You might think to yourself, “Self, we are gut renovating this house! All new electric, plumbing, insulation, HVAC–everything’s in the budget! That means that unlike on all those HGTV shows, there won’t be any surprises to wipe out our contingency, right?”
Wrong. Oh, how very wrong a person can be! You think you’re gut renovating your house, but as we are learning, there is always more to gut. #moretogut
First there were the floors. Grossly warped and uneven, they sagged so much in the middle of the house that you could roll a golf ball from one corner to the center. So naturally, one of the biggest priorities in the budget was “level the floors.” Now, “level the floors” in contractor speak means “level the existing floors, which we presume were once level but have, over the last 150 years, become un-level.” However, what our contractor discovered once he exposed the floor joists and framing was that these floors were very likely NEVER level (just poorly built), which meant that leveling them was not really…er, how you say…possible.
The only solution was to rip out all the old joists and rebuild both the first and second floor from scratch. Utterly brutal on the contingency, but these floors are going to be level as f*&k. Here are some pictures of the transformation (apologies for the poor lighting – we can mostly only go after work, when it’s dark):
It’s incredible to see things coming together. And while I’m happy that the house is going to be so structurally sound, the steel beam, new floors, and all the other reinforcers and supports that we didn’t know we needed have eaten about 75% of our contingency. It’s pretty scary.
But to end on a high note, did you wonder what we did with all that amazing 150+ year-old wood? We kept it! Our woodworker took it and is going to make a few special things for us – I love the idea of putting the old house back in the new house.