After the grading for the pool was done and the land was surveyed, the next step was for the excavators to actually dig the hole for the pool, which turned into a much larger challenge than expected, and also turned into a logistical mess since I was coordinating the various contractors from Vegas (in a pool at the Wynn, which was sort of ironic given that this project also involves a pool).
The excavators started digging, and quickly encountered a huge limestone shelf that their equipment was unable to break through.
They then brought in heavier artillery, which also broke on the limestone:
Ultimately, I had to call in the original excavator who had done the grading, since he had heavier equipment than the excavator the pool installers had hired.
He was able to break through, and then we could start the pool installation!
In a previous post I mentioned plans for a pool in the summer of 2022. Now that the summer of 2022 is here, I’ve been hard at work coordinating the pool project. In addition to working with the pool builders, electricians, gas company, and concrete company, I had to have the land where the pool is going to go graded, so that rainwater will run around the pool and down the hill, and not cause problems. This ended up being a pretty dramatic amount of earth movement. The first step was to carve an entrance through the trees onto the property from Range Trail, which allowed the backhoes and other equipment to get to the pool area.
Once that was done, the workers were able to quickly remove trees and brush, and create a level space for the pool.
After the land was leveled, I needed to have the area surveyed and the property lines marked, obviously to make sure that the concrete around the pool and the railing were all on my side of the property line.
Once that was done, I was able to finalize plans for the pool and get permits in place with Dane County and the Town of Verona.
I worked with my concrete contractor (the same person who did the concrete for the three season room project last summer), and also got railing ordered and delivered to be installed around the pool.
Excavation for the pool itself starts on July 1st, and the majority of the construction will be done by the end of the following week!
Once my spring landscaping tasks were done, there was a final bit of work I needed to do outside at the Verona house. Over time, a section of the wall had sagged a little bit, and needed to be fixed. To address this, I dug holes around the concrete footings for the posts, and then was able to tilt the posts forward back to a straight position. After this, I poured additional concrete around the footings to lock them into place.
It was a relatively simple fix, but it worked very well and, along with replacing a few post caps, brought the wall back into tip-top shape.
As part of the massive deck and three season room construction project, I wanted to remove all of the existing pavers (including the walkway around the garage) and replace them with newly poured, stamped concrete. I was introduced to a contractor named Concrete Keith, and he and his team did a phenomenal job. First, they removed the pavers, along with bushes that were along the side of the house and were at the end of their life.
After that, they brought in dirt to change the slope of the hill so that water will run away from the house. Once that was done, they got to work pouring, stamping, and sealing the new concrete.
After the concrete was done, we brought in river rock to replace the rock that had been dug up along the side of the house. I also mulched along the other side of the walkway and put in a barrier between the grass and the mulch, and planted grass seed to replace some of the grass that had been torn up.
When I planned out the deck project, I hadn’t even considered what an amazing difference the new concrete would make. It’s truly transformed the side of the house, along with the upper and lower patios around the new deck!
As mentioned in a prior post, the big project I was planning for spring was demolishing the old deck and building a new, larger, composite deck, along with a three season room, an outdoor kitchen space, and an improved hot tub patio with a new hot tub and outdoor TVs. The first actual step in the construction process was to demolish the old deck, which went fairly quickly.
Next, concrete and diamond pier footings for the new deck posts went into the ground, along with the posts themselves.
In a huge, multi-person effort with the help of a skid steer, the main central beam was installed. It’s a massive piece of wood that weighs over a thousand pounds, so it was no small thing to get it into place.
After putting in new flooring and painting three of the bathrooms in the house, the last steps were to install new counters (plus fixtures and sinks), and update the mirrors with mirror frames. Here were the original counters:
I orders the same countertop material that I used in the master bathroom remodel, along with the same sinks and fixtures.
After the counters were installed and the plumbing was reconnected, I painted the vanity cabinet in the basement bathroom to match the master and guest bathrooms.
My big spring and summer project this year is going to be replacing the deck at the Verona house. It’s not just going to be a new deck, however; it’s going to be a deck with an outdoor kitchen, a three season room, outdoor TVs, and a new hot tub and lower level patio that is much larger than the current deck and patio.
Plans are still being finalized, but I have initial sketch and material selections picked out.
Aside from selecting and ordering materials, I’m also in the process of selection options and customizing a new Bullfrog Hot Tub, which will be a massive upgrade from the current tub. I’m working with Patio Pleasures in Madison, and next week I’m going to finalize jet, deck, and tub colors so that the order can be submitted for the tub to be completed and delivered in June or July.
Stay tuned for more news on this project! I’m planning on construction starting towards the end of April, assuming that the weather cooperates and spring continues to warm up here in Wisconsin.
Another late-winter / early-spring project I wanted to work on was remodeling the bar. The first phase of this project was driving to Indianapolis and picking up a new bar, and ordering new bar cabinets. The second phase was putting in new flooring. And the third phase was actually installing the bar cabinets and the associated plumbing. As noted in this post, I ordered cabinets from a California company called New Age Cabinetry. Due to pandemic-related supply chain issues, I had to order some of the cabinets from Costco and some from Amazon. After about a month of shipping drama, they arrived at my house.
They came fully assembled, but they were fairly light and easy to carry down to the bar area to begin installing. The lower cabinets and counters were really simply, since they just had to be set in place.
One initial challenge was creating the corner joint, which required some creativity with a couple of pieces of oak trip and some dark oil-based wood stain.
After the lower cabinets were taken care of, I finally assembled the bar itself.
The upper wall cabinets and floating shelves were more complicated. I had never installed cabinets before and so I assumed it would be pretty easy since I was just following the ceiling, but I quickly learned that was not the case: because the ceiling wasn’t perfectly level and because the corner line between the back wall of the bar and the ceiling wasn’t completely straight, getting all of the cabinets to line up correctly was a challenge. I essentially ended up hanging all of them twice, but I was pretty proud of how well I was able to get them to line up!
The next day, I installed the sink, which included cutting out drywall to allow access to the hot water, cold water, and drainage lines from the guest bathroom, and cutting out the back of one of the cabinets along with a hole in the counter top.
The final result looks amazing, now it just needs glassware and liquor!
One of my big late-winter / early-spring projects was to finish all of the remaining flooring projects at the main house. These included:
Mud Room Tile
Kitchen Bathroom Tile
Laundry Room File
Guest Bathroom Tile
Library LifeProof Vinyl Flooring
Bar LifeProof Vinyl Flooring
Guest House LifeProof Vinyl Flooring
Theater LifeProof Vinyl Flooring
Guest House LifeProof Vinyl Flooring
Basement Bathroom Tile
This was obviously a tall order to do at once, but it made sense to consolidate all of the setup and teardown of tile and LVP cutting spaces, along with all of the associated mess. The following gallery provides a window into the chaos, which took around three weeks of solid work to wrap up:
One comical aspect of the chaos was that the cats had to be “jailed” in the unfinished room in the basement (where they had a full supply of food and water, along with many cushions to sleep on). That said, they were not thrilled with their new home.
The end result of the flooring turned out gorgeous across the board. The LVP was a given, since that had worked so well elsewhere in the house, but I was especially impressed with how well all the new tile turned out!
After the drywall repair that was done in mid-January, I repainted the walls and put all of the rooms back together, which was one of the last steps before all of my winter flooring work could begin.
After that, I worked to get everything cleared out for the new flooring. Most of this simply involved moving furniture off of the floors, but I to take apart the old bar and donate all of the old shelving. Thankfully, I was able to find good homes for everything. After the floors were cleared, I finished hauling in the rest of the flooring.
The very last step was to have Midwest Billiards come over and take apart the pool table, and move it plus the shuffleboard table to the guest house garage so that they were out of the way.