Deconstruction and Re-construction, DIY Renovation Part 2

Jodi Laumer-Giddens DIY Condo Renovation LG Squared, Inc. AtlantaI have one word. DUST. My inner neat freak (ok, maybe not so inner) has been put to the test during the renovation of our Atlanta condo. Everything involved some sort of dust. When I was constructing the barn door, which turned out beautifully, I could walk away from my Dad’s wood shop where we built it and start fresh the next morning. We don’t have that luxury here in our condo, because we decided to stay in the condo throughout the process. Did I anticipate all the dust? Yes! Would I do it again, this way? Probably.

Living in a construction zone is old hat for me, as I practically grew up in one. The house my dad built for our family to live in was always in flux. Not having a door on the bathroom when I was a kid was part of the landscape. No big deal. Now though, not having one just seems….rude.

The House my Dad Built DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 7

The House my Dad Built

Opportunity Knocks! It Was All About Design.

Dust and privacy issues aside, the project is coming along at a surprising pace. Here is where we are: in less than two weeks our cozy nest has been stripped to the bare bones. The first week was full of manly demolition and merry dust-making. Down came the walls and ceiling; out came the doors and the ductwork. Debris was sorted and hauled off. Metal studs, trim and door frames were neatly stacked to the side for reuse. Multiple plastic containers contain assorted hardware that will find new life in the reconstruction.

Chuck Rose and David Stalker DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 3 Chuck Rose and David Stalker DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 4 Chuck Rose DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 5Chuck Rose and David Stalker DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 6Deconstruction DIY Remodel  Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta (8)

What was revealed in all of this deconstruction? Quite an array of opportunities, some challenges and even some answers. Opportunities in design, challenges in design and answers…..in design.  To me, this project perfectly illustrates the process, in all of its facets, of design. In particular, it is the embodiment of how our approach to design has a certain amount of open-endedness that I alluded to in my first installment. There are choices, “opportunities”, and decisions that have to be made on the fly. As designers (of buildings and of systems) there is only so much we can predict.  Our experience and practice obviously makes us better at predicting the process. But there are always questions that arise during deconstruction, construction, and reconstruction that can’t be addressed at the outset of a project.

 Deconstruction DIY Remodel  Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta (7)  Deconstruction DIY Remodel  Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta (9) Deconstruction DIY Remodel  Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta (10)

Deconstruction DIY Remodel  Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta (11)Deconstruction DIY Remodel  Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta (12)Deconstruction DIY Remodel  Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta (13)

This may make some homeowners or professionals uncomfortable.  I believe our approach takes the discomfort out of the unknown.  Chris and I know there will be questions revealed along the way. As long as you know that will happen and are creative enough to address those questions, there isn’t much that can’t be resolved. Our renovation is a perfect example of that.

Designing On the Fly, and A Revelation.

We knew when the walls came out there would be areas of the stained concrete floors that wouldn’t have a finish on them. We knew there would be a certain amount of wiring and pipes that would not be rerouted. We knew the air handler closet could be re-purposed  Did we know exactly how we were going to deal with those realities? No. Could it have been planned out before the fact? Not really. Is it a problem? Absolutely not. For me, that is what true design is about. Problem solving through creativity and that’s why we love what we do.

Deconstruction DIY Remodel  Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta (14)

Ductwork Wiring DIY Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta

Paul Wells Chris Laumer-Giddens DIY Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta

Example: I’m pretty sure the day the ductwork was revealed was the day Chris had been waiting for since the day we moved in.  Chris pointed out the area above what was a ceiling and said, “This is why our airflow was restricted.” One look at the five runs of duct that were stuffed into an opening that was 18” wide by 12” high, his point was illustrated. There was a certain amount of glee when he pulled and yanked and out came the array of ductwork snaking in and among the other pipes and conduit across the bottom of the slab above.

Ductwork DIY Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 8 Goodbye Ductwork DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 1

Reconstruction

Once all the unwanted walls and ductwork was out, there was a small amount of framing that needed to go back in to reshape the space. The door to the air handler closet was framed in and the hole was cut on the opposite side of that closet for a kitchen pantry. The bathroom got a wall with a door framed out, the master closet grew a bit, and we framed an opening for our bedroom where our new barn door will separate spaces while being a focal piece for the main living areas.

New Floor Plan DIY Remodel  Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta

Then came our good friends at On Call Electric for all the electrical work. They moved the electrical panel, and the dizzying “network” of wiring that accompanied it. It is now all neatly tucked into the new bathroom wall. After a brief discussion, the switching and lighting questions were sorted out and they were left to do what they do.

On Call Electric DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta

At this point, it was time to put up drywall and start to see the new spaces defined. I handled that while Chris and one of our good friends, Paul from VIS VIVA Energy and Services, installed the new HVAC system. You would have thought it was Christmas when Chris cut open the boxes with the shiny new mini-splits in them. I’m secretly hoping those will double as his birthday present, but I digress. After five days without conditioned air it was pure triumph when Chris handed me the remote for our new wall mounted ductless mini-split unit.

Chris Laumer-Giddens DIY Remodel Mini-Split LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta Ductless Mini-Split installation - LG Squared, Inc. - Chris Laumer-Giddens Paul Wells DIY Remodel Mini-Split LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta

For my part, I was pretty pleased with my drywall efforts. The bathroom door is on order so privacy is still a goal to be obtained, but…

Jodi Laumer-Giddens DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 1 (2) Jodi Laumer-Giddens DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 1 (3)

Jodi Laumer-Giddens DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 1 (4)

We Can’t Wait!

As we head into the final stages I am proud to say we are ahead of schedule, approximately within budget and our marriage is still intact. No issue or question has been unsolvable or unanswerable. Anticipation is mounting for the finished product. I feel like (I imagine) an expectant mother feels, waiting anxiously to find out what this amazing creation is going to look like. I have visions of unveiling parties and surveying our new kingdom with satisfaction.

We aren’t there quite yet. Stay tuned…

Jodi Chris Laumer-Giddens DIY Condo Remodel Renovation LG Squared, Inc. Atlanta 1 (2)

Written by Jodi Laumer-Giddens

 

 

 

 

7 Responses so far.

  1. awmangrum says:

    thanks for sharing .

  2. Abdurrasaq says:

    As Designers(of buildings and of systems) there is only so much we can predict. Our experience and practice obviously makes us better at predicting the process. But there are always questions that arise during deconstruction, construction, and reconstruction that can’t be addressed at the outset of a project.” The quote is my best take home from the write-up. Looking forward for the finished work and more lesson learnt. Regards.

  3. mama says:

    I really enjoyed the tour & know it will all work out because u could work it together! Dad & I loved designing & building our house together & u girls had a big hand in it ! Lots of fun & hard work

  4. Thanks, everyone for reading and your comments!

  5. […] To read more about their remodel, you can check posts on their LGSquared blog, Here & Here. […]

  6. […] These photos are a bit fuzzy, but you can get the gist of what the condo was like before the remodel. This process has proven well worth the effort, and if you’re interested, you can read more about the design, de-construction and re-construction in Jodi‘s Part I and Part II postings. […]

  7. […] and review of our own energy bills, (we also have a ductless mini-split heat pump system in our condo) we find the systems are from 20-40% more efficient that […]

Leave a Reply