The Fireplace Addition: Demo Done, Excavating Completed, Foundation Set & Framing Begins Today

Before the details, we picked the right builder: Black Hawk Builders.  A crew has been here five days a week since the demo started.  The same foreman has been here every single day.  Work is progressing faster than we could have every anticipated.  The site is clean at the end of every day.  They are a great group of guys to work with: They are responsive and courteous.  Plus, they all have a great sense of humor.  You need that around here. These are just a few of my observations about this process so far.

Builders are not late.  They arrive at 7 a.m. and work until 3:30 p.m.  If they are really excited about a job – say excavating or framing – they arrive well before 7 a.m. and pace a little bit before they can start making noise at the stroke of seven.

Given this, I have learned to get dressed rather than write in my unmatched pj’s early in the morning.  I believe I had stripes and flowers going this particular morning as the beginning of our deck demo happened outside my living room window.  Fortunately, I am experienced in crouch-running away from windows.

Below, a before and an after shot of the deck demo.  On the after shot, I had put a note on the door “Please use front door.”  Laughable.  Within 24 hours of posting it, there was no choice BUT to use the front door.

This will be the third addition to our house over the course of its life since 1880.  One addition converted a small porch into more kitchen space.  Not concerned with a level floor, those builders left a kitchen floor that was four inches higher on the right compared to the left.  The right-hand side of the kitchen was a crawl space.  That had to come out for excavation to start.  Below, is a shot of the house with excavation in-process.  The fly away beam to the right is supporting the house.  The crawl space is gone.

Our coffee  brewer is on the side where the kitchen is hanging in mid-air.  Brutal surprise on 32-degree mornings walking barefoot from an insulated 68-degree tile floor to a 32-degree tile floor for a cup of coffee.

Below are before and after pictures of our kitchen preparing for opening up the exterior wall.  This whole wall, with the door and flanking windows, will come down once the addition is up.  The fireplace will be in the added family room.

If you click on the picture above (taken from the same angle as the other pictures above it), the “little” piece of wood in the bottom left corner is the end of the fly away beam that extends outside and supports the house.  It comes into the kitchen about 6 – 8 feet.

These boulders were excavated and set permanently as landscaping highlights.  It was either that or pay for them to be jack-hammered so they could be loaded into a dump truck.  Orange cone is a full-size cone like the ones you see around road construction.  My mom is envisioning a hosta garden around the boulders.  Next year’s project.

Below, foundation is set for the basement. It cured last week.  There will be two windows along the east wall and on the back wall, a walk-out to a small patio.

Today, April 16th, the framing marathon begins.