Beach house #6 – Gutted

So I left the house like this:


and came back to it like this:



Quite a shocking change, but also? Really exciting. I love doing things from scratch. I was going to be able to craft this house from its basic skeleton through to completion. Possibilities opened up where there hadn’t been possibilities before – all of a sudden without the toilet and tub to contend with, I had the option of putting in an extra bathroom. The old kitchen could become a third bedroom, with a walk-in closet/laundry built out on the porch.

Turns out I didn’t need to do all that gutting after all, because there were no additional termite surprises. I’m still glad we did though, because:

  1. whoever put in the air ducts cut through the let-in bracing like there was no tomorrow. Several of the shear walls are compromised and honestly, I’m not sure how they survived the past few hurricane seasons.
  2. The insulation stank. It was this weird conglomeration of greasy chunks of different colors, bits and scraps of white to pink to black (but not black due to air infiltration), stuffed and packed into the cavities like a squirrel nest. Josh and I joked that he must have stolen it from a burnt-out building or something. We thought that was funny until the previous owner came by and told us that his father had, in fact, gotten it from a ship junkyard. And then I found a few chunks with actual cinders in it. Like, bits of old burnt wood. Seriously.   …Anyway, the house started smelling better as soon as we got that insulation out. So it was a good move to get it out, hough it adds another big expense to the final tally.
  3. We didn’t find more termite damage, but boy…. I’m pretty glad we caught some of the “creative” framing this guy did. More on that later.


One thing I’ll say – Though these posts might make it all seem like this project has been nothing but downers, one really good thing has come about because of it.

We went into this knowing that I often get, ahem, grumpy when I’m doing home improvement stuff, and knowing that Josh hates doing work with his hands and getting sweaty and that kind of stuff makes him grumpy too. It was something we talked about before embarking on the project – could we do this together without damaging our relationship? Without emerging bitter and resentful? We were both worried, but shouldn’t have been. Josh has pitched in wholeheartedly and never once complained, and seeing him laboring alongside me makes me all sweet and tender-hearted – so really? This house adventure has actually been pretty good for us so far. We’re in a better place now than we were when we started, and we have this project to thank for it.

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