April 5, 2016

The Inheritance Project - Part 1

What an endeavor.  

I don't know if Mike or I really understood what an undertaking it would be to demo and renovate a house. I mean, I guess we knew it would be a lot of work, but maybe not as time consuming as every project has proven to be.  Not to mention to do it 2 hours away from your own house while being parents to a 3 year old and 6 month old.  Talk about exhausting, invigorating and frustrating all at the same time.  

Here is our story (so far):

When we inherited my grandparents' house near the end of January we were excited at the possibilities that were in store.  There was still a tenant living in the house at the time, so we had a month to loosely plan what our game plan would be.

Since our project is located in Palatka (about 1 hour and 45 minutes away from our own home), we knew that we would be going up on weekends A LOT.  My mom and family also live about 10 minutes away from our project so we knew that we also had a built in babysitter and place to stay while we were working on the house...thank goodness.  Life savers I tell you.

I also knew that I had 10 days off for Spring Break around Easter and that every minute would be dedicated to working on the house.  We also found out that Mike's dad (a retired electrician) and our nephew were planning on driving down from Wisconsin for a week to help - this panned out to be an amazing help.


Knowing all of those things, when we found out that the tenant was gone and actually got the keys at the beginning of March we still weren't really sure what to expect.  We had done a walk through while he was still living there, but I guess we expected more "stuff" to be out of the house; some of which belonged to the tenant, some of which belonged to my grandparents. There were still lots and lots of things left behind which hindered our initial progress.

Regardless of who it belonged to, it was there and we had to deal with it.  The house definitely wasn't a clean slate to start with and we had to figure out how to get rid of years and years of accumulation, fast.

Two things we knew we needed:
1. Dumpster.
2.  Yard Sale (to help pay for the dumpster).

After a few days of yard saling we had most of the big stuff gone and enough money to cover the dumpster.  Since then, we have just been putting stuff out at the curb and people have been taking it away.  Awesome!

We also had a lot of cleaning to do before we could even start any reno since we needed to see what we were dealing with and what our plan of attach was going to be.  As with any old(er) house there was a lot of dust, grime and mildew.  I was scared to death that we had a huge black mold problem in the bathroom and was picturing in my mind a big bathroom redo, when really, after a few sprays of bleach cleaner it went away.  Whew.

Huge relief!

After removing the kitchen door leading into the hallway and the hallway door leading into the living room those two spaces automatically felt bigger.  Since there was an empty wall that backed up to the living room closet and the kitchen didn't have a pantry, we knew we wanted to try to make one.  

Mike had the idea to split the closet in half and make the kitchen side an open pantry then make an open built in bookshelf on the living room side.  So cool.

Demo day!

From top left:  Aunt Janie taking down the hallway/living room door, soggy kitchen floor inspection and demo, Grandpa Rick installing all new GFI outlets, nail/screw removal and patching, tool table, testing out primer on the trim, Ethan (our nephew) getting up all of the wet plywood near the sink, the peek-a-boo hole looking at Aunt Janie taking down yet another door, our new electrical panel thanks to Grandpa Rick - it's a beauty!

After noticing a soft spot near the kitchen sink, I again, was scared to death and thought the worst.  Grandpa Rick, who has no fear, just started pulling up the floor to "see what we were dealing with".  Luckily, there was a little bit of water damage to the plywood underneath the old floors and the damage didn't got down to the joists.  THANK GOODNESS.  Again, whew.

The good thing was at that point we hadn't decided if we wanted to spend the money to put down new kitchen floors, even though we knew it would look 100 times better.  Well, after patching the floor with some fresh plywood, we had our answer...and then I got to pick out flooring.  So fun!

From top left:  Donuts for some extra spunk (mine was the pink one!), Mike and Rick cutting out the rest of the damaged kitchen floor, bedroom walls with lots of mildew, Ethan and Mike taking the kitchen table to the curb in hopes of selling it (we did!), safety glasses, the boys taking the old fan down in the master and replacing it with a newer one, patched up kitchen floor, outlet work under the sink, tools everywhere.

As for all of the help that Grandpa Rick gave us, we can't thank him enough.  Not only did he save us TONS of money on electrical work, he was a wealth of knowledge when it came to all sorts of renovation projects.  We realllllly wished he could have stayed a few more days!!!

Rick put in a new electrical panel, changed out all of our old two pronged outlets into GFI outlets, added new outlets (for fridge and spotlights in the back yard) as well as fixing some electrical work that was pretty dangerous put in by the previous tenant.  

He also was very helpful when it came to busting out the closet and making a new frame/wall for the pantry/bookshelf combo.

Before and (almost) after.  The "brick wall" wall is actually paneling.  It's awesome and actually feels like real brick!

From top left:  Mike working on the new pantry, lots of lumber, Rick and Mike putting in the wall frame, new screen door (will be painted light blue soon!), door color in the middle, brick paneling to divide the pantry/bookshelf, Mike working on the outside lights - right before we found out this wiring was REALLY dangerous, paint mixing, gross finds in the bathroom.

By the time Mike's dad left we felt pretty confident in our abilities to keep going alone...but like I said before, a few more days under his apprenticeship would have been awesome!

We continued plumbing work and wall repair in the bathroom as well as ripping up the wall-to-wall carpet in the house.  There are beautiful oak floors underneath all of the carpet, however we found some pretty gnarly glue marks underneath that have been a pain in the youknowwhat and have sparked many discussions/arguments between the two of us on how to address the problem.

Lots of plumbing, more wall demo and taking carpet up!

Below is a pic of the hallway floors.  You can see the adhesive trail, before removal, close to the baseboards (below, left).  Ugh.  Such a bummer.  We have found that the only thing that works to get the glue up easily-ish is baby oil and a scraper.  The aftermath however is not stellar.  You can still see a line where the glue was. 

One of the most fun parts of this process so far has been picking out all of the new stuff.  I spent one whole afternoon pricing and measuring for our new appliances.  With the sale and incentives going on at Home Depot (our home away from home) we decided to purchase the fridge, dishwasher and stove from them.  Their employees have been so helpful to us and luckily they even had a delivery day open last week while we were there.  

I also spent a day picking out kitchen tile, kitchen counter tops, side entry door and the new sink.  Fun stuff! My inner Joanna Gaines was a happy lady.

Everett even came over one morning to help me sand cabinets , apply sample paint colors and measure the kitchen, while my mom had an appointment.  I loved having my little helper around...he however just wanted to go back to Gransie's to play.  I really can't blame him...I wanted to, too!

Paint samples, old shelf liner, cabinetry hardware, cabinet sanding and kitchen inspiration.

Although we weren't ready to install the appliances just yet, delivery day was pretty exciting!  We opted to go with a quick delivery since we found out that deliveries only happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Since we don't live near we didn't want to have to take off more work we went for it and are just keeping the appliances stored in another empty room.

Fun deliveries!  Thanks to Uncle Jerry for the use of his truck and trailer!

The bathroom and bathroom tile has been a debacle since day one.  The previous tenant installed a vanity sink in the bathroom and ripped out part of the original tile and some of the bathroom wall.  Because the sink really didn't fit the decor I am going for, we knew we had to replace it.  

The bathroom is true to the 1950s when the house was built and is pink and black and very retro.  We knew we could find black tile from Home Depot, but the salmon-pink tile were a whole different story.  I was fine with just patching the area with black, while Mike was stuck on salvaging the originals that we saved from the wall demo.

Ultimately he researched and found out that muriatic acid (found at Home Depot) would eat away at the old mortar and grout.  I agreed to try it, reluctantly, and we put them all in a bucket and let them soak overnight.

As soon as the tile touched the acid it stated bubbling like crazy.  Wearing gloves and protective eye ware, of course, we scraped off all of the old gunk. And, after a few soakings, the tiles were spotless.  

I was amazed.  I had it in my mind that it was going to be a waste of time and not going to work, but I had to eat crow.  They looked like new and in the end I was so glad that we got to incorporate them back into the bathroom.

As soon as we had all of our clean tiles we designed the patch job on the floor before we started the actual tiling.  The end result looks like the original creation instead of covering up a mistake.  Kudos Mike, good call on that one.

Our design taking place int he other room before committing to the actual thing!

Top left:  Demoed wall where old vanity sink was, Bottom left: backer board and drywall patch job, Right:  Tile up with no grout.

Grouted and gorgeous!  Next up is to install the new pedestal sink!

Mike also finished up framing out the new pantry.  I can't wait to add paint and shelving...and then adding all of the pretties for staging of course!

We installed a new side entry door that walks into the kitchen (above).  We actually used the original door frame and were pretty darn proud of ourselves after we finished this project.  It looks one zillion times better and will be painted black when all is said and done.  We even installed a new threshold the next day before installing the tile to make sure it fit.  We're getting the hang of it!

Tiling was next up.  I had tiled many times before, but this was Mike's first project of this type.  We opted for a herringbone pattern on the kitchen floor, which led to a lot of cuts but an awesome design.

We bought all of the supplies and then did end up purchasing a wet saw...it was a life saver and helped with our billion tile cuts.

Tiling is no joke.  Very hard work, but very rewarding.  The kitchen looks 5 times bigger and the grout (shown later) looks seamless.  I'm in love!

On the last day of our two week workcation we removed the counter tops, Mike built and installed a new side cabinet and we grouted both the kitchen floor and bathroom tiles.

Counter top removal = lots of roaches!

Because of a junction box, we can't move the stove over to meet up with the existing cabinets.  Mike had the idea to build a small, open side cabinet for the new owners to store their cookie sheets and cutting boards.  It looks awesome and will be so functional.  It will also make the transition to the stove seamless.  Again, nice call Mikey!

I chose a light gray grout (Platinum from Home Depot) in the kitchen and love how it turned out.  Seamless and classy.  I can't wait to see the appliances in there!

Love, love, love!  This was still with a bit of haze on them, too.

As for what is next on tap...we have lots, but it's lots of fun stuff.  Baseboards, subway tile back splash, priming and painting all rooms, a big IKEA trip, wood floor repair, exterior painting and landscaping, patio gate building and fun decorating.  

Below are some of the thoughts that are floating around in my brain, I can't wait to see how it all turns out.  Stay tuned!

Left:  Kitchen Wall Color             Right:  Kitchen Cabinet color

Below:  Kitchen Inspiration

Thanks for following along on this journey - we can't wait to show you the finished product...and pray that it sells!

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