The second week of construction has brought us some challenges... We started to see the true amounts of damage from the fire that occurred in the house prior to Ted's occupation, as well as his complete lack of ability to do any sort of repairs that are structurally sound. This, unfortunately, meant some big conversations about what we needed to do to make the house functional and livable within a reasonable time frame as well as not collapse on us in the event of an earthquake.
The main window in the kitchen was one of the only windows in the house that was still an older, inefficient window. It was ugly to boot, and didn't match all the other windows, so we opted to replace the window when the guys were ripping off the siding and re-sheeting the house. The result was quite nice, even though now we need to do the window trim again.
We also discussed a new idea, that of opening the pantry into a bench seat built-in table and putting one of the windows from the upstairs dormers in to add light. This proved to be pretty simple, and as the guys framed in the new bench seating space we started to get really happy about our decision. The addition of the window also really lightened up the room.
You can see the progress that was made this week and last in comparing these two pictures: eliminating the balcony and removing the rotted wood siding and adding in new windows (in the kitchen and the attic) really brightened up the front of the house. I can't wait to see what it is like when we get the hardi plank siding on and then finally get it painted!
The unfortunate thing about doing all this construction is that we were bound to discover some of the dirty secrets that Ted had been hiding from us. One of these was found in the guest bedroom - the glulam beam that runs from ridge to ground (approx. 30 feet from the attic, through the guest bedroom, and then finally through the master bedroom) is moldy, rotted, and starting to delaminate. We have thrown around several ideas on how to fix it, but right now the prevailing theory seems to be full beam replacement via a boom truck and full replacement of the car decking tongue and groove surrounding it when the roof comes off.
As the guys uncover more walls I am sure we will find more problems, but this was the first big one we encountered.
So we all knew that construction on the house had to start at some point. It was a requirement of our loan - that the house be fully habitable within 6 months of acquiring the loan. After two weeks of getting put on the back burner by the construction company, a letter from our insurance company finally got things rolling. We were informed that the house was, in fact, a liability (what with its doors to no where, lack of railings, minimal siding, mold, and generally poor appearance) and that they would not be insuring us as of the 15th of August. They informed us that as long as the envelope was reasonably well finished by that time we would not have a lapse of insurance. Unfortunately, that meant that we had a lot of work to accomplish in just four weeks.
The first evidence that any work would be happening was a small pile of materials on the driveway, followed by a larger pile of demo from the upstairs guest room. By the end of the day we had a new wall framed in the guest bedroom and no more leaking deck above our bedroom! We also met Steve and Cody, the two fellas who would be doing most of the work on our house over the next two months. Nate, our foreman, and Robert, the head guy, also make appearances, but day in and day out we see Steve and Cody. Jackie even stopped barking at them and now enjoys seeing them each morning.
The amount of extra space this gave us in the bedroom was amazing. We knew it would feel better, but even without the window installed it was incredible to think about how much more space we had created by eliminating the balcony.
The guys also demoed the exterior wall that was in the middle of the media room. This unified the whole media room and gave us our first glimpse of what the vaulted ceiling would look like when it was done (if you squinted and turned your head sideways). It also gave us our first unexpected problem in that we now needed to figure out what to do with the random wiring hanging down in the house.
The crew also worked on the two dormers and the windows associated with them. There was not enough clearance between the roof and the windows in the dormers, so we had to mitigate this in order to accommodate insulation beneath the new roof. This meant that our original 4'x3' windows needed to be replaced by 4'x2' windows and the space be framed in to fit the new opening. We also had to reinforce the dormers as they were virtually falling apart during window framing.
We have had just under a month in the house now, made it through our housewarming and move-in days relatively unscathed. Construction was supposed to start a week and a half ago, but, no surprise, it hasn't. We have painted most of the main floor but avoided the bathroom as we know it will be on the remodel list.
The living room was supposed to be a light gray color with some brown tones to it, but it turned out a little more blue than expected. We painted the beams the same slate gray we painted the kitchen, which ties the room together well, but leaves the dark brown carpeting looking misplaced.
The house seems so bare and empty right how, nothing personal unpacked yet. It is odd to see, but not unexpected. In a few months we will have a home again, not just the shell of a house.
Our new refrigerator is amazing - clean and sanitary. Painting the beams in the kitchen a creamy white and the walls slate gray made a huge difference to the kitchen - it accentuated the architecture and added some good contrast to the cabinets and ceiling.
Our pantry is still a bit of a disaster zone - lot of pots in boxes and miscellaneous cooking implements to sort through. At least we can find food now and start to do some cooking and not just live on takeout.
Chris made sure to unpack the part of the house that he viewed most important as quickly as possible. Though, given how much we have ahead of us in this place, I am not sure I disagree about its importance.
My favorite room in the house, even though it is dreadfully boring right now. I love the ceiling and the floors in here and how the slanted walls add some fun to the shape of the room.