Today we met with Ben to go over the final estimate for the renovation. We were stunned to learn that the cost of everything–framing, insulation, plumbing, drywall, electricity, and carpentry–will be almost double the original estimate. And that doesn’t include fixtures or tile for the bathroom, flooring for the kitchen and Sadie’s room, paint, or kitchen cabinets and/or countertops. Oh, and we won’t be moving in until November 1.
We were so dismayed by the news that we couldn’t bring ourselves to do anything productive last night. Instead, we watched “The Money Pit” and laughed. Sort of. The jokes were a little too close to home.
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We met with the contractor yesterday and got some disappointing news. In all reality, we can’t expect to move in to the house until October 1. At the earliest. That’s because framing won’t start until next week, and will probably take 3 weeks. Then we need to do plumbing and wiring, then insulation, then drywall. Each phase after the framing is expected to take about a week.
The other hard reality is that our budget is being swallowed up in very large increments. Framing will be about a quarter of the budget, as will plumbing, insulation, and drywall. That leaves…pretty much nothing for the kitchen. Luckily, we already have our sink, stove, and dishwasher. What we don’t have are cabinets and countertops. So, we purchased a 9-foot long stainless steel integrated sink and worktop for not much money from a used industrial furnishings place down in Sanford. We’ll still be able to set up the kitchen in a U-shape, with the fridge and stove at either end of the workspace. It will have to do for now, until we get our tax refunds next year, get second jobs, and/or win the lottery. Or some combination thereof.
We also won’t have much leftover for the bathroom, which needs to be built from scratch. We can always buy a bathtub and sink on credit, I suppose. We could attempt to do our own tiling, which I’m willing and ready to do, but Nick is worried that I’ll make some gauche tiling mistake that we’ll then have to look at every morning for the rest of our lives. The good news is that we do have usable wood floors where the bathroom will go, so I guess we could always heavily varnish them and hope for the best with wooden floors in the bathroom.
To top it all off, my uncle and his wife visited today from New Haven. We took them by the house, along with my brother, who was there that very first weekend when we ripped up the pee-stained carpeting. The looks on their faces when they saw the house–with its bare walls, old insulation dust strewn across floors and rafters, electrical wires swinging free and wild from ceilings, and the lingering smell of cat pee–reflected the vast chasm between where we are and the vision we have for the house in its final state. It’s going to be a long road.
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