Homecoming week preview! Bonus photo tour of unfinished addition

December 20th, 2015

Since life is about to get exponentially fuller and happier, it occurred to me that I could take this rare break in the action to give you a bloggy tour of the addition as it stands right now.  Katie, Stephen and I all have bad coughs and stayed home from church today, enjoying the quietness and serenity.

So unless God changes the plans, here they are–

Tomorrow, Monday the 21st, the driveway stones are scheduled to be put down, our builder’s guys will break the way through from the old basement to the new one for the HVAC duct work, the electrician will come back and do some post-dry-wall work, the carpenter will frame in the two changing rooms in the laundry room, and the dynamic dry-walling duo will accomplish their sanding.  I’m so thankful for all this progress, but especially for the new patio/driveway/sidewalk/wheelchair lift pad solution being finished and ready to use, as I still carry Katie down the front porch stairs and down the hill in front of our house to the school bus every school morning.  And of course, it will be ready just in time for Josie’s homecoming!

Tuesday is slated for the HVAC team to begin work on the entire first floor system, which will be installed in the basement.  I believe this process will take all week, minus Christmas Day.  Next week, the second floor system goes into the attic.  We are making the switch from oil/hot water heat to propane heat so that we can have the benefit of filling a 1000 gallon tank once a year when the price is lowest.  So our entire baseboard radiator heating system is being replaced with a duct and vent system.  I’m still awaiting word from our builder about the possibility of beginning to paint ceilings on Tuesday as well.

On Wednesday, Josie comes home!!!  She knows she’s coming into the middle of a building flurry and will be camping out in the living room with several of us and the Christmas tree in her sleeping bag on an air mattress!  Tacos for supper!  Her favorite meal!

On Thursday, we have plans to take Josie to a local specialty shop to choose a treat for each family member.  She told me today that she wanted to have something to give, and this will make her part of a long-standing Musser family tradition.  She was thrilled about the idea!

Friday is Josie’s first Musser Christmas!  We can’t wait to share it with her!  Since we celebrate for a whole week, this is just the first day of many fun traditions for her to experience.  We love God’s timing in planning her homecoming to be right at the beginning of an extended break from school.  (Talk about total immersion!)  I told her that truly she is one of the best gifts God was sending our family!

On Saturday, she’ll get to meet the extended Musser family for the first time!

We’re planning our first family photo shoot for Sunday, after Josie is finally back to be welcomed by our church family, who have loved her and prayed for her and helped in so many practical ways throughout this entire process!

Many folks have asked more specific questions about the addition, so for those of you who aren’t bored to tears by descriptions of layouts and other design details, here goes!

We’ll begin upstairs with the former master bedroom that is being transformed into a second floor laundry room.  I put the following photo on our YouCaring page this past week but I have noticed that a lot of each photo gets cut off on that site.  This is our former closet being turned into a space for our two stackable washers and dryers.



This window will soon be an open doorway from the laundry room into the walk-in closet shared by seven family members.


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Stepping through the window and looking back through it.  Back against that wall, there will soon be two changing rooms.




Turning left in the walk-in closet and walking through what will be a pocket door, you have a view of the left window in Jane and Verity’s new room.




Then turning to the right, the rest of their room.




Turning back to look through the walk-in closet to the pocket doorway at the other end, you can catch a glimpse of the new master bedroom.




To the right as you enter the master bedroom, you can see the bathroom window that’s being turned into a door.




Entering the future master bedroom and looking toward the left.




Turning around and looking through the pocket doorway on the left into the walk-in closet and through the pocket doorway on the right into Katie’s new room.




Little glimpse of Katie’s new room.  I had so much fun planning the decor for this room!




Downstairs now and looking from the living room into the schoolroom.  Katie’s sitting in the recliner where Joe’s been sleeping at night for the past three weeks.  More importantly, this is the window that’s turning into the doorway (another pocket door) into Josie and Laura’s room!  It’s open today to allow for more airflow into the addition, which is being heated with a propane heater to help the third coat of dry-wall compound to dry thoroughly.




Sitting on the arm of the recliner next to Katie and looking back.  We removed the desk from the end of the living room and moved the Christmas tree there.  The supply vent for the HVAC system will be back in the far corner to the right, in front of the bookshelves, where the Christmas tree used to sit.  I’m doing my best to keep our downstairs living space a pleasant place to be during this process, since it’s currently the living space for fourteen people–soon to be fifteen!  The children’s bedrooms are stacked high with containers of furnishings that are waiting to go into the new rooms.  Did you know we are also planning to replace all this icky carpet with the same laminate flooring that will be in Josie and Laura’s room?

People go camping in far less roomy and comfy quarters.  And they do it on purpose, ya know, for fun!  We’re determined to get all the fun out of this that we can, and so far, it’s working!




Looking through the open window behind Katie into Josie and Laura’s room.  That doorway is to their future bathroom with yes, another pocket door!




Now a straight view into Josie and Laura’s room from the schoolroom window that gives just a glimpse of their roll-in closet to the right.




Looking through the other schoolroom window to an outer corner of Josie and Laura’s room.




Walking through the kitchen on my way outside.  The desk is waiting here until the day we can move it into the master bedroom.  Daniel has been using it for the family business bookwork, but he’s getting his own desk when he and Joshua move into the girls’ old room.




Stepping out the back door.  You can see the insulation sprayed onto the ceiling, under the master bedroom floor.




Last time Josie came, we took her down the length of the sidewalk to the wheelchair lift pad to show her where she’d be getting on the school bus on school mornings.  Her bus driver and our district’s transportation director came and tested it out.  Our driveway needs to be fifteen feet wide from the inner side of the sidewalk in order to best accommodate the bus lift.  So that should be done tomorrow, with gravel being poured up to the level of the sidewalk.




Looking back toward the patio doors into Josie and Laura’s room.  We considered sliding glass doors, but after receiving advice from experienced friends, decided on a swing door due to a lower threshold and the likelihood of a sliding door to become difficult for Josie to open and close anyway.




Walking through the doors and looking back outside.  We wanted Josie to have the ability to get out to the patio with as little assistance as possible.  It’s also important for the home health aide to be able to enter and exit each morning without disturbing the rest of the family.  While it will be a vital help to have the aide assist Josie through her morning routine, it can be stressful to have a non-family member in the home first thing each morning.




Now for the most fun part of the tour!  It was incredibly satisfying and exhilarating to design every part of Josie’s room to give her the most independence possible.  We planned for the long term, considering the likelihood that she’ll continue to grow between now and adulthood and the possibility that she could lose some ability over the years.  We are forever grateful for the friends who lent us their expertise and experienced advice throughout the design process!

Turning to the right as you enter her room from the patio, you can see the wall right next to the door where Josie and Laura can hang their backpacks and coats.  This little space is a roll-in closet, and will not have a door.  Along the back wall, there will be a lower hanging rod for Josie’s hanging clothes and a higher rod for Laura’s hanging clothes with a high shelf above it.  Floor to ceiling shelving will line the right wall, with the remainder of Josie’s clothing in bins at the level she can easily access.  This will enable her to choose her own outfits each day as any other young teen girl does.




A roomy storage space!  She can roll in, choose her clothes and place them on her lap, then roll out backward.  All doorways are three feet wide, and all light switches will be the rocker-type installed at a level Josie can easily access from either walker or wheelchair.




Now looking to the left of the patio doors as you enter the room.  Back in that far left corner will sit a mini fridge and above it, a small wall cabinet.  Along the rest of the wall to the doorway to the rest of the house will be Josie’s desktop, open underneath, with shelving above it to the ceiling for more storage.  This will give her space for a computer and any crafts or other projects she wants to work on.  We have a touch lamp waiting to go onto her future desk.




On the other side of the doorway into the house will be Laura’s desktop, designed similarly, open underneath, with shelving above it to the ceiling.  These desks will provide both girls with the quiet study space they will need in the years ahead despite living in a bustling household.

Looking back into the far left of the room, you can see the area we’ve designated as a sitting area.  What a lovely corner it will be once it’s finished!  A place for the older girls in our family to hang out together and for Josie to visit with company who comes to see her.  Those two windows face west and north, so a generous amount of daylight will pour in every afternoon.




Walking toward that end of the room and looking to the right, you can see the bathroom doorway.



Looking to the left, you see a laughing Katie-bird!




Now standing in the sitting area, looking over to the cozy, semi-private nook for the girls’ twin over full bunk bed.  This bed works well for Josie.  It provides lots of room for her to stretch out, it’s easy for her to get into and out of herself without bumping her head as with a typical bunk bed, and it saves floor space!

We asked for four-unit outlet boxes to be installed throughout her room rather than the standard two-unit outlets, in case Josie would have a need for more equipment (such as a lift) in the future than she does now.




As you look straight into Josie and Laura’s sleeping nook, you can see a door to the right.  This is the “back door” of the linen closet, which will open toward their bed and hold their laundry basket as well as towels, toiletries, sheets, and other supplies.




Walking into their sleeping nook and looking back, from right to left you can see the interior of the linen closet, the future doorway into the house, and part of their sitting area.



Turning to walk back toward their bathroom door, you can see the natural daylight that pours cheerfully through those patio doors in the morning!




This photo is a bit confusing.  You’re standing at the bathroom pocket doorway looking toward the open linen closet to your left.  Behind that wall, full of doors waiting to be hung, is the shower area, which will be completely tiled.  The floor will also be tiled, and slant slightly toward the shower drain, with no barriers for walker or wheelchair.




Space for the wall-hung sink/counter unit.




Sink area to the right of the privacy wall, toilet to be installed on the left side of the wall.




Since Josie will be more vulnerable due to her physical limitations, in order to protect her privacy and dignity, we built in more privacy measures, with walls offset to give no view behind the privacy wall from either the existing house or the sitting area.  The window that’s installed here now will be replaced with a frosted glass window.  (This one is headed up to the master bedroom once the workmen no longer need to be able to access the second floor via ladder and window.)




As I mentioned before, the shower is full of doors!  So you’ll have to wait to get a better look at this area.

There are so many details about this bathroom that are designed to work for Josie.  You will see them once the space is finished!  A few inches can make the difference between helplessness and independence.  We can’t wait for her to discover how much her new room will enable her to do for herself!  As the hard-working and determined girl she is, she’ll be so thrilled!





Next time you get to look inside these rooms, they will be gorgeous with color as well as being chock-full of practical solutions that meet many of our family’s specific needs!

Thanks for joining us on this little tour!




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7 Responses to “Homecoming week preview! Bonus photo tour of unfinished addition”

  1. Missy says:

    Great tour! Thanks for letting us peek inside.

  2. Andrea says:

    As an architecture nerd (that’s what seven years of higher education will do to you!) it was SO much fun to read through this post and envision what’s not that far away for you now! Your family has lived well in the spaces you’ve had up until now, and I’m so excited for the opportunities these new spaces allow all of you!! Enjoy your busy week!

  3. Dana says:

    can’t wait to see the finished product, but I enjoyed the preview tour too! I like your determination to make living in a construction zone fun attitude!

  4. Susanna says:

    Andrea, I forgot you were an architect! So, how did we do? :D

  5. J says:

    This is exciting! I can’t wait to see it all finished. Thanks so much for sharing. I LOVE stuff like this. I am really curious about how the external view will look one complete.. are they building up the roof to match the current one?

  6. Susanna says:

    J, I’ll email you a pic of what it looks like from the outside, minus the patio doors. Simplest way I know to show it to you!

    We opted not to put an attic or even a crawl space on, so it’s a (very slightly slanted) flat rubber roof. Very simple, and the least expensive option, but entirely adequate for the need!

  7. esther paris says:

    Thanks for the tour! Happy Homecoming to Josie & Merriest Christmas to all!

    (Trying a different browser to see if that works.)

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