Monday, January 16, 2017

here we go

I am so glad the contractors aren't working at my house today. It's 38 degrees and pouring rain, most of which is turning to ice on the pavement. It's so dreary and miserable out there, I'm content to stay at home in the peace and quiet and not have to go out.

The contractors were actually able to start a little work last Friday. They tore off the wainscoting and got some of the drywall torn off. If I had've known they were going to do this, I would've had Brian and Tim take the kitchen table, chairs and rug to the basement, but the contractors were able to just move everything closer to the kitchen counters and it didn't get in their way at all.

They also installed the over-the-range microwave. In order to fit the microwave, they had to tear out the two small cabinets that were previously there. (See my previous blog post for the "before" photo.) The problem is, that left a big gap between the top of the microwave and the soffit. So, they built us a little wooden shelf above the micro. I know it looks a bit strange right now, but once they paint the entire kitchen and then I put some decorative items in that bare space, I think it'll make a pretty nook.

Now for the reality part:

Renovation is stressful. 
The contractors are on your doorstep at 7 am.
That means you have to be showered and dressed and your entire morning routine done by then.
Coffee made and a quick something grabbed for breakfast ~ because you certainly don't have access to the kitchen once they start working.
Cats fed and locked up in the basement.
Car moved out of the garage and onto the street.

The one teeny perk to getting up early? You get to see the sunrise.

There's nowhere to go at 7 am to escape the noise and dust except a coffee shop. Nothing else is open. I suppose you could go wandering around a 24-hour Walmart or Walgreens if you were bored enough. I'll pass on that.

So, starting tomorrow morning, I'll hole myself up in my bedroom or in the basement with my laptop until I feel I can't stand the noise any longer. I have a feeling that coffee shops and the library are going to be my temporary home these next couple of weeks. I also have a few visits with friends planned.

I've also learned that renovation requires a lot of planning. Since I won't be able to cook during the day, I made several meals yesterday and put them in the refrigerator. Outfit for the day needs to be chosen and set out ahead of time - because you're certainly not going to have time in the morning to make any decisions. It's grab and go. Little things that might be kept in the kitchen - vitamins, phone charging cords - need to be kept in your purse or in a room that's not being worked on. Anything you need to take with you when you leave for the day - purse, keys, laptop, reading material, water bottle, food - has to be ready the night before.

We just found out that when the contractors are working with the drywall, they will be taping the kitchen cabinets shut on both sides. (That's another thing: the drywall dust is supposed to be horribly invasive.) So, we won't be able to open cabinets to get plates, silverware, or pots and pans. I'll be taking a few of these items out of the cabinets today and keeping them downstairs - where everything else from the kitchen and living room is piled. Even the normal stuff I kept on the kitchen counters for quick access - coffee pot, cooking utensils, bananas, pepper grinder - all had to be taken downstairs. Our dinners will be eaten down there, too. Dinner on the couch (if we can find it) in the family room...our new normal.

It's also very unnerving to have strangers in your house. Yes, you kind of get to know these contractors, but they're still strangers. And they're tearing your house apart and basically taking over.

I thought a lot of this was just me and my over-anxious mind until I came across this article on Houzz: 

Whaddya know - it's universal!

One more worry? My fur babies. I hate that they have to be kept in the basement all day. Sure, they have their little beds and nesting spots down there, as well as a cat box and a bowl of water, but they're used to having access to the entire house, including sunbeams on comfy beds. And I hate that they're subjected to such loud noise, especially since we usually have such a peaceful house. I wish I could explain it to them and that they understood. Last Friday when I went into the basement to feed them and talk to them and pet them, Monkey was cowering underneath a chair and didn't want to come out. :-(

Yes, I know that it will all be worth it in the end. But let's face it ~ we live in the here and now ~ so I'm writing about the here and now. Perhaps it will help someone else out there when they decide to go through some remodeling or renovations.

See you soon with more updates and reality checks!


  1. I can relate a WEE bit when the guys were here to do the roof...early a.m. / the noise,etc.

    Hang in there darlin' :)

  2. Oh yes! I know it well! We have rehabbed 15 houses. We lived in 13 of them while the work was going on and many of them were whole house remodels. The last two were so extensive (roof off,etc) that we rented an apartment for 6 months. It is not fun.
    Get paper plate and bowls for cereal and soup and disposable cutlery if you can stand it
    Make things as easy as you can on yourself.
    If you drink coffee make it either late the night before and pour it into a thermos or
    have it all ready for pouring through (or on your timer) for morning.
    Hang plastic clear tarp over doorways and halls to keep the dust out. Use painter's tape to attach it and leave an overhang so you can just pull it back to step through.
    There are so many other small things you can do --but-- overall--it is just plain miserable until you are done no matter how nice the workers are-lol
    Good luck and YES-it will all be worth it in the end.
    Just a thought- if there is still time if you can get a light (puck light or even a receptacle) up in that opening over your microwave it makes a great accent light to back light a nice plant or something. I have done that. Just a thought for whatever it is worth. xo Diana

  3. You can count your blessings that they're only removing sheetrock and not plaster and lath! We've lived through both kinds of reno, and plaster dust is far worse than drywall mud. I know it's no consolation right now, but at least drywall dust is "clean". When we had carpet installed throughout the main floor of our old house, I (and our young daughters) had no access to our only bathroom! It took 12 hours for the installation and we girls made several visits to use the facilities in public buildings. :o)

    I recommend lots of day trips with girlfriends! As for the kitties, I just hope your contractors finish up fast! Poor things.

  4. Looks like they are making some progress! Hopefully it all comes together on schedule and you'll have your beautiful new space!

  5. Hi Melanie, how exciting to be renovating! I know it's not easy but just think how much you'll love the changes when they're all done. We've had a few renovation experiences ourselves and they've all had their difficulties but I think the worst was when we had to have a large portion of an exterior wall rebuilt due to water damage while I was about 8 months pregnant with our first baby! We couldn't put it off, and I was actually on bedrest so I couldn't do much anyway, but it was awful. We got through it, though, and it was a good thing we got it done when we did because I had to deliver almost 4 weeks early! We would have had to bring him home to a house missing most of its back wall, yikes. There's only so much plastic sheathing can do. I like what they've done in your kitchen so far. Your shelf will be nice. I have one very similar over my stove. It's meant for a microwave too (the bottom can easily be taken out) but we haven't graduated from our original now-18-year-old countertop microwave yet. Someday. For now, I keep interesting pottery and knickknacks up there. It gets dusty and greasy but I actually enjoy cleaning that stuff. Hope things continue to go smoothly for you!

  6. Just caught up with you, Mel. I've been following my reading list and then I happen to see a comment on my blog and realize I haven't touched base in a while.

    Things are really moving along on your kitchen! I agree with you on the annoyance. My dogs are worse than your kitties can be as they bark non stop if we close them off. As neither bite or are aggressive, we just warn the worker(s) they are going to jump up and sniff for a lot.

    Your kitchen is going to be gorgeous. The paint color---I remember when we had an apple green...hated it. How did you go so long without painting? I have to degrease my cookbooks and they are across the way from the stove!! The new color sounds great. Both of my kitchens are neutral. Here I do a mismatch of anything and everything. At the lake I'm leaning toward both whites and deep muted colors in my dishes, etc. Any who...keep us posted!! It's very exciting!

    I caught up on your last few posts. I am going to check out the two blogs you recommended for personal growth.

    I hope all is well with your knee and least in everyday things. Have you made any plans yet as far as what you are going to do? I had the surgery on what I now must mouth(!!!), not tooth, last Thursday. I'm going to work on a post tomorrow as I have Madelyn while Emily works downtown. I get a lot done when she sleeps, which is a lot! So I don't want to go into it a lot...I can whine all I want on the blog! lol!

    Take care...let's email after my post.

    Jane x

  7. I think the most difficult part would be staying in the house while they are working. I try not to be around even if it's just a painter.

  8. I haven't been through big renovations but it does not sound fun. Yes, I agree the results will be wonderful but the experience not so much. Poor fur babies, they do not like noise and disruptions to their routines. Hang in there and the library and a coffee shop might be a good choice!

  9. Your Renovation Adventure begins . . . it's exciting . . . it's messy . . . it's expensive . . . but oh how wonderful the end results will be. The best place to invest is into your home. Not only will it be just want you want, but the value will go up, if one day you decide to take another adventure. I'm so happy for you:)

  10. Your poor kitties! They don't understand, but they will most definitely will love having there house and peace and quiet back,as will you and your hubby. Plus you'll have a new look/space to enjoy.

    Hang in there and do keep posting updates. They are interesting.


  11. When we moved to this house we lived in it while the entire house was ripped apart, walls, windows, electrics, bathroom, kitchen, the lot and it was horrid so I understand. What I can say though is that it really is worth it when it is done. You sound as though you are coping with it really well and are very organised so you don't need any advice from me. Enjoy the popping out to see friends in the meantime and looking forward to it when it is done!

  12. Melanie,
    You are so right, renovations are very stressful. I have a cute story to tell you though.
    My sweet Aunt (my Mom's twin sister) was having her beach bungalow updated. Now this was about 20 years ago. She was a feisty widow so was handling the contractors on her own. One day she had just had enough and told the contractor this."If I had known it was going to take you so long I would have never hired you." He replied "If I had known that it was you calling I would have never answered!"
    It is all going to worth it in the end:)
    Sending friendship hugs!

  13. We did major renovations to both homes and it was painful...even though my husband did a lot of the work and the contractors were family friends. I have no interest in ever doing any of it again, but it will be worth it when it's all over. I have been following on Instagram and it looks amazing! I hope the time flies by and it's done before you know it... xo

  14. Welcome to renovation world! I guess now you understand why even if things are very unfinished in my cottage I decided not to do any big renovation in 2016. I needed a year off this constant turmoil it is!


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