“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
After a productive week for our builder wrapping up demo, they began the rebuilding with exterior framing and windows. It was great to see our new windows and patio door installed. The main differences between these and the old ones are: they start closer to the floor, are wider, are divided light and now have some spacing between them instead of just a string of windows. As I suspected, changing this dramatically improved the look of the whole space!
BEFORE: 8 skinny windows, up just a bit too high
AFTER: 6 wider windows that extend a bit further down the wall
But in remodeling as in life, you must sometimes take the bad with the good. So you’ll notice that the entire ceiling has been opened up, and in the picture below, sections of the floor.
That was not in the initial scope, but unfortunately they found a few surprises that they must address: a leak in our year-old roof (put on by prior homeowners, we’ve only been here since April) which caused water damage to insulation and therefore all needs to be replaced, lack of beams where they need them to be (hence the flooring opened up to add support), and presence of HVAC ducts in the kitchen where we need them not to be (that is where they were planning to do framing work). Grand tally, probably about the +10% overage we were holding in our budget for just such discoveries. Didn’t plan to burn through it all, but as my husband said when I, deflated, share the news, “in for a penny, in for a pound at this point, it can’t be helped.” Where did this zen perspective come from? He laughed at how I was more worried about the money than him – possibly a first in our 12 years together! Well, I just don’t like surprises.
That said, what I did like was how well it appeared that our GC project manager, Chad, worked with our architect Christine, as they are not from the same company and this is their first time working together. They had a good back-and-forth sharing of ideas, problem-solving, and balancing cost implications with the design and aesthetic impact. I’m actually breathing a sigh of relief, just because I feared what they might find during the discovery phase and have heard so many horror stories. It could’ve been worse, and hopefully Chad was right when he said now that they’ve uncovered all of the unknowns there shouldn’t be a need for changes to scope/budget unless it’s per our request for a change in finishes or additional work we’d add on.
I remain SO excited about seeing the vision we had articulated and augmented through our architect be brought to life through Chad and his crew (who seem amazing by the way — exceedingly considerate, friendly, and helpful). And… living in our basement seems like it will be OK. Even the cooking is going OK, it’s more the dish washing that is a drag since there’s no dishwasher down here. Trying not to eat out too much more than the usual – but I’m sure we’ll hit the wall at some point in this 3-4 month process. Stay tuned!