About 3 years ago, my wife and I were discussing some repairs that had to be made to our house, and I decided to look into what it would take to remodel instead of just putting a band-aid fix on things and slapping on a new roof and paint. As I was working on the planning phase of this project, I not only learned a lot from other bloggers and websites, but also started to think about giving back in the form of sharing my experiences and thoughts. Today, I submitted my plans to the building department for, what I hope, is the final approval. Upon reaching this milestone, I thought it would be a good idea to start this blog so that I could record things in a more real-time fashion, as well as start to capture my experience so that I wouldn’t forget it.
What qualifies me to write a blog about a remodeling project? Nothing in particular, I suppose, other than I want to write about my experiences to share with those who may benefit when undertaking similar projects. But perhaps more importantly, this is a do-it-yourself (DIY) deal. I’ve always been a DIY around the house with various projects, and this one is going to be a “Mother Of All Projects”. (MOAP — that’s a lousy acronym. I’ll try to think of something else.) Certainly something that will be challenging, as well as pleasurable. Let’s face it — if you’re somebody who is inclined to the DIY approach, you probably do it because you like it. It’s a lot of fun seeing something tangible come out of your own creative efforts and skill, and it’s also fun to learn different skills and improve the ones you have. Note that I did NOT say anything about saving lots of money. More about that later. Suffice it to say that if you’re in it ONLY to save money, then some of the things that I write about may not be for you. That’s OK, because reading about it may be helpful in its own right.
I do have certain predilections and experiences which influence my decision to take on a given DIY project (or not). While I’m not trying to toot my horn here (I save that for dickheads who run red lights), I think that describing these up front will help put things in perspective for taking on such a large project by myself.
1. I absolutely LOVE building and creating. I can think of little else that I would rather do with my time.
2. I have been doing DIY projects for many years (over 30). These projects range from minor renovations in bathrooms and kitchens (floors, tiles, fixtures), to building outdoor structures, such as fences, storage sheds, concrete sidewalks, brick on sand patios, and even a gazebo.
3. I am a wood worker and have some serious woodworking tools in my shop. I’ve also built furniture and even a wooden boat!
4. I have an engineering degree (chemical), and I am a retired naval submarine officer. I have a lot of professional experience with industrial construction and repair work aboard ships (with nuclear reactors). So, I know how to read plans, follow specifications and procedures, and understand the hows and whys of machines and structures. Most importantly, the nuclear submarine “culture” fosters the attitude that you can figure ANYTHING out by yourself if you take the time and effort to look things up.
5. I have significant experience in project management in my current line of work. I know how to plan and execute major projects to include integrated master planning and integrated master scheduling. I also have a good working knowledge of contracts and contractual law, as well as budgeting and managing costs.
Given that background, I felt fairly confident that I would be able to handle a home remodeling project.
So, today, with my plans submitted, I’m gearing up to break ground and start turning my home into a remodeling paradise. Or hell. Take your pick. I know which one my wife is thinking about! I invite you to accompany me on this journey and I hope you find it interesting, if not helpful, and perhaps even humorous on occasion.