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Diary of a Mad Renovator: Turning the Tide

Written by Jaqui Lividini

We had a big meeting at the house last week with Chip Brian, Mike Daddio and the rest of the blessed team at Design Development. It was the first meeting we had all together walking through the house. Mike—our construction guru—gave us his take on the progress. Lo and behold, good news? It seems even in the midst of our great renovation saga, Mike was quite happy with the progress we’ve been making. Predictably enough though, there are still many decisions yet to be made.

Chip Brian & Michael Daddio, Principals of Design Development

There was a door in the great room where we’d decided to put a window instead so that there was better symmetry if you’re looking in from the outside porch. We also spoke extensively about the wood stove exhaust pipe, which goes into the bedroom above and needs to be cased. We talked about angling it so it doesn’t need to go through the bedroom – you’d be surprised how quickly a renovator (even this renovator) starts getting construction savvy! The one big compromise I had to make was sacrificing the washer-dryer of my dreams (yes I just said ‘the washer-dryer of my dreams’) because it was too big for the space.

The new porch is being built.

The one thing about an old house (notice how in this blog I keep saying ‘the one thing about an old house’ as if there’s one thing rather than MANY things), is that the older and older it gets the more you need to retro fit current appliances into unique spaces. It’s kind of like when you have the iPhone 3 and then the iPhone 4 comes out and you get the iPhone 4 and then there’s the iPhone 5—in other words, you’re having trouble keeping up.

The door that is becoming a window

John and Imre discussing the window.

The last big decision we spoke about that day was lifting the house. If you recall, the dilemma was whether or not we should raise it 5 feet without a garage, or 8 feet and include a garage – The pros and cons of both were greatly debated between John and I and our diplomatic DD team.  Diplomacy was in order since John and I are on opposite sides of the equation. However, I’m standing my ground on this one, and hopefully by next week I’ll have turned the tide in my favor.  At this point, I am definitely what they’d call a “take no prisoners” renovator– experience, time and even bad tiles have molded me into what I am today!  

The newly shingled house—propped up porch

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