Friday, April 25, 2014

Renovations Round One

When we bought our little house last summer we honestly had no clue what a "fixer upper" it would turn out to be. To steal a line from Clueless (oh yes, I'm going there), it was a total Monet. On the surface it looked great, but once you got up close, it was kind of a big mess. 

When we saw it originally, I remember noticing that the owner had updated all the switch plate covers from almond to white, but hadn't changed the actual outlets/switches. As it turns out, that was a huge red flag for the way this guy approached ALL home repairs. Half assed and LAZY. So much so that his name (Russell) has turned into a verb in our house.  (i.e. when we find something that has been rigged, we say it's been "Russell-ed"). It's been a challenge to undo some of his DIY hacks, but doing things the right way has proven to be worth it for our peace of mind.

Our initial projects upon moving in were to Elfa the master closet, paint the rest of the closets, and we also ended up replacing the back door unexpectedly. However, the Big Project that we had planned on from day one was to rip out the flooring in the front of the house and replace it with hardwood.  It was a combination of tile, nasty carpet, and cheap wood. 

Due to the cost and pain-in-the-ass factor of the project it was put on the "eventually" list but promptly got moved to the "OMG-I-don't-want-my-infant-inhaling-tile-dust" list pretty much from the moment we found out I was pregnant. Score one for Baby G.

So after eight months of dragging our feet, we finally got it done in March. I've decided all home remodeling projects follow the path of the children's book "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" and you should just plan for every one project to turn into five and add about 40% to the cost you were estimating to spend.  In our case, the floors led to painting the walls, which led to replacing the baseboards, which led to rewiring the living room to mount the TV, which led to having the electrician also replace all those almond switches while he was there. Not to mention that we decided to go ahead and tack on flooring for three extra bedrooms and a hallway at the last minute. 

In the end, it was two weeks of disaster....
... that thankfully proved to be entirely worth it. 

Here are some before and afters:

The Dining Room

Listing photo. The dining room had a fan in it(??) and a raised wood floor with that fancy diamond pattern in it. The floor was also cracked in a couple spots. 

After we moved in. I painted the trim (including the faux wainscoting), attempted to hide the pattern in the floor with a rug and Den replaced the fan with a light fixture

And now! In addition to the floors, we painted the walls, put the light on a dimmer, and finally got chairs! Once we get a "real" dining room table and some curtains, this room will be done.

The Living Room
 Listing photo. 

 I don't have a great photo of after we moved in, but this gives you the gist of it. Surprisingly, that's the same color as the previous photo- it just looks much more orangey during the day. We hung the TV, but you can see the wires hanging down and running along the left side of the photo. All the trim in this room was also extremely yellowed.

And now! We painted the mantel and all the trim, wired the TV so the cords are now hidden, replaced the outlets and switches, and moved around some furniture. We still have to get rid of the old coffee table that's currently parked in the corner.

The entry was the same color as the rest of the hallway/living room, but if you looked closely, they had painted directly on top of wallpaper. The paper was bubbling up in certain places and you could see the seams, so we had to have drywall guy come out and strip all the paper and retexture the walls. Annoying, but worth it to get it to look right. The only thing left to do in here is to replace the entry light fixture.

The walls in here photographed a little yellow, but it's the same gray as the rest of the house. Up next for this room is a legit desk and curtains.

Guest Room

The guest room got paint, floors, and new window shades and we also took the 80's intercom box out of that back wall and patched up the hole. We debated trying to retrofit the intercom with speakers and an iPod docking station, but ultimately it just seemed silly as quickly as technology changes.  So now we just need a little artwork and this room is pretty much done.

We also did the nursery, but I'm saving that for a different post once we get a few of the final details finished up. 

I'm so thankful for the fresh clean space to bring the baby home to and the fact that it was done correctly and not "Russell-ed" in any form or fashion. A huge amount of props to my parents who came over every night to offer their slave labor (and would even bring dinner with them).  I can't say that I would recommend taking on any massive home remodeling project while 7 months pregnant, but they definitely made it doable and we couldn't be happier with the result. 

1 comment:

melissa said...

Are you sure Russel didn't have a second home in Florida? I think I'm living in it. I could have written this post myself. (and maybe one day my lazy butt will!)You guys have done an amazing job - and so quickly! It looks like a different house. So beautiful. We've yet to re-do our floors but I'm itching to! These pictures make me even more antsy to get it done. Enjoy your beautiful new house. Can't wait to see the nursery!