Insulation & Drywall

The latest video showing the spray foam insulation process and drywall phase.  Because our ceiling rafters are 2×6″ (house was built in the 50’s) we had to use spray foam insulation in order to get the updated code R-value in that small of a cavity.  The walls could be batt insulation (cheaper), but there wasn’t much of a savings since most of our insulating was in the ceiling.  It was also faster to have the spray foam guys just spray it all at one time in one day.  Matt (my husband) and our contractor Bruce helped to shave off some of the excess so the drywall would attach to the studs smoothly.  We hired out the drywall (the mudding/sanding is such a mess – who wants to do that themselves for such a large project?)!  It always makes a huge difference to have drywall up.  That’s the turn in my mind from the rough-in phase to the finish-phase.



From Top to Bottom

This post highlights some of the wood we’ve added in the home.  There’s a quick video below showing the installation of the wood floors and the tongue and groove ceiling in the front living room.


We added 2 1/4″ wide solid white oak flooring (less expensive than wider planks) with a water-based matte clear coat finish.  We had dark espresso stained floors in our last home, and I learned the hard way that dark shows EVERYTHING!  I wanted to do something different, but also I wanted to incorporate a bit of Scandinavian design influence.  Commonly in Scandinavian modern design things are bright, light, airy, simple, and natural.  Lots of white and light natural woods.

The tongue and groove ceiling boards we added between the front beams are pine and will be all painted white.  The main purpose of these are 1) to add texture (making the space feel cozy and full of character despite being white), 2) to cover up some ceiling cracks from settling that aren’t worrisome, but also will keep reappearing even if we patch them, 3) most importantly to mimic the authentic look and feel of a common trend seen in KC Drummond contemporary homes built in the 50’s/60’s.  Matt helped install these to cut some cost and more importantly time!

In future posts I will highlight some other wood touches we are adding.  One is Walnut cabinetry in the kitchen; my absolute favorite species of wood.  The natural color that has brown, but hints gray, and movement that is so pretty always makes me swoon.

Framing the Addition


We went on vacation for a week and a half while the framing was going on at our house.  It’s instant gratification to be gone for so long and come back to a huge difference.  Framing happens faster than other pieces of the process anyway, so that part always feels good to see the walls of your spaces come together so quickly.  It helps for those who don’t visualize space as well to be able to feel the scale and walk through the pathways at that point.  Take a look at this short video of our framing and you’ll notice two things: 1 – That construction is messy (note the piles of scraps and trash), and 2 – apparently I always need a Starbucks drink in my hand when visiting the job site!

Part of the plan was to open up into the garage for a small mudroom.  The electric meter happened to be right in front of that area and it took KCPL 3-4 weeks to finally get over there and re-locate it.  The biggest headache with the framing was that piece since it made the framers get to a stopping point where they couldn’t finish until that was done.  In the meantime, they end up going to other jobs and getting on a multi-million dollar project that they couldn’t leave when we were finally ready for them to come back.  Ugghhh.  So we were set back a bit more having to find another framing crew to finish a project with only a little bit left.  It all worked out in the end.  Just the usual frustrations of a remodeling project.

A (kind of) Concrete Plan… and practicing patience.

As Christmas was approaching, I got to thinking about the practice of patience, the the feeling of anticipation, waiting, and hope.  The season of Advent is all about these things; the anticipation of the birth of Jesus, and the waiting with hope of his second coming.  Children practice patience as they count down the days for Christmas for Santa to come and bring them gifts.  As the days get closer, the anticipation and excitement grows with hope for what’s to come.  We can all relate to how much sweeter it is to experience something good when it required a period of waiting and a bit of heartache to get there.

“Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten.  Whoever does not know the austere blessedness of waiting – that is, of hopefully doing without – will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.  Those who do not know how it feels to anxiously struggle with the deepest questions of life, of their life, and to patiently look forward with anticipation until the truth is revealed, cannot even dream of the splendor of the moment in which clarity is illuminated for them… For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait.”   – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Now, while a house project is not an example of life’s deepest questions, it does make me reflect, and has caused me to practice being patient.  I can only dream of how much sweeter this journey and home must taste when we finally get to live in it after a year of anticipation and excitement that has been a struggle (at times) along the way.

Below is our video of the concrete process.  This was back in spring, mind you, when the grass was green and the rain never stopped.  Kansas City had two huge storms with major downpours, flooding, and high-winds while we were trying to get our foundation down!

Current Plans

Per usual, I am still changing my mind about certain aspects of the design even though the project has started.  I usually avoid that when working with clients, but for myself.. well, I’ve already broken all of the rules.

It’s ok for a client to change their mind on some things during the process; that’s normal and to be expected, but if they do that too much it becomes costly and affects the timeline.  For me, however, I am trying to finalize all decisions before they affect the timeline and budget.  I am just waiting until the very last minute!!!

The layout and plans won’t change.  Plumbing selections are made, and the kitchen layout is done (even though it’s changed from the original plan).  I am still just wavering on tile, carpet, lighting, and small details.

So if you’re curious what everything is going to look like when it’s done please see below:


I know this one is upside down, but I wanted it to match the direction of the plans below it.  This drawing shows what is existing on the lot and what is being added on.


In this plan, the bold darker lines are the addition.  The old 3rd bedroom is becoming our family room with sliding doors out both ends to patios.  The master suite and small office with laundry re-location is in the addition.  We are also moving the door into the garage from the living room area to a small mudroom we are adding off of the family room.

as is dimensions

Here is a “before” plan.  You can see the way the kitchen was divided up and the laundry closet took up space in the kitchen walkway to the 3rd bedroom.


Here is the “after” where you can see that we tore out most of the kitchen walls and re-located the laundry to the addition hallway near the master bedroom.  This plan shows furniture which helps for getting an idea of scale. (Don’t pay too much attention to the white areas…that was me trying to get an idea of the roof-line eaves)

The laundry closet on the right below and the non load-bearing wall to the kitchen were removed for more of an open concept while still maintaining division of spaces.



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I contemplated doing an island instead of a peninsula, but after lots of conversations with my friends and family that know us well, we decided a peninsula fit our family better.  It gave me extra storage space and countertop workspace, but more importantly, keep traffic flow out of the main work zone while cooking.  And one of my big pet peeves right now is having my little kids running around my parent’s kitchen island in circles while we’re cooking!  Peninsulas are also more commonly found in authentic mid-century modern homes.





We removed the non load-bearing kitchen wall for better views of the front living room fireplace and easier circulation into the kitchen.



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The old 3rd bedroom now-turned family room had  one full wall of cabinets we removed.  This is the wall we pushed out 3ft to line up with the end of the roof eave.  This extra space allowed for circulation between the master addition and the garage mudroom.  It is also where we installed a 9ft wide sliding door unit for views to a future private patio space.



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We hope to add some sort of outdoor fireplace and private fence on the patio at some point after we move in.

Things are progressing, although slowly!

Framing Fun

Framing started the week before my family went on vacation…and it will almost be finished when we get back 2 weeks later!  This is in huge contrast to the last 2 months for us.

Framing goes up so fast – it’s super gratifying.  We loved our crew.


This phase also helped legitimize the dimensions of spaces I designed.  When I just saw the slab I wondered if everything was too small.  I knew I was designing modestly in square footage so that the scale goes with the home and the neighborhood, but I questioned it.  Now that walls are up, I feel much better as things seem the way I envisioned.

My neighbor was awesome and sent me photos while we were gone!

The ones above are from the side of the house where the private patio will be.


Siding started going on and windows are being installed.  Roofing will start in the next week.

The above photos are of the master bathroom skylight over the toilet, and the bedroom.  We kept the vaulted ceilings throughout the house which also required installing 2 new separate mini-split A/C & heating units on the addition that work in unison with the current furnace and A/C.  That way we don’t have exposed ductwork along the vaults inside.
(which is cool, but more of an urban loft look)

The photos above are of the mid-century credenza I bought to use for the master vanity sink, a view of the finished bedroom space, and how I envision the master bathroom…your glimpse into the future!


The master addition is starting to look like a real, live-able home!  We continued the style of siding that was existing on the rest of the house.  Roof line overhangs and angles on the ends were matched to the original.  My hope is that you won’t be able to tell where the old ends and the new begins.


My Concrete-phase Hiatus

I’ve been a bit deflated and irritable during the last 2 months.  I haven’t posted anything on here for a while due to a slow-moving process during that time.  It’s funny how excited you are when the smallest thing is changed when you stop by the house on your way home from work.  Things as little as new tools delivered to the site, dirt scooped back into a hole, or a dumpster delivered make you feel like there is forward movement no matter how small.  Compared to how bummed you can be when you drive by and nothing has been touched.  You feel stagnant.

It’s not like I think the world revolves around me, or my house.  I understand many have multiple projects that overlap, and heavy rain storms played a big part in our delays.  But some professionals aren’t the best at setting up your expectations accurately through communication.  I’ve learned it is so much better to tell clients something is going to take longer than I think, or cost more with the hopes of being able to out-perform those goals.  Rather than tell them something to keep them happy at the moment such as, “I’ll be there tomorrow to work on it,” and then not show up for another 3 days.  It feels deflating in the end.  It’s almost better to hear bad news letting your head wrap around it and soak it in with time, rather than to have high hopes and expectations based on what you’re told then to have nothing fall in line with those.  It makes you feel less in control, more chaotic, and less trustworthy of others.

The footings were poured first.

The slab form-work was done and plumbing was ran to specific locations.

Re-bar was added and ready for the final pour.


Concrete was poured into a buggy and taken around back rather than having the large truck with a hose over our house to save us some money.

The slab is poured!


The kids loved watching the concrete pour.

It’s a weird feeling to have the hopes that the people working on your home care about it as much as you do. Because that’s not realistic.  They have their own homes, own families, own schedules, and life outside of working on your house.  But don’t we all just want people to love and care about it with the intensity and passion that we do?  That’s what makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.  We always want an advocate.  I do have an advocate in my contractor, but it’s hard balancing the extreme yearnings I have with the reality of life.

Last concrete project was the patios.  There is a small patio to the side of the house that will have a fence built for privacy.  In the back, we have two sections designed so we can plant a tree in-between for needed shade around 10-2.  We will later add a flush deck between the concrete pads like drawn below:


I am well familiar with studying the emotional rollercoaster journey that remodeling (especially an addition) can take homeowners on.  I researched it, saw it first hand for the last 10 years, and am now experiencing it fully.  Any of the slower-moving parts of the process (or moments where bad news is delivered; usually referring to money) are typically where people feel disappointed.  When you see quick changes (such as in demolition, framing, and drywall) you feel a bigger sense of progress happening.  If anything, this experience is teaching me a deeper level of empathy for the emotions my clients go through.  I found a couple of graphics to better demonstrate what I’m talking about.  They vary a bit, but have the same general idea.


The one below is pretty funny when you take into account the children and dog line:


Correctly shown in the above images in absolute full bliss is the elation at the end of the project where you want to throw a party!  That spot is higher than all of the other happy points; even higher than when the project began or when you dreamt of it.  This is because you just saw and experienced a dream becoming built-reality.  Not many people get to experience this.  It is euphoric when you have a design and then see it come to life.  Any child that has seen their drawing become a mural, or a long goal of yours finally gets conquered, or the music you worked so hard to create gets played on the radio…

This is the moment it’s all worth the dirty, emotional, crazy.

This is when the open heart surgery becomes life-saving.

This is the moment that I tell clients to keep a hold of when they aren’t sure they ever want to remodel.  The end result is worth it!  Good design makes your life better.

This is why I will probably never be able to stop improving spaces; even my own.  No matter how hard the process is.  That vision I can’t help but see in a sad space, of the potential, the possible, the what could be is way too enticing to ever make me quit.  It motivates me more than most things in life.

I guess I’m right where I should be… (among the crazy)

The 1-Year Mark

It’s been one year since we sold and moved out of our old house (sold in July, moved in August 2016).  I’ve been a little nostalgic lately because of it.  Missing our old house all over again and the memories there.  I never thought I’d be one to put so much emphasis on an object (caring more about people), but now that we have kids and put so much sweat equity and love into that house… it’s harder to let go.


Below is the photo of us packing everything into our POD like a tetris game.  There are so many times my kids have asked me about an old toy, a blanket, or forgotten object that’s packed in the POD, and I have to say, “we don’t have it right now, but we will when we can move into our new house.”  You have NO idea how much I can’t wait for the day that POD is delivered to our new driveway!  I will be happy to re-unite with our things, as well as getting rid of the monthly POD charge!


Our old house had the main water pipes being replaced the week before we closed.  We had to call the foreman for the city project to make sure the section in front of our house would be done and filled in before we had to close so that the POD could be picked up.


Our old house on Birch


Our new house on Tomahawk

Now that things have gotten moving on the new project it’s finally the light at the end of the tunnel.  You can see and imagine the finished project, and it’s super exciting.  I’m not so sad now that I can look forward to us living here and making new memories.  I’m just extremely anxious and impatient now that it’s so close.

Here’s to hoping we aren’t completely broke after this!