbell, so I hope no one tries to ring it! (Hey: I'll have an excuse for not answering the solicitors!) The Kohler shower receptor was delivered, and is sitting in its box out on the patio. The box had been opened and I snuck a look, and it's pretty! Some stuff on the first floor was moved around, including the boxed mounting arm for the HDTV, but nothing else seemed changed. They'd opened the box for the skylight, but nothing else.

Tomorrow I'll meet with Paris, so I suspect I'll learn more about where everything stands. I'm also suspecting that I may be doing hand laundry this weekend and postponing anything major for sometime next week, assuming that my washer and dryer might be reconnected by then, on their new tile floor ... Good thing I saved a few additional towels and my portable drying rack, and tucked away a sufficiency of t-shirts and jeans so I don't absolutely have to do more than my undies in the wash!

After meeting with Paris, I'll head off for my massage and then an apheresis donation. Maybe I'll even take in the new Harry Potter movie ... *grin*

After days of an unusually mild summer, we've finally gotten socked with the typical Washington heat and humidity: 90's and almost as wet. I finally closed up the house and turned on the A/C. (I've told the guys to run with whatever makes them comfortable, but the house was still on windows when I came home today, so who knows?) We've got a chance of rain every day for most of the next week, given the atmospheric instability that accompanies high heat and humidity. I wonder when they're going to chance the skylight ...

Day 14

Well, today was a no progress day; I didn't have a crew. Paris Tsitos – who is evidently my new site boss, taking over from Stuart – showed up today with Dave, who will be my new crew boss. According to Paris, Alfredo and his crew have been shifted to another job needing construction hands, while Dave and his group do finishing. My neighbor Cindy, who's around during the day because she's job hunting, offered a bit of a different impression, reporting that Paris and Alfredo got into it with each other when Paris showed up to run the show yesterday. They evidently do not play well together; Alfredo said he's done work for the guy who owns Elegant for 14 years, while Paris is younger and new, but Paris has rank over Alfredo. Oil and water, chalk and cheese ... and crews get swapped. Alfredo told Cindy he'd been fired.

I knew I'd likely see changes because Josh told me up front that part of the way he'd shaved costs was by borrowing crew for me from other, bigger jobs, and that the crews working at my house would change with the time and the need, but I was disappointed at what Cindy reported about how this one came about.

Anyway, Paris has promised me a chart showing what work is being planned for each day as the project continues. He also said, and Dave agreed, that the work pace is going to pick up significantly next week. They're adding in Saturday to the work week, starting tomorrow. Assuming no rain, tomorrow is supposed to see the skylight installed, with the stairwell drywall work. Then should come the installation of the new shower receptor in the master bath. The whole house gets painted (including the master, while I'm still living in it!), and the floors start going down ... and that's all next week. And along the way, the living room recessed lights get corrected, the speaker wires get moved to accommodate the built-in AV cabinet, the last drywall gets finished, and all the cabinetry gets ordered. And between the completion of the drywall and the main painting, Paris plans to send in their cleaning crew to deal with most of the dust. (Oh, wow -- a cleaning crew!! I feel better about all this white powder everywhere, all of a sudden ...)

Day 15

Today, Saturday, was WILD, even though I wasn't home for most of it!

First off, I had at least six guys in my house for part of the day. I only actually met three of them, one being Dave -- whom I really like a lot -- one being Carlos, and one Edwin. I saw others up on the roof, but didn't get to actually be introduced.

The biggies were:
1. Installation of the new skylight (which is a little larger than the old one, and looks lovely!), plus installation of new drywall in the stairwell
2. Installation of the new shower receptor in the master bath, complete with some work on the plumbing (which involved cutting a hole in the kitchen ceiling for access from below) and with covering the wall and floor with moisture and mold resistant board to underlie the new tile
3. Floor repair in the library to fix a soft spot that's been there as long as I've owned the house
4. Roughing in the entertainment cabinet in the living room, complete with moving electronics to terminate within the cabinet and shifting the front speakers to balance with the cabinet
5. Moving the front entry light from over the handrail on the stairs to be centered in the hall (gives me a lot more scope in what I can put up, and I think I'm going to duplicate the frosted white etched glass light fixture I bought for the breakfast nook in the kitchen, which you can see from the front hall).
6. Selecting and staring to mount new clamshell baseboards -- a compromise between the old squared-off skinny "modern" (a la 1970's modern) baseboards I used to have, the flat, squared-off frames on all the doors upstairs (ditto), and the wider, more traditional trim on the big sliding glass doors in the kitchen and dining room. The new baseboard will be wider than the old ones and curve to a gentle edge on the top, rather than the squared-off style of the old stuff. It's closer to the traditional, without looking out of place with the most of the existing door frames. We're not changing the door frames on the second floor, but we're taking off the frame on the utility closet door downstairs, and we already pulled the frames from the powder room and now-nonexistant kitchen doors. That will leave only the front closet frames to deal with; have to figure out whether we're changing those to make the whole first floor match, or not.

I think that's the most of it ... whew!

My backyard "third room" is currently as destroyed as the rest of the house, so "enjoyment" of the new patio furniture will be a little delayed just because the backyard is a crowded mess. I got the set home in Skywise: I scoped things out and took a chance that pushing the passenger seat all the way up front would provide enough room for the box to be set in the back seat, and it worked. When I got it home, Dave helped me get it out of the car, and that was dead easy. I simply opened both doors, had Dave lift from the passenger side, and walked into the car from the driver's side, picked up the box from inside the car, and just walked through the car and out the passenger door! We carried the box around to the back gate and put it on my patio. I plan to assemble the furniture Sunday and tuck it in one corner of the yard, after I shift some of the junk around to clear a spot for it.

I'll also need to assemble the wardrobe box and empty the master closet of clothes. Dave and Paris suggested that I wouldn't need to move out of the master to let them patch and paint in the room; they said they could just shift everything into the middle of the room, cover it all with plastic and dust sheets, patch (the closet has one corner that really needs it) and paint, and have everything back in place before I get home. What they'd like to do is go crazy with the paint upstairs and get it all done at once, then do the flooring in all the upstairs rooms except for the master, and then put down moving mats on the new wood, move the furniture out of the master, floor the master, and move the furniture back in. They're thinking I may not have to move out of the master at all, if they stage things right. One day I'd come home and find the room painted, but still habitable; another day I'd come home to find all the flooring done. But whatever happens, the one thing I still have to do is move the clothes and other stuff out of the closet. Problem is, I have no place to move the stuff to, but if I can at least get it boxed in place, they'll just need to move the boxes ...


Day 16

Well, after the excitement and obvious advances of Saturday, today was a bit of a letdown. We were back to subtle advances. They pulled the doorframe from the utility closet and the trim from the staircase (the utility closet won't have trim around the door; it will be a bondo finish, nice and smooth). They started to tape the drywall joints and corners in the stairwell. They patched and mudded the front foyer walls (that big mirror left holes ...) and the kitchen ceiling and new construction areas (with some on the dishwasher, just to prove something was going on! *grin*). They patched the drywall in the living room that they'd cut out to move the speaker wires to accommodate the entertainment cabinet. They also cleaned out all the trash from the back yard and – ta-da! – they delivered the tile!!! Wanna bet I'm going to start having floors Real Soon Now? They still have to patch the plumbing hole in the kitchen ceiling and finish the drywall in the staircase before painting; I think they're trying to prep everything so the painting will just fly. I know that the kitchen is presenting them with some problems because the glue on that old wallpaper was fierce and trying to skim it has been, well, yuck.

I haven't yet gotten my progress chart from Paris, so he's getting an email tonight. I did pack up the clothes from the master closet, so now I have a wardrobe box on the floor of the master bedroom along with everything else. This room has never been so jammed before; I'm really going to be glad when all this is over and I'll have breathing room in my bedroom!

Day 17

Well, we're still on the "subtle" setting. Today I came home to learn that they'd roughed in the plumbing for the new shower; I've got brand-new copper pipe in the wall! They also started work on prepping the master bath and foyer floors for tiling. Paris left a small piece of grout on top of the microwave for me to approve the color, and it works -- it's called Dove Gray, and that's exactly what it is. There's a tile saw on the front hall floor.

They also did more taping and mudding in the stairwell, the kitchen, and the living room. More prep still remains, especially in the stairwell and the kitchen.

To be continued ...

Tags: real life, remodeling project

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