Our first weekend of demolition was followed by a week finishing the ‘gut’, a task shared by both the Contractor (Sandra) and us.
We definitely recommend having a General to manage the big picture – they are much more familiar with critical path scheduling and have usually built solid relationships with subcontractors that encourage them to show up on time, charge the right fees and do good work. As a homeowner, you are more often than not a one-time client, so it may not be enough leverage to get people to respond the way you’d like. Keep in mind that most Contractors will also be flexible in the way they structure their costs– in our case Sandra allows us to do work after hours and on weekends to keep the project on time and in budget.
Demolition was a great opportunity for this – we were willing to get a little dirty and remove the wall finishes ourselves. We also spent a pretty big chunk of time rummaging through the pile of debris in the backyard. What was an overgrown mystery pile when we bought the house turned out to be a collapsed slave quarter with around 750 loose bricks. We probably won’t remember the time it took to stack these when we have a nice brick patio in the back yard. Same with the wooden lath – sorted and stacked it for future use as stair materials. All broken lath went in the dumpster – it’s impossible to avoid throwing some things away.
So here is a list of the items we have clearly defined as falling within our scope:
-Window / Door / Shutter Restoration
The first three are restoration efforts using the existing materials in the house. Daniel‘s past three jobs in New Orleans have been with the Preservation Resource Center, a millwork shop and a material salvage company – so we are equipped with some know how. I think that anyone buying a historic property to renovate is interested in some DIY and these categories are the best place for it because they don’t hold up any of the major construction efforts. We will have a separate post on each of these items covering the process and techniques as they happen. First on the list is for Daniel to remove all the flooring so the framer can access the foundation and come up with a game plan for leveling the house.
The last four items will come much later in the process but are more typical as owner provided items. I look forward to posts on these subjects because it means we will be close to moving in!
Here are some photos from the week: