Remodeling is in the details (modern southern bungalow week 26)

No, you didn’t miss week 25. It turns out that we’ve actually been at this for 26 weeks already, possibly 27, and I just miscounted when I started telling you all about it. Quick reminder of where we came from...

The back of the house now looks like this:


Progress, y’all. Now, if we can get a coat of paint, that would be perfection.

I need to remind myself that there really has been progress after weeks like these last two when every step forward resulted in two steps backward. At some point, I plan to share a list of all the decisions one actually needs to make in the process of remodeling a house. If I get ambitious, I may even try to attach a timeframe to each selection but let’s be honest, time is fluid when it comes to remodeling. You pretty much need to decide things when you have a crew.

At our project kick off meeting, we were given the list of selections that we would have to make during our remodel. Plumbing fixtures, door knobs, appliances, tile, flooring, HVAC, indoor lighting, outdoor lighting, under-cabinet was slightly overwhelming. Each of the items on the list had a due date. Truth be told, the list that we received that day wasn’t the half of the selections we have actually made, nor are we anywhere close to done making decisions. Base board size and trim detail, crown molding, tile edging, shower niche size and layout, floor finish, internal cabinet hardware, stair newels, stair railing shape, vent covers, door height…these are just some of the decisions (and corrections) that we have made in the last week alone. And almost every one of these decisions has been made with workers on site waiting for direction

Master shower is tiled but still needs grout. 

Master shower is tiled but still needs grout. 

It is so easy to miss things when decisions are stacking up. It is even easier when teams of subcontractors are following each other into your house, sometimes overlapping, on a schedule that is entirely based on when they are available, not whatever was scheduled on the project calendar. Don’t be fooled by project software or thinking that you’ve got the project under control just because you are timely at checking off the boxes. There will be something that you think should obviously be one way and someone else thinks should obviously be the other way. Unless you are doing the work yourself, this will result in change orders.  

Round two  on the pantry wall.

Round two on the pantry wall.

Design is in the details. I can safely say that there will be details in this project that don’t work. There are lights in my house that will be in the wrong place. There are places where lights should be but aren’t. The same can be said of outlets. Did we not double and triple check those things? Yes, we did. We checked them so many times that I thought I was going crazy. But in some rooms, it wasn’t until the drywall was up, the floors in, and the doors framed that we could imagine how we might live in the space. It wasn’t until we could really imagine the space that we knew where the lights and outlets should go.

Third time was the charm on baseboards. Trim carpenter's first attempt at matching to original baseboards not shown. We finally decided to just simplify.

Third time was the charm on baseboards. Trim carpenter's first attempt at matching to original baseboards not shown. We finally decided to just simplify.

I’ve said it before, but communication is critical in this process and I am learning something new about that every week. Just when I think I’ve got it down, I’ve missed a detail in communication that results in an error in execution. I keep needing to remind myself that it is just a house, that things that don’t work can be fixed, and that it is really hard to make decisions about how you will live in a space when you haven’t lived in it yet.

At least G's closet design worked out.

At least G's closet design worked out.

I also need to remind myself to go with my gut. The single best piece of advice my husband and I have received during this remodel came from a stranger at a crawfish boil. Trust your instincts. If you don’t like it when it’s going up, you will hate it when the project is done and you have to look at it every day. Say something. Make the change. Once again, design is in the details. As I read in a comment on Instagram yesterday, the only likes you need on your home come from the people who live in it. Trust those people.

I’m off to work on W&C’s shared bedroom for One Room Challenge. Next week, I hope to have photos of completed kitchen and bath cabinets and possibly a plan for my office space. Get excited.