Monday, May 27, 2013

Eve of destruction

Tomorrow is the first day of our remodel! And what will we begin with? Why, demolition, of course.  

The boys will start by knocking out the back wall of our basement. Now it seems to me that if our house has an upper level and a lower level, and the walls of the lower level are destroyed, then wouldn't the whole house collapse? Just sayin' . . . .

Rebecca and I are already being disabused of a little assumption we made. We had thought we'd be able to use our house as a sort of pied a terre during the course of the remodel. You know, come visit on the weekends, maybe watch a movie,
The reception's great,
if you don't mind a little plastic.

enjoy a nice homey getaway from our apartment, 

put our friends up in the guest room.

And did I mention that our job features the coolest port-a-potty on earth?
Eat your heart out, Martha Stewart!
Stay tuned, kids.  This party's just getting started.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mini we

Greetings from our new apartment.  This is mostly a swell place.  Awesome views of the water. 

It's a corner apartment.

Walking distance to the ballpark!

Granted, it's the San Francisco Chronicle.
Newspaper delivered right to our door. And we don't have to walk down any steps, like at our house.

But, as Mary Shelley wrote in Frankenstein, "Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change." Yo, Mary, nothing is so painful to the back, either.

Apartment living is taking a little getting used to. Rebecca and I are having trouble finding things. Can you find my World Series glass in this photo? Me either. For that matter, I can't find my cat.  

Ergonomically speaking, the place is lacking. Not enough shelves make for too much bending. The apartment is smaller than our house and even though we tried to pare down all that we brought here, we still can't find places to put things. My home office was a separate and generously sized room. My apartment office is a corner of the living room. 

Pardon the complaining. It's what I do best. Big picture-wise, the place is fine and it's where we're going to live until our home is much improved.

Here are a couple of photos of our new digs. Please excuse the mess. We just got here two days ago.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

What the heck are we doing?

Back in October, in fact, the very day the San Francisco Giants became 2012 World Champions* we met with Mark and Marc to talk about creative ideas we could employ in redoing our basement.
*The United States, according to Major League Baseball, is the World. 

Mark and Marc are the proprietors of 2M Architecture. They were the architects on our kitchen remodel in 2009.  (If you want the details of that, you can check out this link:  Linda and Rebecca's Kitchen Remodel.)  Mark and Marc were and are also nice enough to become our friends. As our 2013 job grew beyond the scope of a run to Ikea, they became our architects again.

So here's what we agreed on:
  • Let's put in a new drainage system. Our house is built on top of a covert little creek that has been known to wreak havoc and cause dampness in our basement during heavy rains. This new drainage system means excavating the whole frickin' floor downstairs. 
  • Let's cut a hole in our deck, which overhangs (and darkens) the basement. Let's replace some of the wood with tempered glass that will let natural light in downstairs.

We'll cut a rectangle near the house and replace it with glass.
  • Let's put in big windows downstairs to let in even more light.
  • Let's destroy our downstairs half-bathroom, currently located in the northeast corner of the house.
  • Let's replace it with a full bath and locate it in the southwest corner of the house. Because we can.
  • Let's move the washer and dryer there, too.
  • Let's replace our interior stairs. They're narrow and treacherous, especially when we're carrying stuff on them.
  • Let's take the bathtub out of the upstairs bathroom, since we'll need the space it occupies to make headroom for the more gently sloped interior staircase. Oh, and let's take out the wall to the right of the tub, too.  

Bye-bye bathtub!

  • Let's put in closets and shelves and a pantry and a cool computery workspace for Rebecca.

And then, as a little afterthought, I asked Mark and Marc if there was any way our one-car garage could be made into a two-car garage. The 2Ms, who think nothing of having other people's walls destroyed and rebuilt, said "sure." Which was just the answer we were looking for. 

So the contractors will indeed take down that wall you see in the far end of this picture and put up a new one further into the basement, thereby making enough room for Rebecca's Prius and my Mini Clubber* to snuggle together inside, one in front of the other.
*Officially, it's a Mini Clubman, but that's so gender-exclusive, don't you think?

To sum up, during this remodel, our floors will be jackhammered to bits, the heat will be turned off (and heat is much needed during San Francisco summers), and our garage, washer and dryer will be unavailable to us.

Look for us to move the hell out of here this Monday.  More on that in my next post.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Who came up with this idea?

It started out innocently enough. My partner, Rebecca, and I wanted more living space. Ever since she moved in with me in 1995, Rebecca has not had enough space in the house to call her own. She wanted a place where she could work, do tai chi, think deep thoughts and do whatever she wanted unencumbered. I already have such a space, which is my home office.  Not that I do tai chi (or think deep thoughts), but you get the idea.

We figured we had three choices:
1.  Buy a new house.
2.  Build up, i.e., add a story on top of the house we live in.
3.  Remodel.

1.  Too expensive and I was too attached to the place we've lived in for 18+ years. Our garden alone is pretty fabulous.

2.  Too many stairs to climb. We are women of a certain age, if you get my drift.

3.  A grudging okay. I mean, who likes to remodel?  But, we figured, we'll spend our 2012 Hanukah vacation going to Ikea, getting some shelves, rearranging the junk in our basement 

and voila! We'd have a space that would be Rebecca-worthy in time for the new year. We were thinking New Year 2013.