The Schroder crew poured the new basement floor on December 6, which was on day 63 of the project. Concrete work in December in Iowa is never ideal. The guys not only made it work but they made it work well. It’s just hard to believe the weather cooperated as beautifully as it has for the entire project.
There was one area of the floor they were not happy with. The condensation had dropped from the new addition’s ceiling/floor onto the concrete in some areas and left some water spots. These guys have to be bigger perfectionists than I am because they didn’t even bother me. It didn’t do anything to make the floor uneven. It just has a few darker splotches. I’m not planning on polishing the concrete down there, so it’s all good!
We are in another holding pattern waiting for the electricians to hook up the electricity for the house. We have electricity to the furnace, but that’s where it ends. There’s no yard light or no lights anywhere for that matter. This is what is preventing us from moving back into the house.
The plumbers have replaced the old water system. Our old system was shot. We used to have a Kinetico Iron Curtain system to help with the rust, but that quit working long ago. The water test came back as the water testing high in iron bacteria and arsenic! This isn’t unusual in Iowa. A reverse osmosis system will be hooked up to the kitchen sink. This system will eliminate the arsenic or at least reduce it to an acceptable level. The whole house filter will eliminate the iron bacteria as will shocking the well. The well hasn’t been shocked in quite some time. My husband did it last time and I’m guessing that was about five years ago.
I just want to be able to have a toilet bowl free of rust and my daughter would appreciate being a blonde instead of a strawberry blonde or as we like to refer to it, pumpkin blonde. Seriously, though, the heavy iron content has been hard on the appliances, fixtures and our clothes. It’s a pain to keep up with!! I’m really hoping this new system eliminates that.
They replaced the galvanized water lines with new PEX tubing. My husband had installed some PEX earlier and it works great. There are no pipes to solder. You just make the connection from end to end. It’s fast and cheap. I like fast and cheap. So far, little in this project has been fast or cheap.
So while I may have water, I don’t have electricity to run the well pump, or the lights, or anything else.
The rafters were delivered on January 11. This means the roof over the addition can’t be far off!
The biggest day of all (so far) happened on January 14. I thought the house drop was a big deal, but that could not compare with actually being able to stand in our new basement with its newly poured floor. I cannot accurately put into words how awesome it was to stand on that perfect floor, smell the new lumber, and see the bright and shiny HVAC system. It looked like a new house. Even my water conditioning system was beautiful!!
I wanted the basement walls to be nine feet tall. Taller walls meant more money, but it was worth it in the end. I have a touch of claustrophobia and I love the high ceilings I have in the rest of our house. The ceiling height won’t quite be nine feet when the basement is finished once the sheetrock goes in over the ductwork, but it’ll still be a higher ceiling than we had.
At some point, a bathroom will be added to this space. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to afford it right away, but we put the plumbing in place because it’s much harder to get that done once the concrete was poured. It’ll be a small bathroom, but it will be a full bathroom.
As I try to figure out what is my favorite thing about the basement, I’m drawn to these windows! I cannot believe the size of them! They let so much natural light in. This side of the basement will eventually be split in half to make a room for a craft room for me. The other part will be a spare bedroom. Overall, the entire basement is my favorite, but these windows are pretty darn cool!
I am so happy with how the basement turned out but after the basement we had, anything would have been a big improvement. This feels like a total luxury!! In case you’ve forgotten just how bad the old basement was, here’s a little before and after:
Basement Before - North Wall
Basement After - North Wall
Basement Before - South Wall
Basement After - South Wall
Basement Before - NW Corner Plumbing
Basement After - NW Corner Plumbing
We still have a long way to go and more than anything, we all just want to move back home. It was Ben Franklin who said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Three days? How about three months? My in-laws have to be ready for us to go!! I like my routine and I miss being able to have my own. I cannot imagine how we have disrupted their routines. We are all very appreciative of having a nice place to live during this segment of our project, but we are definitely ready to get back to our own routines, our own beds, and our own habits.
I think it was particularly trying when we had to spend Christmas away from our home. We didn’t have our own tree, decorations, or our own traditions. We have never been away from our home at Christmas. It was the strangest Christmas morning we’ve had since my husband died. Even then, we woke up in our own house and had our own Christmas in front of our own Christmas tree. We are pretty resilient and we have learned to roll with the many changes we’ve experienced. We know are so fortunate my in-laws so willingly opened their home to us. My mother-in-law keeps telling me not to get in a rush to move out. My father-in-law asks just about every day if there’s anything new at the house. I think she’s good with us living with her forever…my father-in-law, maybe not so much. 😉
My friends and family ask me why I don’t rattle some cages and get people to move on the project. I just really don’t want to complain. Believe me, I used to be a cage rattler. I would let people know when I was displeased with a situation no matter how big or small. Since losing my Dad and especially since losing my husband, I’ve come to the realization that things move on God’s time. Part of this shift in attitude may be because I’m just flat out exhausted from everything that’s happened over the last five years. I’m tired of forcing a square peg into a round hole. This project will get done when it’s supposed to be done and not a moment earlier or later. We know that God is always right on time.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3
Salvaging The House is a series of blog posts that chronicle my experience of renovating and reclaiming our 1900 farmhouse. This is a project that is over a decade in the making. We were working towards some pretty serious renovations on the house until my husband became sick with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and died 9 weeks after his diagnosis. My kids and I have been left with the task of completing what we started all those years ago. Every house and every family have a story and this is the story of ours.
To view the series from beginning to end please go to this page: Salvaging The House.