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Diary of a Mad Renovator: A Silver Lining?

Written by Jaqui Lividini

You know how a few weeks back I said, I’m trying hard to become one of those people who sees a silver lining in everything?  Turns out this week, we found an actual silver lining (if you can believe it) in FEMA’s ordinance to raise the house. However, this silver lining took the form of extremely frustrating news, so I’m not sure that counts as a silver lining…but let’s be positive.

We journeyed to Branford Saturday and met with our Design Development project manager, Doug Buttendorf (yes the DD team works on the weekends!).  Construction started last week and we were anxious to see progress.  The first thing the team did was demolish what remained of our porch -- as it had been badly damaged by Hurricane Irene. What they uncovered was beyond unsettling. The second floor of the cottage is partially supported by 8 columns (3 of which were rotted). Unbeknownst to us, the wooden beams that the columns sit on were rotted as well! In addition, the brick piers that the house was built on are either missing bricks in places or are barely being held together by crumbling bricks.  If FEMA hadn’t made us raise the house, we’d never have uncovered this and the house could have come tumbling down on us at any moment. It’s disappointing to know that the two home inspections we had prior to purchase did not uncover these problems …but I guess that’s yet another lesson to be learned in all this.


The true silver lining and the news that we are most excited about is our master bedroom ceiling.  A cathedral ceiling in the master bedroom was something I had my heart set on, but it was going to be difficult to achieve given the constraints of the house, so we nixed it early on. But then on Saturday, Doug gave us some very exciting news. The DD team figured out how to make it work (a specialty of theirs)!  This room is my favorite for many reasons, but most especially because it is the real “house boat” room -- with forever views and not a strip of land in sight.  Our new ceiling will make Sunday mornings in bed all the more special with more light, more ocean, and more space.  The house was going to fall on us, but then I got the ceiling I wanted – so all is well in the life of this home renovator.



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