5 min read

Thinking about future occupants.

Finishes! Picked out, anyway.
Thinking about future occupants.
Tubes. More on these below.

It's a funny thing, reworking a house you're not planning to live in but whose future residents you do hope become dear neighbors. You have to guess at what someone might want and at the same time balance that against the cost to ask yourself how much to do and how much to leave for the next owners (or the owners after them) to decide.

Some decisions are easy, and those are the infrastructure decisions. Anyone sane would surely want improved electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. And we're making good progress there.

The second floor plumbing is now all new, and the first floor bathroom plumbing is also on its way to being all new. On Monday, the plumber finished the rough-in for the first floor bathroom and that's now been approved by the inspector. Yay!

In terms of electrical, we've upgraded the service to the house (as previously noted) and we're changing out old wiring for new as the opportunity presents itself. The photo above shows a collection of porcelain tubes ripped out of the kitchen ceiling. They were part of the knob-and-tube wiring original to the house. I joked to the electricians that I should make a lei of these to present the new owners when they move in, to symbolize how much we've improved the house. They liked that idea.

The furnace is just a couple of years old at 615 and the central air is brand new. Soon, the back bedroom and bathroom on the first floor will be properly connected to the house's forced-air HVAC system, for the first time in the house's life, so far as we can tell.

This past weekend, we finally got to work on planning for actual finishes, and that was an uplift! Finally, some design fun. Lisa the Design Genius came from Tennessee with her right-hand man Doug and the two of them measured, discussed, measured some more, discussed some more, and went to lots of stores with me to buy finishing materials.

Lisa measuring for the new breakfast nook table while Doug sits on the bench to help calculate the ideal size.

The choices would have been bewildering were it not for Lisa and Doug's expertise. They knew what would work, what might work, and what was definitely not going to work. I don't know how I would have made my way through the tile and cabinetry and flooring options without them. Hopefully the choices I made on finishes are ones the future owners won't groan about. With Lisa's approval of the choices, I feel quite confident we're on the right track.

I should have taken more photos of what we were picking out but we were moving so fast and intensely, I forgot to do that. But I can tell you the second-floor bathroom is going to look so much better with the fresh tile, vanity, medicine cabinet, and sconce lights when it is done! And it will have a very pretty square of Art Deco-ish (yet modern) tile on the wall behind the tub. Lisa found tiles that will compliment the mustard-yellow tub really well.

The new first-floor bathroom is going to be swank and modern, with a walnut-toned vanity and linen closet that picks up the dark oak color of the house's interior trim, with a variety of tiles in a light grey. Lisa is thinking of using a lavender-tinged neutral for the walls, and I think that will be perfect! It's going to be a really nice bathroom. She's also picked out other beautiful neutrals for the rest of the rooms.

I introduced Doug and Lisa to Menards this weekend – there are no Menards in Tennessee – and they soon understood why I brought them there. They ended up ordering a lot from there, including the vanities, bathroom sinks, linen closet, broom closet, and new cabinetry for over the upper cabinets in the kitchen.

Lisa considering bathroom countertop options at Menards.

The new cabinetry for the "dead space" in the kitchen will be coming from Ikea and will feature a butcher block countertop that will match the new tabletop of the nook. At Ikea, we also picked up a pendant light for over the nook, while Menards provided the pendant light for over the kitchen sink and the lights for the first-floor bathroom vanity, plus fixtures for the bathroom plumbing.

Some of the big stuff we managed to get back home from Menards to 615, including two new toilets and the second-floor vanity. I did have to ride in the back seat like a bug squished against the window to get that vanity home, but we did it.

Now it's a matter of waiting for the deliveries of the rest and also working through the remainder of the infrastructure prep before the finishing work can be done. The drywall is being delivered Friday and I hope that by then we'll have the electrical in the kitchen inspected and approved. If we do, the drywaller can start there and then move to the back bedroom while the first floor bedroom is finished in terms of electrical and HVAC.

On the second floor, the remediation happens April 1-2. The HVAC guys and electricians are scheduled for April 3 to finish up work in the first and second floor bathrooms. After that, we can get inspections and then the drywaller can move in and do his work in the bathrooms, prior to the tiler coming. The Tennessee team will return after all that for finish work.

On Monday evening, Lisa and Doug flew home and I flew with them to come spend a few days with my mom.

It was a very bumpy ride home because of storms, but we made it as scheduled. I head back home Saturday so that I will be home to supervise what's coming in terms of the next steps. Staying at my mom's condo, which Lisa designed and rehabbed for us, is a fun reminder of how I met Lisa and how we became friends in 2017. I still love everything she did here, particularly in the kitchen, where I do a lot of cooking.