Monday, June 13, 2011

project of the month(ish).

**Warning** this post details the most recent work that we've been doing on the house. it is LONG. but there are lots of pictures to help you follow along with the process that has taken the fireplace room, from looking something like this:

to the point at which it is now, which (SPOILER ALERT) is not yet finished.

May 10 - on a rare Tuesday night sans church league softball, Mark decides to finally start the next big project in the house. the fireplace room. plastic is taped up over the doorways into the front room and the kitchen to seal the room. baseboard is removed. trim is taken down around the doorways. the wood paneled wall comes DOWN.

studs and confusing wiring are revealed. wood and dust and nails litter the floor. it stays that way for oh, about the next three weeks.*

the next three weekends are filled with work and travel and youth group parties and weddings and grad parties and anything else imaginable that keeps us from thinking about the giant part of the house that is plasticked off. we use the front door exclusively, which is especially obnoxious when wanting to go from the kitchen to the backyard, which used to involve walking all of 5 feet to the sliding door and now requires walking through the kitchen, dining room, and front room, out the front door and the whole way around to the back of the house (71 steps, i counted), a path i now take with surprising frequency.

*in all fairness to the hubs, at some point in those three weeks he did manage to organize the mess into piles, (a tried and true method of cleaning) pick up the random nails, and vacuum up most of the dust with his new shop-vac, so it probably wasnt as bad as i made it out to be.

June 4-5 - Mark, armed only with a flashlight and (finally!) a free weekend, climbs into the impossibly tiny attic opening and crawls the length of the house along precariously placed boards in order to figure out the previously mentioned confusing wiring. good news! we now know what all the seemingly superfluous switches in that room do! (the secret is that TWO of them control ONE outlet) new switches and outlets are purchased and installed. all the old paneling and nails get taken to the dumpster. light fixtures are taken down to prepare for the next step: drywall.

June 11 - a month and a day after the initial steps were taken on this project, we have real, tangible progress to share! the ceiling went up! and oh, if only it were really that simple.

we first realized what kind of a day we were in for when, first thing in the morning, we discovered that the truck we were supposed to borrow forgot that we were borrowing it and went out of town for the day instead. so instead we rolled into the parking lot of our local big-box store in a big ol' van. because nothing says "we are serious about our home improvements" like a conversion van.

i'd like to extend a big thanks to the random man in the green shirt for taking pity on poor weak little me and helping the hubs get all 16 sheets of drywall onto our cart.

and i'd like to thank everybody in the parking lot for not stopping to point and laugh as the hubs and myself tried to figure out how exactly to fit said 16 sheets of drywall into said conversion van, a process that ultimately ended with the two of us hardly speaking to each other as i ran around the parking lot barefoot as we frantically tried to load everything up. and oh yeah, did i mention it started RAINING?

we thought our day was over right then and there. but fortunately for us, the rain didn't last long, we got over ourselves and were actually thankful that the van kept the drywall dry as we drove, and by the time we got home the sun was shining and we were ready to get going!

the only thing we had forgotten to pick up was a straight-line-snappy-chalk-box thing. so i volunteered to run to the local little hardware store to get one. i found one without even having to ask for help, and i headed home with my find. and then i went back 10 minutes later to get the CHALK for said chalk box. because apparently they dont sell the boxes with the chalk already in them. who knew?

another HUGE thanks goes out to Mark's little brother, who got drafted volunteered to help out with the heavy lifting. he made the whole process a lot smoother than if i were the one on that ladder.

or lets just be honest, there's no way i could have done that. we literally could not have done this without you, Dan.

unfortunately, we only had our heavy-lifting-help for a few hours, so we decided to sacrifice a little bit of quality in an effort to keep moving quickly, because as previously mentioned, the full pieces were not going up with me as the helper on the ladder. so instead of having staggered joints, we ended up with this one neat-looking long joint down the length of the room.

this, of course, led to another set of issues, as this joint was apparently set on the mystery vanishing joist of doom, which led to some extremely frustrating moments, a lot of wasted screws, and at least one spot that looked something like this:

but since we were determined to get to a good stopping point before we finally called it a day, we pressed on through phantom joists and mis-measurements, and FINALLY the last piece was up, and the last screw (for now) was put in.

we celebrated by going out for dinner because after putting 11 pieces of drywall onto the ceiling and dealing with all the little issues that kept cropping up throughout the day, we were both too mentally exhausted to make dinner. and also, we needed to go back to the store for more screws. so we could put up some MORE drywall the next day.

June 12 - the wall goes up! again, it sounds so simple when you say it that way. when you leave out the fact that we were already tired from the day before, we pre-gamed for this project by volunteering in the church nursery and mowing the grass,  and we had a whole 'nother slew of little issues to uncover as we went along.

the first piece went up with little to no issue:

but the rest just seemed to be one crooked line after mis-measurement after bad cut after another. these were each dealt with in turn with a sigh, and a popsicle break.

also, this happened:

(no groundhogs !in the wild! were actually harmed during the course of this project)

the most major frustration of the day came with the realization that we had not accounted for the fact that in replacing the 1/4" paneling with 1/2" drywall, we would actually be making the wall thicker, which would cause us issues when it came to the doorways. so we can just go ahead and add 'fix the doorways' to the to-do list for this project. 

so 5 pieces of drywall later, and the wall is covered now too! i'm pretty excited about the progress, even though i know that there is still a fairly long way to go between where we are now and the point at which we can tentatively declare this project to be finished.

still to do on this project:
- put in a LOT more screws in both the ceiling and wall.
- mud and sand all the joints and screw-holes.
- prime and paint the walls and ceiling.
- paint the fireplace doors.
- fix the doorways.
- put up the trim.
- move the furniture back in.

so you see why it wouldnt be possible to share the ENTIRE project in just one fireplace-room-project post. its just too big of a project with too many steps and too many things to share. but we're excited with the progress we've made, and given a few days to mentally recover from the more frustrating points of this weekend we'll probably have even more progress to share soon!


Brenda's Man said...

I am proud of you both! I can't wait to see you all in 7 weeks! Love you both lots!

Abi said...

woot woot to you and your crew. It looks great, and I am supremely impressed. I can't wait to come and kick back in front of a great fire at your place.Can we roast marshmallows in your 'new' fireplace?