Renovation in Memphis – 20 Weeks and Counting

The last time I wrote about our renovation it was July 20. After 6 more weeks, through the end of last week, things had moved only backwards.  We actually had more demo in our temporary living space.  In the process of removing 3 columns, more temporary walls were required and 2 new beams were built.  This occurred as we welcomed company from Oregon for a long weekend.  Our temporary kitchen and living room now look like this (the new beams run parallel to the temporary walls in the 2nd picture):

temp walls and living

temp walls and pool talbe

Since our indoor sitting area has been obliterated, we really do spend all of our time outside.  And with dusk, the bugs come out:


This was our friend from Oregon’s foot after a couple nights outside.  We spray for every bug known to mankind, but we are still beleaguered with mosquitos, chiggers (maybe), and no-see-ems.  Hubby often covers himself in OFF and stays outside to watch sports on our outside TV.  I prefer not to spray with OFF so I usually go inside, often to bed.  We do have a TV in our bedroom, just because we had an extra TV and that was the only place to put it.  Now, for the first time in our lives, we watch TV in bed.  Anything to escape the Memphis bugs.

Finally, our contractor got through all rough-in inspections.  We were warned that that process can take a month in Memphis; it seemed that ours took nearly 2 months.  During that time, nothing was accomplished that was discernible to my eye.  We stayed in construction zone mode and remain there.

Last week, all the remaining doors were delivered, including the pocket doors for the cased opening that will separate our new family room from the remains of the formal living room.  The pocket doors are beautiful, but not what we asked for.  We accepted them because they go better with the house; they are just more difficult to clean.  We asked for single sheets of glass, etched with the idea of wood slats, and instead received individual glass pains separated with actual wood.  I’m sure there is a name for this kind of door, but I can’t bring it to mind.  This picture shows the frame that the pocket door will sit in, not the finished door itself.Pocket Doors

Last Friday morning, the remaining walls in the remodeled area were demoed (the large windows on the left of the picture will all be replaced with a new door/window unit without transoms), demoed kitchenand then we got insulated!Insulated Kitchen  They first sprayed some kind of liquid insulation (that hardens) on the inside of the external walls and then added normal insulation.

This morning, sheet rock arrived, along with lots of workers to install it!kitchen walls  They are starting with the areas where cabinetry goes, because, believe it or not, cabinetry gets installed tomorrow!  That is great news because forward progress is being made, but how can they install beautiful new cabinetry in a construction zone and protect it?  The whole window/door unit at the end of the new kitchen still needs to be replaced; sheet rock will not be finished.  Wood floors (scheduled to be finished starting in 2 weeks) are not yet installed.  There is a lot of finish carpentry to be done, and lots of painting.  The list goes on.  We are just trusting that our contractor knows what they are doing.

Today we meet our contractor at the cabinet makers shop to inspect our cabinetry before it is delivered for installation tomorrow.  It will be our first look!  Hubby thinks we have been a bit bland on color selection, and I’m worried we’ve been too bold.  Today we might see which of us is correct.  Update post trip to cabinet shop:  the colors are beautiful and plenty bold.  However, we picked a door style that is reversible and the doors have been drilled and installed with the wrong side out.  It very nearly brought me to tears.  The fix remains unclear.  The cabinet boxes will still be installed tomorrow and measurements for the counter tops and island stone can proceed on Thursday.  As of the moment, the resolution on the doors is up in the air.

Yesterday, I missed a step 2 steps away from the bottom of the staircase and went down hard.  In the process I sprained (I think) the 3 middle toes on my right foot.  As a result, I did not get up this morning to do our every-other-day run/walk routine.  I guess I could blame this fall on the fact that a temporary wall bisects our staircase and the rail is gone on the side that is wide enough to use,temp wall and stairs but I think the more important lesson is that I need to be present minded when I go down stairs at this point in my life.  I tend to be stumbly/trippy anyway, so keeping my mind on the stairs is important.  Hubby always carries baskets up and down the stairs for me – he understands my propensity to trip!

As the day has progressed, the hardwood flooring has been delivered and brought inside, hardwood flooringbut it will have to be moved by tomorrow because it sits where the island cabinetry will be installed; all the sheetrock is here.

Simultaneously with this project, we are making improvements to the Pool House.  The stairway in the Pool House is quite steep and since we rent this space on AirBnB,Pool 4

we’ve decided to replace the staircase with a circular set of stairs.  I intended to include a picture of the boxes it was delivered in, but our contractor has taken the boxes away to storage at their facility since the work is scheduled to start on October 8.  I’ve also put off delivery of furniture for our new family room, which was to be held til late September, but was coming to us last week.  I certainly hope they can track it down and get it to us at the end of September.

Most days, we can roll with the construction punches.  Today has been a challenge, largely because our AT&T wireless went down in both the main house and in the pool house at the same time – 2 different accounts.  Dealing with the AT&T call center is a royal pain in the butt; the comeuppance was that they scheduled 2 different technicians to come out in the same 2 hour window because, well, that is how they do it.  The call center has a decision tree that they follow and there is zero common sense applied.  At least both technicians are here now; maybe between the 2 of them, they will figure it out.

Since I’ve been working on this blog post most of the day, the sheet rockers have made a lot of progress:  the top picture that follows is from the kitchen island looking across through the new family room with the fireplace on the right.  The second picture is looking into the corner of the sitting room with the fireplace on the right of the picture (in the dark).fam room sheet rockedsitting room sheet rocked

Both of these pictures look dark, but in reality the space is nice and light.  I guess you’ll have to trust me on that one.  The sheet rocked space looks great, the ceiling is high, and the light is great.  It is actually beginning to look less like a construction zone.

2 thoughts on “Renovation in Memphis – 20 Weeks and Counting

  1. Wow! At the beginning of the post it looked as if nothing had been done since we were there. I thought about how frustrated you must be! But by the end, it suddenly is looking like a living space — how exciting!

  2. Wow! What an ordeal! Are you & Joel still speaking to the contractor? They all sound kind of inept!
    Sure hope things speed up so you two can sit down over a cup of coffee & finally enjoy your move & new house! Maybe that ought to be a bottle of wine!

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