The ACTUAL Kitchen Reveal – Part 2

The kitchen is an important room in any house.  It is the nerve center, the gathering place, and where we spend most of our time.  Because of this, we spent a crazy amount of time and energy planning the layout for this room. It was like a giant puzzle – trying to marry an efficient and…

The Big Kitchen REVEAL – Part 1

The kitchen is DONE!  Since the kitchen renovation is the biggest single room project we have completed, we are going to split the big reveal into two parts. In this part of the reveal we will take a whirlwind history tour to show the progress from day one!  If you are interested in going back to…

Chicken Village

It’s summer!  We should be doing outside projects on the house, but not much is getting done because we can’t seem to find a carpenter who wants to tackle the exterior of the house.  On the inside, the downstairs bathroom, kitchen, and dining room are all essentially done, but we are struggling to track down…

Master Bedroom is DONE!

Wow!  It has been way too long since we have posted an update!  In our defense, we have actually been making progress in three rooms on the first floor – but nothing is completely finished yet.  I wrote a blog post once about how difficult it is to finish that last 10% of any project. …

Kitchen Tile

In the past few posts we showed how we installed the cabinets and then cut and installed the butcher block countertop.  The next step was to finally add the subway tile. Originally we had just planned to have the tile backsplash go up 18″ on the wall to the height of the shelving and cabinets….

Butcher Block Countertops – Part 2

In our last post I described the process of cutting and fitting the butcher block countertops for our kitchen.  Everything went smoothly, but one issue we had was warping with both of the 12′ boards.  I am assuming this happened because we stored them in the shed during a hot and humid week. After getting…

Butcher Block Countertops – Part 1

After finishing the installation of our cabinets and it was now time to cut our countertops.  I think we always envisioned our kitchen with butcher block countertops, but there was a brief moment when we did consider other options.  One important element that pushed us back to butcher block was the price of other typical…

The Kitchen Renovation Begins!

Our original plan was to spend the spring and summer months working on the exterior of the house.  We wanted to fix the porches, add missing trim and siding, and paint the entire house.  Well, that didn’t happen.  We had trouble finding someone willing to help with the porches, then it just seemed silly to…

Restoring our clawfoot bathtub

I (Amy) have always been excited that our house came with it’s original clawfoot bathtub..even though it was in pretty rough shape. The development of the downstairs bathroom has been a very long-term project. When we purchased the house (before doing any rehab work or making any messes) it looked like this. Before demolishing this…

Medicine Cabinet Restoration

Now that we are essentially done with the 2nd floor (a post on the completed master bedroom will come soon), it’s time to turn our attention back to actual rehab work.  One of the pleasant aspects of working on the 2nd floor was that much of it was working from nothing, instead of undoing old work…

Common Area is FINISHED!

Just outside of Lucy’s room there are two nooks on either side of the doorway.  After some deliberation in the initial brainstorming process, we decided that this was a good place to put our washer and dryer to create a small laundry area.  This 2nd floor location won out because we wanted the washer and…

Upstairs Bathroom is FINISHED!

For more than 100 years the 2nd floor of our house was mostly a very large attic.  The master bedroom was the only finished room upstairs and it was accessed by a narrow, steep staircase.  The odd spaces and angled ceilings made it a little tricky, but we were able to devise a floor plan that…

Stuck at 90%

The upstairs bathroom has been 90% done for more than a year.  90% is a dangerous place to be.  It’s just enough to be fully functional, which means the sense of urgency to finish it is extremely low, but it still lacks all the finished details.  There are only a few rooms in the house…

The Loft is Complete!

We moved quickly to finish the loft project so that it could be used for guests over the Thanksgiving holiday.  The actual construction projects were wrapped up a couple weeks ago, but we still had to do all the finish work.  This included sanding, caulking, priming, painting, and installing carpet.  In addition, since the loft…

Book shelves and a ladder for the loft

Amy and I have been moving right along on progress in the loft because we have been motivated by a rapidly approaching deadline called Thanksgiving.  The most recent project consisted of building two bookshelves at the open end of the loft.  The bookshelves will give us much needed storage for books (duh), board games, and…

Renovation of the loft space begins!

It’s Fall, which means it’s my busiest season as a band director.  For the past three years we have come to a screeching halt on renovation progress during this time, because I am at school late every day and I’m barely home at all on many Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays.   I have managed to…

The door and window switcharoo

All work on the inside of the house has stopped as we take advantage of the summer weather to focus on everything related to the exterior of the house.  One of these projects is the continuation of the window restorations.  Yes, that project is STILL going on. I completely restored the interior sashes more than…

How to eat an elephant

This spring we began the overwhelming task of renovating the exterior of our house.  It is a massive job that we will tackle “one bite at a time.”  Up to this point, our work on the exterior of the house has been pretty limited.  We have removed the asbestos siding from the gables when we…

First progress in the kitchen

Most people consider the kitchen to be the most important room in the house.  In the planning process, we agonized, seriously AGONIZED, over how to arrange our kitchen.  If there was ever a time in the renovation when our marriage was put to the test, it was definitely the kitchen layout that caused the most…

Lucy’s room is done!

From the first moment we saw the space that was to become Lucy’s room, we had a pretty clear vision of what it could be.   It has been one of our favorite projects and it couldn’t have turned out more perfect for our little girl. Of course, we couldn’t really blame people for not…

Aiden’s room is done!

For more than a year Amy and I were motivated by deadlines dictated by contractors, mother nature, school, vacation time, and the sale of our old house.  But once we were able to move into our rehab house the deadlines suddenly disappeared.  This is NOT to say that we haven’t been working our butts off…

Spring Break, No Break, Back Break

Joe and I are teachers, which means we have a good old fashioned spring break penciled in each year to get a jump start on warm-weather projects. This year we had a long list of projects that we wanted to do on the house, but we have learned over the past two years that there…

Lucy’s built-in bed and window trim

The kids’ rooms are slowly nearing completion.  We seem to be bouncing back and forth between these two rooms, possibly just procrastinating the final decorating decisions.  The first major project we completed in Lucy’s room (post-renovation) was the built-in dresser.  Next, we moved on to the window trim and built-in bed for Aiden’s room.  Now…

Back to built-ins

The built-in craze continues with yet another IKEA hack!  Aiden’s bed is in a unique area of the upstairs which most people assumed would be an oddly shaped closet.  We decided this was an ideal nook for a bed, despite the thoughts of the occasional contractor that lacked vision and creative thought.  But those same…

Pretending to be a carpenter

The holiday break gave us time to make good progress with unpacking, organizing, and wrapping up some new projects.  One big project that has been in the works for a long time was creating storage spaces in Lucy’s bedroom.   We have known for more than a year exactly how we were going to create storage…

Book nook under the stairs

It might be small and not very significant in the big picture of our rehab project, but we have officially finished one “living” space of our house!  As we mentioned in our previous post, our top priority recently has been to finish all storage spaces so that we have places to put things as we…

Storage Wars!

We’re back! We never intended for the move-in to be the end of the blog, but I’m sure it must seem like that considering how long it has been since the last post.  A year ago our intention was to try to be done with the rehab project during the summer so that we would…

Big Tour after the Big Move

We have had a couple posts about the moving process, but not many pictures of the house.   As promised, this blog post will have more pictures of the current state of our house.  Be warned:  It is not pretty.  It is still cluttered with boxes and we still don’t have things like fixtures, trim, paint,…

The Big Move

As you would expect, moving day and the days leading up to it were hectic, long, and stressful, but also full of anticipation and excitement. By the time the day had actually arrived the vast majority of boxes and small items had already been relocated to the rehab house.  The movers were going to take…

Sprinting to the finish line

We have finally reached the most important milestone of our rehab project.   We have moved into our new home! (pause for long applause) Thank you. This past month has been one of the most brutal of our rehab year.  This is evident by the fact that we haven’t even had time to post one…

Floors finally finished!

The floors are done.  Finally. I started sanding the floors three weeks ago today and thought I would be able to finish in one week.   We did actually finish almost all the sanding in one week, but applying the three coats of polyurethane and sanding between took some time – especially because I am now…

Roller Coaster Adventures in Floor Sanding – Days 2, 3, and 4

Day 2 A long time ago when I was researching everything about refinishing floors I found something online that calculated how long it would take to do the project.  Turns out that 2000 sq. ft. is supposed to take 105 hours.  I remember thinking, “Whoah!  That’s a lot.  How could it possibly take that long?” …

Adventures in Floor Sanding – Day 1

Sanding and refinishing the floors was a job that had been looming at the very end of the first stage of our home renovation.  It marks the end of major mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural jobs and also acts as a bridge to the next stage of our project.  I woke up this morning relatively…

The clock is now ticking

We have been putting in long, long hours at the house the past few weeks.  So many hours, in fact, that we haven’t had much time to keep the blog updated.  The increased sense of urgency is due in large part to the fact that we sold our current house!  [Edit from Amy: Woot! Woot!…

Prepping the floors, priming the walls, and cooling the air.

While Joe has been busy continuing window reglazing, door restoration, and plaster repair, I have been chipping away at the floors….literally. I talked a lot about the mastic tar and horse hoof glue removal process in this blog post when I was about half way through the job. Now that job is officially finished and…

Plaster repair – Part 1

One of the big remaining jobs we have left to tackle before moving into our rehab house is repairing the plaster. Technically, I guess we could do his after we move in, but it’s a messy job and not something we really want to be doing with furniture in the house.  Plus, those silly people…

Doors (Part 1) and Weed Moats

As we look back on the past year of our rehab project it is obvious that the stages can be neatly divided into categories: Stage 1 – Planning (and lots of thinking).  Meetings with architect, contractors, skilled friends who can give advice. Stage 2 – Demolishing (knocking stuff down and taking it out).  The demo…

Completing the Cycle: Re-installing the rehabbed windows

The renovation of our beautiful 100 year old windows has been the most time consuming single project (by far) and the biggest money saving DIY project (by a mile) of our home renovation project.   Those of you that have followed this blog from the beginning have read about these windows off and on for…

Pressing the Rewind Button

Over the last 100 years the waves of what’s hot and what’s not in home decor usually leaves many layers of work to be subsequently undone in future home renovations.  Each decade brings a new layer (literally) to the story with floors and walls acting like layers of sediment that reveal the past.  We are…

Taping, mudding, scraping, and washing

One year ago this week we still hadn’t even picked up a hammer, decided on floor plan revisions, or even lined up any subcontractors.  Everything we have done since that time has been towards one big goal – drywall.  Last week our drywall was officially completed.  Let’s pause for a moment to celebrate…. Okay, time…

Taming the backyard… again.

Week 53  (Joe) One of the very first projects we did a year ago was to try to make the front and backyard of the house not look so…  abandoned.  The house had been vacant for more than 10 years and it definitely looked like it.  Weeds had turned into trees.  Parts of the yard…

Happy 1-year anniversary!

Week 53!!!  (Joe and Amy) One year ago TODAY we took possession of our new house!  How fitting that the 1-year anniversary corresponds with one of our biggest milestones – drywall!  By coincidence, another small milestone will be passed today – some lucky reader will be the 10,000th view on our blog!  We wanted to…

A better drywall experience

Week 52  (Joe) All of our drywall is now up.  It only took them 2 1/2 days to finish and (for the most part) everything went smoothly.  In my last post I commented on a couple issues that occurred after the 1st day of drywall.  The reality is that most of those issues have nothing…

Drywall finally begins

Week 52  (Joe) Amy and I spent last weekend and Monday frantically preparing for the drywall crew so that they could begin on Tuesday.  The big day finally arrived and we drove home after work like a couple of kids on Christmas morning.  Except…  there was nothing under the tree.  Sadly, no drywall.  The drywall…

Prepping for drywall

Week 51  (Joe) Once the insulation crew began work we gave our drywall guy a call and scheduled him to start on Tuesday.  We knew we had some small jobs to take care of before drywall, but we wanted to get the drywall finished soon so that we would be able to work in the…

Insulation!!!

Week 51 (Joe) Insulation just doesn’t seem like it would be that exciting, does it? But to us, it is! It is a huge job that gets us one big step closer to drywall.  As a reminder, our house had no insulation anywhere.  As tempting as it might have been to save money by doing…