No remodeling project is without a little angst. And, we’re significantly uptight, so we feel a bit bad for the scrutiny that we subject our contractor and architect to. But, they’ve both been great and have humored us. We have a few small hurdles…nothing large, but just a few minor interesting things.

  • Our back wall currently is concrete block. That wall is being “popped” out, but the concrete block wall was to remain for support and architectural detailing. Because of the intricate cutting and stripping, we went ahead and decided to have the 4 foot wide wall rebuilt. Good thing we decided that. The crew demo’d the wall this week. Turns out that it wasn’t a weight bearing concrete block wall. They were DECORATIVE! They were not solid blocks…just half blocks in front of very flimsy 2×4 frames. Our architect was surprised how little was holding up our entire back wall.
  • Our architect has worked with a structural engineer to do all of the complex weight bearing design issues. We’ve never met him, as our architect worked directly with him. The structural engineer just completed some consultation and city inspector required work. We thought we needed to call him again for more clarification on our beam hangers. (Yea, what are those? I’ll take pictures once I learn more). Our contractor called the engineer and was told that the structural had died a few days before in a motorcycle accident. Shocking! Selfishly, we’re so glad that he got most of the complex work done already and we’re hoping we don’t need more structural engineer engagement. Apparently, he was an avid cyclist. Geez, they scare me.
  • Our fence and retaining walls have been difficult. Tim did the drainage and retaining wall plan. We had to totally redesign the slope of the yard (away from house), while building structurally sound retaining walls. Our east neighbor’s lot is about 3-4 feet higher than ours. Our southern neighbor is about 4 feet higher than us. Tim staked out the retaining wall heights before hand and consulted with the guys setting the walls. Well, they sorta ignored him. Our contractor is taking care of everything and it is all good now, but we are learning that many people don’t understand grading plans, including the fence guys (and me).

Morals of story:

1. A lot of things are simply out of our control.

2. Even when you are in control and have perfectly planned, sometimes the plans aren’t used  we just need to roll with them a little

3. There is no way to perfectly plan (or see through walls).

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