Many homeowners wish to bring about changes in their homes after living in it for a few years. It could be that over the years, a house wears down and faults begin to emerge. It could start from the chipping paint, the leaky holes and tread to more ominous problems such as faulty plumbing. But even if for no other reason than to make it more upscale, there are no downsides to remodeling your house.
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Similar was the plight of one such client who contacted us in hopes of renovating her humble abode into something magnificent. The house was in the Jamaica Plain, on Bynner street. The sight when visited, revealed a quaint setting portraying a well-lived, albeit messy house. Designed in the old-fashioned setting, every room gave off vibes of familiarity, with household appliances and the like cluttering every space.
Inspecting the House
The kitchen had two charming tables set up against walls, the purpose of each not quite evident. The countertops were lined with appliances and other miscellaneous objects of use and the shelves revealed to be filled to the maximum. The oven and the refrigerator were arranged side by side on one side of the room, with an additional cabinet seated next to them, giving off a haphazard arrangement. The pantry was in a much similar condition.
The focus of our job was confined to the kitchen and bathroom, which the client wanted both renovated along with certain other additions, and the addition of the laundry room. We had our work cut out for us but it was a promising affair.
According to the specifications of the client, the kitchen needed to open out into the dining room, for which a wall had to be brought down. She expressed her concerns about the wall being a load-bearing wall. Keeping all this in mind, we first designed the floor plan and a demo of the kitchen and broke down all the tasks into numerous ones. Our initial focus was on the demolition of the wall as well as its role in supporting the house. Then came the tasks relating to the upkeep of the room. And finally, the installation phase, where the hardware and cabinets were fitted in.
After the wall had been torn down, we brought in our structural engineer for an expert opinion on what sort of framework and beam would be required. Further inspections were also scheduled to ensure the safety and sturdiness of the structural work, and just to be on the safe side, an affidavit was also stamped. Cabinets were installed to provide additional keeping space and the old countertops were replaced with new marble ones and other miscellaneous fixtures were installed.
The Bathroom and Laundry
Alongside the kitchen, work had also been started on the bathroom and the laundry room, which the client wished to have added next to the newly renovated bathroom for convenience, as the old laundry room was situated in the basement. The plumbing was a problem considering the location and if would even be possible was still a question.
The walls and floors were uprooted and checked out by an electrician, to get an idea of the electrical wiring as well as by a plumber, to ascertain the supply lines for cold and hot water and the drain line and if there could be access to the laundry room. After finishing with the plumbing and electrical work, new windows were installed and then came the tasks of drywalling, plastering, tilling and painting along with adding the hardwood floors. Some minor touch ups were seen to and a final inspection was carried out to make sure that everything was in working order and fit for use.
Breakdown of Work
The tasks when broken down and considered based on the time spent on each one is somewhat as follows (excluding the 12 days of final inspection);
- Demolition ~ 2 days
- Engineering frame work ~ 3 days
- Cabinet installation ~ 2 days
- Hardware installation ~ 1 day
- Other fixtures installation ~ 2 days
- Counter tops ~ 1 day
- Hardwood flooring ~ 2 days
- Punch list / Touch ups ~ 1 day
- Rough plumbing ~ 3 days
- Rough electrical ~ 3 days
- Rough Inspections: Plumbing, electrical and building ~ 12 days
- Drywall and plaster ~ 2 days
- Millwork (trim, baseboard installation…) ~ 2 days
- Tiling ~ 3 days
- Painting ~ 3 days
- Insulation ~ 1 day
- Windows installation ~ 1
- Finish plumbing ~ 2 days
- Finish electrical ~ 2 days
- Miscellaneous exterior work for windows ~ 2 days
Problems Along the Way
The client was diligent in explaining what she expected from us and shared some of her own ideas and suggestions. Certain concerns raised were also brought to our attention. Pertaining to the laundry room, the biggest challenge was to determine if the plumbing lines were indeed running to the room or not and how to design around that.
In the kitchen, the wall that the client wished to have demolished was speculated to be a load-bearing wall, which is hastily disrupted, could bring the house down on our heads. Precautions were taken to avoid some a circumstance by having a structural engineer look at the wall and draw out plans and solutions we could utilize. Similarly, an affidavit was also procured to safeguard against the eventuality of the house coming down. This was handed over to the client beforehand for assurance and as a record.