Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cabinets are Installed in the Study!!!

Hello everyone! I hope that you had a fantastic weekend because I sure know that I did! Matt came home from Aberdeen on Friday for a few days and my in-laws made it home safely after embarking on a two-month long safari through Africa (they are a seriously brave and adventurous pair). It was a weekend filled with happy homecomings and fantastic stories about my in-laws adventures over the pond. I also capped off the weekend at my mother's house for our weekly viewing of Game of Thrones (so freak'n awesome the week) and Mr. Selfridges (the show finally started getting juicy this week too). Good company and good times, it doesn't get much better than that! So after giving you the scoop last week about the DISASTER SET-BACK at the house, I am happy to share with you some actual progress that has been happening around the ol' casa...WE HAVE CABINETS!!!! Our custom cabinets for the study, laundry room, master and guest bathrooms, the game room and for a built-in next to the fireplace were installed and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out.  The post would be way too long if I showed you all the cabinets at once, so I have decided to break them out over a couple entries.  We are starting with the sweet new cabinets in the study/office to kick-off our little tour-o-cabinets. The study is at the top of the stairs and started out as a tiny 8' x 10' room with strange angled ceilings that made it pretty much useless.  The room is highlighted in yellow on the floor plan below.
And here is what the room looked like before demo started. 
Although the room was a cute and cozy, it was just too small (we could barely fit a chair and tiny desk in here) and desperately needed for its walls to be torn down to open the space up.  This is exactly what we did, and once the walls were removed, the tiny room turned into a large landing at the top of the new staircase.  You can see the new open landing highlighted in yellow on the floor plan below.
 Here is a view of the landing once the walls were removed and the drywall was installed. 

Since the landing was such a large and open space once the walls were removed, I thought the back wall would be a great location to put a large built-in desk.  I wanted to create a space that would allow for multiple work stations and give lots of storage.  So here is the design that I came up with:

This design allowed for us to have two large filing cabinets (the base cabinets on each end of the desk), two work stations, a large 36" base cabinet in the middle of the desks for printer and computer tower storage, four large upper cabinets to store all of our paper and office supplies and then some fun open shelves that I can fill with pictures and fun mementos.  Another goal was to keep the area light and bright (because there is not much natural light in the room), so I decided to go with bright white cabinets.  Here are some of the cabinets after they were delivered.

And here are the two filing cabinets.  I cannot wait to have one "go-to" location in the house to store our important documents.  It will make life so much easier to be organized!

And here are the cabinets installed (sorry for the poor picture quality and plastic covering over the base cabinets). I totally love how they turned out!!!

We still need to add the open shelves on the left side of the desk and the butcher block top, but this definitely constitutes progress in my book! Happy days oh happy days!!!

 Tomorrow I am going to show you the laundry room with its loverly cabinets, so I hope you swing back by.  In the mean time, thanks for dropping in and I hope that you have a fantastic day!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Long Overdue!

I sincerely apologize for the extreme lack of posts over the past two months.  There has been lots going on that has kept me away: (1) crazy work projects, which amount to crazy work hours; (2) volunteering at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; and (3) the biggest thing of all...Matt has been back in Aberdeen for the past 8 weeks for work.  So add that all together, and you have one overwhelmed and time crunched gal.  Also, right when we felt like we started to see a tiny light at the end of the renovation tunnel when the drywall went up, we took about 20 monster steps backwards in March and had zero progress throughout the house.  Everyone tells you that a renovation will not always go as planed and to "expect the unexpected". Well, with how smoothly everything went during the demo portion of our renovation (i.e., no hidden skeletons like knob-and-tube wiring or extreme water damage somewhere), I naively thought that we were out of the woods of potential disasters once the electrical, plumbing and HVAC were complete and the drywall was up.  Boy oh boy was I wrong! One thing that I have learned is that drywall actually helps to reveal any issues with a remodel because once walls are up, you can see where there errors are hiding.  For us, the mistake involved the structural beams that hold up the ENTIRE second story and roof of our house.  Yeah, I told you it was a BIG MAJOR HUGE ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE "OUR-HOUSE-COULD-FALL-DOWN" problem!  Basically, about a week after the drywall went up, I noticed a tennis ball-sized bulge popping out of the drywall on corner of the wall where the staircase meets the second story.  I don't have any pictures...so taking a cue from one of my all time favorite blogs Crappy Pictures, I have made my own illustrations (because blog posts are always more fun with pictures).  Here is the basic rundown of what happened:

After I saw that horrible red eyed monster the bulge, I promptly issued a "Houston, we have a problem!" call with the builder. However, when the builder showed up the next day, his reaction was:

Not satisfied since bulges don't typically pop-up on their own for no good reason, I decided to call the engineer over to see if he could explain what was causing the bulge. (and P.S. this is the same engineer who reviewed and stamped our plans as structurally sound, and inspected and  cleared the beams before the dry wall went up).  However, like the builder, the engineer's response was:

At this point I decided to call in the big boys....the dreaded West U inspectors.  I felt certain they would be able to explain what was wrong or, at an absolute minimum, recognize that there was a problem.  Like the engineer, the inspector had previously inspected the beams during the structural inspection and passed them before the dry wall went up.  Well (you might start noticing a pattern), his response was:

Needless to say, I was pretty distraught after being told by three different people that bulges in drywall are (apparently) no big deal. I was beginning to think that I might be crazy or at least too picky.  This is when having Matt on the same continent would have been helpful.  So I called the next best person, my "step dad" Rod, who is a contractor. "Why didn't you have Rod do you remodel?" you ask...well, two reasons.  First, we couldn't afford him (and didn't feel right having him discount his work just for us).  Second, we wanted to have someone that we weren't related to build the house in case there were any issues. That way, we wouldn't feel guilty calling them on it...somethings you just don't want to keep in the family.  Well, as soon as Rod got there, he put a level on the ceiling next to the bulge and immediately said:

We then had a group meeting with Rod, the engineer and the builder to investigate. Once the drywall was removed, we discovered that the framers installed all the structural beams in the house completely backwards! Basically, there were supposed to be two engineered beams that would hold up the weight of the house and then ceiling joist would be hung off of the engineered beams.  Well, one misread of the plans and we ended up with (1) one of the engineered beams being cut in half; and (2) all of the engineered beams (and the entire weight of the second story and roof) hanging off of two 2x10 ceiling joist. UGG!!!! Here's a picture to help explain:

And here is a close-up of the engineered beam that was split in half. 

I'm not going to lie...reliving this whole situation and looking at these pictures again makes me nauseous considering what could have happened if that evil little bulge had not decided to show itself until after the construction was finished or worse, before the house fell down.  So the take away from this post...follow your gut when remodeling or constructing a house.  If you think that something is not right, speak-up.  And keep asking until you are completely satisfied with the answer.  Had I listened to the builder, the engineer and the inspector (cause hey, why would anyone listen to those people...sheesh!), we could have had an absolute disaster on our hands!  We are now moving forward again and making progress, so I will have some happy progress photos tomorrow!
Take care and thanks for stopping by (if anyone is still stopping by that is...since I haven't posted in 3 months)!
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