The #1 thing I learned blogging about a home renovation? It's really difficult to update a blog while you are busy actually doing the renovation, plus working full time and chasing a toddler. So that is why I haven't posted an update in nearly 4 months!
I have been overwhelmed at the thought of trying to catch up, so instead I am declaring blogrupcy! Starting over from right now. This post will recap the highlights of the last 4 months. So here goes:
September: Drywall is dusty AF
We hired an amazing drywall contractor, and truly, you get what you pay for. He came at a higher cost, but drywall is like an art form - these guys hang the dry wall board, tape the seams, painstakingly apply 3 coats of the compound or "mud" then sand it until those walls are perfectly smooth. Then paint. It took about 2 weeks for the whole process. And when I say dusty AF I mean it - we had dust not only everywhere downstairs, but there was a layer of dust on everything upstairs, too. Oh, and during this time my in-laws came to stay with us and bless their hearts - we put them up in the living room. On an air mattress in a house full of dust! If you are reading this, please come back and see us and I promise you a much nicer stay in a proper bedroom... with walls. :)
October: More travel, less reno
October was a crazy month. Kris and I both had a couple trips for work and then we had a big family trip to China! So needless to say, not much happened renovation-wise. I did learn an important lesson about material lead time. I should have ordered our flooring and tile before our trip, but I didn't, not realizing it was going to take several weeks to produce. So that put us a bit behind schedule upon returning. But we had a wonderful 2-weeks away to recharge and visit family in Hong Kong (my homeland) and Shanghai to visit my sister and her husband. Well worth the renovation delays! We had a few more house guests in October... my brother & sister-in-law who actually slept down in the renovation space because we finally had walls! Who needs floors? ;)
November: Doors & floors
We had doors installed, which Kris - like a total champ - stained beautifully to match the window trim he had done. Then it was time for floors. We are doing tile and hardwood. We spent many hours looking for floor tile to match what we have upstairs, to find out it is discontinued. So we found something close enough. And learned that porcelain tile, while more expensive than ceramic, is worth the cost since it is more durable. Especially in high-traffic areas. We had a heck of time finding a contractor who could install the tile, everyone was busy and then not working over the holidays. But given as we were already behind schedule, we needed to get that tile done before the end of the month. We almost thought Kris would be laying tile all during the Thanksgiving holiday... but luckily a great floor guy we know came through and brought over one of his buddies the day after Thanksgiving. So we got to have some friends over and eat turkey and stuffing with a side of floor. And we were thankful. If you have ever seen someone lay tile, it again, is an art form. The patience and precision required is something that I certainly don't have - well worth bringing in the professionals! It took them about 5 days to finish the job. The hardwood floor (that I failed to order before our trip) was being produced on the East Coast and would arrive about 3 weeks later. We chose a Maple hardwood produced in the USA.
December: The final countdown
This was go time, folks. Our first house guests were scheduled to arrive on Dec 16, and on Dec 1 we still did not have a bathroom or any furniture. Yipes. For the bathroom shower I absolutely fell in love with Oceanside Glass Tile. It is a small company that uses recycled glass bottles (mostly Corona beer bottles!) for their handmade tile. It's gorgeous and you would never guess it's made with recycled glass. (I'll do another post just on this tile because I love the story so much.) I chose a 1-inch square glass mosaic tile, which turns out to be one of the hardest types of tile to install. Live and learn. And it is expensive, for both the tile itself, but especially for the installation. That took a full week since with this type of tile you have to make sure the surface you are installing it on is perfectly straight and smooth. And our walls were neither. Next, Kris had to install the shower fixtures, toilet & sink. He never fails to impress me with his talents or his perseverance - this man is a true weekend and weekday warrior. He installed the bathroom in 2 nights (and probably at least 4 trips to Home Depot). He is my hero.
Oh, and then the matter of actually furnishing the space. We made a major trip to Ikea to buy beds, closets and odds & ends. Lucky for me, Kris' list of talents also includes Professional Ikea Furniture Builder. He whipped up 2 closets and 2 beds like a boss. Mind you, this all was taking place during late nights 2 days before our first houseguests arrived. The final countdown was insane with the pressure to get it done so we could host Christmas at our home. But somehow we did it. And it was so worth it, we had an amazing holiday with my parents, in-laws and my sister and her husband. Everyone had a cozy place to stay. I'd always heard renovations were crazy, and while that is definitely true, we loved it. I mean, that's not to say we are in a rush to start our next project just yet. We're ready to relax in 2017 and just enjoy. I'll get to taking proper pics of the fully finished space for a future post soon!