When we left off before, we had taken down trees, removed the asbestos tile throughout the house, began demoing the walls, put on a new detached garage roof, to name a few things. In Phase II, we finished all the 2017 digging work:

  • New sewer line (moved from the back of the house to a more convenient side location tie-in)
  • Underground electric and cable lines (with upgraded service to 200 amps) from pole to the house
  • Sump pump drainage lines from back of the house to the woods
  • Underground electric service to the detached garage from the house
  • New footings for the foundation and porches

Come spring 2018 we’ll upgrade the water line, as well, but for now–stick a fork in it, because we’re done (with digging).

Inside the house, we were just as busy, tearing out walls, ceilings, and anything else that happened to be in our way. Related: the sledgehammer is probably my favorite tool of all time. So much so that we broke (!) my dad’s and had to get him a replacement. Also, it is not anything like what it looks like in HGTV. I didn’t think that it was going to be a walk in the park, but dang, you get far more sweaty and dirty than you ever think possible.

Down this peaceful street…

In a small wooded neighborhood, with a lake at the end of the road…

Lies our house, with its jacked up appearance right now. 🙂 In this pic, there is 6’+ holes on either side of the front door for the new front porch footings. We’ve got a couple of beams holding up the roof since the support of the original front porch is gone.

From inside, looking out the front door.

Ceilings removed from all rooms; insulation still needs to be pulled from the kitchen area. Piece of wood with insulation covers the original hole for the staircase to the basement that is now being relocated to the back of the house.

Behind this pole to the left will be the powder room; to the right will be the stairs up to the girls’ rooms.

So all of the house had about 8″ of wool insulation originally that mice LOVED and made whole colonies in. Later the previous owners had 19″ blown in, packing down the wool and keeping the rodents nice and cozy. 27″ of insulation…ridiculous. We’ve filled over 130 contractor bags already and still aren’t done.

Looking in from the front door.

Standing in the powder room, looking down into the master bedroom.

What will be the master bathroom.

Future mudroom.

Jason is planning to finish the last of the insulation removal tomorrow, and roof tear off is beginning this week! I am so excited…obviously we’ve been doing a ton of work but a lot of it is mechanical or digging–now we’re getting to the phase where there is a lot of daily measurable progress.

I know I will love 2018 already, simply because it means I can move into my new home! While I do not regret any of our decisions along the way, it is tiring to not have a settled place of our own, and I am anxious to get into our “new new house”, as Hazel calls it. I wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!

In a couple of months…we’ll be here. 🙂

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Emily Behnke

Formerly a high level professional in a scientific organization, Ms. Behnke now owns and operates an organization and design company focused on living well in small spaces.

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