Summer Departs from The Manor

Over the last five months we've done a lot of planning at The Manor, but don't have a great deal to show for it (yet). Here's a quick recap:

After months of my complaining that the house was too big, too old, too falling-down, too overwhelming, Bill offered me a tantalizing offer: what if we alternated one "maintenance" project and one "fancified" project (aiming for one each year)? That way we would always have a fun project in the works to think about while we slog through the stuff that must be done to keep the roof from crashing down on us. 

So, what's on the list for consideration?

I did a quick tally of some of the major (e.g. >$30,000) projects that we would like to tackle at some point in the next 10-15 years and they look something like this:

Fancified Projects

  1. Renovate the kitchen 
  2. Build a carriage house/garage
  3. Put in a pool
  4. Turn attic into a 3rd floor master suite
  5. Landscape the backyard and complete the garden

Maintenance Projects

  1. Replace the pillars on the front porch
  2. Repair/replace the rotten wood on the exterior of the house
  3. Dig up the basement, waterproof it and put in sump pumps

Let's start with the not-fun project. We've started a separate savings account for the pillars replacement project -- we're hoping to have $45,000 ready to go by the spring to get this major structural issue take care of within the next year. (The pillars are load-bearing and I hope every day not to wake up and find the front of the house caved in because the rotted wood has finally given out.) Our contractor consultations have confirmed that this is, indeed, a necessary (exorbitant) expense -- largely because pillars 40+ feet tall need to be cast in a single piece and trucked up on an 18-wheeler truck from Georgia. Then they have to lift the front of the house to remove and replace the pillars and that involves a lot of equipment and manpower. Yee-haw.

But enough about that...

While the pillar fund slowly grows, I've turned my attention to the biggest (and best) project on our list -- the kitchen renovation. We hired a designer in April, who has mocked up an awesome design that manages to include every item on my wishlist. That part was pretty straightforward, but then we hit a roadblock in June because getting a contractor  in our town is apparently like pulling teeth. We're still waiting for bids to come in (hopefully in the next week or two) and then we'll decide how to proceed. 

We estimate that once the project gets started (and it could be 2-3 months until the chosen contractor has an opening), it will take about 4 months to complete the kitchen renovation. That means it's very likely that we won't get started until January, since I don't fancy the idea of hosting Christmas dinner for my extended family in a partially-renovated kitchen.

Smaller projects need love too.

Of course, smaller projects proceed in the meantime, and rather than provide a long description of each, how about a photo montage? Yeah, I like the sound of that too.

Long story short, Bill started working on a garden and we got a lot of great produce this year (but only about 25% of what we will eventually get!), we found a new kitten in the backyard and adopted her into the family (and said goodbye to another one of our cats, who had to be euthanized after major health problems), and got 7 new chicks -- none of which are pulling their weight in the egg department yet.

Next Up

In the three weeks since I started this blog post, it appears that we're inching closer to pulling the trigger on the kitchen remodel, and I've got some lovely new updates to share on the entryway. Expect that blog entry in 4-5 months, since I obviously can't be trusted to update more regularly. Mwah!