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The Major Renovation: Tying up loose ends

True to their word, the contractors packed up for the last time on Friday. They promised to return to install our living room window, finish the grout in the kitchen, repair the living room ceiling, and take care of any other odds and ends. You know those home improvement shows where they have a big reveal of what appears to be a completed renovation? This ain’t that.

June 8 (Monday)

Waiting on the HVAC Guys

Monday was peaceful, almost a little too peaceful. We expected the HVAC guys to come back to wrap up their part of the job. They did not show up.

While the other construction was going on, they came and went at various times without saying anything. One minute their truck would be in the driveway. But whenever I wanted to ask them a question, they would be gone. The erratic schedule didn’t matter much when the other contractors were on site and we didn’t have to be here. But now we do, so scheduling is becoming an issue.

The guy said he was going to be back on Monday to install the radiators in the basement. Now I was under a bit of pressure to get some drywall. However, being my usual procrastinating self, I didn’t get around to it until Sunday night.  And I needed Tuck Tape to repair the vapor barrier so it would have to wait. After rushing out to Home Depot first thing in the morning,  I made the necessary repairs. I even hung a couple of the two foot high strips of drywall before I taking the kid to school. The HVAC guys never showed up.

On the one hand, I always appreciate a kick in the butt to do something.  A deadline will do that.  And at least the basement is ready for the HVAC guys.  But their total lack of consideration for my time and schedule is frustrating.

Upstairs bedroom closet

On a more positive note, I got the shelves and rod up in my daughter’s closet. Now, for the first time in 6 years, her clothes will be in her own closet instead of ours.

On a negative note, I may have to re-do her closet in a few years as I merely guessed at the installation height. Turns out, there are standards for the rod height– 68″ is typical for a single rod– and I am several inches below that. It will work out well for now (she can easily reach the hangers). After a couple more growth spurts, though, I may be doing a closet re-design. Or not. Either way, it’s not anything I need to worry about now and I can apply the lessons learned to the guest room closet.

June 11, 2009 (Thursday)

Organizing the kitchen

I haven’t accomplished much in the last few days. So today, I decided to get as much done in the kitchen as possible. I installed the plugs so they can actually be used and put our stuff away in the cupboards and drawers and even did a little cleaning. Yup, place for everything and everything in its place, once we figured out what things belong to what places. One more step towards decluttered bliss.

HVAC guy finally shows up…

As luck would have it, the HVAC guy showed up around noon. Apparently there was a bit of a misunderstanding about when we were scheduling the job for completion. I’m positive that we had decided that they would finish the job this week (which is why I had to slap up the drywall last weekend). According to the boss, though, I was going to call when I was ready for them to return. But my wife called yesterday, straightened everything out, and sure enough, work resumed today. Our air conditioner has now been fired up, but the radiators are not going to be installed until tomorrow.

Update: June 18

Second floor

I admit that I am not a fast worker, but at my own painfully slow pace, I am gradually getting things done. In my daughter’s room I have replaced all the ivory plugs and switches with white ones to mach the trim. I have also wired up all of her QuickPort jacks so she can have phone, internet and satellite in the future. We have put her clothes away in her closet and dresser and she has room for her toys and stuffed animals. Her curtains are up, which not only affords her some privacy, but also helps keep her room a little cooler during the day. I still have another bookshelf and more books to move upstairs, but that won’t take very long at all.

Hall and guest closets

I have installed shelves in the hallway closet which gives us even more storage upstairs. There is room for puzzles and games and some of the kid’s larger toys which will help reduce the clutter in her room. And I changed out the plugs and switches in the hallway for white ones.

In the guest room, which is, right now, my father-in-law’s room, the shelves and rods have been installed in the closet. There is still the matter of the plugs and switches and QuickPorts, but I fully expect to finish those today.

The closet in the guest room is an awkward one because of the slope of the ceiling. After learning that there is indeed a standard height for closet rods (68 inches), I was determined to install at least one at the proper height. This full-height rod is in the funky closet-within-a-closet but there is very limited hanging space (about 20 inches wide). I had to install the rod in the main closet at 48 inches because of the cathedral sloped ceiling.

bedroom closet
The guest room closet: shelf with hanging rod.

Once again, as with the kid’s closet, I used ClosetMaid wire shelving which is very easy to install. In the hallway closet, I used the ClosetMaid Shelf Track system, which is a little more robust and gives us the ability to adjust the shelves.

Soon we can move the last of our daughter’s stuff out of our bedroom and we will be able place the bed and furniture where we want.

August 1

As I write this, my wife is whisking her parents home.  Actually, it’s a ten hour drive– a pretty long whisk– so that may not be the best term.  At any rate, I am left alone with our dog after spending the last two months with two additional people and two additional dogs in our house.  Not to mention that before that, we had contractors working almost every weekday from March to June. And as I sit here contemplating what I am going to do for the next couple of days, I am struck by one recurring thought:  “Holy crap, it’s quiet in here!”

The contractors have yet to return. Apparently they decided to wait until after our house guests left before coming back to install the front window and finish grouting the kitchen backsplash. Now that the in-laws are gone, I realize the contractors can come back at any time. And I still have work to do.

Putting our house back together

Our master bedroom is still not a master bedroom.  We still have to organize boxes and put things away. At least the kid’s stuff that was in our room is now at home upstairs. That helps.

I have to assemble a bookshelf for my wife’s books (that’ll get rid of a lot of boxes), and an audio tower for our TV and DVDs. We also have to hang curtains and blinds and do a whole lot of cleaning before we can consider our room finished. I intend to accomplish all that this weekend.

Re-claimed living room

The living room was a catch-all zone for the contractors.  We had also left a few of our things in there as well.  I moved our old bookshelf and the pantry from the old kitchen to the basement (the other catch-all zone), and cleared out a lot of garbage and hauled it to the dump.  The living room is now almost empty. 

Laundry room finished

We had the laundry cabinet laying around our family room for the last couple of months and I finally installed it yesterday.  I don’t know why I didn’t get around to it before.  I guess it was in the back of my mind that I could have the contractors put it up (there’s two of them and only one of me) but we are at the point financially that we can’t really afford the “one more thing while you’re here” trap.

The laundry room.

August 8

My wife seems pleased with the progress, but I am not. The curtains and blinds are up.  At least now we have privacy. And the clutter is gone, sort of.  Well, “gone” isn’t the right word. “Moved to the hallway” is probably more accurate. I did manage to put the audio tower together, but not the bookshelf. And there is still the matter of wiring up the QuickPorts so we can have our phone and television in the bedroom. [Update: QuickPort wiring was finished Oct 20, 2009]

The return of the contractors

The contractors will be returning on Monday to install the picture window, but it is unlikely that they will finish the kitchen grout until a later date.  That will give us a bit more time to build up some savings.  Maybe by then, I’ll have the bookshelf put together.

August 11

The contractors returned to install our front picture window. On Tuesday. A day later than they promised when they called last week. But they installed the window. And that’s all they did for now. They will return for one last time in about three weeks (after the holiday) to finish grouting the kitchen backsplash, install the under-the-cabinet lights, repair the living room ceiling and perform any small repairs and touch-ups.

This post is consolidated from 5 posts originally published from June-August 2009. Revised 2019