Jobsite Walk: Mid-cetury Modern

3 weeks in.

This is Jose again, he is such an asset. He is my superintendent on site, and started demolition the day after we closed, which took approximately 10 days.

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The demolition was relatively minimal since we were keeping most walls and the floors, but by the time you take away the old bathrooms, half the cabinets, and some framing, it was over 4 dumpsters full. We give any usable items to our local Habitat for Humanity (habitatforhumanity.com) center, and often they will even come pick-up materials, which saves you time and money as a bonus to helping local families. I also post usable items to Craigslist (like the shutters) so I am not paying my guys to take them off the house and throw them away. I do recommend closely watching demo crews, they tend to get carried away. Example, there was a beautiful Japanese Maple in the backyard that was well established (cost $4K-$10K to purchase) that was completely obliterated when I wasn’t looking. There’s no undoing what goes into the Mulcher

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After the demolition crew cleared everything out of the way, it was time for the “rough” trades to come-in. Rough trades are Plumbing, Electrical, Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC), and Audio-Visual (AV)– not sure why they’re called rough trades, but they come and “rough-in” (or install) all the pipes and wires.

Electrical & AV: According to my home inspection, my electrical panel had been updated somewhat recently, so the electrician was mainly adding modern can lighting, and replacing the junction boxes at areas where I knew I would want pendants (like above the stairway). I walked through with him, and generally marked on the ceiling where I wanted lights, and how they were to align with the symmetry of the room and doorways or windows. The electrician and I went over a TV and Surround Sound system package that could be controlled by an iPad, and integrate with other features like the thermostats; he integrated this into his scope as well.

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Plumbing: The plumbing was also in good shape with no leaks, so the plumber is mainly replacing the valves for the new shower trims (shower heads & knobs) and sink faucets that I had ordered (see post). I had hired a plumber several weeks before closing when I secured all my contractors, and had everything delivered to his warehouse.

His first day on the job, however, was a bit problematic. Jose, ended up having to demo a lot more of the floor in the bathrooms because of the concrete base, see before and after:

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The plumber was quite upset, and said it would be a lot more work to rerun the main pipes (and not just replace the plumbing at the shower) – this is code for Change Order, by the way. When I asked him for the solution, and to figure it out, he kept giggling and couldn’t give me a clear answer. His reaction was somehow funny and infuriating. He then mouthed-off to Jose while we were on a conference call trying to plan the next course of action, so I quickly fired him. Don’t waste your time with people like this. Contractors can be hard enough, but contractors that whine instead of being solution oriented can cause you so much more time and money in the end.

Jose quickly called-up his plumber chic friend, Mary, so she’s the new plumber and crushing it for several thousand dollars less than the other guy. She even walked into the other guys’ shop to collect all the parts that were delivered there–pretty much a badass. Win-win.

HVAC: The HVAC subcontractor and I went over his scope one more time, since it was mainly replacing all the units. He checked with me on places where he would need to add vents, and heaven-forbid… the “S” word. Eeep. “S” is for Soffit – those ugly pop-outs you see in corners of rooms and ceilings that are put there for vents to run through. We want to avoid these at all costs, which can be tricky if you want your house to get cold in the summer and warm in the winter. It’s a work in progress.

Material Procurement: I made sure to place orders for items with long-lead times. I ordered the pivot front door (Pivot Door Company) which I am so excited about, the window I am adding in the master bathroom (Pella.com), and had the railing subcontractor start fabricating the railings. Next I will be choosing the Appliances so I can give the information to all of the rough trades, and cabinetry, so they can start being built (6+ week lead time).

This is a summary of the jobsite happenings on my first Tennessee project so far, please comment if you have any questions!

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