Why you shouldn’t max out Your construction budget… and a Hemingway Project update!

Oh, July…you came, you went. It was nice knowing you.

The Hemingway project is underway with demolition complete (Well, we didn’t rip up all of the floors because, y’know, we need to walk on them. Another day, Batman). The carpenters have been working incredibly hard to reinforce the Attic: leveling the floors, laying a new sub-floor, and framing it up. After a particularly humid week, there was a small monsoon in Chicago. As our crews were working, it began raining in the Attic! Looking up to the roof, Sebastian counted: one leak, two leaks…three, four, five…I’d show you pictures except that I was on a sailboat in the middle of Lake Michigan and Sebastian was busy finding buckets.


Did I mention that we had not planned on any roof work?

Of course we didn’t! It’s Murphy’s Law!

Sigh. Okay.

Now, I’ve mentioned before that you should have a contingency budget during construction. Yes, this kind of stuff is what it’s for – especially during a renovation (as opposed to new construction). Here’s a twist to also consider:

We need to do the roof now. It’s going to cost more money. At this time, we’re also finalizing the layout of the Attic and discussing all of the crevices and corners to make sure everything is perfect when drywall goes up. The entire time, we are working around a 36SF skylight: 6′ x 6′. The thing is massive…and it’s low….low to the ground. So, when you’re standing on one side of the Attic, there’s suddenly a barrage of light shining down. I’m always a fan of natural light and we were planning on working with this skylight – now that we need to fix the roof though, the ideas start circling.



What if we remove that big skylight and put up 5-6 smaller skylights higher up in the ceiling? This would allow more light AND more consistent light throughout the space. Then, we can space our collar ties evenly down the Attic without needing a gap to avoid this massive skylight…


Then! Since we can evenly space the collar ties – perhaps we can go from this:


To this:


THIS is what the contingency budget should do – it should allow you to afford the challenges that need to be overcome and ALSO allow you to capitalize on the new opportunities that the challenges present.

Having to replace the roof is a bummer. Replacing the roof, however, has the potential to completely transform the space. This is why you should never max out your initial budget. Give yourself some breathing room – and if you can’t do that, then wait until you can because, more often than not, the challenges turn out to be the dream makers.


Here are some progress photos!











Want to see more projects? Check us out at Integro Rehab!

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