We’ve had both good and bad experiences with contractors in this home, and as a result, we have a tendency to be overly cautious with anyone we hire. We make copies of every check we give, we write out the most detailed contracts and we go over line items no less than 5 times a day with anyone we work with. Although no one has ever taken our money and run (thank goodness), we were a little – no, a lot! – scarred by the guys that left our kitchen unfinished and stopped taking our calls.
All this to say, we’ve been careful with our progress reports, as we didn’t want to boast our love for our current contractor team before we saw them in action, but you guys, we are so, so impressed. This marks the beginning of week 3, but by the end of last week, most of the messy behind-the-walls work had been completed! They’ve been overly communicative (the key to my obsessive heart), they’re incredibly efficient, and every morning, the GC gives me an update with a quick walkthrough. Most importantly, Jack loves them, as evidenced by his disappearing acts every afternoon – that is, until I find him chewing on a discarded 2×4 scrap amongst the dust.
So, let’s dive in with a progress report! Here’s a 360 bedroom view to kick things off:
THE BEDROOM. We have windows! We have a framed out closet! We have a light switch by the door, and all the outlets have been put in their proper place! The windows are almost 9′ wide x 5′ high, which as you can imagine, lets in All the Light. Can’t you just see a sweet bitty Maddie on the windowsill eating her kitty grass? (And you better believe we’ll be putting blackout liners on any curtains or shades. We have a few ideas in mind already!)
THE LAUNDRY ROOM. We mapped out this space, making sure that the washer and dryer hook ups were in the right place. An outlet was added that’ll sit above counter height, and plumbing has been run for the sink. Plus, it’s all prepped for a pocket door! Laundry room, you are going to be so cute with your ostrich paper.
The original plan was to have a singular light centered in the room, but at the last minute, we decided to add recessed lighting, too. The fixture we have planned for this room has a dome shade, and although the space is small, we thought an extra hit of task lighting would go far if we’re swapping wash loads in the evening. The additional cost was nothing more than the materials, so it really was an easy decision.
THE BATHROOM. This room, you guys. This room! We have gained more floor space than we originally thought we would, since we pushed back the wall as far as it would go. To this point, all electrical and plumbing has been run, and do you spot those horizontal 2x4s along the back ‘wall’? Those are little niches for soap and shampoo, which for some reason, feel very, very fancy to us. We’ve never had a soap niche! Scott and I like to say soap niche in our most posh accents, which I can never do right, but it always, always makes us laugh.
To the right of the tub, the team framed out a perfect spot for all those extra things people stash in bathrooms, and it’s exactly the height of this IKEA cabinet. We’ll need to hack the width, but we did gain almost 10″, which like the floor plan, is more than we thought we’d get.
It’s not just our soap niches that upped the fancy factor in this room; our lighting got an upgrade as well! You can see below where the old fixture was (and by fixture, I mean one tiny light bulb hanging from the ceiling), and we’ve since added a junction box for a pretty overhead light, a vent-slash-nightlight and recessed lighting above the shower.
And finally, a chimney update! The bedroom chimney has been the biggest surprise, but after a one hour meeting with our favorite HVAC guy, we figured out a way to re-route the furnace venting internally. Unfortunately, it also became clear that we’ll need to replace the water heaters. While we thought the water heaters had a bit more life in them, we were surprised that they were way, way past due for a replacement, and so we’re going to bite the bullet and upgrade to tankless heaters – one for us, and one for our tenants in the garden unit. That definitely stung, but in the end, the tankless water heaters will be (much!) more efficient, and we’ll gain space where those old tanks hogged an entire utility room. Silver linings, we suppose.
Next up, drywall!
PS: For anyone in the Chicagoland area, we would be thrilled to pass along the name of our general contractor. Just shoot us an email using the contact form in the menu bar!