April 27, 2011

The Ugly Duckling Files-Discoveries

by Shelly

We are now three full weeks into our new house remodel project and boy….WE ARE TIRED!  First off, I have no idea who the heck we were kidding with 1) thinking we could pull off everything we wanted to do for just over 50k and 2)assuming it could all be done within six weeks!  Hahahaha! We are HILARIOUS!  50k mark…well we’ve gone WAY over that one folks.  My husband almost had a heart attack when I finally told him how over budget we are.  Thank God for some new work projects that just rolled in the last few weeks!!  They will help us dig ourselves out of the money pit we are in, as well as get my crazy mind from over focusing on the new house too much.  I tend to throw myself into a project full force and will actually lose sleep and focus solely on the job until it is completed.  That may sound good, but it’s not healthy…for me or my family.

But to be honest, we are chugging right along and we’ve gotten a lot done for just being a few weeks into this craziness.  Demo was MA-JOR!  We took out walls, lifted up ceilings, reinforced and strengthened up some poor 60s construction, overhauled the electric, pulled out a few trees in the front yard (still about 10 more that need to go!), replaced all the venting in the house, moved and replaced the furnace to the attic, put in a new air conditioning unit, tore out a “fireplace” (more on that in a second) and replaced the garage door (it almost fell off the track onto me one day).

Our new (but old) sad little house has just been very neglected for years.  No one has really done anything to the poor girl.  We think the last upgrades were done in the late 60s.  She was due for an overhaul…for sure.

So about that fireplace we ripped out.  There is an added on family room at the back of the house that had a strange, bulky fireplace in it.  At the time we looked at the house there was actually a fish tank in the fireplace box.  Again, weird. We knew we wanted to either rework it into a corner fireplace or if money was tight, just rip off the bad lava rock and reface it.

Not. That. Easy.

{here is the beautiful family room “fireplace”. don’t ya love the fish tank addition?}

Two weekends ago my in-laws came down for a visit and to check out our new project.  My husbands’ dad is a hospital building inspector, so he was uber-curious as to what kind of disaster we had gotten ourselves into!  That Saturday they were here, my hubs and his dad decided they were going to see if they could take off some of the lava rock facade themselves.  They came home later that evening worn out and shocked that the “facade” was not really a facade at all.  The rock was heavy and was actually a part of the overall construction of the fireplace.  But wait, the fireplace wasn’t really a fireplace at all!

See that wood board with those metal rods sticking out towards the bottom of the “fireplace”?  Well, that is where the BBQ grill knobs attach to!! Yes….I said, BBQ friends! They put a damn bbq in the middle of their family room!!!!  What the!? SO SO SO nasty.

We got the 411 from some of the neighbors that the bbq had actually been in the backyard long before the family room was added on.  When the owner decided to add the room, instead of ripping out the bbq, he converted it into a fireplace of sorts.  But then a few years later he tiled it all in, added the fish tank and that’s what it became.  So odd.

After learning what this beast was actually made of we decided that instead of reworking it, we would just rip the whole thing out.  It was poorly made and we were worried about it’s structural integrity to be honest.

This is about part way through the demolition.  I felt bad for our contractor.  This was NOT easy to take out!

This week the insulation is going in, walls are going up, popcorn ceilings are being smoothed out, kitchen cabinets are going in, and the guest/ kid bath is getting underway!  I should have lots to share by Saturday afternoon!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jan August 2, 2013 at 6:26 pm

I have a white rock fireplace, very poorly constructed, NO charm AT ALL. I was thinking I might take a chisel and hammer to it, or a sledge hammer, but after reading about your experience, it has given me second thoughts, especially since I do think it would be way harder than I’m anticipating, and my husband would abhor being left with a condition even worse than we have now. Thanks for saving me from a grave error!!

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