- Remove wallpaper throughout (Hey guess what? All the walls in the front half of the house were covered with 7+ layers of wallpaper, then multiple coats of paint. It all had to go.)
- Remove fireplace + patch floor, walls, ceiling
- Remove wall separating living/dining room and front bedroom. Install support beam.
- Remove floor vent + ducting next to west (removed) wall
- Patch floors where wall/vent had been previously; refinish throughout
- Paint walls, trim, built-in shelves, front door
- Change lock on front door
- Replace thermostat with new programmable model
- Remove window treatments (duh) and patch holes made in 100-year-old trim (AGH!)
Let's back up a little bit and talk about what Joel and I got ourselves into with this little gem, shall we? Here is the room-by-room plan we came up with even before we closed on the house. Four weeks 'til move-in!
Before I bought a house, my idea of 'being handy' meant putting up a gallery wall without making 100 superfluous holes in the wall, or painting a room with multiple doors and windows. I'd probably never even heard the words 'joist' or 'shoring wall,' and I definitely would have just smiled and nodded at any mention of '16 on center.' Turns out, when you give yourself 30 days to gut and rebuild a bathroom, remove a load bearing wall, steam off seven layers of ancient wallpaper, remove a fireplace, refinish hardwood floors, and paint every damn surface, you are forced to learn a ton of basics super quickly. Here's the short version of how we turned a gaping hole that dropped straight to the basement into a real live floor, with some basic builder terms explained:
JOISTS are the long spans of wood that support floors and ceilings. Looking up at the ceiling from the unfinished basement, you can see a system of joists, small pieces of diagonal bridging to help support the joists, then a layer of subloor. The hardwood on the first floor sits right on top of the subfloor.
[Pro tip: unfinished basements and attics are the bee's knees for DIYers. We passed over tons of houses that had finished basements because we knew we wanted to see where the plumbing and electrical ran, and to have the flexibility to make changes to the main floor systems without having to rip out a ceiling. Someday we might finish our basement, but since we always wanted our below-ground space to be hang-out, TV-watching and laundry-doing space, we probably won't do anything major down here.]
SISTERING your joists has to happen when you have a significant hole in your floor that you need to patch. Let's just say you have a fireplace-sized hole. You're basically cozying up a new joist - one longer than the original joist, since it also has to span the length of the hole - right next to the old joist. We attached the new joist to the mid-span support with a joist hanger and used a bunch of beefy nails to attach the old and new joists. [BTW - this was all done based on plans from our structural engineer. We definitely weren't just winging this portion.]
Here's a partial view from up top, before we put the subfloor in (we worked around this treacherous hole for probably two weeks because we're idiots and we were doing a million other things at the same time, as you can see). Plus, figuring out the angles for the plywood to cover this wonky-sized hole required enough math that we put it off for a while.
Once your joists are sistered and your subfloor is in, you need to make it look pretty. We hired the floor patching and refinishing out, which was a fantastic decision. (Seattle peeps, email me if you need a floor guy.) FEATHERING IN is the beautiful technique that makes your floors be all, 'hole? what hole?' You basically remove whole boards surrounding the holes and re-install new lengths to cover up the hole and line up with the old wood. (Check out this picture for a great visual.)
One major thing to keep in mind when you're setting up your hardwood timeline is that your wood needs a few days to ACCLIMATE to your house before it can be installed. It has to get used to the humidity level in your house before it's nailed down, so it doesn't shrink or expand too much once it's installed. This photo is after our wood had been delivered but before the feathering in and refinishing had happened.
So that's how we went from this:
Thanks for following along! xo