If you’ve been keeping up with this series, you now know more about dumpsters than you ever thought possible. And they aren’t cheap, are they? That’s why the mafia is in waste management. It provides lots of opportunities to a) make money and b) dump bodies. Don’t you just love items that serve more than one purpose?

Now we happily move into Phase 3 of the design process. This phase is hard because you are still weeks away from tackling any of the fun stuff – like buying overpriced candles and explaining to the children that the annual family vacation is off the calendar until forever. But hey kids –  doesn’t this candle smell like what you thought Tahiti would smell like?

Who needs memories from Tahiti? Eating fast food buckets of chicken and discussing the minute details of low-flush toilets are the things that they’ll remember. So, on to Phase 3:

Framing:

This is when your home really starts taking shape. You will be able to see the walls going up and the rooms coming to life. Your house will look way smaller than you thought. It will feel like a Barbie house without the dream. I am not sure why this happens; you’d think a house without walls would look huge, but it doesn’t. It will, though. Sometime. Later.

IMG_4063Cost for framing runs approximately $2.25 per square foot and it does add up fast, so don’t be shocked (who am I kidding, of course you’ll be shocked – this whole process leaves a permanent mark on all that is good and happy in the world) when you see the numbers. The good news is that cost includes materials, delivery, installation, finishing and cleanup. Plus, this will give the phrase: It’s like banging my head against the wall something you can actually do.

bang-head-here-1

Plumbing:

Plumbing is next and oh so necessary. Without plumbing, your refrigerator won’t make ice cubes – plus hot gin and outhouses are so overrated.

No Thanks.

No Thanks.

Gin Fizz - Just Not the Same Without the Ice

Yes Please.

Here is a quick list of what you need to know about the plumbers in your life (and they will be in your life – for a while):

  • Their rates, including those for non-plumbing tasks like opening up a wall or holding your hand during a panic attack.
  • Their coverage, do they have insurance and workers’ comp? Do they carry Valium or other street drugs to the job site? If so, can they please, for the love of God, share them?
  • Their connections, will they obtain a permit for you? Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, especially since they already know you are not totally stable.

Electrical Work:

I’ve said it before and I will say it again; every single light should be on a dimmer. Trust me. You will thank me for this later; like after the dinner party that includes your husband’s great aunt with the jaw problem and false teeth or the afternoon your mother-in-law pops by unannounced and you haven’t vacuumed in, um, a super long time. Everything and everybody looks better in low light.

A girl's best friend.

A girl’s best friend.

So, that being said, chances are you are upgrading your lighting and, therefore, your current electrical panel cannot supply the amount of power you need. Of course it can’t. Because that would be free and what’s fun about that?

Apparently old panels cause fire hazards. Blah, blah, blah. But to pass inspection and to save yourself from a painful death, you’re probably going to replace the electrical box.

Besides the purely aesthetic needs of the dimmer, renovating your home to be more energy efficient is a plus; and now is the time. Your electrician (or GC) can help navigate this, but in general think big when it comes to solar and small when it comes to toilets and showers. You probably don’t need two showerheads in the master bathroom, unless you are Brad and Angelina. And even they should have a dimmer in there because they aren’t getting any younger. Plus, they are married now so that whole ‘let’s shower together’ is going to be history.

Angelina Jolie on the cover of PEOPLE DAVID JAMES/GETTY IMAGES

Angelina Jolie on the cover of PEOPLE
DAVID JAMES/GETTY IMAGES

Do your homework first to make your home work easier. See you next week at The Neighbor’s House!