Day 45

First, I have to mention that our contractors have kept our washer and drier up and running this entire time. That has not been easy, so I really appreciate their thoughtfulness and effort. That being said…

I love laundromats. This weekend is the first time that our washer and drier are not in commission, and I realized yesterday that the kids have no clean underwear, so today the three of us are at the laundromat.

It’s not that laundromats are all that awesome. On the contrary, a lot of them are dirty and need remodeling, they’re expensive, and the crowd there can be dicey or just plain awkward. But I love laundromats because they remind me of grad school when I was starting to visit the l-mat for the first time. Sure I’d technically been an adult for 4 years already, but grad school was the first time I felt like I was doing very adulty things. I lived in a house/apartment instead of a college dorm. I bought my own groceries. I chose my own bank. I was no longer a college “kid.” And it was always nice to go do laundry because I was stuck at the laundromat without my computer (a desktop) so I really had no choice but to spend an hour or so reading and, of course, people watching.

So it’s fun to spend this morning sharing the experience with my kids. They’re using the time alternately between playing with toys and watching “The Magic School Bus” on my phone (with headphones), but they’re not bothering anybody. We are definitely being people watched, though.

This week the contractors…

  • Found and replaced a cracked sewer pipe.
  • Rebuilt the laundry room subfloor.
  • Finished the electrical in the kitchen. 
  • Insulated everything.
  • And Gary and I remade decisions about cabinets and flooring.

Our contractors discussing the electrical. There’s another guy in the other room digging out the sewer pipe.

Day 39

It’s been quite a week.


  • We picked out cabinets.
  • The contractors demolished an old chimney.
  • Plumbing in the kitchen is done.
  • The kitchen radiator got lifted up today, so we can finish the floor.
  • We can see where the lights are going.
  • The electrical is going in this week.
  • The laundry room floor is being rebuilt this week.

So things are moving and that’s an encouragement. Emotionally we’re still doing okay as well, though…

  • My son just learned the word “hate,” and thus I got my first “I hate you” from him, and it was because I wouldn’t give him a juice box. (When I pointed out that saying that over a juice box was a waste he recanted pretty fast.)
  • My husband and I had our first fight about the remodel (though it was more about cleaning responsibilities than the actual remodel).

On the other side of this past week I’m still hopeful and thankful. It’s October, the best month of the year! We might not have an oven, but we’re not going hungry. My husband and I aren’t perfect at loving each other, but we DO love each other. My kids aren’t angels, but they’re growing and learning. And I’m not tired, I’m happy.

That’s a big deal.


Day 32


  • The new floor is insulated.
  • The new floor is built up to the right height.
  • The kitchen door has been widened.
  • The kitchen window has been lifted up.
  • The new circuit board is in place.
  • And Thursday we’re going to look at cabinets.

So things are definitely coming along.

That being said, this morning we realized that our electrician unhooked our hot water, so now we’ve officially been plunged into the pre-industrialized world. My husband took a freezing cold shower anyway. I’m more likely to either just be dirty or build a fire in the back yard to heat water for a bath (remember we have no stove or I could do it there), but the kids are a different story. I think we’re going to go to a friend’s house this afternoon to have a bath party.

It’s always an adventure when you remodel.


The door and window I mentioned are on the other side of the room. This window will soon be opened up and this doorway widened too.

Day 27

Question 1:

If you unexpectedly had a vaulted ceiling in the laundry room, what would you do with it? 

Just for reference, our laundry room is almost as big as our living room. It’s bigger than our bedroom. It’s big! As such, we’re splitting it up and putting in a bathroom and a pantry on one wall and then stacking the washer and drier on another wall. There will still be ample room for a folding station/cabinet on the washer/drier wall and a couch along the third wall (along the fourth wall will be the walkway). But on top of that we have this vaulted ceiling.

A pantry doesn’t need a vaulted ceiling. A bathroom doesn’t need a vaulted ceiling, though it would be cool. And I don’t just want to fill it in like it was before because that’s wasting space.

So, would you…

A. turn it into a traditional attic (small escape hatch)
B. make it an open storage space with shelves and built-in steps
C. turn it into a loft with a queen-size bed and use it as a spare bedroom
D. turn it into a gated loft with steps and use it as the kids’ toy room
E. something else entirely


Question 2: 

Would you put a wood stove in the dining room because it was your husband’s original plan even if the space is smaller than you originally thought? Or, instead, would you put a double-sided gas fireplace in the wall between the dining room and living room, affectively killing a coat closet? (Why am I even asking? I totally want the second one. Now how do I convince my husband?)


Day 26

Light & Warmth & Order. 

When my husband and I get stressed out in our house, the main reasons are because it’s too dark and too cold and too cluttered. So light and warmth and order have become our decision-making factors for this remodel, and I’m looking forward to seeing how well we do.


All of the practical issues we have fall inside these three factors. The foundation, for example, is our first issue of “order” while the last will probably be storage space. And now that the foundation problem is fixed we get to move on to stuff that is more fun (and more pretty) like raising/creating the floor and deciding whether to blow out a wall.


When the project is done, our kitchen floor will be insulated, and the kitchen, dining room, and living room will all be at the same level with matching flooring throughout. Ever since we moved in 3 years ago (a month before our daughter was born) we’ve been walking on a seriously cold, seriously marked up subfloor, which our son has dubbed “the sliver floor” for good reason. I remember telling my husband 3 years ago that we had to redo at least the floor before the new baby was 9 months old and started crawling. Well, better late than never.


Up until this point our dining room has been the darkest room in the house (sporting only one window and even that faces the alleyway), and, consequently, it is the least used room in the house. My husband is what we affectionately call “an outdoor cat” so he naturally wants to be in spaces that have a lot of natural light, so he preferred that we eat on room over in the kitchen (one of the brightest rooms in the house).

To change this up, we’re going to make the doorway double as wide and open up a big “window” or “passthrough” between the two rooms. On the bottom ledge of the window we’ll put a counter top. This we can use to put dinner dishes that we don’t want on the table during meals, or I can use it as a standing desk (finally!). And best of all, the new openings will allow a lot more light to spill into the dining room from the kitchen. So I can’t wait until our contractor starts cutting!


Over all, sticking to these three goals has already been really helpful, and I’m sure they will continue to be. Couples tend to fight most about the little things, like door knobs and paint colors, and that’ll probably be us too. But having the goals of light and warmth and order helps me to hold my preferences and opinions loosely. So bring on the paint!


The new kitchen floor being built.


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