Here is a quick home update for all you dying fans out there. These photos were taken a few months back, so if you follow us on Instagram you’ve likely seen more progress than shown here.

In the picture below, you can see all of the electrical, drywall, and wood wrap around the beams were removed. The columns hadn’t yet been consolidated, and the strange plastic panels were still up. The uphill windows hadn’t yet been replaced either. The goals for this space were to:

  • Update the electrical.
  • Salvage as much paneling as possible.
  • Remove the exterior door.
  • Cut in a window to the right of the small, upper window shown, and replace all four windows in that section.
  • Install new flooring.
  • Remove HVAC and install mini-splits instead.
  • Consolidate the columns down to a single column in this area, and redirect the plumbing vent.

Consolidating the columns required some savvy engineering. First off, the columns in this case were structural, and we were also working with the main beam of the house as well as the beam of the addition. To remove the nearest column shown in this photo, we replaced the main beam with glue-lam, an engineered material designed to be stronger than wood. We knew we would eventually wrap the beam and columns in mahogany, so we weren’t concerned with aesthetics. To remove the column nearest the door, currently supporting the addition beam, we wound up bolting a steel plate to the 2×8’s. Now we have a stunning, open living area!

Below is the view into the kitchen post demo. This house is relatively small at roughly 2500 sq. ft.. While I would have like to expand the kitchen, there was no cost-effective way of doing so. To make it feel larger, we eliminated upper cabinetry and shifted appliances around. We maximized counter space by opting for a peninsula. The kitchen windows were in terrible condition, so we replaced those too.

Here is a view into the upstairs full bath. It was so cramped that one of the walls had been bumped out in a very strange fashion to allow room for sitting on the toilet. The house didn’t necessitate three bathrooms and having a full bath upstairs didn’t make a whole lot of sense. We chose to eliminate the shower, move the toilet to the current shower location, and straighten the doorway wall. I was devastated to learn that we wouldn’t be able to leave the concrete block exposed. The mud-cap tile was so well adhered that removing it would require busting the block. It’s now covered by drywall, sadly.

I choked when I walked in to see this. For reference, this is the master, and we’re looking at where the new master shower would be going. We decided to move the shower to this location as a result of the structural concrete wall in the current master that prohibited us from expanding it. We also anticipated being able to take the plumbing through the exterior foundation wall and connect it to the septic tank on the same side of the house. Wrong. The septic tank already had the max number of connections allowed by the city. The slab of this mini addition was also substantially beefier than we anticipated and it would have been more expensive to go through it than come back across as shown to tie into the existing shower drain. It looks ugly, but it worked out in the end and didn’t drain our pockets too terribly badly. At the same time, we installed a french drain downstairs to eliminate water penetration. To accomplish this, the slab is dug out along the perimeter of the uphill side of the house, creating a channel. At the bottom of the channel, holes are drilled in the block foundation, so that when water enters the cavity of the block it drains down into the channel. The channel slopes down toward a sump pump, and the sump pump is responsible for pushing the water back out.

Whew! Once things start moving, they get going quickly. This is a brand new experience for us and we’ve really enjoyed learning from the process. More updates coming at you next week!

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