It started with “floors and trim”

There were two big goals for 2015: Refinish the floors & trim, and restore the north facade of the house. We decided we’d split them into two phases: floors & trim in the spring, facade in late summer. But as spring arrived, things got more complicated than that. As usual.

If you’re refinishing the floors, that’s the time to refinish the radiators, right? And if we’re making the first floor look great, we might as well do the stairs. And we should probably fix those doors. And the windows. And if you’re hiring a window expert, they better look at those attic windows ASAP, right? Soon, you’re disassembling an entire floor and your projected costs have grown 50%.

We caved real bad on the DIY floors project. We’d planned to do the floors ourselves by borrowing our neighbor’s industrial floor sander. Andy introduced us to a professional wood floor restorer who gave us a good quote and our willpower for that project snapped right in half (thank goodness).

When there are multiple projects running at the same time, just tracking and managing them all can become a daunting job. While Andy was installing the final carriage house doors and getting ready to tackle the exterior doors and creaking stairs, I was tracking down a sandblast & powder coating shop, a window restoration expert, custom wooden screen doors for the back of the house, and a special piece of pocket door hardware. And, I was scheduling reproduction trim to be made, floor restoration, and a radiator system draining. Meanwhile we’re still painting the back of the house and the carriage house trim. Whew.

In the end, the 2015 docket includes a complete restoration of the entire interior first floor. We’ll also be doing the final (north) side of the facade, which is going to involve scaffolding between us and our neighbor. A quick recap:

  • Year 1: Interior paint / systems / kitchen & bathrooms.
  • Year 2: Basement, street facades, carriage house stabilization.
  • Year 3: Carriage house restoration, rear facade.
  • Year 4: First floor restoration, north facade, attic windows.

The remaining critical stuff for next year and beyond is short but huge: roof, second floor & basement window restoration, and rebuilding the dining room porch. I’ve only got one more financial trick up my sleeve (redoing the mortgage with a hugely improved appraisal), so when it happens, it’ll happen fast.

I called this a five-year project when I bought the house. A few months into year four and I’m still liking that guess.

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