There is no place like home!

 

November 7, 2017 | Day 47

 

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“There is no place like home,” I read those words and it just really resonated with me in regards to this project. We come and go from our homes.  Sometimes for a quick trip and sometimes for long bouts, but there really is nothing like coming back home. We are not just creating a house, but a HOME. Our clients are excited for their new home and we can’t wait for them to move in.  We have our fingers crossed that will be by the end of this year, but the next week will dictate the move in schedule.

I was at the house today and it was freezing cold inside, remember there is no heat and doors are opened and closed all day, burrrr. The workers never seem to be bundled up in the cold house. I guess putting your sweatshirt hood over your head must keep you warm, I sure would need many more layers than that. They are troopers and they are getting the jobs done. Electrical is being repaired and reworked all this week and we hope to have the final sign off by the beginning of next week.  This is just the “rough in”.  Rough in is what’s behind the walls and in the Panel.  The fun stuff comes later at “trim”.  This is the same terminology for plumbing.  Trim is when the new electrical/plumbing fixtures are hung and when it really starts to shine!  We also have the sign off for the gas piping and the new furnace.  This is also getting wrapped up this week so we will finally have heat-that we need now.

Time has gone by so fast on this project. This house is really starting to come back together quickly. This is rare that we are moving along as fast as we are, but it is great for the clients.  We are starting to see our design choices get implemented. The main floor bathroom has been tiled around the new tub and on the floor, grout will be completed today and it will be ready for the plumbing and electrical trim. In the kitchen breakfast nook, we built a bench with storage underneath, I can just imagine the beautiful (kid proof) cushion and pillows to go on top. The closet in the master bedroom has its pocket door installed and we finally got the furnace moved to its new location in the laundry room, this opened up so much space for the new master suite.  It is really quite a transformation that is hard to see in photos.

We had the gutters guys come out at the end of last week to install new downspouts, of course it was going too smoothly until one of the parts that goes from the gutters and attaches to the downspout, snapped off. Guess what? The gutter guys don’t repair that one piece because it came off of the internal gutter system that is attached to the roof, you following, it was hard for me too. The things I have learned on this project. Of course, the rain was coming and I had to get this fixed, now. After many days of calls, amazing how people don’t call you back even after you leave them multiple messages, I used our construction contact (Lau Construction-Roofing) and he sent out a guy who fixed it, $450 later, but it is fixed and rain can now go freely down the downspout.  Lau is a great resource!

We timed the painting of the outside of the house perfectly.  We had a beautiful stretch of sunny warm weather a week ago and got the whole thing painted. We choose a dark color to cover up the imperfections on the outside of the house and it turned out great. The white trim goes perfectly with the windows and just pops. Once we get the light fixtures hung on the outside and the new garage doors, we are set for the exterior.  Then the landscaping is up to the clients and they will work away at this slowly and into the spring and summer.

This house is now completely critter proof!  It is clean and there is no place for them to get in. We have repaired all holes, reinforced any questionable areas and all new drywall is being put up soon, it’s almost like a new home. It is going to be safe(electrical) and free from leaks, holes and moisture.  It will be insulated and will feel like a fresh new home. It smells good and feels good!

What’s coming next?
I finalized our new door and door hardware order. Did you know that you can actually spend many hours on figuring out not only what door levers would look best for this type of house, but what way should the door swing, what side are the hinges going on, is it a left handle or right handle door, I think you get the idea! But I’m done, so glad our clients love the style and the satin nickel finish. They are going to look beautiful with the single panel clean white doors. This will give the house both a traditional and contemporary look, which is what we are going for.

The electrical install will finish up in a few days, then comes the drywall, the rest of the plumbing, insulation and then painting. The hardwood floors will get refinished then kitchen and bath cabinets and counter tops will be installed.  December will be quite the month of noted improvements and it will be like Christmas for this house!

Thanks for reading and posting great comments, if you have more questions please comment and we’ll get back to you.

– Renee and Jessica

Posted on November 7, 2017 at 9:51 PM
Renee Menti Ruhl | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

The steps you should know to start a remodel, and all things happening at the house.

 

October 25, 2017 | Day 34 

 

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We are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There has been lots of change to the interior and a couple big changes are taking place this week with the exterior-the house is getting new gutters and we are painting.  Pray for sun!

The areas of the house that needed new walls built or walls taken down have been completed. But of course, we can’t have a week without mentioning rats, what fun would that be. While taking out the drywall in the basement bathroom our carpenter thought there was a brillow pad in the wall but it was a dead rat. He  also discovered a few rat’s nests in other parts of the basement wall insulation as well. It was funny when he said, “it’s always a surprise”,  I bet it is, no thank you. Glad we decided to remove that section of drywall at the last minute. Yuck!  I think we are past all the bad stuff (sewers, rot and rats) and can move into the fun stuff!

 

 

In the last week we built the walls for the new master bedroom, bathroom and closet. It’s so fun to take awkward/inefficient space and make it into a useful/purposeful space.  It is completely different! The deck is almost done, it just needs railings and stain. The outside of the house has been prepped for new (dark colored) paint. We want to hide the imperfections and all the different textures and make it pop with creamy white trim. We had a sewer company come out today to scope the master bath toilet and shower drains because the bathroom was so bad we wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything stuck down there (a rat perhaps).  We don’t want it to flood after their remodel was done. Thankfully it is all clear and clean.

Something to be aware of when you get bids, ALWAYS read the fine print, compare line items and ask questions. We had an example of this just the other day when a garage door company gave us another quote, this one we asked for less expensive doors,  but it came in higher from the first bid. This shouldn’t have been the case since we asked for less expensive doors. But in reviewing the two bids we noticed line items that should of been the same dollar amount but were different, this second bid actually came in higher than the first. We are not feeling very confident with them so getting another company to give us a quote. Another slight hurdle.

Either Renee or I are on site everyday making sure that everything is going according to plan. There are times that you find a better way to do something or have that “aha moment” over a new idea and it’s exciting because you feel that you are making something really great for our clients. During this process, we ask ourselves questions constantly; how will the clients live in the space and how do we create flow and continuity throughout the house. How does the lighting look, how much lighting (always keeping budget in the back of our minds). Making choices that go with the style of the house and the lifestyle of the clients (how hard will they live in the house, kids and pets add wear), do they want open spaces or storage (always a tough question) and will they want electronics (TV’s, outlets, etc.).

A lot of people find it daunting to take on a remodel, regardless of the size. It can be overwhelming and you just don’t know where to begin. Here are some tips to help get you started if you want to tackle a remodel.

First, decide why you would like to remodel. There are several good reasons to renovate. Your home may no longer reflect your tastes or your lifestyle. Your family dynamics may have changed. Maybe you’d like to make your home more environmentally friendly. You may even be planning a move in the future and you would like to invest in your home to make it more marketable (Hint, Renee can help you with that).

Whatever the reason, identify it. If there’s more than one, that’s even better! The point is that in order for you to be happy at the end of the project, you need to first understand why you want the change. What are you trying to accomplish?

The next step is to make a list of every upgrade you would like to get out of the remodel. Divide the items on that list into 3 categories:

a. Must-have items
b. Would-like-to-have items
c. Dream items

Building this list will help you and your remodeling contractor prioritize during the project. This list will tell you which items to cut if you can’t afford everything and which items to add in, if some of your upgrades aren’t as expensive as you thought.

Once your list is complete, think about your budget, but don’t over think it. To many projects get hung up on this and never even begin their projects.

You must begin to calculate what you will be comfortable investing in your home, but remember until you meet with a contractor, you won’t be able to take into account what the whole project will cost. Plus, everything is always more expensive and there is always more work than you think. You can’t have a new kitchen without considering the electrical and the plumbing. You typically need to upgrade those items in the process. 

Once you have created your list of remodeling projects and considered your budget, it’s now time to find a professional contractor, and a designer or architect, who will develop a plan to make your project a reality. Typically the designer or architect will design the project and the contractor will price it and then do the work. Rarely does a contractor design. There are Design-build contractors and they do both (This is what we are emulating on this remodel).

Don’t settle for just anyone to remodel your home. Select a contractor that is insured, experienced, and comes with good references. If this person you interview seems too good to be true, this could result in a low-quality renovation and cost you a lot in the end. Ask friends and family for referrals; even posting on social media will get you some names, just ask around.

Our clients have been so sweet and have been SO appreciative of all that we have done. They have been giving us gifts of flowers, wine and even baked our carpenter homemade cookies! Especially nice after all the yuck he has had to deal with!

The next couples weeks will bring a lot more progress. We have outside painting taking place right now and starting tomorrow the tile is being placed in the main floor bathroom. Then comes electrical, furnace work, more plumbing, new insulation and drywall. Hardwood floor refinishing will be next and then the interior painting. Kitchen cabinets will be installed, tile and trim work completed, then new flooring in the basement and new light fixtures. Soon it will really start to look great! Still lots to do. Stay tuned.

– Renee and Jessica

Posted on October 20, 2017 at 11:54 PM
Renee Menti Ruhl | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The dust has settled! Time to start putting the house back together.

 

October 12, 2017 | Day 21

 

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The dust has settled on almost all of the demolition. Now it’s time to help our clients pick out electrical finishes (lighting, electrical switches, outlet covers, etc.) they want for the house. We also need to get the budgets finalized from the last of our sub-contractors so we can hire and get the jobs going and put this house back together.

The first bill from the electrician came in was really high because we had lots of extras in it. So, we had to take a closer look at the project and see what really matters and keep our plan simple. Basically, we can only move what needs to be moved and add extra lights/plugs and switches that need to be added. We knew the electrical was bad when we did the house inspection because the box blew up and the hole house went dark. We had to hire an electrician to come out to turn the power back on for the seller so that their food wouldn’t rot and they could have power. In our first bid, our bill was $25,000! This was not including any light fixtures! This can add up in a blink of an eye. Now we are back to reality.

I had a walkthrough of the house with the electrician this morning to refine the scope of work and get it to a reasonable amount. How does one walk an electrician through a house and talk electricity? Renee makes it very colorful and actually quite fun.  She color-coded everything with construction paper and sharpie writings on the wall. This is one way to keep track of the outlets, ceiling fixtures, etc. and have clear communication with the electrician so that the bid comes back correctly with everything we want. The electrician can just take pictures of each room and remember what Renee needs for that room. But of course, she also writes everything down on paper for him so he has a copy to take with him (Her handwriting isn’t ageing as well as she is!  It takes a special eye to understand her handwriting, the electrician only asked me three times what a word said – My life’s problems of an assistant). 

 

 

Clean Crawls came today to clean out the rat/rodent infested attic and insulation, I do not know how they do their job. They get themselves totally covered up to attack the attic, and this attic has the lowest ceilings possible, they are mostly on their stomachs moving around. Yuck! You couldn’t pay me to do that job. It was an easier job getting the rats to move than the sellers!  But at least they are all gone now.

 

Our finish carpenter, Dan has replaced the kitchen slider with the new window and was framing the dining room wall for the new slider. Amazing how you can go online and order a window and glass slider from Home Depot and have it delivered the next day. Got to love modern technology.

Dan spent the last two days, thankfully it was sunny, building the new deck that will be off of the dining room that will be accessed from the new sliders. This will be a small BBQ deck and lead down to a patio for outdoor entertaining. Due to cost and the fact that the yard is more private than the deck, it just made more sense to bring it down to the yard.

 

During all this building, Renee and I have been working on other bids and Renee has been keeping track of the budget (I’m not the numbers person in this relationship) and searching for lighting options for our clients. This is the fun part. Pretty soon we will get to look at paint colors, flooring samples and tile.

We finalized the kitchen plan and ordered cabinets and countertops. We also have completed the main bath plan and ordered its’ cabinet and countertop.  We had extra slab so we are using it for the 1/2 bath countertop. The bathroom fixtures have already been picked out (remember we had to do that day 1 so plumbing could come in and get started). After the electrical is complete and the drywall goes back on in the kitchen and main bathroom, then we can have the cabinets and counter tops installed.

Things were crazy for a few weeks but they seem to be slowing down a bit.  I’m thankful that things are complete and a bit slow right now so we can get our other work done (We listed a house this week in Laurelhurst) and get ready for the next steps here.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned.

-Renee & Jessica

 

Posted on October 13, 2017 at 7:50 PM
Renee Menti Ruhl | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , ,