I think the industry needs to rethink what they call the work they do. It seems to me that deconstruction is a more accurate word to describe taking down walls, obliterating a ceiling here and there, digging out basements full of sand and you know, depositing it elsewhere until sandal season.
New-builds can do all the construction they want, but lets call a spade a spade here. When something that used to look like this:
comes to look something more like this:
that’s deconstruction. But its all good, because work on what Frank refers to as the “Superstructure” (foundation, rebuilding the floor upstairs, supporting the attic with beams, supporting other parts of the house with even more beams) is coming along, and should be complete by the end of the week, and this includes lowering the basement!
The foundation specialist started to dig the new floor on one side of the basement and I got to stand on it today. It was IN-credible, just so awesome to look up eight feet to the new ceiling height. The height is (of course) dead space because neither D. nor I are particularly tall and we don’t have any friends in the NBA (yet) but I suspect it will help it it feel less basement-y, which is never a bad thing. D. and I got so excited after visiting the rubble that is the basement that we made a b-line to our local housewares store to look at flooring samples.
The working idea at this point is to lay a durable laminate floor that mimics the look of hardwood. I am attracted to styles that have grey undertones like barn wood, they look like they’ll flow nicely with the grey and white kitchen upstairs. We’ll need something bright because eight feet or not, its still a basement.
But getting back to this idea of superstructure, if I may, because what’s going on in the house is kind-of super when I think about it. I wonder about how many other houses of our vintage have completely new foundations… as I may have mentioned before, had we known before we purchased it that the house was riddled with structural issues, it just wouldn’t have become our home. Not a chance in h-e-double hockey sticks. (And yes, we did have a home inspection done). I think a lot of people may have opted to tear ‘er down if they knew the extent of its problems and could afford to build from scratch. I like the thought that we may have saved it from demise, even if it wasn’t our choice.
Across the street from us and up and down the block glorious new builds seem to sprout without fail each spring. Large, modern structures, some of them three stories high with massive, flat-panel windows, a lot of stone, blocky, pretty in their own way I suppose, but not a style D. nor I really appreciate. I just saw another victim come on the market last week. We popped in to assess the situation. The real estate agent was frank about it, “Its a tear-down” she said. Its too bad. But it is what it is.
I am currently in a love-hate relationship with our house, as I suspect many people going through a substantial renovation feel. Some days I find myself thinking that there is no finished product that could ever compensate for all the stress and anger, all the time that could have been better spent, all of the financial blood-letting, that this stupid thing has caused us.
D and I leave the house after the weekly check-ups, usually grab some lunch somewhere, and over burgers we re-hash the current week’s progress and become re-invigorated by it all, to the point that almost without fail –and even if we are on the opposite end of the city– we will find an excuse to inch back to our ‘hood and have one more look; we’ll approach from a different street this time, a different angle. And one of us will turn to the other and speak the words the other needs to hear: “Its going to be awesome.”