Renovation always involves tearing shit out and then putting it back together. This week was a combination of both, but crossed over to more putting than tearing, so things are on the upswing. Crossing fingers, we are hoping to occupy in a month, albeit with limited services. The strategy is to focus on a bedroom, a bath and the kitchen. If we can sleep, bathe and eat, we’re good to go.
Tearing into the kitchen ceiling, we found some pretty bad looking joists, so a few of those need sistering. The ceiling guy is coming early next week, so we are hoping for sisters this weekend.
There was also a rotted header in a bearing wall between the kitchen and bath. With a temporary wall in place, the new header going in. Here’s the view from below and one from the torn up bathroom above:
Sadly a lot of what we are doing has been fixing versus improving. However, one nice improvement is opening up the weird, narrow back stair. Before:
The stair had run up to the left behind this back wall of the kitchen, so the view in the picture above is looking from the upper left of this picture down to lower right behind the wall. Oddly the two doorways leading from the kitchen to the dining room were misaligned by about a foot and a half so you sort of jagged across the foot of the stairs going from one room to the other. We frankly had a hard time figuring how one could get large pieces upstairs at all, as the front stair is not terribly commodious either.
So…an improvement. And my idea! We took down the kitchen-side wall. And, the contractor tried widening the doorway into the dining room. The problem is that the widened opening looked imbalanced versus all the other doorways in the dining room which are narrow and close with doors. We’ll move the opening left a foot or so and will add two doors which will swing from the middle into the dining room. The picture to the left below is looking towards where that back wall and radiator had been.
Another problem has been inconsistency in the plaster finish from room to room. As with every issue, we have to ask…do we care? Beth tells me, yes we do! So, we brought a guy in to skim coat all the plaster, on the first floor anyway. He’s been making good progress. Interestingly we kind of like the light gray-brown color. We may just seal it, rather than painting, in some room to retain the look. You can see he’s also closed the former doorway between the kitchen and the master bedroom. Wainscoting gets spliced in next.
Finally, a nice surprise upstairs. I had pulled up some horrible shag carpet to reveal puke colored linoleum under the deteriorated foam rubber pad that had adhered to it. I peeled up a corner and it looked like plywood underneath. Luckily, I was wrong. The guys pulled up the linoleum this week and found the coolest floor in the house. Some of the old boards are over 18 inches wide. It needs some patching but should come out terrific.
I gave a few tours today, exuding optimism about occupying in early June. Friends give me a look of sympathy like that for a man who is hopeful that he can patch things up with his estranged wife (who’s dating a handsome surgeon). Although they respond with words of encouragement, “Poor dear,” their expressions say.