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The House Right Now

As we ride this wave of living under construction, by no means would we say hey, this isn’t so bad! (Truth be told, I could barely type those words without cringing.) Working from home throughout this process has been a challenge for me, and while I haven’t always been the most spirited half of this team lately (we go through phases where I’m up and Scott’s down and vice versa; we’re rarely on the same page), we’ve been mindful to mix in some fun with the not-so-fun. (Basement work tonight, salvage shops tomorrow, we say!) There’s not one clean surface in our entire home – at this point in the renovation game, it’s not a possibility – but as the contractors have been working on rebuilding our demolition (and taking on a little more demo themselves – among other things), it has been really (really, really!) exciting to watch the changes unfold.

Let’s break it down.

THE LIVING ROOM. You know that the ultimate goal is to turn our city two-flat into a single family home, and as a result, the first floor has seen some of the biggest changes – walls moving, doors vanishing… you know. Before we moved in, we were dealing with a sagging ceiling, a sort-of room partition without a proper support beam and a teensy bedroom (below, on the left) that seemed like more of an afterthought:

After we ripped out the ceiling, uncovered the room partition and the contractors installed an appropriate support beam (lifting our second floor more than 2″), they’ve since widened the doorway to the bedroom-turned-nook, eliminated the chimney, and have begun adding can lights (8 total) throughout the living/dining room. There’s still not an actual ceiling, but can you see it? (Squinting helps.)

THE NOOK. Speaking of that former-bedroom-turned-nook, the door and frame have been pulled out, and the opening has not only been widened to almost 4′, but it also got a 4″ added height boost! As reader Helena pointed out in this post, this will surely be the room where the kitties sleep, sun bathe and come out for their tuna dinners… and we’re okay with that.

But if you’re wondering about the actual intent, we imagine this room with a cozy chair, a cushy rug and our record collection – all of which I’m sure the girls will have no problem with. We’ll also be adding a door (we’re thinking of a barn door, although not necessarily rustic in design), which will sit on rails inside the nook room. The opening was widened with this in mind, although admittedly, it may be a little while before anything is installed.

THE ENTRYWAY. As it stands, you can still see right into the nook room from the entryway; this is the view when you first walk in. Now that our Great Door Hunt has been completed (hallelujah!), the contractors were able to frame out our coat closet to the appropriate height/width. We’ve since picked up our vintage door hardware, so soon enough, they’ll be able to notch out the space for the lock.

And if you look up and to the left, the remainder of our second floor coat closet has been ripped out, giving us at least 10″ of extra head room when walking up and down the steps. No amount of photos could show how huge of a difference that has made, but trust! Our foyer light has also been re-centered on the ceiling (since taking down all the walls and doors left it oddly misplaced), and in general, new switches and outlets are being added – at the proper height. Prior to this, our switches were literally in the middle of the wall, at eye level. (What?)

THE SECOND FLOOR LANDING. Up the stairs, we now have a framed out knee wall! We’re ridiculously excited about this, not only for the amount of light the hallway window brings into the studio, but the immense feeling of space we’ve gained. First, here’s how it looked two months ago:

Today, we’re ready for drywall! The light fixture in the first photo (below) will also get centered, but aside from our day of demolition and an hour for the contractors to install the framework, this landing is good to go. The half-wall comes in at 3′ tall, as a staircase banister is typically 36″ from the ground; we’ll add that in once drywall has been completed (and once we figure out what we actually want – starting from scratch is exciting and absolutely confusing all at once).

THE LAUNDRY ROOM. As mentioned in this post, we will officially be adding the laundry room off of our master bedroomhooray! Originally we weren’t sure it was in the budget, but the contractor waiting game turned out to be more of a blessing in disguise. After pinching our pennies for an extra month, we decided to add it to the plans – and oh my goodness, I can’t tell you how weirdly thrilled we are! A whole room. For laundry! (Maybe we’ll actually do it now?) It’s simply a bare-studded wall, but pipes have been hooked up and plumbing is being run throughout… Ooh, it is on.

THE FRONT DOOR. It’s in! The insulation and siding is in waiting (obviously), but the door and handle have been in full swing (punny!) for several days. I’m itching to give it the royal blue treatment, but as the weather cools down, we’re just happy to have a drafty-free entryway. And – fingers crossed! – our transom window is on the delivery truck today. (Eee!)

Also? We’ve fest-ed up the patio with our pumpkins. Priorities, people. (Although as Scott would say, it’s like putting lipstick on a pig.)

As much as I try to tune out the bustle around me (headphones? Check!), there were rumblings of recreating the lost arch in our foyer opening this week (!). But if I hear the word drywall, I might lose it – coming soon? We’re hopeful. (There’s that spirited side!)

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  • Rachael10.14.13 - 2:33 PM

    I hadn’t heard of a knee wall before, but holy cow, what a difference it makes in the 2nd floor landing! Lots of good stuff going on over there…ReplyCancel

  • misie10.14.13 - 10:59 PM

    You guys are amazing- everything is looking just awesome. The progress is encouraging – what an adventure!ReplyCancel

  • Julia @ Cuckoo4Design10.15.13 - 6:25 AM

    I love looking at all the progress. The second floor landing looks great.ReplyCancel

  • Kim10.15.13 - 8:01 AM

    Thank you! An adventure for sure. Eeep!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly @ Turning It Home10.15.13 - 9:15 AM

    In my neighborhood, most of the homes have the same layout inside (I blame the 1950s housing boom). Our home has a knee wall looking into the kitchen from the living room (or vice versa) and a neighbors home has the original full wall where our knee wall so I can vouch with you for what a difference it makes. It makes me think of “I can see clearly now the wall is gone!” ha!ReplyCancel

  • Kim10.15.13 - 9:26 AM

    Kimberly, oh boy, now I have a new song to annoy Scott with!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda @ Our Humble Abode10.15.13 - 10:20 AM

    The progress is amazing. I mean, I know this isn’t the truly exciting part, but it’s the foundation for the fun/pretty stuff. So that’s what really matters. :) Great call on knocking down the stair wall. Bottom line, it’s all going to look fabulous when you work your magic.ReplyCancel

  • ashley10.15.13 - 10:28 AM

    All of your hard work is so going to pay off in the end! You can already see such a transformation!!ReplyCancel

  • Julia at Home on 129 Acres10.15.13 - 11:53 AM

    This will be a great post to look back on when it’s all done. You’ve made amazing progress already! Hang in there with the living in a construction zone thing. I know the novelty wears off, but the result is worth it.ReplyCancel

  • Kati from so happy home10.15.13 - 12:45 PM

    Hang in there, you two, er, five! Short term torture for long-term joy. I’ve lived it, I know it suuuuuucks. But then it’s over, and you feel tremendously satisfied, and all the horrid things you suffer through bond you forever more with your team, and your husband. Looking great so far! Chin up! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Kim10.15.13 - 4:46 PM

    Thank you guys! It has definitely been rough, so your encouragement is very welcome!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly G.10.18.13 - 6:49 AM

    I’ve been reading your blog since before the house reno, and MY GOODNESS. I can’t even imagine how you’re doing it! I’ve been without a kitchen floor for a week (ONE WEEK!), and it’s driving me nuts! Hang in there! It’s going to look fantastic when it’s complete!ReplyCancel

  • Kim10.18.13 - 7:31 AM

    Kelly, no, I totally get it – I hope you don’t have to be without a kitchen floor for much longer! And thank you :)ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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