Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Farmhouse Renovation Update and Being Authentic

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This month marks the second half of 2016. Since there are only six months left in this year, I decided to take a look back at my goals for 2016 and to take another look at my word for the year, "authentic". July also marks the third anniversary of our purchase of  the red brick ranch that is slowly becoming our bespoke farmhouse.  In honor of those things, I thought that I'd share a little "before/during" comparison of some of the initial shots that I took on the day that we officially took possession of the farmhouse and fill you in on what's been going on at our renovation.


I have a sweet friend named Sarah who regularly cheers me when I have my moments of doubt about this project. We were chatting the other night and she mentioned that it seemed that things were going relatively smoothly with the renovation.... which they are....for the most part. I realized during our conversation that if I'm being completely authentic, I need to share the "bumps in the road" that we've encountered along the way as well as the "good stuff." So, here, in no particular order, are the most recent challenges:
Instead of taking four days to install the new electric service, the electricians took almost six weeks to run the new conduit and install the new box. Until the electricians finished we couldn't get insulation which also meant no drywall.  The low voltage guy (home security, central stereo, doorbell, etc) finished in one day; the electricians didn't have the same sense of urgency.  There were days that they didn't show up and days when they did and I wondered what the heck they accomplished.
In the mean time, our mason was called back to his union job in the middle of building our chimney which meant that we had a delay while I spoke to, and hired, a new mason to complete the exterior chimney, the front window sills, the bricking up of three windows in the garage and other miscellaneous stuff.
I still haven't chosen a fireplace insert but there hasn't really been any rush because the mason's estimate of how much stone we would need was off....way off.
                                                                                                              About nine tons of stone...off.
The stone company is trying to help me find a new home for the surplus but now I have to wait while the stone yard cuts more of the thin wall stone that the masons  need to finish the exterior chimney and, eventually, the stone fireplace in the hearth room.
Also on my list of things that I hadn't planned on, it's taking an inordinate amount of time to strip the multiple layers of what appears to be oil based enamel paint from our two wood garage doors. So far, I've used a heat gun, orbital sander, belt sander and chemical stripper and I have done about six of the sixteen panels on the first of the two doors.

Last, but certainly not least, I realized about a month ago that our bid for this project did not contain any allowance for our kitchen...no cabinets, counters, appliances....nothing. My fault for not checking the contract more carefully so I'm scrambling to figure out how we're going to pay for it but it makes all of the other decisions (like whether to replace the garage doors) more significant.
On a happier note, grading has begun in the yard and may be finished this week which means that I'll get to plant a few trees and shrubs and try to grow some lawn. I've joked from the beginning of this project that I'd be trying to keep seed alive in the heat of the summer. Well, here I go.....

We also got the remainder of our insulation on Saturday. It's a combination of open and closed cell foam. The reason for the combination is that the 1949 part of our home was framed with 2x4s while the new section is 2x6s. In order to meet the required "R" value in the 2x4 section, closed cell foam is used. It's much more dense and structural while open cell is softer. I'm amazed at how much more quiet it is inside the house and how nice it is to look out of the windows now that the plastic is down.
I finally started liming the brick on the outside of the house using a restoration quality lime putty stucco. It's made of the same components as limewash but I'm able to trowel it on which is giving me the textured, rustic look that I wanted.

As of today, drywall will be delivered. We'll have our insulation inspection tomorrow and, if all goes well, we'll begin to drywall by the end of the week. Also next week, the electric service will be connected.
If you follow Serendipity Refined on Instagram or Facebook, you know that my farmhouse sink is finished and the tile has begun to arrive. On my "to do" list for this week: decide on a fireplace insert, make a decision on the garage doors, finish the liming of the brick and start looking for interior doors.

There you have it, the authentic, honest, update on farmhouse progress. Have there been some significant delays and surprises? Yes, there have. Am I disappointed, of course. Did I expect at least some issues with a renovation of this scale and scope and did I plan for most of this? Thankfully, yes. Having done this four times before, I did... but that doesn't make it any easier when things go wrong. The good news is that I realize how blessed I am to be doing this at all and that it's nothing compared to the challenges that many face on a daily basis which keeps things in perspective.

Also,  I promised a post on limewash so look for that soon. Happy July and thanks so much for reading!