They always warn you that when you’re doing major house renovations, especially to an older home, you’re likely to have some surprises…and boy, is that ever true!
My first surprise in my new home came when we took out the wall between the kitchen and dining room. Low and behold, duct work that we didn’t expect! So, the first order of business was to get all parties on the same page. There were many, many opinions but we finally decided to build a wider bulkhead and a bump out in a wall. This wasn’t the ideal solution, but the most cost effective for the desired result. I had a moment when I looked at the bump out yesterday and I can honestly say it’s grown on me. It’s as if it’s been there forever!
The second surprise came when I asked my contractor to investigate what looked like an old leak in the ceiling from the bathroom above – the bathroom I wasn’t touching, other than painting. Sure enough, when they opened the ceiling they found a very original lead pipe with a very big hole in it smeared with silicone to stop the leak (insert eye roll emoji)! Queue some plumbing work…. And since we were now replacing the toilet drain and toilet, we were now also replacing the cast iron plumbing stack – none of which were in the original plan!
The impetus of this renovation was to open up the main floor and to modernize the kitchen, so clearly planning the kitchen layout was paramount. Lara, the architect, created the original layout – and then everyone had an opinion. I should say, everyone had a different opinion – architect, kitchen cabinet maker, contractor, MOM…. There was discussion over appliance placement, window placement, appliance sizes, drawer placements, what size of spice drawer is ideal – so many opinions. The biggest mid-project decision was to enlarge the fridge from a European 24-inch to a North American 30-inch model. Of course, that meant moving a window, replacing a window, and getting a mason involved. Admittedly, the mason did a fantastic job. I challenge anyone to point out the difference in the brick!
The addition of a main floor powder room was, in my opinion, no small feat. It measures only 37 inches by 44 inches but contains both a toilet and possibly the smallest sink ever manufactured. I promise to share a photo in my next newsletter!
My grand plan was to have five weeks of overlap between my old home and my new one, so the majority of the work could be done before my move. Five weeks came and went, and the house wasn’t really in any shape for me to move in. I ended up in temporary accommodations, thanks to a good friend who warmly welcomed me and my two suitcases into her home for six weeks! I eventually decided that mid October was when I was going to move in, regardless of the state of the renovation, and so I did. Luckily BBQ season was still in full swing while the kitchen was still being worked on!
All said and done, the renovation took 14 weeks to complete (and, as we speak, there are still a few patches and paint spots to finish up.) I love the final result. There are, of course, a few things that I would have done a little differently, but lessons have been learned and will hopefully be applied to the next renovation! On to decorating!