Monday, March 24, 2008

Scope Creep and the 5 Phases of Renovation

Phase 1 - I want everything. I want it now. Cost doesn't matter, so I'll pick the most expensive materials AND I'll have someone else do it.
Phase 2 - Phase 1 costs too much. I'll do it myself, schedule be damned.
Phase 3 - The cost is ok, but the orginal plans will take too long. Cut scope.
Phase 4 - I really want everything in Phase 1, schedule be damned.
Phase 5 - What have I gotten myself into. Time to re-examine Phase 1.

I am in Phase 4. After deciding long ago that built-ins and recessed lighting in the first floor wasn't required, both projects are well on their way to completion. I decided that with the LCD over the fireplace the ceiling fan wouldn't look right, and would have light shining right on the screen (see pictures from previous post showing fan), thus Saturday was spent cutting holes in my ceiling with a reciprocating saw. The taste of drywall, plaster, lathing, and 100 year old dust is fresh in my mouth. Normal people wouldn't inhale such a cocktail, but I am not quite normal.

Here is a primer on my safety plan at the house. Work safely, when convenient. Which is never (I exagerate a bit). This drives The Queen's parents crazy, seeing as they write a safety memo for a engineering company. They make fun of me incessantly for this, to the point where our Easter basket was a Home Depot bucket, decorated as a bunny no-less, full of chocolate and safety gear. Back to my original point of my ceiling cocktail. When I wear safety glasses and a dust mask, the glasses fog up. So which is more important: scratching a cornea, or breathing chunks of ceiling? I chose to keep my corneas intact at the expense of my lungs.

The highlight of the weekend wasn't having can lights working and fixing my electrical problem downstairs, it's that I didn't electrocute myself. It doesn't hurt that the can lights don't look half bad… Sure I'm behind schedule, but I don't really care at this point.


momnipotent said...

Hooray for corneas!! I like my lungs, too. I guess I'm pretty attached to my hands and ears as well. Feet are pretty handy, too. Pun intended. So glad you're becoming more safety conscious. We like you a lot and want you to stay safe.
The can lights are a huge achievement, and it sounds like the Bean Counting Queen has become the Drywall Queen.
As your preferred skilled laborers, Dadolescent and I hope to return in a couple weeks.

Ethan said...

I find myself in similar situations. I usually end up being the guy balancing on the top of a ladder working on the hot wires. Was it tough to get the cans in? That's my plan for the basement someday.


Beancountingqueen said...

Phase 2.5 - Cottage!

Also, I definitely qualify as drywall royalty now - I've been taping and mudding in my sleep the past 3 nights.

Corey said...

momnipotent - I'll be looking forward to the migrant workers return. :)

ethan - the can lights were a bitch. Sliding them in, and then getting the clips to engage so they stayed there was a monumental test of my patience. If you are installing lights before you drywall hopefully it isn't that hard (assuming your basement is unfinished).

queen - you should do less in your sleep, and more while you're awake.

Mike said...

So glad I found this blog- I'm sure we've experienced the same thing dozens of times-

I faced exactly the same dilema when cutting the holes in my ceiling!

As you can see here-

I opted to protect the lungs- I figured I'd abused them enough by tearing into the asbestos flooring, albeit with a respirator, tons of plastic and duct tape, and HEPA filter for the shop vac.

I'm curious- for the recessed lights, did you go for the remodel box or the new construction box? I had a layer of furring strips and drywall on top of the original plaster/lath ceiling, making for a very thick (about 2") ceiling and so the "wings" on the remodel boxes would have the recessed lights sitting way too far into my ceiling. Since I was covering the ceiling with tile anyway, I went with new construction poxes, and dropped them down to the correct level by attaching them to 2x4s attached to the studs. See here:

Great to know you're here.

Corey said...


Wish I could see pics from work, but looks like they are blocking that site. Will have to check them out later.

I used renovation lights, and the 'wings' were an absolute pain to get engaged. It was a frustrating experience, but if I cut back the ceiling completely and used 'new construction' lights it would have been more drywall work. Not sure which way is better, as I think both jobs suck. :)