This is going to be a page where I share the journey of our remodel through notes and pictures. We’ve decided to add a new kitchen and dining room in addition to adding a family room, powder room, master suite and master bath. And the best part is that we’re going to live in the house while we embark on this adventure!
Day 107: March 14 – The exterior stucco is now complete. It’s pretty exciting to see the smooth continuation of the color and texture across the entire house. The texturing of the interior walls were also completed today. One step at a time, the house is coming together!
Day 106: March 13 – The first layer of color was applied today. There will be two coats of color, which should be done by tomorrow. We selected a color named Prairie Clay by Dryvit. It took a lot of driving around and matching to select this color, but after seeing it on the exterior today, we’d say it was certainly worth it. This is a picture that shows two sides of the house – one with the base coat and one with the first coat of Prairie Clay.
Day 105: March 12 – The step between the brown coat and color coat completed today. At first glance, I thought that that color was too light and not the color we selected. But Mike told us that is was only the base coat and that the color would be applied on a subsequent day. Phew! The house is bright and less rough right now, but the final coat should be pretty smooth.
Day 104: March 11 – I was able to sneak into the house with just enough light to take this picture. It isn’t the greatest quality, but it does show some of the additional cabinet drawers and doors that were put on today. I can’t wait to put my entertaining dishes and cake stands in the top cabinets with the windows!
Day 103: March 10 – The kitchen cabinets arrived and the cabinet maker began installing them. I am so excited about the storage space in the kitchen. Between all the cabinets and drawers, I’m finally going to have enough to hold all our plates and housewares without having to go down to the garage.
Day 102: March 7 – The texture work continued today. It looks like much of the first floor is complete (and ready for light sanding), but the split and second floors are still work in progress.
Day 101: March 6 – The texture work on the first floor resumed today. Here’s a shot of the large wall of the family room with some texture.
Day 100: March 5 – The drywall and texture subcontractors were back in the house today adding surface putty to the walls. This is a shot of the inside of the foyer as the texture is going up.
Day 99: March 4 – Our front door is finally in! Mike had a bit of a challenge finding someone to frame the door for us, but now that it is in, we’re so happy to have our old front door back in. I’m not sure what it is, but the front door represents the welcoming of friends and family, so we are looking forward to having everyone over when this is all done.
Days 97 & 98: February 27 & 28 – The team continued working on the foundation in the garage and continued to cut into the existing cement floor.
Day 96: February 26 – We met with the Cosentino representative today to check out Silestone, Dekton, and Eco samples. We’re trying to match the walnut for the cabinets and vanities and are totally overwhelmed by the variety. I can see now why homeowners often opt to hire designers to think through all the details.
Day 95: February 25 – The drywall team came back to tape the seams. I think we’re going to go for the smooth interior look.
Day 94: February 24 – The team was back to work on the garage foundation today. Lots of intricate work with rebar and wood again.
Day 93: February 21 – Due to the complexity of our staircase, Mike welded the sides and steps of the stairs with steel. Talk about making the stairs super strong!
Day 92: February 20 – Drywall for the odd fitting places all around the house was hung today.
Day 91: February 19 – Drywall around the second floor began going up today.
Day 90: February 18 – Drywall around the first floor began going up today.
Day 89: February 17 – Additional insulation in the rafters / attic. This wasn’t the recycled cotton from blue jeans, but rather a very fluffy brown material.
February 15 – Not an official workday, but the stucco guys came out and applied the fourth coat to the house. Next up will be the color coats!
Day 88: February 14 – Insulation around the second floor was applied today.
Day 87: February 13 – Insulation around the first floor was applied today. We decided to go with a more sustainable option, which is recycled cotton from blue jeans. It sure is interesting to see this stuff up close because you can even see the marigold thread and some of the tags found on jeans.
Day 86: February 10 – The team continued working on the garage foundation. And the team taped some of the plywood walls to ensure that when the drywall is hung, the pieces will lay on flat on the wall. Talk about attention to detail.
Day 85: February 7 – The third stucco coat was applied today. I am still amazed that the stucco guys can just mix water, sand and cement to get things to the right consistency without measuring cups (or buckets in this case).
Day 84: February 6 – After we started on the project, Mike determined that a wall that our architect and engineer had designed as a load bearing wall ended up being only a shear wall. This means that we’ll need to pour some additional foundation under the house and in the garage to make sure that everything can withhold the weight of the split and second levels. The guys had to crawl under the house to start digging the foundation. The drywall subcontractors came today to drop off their supplies. Looks like some of the interior action is going to start taking place!
Day 83: January 27 – We had subcontractors come to put on the first coats of stain and sealant on the doors and windows today. It looks like a rough finish, but Jason tells me that it will be smooth in the end.
Day 82: January 25 – The second scratch coat of the stucco was put on the house today. It is sure interesting to see how quickly concrete, water and sand come together to shape the exterior of a house.
Day 81: January 24 – Because we were adding more than 500 square feet to our existing home, we were required by the city to install fire sprinklers throughout the entire house, including the garage. I know this is meant to keep us safe, but it also resulted in additional costs we did not expect to incur. But, ’tis is the life of a remodel.
Day 80: January 23 – Additional electrical work was done at the house today and we put in our cabinet order. We were definitely overwhelmed by all the decisions around the cabinets. Flush mount? Shaker? Trim? Wood? Paint? Stain? Soft close? Holy cow!
Day 79: January 22 – Dad came up and help tidy up the house a bit today. We came home to clean floors (free of sawdust). Sometimes, it is the little touches like this that make your day.
Day 78: January 16 – Since we’re going to have a pretty powerful vent under the hood over the stove, Mike created a direct vent to go out of the house. No more smelly cooking house!
Day 77: January 14 – Can lighting was installed in the kitchen today. We will have a mix of both cans and hanging pendants throughout the house.
Day 76: January 10 – Both French back doors were installed today. The French doors from the dining room were a pain for Mike to line up, but the French doors from the family room were extremely heavy. The guys also put up flashing around the house to prevent the passage of water at key joints around the house.
Day 75: January 9 – Both electrical and exterior stucco work began today. It is amazing to imagine that there will be five to six layers of concrete and sand that will ultimately become the outside of our home. This picture shows the self furred wire, two layers of 60 minute paper, weep screed corner aid, and stucco stop.
Day 74: January 8 – The windows for the second floor (master suite) were installed today. There are lots of windows throughout the house, so it is nice to see the empty boxes filled with windows now.
Day 73: January 7 – The windows for the first floor and the front windows of the split level were put in today. Mike and the guys tell us that they windows are very heavy, but the wood is beautiful. Right now the wood is in its natural form, so we’ll have to make sure that they are stained and sealed soon.
Day 72: January 6 – ???
Day 71: January 3 – The new exterior walls of the second floor added today. Off one day and back on the next. They guys also started putting in the framing for the windows throughout the house.
Day 70: January 2 – The exterior walls of the second floor were removed today. Talk about being able to check out everything that is going on outside. Definitely a view I have never had from this house! Also, the second story stairs are beginning to take shape.
Day 69: January 1 – One of the last rooms to demolish was my office. This is because we had two huge sliding wardrobes that stretched wall-to-wall in this room. Jason’s dad came up and helped Jason move the wardrobes downstairs. As a result, the room was ready for the removal of drywall and insulation.
Day 68: December 31 – I took the day off work to wrap up things around the house before the new year. Jason and Anthony caused a bit of trouble in the bathroom. They were removing the walls of the bath area and it broke off, flying down like a guillotine (barely missing Jason’s leg) and came crashing down in the tub. Needless to say, we’re going to need a new tub because it is now cracked. Jason says that’s okay because the tub was biscuit in color and he dislikes anything that is not white. I agree, but this is going to get expensive … cha-ching! Mike spent the day cursing at the stairs because our engineer did a poor job specifying the stairs and what he drew is not to code.
Day 67: December 30 – The plumbers came back and worked on the rest of the house. This is a picture of the copper pipes under the sink in the kitchen.
December 28 – Jason is really picking up the torch as the weekend warrior. He demolished the bathroom today. The only thing left of the bathroom is the toilet and bathtub. The vanity, mirror, lights and fixtures are gone.
Day 66: December 27 – The guys didn’t do much today because everyone is still sick, so the plumbing guys came to work on the plumbing to/from the master suite. These are the “poop” tubes from the master suite, through the walls of the pantry off the kitchen.
December 26 – Everyone got sick on Christmas, but dad and Mike came up to create a grey water tube for us.
December 24 & 25 – Christmas holiday break. No work.
December 23 – Dad came up to help us take out the insulation because there is simply so much of it. The rooms are now completely gutted and we’re going to literally start from sticks. This is a view from the front, larger bedroom looking through what used to be two closets, into the back bedroom.
December 22 – Not an official work day, but Jason was very anxious about helping move along progress in the house, so we cleared out two of the bedrooms upstairs and Jason went to two demolishing sheet rock and removing rat poop insulation.
December 21 – The crew was not working today, but the roofing company finished the roof today. It took them 2.5 days to roof the entire house. We’re now feeling much better about any chances of rain. We decided on a dark asphalt roof, charcoal in color to contrast drastically with the color of the stucco of the house. The picture also includes the detail of the roof with our sun tunnel skylight.
Day 65: December 20 – We came home to a drastically different entrance to our old wing of the house. Both the garage door and temporary front door were moved. The temporary front door moved from the base of the staircase to the landing and top of our split level house. The garage door was moved from the main level down to the garage level. Now the doors swing different ways and I will need to adjust to this little detail.
Day 64: December 19 – Roofing began today. This is progress as of the end of day one. So excited that roof work is underway.
Day 63: December 18 – Now that the roof will be sealed up, the rain chute was removed today. The rain chute helped us though a pretty serious downpour. Luckily, we have had a very dry winter this year and have only experienced rain twice since the end of August.
Day 62: December 17 – We’re preparing for stucco work, so the stucco company came out and put up scaffolding around the house today. Things are beginning to look serious around here.
Day 61: December 16 – The crew finished putting the TechShield plywood on the roof today. Everything is ready for roofing now!
Day 60: December 13 – The fascia was completed today. I never really understood why this used, but now that I see the work behind the fascia, I’m glad we put it up in addition to the gutters. Mike tells us that it helps keep the trusses straight as well, so this added step will really pay off in the end. It’s the details that are really going to make this house and home for us.
Day 59: December 12 – Most of the roof is covered with TechShield plywood now and the fascia is beginning to fill in.
Day 58: December 11 – The fascia is beginning to go up and here’s what it looks like with a view from the ground up.
Day 57: December 10 – We’ve increased the height of the living room by two feet to give the room a bit more space. Here’s a picture of the front windows, not entirely boarded up to give us some natural light.
Day 56: December 9 – The wood for the fascia was delivered today. It’s currently sitting in the living room and I can’t wait to see what it is going to look like.
Day 55: December 6 – The trusses are now up and the house is beginning to take shape up top.
Day 54: December 5 – The guys are now beginning to put up TechShield on the roof. It costs up a bit more but Mike tells us that it helps keep the heat out while insulating the house better. It is super shiny, so making sure the silver side is face down.
Day 53: December 4 – More trusses are up today. These are the ones that cover the living room in the front. It is a pretty complex roof, so things have been slower than anticipated.
Day 52: December 3 – The master bedroom trusses are up. The ones covering the master bath are not up yet.
December 2 – Another rain day, so the guys did not work today.
A number of the guys have been sick, so there has not been much work done during this week before Thanksgiving.
Day 51: November 22 – Still hard at work, the guys put up the trusses for the family room in the back of the house. Jason was delighted with the different angles and pitches of the roof. A high roof makes the room look so much bigger.
Day 50: November 21 – The custom built trusses were delivered today by way of a HUGE crane. The trusses were lifted from the truck over the top of the house while little boys and girls looked on with awe. The guys quickly unpackaged the trusses and began giving our home its new roof lines. This is what the roof looks like from the inside of the living room.
November 19 & 20 – Rain days – no work on site. I was in Minneapolis, MN for work during the days of rain, so Jason had to man the house and keep the water out. He mentioned that upon coming home from lunch one day, the water had almost made its way into our bedroom, past 7 bath towels that were used in lieu of sandbags. We are definitely living through all this and it is beginning to get really real!
Day 49: November 18 – The team worked feverishly to prepare the house for rain. There is a huge piece of roof missing over the part of the house we are living in, so Mike and the guys needed to build us a rain chute. It will be interesting to see how this thing diverts water when the downpour beings.
Day 48: November 15 – We came home to a very dark house, not because of daylight savings time, but because both our bedroom and bathroom windows are no more. They have been removed and the side exposed to the outside has been boarded up. That side is going to be the new back of the house above the family room. It is rather odd because we can no longer tell what time of day it is from the bedroom or bathroom.
Day 47: November 14 – The guys continue to remove the final, lingering pieces of the chimney. Lot of hard demolition work here. Removing this base means that the side yard is a couple of feet wider for us. Yay for more usable space!
Day 46: November 13 – No more knob and tube wiring for the house! We’re finally upgrading and here’s a picture of the new electrical box. It’s rather scary because when the knob and tube wiring was exposed from removing the drywall, Mike let us know that there was a number of spots where the wire was exposed and could have caused a fire in the house. If anything, this remodel is helping me feel much safer, even if it is costing us a fortune!
Day 45: November 12 – No rain came, so that was such a relief! The walls within the house continue to go up. Here’s a picture of the living room with of course, the “outdoor” refrigerator that continues to get moved around all the time.
November 11 – Team worked at another site.
Day 44: November 8 – In preparation for the rain, the guys have worked on putting up tarps all around the house, covering exposed areas. This is an example of one of the areas in our house that got a little water shielding.
Day 43: November 7 – The fire place and chimney are officially gone and the plywood has been put up to cover the exposed area. Lots of plywood everywhere now. We also are increasing the height of the existing living room, so that’s why the guys are building on top of the existing walls.
Day 42: November 6 – The chimney continues to come down. Here’s a view of a side of the house with just a last bit of the base of the chimney to the left of the fence. To the left of the chimney, the stucco from the house was removed as well – to get ready for the new walls.
Day 41: November 5 – Bricks are exposed and the chimney is seeing its last days. We’re beginning to see daylight through the chimney as the guys are removing the stucco from the other side. Who knew that removing a chimney would be so much work?
Day 40: November 4 – The gas insert was removed today. Some of the molding will be recycled and used towards a new fireplace, but that all depends on how costly this project will be. If needed, this area might just be a wall. The front windows were also removed today and we’ll be donating them.
Day 39: November 1 – The foyer is now taking shape.
October 31 – Team worked at another site.
Day 38: October 30 – With the master suite at a good stopping point, the team switched to working on the front of the house. They began framing the base of the foyer.
October 29 – Team worked at another site.
Day 37: October 29 – The guys continued to frame and pull the walls up for the master suite. Here’s a picture of the front wall that outlines the stairs and the closet.
October 28 – Team worked at another site. But since we anticipated rain (30% in the forecast), we frantically put up huge tarps to help prevent tons of water saturating the new wood and site. For all the work, the rain did not come – instead, low-grade hurricane level winds visited us that night, flapping the tarps and pulling on the roof (because we nailed parts of the trap to the roof). The noise kept us up all night and in hindsight, we would have preferred dealing with the water instead of the noise!
Day 36: October 25 – Here’s a view of the master suite from the back. Things are getting exciting!
Day 35: October 24 – The master suite (2nd story) walls are beginning to go up. From this picture, one can see the absence of the original stairs leading up to the house. That “offender” is going to be replaced with a new porch and set of stairs. We now have to climb a set of ladders to get through the front door.
Day 34: October 23 – Work continued on the second story sub-floor, completing the master suite footprint.
October 22 – Team worked at another site.
Day 33: October 21 – We punched through the linen closet to create the beginnings of the stairs to the second level.
Day 32: October 18 – The second story sub flooring was put in today for the majority of the master suite.
Day 31: October 17 – The beams for the second story were hoisted up placed today. Mike tells us that they were extremely heavy.
Day 30: October 16 – The guys are beginning to tear down the side exterior walls. Here’ a view of the missing living room wall, now giving us a clear glimpse of our neighbors.
Day 29: October 15 – The foundation for the new front porch was poured today. Here’s what it looks like once the wood forms are removed.
Day 28: October 14 – The plywood is being put up for the first floor exterior walls. They guys also finished up the framing for the steps to the front porch in preparation for the foundation tomorrow.
October 11 – Team worked at another site.
Day 27: October 10 – The last beams of the roof finally came off today. We now are really without a roof over our heads and are exposed to the elements. I guess star gazing is in our future.
Day 26: October 9 – The roof to the existing house is beginning to come off.
Day 25: October 8 – I came home to framing in different parts of the house. Along the family room, around the kitchen and the area that outlines the pantry and coat closet. We have four steel beams that will help hold the weight of the windows from the living room. It’s beginning to feel real now. The dump container was picked up today.
Day 24: October 7 – The sub-floor is in and here’s a shot through the entire bottom part of the old house. You can even see the tree in the front of our house through the open front door.
Day 23: October 4 – The attic over the former living room, dining room and kitchen is now exposed! Those beams are looking pretty welcoming for a climb or two.
Day 22: October 3 – Gutting the house has really begun. The floors, interior walls, back wall (including stucco) has been removed. The dump container was delivered this morning. Kinda funny that our front door is open and you can see our backdoor that leads upstairs.
Day 21: October 2 – Came home to no ceilings covering the entire bottom floor and way too much insulation covering what used to be the dining room. Jason took the day off work to help Mike with the remodel and found nearly a dozen dead rats in the walls of our home. Yuck! This is our old, new back door. Just moved locations from the dining room to the base of the stairs. We lost 1/2 our living space today. At least the door is nice and sealed.
Day 20: October 1 – Plumbing was put in today. Copper pipes an all!
Day 19: September 27 – The beams for the sub-floor went in today. The plans called for 2x6s, but Mike likes a sturdy floor, so he opted for 2x8s. Additionally, the plans called for a 1″ sub-floor, but of course Mike wants to build a house to last, so we’re going with 1.25″ so that the floor will feel solid and there will be no bowing in the future. Solid.
Day 18: September 26 – The guys removed the window to the garage. This is because the garage will now share a wall with the family and dining rooms. There was also work on the beginning of the structures that will hold up the sub-floor.
Day 17: September 25 – The changes to the front of the house calls for a new staircase. So the guys dug some pretty big holes for the foundation to the staircase. They were so big that we jokingly said that we should hide in them and scare the trick-or-treaters by jumping out of them.
Day 16: September 24 – There was a lot of dirt to be moved in the backyard to back fill against the newly poured foundation. This is definitely a tough job because the guys had to user a tamper to make sure that the dirt was packed.
Day 15: September 23 – The work on the backyard is going at a good pace, so the guys began to work on the font yard. We’re going to be changing the location of the steps, so the guys had to dig to prepare for a new foundation.
Day 14: September 20 – We’re moving towards the sub-floor, so the guys removed our makeshift staircase from the back door. They also started cutting into the stucco and took away chunks of the back wall.
Day 13: September 19 – The concrete for the foundation dried, so the team removed the wood forms. It is beginning to really look like the start of something great.
Day 12: September 18 – Foundation! The Graniterock guys in their big cement truck came and the guys pumped in concrete to pour the foundation. Lots of hard work, especially in pouring into underneath the house.
September 16-17 – Team worked at another site.
Day 11: September 13 – We’re getting close and the guys were putting finishing touches on the forms as we’re getting ready for foundation. Here’s a picture of what goes at the very bottom of one of the pillars. Mike told me is rebar with concrete blocks called dalbies at the bottom.
Day 10: September 12 – The guys didn’t come yesterday because they were busy finishing another project. They picked up things again today and added more rebar, wood and reinforcements.
Day 9: September 10 – More rebar. Here’s what our door to the garage looks like after digging under the house and adding rebar reinforcements prior to foundation pouring.
Day 8: September 9 – More wood and more rebar. Another day of bending rebar and forming what will become the foundation.
Day 7: September 6 – Full steam ahead with the work! Mike and his crew of hard workers re-started work today. The guys put up more boards, reinforced them and added rebar to the mix. I was pretty amazed to see how the rebar was bent – which actually looks very artistic.
September 4-5 – Team worked at another site.
September 3 – Today marks a key date in our remodel. We finally got our permit from the city! Okay, okay, perhaps we started prior to obtaining this 8.5″x11″ piece of paper, but our contractor did not do anything that couldn’t be done without a permit. I marched down to city hall handed the clerk a copy of the school fees I paid, paired it with an application that Jason pre-filled, paid more money and wha-la – a permit came shooting out of the laser printer with our name on it! We were so excited!!! It is definitely a relief to have the permit in-hand and we are looking forward to the work.
September 2 – Labor day holiday – no work.
August 30 – Mike had a soil expert come out and he determined that the soil is consistent with the soil in the surrounding area. He noted that it is clay and is likely to expand and contract with the seasons, so we were given the thumbs up to move forward!
August 29 – Apparently, the city doesn’t know what size water pipe we had, so Jason had to do a bit of digging. Jason borrowed my twine to measure the diameter of the pipe. Note the broken gardening shovel … looks like somebody is going to buy me a new one 🙂
August 28 – Team worked at another site.
August 27 – Well, construction has officially been placed on hold until further notice. Upon returning to continue building the foundation forms, our awesome contractor found that the forms had shifted and the iron rods were sinking in the dirt. Most other contractors would have continued with the project – leaving the foundation mess down the road to the homeowner. But Mike is one of those contractors who stands behind his work and consistently does the right thing, even when it means delaying the project or creating a more challenging situation for himself. So we’re waiting on soil samples, where a soil guy will drill 20+ feet into the ground to determine what our house is sitting on. This will take a couple of weeks, but I would rather this happen now then have half of our house split open in the future. Crossing our fingers to make sure that we can easily remedy things.
August 23 & 26 – Team worked at another site.
Day 6: August 22 – PG&E and the water company paid us a visit today. We came home and though a bunch of kids drew all over the sidewalk, but it ended up being spray paint to mark areas that were buried gas and water lines.
Day 5: August 21 – The wood and steel rebar that will help form foundation is beginning to go up as outlined by the beautiful neon pink string. Jason is standing in one of the ditches to help show scale.
Day 4: August 20 – More holes! The good news is that they seem properly placed and are similar, so I’m assuming this is all intentional and will serve the foundation.
Day 3: August 19 – The ditches are finished off a bit and now the team is making sure that they are uniform in depth and size.
Day 2: August 16 – Machinery in action. Outlining the house in the dirt to prepare for forms.
Day 1: August 15 – I came home to a missing deck and a pretty level area of dirt which. The deck used to extend from the top of the stairs all the way out to where the dirt ends towards the left hand side of this picture.