Thursday, September 25, 2014

NOW We're Getting Somewhere!

(This has to be fast because I found out I need to do something before work that I hadn't expected.)

For the longest time, it seemed like the house renovation project was going to extend for the rest of our natural lives. But in just the last week, I can suddenly see the end of the project, and I even have hopes we may have our son moved in by the end of October.

The difference? Paint! We finally finished some of the drywall finishing and were able to prime and paint several rooms. It's amazing what that does for a place. The bathroom is also close to finished; I laid a tile floor (that I think is the best job I've ever done on one, just to brag on myself a little), and then we could install the toilet and sink. The tub surround is on its way to tile (one more coat of waterproofing membrane). And last night, my husband began what will probably be the last of the really big jobs - sanding and refinishing the wood floors.

And what a transformation that process brought about! When we bought the house, two floors were covered with NASTY carpet, and one was scuffed back to bare wood. When we removed the carpet, we found no one had covered the floors before texturing the ceiling, so the floors were coated with joint compound (or whatever they used). The floors are 1-inch red oak; my husband bought some boards to patch a few places where we moved some walls, and it was about $5 per square foot at a bargain flooring store. Last night, as the layers of abuse began to strip away, we were simply amazed that anyone would think carpet would be a better alternative than these beautiful wood floors. I can't wait to see how they look finished. Imagine the value those floors will add to the little house!

So we are rolling along better now. There are still two rooms in which I need to finish the drywall, but they are both small. Of course, there's the tile for the shower, and flooring to install for the three small rooms in the house, and all the trim (ceiling and floor) to paint and install, and kitchen cabinets, but somehow, the job feels do-able now.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

So Near, and Yet So Far.....

By this time, I had hoped I would be reporting on the completion of the house project and on move-in day for our son. School is back in session, and my husband and I really, really wanted to be finished with the house project before school started. Well, of course it didn't happen. Crazy people that we are, we also tried to get a produce farm business started this summer, in preparation for the day when my husband retires from teaching (which is only three more years). We made a valiant (in my opinion) effort to keep up with everything, but there are only so many hours in the day, and taking a house down to studs and back to finished requires a LOT of those hours.

We're not finished, but we are beginning to see the end of the project. The major slow-down was installing the drywall and finishing it. My husband installed all of the drywall except some pieces on the ceiling by himself, and I've done all the finish work, which requires three coats and then finish sanding. At first, we were taking the "step at a time" approach, in which we started with a back room and started moving room by room around the house. But as we realized school was looming closer, we shifted to a "most important rooms first" strategy, meaning we've concentrated our recent efforts on the bathroom, kitchen, living room, and master bedroom.

At this point, the bathroom and kitchen have painted ceilings and primed walls, and I primed the ceiling of the master bedroom last night after school. When I put it on paper, it doesn't sound like we've accomplished much. But once the ceilings are painted, we can install light fixtures, which gives us the ability to work longer hours. I guess that's a good thing.....maybe it means we will finish sooner, but it also means longer hours.....

Here's the short list of our most immediate tasks:

  • Paint bedroom ceiling and closet (both white)
  • Put up lights in kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom
  • Prime walls in bedroom
  • Paint walls in kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom
  • Lay tile on the bathroom floor
  • Do finish sanding on the drywall in living room and ha.......

Oh, man. The list could keep growing! All those jobs are not all that big - we could probably knock out ALL of them in a good weekend. The problem is, there is no good weekend; we are doing these jobs in 30-minute to 1-hour blocks, whenever we can steal a little time.

It will get I told myself at one point while working on the kitchen ceiling, every scrape I make with the trowel gets us one tiny step closer to finished. I just have to keep my eyes on each tiny step and not become discouraged by how many steps are left to take. Isn't that how runners survive those 100-mile races?

A couple of shots of our progress:

1) Patching the part of the hardwood floor we added when we changed the floor plan......

2) A half-painted ceiling.......

Now the next big holdup: trying to decide on colors for the walls!