Time for a progress report of our whole house renovation that started the beginning of September… (that’s 4 1/2 months ago, for those of you that are counting at home…)
So you think you want to renovate???
If by chance you’re thinking of doing a whole house renovation, here’s a little of what you can expect!
However, if you’re like me, you maybe don’t really want to know too much beforehand…
like when I go to the doctor and they want to describe exactly what they are doing… with a little too thorough of a description. Thank you very much, but I don’t want to know that, and I don’t want to SEE that!! Take that blasted mirror away! Yikes!! Seriously?! Who wants to see that?! Just do the dang procedure, do it right and get it over with, right?!
Renovating a whole house is kind of similar… there are some awkward, compromising positions the house needs to go through.
So, if you’re thinking of doing a whole house renovation, you maybe just want to click over to another post right now and stay comfortable with your head in the sand.
Truth is, I love being involved in pretty much all the decisions for the house renovation, for sure all the design and planning… but I guess I just really didn’t want to know just how inconvenienced our lives would be ahead of time. Looking back at the pictures and timeline, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed all over again! (I mean, yes, we’re still in the middle of renovating, but we now are living in the renovated basement apartment, so life is certainly more comfortable now than the first 6 or 8 weeks we lived here!)
Here’s what we did…
We sold our beautiful 100 year old home that we had just renovated and moved into 3 years prior. (I think that was the hardest part… I kept hearing this voice in my head saying, what the heck did you just do? You had a gorgeous house and just ditched it for this!) You can read more on that in this post I wrote at the low point of this current project.
We moved into a house that we knew was going to need to be fully renovated… I use the term ‘moved into’ lightly because we actually moved most of our worldly possessions into storage and just moved the bare necessities into the one room that wasn’t going to be too greatly affected by the renovation:
Yep, there are our bare necessities… mostly dry food, a minimal of kitchen supplies and dishes for when we move into the apartment, a few cleaning supplies and bathroom essentials in plastic totes moved into what will become the main floor office.
We moved our bed and dresser into the bedroom on the main level and started to gut the basement apartment, hoping to renovate that super quick to create a home for us to live in while the rest of the house was being renovated.
Well, good plans sometimes need tweaking…
Once our contractor started gutting the basement apartment, it was realized that nearly all the main floor plumbing went through the ceiling of that half of the basement… so all that plumbing on the main level would need to be addressed before the basement apartment could be finished.
That’s the thing with renovations, they never go quite like you plan on paper… one must be flexible if one is going to do a renovation… and if one is going to live in that renovation, well one really needs to be flexible, (and perhaps have their head examined) But regardless, we plowed ahead!
Right away, the main floor kitchen got gutted. Both for the plumbing changes and to repurpose the cabinets from here to the basement apartment. (You can read more about repurposing those cabinets here)
We made a makeshift kitchen…
That consisted of the fridge in the corner and a folding table my dear friend insisted on lending to me, (thankfully!) and our coffee maker with a few disposable cups, bowls and spoons. Besides a bowl of cottage cheese and peaches for breakfast we ate every meal out… That gets old real quick! I very much appreciate the ability to cook. I make a home… cooking in the kitchen is an important part of that for me, so this lack was probably the hardest thing of all this!
I think it was a total of 7 or 8 weeks that we were delayed getting into the basement apartment with a working kitchen… I wasn’t prepared for that, but really how prepared can you be? Sometimes you just have to deal with it as it comes. So we got through that and survived and were reminded to still be thankful for what we have… a lot of people have so much less.
While the upstairs kitchen was torn apart, the basement was gutted:
I worked on repurposing the upstairs kitchen cabinets: (you can read that post here it didn’t go quite as smoothly as I had hoped)
Before the basement apartment was habitable though, they actually gutted the bathroom on the main level too… plumbing pipes from it went in the apartment ceiling too. (this was the bathroom right next to the bedroom we were now ‘holed’ up in. Ok, this was getting a little rough.
After 7 weeks, we finished the basement and were so thrilled to move in!
The basement apartment bathroom is pretty cute, has a wonderful large shower and the best thing is it’s no longer affected by the renovation going on upstairs and next door in the other half of the basement!
You can read more about the basement apartment bathroom, seeing the before and after here.
Then we found out the roof leaked… and that the mudroom was going to need to be added on the back of the house/garage ASAP.
So… the partially gutted main level went on pause, while our contractor rushed outside to get the mudroom addition and screen porch roof built before the snow started to fly and the roofers were gone for the season.
I’d love to say that was all they had to do outside, before they could get back to the main floor inside, but it wasn’t!
We also had to add the front porch before the roof went on. This was planned to be a project we addressed next spring, but instead, we addressed it now to ensure the roof was installed this fall.
We also replaced all the windows on the front of the house… and the front door… (you can read details about those design decisions here)
We made it… barely!
Our roof was one of the last ones this fall to get done before the snow started and the roofers went south. (we live in NW Wisconsin and cold winters greatly impact outside work)
The contractors went back and forth from gutting the inside on cold or rainy days to working on the garage…
Oh, one more thing to cause a couple weeks delay… the rafters in the garage weren’t built quite right and were sagging! The contractors had to beef them up.
Then we had to cut down 13 trees! (you can see why we’d do such a thing here)
I’m actually just skimming the surface of the depth of things this house has been going through!
The mudroom got buttoned up for winter, all the siding and trim outside installed, and sheetrocked inside.
Once that sheetrock went up, it was a highlight for us… finally, it felt like something was progressing. I know it all was progressing, it just doesn’t feel like it when there are piles of mess and walls laying on the floor.
We celebrated Christmas in our basement apartment. (you can see my struggles to make this simple ‘let it snow’ craft here)
Finally, the main level is getting its turn!
This house is a mid-century and had a sunken living room. That can be a neat feature in some floor plans… but this is a smallish house and there isn’t another living room. It wasn’t a hard decision for us to raise it. (besides the fact that the sunken floor meant the basement ceiling below it was a foot lower too.)
Here’s the space the day they took the old sunken floor out:
That future family room in the basement would have been only a little over 6′ tall… my 2 sons wouldn’t even be able to walk in there.
Now, the new living room floor has been raised and is at the same level as the rest of the great room. (it’s a great room now because the walls dividing the spaces are gone!)
The wall dividing the living room from the dining room, and the wall from the dining room to the kitchen have been removed. I’m finally starting to like the main level.
All the gutting and demoing of the main level is finally done too. In fact, the rebuilding has begun. Yay!!
My husband even said he could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
There still is a ton to do, but there is light and it’s really starting to feel like our goal is going to be met with a lovely home. I can’t wait! Well, I can wait… I have to wait, but I’m excited for it!
To see more renovation projects on our new house check out our Mid-Century-to-Colonial-Revival page to see everything I’ve written about so far.
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