The past two weeks of renovating have been an absolute doozy for us. The first week started with being asked to find a phantom 62″ tub (that doesn’t actually exist – FYI)… and exploring alllllllll the options to keep from having to “fur out” the wall in the guest bath. We were limited to what we could find in town so we wouldn’t hold up construction…. so we examined slipper tubs (could this work at a slight angle?! Not if we want to use the toilet without putting our feet in the tub…), drop-in tubs (would we still have to fur out the wall? Yes.) and free standing tubs (none available on such a short timeline)… before settling on the the idea of an undermount tub… and I just have to tell you, I think it’s going be fantastic! I had thrown up my hands long before my husband figured it out with a guy from Ferguson… and when we popped by to see it installed in the guest bath, I was pleasantly surprised. The only thing I was grumpy about was having to pay Ferguson retail prices (with a small contractor discount) because of the short timeline… buttttttt… we got it done… and I think it’s going to look good… so I’m good!
Beyond the great tub debacle, we decided to go ahead and replace all our plumbing since we’re moving so many of the lines and most of it was old cast iron lines that may not do so well with all the new tie-ins… Given that we turned on our sprinklers for the first time ever last month (and subsequently received a $500 water bill for two weeks… which resulted in me turning them off until we figure out how that happened), this will give us the opportunity to fix any problems… and hopefully keep from having any nasty surprises in the winter… because if I’m being completely honest, I have no desire to repeat this entire experience of ripping up my entire house anytime soon. This is way harder than I expected.
Last week brought the arrival of the drywall guys… the first people who have made (visual) progress on putting my house back together… They’ve been testing the seals for the plumbing (bathtubs and showers) and 1,200 pounds of shower (wall) tile was unexpectedly delivered while I was in Philly. We had an unexpected surprise when the cabinet guy came out to measure (and subsequently told us that our storage cabinets were supposed to be 13″ deep [useless]) that required some unexpected design changes made on the fly… but we’ve kept moving forward. This is an accomplishment for me… because I tend to try and bury my head when things get hard or stressful… which really isn’t an option in this process. We’re so far in that I can’t quit…. but I’ve definitely thought about it more than once.
Most of my frustrations with this entire process stem from how hard it is to manage a MASSIVE project during my busiest time of the year (on-boarding my new team and the beginning of college app season). A lot of our days have been disrupted by “emergencies” with the renovation – and since both my husband and I essentially work for ourselves – that translates to a lot of missed work. A lot of what happens with renovating can only be dealt with during regular business hours Monday-Friday. (You mean everyone isn’t a workaholic like us? Dang.)
If I could give you any advice on taking on a renovation project, I would tell you the following:
- Be deliberate in when you start. If you have a particularly busy season at work, don’t start it then. Wait.
- Don’t assume that because people are professionals that they are looking out for you / what’s best. Hopefully, they are… but they might not be. Make sure you have people who are going to ask questions, double (and triple) check things for you, and give you honest feedback. My husband’s favorite question to people is, “If this was your house, what would you do?”