Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Wacky and Wet Start to the New Year

Four days after the start of the New Year (and less than five months after moving in!) we experienced our first disaster as homeowners.

We walked in the door from grocery shopping at about 5:30 in the evening to water gushing out of our ceiling into our Living Room, Bedroom and flooding our Basement.  Lots of panic and flying expletives ensued.

The Aftermath: Christmas comes to an abrupt end.
The same view after the walls were opened up for drying and mold prevention.
It turned out that the copper pipe that runs along the eaves of our 2nd floor carrying hot water to the baseboard heaters had burst in two places.  After turning off the water main, it still took a good 20-30 minutes for the water to finish pouring out of the ceiling on our main floor, which gives you an idea of just how much water was up there.  It had saturated our hardwood floors, walls and ceilings, as well as the walls and floors in our basement.

The Aftermath:  Walls are ripped open to find broken pipe.
One of Two Culprits.
I'll spare you the details, but there was approximately $25,000 in damages.  This included our sofa and brand new mattress, which didn't survive the incident.  After filing a claim with our insurance company, we're having a restoration company do the repair work.  But the most exciting thing is, we decided NOT to put things back exactly as they were.

Ironically, just prior to the New Year, we had sat down and talked about our plans for the house over the next couple of years.  We planned to spend this year prepping the upstairs for us to move up there to sleep and shower (re-finishing one of the upstairs bedrooms and the upstairs bathroom) all with the intention of converting our existing Master Bedroom into a Living Room and then moving our Dining Room into what was our Living Room.  We had planned on accomplishing this by knocking down the wall to the left of the stair case when you walk in.  We saw this layout once when we were house hunting and it was beautiful.  So nice and open.

The far wall adjacent to the stairs is the one I'm talking about removing.  That wall would have a banister to match the one that's already there, opening up the front two rooms to one another.
When the restoration company told us they'd be re-finishing our hardwood floors, the thought crossed my mind that now would be the time to knock down that wall.  We didn't want to have them re-do the floors, then in a year or two remove that wall and then have to re-do the floors again, since it can be a pretty disruptive process.  So, we asked them to just go ahead and remove that wall (since it wasn't load-bearing) and we'd shuffle our rooms around accordingly.

Here's where we are now.  
That same wall opened up to what used to be our bedroom
View from the opposite side, inside what used to be our bedroom.  This will now be a Living Room.
Another angle of the removed wall, facing the front door.

Same angle from other room.
View while coming down the stairs.
Those are some interesting wall coverings they used in the '50's, huh?

I'm really excited about this, because I think it'll change how we use the whole house.  I realize we'll be losing a bedroom, but right now it's only the two of us in a 4-bedroom house anyway.  And we have potential to add the bedroom back upstairs where we'd prefer it later on, anyway.  Also, there's still a closet in the corner of the new Living Room, so if we need to, we can put the wall back up and convert it back to a 4th bedroom.  Mostly, I'm just looking forward to getting our living space back and being panel-free in these two rooms!

I also hope that it will inspire me to tackle more decorating/DIY projects around here, because I was so preoccupied in the first few months of living here that I barely accomplished anything.  So, here's hoping a clean slate gives me a fresh pair of eyes to tackle this new space with!

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