Kitchen, Bathroom, Doom

The kitchen is very near completion! I haven’t had a chance to take photos with a real camera, or write up a recap of the many things I learned in the process, but here’s a quick phone snapshot:

2015-09-24 20.39.27

There are still a bunch of finishing touches to do, but the hard stuff is all done! We had our first weekend of using the kitchen and it worked very well, with two people able to cook without driving each other insane.

When I stepped into the house earlier this week I had a bit of a panic moment: I was immediately greeted by a very musty smell. After all this work on the house, damp musty grossness is absolutely NOT what I want. We had a really dry summer so we haven’t had a chance to see how the house holds up in a storm. After some poking around I found a window that had been left open, and thankfully after a few days the house has returned to its usual neutral scent.

In boring-but-important news, we had our structural contractor install a new beam under the house. Now the bathroom no longer jiggles around when you step! The end of the house is no longer sinking into the sand! It’s still not level, but it’s been raised a few inches. The drywall cracked in a few spots around the door frames but other than that it was a pretty painless process.

Over Pope Weekend we had 10 people total staying in the house, and no one came to blows! So I consider that a ringing endorsement for the house. Unfortunately, over the course of the weekend we also discovered that the upstairs bathroom has sprung a leak. Wamp womp. It’s a really weird leak. There’s a water stain on the ceiling below the shower, but even if the shower is off there is fresh water trickling down the waste stack (which is behind the toilet). The toilet has a tendency to run because it’s an old toilet with an old flapper I haven’t gotten around to replacing.

My totally unscientific theory is that the toilet is leaking, and since the bathroom has a distinct slant towards the shower the shower drain is no longer appropriately sloped, letting water run from the toilet to the shower where it then drips onto the ceiling below.

Please note the fact that the shower starts 6" off the ground.

Please note the fact that the shower starts 8″ off the ground.

There is no easy way to access any of the waste line to see what’s going on. At the very least it will require cutting into the (freshly painted!) bedroom ceiling below it. Due to the bizarre way the shower is built, there’s also a chance we’d have to open up the shower tile. This bathroom is kind of a nightmare and we knew going into it that a full remodel was on the short list of things we wanted to do. But I wasn’t intending to tackle that until next spring at the earliest.

Now I’m trying to decide whether I rip up the bathroom just to fix the drain line, or just pull the trigger on the remodel now. I’ve met with two contractors so far and am waiting on estimates.

If we end up doing the bathroom now it will be a total gut remodel, and I’m contracting out 100% of it. At 6 months pregnant I have neither the energy nor time to do another major renovation.

Layout for new shower

Potential layout for new shower

The last item on the agenda this week was preparing for the potential doom of Hurricane Joaquin. Thankfully the storm went out to sea, but we still had a really nasty nor’easter come through. My dad and I took care of some lingering to-dos, like removing the old HVAC condensation line (which was just sort of flapping around outside the house). Both of our storm doors don’t latch shut, so somewhat counter-intuitively we removed them before the storm so they didn’t fly open and rip off the door frame in the process. Getting replacement storm doors is on the short term to-do list once the storm passes.

So far almost every issue we’ve had with the house is something we’d budgeted to fix when we bought it. What we didn’t anticipate was cramming so much stuff into the first year. Many of the stuff on the “eventually” list became “now” either because they were more urgent than we thought, or because it didn’t make sense to do certain tasks separately. For example, the immediate project of “replace the broken heat pump” became “convert to gas heat” when we found out they cost about the same, and then that morphed into “convert and replace the hot water heater” since we were having gas lines run anyway. Silly me, I thought the electrical panel upgrade was gonna be next on the to-do list, but it’s actually the bathroom. Surprise!

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