Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Remodel Phase I

...or another page in how we turned this house into a proper English Cottage.

I spents weeks going over and over the plans making adjustments, refinements, and corrections. We first submitted them to the City on July 6th and after a month they were returned for corrections. We re-submitted them and FINALLY on September 5th they were approved. While the City had the plans we had been busy arranging financing and hiring a general contractor who would allow us to do some of the work on the house ourselves. We also packed most of our furniture into a storage shed, rented a giant dumpster, and moved plants away from the construction zone. We were finally ready. It was time for the Big Remodel.

So early one Saturday morning we literally took a Sawzall (bless the inventor of that miracle!) and started cutting the little red house into manageable chunks and stacking them into the dumpster. I'm sure the neighbors thought we'd gone mad and at times I did too, but we persevered and in a fortnight only one third of the house was left standing. You could see all the way to the back fence where the living room and dining room used to be. We left two bedrooms, a bathroom, the laundry room and the kitchen untouched. We continued to live in those rooms for several months but the absurdity of walking out of the bedroom hall and into a construction site was sometimes startling. Since there was no connection between the bedroom area and kitchen area we really had no choice.

By October the general contractor was pouring new sections of foundation and framing up new walls. The new walls were made taller so they would come out even with the old walls plus the old flat roof. We set the roof trusses on these taller walls in some areas and on the old roof in other areas. It was an exciting day when the trusses arrived and the roof began to take shape. Then the windows were installed and the exterior walls sheathed in plywood.

By December the house was all sheathed and roofed and we had a new walkway to the front porch. We had no wallboard, tile or carpet in the new area, but we set up a tree in the new front window and celebrated our newly found privacy along with Christmas.

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