I’m happy to report, progress on the cottage is plodding along. This week saw the arrival and near filling of Dumpster #1, demolition of the living and dining room ceilings, and the removal of 98% of the asbestos laden ductwork.
First, there are a few things to you need to know about dumpsters: They rarely show up or disappear when they’re supposed to; it’s in your best interest to keep your neighbors informed of their impeding arrival and departure dates; they come in many sizes and you should ALWAYS get one size larger than you think you need; they are cavernous and packing them properly is extremely important, and, finally, filling them is hard work but the results are gratifying.
Before the dumpster arrived:
Same room, after:
Those doors aren’t going anywhere. Solid wood is solid gold in my book.
Oh…dumpsters are an expensive, albeit necessary budget item so be sure to factor in the cost when you remodel—my rental will be around $1000—and it appears it is unlawful to remove or deface the “lab.”
So, don’t do it.
It came that way. I swear it wasn’t me.
Second, there are a few things you should know about asbestos: A common building material, it is the No. 1 cause of non-smoking related lung cancer and mesothelioma. If you can leave it untouched and seal it up tightly, it’s a practical, cost-effective way of dealing with the material during a renovation, if you’re making major changes, like we are, it’s best to have it professionally removed.
I hired Nashville magicians ESI to remove all of the asbestos on the inside and outside of the 1940 cottage. It’s a $5000.00 chunk out of my budget, but better safe than sorry and we want this to be a
non-toxic clean build.
^There’s their number if you need it.^
Yesterday, they vacuüm sealed the house, removed nearly 100 linear feet of vintage ductwork, the asbestos laden hardwoods in my kitchen…
…And the floor and exterior walls in a room tacked on the rear of the house.
The previous owner added it to move the laundry room up from the basement, but it is poorly constructed and in terrible condition and can now be demolished safely.
Best watch your step.
The fall will kill you.
Or at least bruise the bejeezus out of your shins.
In an Oopsie moment, the company missed the one duct I needed removed in order to finish demo in the old kitchen. It puts me behind a few days in getting rid of the last of the heavy, heavy plaster walls, but they’ll be back out to take care of it and we will forge ahead on the second floor until then.
The thin white insulation you see in the hole between the sub-floor and the nailing substrate is asbestos. If you see it, let the pros tackle it’s removal.
That shizz is nothing but airborne lung trouble.
Please note: There has also been a change in the privacy of the downstairs privy:
I would suggest using the bathroom upstairs, but that thing scares me, so maybe you should just fill the void by shoving the vent back into the hole and maintain some sense of decorum by turning on the water.
Admittedly, there have been a few surprises this week. When I mentioned having a hard time nailing down the new floor plan, it was because this nagging voice kept saying, “You don’t know everything you need to know in order to make things work the way you want them to.”
Boy, was that little voice right. To a man, everyone who looked at the house before demolition began, each well versed in all things structural, told me I had no worries.
I could do anything I wanted to do. As the walls and ceilings came down, it became clear that almost every wall on the first floor of the house is load bearing.
Every fricking one.
I feel like Donald Rumsfeld, awkwardly and ineptly trying to explain the known knowns, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns.
I do know this: We’re going to need some bigger beams.
By this time next week, the rest of the ceilings and demo debris should be gone and, hopefully, the road map for going forward will be clearer. I’ll share the “As Is” plans and show you how the current floor plan resembles a fancy hamster habitat, but with plaster dust instead of wood shavings.
Although wood shavings will soon be a part of this project.
Since the house has no air conditioning at the moment, we might need one of those hanging water bottles too. Filtered masks, safety glasses and 90º plus temperatures don’t mix well.
And now, because topics wander like Lewis and Clark on this blog, on to something completely different:
After all the back wrenching hauling and dumpster tossing ends, I’ve been snuggling up with a wonderful book by Joan Anderson, author of A Year By the Sea. Sent to me by my oldest daughter, An Unfinished Marriage is an unflinching look at how Anderson and her husband learned to reconnect after living apart for a year.
I highly recommend it, as it is filled with insight into the machinations of navigating a long-term marriage, tackles a bit of remodeling, and is chock full of nuggets of wisdom and rationalizations.
I’ll explain how this renovation relates to my marriage one of these days—we tore it all up too—but until then, I recognized something in this quote from her book:
Maybe we aren’t meant to be complete until our final hours.
That’s a known unknown.
Let’s hope the cottage is finished long before I am. As I try to rationalize making the myriad of decisions required when stripping a house to its bare bones and building it anew, I’m reminded a scene from one of my favorite movies:
I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.
Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.
Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?
– The Big Chill, 1983
I don’t know about you, but I’m not entirely sure I’ve gone an hour without one. As a matter of fact, one just occurred to me now: That dumpster isn’t going to finish filling itself. If I don’t get plenty of water and a good night’s sleep, tomorrow will be a challenging adventure!
Remember to share your remodeling horror and success stories in the comments below. Leave a link or share a photo of a room you need a designer’s
rationalization take on and I’ll choose one and share a bit of free design advice. Gratis. $0.00.
Here’s to empty rooms and endless possibilities,