The interior wiring is 80% complete and everything so far has passed inspection. We still have a few areas to rewire – the bathrooms, laundry room, and kitchen as well as both porches. Once those are done, the whole house will have a completely upgraded electrical system. This is big because the house had not been upgraded since being built 130 years ago. It had knob-and-tube wiring and this antiquated electrical system was still functioning so we almost hated to remove it, but knob-and-tube is only rated for 60 amps and so it is unable to handle the demands of a modern household.
In renovating the house, we tried to be forward thinking and to consider what might keep the house ‘current’ for the longest time. Most residential homes have 200 amp service, but we upgraded to 325, which is usually only given to commercial businesses. However, our boiler alone pulls 145 amps at max capacity, so we installed a bigger meter base and a separate disconnect for the boiler, which will keep that system functioning without putting a strain on the rest of the house. We also used 12-2 wire with 20 amp breakers rather than 14-2 with 15 amp breakers, as many modern conveniences require additional supply. Instead of using standard telephone wire we decided to go with CAT, which is a blue data cable that can handle phone, fax, and computer modem needs. It’s able to carry multiple streams of data at higher speeds – typically equivalent to DSL.
Hopefully by going above and beyond the standard materials and services, these things will help keep the house up to par with future supply & demand for decades to come. Although we plan to live in the house for many years, we don’t want to be faced with trying to sell a house that is already behind the curve and in needed of basic electrical or plumbing upgrades.
Drywall is going up in several rooms which is very exciting because it feels like the house is starting to be put back together! The house had blown-in insulation added several years ago and it was packed in very thick which provided excellent insulation, but unfortunately as the certain walls and ceilings were dismantled, the insulation had to be removed. R-19 formaldehyde free insulation is going in as a replacement to the blown-in fill and is providing weather proofing on exterior walls and acting as a sound barrier within interior walls and ceilings.
The kitchen design is finally coming along. I spent 3 hours with a guy from our cabinet company while he measured and remeasured the kitchen. My original design was off quite a bit which was frustrating but expected. When I measured the kitchen to draw up the initial layout, I had a lot of obstacles to work around such as the built-in cabinets and the chimney (all of which are now gone). The wall between the existing kitchen and the room we are expanding into was still in place which made accurate measuring difficult, but it was removed by the time the cabinet guy came.
I have never agonized over a room so much in my life! It earned the name Kitchen From Hell because it’s architecturally complex and all the old house charm (which exists from back when they didn’t have kitchens like we do today) made it impossible to come up with a simple design. But I hope to have the new plans finalized by the end of next week. Speaking of the kitchen, we’ve picked out our cabinets so at least that has been taken care of! I’ll post pictures of them later.