It’s been over a year since the Derecho and almost a year since the truck, but this Saturday morning, Nat and I dropped the kids with Grannie so that we could make a day-trip to Camp Davis to see the major renovation progress that is finally, finally taking place.
Most insurance repairs happen a lot faster than this. Of course, most home owners aren’t us. We recently told our realtor here in DC about our plans for the West Virginia repairs, and his reaction was, no joke, “you two, you’re always scheming.” Well, guilty as charged I suppose. Even as we were filing all the paperwork for the claim we began thinking not simply about the most direct course to restoring Camp Davis to it’s before-truck-crash state, but instead we started dreaming about what we really wanted it to be. We had a blank slate and a big check, a rare opportunity: It was time to use our imagination.
So we planned and pinned and started over and poured more drinks and re-planned and pinned some more. We decided to scramble the layout, swapping the kitchen and the dinning rooms entirely, and once we did that we thought: why not push this wall out a few feet? Oh, if you wouldn’t mind, “bus driver, MOVE THAT BUS!”
The bump-out makes the new kitchen almost 50% bigger than it would have been under the existing footprint. We figured the main things we do here are cook, eat and drink – so we might as well build it for those purposes.
The structural components and the exterior are complete thanks to our awesome contractors. Of course, we have a long way to go before the place is livable again, but suddenly things are coming together. The main floor is totally gutted, floor to ceiling, but in a weird way now that things are moving forward I feel a lot more comfortable in there than I have for the last year or so. Which is saying something considering the following:
You’ll have to forgive the makeshift panoramic views. We don’t yet have a lens for the camera capable of getting such wide shots in relatively close quarters. Instead you’ll have to work with me and my very manual attempts at stitching together multiple shots for effect.
You can see where the old house ends and the bump-out begins based on the color of the building materials. Here’s the same room from the opposite far left corner:
Finally, here’s a shot of the living room and a little bit of the new dining room (and probably my sloppiest panorama collage attempt – hopefully you get the idea):
The living room is an add-on to the original 1900’s farmhouse. It’s a great space, but certain choices are serious head-scratchers (the choice to have an exterior door installed in three sides of it being chief among them). Straight ahead we swapped the old french-doors for a slider that exits to the courtyard so that we can get fresh air without having to swing a large door into the middle of our living room configuration. To the left we eliminated a random door and re-purposed one of its flanking vertical windows into a high, horizontal window that offers better privacy from the road below and cuts down significantly on the opportunity for draftiness and heat loss. To the right we re-purposed another long window and placed it above what will eventually be our dining room table. Both horizontal windows start just above eye-level, forcing you to look up a bit and frame the landscape outside rather nicely.
The contractors will finish some electrical work, then hang the drywall and lay the new wood floors before handing us the torch for the final leg of renovation work. Because we opted for the bump-out we had to take on a few of the jobs ourselves instead of paying someone else to do the work. We’ll be staining the floors, painting the walls, building cabinets (and by “we” here I mean “Nat’s dad”), and installing counter tops and appliances.
There is a lot more to come, but I won’t even pretend like I can give you a real time frame for the final reveal. All I know now is that I’m happy and things are moving forward. Slowly but surely, we’re getting Camp back, something that even our very short day-trip reminded us we need very badly.