Type of Project: Master Bathroom Creation
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Type of building: 1920s, multi-level, single family home
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After the adrenaline rush of buying a house, the beginning of our renovation was anticlimactic. I thought it was worth taking a moment to talk about our slow beginning, because I think it's helpful to be aware of this aspect of home renovation, for the sake of your psychological health and expectations.
We closed on our new house on April 30 of last year, and we did not finish the demolition until late August. Three months? What was happening there?
Let's see. First, we were finalizing our financing with the bank, and settling details of how our renovation loan would be paid out, even after we closed on the house. There was a family wedding, a long-planned vacation, a blitz of editing the manuscript of my new book, painstaking decisions over the final plans of the house, and some tentative initial demolition, before we really understood just how long it would take.
We were tackling all of the demolition ourselves, to save money. This wasn't just a small bathroom project — it was a whole house, and most of the plaster and lathe had to be gutted. This was incredibly overwhelming and time-consuming — far more than I expected.
Our financing worked out so that we could stay in our rental home until the renovation on our new house was complete, This was fortunate, because the house was unlivable for most of the time we were working on it, and the project got a slow start and just went on and on and on...
I think the biggest reason, though, that things went slowly at the beginning was that every decision was hard; we were so inexperienced. Everything felt fraught and brand new. How would we tear down the plaster? How much work did we need to do on the floors? Who was going to buy and take away the old kitchen cabinets? In hindsight, this seems simple, but in the moment, every decision felt new and challenging.
It was a slow start, with a big dumpster parked outside our house, but we got there in the end. It just felt like eons before we saw anything concrete.
Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for #5 of Faith and Mike's Diary.
(Images: Faith Durand)