I love progress…or have I mentioned that a few dozen times since starting this project?
Four days after I walked on my new basement floor, we are starting to get some walls! As I have mentioned before, I am a visual person. I have to see something to really get an understanding of how things are going to look. A few framed walls have given me a little more clarity on how things will look. There really isn’t a fully drawn out plan. I knew what I could afford and the contractor sketched up a plan to create the dimensions of the project based on what I can afford.
This is the “southern” exposure of our house. So with this view, you can see how I will have two windows and a door, which will eventually lead out to a deck. The wall space between the two window openings will contain a fireplace. That will be the focal point of the room.
This wall is on the west side of the room and it leads out to the attached garage. You can see the door opening from the addition to the garage. Those plywood sheets on the floor are covering the hole which will lead to the basement stairs. it will be an open stairwell at the top. The basement won’t be finished right away, but they will finish the stairway so we aren’t looking down into an empty, unfinished abyss. I’m hoping my kids and I will be able to finish that area by ourselves. We’ve learned a lot from our whole journey and we have the ability to frame walls. Our finish work on the sheetrock isn’t all that great, but thankfully, I have some good friends who can help out on that.
I just have to say that I think Iowa sunsets are amazing–even in the dead of winter.
Let us not forget my glorious shiplap wall. Because that window will go away, the shiplap will have to be taken down and then “pieced” back on in a way so it doesn’t look out of place. I have thought about forgoing the original shiplap on the wall and just repurposing it on to the fireplace like this:
Source: Halcyon Style
We have since cleaned up some of the shiplap and gave it a little sanding and it really does look beautiful in its natural state. What do you think? Keep it on the wall and paint it or leave it natural and put on the fireplace?
The guys are using the Huber Zip System to cover the house. Normally, you’d see plywood sheeting and then a plastic house wrap on top of that. You can see they wrapped the old part of the house in Tyvek, but there is nothing on the addition. The system works pretty slick. This was the first time they’ve ever used this product so there was a bit of a learning curve for them. They put the wall sheathing up and then instead of wrapping it in Tyvek, they “join” the neighboring sheets with what looks like packing tape. It literally goes on with a tape gun of sorts. The tape is the black strips you see in the picture below.
Why use this system instead of plywood and Tyvek? Well, the Huber system is water resistant and it creates an air barrier too. This means you don’t need the Tyvek. Iowa is one, big, open prairie. I have around 45 wind turbines as our neighbors. If you know anything about wind turbines, you know they aren’t located where there isn’t any wind. In other words, it is very windy at our farm.
In all likelihood, this project will sit like this for an extended period of time since we are in the middle of winter. If the house was wrapped in Tyvek, it’s possible the wind would rip it to shreds. And while the Huber system might cost more than plywood and Tyvek, it saved me on labor costs because it “zipped” on so quick, it didn’t take many contractor hours to do it.
Zipped, get it?
As you can see by the looks of the puddles, January has been unusually warm. We would normally see piles of snow. My yard has been one, big, muddy mess. I have never seen this much mud in the yard. The problem is, the ground is not completely frozen, so it’s very easy to get stuck. I would have to say that getting around in snow has been easier than all of this mud and muck!
But not to worry. This is Iowa, after all, and you know what they say. If you don’t like the weather, wait a day and it’ll change. This looks more like it. Literally, one day later and here we are with enough snow to make a bigger mess. Snow on top of mud makes for horrible driving conditions.
And this is where we’ve stopped. The addition is enclosed. They’ve since added garage doors and openers. This picture was taken on January 24. But the bonus in all of this is…..WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO MOVE HOME as of January 26. We are now able to sleep in our own beds and we even parked in our new garage.
I told my contractor that if they never did anything else to my house again, this would still be better than what I had. I didn’t know they would take that to heart. (I’m kidding.) I know contractors do this thing where they try to make everyone happy so they do a little work here and a little work there. Speaking from experience, it drives the client crazy. It would be nice to have stairs coming up from the garage instead of the mini-stepladder style stairs. And I’d love to have stairs to the basement instead of using a ladder to get down there.
But, I can patient and I am okay with waiting. Maybe someone else needs something done more quickly than I do. I know that sometimes they are dependent on weather, supplies, and time. We are home, in our own beds and following our own routines. We are content and grateful we have made it this far. We’ve been at this for 12 years. A few more days, weeks or months, won’t kill us. At least I don’t think so, though that drop off from the garage to the house is a doozy.
Salvaging A Farmhouse is a series of blog posts that chronicle my experience of renovating and reclaiming our 1900 farmhouse. This is a project that is over a decade in the making. We were working towards some pretty serious renovations on the house until my husband became sick with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and died 9 weeks after his diagnosis. My kids and I have been left with the task of completing what we started all those years ago. Every house and every family have a story and this is the story of ours.