“A lot of hard work is hidden behind nice things” – Ralph Lauren

The simplicity of this quote sums up what I know to be true. No matter the how, between the start and in the process, before the completed product – there is a lot of hard work behind nice things that you can’t see. Unlike a lovely before and after captured in a 30 minute tv series, there’s a ton of in-the-middle that I forget about, even after building a home before.

After our home was framed and subfloors were added. along with a roof, the “guts” start to take shape. The electrical wires are brought through the entire structure and connected to the panel. Plumbing is carefully calculated and laid in-between joists, ceilings, and walls and plumbed to incoming water and outgoing drains. There’s also various accoutrements needed for air conditioning units and water heaters and then, there’s insulation. The itchy stuff that goes in walls and floors to keep the structure more “conditioned” when it’s completed in order to hold onto the hot in the winter and the cool in the summer. Since we aren’t using sheet rock and instead chose a more historically appropriate material for the carriage house (pine tongue and groove with beading (the center groove, running horizontally)) we needed an added layer to help with the imperfections like knot holes and expanding and contracting nature of wood.

We added a layer of Tyvek house wrap inside and went around each window, electrical and plumbing output with tape to seal it well. This ensures an added layer of insulation, making the home more air tight and should there be any issues with bugs, it would help keep them from entering into the living space more easily than if we hadn’t.

Adding house wrap to the inside of the house was no easy feat. There was measuring, and cutting, and hanging as well as an air powered stapler involved. It also comes on rolls, so you have to roll it out and measure and pin it up. We made a tremendous gain in a weekend when the In-laws volunteered their time to help us get this part completed even with our kids under foot.

With tongue and groove, you interlock each board on the one before it. It’s not a quick process as it appears. This one wall took us 6-7 hours. You also have to carefully cut around outlets and switches, as well as angles in order to ensure all will fit and flow accordingly. We have gotten much faster with the process, even so, it’s not a faster process.

Above, I’m using a jig saw to cut an outlet out of a board. This same process is done on the ceilings too, to cut out around electric boxes and can lights.

Through weekends, and most evenings, one of us if not all of us is out at the carriage house working on something. These days, we are no longer living out of a rental 20 minutes away and live in a travel travel just yards from our soon-to-be front door. While we are still decompressing from the move (we’ve been out there now for 5 days at the time of this composition), we are thankful to be closer to home as we approach important deadlines for inspections.

We are currently plugging away at the inside, probably making a round trip to the hardware store then coming back to move more boards from the carport up to the living space, hanging up ceilings board by board, cutting as needed, so we can have the attic insulation blown in, finishing up walls board by board, so we can get our electrical inspection underway, and getting ready to paint so then floors can be installed, and prepared and sealed. We also have a plumbed in toilet and soon will have a washer and dryer hooked up we hope! Even so, we press on. Board by board. We appreciate our in-laws more than words can express for helping us out with their time and energy. It would be much more to shoulder on our own without them. We love you all.

There is a lot of hard work behind nice things. A lot that can’t be captured until you are physically in it, working it out, spending off-hours to work on it, thinking about it before going to bed at night and using resources wisely to make them go further. It’s a blessing that goes deeper than what meets the eye or what words can express. There is a lot of hard work behind nice things.

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