The wall is finally complete!!
This was my first time attempting to live in a space that was being renovated. Thankfully my project was only supposed to take two days (which hardly seems like an inconvenience), yet somehow my living room was in an unlivable state for an entire week.
I realize that most renovations take months to complete, and that I sound pretty whiny about not being able to use my living room for 7 days. The thing is, when your renovation forces you to spend your ENTIRE DAY AND NIGHT in your 200 square foot (probably less) bedroom, you tend to get pretty cranky.
I never really considered how “off-limits” my entire apartment was going to feel. From day one, I felt in the way just by being home…even when working on projects in the bedroom. Just grabbing a bite in the kitchen made me feel awkward, and once the sawdust started flying and settling on everything in sight, I realized that the kitchen was out of commission too.
Of course, I was really curious about the whole process, so I still snuck out for photos every so often.
Here’s my attempt at a brief photo/essay timeline: (WARNING: it’s FAR from brief)
Saturday, April 11th: “The Last Look”
Our last day of relaxing at home as we know it.
(for more before photos, check out this post).
Sunday, April 12: “Masters Moving Day”
We unloaded bookshelves, removed everything from the walls, folded up the dining room table and chairs, and relocated all lightweight furniture to the corner by the kitchen…all while watching the Masters. (The guidelines on our contractor’s website requested that all furniture be moved 5 feet from the new pressurized wall). We had to wait for a friend to help move the heaviest pieces since I’m ineligible for that task.
Monday, April 13: “Planning and Panicking”
Late Sunday night the last heavy pieces made their way away from the site of the new wall, and first thing Monday I started plopping painters tape down to make sure I wasn’t running into any outlets, that my furniture would fit, that my rug worked in the space, and most importantly to prove to my contractor that our room was in fact big enough. (He had a lot of strong opinions…but so do I!). I also started to get some serious heartburn which I can only assume was related to the anxiety of the days to come.
Tuesday, April 14: “Construction Day”
The contractor showed up with one worker around 10am and we discussed the exact placement of the wall, where the holes needed to be left for electrical cords, the fragile nature of our floors (parquet is not known for its sturdiness), and paint colors. He told me he would be using oil-based paint that “smells really bad, but lasts forever.” Hello…I’m pregnant…I can’t be around that stuff!! Luckily they weren’t planning to paint until day two, so I did some research on the effects of oil-based paint and let them get to work. He left his worker bee with a HUGE list of to-dos and headed out. I can’t exactly explain the series of photos below…but it shows how the skeleton of our pressurized wall was built. That counts for something, right?!
The poor guy had a terrible time working with our far from level floors. I’m really glad I made sure to ask them to leave room for my rug, because the doors were practically scraping the ground due to the floor’s imperfect lie. I think he spent at least a couple of hours trying to find a level starting point. I took the last two pictures after he left and I happily vacuumed up all the sawdust, etc. My husband came home to find me just sitting on the floor in our new little nursery (with holes in the wall and all). I was already busy imagining my life in there. :)
Wednesday, April 15: “Construction Day #2”
At 10am my 1-man crew showed up to finish the project. I asked him if he thought they’d really finish today and he said it was a strong possibility. He wanted to start off painting, so I packed up and headed out ASAP to stay away from the fumes. I ran some errands around the city, met up with a friend, and headed home around 4 to make sure things were going alright. When I got home, the fumes were strong and the wall was looking far better, but was by no means completed. They said they thought they had a half day of work left tomorrow.
I was pretty nervous about the amount of light that was no longer coming into our living room at this point. The whole idea behind the glass panel design was to preserve the light! I couldn’t wait for those protective sheets to come down and reveal the true look of our wall.
The paint fumes were so strong that after checking on the crew from 4 to 5pm I needed some fresh air badly. I opened up all the windows and headed out for a walk. Luckily my husband came home early and took me to dinner. Then we camped out in the bedroom to avoid the fumes as much as possible.
Thursday, April 16: “Construction Day #3”
As to be expected with most renovation projects, we didn’t make the 2-day timeline. I knew the one-man-crew would be coming back at some point Thursday, but I didn’t find out until 10 that he wasn’t arriving until two. I could see there was a LOT of work yet to be finished, and my building is super strict on contractor policy. They have to be out of the building by 5pm. In fact, they knock on the door at 4:35 to give them a warning that it’s time to clean up. I could clearly see that there was more than an hour of cleanup necessary and that only left 2 hours for work! I begged the contractor to consider sending his man over sooner, but instead he decided to show up and help out from 2-5. (I’ll take it!).
They started slapping paint up at 1:57 and I headed out to grab more door knobs from Home Depot (he didn’t pick out the prettiest ones, and I wanted my doors to have some jewelry that really spoke to me). I was pretty concerned that they might do a sloppy job since they’d be rushing so I asked my husband to come home to monitor things while I got away from the fumes again.
What do you know…they weren’t done by 5pm. As hard as they tried to get everything taken care of, there were no knobs on the doors, the paint was sopping wet, and our floors had paint drips all over them.
This day the fumes were stronger than ever, so (lucky me) we headed out to dinner again! Afterward, we took a little walk, but it was getting chilly so we headed back to the bedroom to warm up under blankets with the windows wide open. It felt pretty silly…and I was really tired of being stuck in that room again.
Long distance doorknob shopping w/Mom. I splurged on the oval guys.
I was very concerned about this gap, but they said they could fill it with caulk…and they did. Phew!
Quitting time on Thursday…not QUITE done.
Friday, April 17th: “Construction Day #4”
I knew this would be the last day I would have the contractor’s hands, so I made sure that I knew the exact state of the room before he told me, “Oh that wipes right off.” (Did I mention there was paint everywhere?!)
I decided that my best course of action was to vacuum and mop the entire area so I could prove which spots came off with elbow grease, and which spots needed professional attention (or just the attention of someone who can use paint thinner). I might have gotten a little carried away and placed painter’s tape next to every area of paint on the wood floors…but that’s what you get when you say you’re arriving at 10 and you don’t make in until 11:45. I had WAY too much time to notice imperfections. :)
He honestly worked really hard to get to all of the splatters, but taking down the protective coating on the doors had a confetti-like effect, which made his job a lot harder. I almost suggested he address the spots on the floor before doing that, but I could tell that he wasn’t really in the mood to take my advice.
I couldn’t wait for this part! See all that confetti though? Not so fun to clean up.
Are you ready for the final product?!
After all was said and done, we had JUST as much light as before. Phew!! What a relief! I was thrilled with the final product, and could have stayed there admiring it for hours, but the smell of paint fumes and paint stripper was pretty potent, and I was forced out yet again. After another dinner date with the hubby (I could get used to this!) we headed back to be trapped in the 200 square foot cage again.
I was dying to get everything moved back into place ASAP. I just needed to find out if it all fit!
More on that soon! This post is WAY too long already, but it felt like a tease to cut things off mid-construction.
I’m pleased as punch with my new wall!! Now to get this place back to its calm, organized, relaxing state…my favorite!!