Embarking on a Big Project

Woohoo!  We’re underway.  Our long anticipated home renovation project is happening.  After years of starts and stops we now have construction drawings, a contractor, and a place to go while the work progresses.  Yes, we’ll have to move out for six months or so. We’ve signed a lease on an apartment about ½ mile away and we’ve started packing for the move.

It’s a big deal.  I’ve put many hours into developing the design and preparing the drawings.  Occasionally I would question whether or not this project was the right thing to do, especially as the costs began to escalate.  I would reanalyze the options, including moving to a new or already renovated place, and the result was always to stay and renovate our house.  A couple weeks ago I realized how much this project means to me. It’s not just about fixing some things up so we continue to have a place to live.  It’s a creative expression, a vision for our future dwelling that Meg and I have worked out over a long period of time.

Meg and I have worked together on this project at every step.  Still, I feel that it’s my integrity as a designer that’s on the line.  I’ve never done a project like this for myself and I find it harder to make decisions about what to do than when I designed for clients.  Or maybe it’s not making the decisions that’s so hard, it’s letting the decisions stick and not going back and reconsidering them over and over.

What’s included?  A new kitchen and two new bathrooms, raising the first floor ceilings to their original almost 9 foot height, replacing the stairs to the second floor, reconfiguring the central bearing wall and removing another wall.  We had the plumber here in January and learned that we need to replace all the piping (supply piping and waste piping) in this 1880 house. That’s when we knew we’d have to move out for the duration. We had imagined staying put and living around the construction work with a temporary kitchen in the back of the house and doing a lot of grilling in the backyard this summer.  However, with the pipes coming out we realized that we couldn’t stay in place.

As I said, we’ve had starts and stops.  For a while we were looking for a place to move to without knowing really when the contractor would be available to start.  Then we confirmed the target date for construction start with the contractor, but we had no confirmed place to move to. The process has created a bit of anxiety along the way.  I think we’re past a lot of that now; however, we don’t yet have the building permit. I hope it doesn’t hold us up. I’ll let you know how it goes.

With excitement in my heart,