Monday, April 28, 2014

Day 8: Framing

Day: 8
Schedule: Improved
Prognosis for Survival: Stable

Rain arrived this afternoon and is expected to continue off and on for most of the week. Thankfully, work on the deck advanced significantly today. The remaining concrete footings have been poured (and graffitied by the girls), the posts set and the framing placed. Due to county regulations, the deck is built essentially as a free-standing structure ... but it's also attached to the house. (The third picture is from the bedroom upstairs, looking down. You can see the AC compressor under the deck through the framing ...)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 6: Return to the Present

Day: 6
Schedule: A Little Behind
Prognosis for Survival: Improved

So back to the first entry. The first week has been wrapped up and pictures are posted. Since demo is mostly done, the contractor said we can use the tip for other things ... like the concrete that's scattered through the side yard. A long time ago, it seems, the neighbors to the east who owned the lot used the broken up driveway of our neighbor to the west to create rings around a few trees. Three in the back were quite extensive, but there are other scattered concrete rings around other plants throughout the yard.

Evelin got started early on Friday moving chunks of concrete from the backyard to the tip. I pitched in after picking up the kids. By Saturday afternoon, the tip is pretty full, but all the concrete is gone (barring any rings hidden in the azaleas that we didn't notice. The bit of rotting fencing that was hiding the trash can and recycling bin is also gone ...

Day 5: The End of Week 1

Day: 5
Schedule: Slipping
Prognosis for Survival: Ask Again Later

We had all the windows closed today, which helped keep the brick dust outside. Still it's a mess. A little rain is expected this weekend, so hopefully that will clean things up some. Inside, it's mostly been cleaning up and getting ready for the next phase ... framing. The deck should be further along than it is, but hopefully Monday will see a big burst of activity ...

Day 4: The Masons Arrive

Day: 4
Schedule: On
Prognosis for Survival: Reasonable

The demolition work yesterday kicked up a lot of dust, but nothing like today. The masons arrived early and by the end of the day the house was full of a fine layer of dust. Some of it pollen, some of it dust shaken loose from the house, a lot of it brick dust. We have the hole cut for the french doors, but the expanded kitchen window is only partially cut ... the masons will be back on Friday to finish that work.

Outside, footings for the deck have been partially poured. The girls were told they could check how the concrete was hardening with a nail ... they did the job as probably could have been expected ...

Day 3: Reality Starts to Set In

Day: 3
Schedule: On
Prognosis for Survival: Strained

The living room/dining room/kitchen is small and cramped and annoying. The dog is nervous and Q and I are both a bit irritable. C and E seem to be holding up well, however ...

Demolition kicked into high gear today. The wall between the dining room and kitchen is gone. The brick is mostly exposed. The kitchen ceiling is gone (yes that is the bottom of the bathtub in the bottom photo). I've salvaged a few parts from the windows that are being removed (and finally fixed the window in the stairwell ...).

Day 2: The Kitchen Is Gone

Day: 2
Schedule: On
Prognosis for Survival: Decent

Demo began today as the cabinets were removed and stacked in the kitchen. Tomorrow they head off to Community Forklift. The stove was passed along to a second-hand appliances store for resale. Holes were dug in the backyard for footings for the deck.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Scope of Work


It's worth pausing a moment to outline the scope of work for this project. The biggest part is, of course, the kitchen remodel. The old kitchen is being ripped back to the studs along the walls and ceiling. Plumbing and electrical are all new. Appliances, cabinets, counters are all new. The layers of old tile are being removed and we're hoping the wood beneath them will be good enough to refinish. The chimney that vents the furnace and gas hot water heater is being exposed. The window is being made both wider and taller (although it will start lower more than reach up higher).

The kitchen is also expanding. The wall between the kitchen and dining room is being removed and replaced (partially) with a peninsula. One of the dining room windows is being replaced with french doors, which will step out on to a deck ... which is also part of the project. Other minor changes are going on in the dining room too: removing the chair rail and prepping it all for painting.

The deck will extend out from the house about 10 feet and stretch most of the back of the house. It'll tie into the stoop that projects from the kitchen door, giving us two access points. It's similar to the deck we considered adding a few years ago, but never did.

Since a tip is in the street, we're also going to finish cleaning out the broken concrete that had been used to ring trees and shrubs in the lot, as well as take out the last bit of the old broken fence ...

Day 1: Work Begins

Day: 1
Schedule: Set
Prognosis for Survival: If We Only Knew

Work for the contractor begins today. In the days prior, we've packed up everything from the kitchen and dining room. We've moved furniture into the living room, upstairs, and to a hastily rented storage locker. The fridge is now in the living room, as is the dining room table, the microwave, a toaster, and a few boxes of food.

The girls and their cousin have graffitied the kitchen and the dining room wall that is to be removed.

Things are orderly and ready for work to be done. Of course, the first day isn't that exciting. Mostly the construction area was taped off with plastic to separate it from were we will continue to live. The real work begins later.

Day 6: How It All Began

Day: 6
Schedule: A Little Behind
Prognosis for Survival: Improved

Six days in, I finally start to record this. In case we don't make it through this alive, I should begin at the beginning. This is a record of the remodeling of a kitchen (but not just a kitchen) in a 74-year-old (relatively unremarkable) house in Hyattsville. As I begin this blog, about 25% of the main living space is inaccessible. The fridge is in the living room, as is most of the dinning room. To get to the laundry, we have to go outside to the basement door. The dog doesn't know what to do; neither do the kids; nor do I ... thus I'm blogging.

[Insert Time Warp Sound Effect]

Day: −5070
Schedule: Only a Consideration
Prognosis for Survival: Good

It's June 2000: We just bought the house. After a search of neighboring areas, we ended up in a house a few blocks away from where we ended up when we returned to Maryland in 1998. Bits were dated, but the house didn't exhibit any major problems, the gardens were nice, there was a pond and a patio, and it was well priced.

Even at that point, the kitchen was identified as something that needed work. The house had been built in 1940 and had been through several owners. The kitchen had been redone in the 1980s or so. Harvest gold stove. Dropped ceiling with hidden fluorescent lights. No door covering the stairway to the basement. Kitchen remodels can be expensive, so the flaws were noted but nothing done.

Fast forward through the years: We make various improvements. A new roof. New gutters and siding. A new water heater. We paint. We replace the windows. The pond is filled in and the patio removed. The upstairs bathroom is redone (new tile for the floor and new fixtures. We replace the AC and furnace (twice). We rebuild the front porch. We buy the empty lot next door and tear out two decades worth of vegetation (including lots of poison ivy) that had grown over the former property line. Some painting, changed light fixtures, etc. In the kitchen, we replace the range. We replace the dishwasher. We replace the garbage disposal (twice).

Circa 2001Circa Last Week

Day: −150
Schedule: Soon to be Set
Prognosis for Survival: Good

November 22, 2013, we start meeting with the contractor for the project. There is talk of walls moving, french doors, a deck, the floor, the ceiling, appliances, and more. We meet regularly over the next few months at the house, at the cabinet place, at the lumber yard, with specialists. Decisions are made. Compromises are few. The budget is high. The wishlist narrows. Decisions are made. A contract is signed. Permits are secured. Work begins ... (to be continued)