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February 14, 2012

It’s been over a month since I last posted.  Since that time, we’ve framed, roughed in electrical and plumbing, insulated, drywalled, taped, sanded, and primed.  We’ve ordered cabinets and carpet.  I’m now in the process of tiling the floors for the wet bar, bathroom, and laundry room — I figure I have 8-12 hours of tiling left, and will need a day for grouting.

So, I learned a few things along the way…

  • First, remain flexible, and when changes need to be made, make sure you think through all of the implications.   One example:
    • We had originally planned on having a 36″ door between the wet bar area and the unfinished storage area.  As the framing progressed, I decided I wanted the extra wall space in the wet bar (for cabinetry), and so reduced the door to a 30″ door.  (Bigger wet bar, more room for cabinets).
    • We decided to frame the walls about an inch off the cinderblock walls to allow air flow, and we ended up moving the bathroom wall about a foot (into the wet bar area) to prevent the need for a small soffit over the wet bar.   (Smaller wet bar, less room for cabinets).
    • Because of the pressure on the wet bar space, I decided I could no longer support L-shaped cabinet configuration, and modified my plans to only have cabinets on the wet wall (the back wall in a nook).   (Less cabinetry, save a few bucks).
    • …But I failed to rethink the door situation — I could have gone back to the 36″ door as originally planned — which would have been nice for the storage area.  Not a huge deal since the door to the basement is only 30″, but the larger door would have made it easier to move large items out of the way for entertaining.
  • Second:  don’t rush if you don’t have to.
    • We measured for carpet and purchased floor tile as soon as framing was completed (mid-January).  Not the best decision, but we were hoping to use the space for my twins’ birthday party in the middle of March. 
    • We ordered the carpet at the beginning of February, still intending to host the party at home.
    • I began tiling last weekend, and have so far tiled the wet bar, bathroom, and joining hallway.   I need to finish the hallway,  under-the-stairs closet, and laundry room.
    • If I wouldn’t have already ordered the tile and carpet, I probably would have stopped the tile outside the bathroom and carpetted the hallway and closet.  Everything will look fine as planned, but I could have saved ~ $6/sf  (not to mention time and back pain).  It’s only 40 sf of tile so it’s not a huge cost savings.
    • We placed the order for our cabinets last week.  We were ready earlier, but decided to wait to take advantage of a forthcoming sale.
    • We found out this morning that the cabinets won’t arrive until after the birthday party…  (Two days after — damn!)  And we can’t carpet until we have the cabinets installed (one of the cabinets is a built-in entertainment center). 
  • Really think through your build plan and do things in the right order:
    • I purchased an A/V panel system.
    • I knew I was going to re-run the existing coax for cable TV — I didn’ t want to bury splitters in the ceiling — but I figured I would address that when I ran all the new cables.
    • We framed the walls and furred the ceiling.
    • I ran all the new electrical and low-voltage wires.
    • When I went to re-run the existing coax, I couldn’t get to all of the romex staples that were holding it in place.  I think I spent four hours just trying to remove four staples (without ruining the wires).  Very frustrating (and uncomfortable) work.  Had I at least removed or loosened the staples ahead of time, I would have saved a half day of work.

From → Interior Design

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