I organized two very intense days of remodeling a home for a grandson of a senior pal of mine. This gentleman was severely injured during military service, and has returned to civilian status. He lives with his wife and daughters in a quiet, old neighborhood in the community/county where I live.
More than 40 volunteers accomplished a great deal on Saturday and Sunday…
…Our primary focus was to adapt a house that was built in 1948 and had an awkward layout, small rooms, a narrow galley kitchen, a teency-tiny bathroom, and too many walls into an open, accessible, living space.
While I have some skills in remodeling homes, mostly with carpentry and electrical work, this time I supervised all activities among everyone involved. While I held some boards up, swung a hammer a little bit, finished wiring up a new circuit panel box, I spent 999% of my time applying my organization skills. It really was a careful orchestration of fundraising, getting a pro to develop plans, ordering materials, receiving supplies, recruiting professional and “helpful” volunteers, and having a vision for translating the plans in two days to:
- Totally gut and remove the old kitchen and replace it with a new, open, accessible kitchen with new appliances all at or below counter height
- Blow out (remove) four interior walls and transfer load to new beams
- Totally gut and remove the old main floor bathroom and replace it with a no-vanity sink (so a user can roll a wheelchair under it) and an open shower with a bathing seat, with a complete tile surround
- moving the laundry from the basement to the new bathroom, so every essential is on the first floor
- installed new seamless hardwood flooring throughout the main floor
- improved electrical system for the whole house, going from 90A buss-fuse service to today’s 200A circuit-breaker standard
- Restructuring rooms in the basement to make them functional for two nice young ladies
- adding a ramp with rails from the front steps to the driveway
Other touches were added, like painting the entire interior of every room of the house. And all in two massively busy days.
You probably have seen things like this on reality TV shows. This was the “real deal.”
Here are some photos of the new kitchen and bathroom. I took some more photos, but my new friend — the recipient of this service — did not want any publicity. I don’t either; I’m just glad it’s done and that everyone helped out so much!Life is short: volunteer your time and smile at the results.