Let’s start by saying that we’ve officially been living in our home for just over one month – one month of no ceilings, still-out-of-boxes, and very much in limbo-living. While our contractors were able to lift our second floor / raise our first floor ceiling joists, we’ve been in a holding pattern until they can return and complete the drywall work and move around some electrical. At times this feels frustrating, but for the most part, we are so excited with what we know will be good things to come – and so, we’ve been keeping our spirits up and tackling the things that we can.
Our small victories, so to speak.
Looking back through the last month’s archives, we’ve noticed that we’ve been listing the big to-dos: raising the ceiling (check), opening the entry (check) and removing the very uneven room partitions (check, check, check!) – but with every item that gets crossed off, a whole new can of worms are opened. Sometimes this is thrilling (Yay, now we can start planning for our entryway flooring!) and sometimes it’s not (Doh! We can’t unpack much else until the [drywall] dust settles. Womp-womp.)
Oh, and have we mentioned yet that we need to install a new furnace for the second floor?
We knew going in that the first floor had a new furnace installed. This was good, of course. But we also knew that the second floor didn’t. No, wait, it didn’t have a furnace at all. It had these (very unsafe) space heaters:
There was one in the studio, and there was one in the kitchen-turned-master-bedroom. And because we removed the kitchen, there was still exposed plumbing and gas lines jutting into our already chaotic mess:
Just as we had with our quote for drywall, electrical and overall-house-straightening, we began gathering estimates from HVAC specialists for the second floor furnace, and in the end, we moved forward with Adi’s, a recommendation from our already secured head honcho contractor. But after realizing that we’d need a few more weeks to save the additional money for the furnace costs (and hoping to put it off as long as possible until the cold Chicago winter rolls around), we asked if we could break up the job by having them install a few more vents on the first floor (per their suggestion) – and hey! While you’re at it, could you cap off all of our plumbing, too? (And dispose of those very scary, very unsafe space heaters?)
And so, they did!
In a strange twist of fate, they even did so without any additional charge. (The home renovation gods must’ve been watching out for us, don’t you think?) Above, you’ll see that the gas line went right through that kitchen wall, and trickled down the back of the adjoining guest room’s closet. (We don’t ask why?, remember?) And below, you’ll see only an exposed chimney. No more space heater, no unsafe live wires. You can, however, see the heater’s dusty little footprint. (So long!)
Our bedroom – mess aside – has larger patches of drywall to repair, but those pipes? Gone! You’ll also remember that the kitchen-cabinetry-no-more will need drywall repair work, and ultimately, that wall will be lined with clean, organized closets. But again, this doesn’t make sense to pursue until all drywall work has been completed.
In other not-so-small-victories, the front half of our house got new windows! There are many, many windows in our home that need repair, but the two biggest culprits of never-ending frustration were the two largest windows, both of which face the street. (We wish we could’ve replaced them all – 20 of them! – but in the meantime, the remaining windows will get a good scrub, fresh screens and potentially new trim.) If you’ve ever wondered what window installation looks like, well, here:
The two windows got the royal treatment, and they were replaced with glass panes that can do everything just short of serving you breakfast in bed. Just as with everything else, we gathered a couple of quotes, but in the end, we went with Feldco. (Locals, you know the jingle, right?) We didn’t think we would be so excited about new windows, but you guys! We can see through them. No joke, this was an actual issue before.
It’s this in-between time that has us tackling these tasks that have to get done – winter prep, we’re on it! – but that’s not to say we’re not throwing in the occasional just-for-fun projects, too. Because eventually, it’s all got to get done. (Like my former boss used to say, How do you eat a whale? One bite a time.)
Home lovers, renovators and DIY-ers, what has you saying, 3 cheers for (not so) small victories! Come on; story time.