Google+ The Duda Homestead: October 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

THE Remodel

I've been behind with posting, but here is the current story of our remodel (with some photos of course to come later). I slacked on taking before before pictures, but I'm guessing we have some around here somewhere that I'll include when I can. Here's a list of what has and is happening: 

First of all, why?
Our house is awesome. We couldn't have found a better one, and not once have we had any "house envy" since we moved in...well other than the whole, "Hey look, their house isn't under construction" thing, but it's coming along! So why tear out the upstairs? The house was build in 1922 and is one solid home. However, when the upstairs was redone or converted from being an attic (we're thinking in the 60s), I am pretty sure it wasn't done up to code, even for then. 

The walls weren't really walls. I mean they were there, but I believe they were 1/4" drywall, whereas walls are normally 1/2". May not sound like much, but it is. We thought they were paneling before Nick started tearing them out because they flexed in some areas. Behind those walls (and ceiling) were pretty old insulation...well if there was insulation. We noticed some fast snow melt last winter on certain parts of the roof, so that was a MUCH needed upgrade. Also behind the walls was some interesting framing. Most of it was fine, but some wasn't spaced correctly and didn't make a whole lot of sense. Electrical was just plain scary. There were a couple of places with burn marks by electrical boxes and I don't believe anything was grounded. (Have I mentioned Nick did all this over the summer...the hottest summer we've had in a while, upstairs with no insulation? Talk about sweaty work). At first we didn't think we'd change a thing about the layout...but we took a few liberties while we could that we are super excited about! 

Right after our housewarming party (I'm pretty sure the day after), Nick starting tearing out the walls. We rented a dumpster (if you are in the area, Veolia is MUCH cheaper than WM) and starting fillin' her up! I will say, once Nick commits to something he gets it done. I was pretty amazed at the rapid change that took place from an upstairs needing updating to the bare bones. I helped where I could and to clean up as he went. Keegan even helped vacuuming with the shop vac and pulling out nails with a hammer and had a ton of fun with it!

As I mentioned earlier, some of the framing didn't make a whole lot of sense or wasn't sturdy. If I remember correctly, the problem for a couple of the walls was the spacing, which needed to be fixed for code and support of the upcoming drywall. Not only did Nick redo a couple of existing walls, he framed out a closet for me in our new room, and one for him! His closet was in the hallway before, so this is a big deal folks. The sizes are quite typical. His is the size of a normal coat closet, and mine takes up an entire wall (about 4 doors wide), but is a bit shorter than my old one because of the angle of the ceiling. It's ok though, I'll deal :-P He also framed out a new wall for our new "nook," which I am calling it because I don't have a better description at the moment. We had a small living space upstairs, but it didn't fit much beyond a small bookshelf and a couple of gliders. Now it is going to be a full on sitting area with a wall of bookshelves and seating surrounding a coffee table. Our goal here is a reading-focused cabin-esque board/card game area. 

Again, it was scary. Not only was it old, frayed, and not grounded, the more Nick dug into it, the more he realized that most of our house was on one breaker. So, not only did he rewire the entire upstairs, he has been slowly working to redo the entire house, while remapping it so the circuits make sense. Now, we have lighting and fan-rated boxes in the bedrooms, a light at the bottom of our stairs (where there wasn't one before) on a 3-way switch with the one in the hall upstairs, and outlets in all of the right places (including plugs for lights in the closets, which I am super excited about). The bathroom used to have sconces for lights, which looked cute, but stunk for applying make-up and actually seeing my hair before I left the house. I'm sure Nick had a hard time with it, too...ok probably not, but it will be nicer lighting now! He also installed a very nice exhaust fan in the bathroom by the shower (didn't have one of those before either).

I think it is safe to say that this was Nick's LEAST favorite part of the project. Because of the depth of our framing, fiberglass R30 wouldn't fit (well it would, but if it is compressed to squeeze in there, it isn't rated at R30 anymore). So, after lots of research, we bought LOTS of polystyrene rigid foam insulation (the foil faced sheets you may see in the store). It comes in 4x8' sheets, so Nick cut each individual piece to fit into the ceiling AND exterior walls. Of course, just one layer wouldn't do it, so he had to do 5. 5 in each space between joists. He still shudders when he sees it in the store. I don't know how he did it...I cut some and it made that squeaky nails-on-a-chalkboard sound that gives me the heebeejeebee's. He finally got a break with the last layer, that went on top of all of the joists and was able to go up in 4x8' sheets (sort of like drywall would). That was for the angled areas of the ceiling and the exterior walls. For the very top, where the ceiling is flat under the peak of the roof (aka more room) we put the fiberglass, R38. I cut lots of little pieces for the areas in the ext. walls right by the floor and put those in. Have I mentioned I hate fibgerglass? My arms were on fire, but it was all for the cause! Luckly, it doesn't seem to bother Nick, saying he did the bulk of it. 

We ended up buying our own drywall lift (it was $20 more than renting it for a week) and were determined we'd do it all ourselves. We redid the ceiling in my office (downstairs) and the hallway. We started getting some of the ceilings done upstairs (by the way...our ability to cut the spaces for electrical was pretty hilarious at first. Not sure what was wrong, but we got it by the 3rd or 4th time!). For the ceiling, we had to use 5/8" fire-rated drywall. It is HEAVY. My brother, Jimmy, ended up helping Nick get the rest upstairs. (Luckily the 1/2" stuff for the walls is pretty lightweight). Then, time went on and school and coaching got into full swing and we decided to hire out to finish the job. As of Thursday (10.25.12), the ceilings were all up and starting to be mudded. Today, the walls should be mostly up (eep!). IT'S LOOKING LIKE A REAL HOUSE, FOLKS!

The bathroom is my job, and I'm pretty excited about it. I'll be installing tile on the floor and in the shower. The cement board is down for the floor (covering asbestos tile...yay!) and ready to be tiled once the drywall is all done. I'm doing white octagon and dot tiles (fitting to the 20's) on the floor and haven't quite decided on the shower. I was thinking white subway tiles with a band of sea-glass tiles. Then, I'll be repainting our built in cabinet (this may not happen right away...but it will happen!) and redoing the brass and glass countertop that is currently on the cabinet (this is different from our vanity, which is nice). I'm thinking a wooden top. 

The Final Steps! - Cosmetics
With drywall going up, the end is in sight! Paint will go up first, without having to worry about any trim or flooring. I am pretty decided on colors already, of course :) Then we're on to flooring!

We are making our own hardwood floor and will save a bundle doing so. At first, we were going to do carpet in the rooms and wood in the hallway and nook. Then, we decided somewhere along the way to do do wood throughout. How do we make our own? We buy 4x8' sheets of nice birch plywood (not particle board) and rent a table saw and get a-slicing! We're going to use large-headed nails and have them show for a rustic feel. We're going to do wider planks (5 or 6") and white wash them. Again, going for a cottage/attic feel (it is a converted attic after all). We know we can't duplicate the 1.5" gorgeous planks that we have downstairs (well we could, but they cost about $18...each), so we're going for a look that won't appear that we're trying to match what we can't.  This is the look I have in mind for the floors, with maybe a bit more grain showing through. Now that I look at it, that's the wall color I was thinking, too:

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