Catching Up: Siding

Talk about some serious radio silence for a while.

It’s a new year, so that means it’s time to refocus on getting a new series of posts up. Starting with all of the drafts I’ve had stored for weeks and finally get them live.

One of the big ones, and one of the big cosmetic changes we’ve made, was to remove the old, gross, stained, white vinyl siding from the back of the house. It covers all of the former sleeping porches/ addition areas. It was an an ugly, unexciting white, that desperately needed a face lift.

But what made the matter worse was that on the sides of each of the additions, were old windows. Not just working windows, but windows that the previous owners decided to cover from the inside, but keep them outside, resulting in broken windows that were exposing the interior of the house to outside. So we got them framed out correctly and sided over. Something I’m really glad for doing on day as freezing as today.

Original Siding

But, of course, there was a surprise waiting for us. Luckily, Gabe’s mom Nora, was staying with us for a few weeks as we were navigating some of the big renovations/ moving process and helped us hugely! Continue reading

Vanishing Walls

**WARNING: This post depicts an unfinished project. No pretty outcome has resulted…yet.**

By the layout of the walls in our first floor, it is pretty clear that people didn’t like to be around each other in the early 20th century. There was no flow between the kitchen, living and dinning rooms. The opening between the living room and dining room is definitely not original and while that was a good attempt at opening up the first floor we knew there was a lot more potential.

And by potential, that means we had to do some demolition!!! And demolition = fun! Look for yourself:

Just knocking down that wall has made a huge difference in the amount of light that shines through to the dining room.
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The Unexpected

No one ever said buying and modernizing an 85 year old home would be uneventful or easy.

Being a pretty big HGTV junky, I always knew, but never wanted to admit, how fake shows like “Love it or List it” are.

The other day, I really felt like I was on an episode, maybe not for the best. We had a furnace tune-up scheduled, just to make sure things were in good order before the cold set in and before we were living at the house full time. And that’s when the HGTV drama hit. A call of “you have dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your home” really has a way of setting the tone for the rest of your day.

Sad, old furnace

As you can see, this old beast needed some help.

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Let it Rain!

After the last two days of non-stop rain, and no end in sight, I can really say I’m feeling at ease about our recent purchase: a new roof.

When budgeting for what projects we’d be focusing on in the first few months, it really, really hurt to find out that our roof was on its last leg. Not that a roof isn’t important, but what’s sexy about a flat roof that you’ll never see? Yeah, you get my point.

Bathrooms, light fixtures, floors, kitchens, heck, even just paint, are things that stand out and make a visible difference. They remind you every day of the progress you’ve made. Not so much with a roof.

But after much deliberation, we bit the bullet and just did it. We may have to give up some pipe dreams for the time being, but at least we’ll be dry at night and not risk potential leaks down the road.

Maybe we’ll have to make it a point to get up on that roof once in a while just to appreciate it.

I can’t say enough good about our roofer, at least, who got his crew to work overtime to get the roof done before the week of rain came. On top of that, he photo documented everything for us. He made the process much less painless than it could have been.

But the good news: the alligator-skinned roof, is no more!

Removing Old Roof Continue reading

What We’re Working With

Chris and I understand that the process of making this house into our home will take some time. But, as any first-time homeowners, we have an ever-growing list of ideas and goals for the place. But to get started, we have to decide which room will serve what purpose – which walls will stay and which walls will go.

Before we can start making major changes (other than the carpet, it had to go immediately), we have to know the exact space we’re working with. Luckily, I’ve always wanted to create a floor plan! Before we even knew whether or not we were getting this house, I was surfing the web looking for an app that would allow me to do that. I ended up using Magic Plan for iPad, mostly because it’s free and appeared in a couple of my searches.

Mapping the house was a little time consuming, but it was definitely worth it. I would draw the shape of the room, and then Chris would help by measuring each wall, window, door, space between windows, space between doors and walls, etc.

I’m sure we’ll have to tweak a few measurements, and I have not added appliances nor kitchen cabinets…but here’s what we’ve got so far, and it’s proven to be super helpful.

Left – Back of House ———— Front of House – Right

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Weekend One: Changing Up the Floor

When we first saw our house, we both looked at each other, eyes wide, after seeing the … less-than-flattering carpeting covering the entire living space. It wasn’t just that we hated carpet (which we mostly do) but the bright emerald and cranberry colors really got us.  I mean, I love Christmas as much as the next guy, but I can do without it on my floors every day.

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So we knew the FIRST thing we had to do once we got the keys was to get it out.

When you move into your own house for the first time, there’s really nothing like tearing, ripping and prying years of filth away. So within minutes of opening the door for the first time, that’s exactly what we did.

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We’re In.

There have been more than a few hurdles.

And I’ve earned more than a couple of gray hairs.

But, after months of stress, discontent and second guessing, we have finally received the keys to our new house.

It’s surely going to be lots of ups and downs, but hopefully with a great ending. So stay tuned and follow along. And maybe help clean up some of the dust, too.

Welcome Home