We’re still deciding…

We're still deciding what to do about the rental situation. We're here until 6/15 (or we can be, anyway). We can travel over the summer, stay with Daniel and Anne for a bit, try to move into a half-renovated house (or the third floor anyway) around Sept 1.

Pam says she can maybe try to have the third floor basically done by then, so we could live up there. But the work won't be completed until mid-October at the earliest. Alternatively, I can suck it up and do a full move into another rental (well, half-move, since half of our stuff is just in boxes in the basement), and plan to move again when the house is ready. That's probably the sensible solution, but the thought of it makes me want to cry. I don't know.

This is a rough timeline of what's to come. Keep in mind that things could go faster, if the gods are kind, stuff arrives on time, and work can be overlapped. But it could also go slower, especially with an old house which is likely to have quirks and problems.


Historic committee approved structural drawings; submitted to village for permits: Monday, 3/22

Permitting: 3-6 weeks (hopefully)

May 1

Demolition: 7-10 days
Backfill and excavation: 1 week
More than one pour (concrete): 1 week
Subfloor + Framing + Windows: 3-5 weeks
Rough plumbing / electrical / roofing: 2 weeks

July 1

HVAC: 1-2 weeks
Insulation: 1 week
Flooring, Drywall, Duroc for tub & shower surrounds: 3 weeks
Tiling / paint interior: 2-3 weeks

(early move in?)

Sept 1

Doors: 3 days - 3 weeks (depending on whether we get new doors, or try to use old ones)
Trims: 2 weeks
Setting in kitchen: 1 week

Oct 1

Cabinetry in baths, etc.: 1-2 week
(hopefully staining and varnishing overlaps some): 3 weeks
Finish floors: 1-2 weeks
All the finish (granite, glass, etc): 1 week

Dec 1

Typical move-in
Punch list: 2 months


We'd hoped to have our families come out to Chicago for Christmas this year, show off the kids and the new house. I don't know how likely that is right now. Maybe.

4 thoughts on “We’re still deciding…”

  1. Rule of thumb on renovations (especially if you haven’t done them before) is twice the time and twice the money. (Ours, scheduled for Feb-May, actually took until Oct 31.) So I’d recommend a rental, or your blood pressure could shoot up in November.

  2. I agree. Find a rental at least until January 2011 if not even after. Do not count on this schedule working out. The best case scenario is one month over. That’s October for just the third floor.

  3. as being an “old” construction worker, I don’t understand how companies do business … I worked for a rather well-known nation-wide firm that specialized in renovations (think ‘dad and his male kids’) and it surprised the holy cow out of me when we would show up at 8 am and not lift a finger till 11 … then, of course, it was break time and then lunch time … I remember a tear down that took over a week to do and they were patting themselves on the back for “quick” work … when in reality, it should of only taken maybe 1 day at most

    some of the better builds I can remember were when the owners were on site … it seemed that everyone was on their toes and constantly looking for something to do

    my advice is to be a thorn in their sides, after all, it is YOUR HOUSE … not theirs … you are paying the bills, which makes you the BOSS … show up on the site when they do (and complain when they show up late) be an active part of the build (those doors you speak of, take them down and re-do them yourself … better to spend $20 on a refinish kit, than spend $200-$300 on a new “antique” door) … same with all the moldings and trim … you can finish that to your own taste, style and color … ask if you can help out on any tear-downs, or at least “over see” them …

    the more you are seen, the more likely the build will go as smooth as you wish

  4. There are some complicating factors. It’s pretty hard to find a local rental with a dog, especially for less than a year. Since our current lease runs to mid-June, we definitely don’t want to sign a year lease starting then; we’d be looking for a six month lease, which is harder to find. We can leave Ellie at Jarmila’s for a month or two, I think, but not six months — and we wouldn’t want to, even if we could.

    Another complication, in a good way, is that Daniel and Anne have kindly renewed their offer to let us stay at their place. So there’s a potential timeline that looks like this:

    – stay here ’til mid-June
    – visit family over the summer
    – come back mid-Aug for start of school, stay with Daniel and Anne (send Ellie to Jarmila’s)
    – hope to move into house Sept 1…but if it’s not ready, can stay at Daniel and Anne’s for another month, or longer

    So there’s a fair bit of flexibility in that option, if we need it.

    I did check out our GC’s references pretty thoroughly, and people uniformly said that her jobs came in on schedule (and on budget (!)). There could always be unforeseen complications, of course, that aren’t under her control, but I’m pretty certain that Pam will do her best to move the project along — especially if there’s a move-in deadline, since she’d like to get as much of the work done as possible *without* kids and a dog underfoot.

    Jim, I think you may be overestimating our DIY skills. I’d love to keep the old doors, but a) they’d have to be stripped, which is a bit of extra expense, and b) I’m not sure how difficult it would be to fit them into the new frames. Maybe if we just used them for the places they originally came from? But we’re changing the layout of almost the entire interior (where we aren’t changing it, there are mostly larged framed openings, rather than doors). I’m just not sure how hard it’ll be to fit them in.

    We’re still thinking about it, though. In fact, we’re going to some architectural salvage places this week and next, and one thing I’ll be looking for is more actually antique doors. 🙂 I’m sure we’ll have some new doors as well, but it’d be nice to have a couple funky old doors in the place.

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