This is part six of The Renovation Diaries, a week-by-week chronicle of Western Living's editor-at-large as she tackles a fixer-upper. To read past Reno Diaries, click here.
I don’t know how a single person would do a renovation. Having someone who is equally invested is key for keeping the emotional see-saw balanced. Max and I have been taking turns wallowing in despair. When I’m staring forlornly at the gaping hole that was once the toilet (the only acceptable activity to participate in after being told it’s going to be yet another week until we can even THINK about calling the cabinetmaker), he’s on the upswing. When I’m feeling good that all the closets are now primed, he’s so overwhelmed by the amount of mudding left to do that he goes silent for two days and stops eating. Relationships and renovations: they’re about give and take.
The bedroom, featuring many, many spackle spots and a new closet frame. Kitchen in progress. Do not ask me about these walls or I will scream.
The highly anticipated tub arrived, as did the plumbers (shout out to the professional sweethearts at C&C Electrical Mechanical!). At first, they weren’t sure the tub was going to be able to slide into place. A hole was cut in the wall to accommodate this problem. Success! Then, a new problem arose: it turns out somehow the wall also wasn’t quite snug enough. Paul (father-in-law/handyman extraordinaire/true saint, as you’ll recall from previous diary entries) took a pause from all the work we had planned to do next to learn how to build a shower wall out.
Tub! Tub is here! Look at tub!
This is the most frustrating part of renovation: nothing ever just happens as planned. The hiccups just keep on coming (much like literal hiccups). You discover that turning off the water to your apartment turns it off to every apartment on your floor. You find out a post you thought wasn’t structural actually is. You accidentally disconnect the gas while you’re moving the fireplace switch. The lights you installed aren’t bright enough, and the previous homeowners glued down the laminate with indelible paste. The counter material you want is twice what you budgeted. You find out the post you thought was structural is not but everyone is too much of a coward to take it down anyways. You book the ceiling scraper guy to come in after cancelling on him three times and then discover you need to cut another hole in the ceiling to look at this allegedly unstructural post from a new, exciting angle, and have to cancel on ceiling guy all over again, an experience so socially stressful you get night sweats.
Trying to clean excess paint off the rollers but just wound up painting the whole wall. OOPS, too efficient!My grandpa gave me this painter suit so this is my on-site uniform now.
It has been two months since we moved in with my mom. She sweetly made me a lemon meringue pie the other day, ostensibly to cheer me up after a particularly despondent day, but secretly probably just to get me chewing and not complaining about this stupid kitchen post for the 62nd day in a row.
When people ask me if we have a “move in day” or “what’s the timeline looking like,” I just cut them out of my life. It’s easier this way.
In between slices of comfort pie and deleting people from my phone, we’re actually experiencing a lot of drywall-related action. Mudding and sanding, unfortunately, are not very exciting before-and-after moments. It’s a deeply unsatisfying experience and one that never ends because I am usually putting more scrapes on the wall as I rush to get this boring job over with.
On the plus side, my hair has really great texture and volume from all the drywall dust: it’s like spending all day in a dry shampoo cloud.
Double-fisting puttying tools.
Paul has taken a break from framing out the closet doors to get crafty and build the recessed circle wall in the bedroom that our genius designer Ben Leavitt came up with in some sort of beautiful, PoMo fever dream. It’s exciting to see things starting to almost-sort-of match the pictures. (It’s less exciting to realize that the seams on this wall are going to require another week’s worth of spackling and sanding.)
The circle wall in the bedroom is coming together.
Plaidfox Studio's rendering of our future bedroom, featuring very cool circle detail.
More and more pieces of this home puzzle are arriving — like our Stuff by Andrew Neyer dining room light fixture, yowza! — but now we just have to move them room to room to try to keep them as out of the way and as safe as possible from dust clouds and ceiling plaster and spray paint and circular saws. It’s a back injury waiting to happen, but there is a certain satisfaction that comes from organizing and reorganizing amid the chaos. Max and I spent all of Christmas break playing Wilmot’s Warehouse so we are actually a little thrilled to be putting this skill of box shuffling to use in the real world.
I am as tall as the box for the Big Mobile Light by Stuff that arrived from Lightform.This is what our dining room light will look like out of the box. We got the white version but I can't find a picture of it so just use your imagination I guess?Max in the office with boxes full of pieces that will eventually assemble to create a functioning apartment. Theoretically.
And in addition to all the dust in the air, there’s also some hope: tomorrow we’re expecting getting some conclusive answers on this never-ending mystery of the kitchen wall thanks to our buds at Alair Homes. And with that resolved, we should finally, finally, be able to tell our cabinetry wizard at Sofo Kitchens to work his magic. Doors and baseboards are en route from Metrie, and the ceiling king is for real coming on Thursday.
The only thing I can say about the timeline now is: it feels like we’re almost maybe hopefully over the hump. But do not ask me for any more specific details than that or you will not ever be invited over to our (eventual) beautiful new home ever.
(PS: This didn’t work its way naturally into my diary today, but shout-out to my mother-in-law, Susan, who has been spackling, sanding and cleaning up a storm on site regularly. Not all heroes wield a power drill!)
Getting some sun as my spray-painting projects dry. Spray-painting is not something I am very good at because it requires a lot of patience and precision, but if I don't try, then I have to go back to spackling.
Follow along on Instagram and come back next week for more Renovation Diary updates!