Looking back over year 2

Yes, it’s already over. If you remember, I ended year 1 with the house torn apart. Most of the functional things were in, but most of the visible things that make the house look good were not. I wrote 3 posts last year to commemorate the paper anniversary. This year the anniversary should be cotton, but I’m still giving the house nothing but (green) paper. But let’s look back on what I accomplished. It seemed slow at the time, but now it looks… less slow.

I had 3 windows boarded up for about 3 months. I was wondering when they’d arrive, and when they did, I was smitten.


The chimney was relined (so my gas boiler won’t kill me). And do you remember what chaos it was to get the heat temporarily reconnected so I could test out the boiler? Of course it was my dad’s genius that allowed it to pass.

And not long after that I got the bathroom floor and a usable toilet. Remember how excited I was about the toilet? Now you do. This was exciting because I was on to pretty things and instant gratification. Right?

selfie with toilet

Siding the cantilevered was the first order of finish work. Why? Because not having it sided gave me a small water infiltration problem that forced me to push off the insulation job after I rigged a temporary fix onto the downspout. Also, I thought it made sense to get the hardest and most weather sensitive job done first. And clearly it was the right decision to work on ladders and scaffolding during the only part of the summer that turned out to be hot, before I had a working shower.

But… I was expecting it to be hard. I wasn’t expecting it to take 7 WEEKS!


Then there was tiling the bathroom. I had previously discovered that I got taken for a ride when I bought these tiles on Craigslist, and had to buy more retail. But at least they look good. And you have no idea how great it was to have a usable shower in my own home.


Then it was on to restoring the upstairs floors. I reinstalled them in one room, glued down to a new plywood subfloor. Easy? I thought it would be, but this was a 6 week job.


In the rest of the house, I patched damaged spots and glued plywood scraps up onto the underside of the floors. This also took ridiculously long. But it should look great when they’re sanded out, right?

IMG_2162 P1040640

I finally perfected the process of laminating drywall onto rigid foam onto soft old plaster on soft old clay brick walls with no studs. And then there were bedrooms! Sorta.


There was the patio door that I thought I couldn’t do right away. But I did! (with the Irishman’s help)


And really, would I have wanted to have this kind of mess later?


Then I started hiring the Irishman to help me every Saturday and all the drywall happened so fast I couldn’t keep up.


And I had the walls taped. No regrets hiring this out.


And we closed the year out with drywall primer. This feels like a really good transition point, no? You’ll hear more about it later. It’s not even done yet.


There were plenty of rough spots this year, but in the end, I think I’ve come forward plenty, no?


11 thoughts on “Looking back over year 2

  1. Mary Elizabeth

    We are delighted with your recap. While it was happening, it all seemed so random and scary, yet now we can see your process as though it actually had been planned that way. Although my husband and I have done an entire addition to our house, have done structural changes to one floor of a condo, and have gutted to the studs and rebuilt a couple of baths, we have never totally gutted and redesigned an entire house all at one time. We have friends who have had it done for them on their mid-19th century house, and it was mighty expensive and took more than the planned year, because of unexpected surprises of the type you have been experiencing. You are talented, resourceful and also lucky to have the help you do. Can’t wait to see this with the walls painted and the kitchen in.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Thanks. I’m grateful for what I learned and who I bonded with through this process, but I can guarantee you that I wouldn’t do it again. I’d consider doing another similarly old house that’s big enough to do in stages (esp since the bigger ones seem to be better built) or do a total renovation if I marry up. And really, there was a randomness to it. I had bits that had to be done to be ready for a contractor, and bits that couldn’t be done till after another, so it meant extensive amounts of starting things and very little finishing. That makes it all the more satisfying that things actually are coming together.


  2. infinitequery

    Hooray for Chad and how you managed to have the Irishman living next door is a profound cosmic question. You must have been born under a lucky star. Congratulations and hope for the Grand Finale in 2015. What will you do with yourself Chad? Time to buy another one?


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      No I’ll be grateful for the break! I’ll have a nice mix of rebuilding my social life, going through the stuff we took from my grandmother that we want to sell off, doing some projects to their house because I owe them like forever…just wait; my year “off” will be anything but.


      1. acroteria

        Great recap. You lost weight, too? I dropped something like 20 lbs. in the first 6 mos. of demo & construction. Social life? What’s that? Congrats on making it through 2 yrs.


  3. CindyH

    What a ride it’s been! Looking forward to the rest of the trip, bumps and all (hopefully smooth riding the rest of the way though)…



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