Journal of a Remodelee, Part 3 of 11
Originally appeared in Hills Publications, Feb. 3, 2006 and ANG Newspapers, Jan. 21, 2006
I continue to share our trials and tribulations as my wife, Sonia, and I remodel most of our home.
The foreman, Sam, showed me the plans. He wanted to make sure the window indicated in the shower addition was correct. Initially, we had tossed around the idea of having a window in the shower itself. This would add light. After pondering the pros and cons, however, we told our architect to eliminate it because it posed potential leak problems.
We did not notice that it had been left in the plans. If Sam had not asked us, it would have been another, expensive mistake.
After negotiations, the heating contractor agreed to reduce his price and we gave the okay for all the heating-related work, including a new furnace and new heating ducts. On this one item alone, we exceed our contractor’s heating work estimate by $7100.
If we were preparing to sell we would never have done, and spent, so much on things like new heating and electrical systems – aspects that most prospective buyers do not fully appreciate. Fortunately, we are remodeling for our own pleasure.
The lead electrician pointed out to us that, according to the plans, we will only have about three inches of clearance above the top of our new kitchen cabinets. This means the up-lights we planned do not make sense as there will not be enough “reach space” for replacing light bulbs.
The unexpected three inch gap will be covered by molding. There will be, of course, an additional expense as we have to get different molding than the one we ordered (and paid for) from the cabinet company.
We had discussed lighting and electrical with the architect, but, like other problems, he did not analyze the relationship between cabinet height and lighting and did not account for this in the plans. At moments like this, I remind myself how it could be worse.
Several days after ordering windows, we decided to eliminate one and to replace the existing greenhouse window in the expanding bath with a smaller, double-hung one.
By doing so, the new medicine cabinet over the pedestal sink would be balanced.
As today was sunny, the men tore off the roof of our half bath and began framing the new, extended one. Toward the end of the day, as the bath roof took form, one of the workers pointed out to us that it was blocking the top third of one of the new master bedroom windows. We had to move fast to change our window order.
I immediately called to hold off on this window until we decide whether to shorten or eliminate it. As it was supposed to be the same height as the other two in the room, shortening it may make it look awkward. Not having the window there at all, on the other hand, will eliminate light and air circulation. It came as no surprise that our architect did not foresee this issue.
We decided to keep, but lower, the top of the window so we will not see roof and gutters. It will be a bit asymmetrical, but better that than no window at all. I doubt if anyone else will notice.
More details were covered today. The electrician checked with us about the range hood and asked if the one drawn in the plans was what we ordered. It was not. The final kitchen plan, which the architect has, clearly showed the correct one. Another problem was narrowly avoided only because, at each step, the crew cares enough to double check with us.
At my request, the electrician had me stand in the master bathroom and measured where my new lighted, shaving mirror would be on the wall by the sink. If he just plunked it anywhere, it probably would have ended up at the wrong height for me.
An example of what happens when workmen plow ahead without thinking just happened to one of my fellow Realtors who is also remodeling her home.
She and her husband were away for a few days while work continued on their place. When she returned, she found her bathroom vanity completed. Two beautiful goose-neck faucets had been installed. Only problem was that they blocked the medicine cabinets’ doors. She was not amused.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 1 – It begins; we know there will be the inevitable surprises, but optimistically hope previous experiences will help renovations go smoothly.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 2 – Holding our breaths that some irreversible glitch does not take place while we are out earning a living.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 3 – An eliminated window is mistakenly left in the plans while miscalculations in light fixture placement increases costs.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 4 – Even with a great construction crew, once again we learn you can’t count on them to think of everything.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 5 – Mislabeling of tile grout almost results disaster.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 6 – We are reminded how important it is for at least one of us to stay close at hand to answer questions as they arise.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 7 – Back from a holiday break, we experience more surprises and a frustrating accident.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 8 – Surprises and scheduling conflicts can’t detract from enjoying our new kitchen.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 9 – It is all coming together…almost.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 10 – City inspections and the finish line.
Journal of a Remodelee, Part 11 – Eight months’ worth of do’s and don’ts.