Preparing for a remodel

Our house is… quirky. The original cabin was a summer house built in the 1930s. (I adore the original part of the house.) It was added on to at least twice since then, including finishing the basement. We have a lot of square footage, but the house feels small because the space isn’t usable. The house lacks FLOW.

The first five years or so that we were here, we focused on improving the infrastructure of the property. We cleared brush and debris, did a ton of fencework, improved drainage/mud control, and put down gravel in key areas. We didn’t “landscape” and make it pretty, but we did a damn good job making it usable.

Then we moved on to the house. Thus far, our projects — with the exception of removing the drop ceiling in the hallway — have been practical rather than aesthetic. Now we’re about to take the first steps of a major remodel, which will be both functional and aesthetic.

We’re tackling two areas initially: the basement and the guest bedroom, which is soon to be my office. We’re taking the basement to the studs in order to do some signficant inside-the-walls work. We want to rip out and replace every bit of electrical wire in the house, updating it for the 21st century and wiring in a generator capable of running the whole house. My husband wants to bring in propane, and we want to make sure all the plumbing is solid. We also need to do infrastructure work for the computer networking and a new heating system. Oh, and we need to replace the central beam that runs underneath the original cabin.

Massive, expensive work, and that’s just the functional stuff!

The demolition begins on Monday, April 2. Over the past three weeks, my husband and I have been preparing. There are five spaces (four in the basement, plus the guest room) that have to be completely emptied. Three of these were used primarily for storage. The other two were Jay’s office and our living room, which includes my office and the treadmill. Everything in those five areas is being moved to two other areas, both of which have other functions — like our kitchen. I joke that it’s like playing three-dimensional Tetris.

Still, I feel good about where we are. I’ve taken “before” pictures of the basement. (Haven’t taken them of the guest room yet, which is a bummer, because it has been mostly broken down now.) We’re down to one storeroom and the big furniture, and we know where everything is going. My biggest frustration now is that I need to take a bunch of stuff to the barn and out to the trash today, and it’s pouring down rain. That’s a pretty minor frustration considering we’re just a few days away from D (Destruction) Day.

We don’t have a firm timeline for the project. We pay for these sorts of things in cash, and so we can do it exactly as fast as we are able to save money for it. We have some “getting started” money, and I *expect* to work some overtime this summer. If the latter fails to materialize, that’s okay — it will just take longer to finish. It could, in fact, take years to get back into the finished basement. But, like I said, that’s okay. We’re doing what needs to be done, and we’re doing it right.

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