This Old House...What I Have Learned (Weeks 4-6)

We’ve been in the house a few weeks now and I just had to give a quick update because it seems like so much has changed (and also so much has not…). Our lessons learned as we expect the unexpected are mounding, so here we go:

  1. Custom Cabinets - take FOREVER! Okay, so not forever but they do certainly take longer than I anticipated. Once design plans were complete, I started this process, and while my cabinet guy did tell me from day one there was a eight week timeline from shop drawings, I wrongly assumed shop drawings could be completed with the architectural drawings. But when you are ripping out an existing space this is impossible because, as we learned, you don’t always know what's in a wall until you open it… And so our cabinets are eight weeks out from today (that’s four weeks into our construction start date). When I realized this, I may have had a mild panic attack that I would not have a working sink for eight weeks. Luckily, my fabulous contractor built a temporary kitchen for us complete with a stove, our new refrigerator, and a new sink he repurposed from another job. He really is the best!

  2. Ebbs and Flows - as you may know, my level of productivity in one day is not normal - it's borderline insane and I often have to remind myself that normal humans do not attempt to kill themselves by going 120% everyday! With projects such as this that take multiple months, there will be weeks when the crew doesn’t show up much and it appears little is being accomplished...but then there are also weeks when an insane amount of work is completed and it feels like the project has sky rocketed! I’ve had to adjust my expectations a bit and give my crew a bit more trust.

  3. Summer Camp - living in a construction site feels a bit like summer camp - the bathroom is really old, there is always sand on the ground, you share a bathroom with way too many people, and you use a shower caddy… I wasn’t sure what exactly it would be like to live through this but it definitely brings back memories of my summer as a camp counselor--complete with the shower shoes.

  4. Lights - should not be taken for granted. The first two nights we had no lights upstairs and it was REALLY dark (as well as really quiet, which was much different than hearing constant sirens on Capitol Hill). We used lanterns to walk around and light the bathroom but when you are pregnant and pee a million times a night, walking down the hall to the scary old bathroom and using a battery lantern to see the TP is just not ideal. I will say it again, lights are a gift and should not be taken for granted!

Here are a few snapshots of week 5 including our temporary kitchen and living room, new master bath, and new kitchen front wall.

Temporary Kitchen - actually quite usable with my new refrigerator, old stove, and temporary sink!

Temporary Pantry and Coffee Station (because not having coffee through this is definitely not an option!)

Temporary Living Room - bearable with the our new TV and cable for the first time in almost three years!

New Master Bath (view from inside the shower)

New Kitchen Front Wall

Stay tuned for more because we have a long way to go!!



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