Beginnings · Renovation · Uncategorized

Deciding Where to Start…

Deciding where to start a renovation project can be influenced by so many factors.  In our case, practically won over anything else.  For our home to be insured new wiring and plumbing was required….and then things kinda went from there….

In late 2010, after we took possession of our house, we re-wired and re-plumbed the house, completely renovated the only bathroom in the home and ripped a bunch of stuff out that was moldy, dirty, or just plain gross (basement, floors in all but three rooms qualify in this area).  And when I say ‘we’ I sometimes mean the contractors (for the re-wire/plumb, structure and bathroom).

Ripping Stuff Up….

Back bedroom flooring demo
The flooring in the back bedroom mid removal….

Ripping up the carpets and floors was an easy choice.  In our three bedrooms upstairs we had three different carpets.  Some heavily patterned (see below).

The flooring in the back bedroom when we moved in.
Hello English Pub carpet of navy with pink roses….

Each was also very dirty, in some cases moldy and not well installed.  The hallway and staircase also had each a different carpet and those came up as well. In some rooms I went from being able to touch the ceiling to not being able to – that’s how many layers of flooring there was.

Undoing Things….

Basement pre-reno
Before: The ‘finished’ part of the basement.
Basement Pre-reno
Before: The unfinished part of the basement.

The basement in our home is rubble walled with a concrete floor.  Previous owners a couple of decades ago partially finished the basement.  I’m using the word “finished’ quite loosely here.  We’re talking pressboard floors (on concrete), various wall treatments – some panel, some sheetrock, some materials unknown.  There were odd cut-outs and lots of soft spots in the floor.

Adam loading the dumpster
A dumpster full of basement….and [unseen] a garage with more basement in it because it couldn’t fit in one big dumpster.
So we un-did it all and put it in a dumpster (and a garage…).  Fortunately, those same folks who put up the walls did not think to use vapor barrier.  This meant we didn’t need to deal with yucky black mold.  Instead, we dealt with a little bit of damp, a lot of dust and debris and a surprising amount of snail shells (you know there was moisture when there are hundreds of snail shells).  And now? Our basement can breath as it’s designed to and functions well as a storage and work area.  Improvements plans are in the works – full finishing plans are not.

Wires + Plumbing = New Bathroom?

Our insurance company required that we re-do the wiring and plumbing .  We had galvanized pipes which can be an issue with lead in the water and our wiring was a demonstration of wiring through the ages.  That’s right, we had knob and tube, aluminum and copper wiring.  Quite the mix and not done safely.

Doing all that wiring and plumbing encouraged us to tackle the bathroom sooner than later.  The bathroom was a space we knew we wanted to do within the first year.  I mean, it was less than 5’x8′ and had three different levels in it.  Not exactly a keeper.

Bathroom before; shower
Really, these photos are better than the reality was…it wasn’t pretty or functional in real life.
Bathroom Before
Can you tell how high in the tub I am? That’s two levels from where the toilet was…

When the reality of needing to address the plumbing and wiring sunk in, it made sense to tackle the bathroom immediately.  We are soooo glad we did (and will share the ‘after’ photos here [soon]).  The kit tub/shower combo was not well supported and the layout was difficult to navigate.  In addition to a prettier bathroom, we now have floor joist that hold the entire space up…because each one had been hacked through when indoor plumbing was  installed added decades ago.  Pretty and safe – that’s a great combination!

Originally we though we’d do the kitchen first.  In the end, more time to figure out how we use the kitchen has been super helpful in our current kitchen re-design plans.  And really, once we were living in the house doing the bathroom would have been a little tricky – given it’s the only one we’ve got:)

How have you decided to prioritize your projects?  What dictates your next move (other than budget!)?


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