DIY House Addition: Month Seven Wrap-Up

Fall took its time standing on the edge of beautiful sunny weekends, taunting us with cloudless days and feathery breezes… and then that bitch took a deep breath last week and plunged us into the dark, icy days of Winter.

It took me like four days to finally catch my breath. Then I bough myself a pair of Carhartts, long johns, and some new gloves and got ready to work in temperatuers that I’m sure can freeze a person’s eyeballs right out of their head. It’s bottoming out in the twenties now, but it’s only a matter of time…

And hey, I’m still living in a garage!

Good news: the space heater can turn the one-room garage apartment into a sauna, so no one is going to freeze to death in their sleep. Other good news: we may have actual heat in the house in the next couple of weeks as well. It’s not as good as having 4 more weeks in the 60’s, but it’s something.

Month 7 Progress: Lights and trenches and siding, oh my!

A few months ago the house looked like this:


We’ve made progress on the illumination front:


And with the siding:


In the last month we’ve:

  • Completed (and stained, thanks Mom) 50% of the siding
  • Passed all of our utilities inspections (HVAC, plumbing, electrical)
  • Had one fireplace installed
  • Finished concrete pads in basement
  • Blocked in old basement windows
  • Trenched water and electric out to the barn

Still on the list to complete:

  • Geothermal wells (They keep saying “next week” which has been going on for two months. Why can’t I pay you less if you constantly lie to me?)
  • 1 fireplace installation
  • Building inspection
  • Insulation
  • Drywall
  • The rest of the siding.

After that’s done I get to move on to tiling, cabinetry, and flooring. I never thought I’d be so ready to install thousands of little glass tiles again.

Month 7 Financial Status: Rapidly Dwindling Zeros

I went into greater detail last month about our financial decisions thus-far. We’ve paid for a lot of the big-ticket items that we’d alloted this chunk of change for including HVAC, electric, fireplaces, etc. Next month we’ll pay for our geothermal wells, insulation, and drywall, which will clean out what is left of our official budget.

MysteryMan has quite a few zeros left on his own personal budget for things like interior doors and whole-house audio systems, and I’ve been buying and hoarding light-fixtures and tile out of my tool-fund money for the last few months, which means we’ll have plenty to keep us busy until the next wave of cash we’re expecting in early spring. (Can you say geothermal tax credit? It’s totally going to pay for my kitchen cabinets.)

Month 7 Injury Report: No Thanks to the Wine

All fingers and toes are present and accounted for. The fact that no one broke any bones this month is shocking considering my penchant for drinking wine and balancing on top of shop equipment to take pictures.


Month 7 Lessons Learned: It Takes Forever and That’s Just The Way It Is

This is the month where I finally chilled out with the whole running around waving my arms over my head and yelling that the sky would fall if we didn’t get the siding on before winter. I don’t care what the calendar says, it is now winter. And since we’re all still sitting here, the universe did not–in fact– implode into itself killing all intelligent life just because my siding wasn’t on.

I don’t really dig working out in the cold unless it’s shoveling or something high-impact that keeps your warm, but this is life. Despite the fact that my dad insists I need to hire help for the siding because eventually it’s going to get too cold to nail the wood in (which is a completely unsubstantiated claim) I’ve learned to settle down about the whole thing. Yes, it’s frustrating to be stuck at a desk when it’s sunny and nice out, and then come home to pitch black and freezing at 6PM, but being stressed about it doesn’t make the work go faster.

Also, siding is taking way longer than we ever anticipated. That’s just the way it is I guess.

7 Responses

  1. I did the ‘waving my arms in the air’ siding dance also. It didn’t help anything. The siding will still be there waiting for you in the spring. Use nice days for siding, but concentrate on the interior for now. (I recall one Thanksgiving post-meal when it was 45 and sunny. Grab the ladders, it’s time to get busy! That was a good day.)

  2. I think everything takes longer than we think they will. Maybe it’s how our brains work due to evolution or something – if we really knew just how long something would take to complete, we might not even do that thing at all. Hmm…

    But great lesson to learn. Stress just ain’t worth it 🙂

    1. I am in total agreement with this. If one even knew how long it *might* take to demo, re-build any room in a house or any other project I think running in fear in the opposite direction would be the appropriate response. At least this is what I have learned in thirty years of owning and rebuilding homes… Obviously I did not LEARN the run in fear in opposite direction part very well. 😉

    1. Swear to god I’ll give you the complete and real breakdown when we get it finished. I can tell you now that when all was said and done we bought the house for $50k and have put another $60k into it at this point… there’s probably another $30k-ish until it’s got all the things a house needs, like floors and a kitchen.

      My family is in the foundation business though, so we got a lot of work and property in “gifts”… (we’re extra lucky on that front)so it takes a little more explaining to get to the real numbers. Hopefully at the end of it we’ll be able to see exactly how much we saved with all the DIY.

  3. I agree with the others everything takes much longer than expected. I’m almost dreading our big upcoming remodel next year because of that. But then I think of the final product and look forward to it again.

    Everything is coming along nicely!

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