Days 24 & 25: Little things with a big impact

Greetings and welcome to Day 25! Today is Friday, and we just said farewell to the Heck Construction crew for yet another week. I really want to say how pleased we’ve been with this process and the guys who have worked here. At the end of the day, and especially at the end of the week, they do such a great job with cleaning things up, putting tools and supplies away, etc. Even though we’re not really living in the space where they are working, it’s nice to be able to look out on an orderly work zone when they leave.

A lot of really great work took place over the past few days. The subway tile backsplash is now in place, and is awaiting the grout that finishes the job. I think that will be finished on Monday or Tuesday. I really like the color! It’s tan–“urban putty” to be exact. I think it looks great with the countertop and the white cabinets. I picked this because it’s neutral and white tile would have looked like we were in an operating room.



A lot of detail oriented work has also gone into the trim work. As you know, our house is old, and right angles are not easily found (at least in the parts of the house NOT renovated). The process of trimming up door frames and moldings is not an easy job, and we appreciate the precision demonstrated by these workers. In addition, Matt (the foreman) built a terrific door for the infamous “Harry Potter Closet” aka the broom closet. I didn’t see it in place–and it needs a few adjustments–but my husband was impressed.


Outside, the crew worked on trim around the windows. It looks nice and siding will be going up soon too.

Tomorrow, the painter comes–bright and early. I guess it will be the usual 5:45 wakeup for us. I have pretty much lost the capacity to sleep in, even on the days when nobody is coming to work here. I’m definitely ready to see what the light blue paint looks like with all the other color selections!

Day 21 & 22

In honor of Day 22 (my favorite number) here are 22 random things that have been on my mind relative to the big project. Better pour yourself a cup of coffee…I’m rambling today!

1. Countertop delivery day is tomorrow!

2. I’m anxious to get my appliances in place.

3. Speaking of appliances, I really miss my water dispenser on the fridge. None of us are drinking as much water as we used to–how pathetic is that? It’s not really that big of a deal to walk back to the bathroom to fill up a glass of water!

4. Check out Sherwin Williams Watery. It’s the light blue in the middle. I like this little palette because it shows some of the other colors that go with my room: the gray/blue of the countertops, the white cabinets, the black appliances.


5. Here’s a big one: how far are we from the original estimate? There were a few things added after the project got started that made a lot of sense, but it all adds up.

6. I’m now used to having the door from the kitchen to the hallway blocked–it’s like we have a private master suite.

7. Our neighbors are very curious. I ran into one couple at the grocery store and they had a lot of questions!

8. The kitchen floor feels pretty solid, and so does the deck. The rest of our old house feels extra squeaky now.

9. Have we really filled up four dumpsters already? I’ve lost count!

10. There are still a lot of steps remaining in the project: light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, tile, siding, hardware, trim…

11. I’m a bit proud of how resourceful we’ve become with meals. Yes, we do eat out sometimes, but we’ve done pretty well with our makeshift set-up.

12. I will be happy to never again eat in the dark corner next to the closet.

13. The yard is going to need a bit of work when we’re all done.

14. What’s the best way to keep hardwood floors clean? Remind me to check in with Martins’ Flooring about that.

15. Likewise, we’ll need care instructions for that swanky quartz countertop.

16. See below for a picture of work done this week.

17. And another…

18. Are all those old cabinets gonna make it to the basement before there’s snow on the ground?

19. My son has been spoiled for five weeks–no emptying the dishwasher or doing dishes.

20. I can’t wait to bake some chocolate chip cookies.

21. I’m hoping the board & batten style looks as cool as we think it will!

22. Are we almost done????



Day 20!

It’s a lovely November day, and almost warm enough to sit out on our NEW deck! The deck is pretty much done–with the exception of the stairs and part of the railing. It’s very solid and we are already imagining sitting out there enjoying the backyard next summer.Image

It also looks like the stucco is done outside the basement. I must admit that I was not initially excited about stucco. I’m not sure what I had against it (is it the word “stucco”), but it looks pretty good, and much better than what was there before (concrete blocks)!  I can’t wait to see it next to the new siding.


For the past couple of days, the focus has been on the deck. Inside the kitchen, one of the guys was working on drywall patching and sanding. We took the plastic curtain down this afternoon, and my husband swept and dusted the floor. I think we might get a few family visitors over the weekend who want to see the progress–and we’re ready to show it off even if it’s not quite done.

ImageWhat’s on tap for next week?

• I think the crew will be finishing work on the cabinets, walls and preparation for the arrival of the countertop. The cabinet doors are all here in a box and the hardware is not attached. The coffee station/pantry cupboards are not yet installed. The trim that goes with these units came in the wrong color so it’s on reorder.

• Decisions about the door to the infamous “Harry Potter” broom closet. We had talked about potentially cutting down a door that we had stored in the basement, but that just wasn’t feasible. The idea was to match the look of the door to the other doors in the hallway adjacent. So, the old door was taken to a local lumberyard to determine if something similar could be made. We’re still awaiting pricing and options for that.

• Paint! Matt says the painter might be starting at the end of next week and over the weekend.

Since we are approaching Thanksgiving, I have been focusing on gratitude for these things today:

• the ability to do this project for our family

• the safety of all involved in the project

• the positive experience this has been thus far

Thank you to all involved in the work and to those supporting us with words of encouragement!Image

Days 18 & 19

Today is Day 19.

I think I kind of “hit the wall” this morning. No, it wasn’t made of bricks or drywall. I just woke up feeling really tired of the daily routine of living in the construction zone. It wasn’t that anything BAD has happened, or that there was any one thing that I could point to that caused me to feel this way. I have not done any research on this but I’m going to call this “Renovation Fatigue”.

The symptoms?

• Foggy brain and distracted-ness

• Dull headache

• Slightly upset stomach from eating less than stellar meals at home or in restaurants

• Weird sleeping and waking patterns

Honestly, the crew working on our project has been outstanding. They are courteous, hardworking people and they want the project to be done just as much as we want this to be done.  They are kind to our kids and pets and clean up after themselves. We’re already used to having a house full of guys—after all, we do have four sons who bring lots of friends over to hang out.

Before the project started, Matt told us that we would be very ready for this all to be done. I think it was in the context of a conversation about how excited I was to get started. He predicted that we would be happy to see them start, but very happy to see them leave. I think that was a good observation, based on his work with prior renovators! We’ve had tremendous progress this week, with cabinets, deck and exterior work and I think the end is in sight.

So, I shared the symptoms, but I’m not sure what the prescription is for “Renovation Fatigue”. I’m going to try the following: Aleve, exercise and an early bedtime. Maybe I’ll supplement this with some Dairy Queen ice cream.


Here’s to a great Day 20 tomorrow!

Week 3 in review–we have a floor!

The most amazing thing about this week was seeing what we had envisioned start to become reality. We now have a wide open space that is looking like a room, with walls, wiring, windows and even a floor.



The thing that I like best about these photos is that I can see how much brighter it will be in this part of the house. That door to the new deck makes a huge difference.

Next week:
Cabinets arrive! I can’t wait to see them. After they are installed, a template will be made for the countertop.

Work continues on the deck. Project manager Matt tells us that there will be more guys here working next week. I guess it takes a cast of thousands (well dozens) to build this house!

We are at the halfway point–or maybe beyond that! Things are picking up speed. The weeks fly by and I think we’re coping with the unsettled-ness pretty well.