Before the first floor could be closed in with sheetrock, all the wiring and plumbing had to be addressed. A problem I’ve known about since my earliest house-planning days was dealing with the upstairs bath waste pipes. In the initial drawings from the house company, these pipes ran down the middle of the wall between the two windows above. This resulted in a big bump-out on the wall in the middle of my dining room, just where I want to have a sideboard and hang a painting.
I went around and around with the architect. “My sideboard [I don’t own a sideboard; it’s on my search list for Craigslist] has to be against that wall!”
Finally I suggested running the pipes all the way across the south wall to the edge of the kitchen, where they could head for the basement through a partial wall abutting the refrigerator. Amazingly, this thought carried the day. It’s not a perfect solution but I felt a box along the top of the windows was preferable to ruining the dining room.
The first room to be completely sheetrocked was the simplest: my office. (The room is 9′ x 12′. If someday there is a need, we can convert it to a first-floor bedroom.) In the meantime I look at the space adoringly. I am strongly soothed by office supplies, filing cabinets, and bookshelves — the elements from which I create order in my typical chaos — and this little room will have them all. The room will not be as bright as it is currently, because the front porch will cut off the limited north light. But for me that is OK. It will be a haven of books. Bookshelves. Filing cabinets. Order. Ahhh…
This week Nick has moved the misplaced front doorway — the result of a typo in the house company’s plans — to its correct position. The operation was undertaken with his usual care, involving a supporting beam and lally posts while he removed and replaced the doorway header. But now it is done, the walls are rebuilt, re-wired, and insulated, and the opening is ready for the door.
All the ceilings are in. The photo below is looking from the front doorway across the living room. The southwest corner of the house has the most windows, as that edge faces the view.
And here is the living room from the other direction. This living room will be much smaller than expansive one we lived in for many years. There is a window behind the stored front door leaning against the wall. But this window, too, will be north-facing and covered by the front porch. The living room will be dim. But there will be a gas fireplace in the northwest corner (left in the photo below) and my hope is that it will be cozy.
Here is the doorway (it will be a pocket door) to the laundry room/pantry off the kitchen. There is not a lot of space for cabinets in the kitchen so my plan is to have open shelves to the right and the washer and dryer on the left.
My cardboard mudroom door has disappeared as the real walls have gone in.
The water and waste pipes in the box across the dining room ceiling now have been insulated.
They run to the basement through the enclosing short wall around the refrigerator. I insisted on this plan and this wall, so naturally I’m a little nervous. I hope it works.
The house is now almost completely sheetrocked. The photo below looks from the sliding doors (which someday will lead to a front deck) across the dining room, past the door to the cellar, past the hall, to the kitchen and its pantry on the left, to the mess awaiting me in the mudroom.
A bit of sheetrocking still remains to be done around the doorways to the office and the first-floor half-bath.
The walls around the temporary stairs are also not yet finished.
However every day there is more progress. Nick says he has hired a firm to come in to tape, and it will be soon.
The basement will be heated by two small electric fixtures hung on opposite corners of the room’s ceiling. With my OK, Dan the electrician bought them early and Nick built temporary stands for them, making one heater each for the first and second floors. These will keep the rooms warm while the joint compound dries.
I was amused to see that someone (Nick, I believe) couldn’t resist decorating one of the heaters with a little electrical tape.
I am very, very lucky to have found these extremely talented, thoughtful, and funny builders.