24 July 2008

Taking a look at Renovations

With school drawing closer, I'm really under deadline to finish up the work on our house!

Last spring, Jenny and I decided to refinance our house and pull out some money for major renovations (this seemed insane, considering that so many American homeowners are going bankrupt, but we were OK). Our focus was on the "new" side of the house, built for my grandparents in 1958.

Since we moved into the house, we've all been living in the "warm side of the house," i.e. the original wing (built in 1954). As the kids grew up and moved into their own beds, things began to get crowded. Owen and JoJo now share the library, which isn't really big enough for one person, much less two with toys.

The reasons we stayed out of the "cold side of the house" were twofold. First, it's haunted. Second, two walls of the huge family room were taken up by energy-inefficient sliding-glass doors. The most recent time we tried to pay for heating both sides of the house in the winter, we ended up with a $541 heating bill.

The energy efficient improvements to the house, then, were tops on our list. We replaced the heating & cooling unit on the warm side. We replaced all the windows in the house with double-paned glass. We removed the sliding-glass doors and replaced them with walls and picture windows.

The house is haunted, too. There is a singing Santa Claus doll that Jenny's grandpa bought us for Christmas five years ago. Whenever a loud noise is made nearby, it starts shimmying and singing some stupid song called "Disco Santa." Mizpah died in 2004. The place is haunted.

Secondly, it's haunted because my grandma and grandpa's bedroom is there. That's their room, and in my mind it always will be. I was joking with someone at Oasis that sleeping there with Jenny would be like the first time I spent the night in bed with her in my mom & dad's house. Despite the fact that we were legally wed, I half expected my mom to come bursting through the door and say, "What do you think YOU'RE doing?"
Just this week, I got the cold side of the house ready for moving. I can't tell you how excited I became as I nailed in the final crown molding and swept up the final mess. How awesome!

As you will see from the photos, there is still much to do. I know that many of you--particularly the Ditteses--have been wondering what it looks like now. I'll take you on a photo tour of the new digs.

Photo 1: the family room from the outside. The wooden walls and picture windows are where the doors used to be. You will notice the french doors on the end of the room. We haven't stained the outside wood yet. That will be a fall activity.

Photo 2: detail of the back door and security light. We still have to pick out a color for the stain. I can guarantee one thing. It won't be the color of the trim above the bricks! That color looks best on a bowel movement, not a house.

Photo 3: looking toward the back door. You can see the flooring and the new ceiling fans much better in this one.

Photo 4: Closer view of the new windows on the west side of the family room. If you look closely, you can see the cool new lights in the hallway.

Photo 5: New hallway lights. This L-shaped hallway was always too dark. There was one light bulb in the corner expected to light both sides of the L. I found this lighting kit at Lowes that let me stretch out the lights. Now it's so much brighter! I have one 20-watt halogen light pointed at the steps to the kitchen, one pointed at the entrance to the family room, and three more to cover the space in between. Whenever I walk into the hall, I feel like I'm in an art gallery!

Photo 6: Here is a trick question--only the hardcore Ditteses will know this one. I think you would need to have spend 20 years of your life wandering the halls of this hallowed manse like I have to even answer it. This is a picture of the hallway in the warm side.

What's different?

If you figure it out, tell me in the comments.


garnet said...

I can't believe you stuck us is in a wing that you knew was haunted!

April McNulty said...

JD, the new renovations look awesome! I love the lighting in the halls. My guess on photo six, is the ceiling tiles are new.