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Renovation Woes: The Rundown and Why We’ve Been So, Well, Run Down

Annnnnd another 11 days have gone by since our last post, which, admittedly, was so pitiful we’re hard pressed to call it a post… Sigh. Now that we’re back (for a moment anyway), we’ll provide a rundown of the last four months and explain, as the title implies, why we have been so, well, run down.

Warning: this isn’t a feel-good post; as we recount, you will likely sense our frustrations and then, maybe, ultimate relief.

(Reluctantly) Thinking Back…

We closed on the bungalow, Friday, May 24. The process was easy and quick and, we were hoping, indicative of things to come.

Demolition on the house began the following week and ended around the second week of June. Like our closing, demolition was easy, straightforward, and we saw results immediately. After this, however, things began to take a turn.

Once demolition was complete, the bungalow sat dormant for nearly three weeks. Everyone involved had to wait for the village to approve our architect’s plans and to provide a building permit. Much to our dismay, the coveted permit wouldn’t arrive until Wednesday, July 9, nearly a month after demolition began.

frustration20logo-300x300As you can imagine, this delay was problematic for several reasons, but the most pressing to us was that we were scheduled to move out of our rental property and into the bungalow August 1, a mere 17 (work)days later.

You see, August 1 was the date when the project was supposed to be finished. At the onset, we were told construction would take 4-6 weeks. Theoretically, that meant if demolition was completed around June 7 and construction were to begin shortly thereafter, the house would be ready to move in around the middle or end of July. But, no, when the permit was finally able to be posted in the window (July 9) and construction on the dormers was cleared for takeoff, we were already in Week 6 with NO CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED whatsoever. This was not good.

Luckily, our landlord had no other takers, so we were able to remain in the property for another month, until August 31. Yes, this is fortunate. However, paying both rent AND a mortgage for a second month, which we had NOT planned on doing, was difficult and discouraging.

In the meantime, the work on the house progressed slowly. Very slowly. Every night we drove from our rental to the bungalow in the hopes of finding something new completed: a ceiling, plumbing, window casings, electricity, just something? We won’t lie: there were several days when nothing had been done. Exasperation didn’t even begin to describe our feelings at this point.

After all of the mechanical jobs were completed—electrical, plumbing, heat/air (the latter of which is still not 100% done, by the way)—things moved much quicker. Yes, because we could see sheetrock on the walls, tile in the showers, and cabinets in the kitchen, our nightly 8-mile drives from rental to bungalow found us in much better spirits. That said, we were now approaching the end of August, and the house was still unfinished. By this point, our landlord had found new tenants who were ready to move in September 1, leaving us with nowhere to go.

2C2FJPSQ33E1So after hiring the slowest movers in the entire state of Illinois—regrettably, they were the only ones in the area not booked that Labor Day weekend—we/they moved and stored all of our belongings in the bungalow’s garage. We kid you not: the move took 8 hours, and that is from house to garage, i.e., stacking furniture and boxes in a garage, not placing them in various rooms within an actual house. (Our previous moves with roughly the same amount of stuff took 4.5 hours from start to finish.) And you don’t even want to know what this company charged us. Again, more frustration was setting in.

With our belongings now locked in the garage, we reluctantly moved into a nearby hotel—for eight nights, with two dogs. Our only saving grace(s) during our stay there: a) now that the dogs are older, they behave better in such settings, and b) every night except Sundays the hotel had a complimentary happy hour. Three cheers for Tequila Sunrises.

Finally, after what seemed like the timespan of Homer’s Odyssey, we hastily moved some of our things into the bungalow on Sunday, September 9, more than four months after we closed on the property. And, no, the house was still not finished, but we were running out of both money and patience, so we moved in what we could.

It is now September 27, and while the workers are (mostly) gone from the premises and most of the boxes are unpacked, there’s still a lot of work to be done.

There’s a Purpose for This Post, We Promise

We realize this post is lengthy and not very upbeat. Moreover, we appreciate those who are still following Bungalow Reboot, taking the time to read summaries of our progress (or lack thereof) and check out the pictures, more of which will be coming soon, we assure you.

But to be honest, we are constructing this post mostly with us in mind, for two reasons—1) to provide a written account of the (frustrating) process itself and 2) to remind us never to undertake a project like this again (sorta kidding, sorta not!). Even so, it will be a lovely little bungalow—that is, once we locate everything in these mounds of boxes.