6 min read

Little Gifts

Never mind the leg curse, right?
Little Gifts

I'll start with the curse. It appears 615 Sunset has got some kind of hopefully temporary hex going on right legs.

Early in the job, the plumber tore what was probably a ligament in his right leg and had to take some time to deal with that. The framer's right hip has been giving him a terrible time throughout the rehab, also contributing to a few delays. And on Thursday, as I was walking down the stairs at 615, a calf muscle that had been causing my right leg pain finally just popped.

My good friend Nathan got me to Sparrow urgent care and back, and follow-up with MSU sports medicine on Friday landed me in one of those space boots. Because it's a muscle tear and not a bone fracture, I can put weight on it, but man, it is hard to work with legs that are two inches different in height.

Tomorrow morning, I'm headed over to John's Shoe Repair in Frandor to talk to Dave (because of course the owner of John's Shoe Repair is named Dave; it's Frandor!) about putting a two-inch sole booster in one of my old shoes so I can be roughly the same height on both sides. I need to get 615 cleaned up in advance of the Tennessee crew arriving next Sunday.

The drywaller is officially done with everything except the work we'll need him for on the heated chamber in the garage – yay! The tiler is done with the big part of the job, needing to return only to do a little grout touch-up, install shelves in the second-floor bathtub surround, and do the backsplash tile in the first-floor bathroom when the vanity is in there.

As a reminder, here is how the kitchen looked at the start:

Here's how the kitchen is looking now after demo and reconstruction of the walls and ceiling:

All the old faux-paneling and drop ceilings are gone. The ceiling is now about 16 inches higher than it was – high enough for us to add a whole layer of kitchen cabinets above the existing upper cabinets – and the space has a fresh, clean, modern feel.

The kitchen hallway (to the living room and basement) before-and-after photos show you how different the place looks without the faux paneling, with fresh drywall on the walls and ceiling:

The kitchen flooring is being replaced and the Tennessee crew will also be painting the old cabinets and the new cabinetry so it all matches – and it's going to look spectacular, I'm sure. New, useful cabinetry will be added in the "dead space" corner across from the breakfast nook. Newly installed electrical outlets there will light those cabinets.

The nook will get a new tabletop (butcher block), refreshed benches, and glass in the new transom, plus a new pendant light over the nook table. Over the sink will also be a new pendant light, and nine lights in the ceiling will light the kitchen well. There will also be a new stove and new vent to replace the downdraft vent system the HVAC guys determined was not up to code.

As a reminder, here's how the second floor bathroom looked when we bought the house:

The tub had a thick plastic paneling behind it and the floor was the same vinyl tile as the kitchen. Here, we've done a less intensive rehab, leaving the same layout although bringing in a new toilet, vanity, sink, vent fan, electrical, and plumbing. The tub has fresh tile to compliment the tub and the floor is covered in a lovely, durable ceramic tile.

Yet to come in the bathroom is the new toilet, new vanity, new medicine cabinet, and new sconce lighting, plus paint and a fun shower curtain to bring it all together.

As a reminder, when we bought 615, the first-floor bathroom behind the kitchen was a half-bath (no shower or tub) and looked like this:

Between the kitchen and this bathroom was a pantry area:

Looking from the kitchen to the old vestibule and old bathroom.

Now the kitchen leads to a vestibule where there will be a broom closet and the bathroom is expanded to a full bath with walk-in shower. Fresh ceramic tile covers the floors in the vestibule and bathroom:

The new walk-in shower's walls match the floor tile and the shower's floor and shelf area have a fun basket-weave pattern:

Here's how the shelf looks:

This bathroom will have a new toilet, vanity, small linen closet, mirror, and fresh lighting in the ceiling and over the vanity. The new fan over the shower also includes a nice bright modern light.

This has been a lot of work – more than we set out to do – but it all means the house will have two new bathrooms and a very refreshed kitchen and back first-floor bedroom/office, all with HVAC, electric, and plumbing brought up to code!

In the meantime, in spite of the right-leg curse, 615 has been the house that keeps on giving. As we continue to wait for our new washer and dryer at our house, I'm happy to have 615's big washer and dryer to do our laundry. Sure, the neighbors caught at me as I cart the laundry from house to house, but that's okay.

This week, another gift: removal of the old stove led us to discover how the downdraft vent worked. Turns out it had a huge air handler, which Aron promptly salvaged to take home and use for the ventilation system he's built for the workshop at our house.

From the carport, we've also taken possession of the great long-handled branch trimmer our neighbors used to lend us – we'll be happy to lend it out now to neighbors – and their old handcart. (How did we live this long without a handcart?)

And, from the backyard, we rescued the trillium and relocated it to the side yard that faces 615.

This weekend, we did the last of the demo! (I hope.) That involved the north wall of the garage, which needs fresh insulating to keep the bathroom above warmer in winter. Because 615 is always throwing up surprises, removal of the facing of the north wall in the garage revealed an old window, still containing its glass. Weird! That's now been removed.

The heated chamber in the garage (to keep all the new plumbing warm in the winter) will get built just after Memorial Day. Tomorrow starts the clean-up of the debris and dust left by the tile and drywall work. Right after I see Dave at John's.