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first floor renovation | drywall days

Emily Oster

*This series was written while we were undergoing construction several months ago - hence the present tense. If you missed the first post of this series check it out here , second here and the third here

The drywall crew got delayed and ended up starting a day later than expected. They hung all of the board in a day as well as taped and started mudding. On day two, they finished their first coat of mud with just a short day of work allowing it to dry. They will be back for two more short days applying a second coat of mud and then a quick sand. 

With the drywall up, comes the first happenings of things really being put back together. The space looks a little smaller and closed in but its nice to be able to see the individual spaces take shape. As anticipated, its been a messy few days but overall not too bad.

So far, its been a pretty quiet work week which has made me a little nervous that our great progress is slowing. As a professional, I know this is just how construction goes - some days/weeks with lots of things going on and then a bit of a lull - but I will admit it can be hard to not get a little anxious about things dragging on (especially while pregnant!). After drywall, comes the floors which could also mean a slower few days of work as I am unsure how many guys can be in here working at one time. Below are a few pictures from this week's work.  

Want to read more? Check out one or all of these related posts. 

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first floor renovation | framing days

Emily Oster

*This series was written while we were undergoing construction several months ago - hence the present tense. If you missed the first post of this series check it out here and the second here.

Today, we are on the sixth and final day of framing. The drywall contractors will arrive first thing Monday (its Friday as I write this) to close it all up. The framing has included 4 openings and the built in as well as the dividing wall between what will be our mud room and kids playroom. All openings are in our back hall which now feels like a nice transitional space rather than the dark and cramped hallway it was before we started.

The dividing wall between the mud room and playroom ended up being a last minute add on and is setting us up for what will be phase two of our first floor renovation. As we talked through things with our contractor, we just realized it made no sense to re-drywall and paint walls that we were planning on opening up in the near future. So we made the call to put in the wall as well as rough in the plumbing and electrical to give us more than a jump start on phase two. With this decision, the toy room will be ready for use and will just need a new light and probably a change out of the carpet. Phase two (which will hopefully happen in the fall) will then be just the mud room build out. This will include new flooring, cabinetry and appliances as well as the final plumbing and electrical work to get the washer and dryer moved upstairs and out of our nasty basement. It really won't be a very big project which makes it tempting to tackle now but we just don't have the means (financially or mentally) to undertake the work. By postponing the room, I will give myself the time to pick out the finishes I want and not have to rush to find something in a day. And even though the space won't be finished, it will still be super functional for us as a drop all space - coats, shoes, dog kennel, cleaning products etc. 

Thus far, the work has really gone as planned which is always scary to say/type out loud. The contractors have been great to work with and knowing that the project is short has made the construction process quite easy to live through. I feel totally confident that moving forward with the project was the right thing to do as Jeff and I have been able to give full attention to the project and we haven't had to worry about meeting the needs or schedule of the baby. The space is turning out beautifully - even better than I could have imagined. The only thing that is really frustrating me at the moment is paint color selection....I have till Monday to pick out my colors so the clock is ticking. Below are progress images from the past week or so. 

Want to read more? Check out one or all of these related posts. 

first floor renovation | demo days

Emily Oster

*This series was written while we were undergoing construction several months ago - hence the present tense. If you missed the first post of this series check it out here

As I write this we are on day three of demo. Today, will be the last day of the really messy part and "knock on wood" no really big demons have been found. On the morning of day one, I had just general anxiety about how things would unfold as things came down. We had developed contingency plans on the unknowns we knew about - ceiling height, radiator pipes and air duct - but I was still nervous that there would be some insurmountable monster lurking behind the wall. Luckily, by the end of day one we had pretty much figured out that things were as we suspected. The most welcomed discovery was that there was nothing in the dropped hallway ceiling and we would be able to raise the ceiling height substantially. 

Yesterday, the plumber came out to inspect the set of radiator pipes that need moving and seems confident that he would be able to do the job in one day. Of course, I then checked the weather and it is only suppose to be a high of 23 degrees on that day so I am not sure how that is going to go. We might end up sleeping in the den with the wood stove burning if they can't get the work done and the system back up and running in one day's time. Day two was also the start of framing as Jeff and the contractor discussed things like header size, bearing points, etc. I also presented our contractor with our new plan for our TV wall. For the previous few days, I have been all consumed with trying to figure out what to do and finally reached a design I was happy with - more details on that in another post. 

By the end of day two, all but one wall had been demo'd and the new wall/opening into the kitchen had been framed out. As our contractors like to describe the process, it is a very "nasty" job of tearing down plaster and lath walls. We have done our best to tarp and seal off openings but the first floor is pretty much covered in a good layer of dust. For the past two nights and several more to come, we un-tarp the kitchen and wipe down everything to have dinner. We then retreat into our den which is stocked full of furniture and other items to eat dinner and watch TV. In the morning, after breakfast and before the guys arrive, I re-tarp the kitchen and seal off the den. So far, the mess hasn't been so bad and we should just be about over the worst of it. The whole project should take a month so I think knowing that we don't have to live in a mess for that long makes it much more bearable. 

Today, the electrician arrived first thing to remove old wiring and get things out of the way for the new openings. The plan for the day includes taking out the last wall and framing out the main opening into the living room. I am feeling a bit anxious as they undertake the day's task as its the biggest design gesture of the project and requires the most involved structural work. By tonight or maybe tomorrow at the latest, we should have a really good sense of how the spaces will flow together which I am super excited to see. Below are some pictures from day one and two.  

Want to read more? Check out one or all of these related posts.