During all of the painting we were doing Nick and I were thinking about what we wanted for the renovations. We were making wish lists and looking at our budget. We had a contractor who agreed to do the job. After looking at the house he offered some advice as to how to proceed. It's amazing how at this early stage it's all big dreams and possibilities. Anything goes...well...Our heads were spinning!
My big ideas! Visions of my new kitchen and garden.
We had a vague idea of what we wanted for the kitchen...Oh, who am I kidding? I knew exactly what I wanted for the kitchen! I wanted a big open space with large windows overlooking the back yard and canal. We also wanted to enlarge the doorway into the dining room to get more flow. The upstairs master bath was a little harder to visualize. The room just off the master bedroom was large. It would make a great bathroom, but it was a walk-through with doors on two opposite walls. The door leading into it from the master bedroom was in an awkward location. It made it hard to imagine the space with all the fixtures.
So...downstairs an open 15' x 16' kitchen with big windows that flowed into the dining room. A powder room instead of a full bath. Upstairs, a large new master bathroom to create a master suite at the back of the house. Sounds great. Whether all of this was possible on a tight budget? We didn't know. In the kitchen there was a brick and masonry column where the bathroom was and a thick masonry wall separating the dining room from the kitchen. What would we find when the demolition started? And how do you run new pipes for plumbing in a second floor room that has nothing? At this stage in the game I had sketched out several floor plans on paper with my vision. But we needed an architect to draw up real plans.
On March 31 we hired our neighbor, architect Gary O'Connor. His office is in the Porkyard right behind the store. He's done lots of houses in town and we liked his work. He and his assistant Diego came out and took measurements the next week. We had plans with full schematics to look at shortly after that and we approved these on April 15. We were ready to start! Then in early May we got some bad news from our contractor. He was not going to be able to do the renovation. We were very disappointed, but managed to secure another local contractor with Gary's help. Brud Hutchinson was working on our neighbor Danny and Debbie Knott's house. (Danny happens to be our electrician.) Brud was available right after he finished Danny and Debbie's house. This held up the starting date a few months, but we were confident that Brud would do a great job.
That corner in the kitchen with the full bath. What was behind that brick veneer?
The plans Gary drew up offered a different scenario than what I was thinking. He knew we were on a tight budget, so, although he kept our wish list in mind, some compromises had to be made. He put a glass door at the back of the house adjacent to the powder room and a large window over the sink, both with a view to the canal. I didn't get my wall of windows I was hoping for, but the layout made sense. As far as the wall separating the dining room from the kitchen goes, we would wait to see what was there. It might be possible to open up the doorway. We just had to make sure it was structurally possible and that it wouldn't run up the bill too much. Upstairs, he combined the existing bathroom with the room off the master bedroom to create a huge master bath with closets. This would mean turning a two bath house into a one-and-a-half bath house. We could always convert Nick's writing room into a guest bath later on, but, really? The more we thought about it Nick and I felt it was important to keep a separate guest bath. So, we asked Gary to revise the plan and he did a great job. We had a plan and a contractor! Now we waited for the starting date. And waited. And waited some more...then...