State of the Hive

I think that doing a major renovation/addition is like having the world's worst house guest for six months. One who comes and goes without telling you when they'll be around, but expects you to be home to greet them enthusiastically when they do arrive. A guest who makes the biggest possible mess, but doesn't clean up or even apologize for the clods of mud they just tracked into your house or that they just covered your son's tiny shoes in the thickest coating of marble dust. A house guest who monopolizes all your bathrooms...for months on end. And one who breaks, dents, scratches or otherwise damages everything brand new in your home.

I think it's time for these house guests to go.

With that being said, we're four weeks away from our finish date and pigs will fly if they meet that date despite our contractor's insistence that they will. They worked 6 days in September and 12 in October. Maybe they'll work 24 days in November and actually make it happen.

Just a minute, I need to go step into my massive new closet for a zen breathing session.

I think the worst thing about this project is that because something goes wrong every. single. day. it's taken the fun out of it for me. I don't feel like blogging about it at all. You know, 'cause if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Or if all you can say is, "they haven't worked in nearly two weeks and I'm going to lose my sh*t," then don't say anything at all? S thinks I should write a book about everything that's gone wrong. I wouldn't want to subject anyone else to the details of that laundry list.

But despite the fact that it feels like the fun has been sucked totally dry, we do have some pretty cool progress to share. And without further a-doo-doo all over this project, here's where we are this week.

We don't have siding yet, (big surprise) so we'll just start inside.

Enter through the new side door (to be replaced because someone cracked the window trim and chipped the top of the door, chapter 456) into our new mud room. It's so spacious! On the left S and his dad are going to build two sets of awesome cubby/open locker-style storage area. Directly next to the door they'll go all the way to the ceiling and be sized for adults. On the wall to the right of the window they'll be about 5' tall with hooks the perfect height for little guys and backpacks/purses when the little guy is big.

Large cubbies/locker style units will be directly next to the door and include a bench with a hinged top for out-of-season storage.

To the left is our massive 8' long coat closet. We put counter height outlets inside the closet to the left and the right of the double doors so we can have a concealed charging station for the dog's training collar, toys, etc. I also plan to have several shelves on the left-hand side for toy storage. (Interior doors were delivered this week - with the wrong color hinges, of course - so disregard the giant doors strewn about.)

At the end of the mudroom on the left is the powder room. It's just wide enough for a vanity and toilet, but long enough so neither will be visible when the door is open. That way we can keep the pocket door open to let morning light into the living room.

At the end of the mudroom straight ahead is the pantry and freezer closet. We have counter height plugs in the pantry side of this closet so we can keep the toaster oven, coffee maker and other lesser used appliances (or those that you just set and go) out of sight and not even have to haul them out to use them.

Past the pantry to the right is the new living room. It's nice and big and open to the kitchen on the left.

There are lots of windows and even though these four are north facing, there's lots of light in here. The afternoon light from those two westerly windows is lovely. I can't wait to spend time in here. Without shoes on. And on a big sofa. We're thinking a sectional, probably the sectional version of the couch we have in the basement from Ikea. With a two year old in our main living space, it's probably not the time to invest in a forever sofa. Speaking of Little M, he and I were out there last week measuring for furniture (and trying to rekindle some of the fun.) I think we're going to try putting the longer 9' end of the sectional against this wall o' windows, but have the shorter 8' long side "float" off the wall in the back to create a play area behind the sofa. I think we'll try lining the back of the couch up with the middle of the right-hand bank of windows. That will give a 4'x8' area behind the couch to organize toy shelves and other stuff I generally don't want to look at after bedtime.

Yes, those are gray paint chips all over the floor. It's like gray-gate all over again in here as I try to, yet again, find the perfect gray for our house.

The living room is open to the kitchen and dining room, which you can kind of get a sense of through the plastic wall, here. (I didn't clean before taking photos, it's futile.)

Here's an idea of what it looks like, taken on the day the floors went in ... with the plastic barrier down. Even the professional house cleaners who came for four hours the next day couldn't clean up from that disaster of a mess.

 This is how we're living right now. No dining room table, stuff shoved where it will fit. That lone chair is for whoever is lucky enough to sit across from M's highchair during his dinner. The unlucky one gets to sit on the floor. He demands that someone sit on the floor. We use the word "picnic" a lot.

We're still planning to take down the wall where the crab painting hang and the entire door frame next to it. I get hives when I think of that mess, especially since no one can give me a good idea of whether that phase will last three days or thirty.

Moving on upstairs, you can see here when the new hallway connects to the right of the door to our old bedroom. (No photos of that room - it's torn apart since we stole from the closet in there to make the hallway and then extended the room by 6" into the addition to make the new master windows centered left to right, if that makes any sense. I try to avoid opening the door as much as possible.) The hallway is made up of the old hallway linen closet and the closet in our old bedroom. It's the same width as the existing hall to the left, which is fab since I was worried it was going to feel too small.

Looking down the new hall to our new master. To the right is the old bathroom, which...

...has been completely re-done.

We have a new tub, which is great since our old cast iron tub was stolen from our yard along with all the copper we'd saved from this bathroom. And gutters. This is our second new tub since the first was smashed, cracked, chipped and scratched. The new scratch put on this tub by the tilers(?) will be "fixed."

After buying all our tile, we decided to go with a little tile down the side of the tub to control splashing. So I sent S back to Lowes to buy 4x4 tiles to create a "picture" frame identical to our old bathroom's. I absolutely love how this looks like our old bath, only newer. With niches. One at tub height for bath toys and one higher up for shampoo. I know little guys grow up, but I love creating little details for the "now" stage of our lives. Especially since we may only be here for another year.

I'm totally in love with this shower faucet too. It's Moen's "Lever" tub faucet. Instead of saying "hot" and "cold" it has a little sun on the left and a little snowflake on the right. It's subtle, but I think it's a very cute detail for a kid's bathroom. I'm drooling over the grout, Laticrete's Silver Shadow. It's so perfect for the basketweave floors. I love it so much. I cannot wait for this bath to finally be finished so we can start using it again.

Silver Shadow is the same grout color we chose for, da da dum, the master bath!

The herringbone on the wall proved to be a challenging pattern, but it came out so well. I think the most challenging part was the language barrier and the fact that there was zero supervision most days, so something got lost when I said use "whites and grays." We had bought double the square footage we needed and were assured we didn't need to go through and pick the specific tiles we wanted, that the tilers would be able to pick out and use the whitest ones as they went. Then I walked in and saw the most wild patterned marble tiles I've ever seen on the walls, forced a fake smile, called a supervisor to come help, and then went through hundreds of tiles to pick out the ones for them to use. In the end they pulled six of the most "wild tiles" and replaced them with "whites" and the whole thing was toned down significantly. I left a couple wild ones, just as a memory of the process kind of thing. The grout pulled everything together and really toned down the remaining wild tiles.

When the herringbone pattern was going up I started to second guess my choice of floor and wall combo. But now that the grout is in, I love them together. They haven't cleaned after grouting, so don't look too closely.

We went with a full width marble threshold for the shower entry rather than trying to create a threshold with tiles. I love the way it looks, it was a great suggestion by the tilers. Under the threshold we decided to go with a standard brick configuration rather than trying to bring the herringbone into such a small space. I don't think we'll ever notice this area once the room is finished.

Just next to the shower is a little linen closet, which is about one folded towel wide. It will have a tiny little door so those folded towels can be messily folded, if we want (that's not permission to fold messily, S.) S added two outlets in this closet too so we can have out-of-sight toothbrush and razor charging stations.

Here's the view from the bathroom down the little hall to the master bedroom. Just out of the bathroom to the right is S's closet and down to the left is the entry hallway.

To the right in the photo above is S's closet, the "his" of the his and hers closets. There's not much to see yet, but to the left of the door will be double hanging for shirts and along the back wall will be long hanging for flight suits.

And to the right where the closet turns in, he'll have floor to ceiling shelving. I cannot wait to open his closet door, drop whatever offending clothing was gathered on top of his dresser onto the floor, and close the door again. Marital bliss = separate closets. I don't think I'll ever be able to move!

 At the end of our bathroom hall is our bedroom. Those lovely angled ceilings were necessary for the new and old roof lines to meet on two of the walls. The angle on the left is "faux" and just there to balance things out. It was all S's idea to put that faux angle in. Beautiful idea.

Our bed will go against this wall so there are switches on each side of the bed to control a lamp on the opposite wall. We didn't want to have a ceiling light, although the ceiling fan junction box does have a wire in there to accommodate a light if we want one some day. The switch to control the fan is at the entry and also on my side of the bed.

This photos shows what I mean about the windows being even on the wall. Outside they'll be centered on the new siding, so in here if we didn't move the wall to the left into this room by six inches, then the windows wouldn't have been centered on this wall. That's why our old bedroom is a mess. But the six inches will make a big difference when we build a new closet in the old bedroom to make up for the one that was removed to create the new hallway.

Here's a little visual to reorient you.

Why yes, that big room to the left with all the lovely light streaming in, is my closet. I think it has the same square footage as M's nursery! It could easily be a nursery someday, if we didn't have several unoccupied bedrooms otherwise available. And if this room weren't the key to the smile I plaster on my face every day (or every tenth day, whenever someone decides to work around here.)

 You can see above that the closet takes a turn to the right, which is where I'll put my floor to ceiling shelves. Under the window I'll have more shelving, exactly one shoe box height apart, for all my shoes. Once I'm finally able to see them, I may even give away my shoes that no longer fit. Because yes, it's possible for your feet to grow the tiniest bit of a micro size during pregnancy, which doesn't change your actual shoe size, but leaves many of your old shoes too snug nonetheless.

Here's the view looking out from my closet into the bedroom.

The wall along the right will be all hanging. It's 13' long so I plan to have the first 6' closest to the door as long hanging with a shelf above and the next 7' as double hanging for shirts and pants. I can't wait to hang everything. I may even hang my underwear. I'm that excited about this space.

And finally, here's the view looking out of our bedroom down the new hallway into the existing house. It's going to be so lovely when it's finished. That day just can't get here soon enough!

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