Thursday, September 28, 2006

Please excuse our mess. . .

Here is a before of what our upstairs looked like. We have a 1 1/2 story older home (1930's), the attic space ran the length of the house with a little dormer off the front. We just used it for storage and we did have a bed up there for visitors. You can see the stairway post from the main floor coming up.This was after a little tear down looking the other direction upstairs.Please excuse our mess over the last 2 years, we've been remodeling our house!!

This was originally written in December 2004 for a family magazine that we do with Matt's family at Christmas time. Matt's sister asked him to write an article about our remodeling. (But how could I not add my comments?) Enjoy. It's been a hard 2 years of work but it's finally coming together. Enjoy the old photos!!

Remodeling 101

part 1

By Matthew Mar, additional comments in italics/red added by Wendy (new comments are added in purple)

“The keys to winning are simple, but it’s not easy.” Marv Levy
Remodeling can follow that same axiom. What do you really need to remodel? Wood? Check. Nails? Check. Drywall? Check. Time. Let me get back to you on that one.

Earlier this year (2004) my wife and I set off on the adventure of remodeling. We had been planning remodeling since we bought the house 5 years ago. For 5 years all it had been was planning. And dreaming. Then we get the news that baby number 3 is on the way. And something had to give.
Here is a look at the side view of the house before the tear down of the back began.

Key #1 Planning

Planning should be easy. Meet with an architect, share some ideas and viola! You’ve got a nice set of blue prints in your hand to show off. Look at these fancy plans, doesn’t it look like we know what we’re doing? But then you look at the blue prints and think well, maybe we should move this wall here and that wall there. What if we put the toilet here and the bathtub there. Wait, we don’t have enough money for a tub so we’ll put the shower there. Then you decide ok, we do want a tub. Very smart thinking sweetie, a happy wife is a wife with a Jacuzzi tub. Ok, now we’re set. Let’s get an estimate. Now you take your nice set of blue prints which really aren’t blue, except for the way they make you feel when you realize how much this is all costing and take them to a lumber yard and drop them off for afree estimate. Then you take them to another lumbar yard and then another. And now you’ve got 3 estimates. Off to the city to get a building permit. Getting the building permit was a lot easier than anticipated. They review your plans, make some minor changes, stamp it with the red approved stamp and charge you an arm & a leg for the service. But you’re official and now it’s just figuring out when to get started. Putting the little yellow building permit sign in the window was a big moment for Matt, who knew a little yellow piece of cardstock could makeyou feel a foot taller? The sign still looks pretty new in that photo, now (2006) it's so sun-faded, it's pretty much white.

Key #2 Time Management

You’ve got your plans. The city has said you’re good to go. Now just how long should this project take? Hmmm. Here’s where it is important to get an expert opinion. I should note here that the expert person here is Matt’s dad. I agree he’s an expert, but Matt’s mom may be the real expert who said, after hearing what he thought, “It’ll take twice as much time, and twice as much money!" I suggest consulting with someone who has over 20 years experience in remodeling. Someone who has a keen sense of time and will help you set reasonable and realistic expectations. It is important to note that these experts concept of time is considerably different than you and me. If the expert says “it should take a couple of hours to tear the roof off.” What he’s really saying is “Your house is going to be exposed to the elements for at least 2 days.” It’s like those remodeling shows on TV where they just quickly do the drywall and mud and tape during the commercial, let’s get a “real” reality show, come on over and check out our upstairs!! P.S.bring a hammer and an extra coat and gloves, it’s December in Nebraska you know.

Key #3 Man Power

This is simple; you can never have enough hands. This includes your own children and your neighbors nine year old son. He actually did some great work!

During the demo we found some cool stuff, including this copy of the Chicago Journal of Commerce, the date is from 1937. We also found an old and falling apart quilting frame, and an old packaged cigar.Looks like loads of fun huh? What a mess. Compare to the first photo above, you can see the stairway there and the old closet.The more people you can con, I mean con. . .vince to help, the better.
Just imagine me coming home from work and seeing this. . ."Hon, are you SURE we want to do this??" Please, no rain, no rain, no rain. You can also consider getting some help from a temp service but, I’ve still got the numbers for the guys that came over here and you can hire them on "the side" like I did. I don’t know that this is such a great idea, after Matt took them home, the girls got in the car, and Molly said, “EWWW! It smells like someone took off their shoes in here!!” Well, you are well on your way to a successful remodeling project. I have yet to finish my project, so I think that it is only fitting that I leave this article at approximately 50% done like my project. Happy Hammering. We’ll see how” happy” that is when the baby’s here with now where to sleep. . .
Here's a look at what would be our future bathroom through that little doorway. The rooms finally take shape (our master bedroom, looking into Whitney's room through the french door space. Door to the hall is to the left.) In a nutshell, we tore off the back half of the roof, moved the wall out on the 2nd floor and re-framed and did a new back roof. We left the ceilings all vaulted to make it look bigger.
The outside is finally all protected here. Roof on and shingled, windows in, house insulated and wrapped. Only the inside to do, should be any time now right? RIGHT.
Coming soon, the new pictures of my upstairs completed! (Except the bathroom). I love it!!


Hollie said...

How exciting! I can't wait to see the pictures.

Deb said...

Wow! You have done ALOT of work. I can't wait to see the grand finale!