Sunday, December 9, 2012

And Now It's All Up to Us

Today was the day for which Joe and I had been waiting, and waiting and waiting.

We'd been eager to embark on the renovation of the old farmhouse we'd purchased more than two years ago.
When we started our "project," we had different ideas of how long it would take.  Before we pulled up the first floorboard to discover what lurked beneath this old, sagging farmhouse we'd purchased, Joe was predicting we'd be in the house by Christmas.  I suggested it would be five years.... that was in February, 2010.

Still, we had decided we first needed to make the garage apartment a reasonable place to live while we rehabbed the old farmhouse, so we had a carport built on one side of the garage, a deck built on the other and lots of windows and doors installed in the garage and the apartment.

Making the garage apartment really livable turned out to be a good thing, for when we did pull up the first floorboard in the old farmhouse, it became clear that Christmas 2010 was a rather unlikely expectation. Joe was CERTAIN we'd be celebrating Christmas 2011 in the rehabbed old farmhouse.  I was still suggesting it would be closer to Christmas 2014.

Quite a few local tradesmen have been employed for small parts or large parts of this rehab.  We've had help for demolition of the ancient abandoned chimney the previous owners had "built around" in some of their remodels, which resulted in major constraints in the kitchen and one bedroom.  The same demolition team helped us tear up the original floors...which we found under the old carpet...which we found under newer OSB.... which we found under "new, but very soiled carpet.

And under all those layers, we found the reason for sagging, swaying floors.  Our next goal was to tackle the beams and joists, all of which needed replacing.  To make them viable for years to come, we also had to have more than a dozen piers built, as the original piers were crumbling, or had already fallen apart.
The contractor we employed to do this beam, joist and pier work continued in a somewhat steady employment, helping us rehab this old house.  He performed a variety of tasks ranging from jacking up the house to achieve level, to raising the ceilings upstairs, to give us a full 8 feet.  Before he was done, he added a three room addition onto the back of the house.

Of course, we had the mason, and the electrician and the plumber and the HVAC installers, and the gutter installer, and the counter-top installer, who each performed their magic to help bring this house into a livable condition....despite the fact that our realtor assured us that, "some people would just move in," we were not too keen on moving right into a house in such a bad condition.
But today, December 8, 2012, almost two years after our main contractor started working with us, he wrapped up the last of the details for which his services had been commissioned.  He put all of his tools back into his trailer, which had been resident in our yard for quite some time, hooked the trailer up to his truck, and, after goodbyes, headed on down the long driveway, the driveway down which he'd first driven in January, 2011.  I know he was happy to finally be done, and I know we are happy that he has finally finished....
Of course, that means that the rest of the work is up to Joe and me.  We still have lots of caulking, painting (touch-ups and trim).  We have to seal and finish the red oak stairs.  We have closets in which to hang shelving, bathrooms in which to install shower rods and towel rods, and other odds and ends to complete.   BUT, we are finished with the daily procession of construction material deliveries, the endless scheduling of tradespeople and the maddeningly persistent delays.  Our "move-in" date is now entirely up to us.  We are shooting for Christmas 2012.

We've met a lot of interesting people during this whole rehab process.  And we have learned a lot.  I'm not sure we would have been so willing to embark on the adventure, had we known the incredible amount of work it would be, but we are both happy we did take that leap of faith and commit to the rehab.

We celebrated the completion of contracted labor tonight over dinner.  We were halfway through our dinner of beef and potato hash and homemade bread when we decided we should commemorate the night with a toast. As luck would have it, we had part of a bottle of wine (courtesy of my son-in-law).  I added some sparkling cranberry soda to mine, and we toasted the completion of the project. Perhaps twenty years from now, this project will seem to have taken only a little while, but today, it feels as if it has taken a lifetime!  We are SOOOO looking forward to being able to put on our warm winter caps and snuggle down for our long winter's naps!  (HA!!! --- That'll be the day!)


Gorges Smythe said...

Congratulations, I know it's been tough, but now you know just what you're capable of!

S. J. Qualls said...

Congratulations to you both! It is lovely! I hope you wind it up and enjoy your Christmas in a finished home! It was a long journey!

Judy's Corner said...

Thanks Gorges.... we have plenty of adventures yet to come, I'm sure, but at least now we will be able to turn our focus more to the gardens, landscaping etc.

Judy's Corner said...

Thanks S J! We love it....we are so ready to enjoy it!

Anonymous said...

It's beautiful! I know each night you fall asleep in your "old farmhouse" it will be with a smile on your face, knowing what you accomplished.


Judy's Corner said...

Thanks Renee! I only know that when we actually move into the old farmhouse it will feel odd, not going "home" to the garage apartment!