Renovated homes are a big part of an inspector’s business. Some renovations are well done, some not. Read on for a brief dissection of my renovation
I admire the simplicity and elegance of Japanese architecture. “Dan’s Temple” was the result.
As I age it’s harder to devote time and energy to big projects. Experience teaches me to recognize my limitations. I wanted someone else to do this project and do it right. It was difficult getting started, especially when the original architect and addition location didn’t pan out.
Started slow. Joe was used to working on his own projects. His “houses don’t talk back”
reply to my question of why didn’t he work with homeowners is typical: client renovations require more time, interaction and compromises than builder renovations or investor “flips”. We demonstrated our willingness to move ahead by obtaining permits and prepping the job site. Joe responded by treating us and our home with respect.
Screened porch and French door
Roofline extended over existing flatwork, raised soffits, new gable façade
Complete re-roof, ½ round gutters, wall insulation and ventilation upgrades
Building is a linear process. Site work, foundation, framing, cladding, mechanicals and finish have to be done in order. The general contractor’s task is to coordinate labor and materials to keep the project moving. The process never goes as planned, even when the schedule is padded out. Weather is always a factor, along with labor and material delays. I added four weeks beyond the estimate. It took six.
Administrative and code requirements, electric issues, add-ons and lumber cost put the project over budget but not excessively so
We shared our home and yard with a variety of workers from dawn till dusk
Setbacks, delays and re-dos included a leaking roof, circuit outages and a delayed paint job
We did more than pray for sheetrock: there was joy and admiration as each phase was finished
This was a quality job. We’re very happy with the results.
Joe thanked us for our patience and kind treatment of his crews. The cold drinks Kai provided on hot days were appreciated, her kindness rewarded with extra effort.
Strangers walking by remark on the improved appearance
There are measurable improvements in efficiency
Like life the process of renovation is, and never should be, complete
But we sure are happy a large part of it is over
Be persistent, flexible and pragmatic. Expect delay
Have a general idea of what you want and how much you’re willing to spend. Avoid arguing specifics with the person you’ve hired to deal with specifics.
Speed the process by making construction decisions at the beginning of the job and helping with preparation and cleanup. Share your ideas in pictures. Edit your ideas with efficiency in mind. Avoid time wasting change orders
Don’t neglect to upgrade function, safety, comfort and efficiency
Construction is hard work. Learn to appreciate the skill, intelligence and effort required
The Danish word Hygge infers welcome, companionship and warmth. So it is with our newly renovated old home. “Dan’s Temple” shelters us like a winter coat.