Things always look (at least) a little worse before they look better when it comes to restoration and renovation, so I’m excited to see where we go from here.
As has been the case with almost every piece of work we’ve done in this house, we discovered an interesting and complicated problem.
THERE ARE NO ACTUAL FLOOR JOISTS. Seriously – there are no true, actual floor joists holding up our bathroom floor. The wood that we thought was decorative, and that was not put together in a way that is terribly structurally sound, and that is not at all in good shape…
…is actually the only thing holding up our bathroom floor.
So, that’s fun. And by that I mean: Well, that sucks.
This ceiling project has suddenly become the most important thing that we’re doing in the house. And knowing that, I am especially happy to get it done. And especially, especially happy that the basement bathroom is usable. And especially, especially, especially happy that our contractors found it so early in this process.
They can fix it. I don’t know quite what that will look like, but I know it will be done. And for now, that’s just going to have to be enough.
Work on the house continues! After finishing up (mostly) on the exterior, we’ve moved inside, and started in the basement. Our workers have relocated our washer and dryer up to our main level, which clears space for us to expand our basement bathroom.
We’ve wanted to do this for a while, as it’s our main guest bathroom and it was just really shabby and dark. And, well, they do say things look worse before they look better.
I’m not worried about that. What I am mildly concerned about is the mystery pipe they uncovered when they took down one of the walls.
We have no idea why it’s there. And it definitely means some extra work. Figuring out what it’s doing, and then figuring out if it’s needed, and then, if it’s needed, finding a better place for it, if that’s even possible.
We knew the plumbing in this house was…let’s just say, confusing. I’ve written about it before. So, we’re not surprised, and we know our crew can handle this little wrinkle. These things happen, and I’m confident that when all is said and done, we’ll have a lovely guest bathroom that I’m no longer embarrassed for our guests to actually use. (And yes, of course I’ll post pictures. 😊)
Okay, where to start. I’d posted a while ago that we’re getting some work done. And by some work, I mean a lot of work. The interesting thing about our house is that the 200-year-old section is solid as a rock. It’s not going anywhere. We understand how it was built. It makes total sense. And, hey, it’s festive season! So we’ve done a bit of decorating. 😊
The addition, which is basically the entire back portion of the house and includes all of our plumbing and our kitchen, well, that’s a different story. I’m not quite sure how it’s constructed, why it’s constructed that way, or even who did the work. Probably many hands over the course of many years. I’m making it sound very dire, and it’s not that bad, but we’ve got an opportunity now to make things a little better, and we’re taking it. Starting with a big section of windows on the lower part of the house. Their frames are in bad shape, their layout doesn’t look great. So, we’re replacing them. And changing things up. And they say that things usually get worse before they get better…
I’m calling it temporarily open concept. Real indoor/outdoor living.
Some cleanup required.
I can’t wait to see what it looks like once it’s done, and our work crew is doing a fantastic job making things as quiet and livable as possible. But, man, there’s nothing quite so jarring as seeing a BIG GAPING HOLE in the back of your house.
I’m grateful that we can do this, though. And once this project is done, I’m eager to move on to the next. (And then the one after that. We’re in this for the long haul, guys. Onward!)
If you’ve ever watched anything on HGTV, you’ve probably heard the phrase “old house problems.” It comes up over and over: On renovations shows, when homeowners encounter shoddy updates and outdated pipes and wiring. During house hunts, when starry-eyed first-time buyers see anything built before 1990 and worry about how much work it might need (LOL…).
“You buy an old house, you get old house problems.”
I’ve heard it myself, from my dad, when Graham and I first started searching for a house with a story.
My dad used to build houses, and I trust him, and I know that he knows what he’s talking about. But as children do, I considered his advice carefully, ignored it entirely, and did what I wanted.
I think it’s important to point out that any house will have problems. Our first home was built in 2007, and we poured thousands of dollars into fixing stuff that broke, big stuff and small stuff. We replaced a faulty sump pump that flooded our utility room and an HVAC that died not once but twice. We installed a radon mitigation system, we sanded down doors that stuck as the house settled, fixed nail pops, bought a new refrigerator…
My point is, any house, regardless of its age, is going to require some serious maintenance and upkeep. But I’m willing to admit that it takes a special sort of crazy person to commit to the maintenance and upkeep of a home of…advanced age.
I am that crazy person.
So is Graham. I didn’t pull him into the insanity with me. We met there. And here we are today, in our very old house, happy as can be despite our ever-growing list of “old house problems.”
Why am I sharing this now?
Well, a few reasons. The first is that I wrote a post earlier this week that just got me thinking about it. The second is that Graham replaced our kitchen faucet over the weekend, and it took about two hours longer than it should have because everything was crusty with lime buildup and rusted together. The third is that, as we think about fixing small issues like that faucet, we’re also starting to discuss what larger projects we might want to tackle over the course of the spring and summer.
And believe me, it’s super easy to “find” projects in an old home.
We’ve been sort of laisse faire about things so far. We’ve done some interior and exterior painting, but we have a lot more to do.
We’ve fixed issues as they’ve come up, but we haven’t really sat down and developed a strategy for making improvements, adjustments, and repairs. To be fair, we’ve only lived here since 2016, and it’s taken almost that long to really decide and settle on how we want to use spaces, how we want them to look and feel, and what “home” looks like for us here.
But now, it’s time.
Truly, it’s past time.
We bought this house to make it a home, and to be good stewards of a piece of history. I think it’s about time we made good on that commitment.
So, cheers to old house problems! (I’m holding up my coffee cup.) And may we learn to be patient and enjoy the process…