Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Little Story About Why Our House Looks Like Crap.

I'll probably be up until the wee hours of the morning trying to document and explain why our house looks like this:



Guest bedroom:

Here is the explanation:

Our house is 1400 sq ft with 3 small bedrooms, 2 small bathrooms, a living room, dining room, kitchen, and a den.

 Because our house used to have a funky wall dividing the living room from the kitchen and dining room, the previous owners just had a couch and a piano in there (because it was virtually impossible to arrange any sort of "living room" in the living room). 

Funky wall:

Previous owners layout:

So the previous owners used the den as their TV room:

(The TV was in the bottom right of this picture)

The door on the right leads to the backyard and the door on the left leads to the garage.

Here is a picture facing the other direction:

The bi-fold doors on the right used to be a laundry closet... but they turned it into a storage closet and put their washer and dryer in the garage. Since the back of the closet wall and the garage wall are the same wall, they just flipped the hook-ups to the garage side of the wall. They put shelves in the closet and used it to store toys and craft supplies. We knew that the hook-ups could be flipped back (because we didn't want the w/d in the garage) so we planned on turning the laundry closet into an actual laundry room. (Plus, we had already ripped out the shelves and used them in our tiny bedroom closet.)

We could have just flipped the hook-ups and installed our w/d and called it good. But we are the kind of people that just open the laundry room door and throw our dirty clothes in there and then close the door again. The laundry baskets are always on the floor... overflowing with clothes waiting to be laundered... so we didn't see the logic in having a closet when there was enough space to make it a room... especially when the closet doesn't have enough space for our usual piles of dirty clothes. 

I took the doors off... and that's about all I've done to contribute to the laundry room renovation. 

Back in October or November, Jake framed the room in and ripped out the carpet. 

We didn't want our laundry room to look like it had been a closet in the past... so Jake took out the studs and header that had previously made it a closet. 

He worked loooong and hard making the walls level. 

But he did a great job and you can't even tell that the walls and ceiling used to been uneven. 

Jake is actually in the process of moving the hole for the light to the middle of the room. (But the fan will stay where it's at). 

We wanted to finish our laundry room so that we could get the w/d out of the garage because they are taking up precious storage and work space.

 Now that laundry room is taped, it's ready for texture. 

Jake spent a lot of time taping the room and getting it ready for the texture. He took into consideration how long (and how difficult) it was to tape a small room... and thought about how much taping there was to do in our kitchen and ceiling... so we decided to hire someone to do the rest of the taping and all of the texture (because we wanted to get all of the texture done at once) and we wanted it to look professional. 

Lucky for us, one of Jake's friends (from high school)'s dad does tape and texture and gave us a good deal. 
(how'd you like that terrible punctuation?! Jake's friends' dad? Jake's friend's dad?)

He was going to come over on Saturday to do the first coat of tape. In order to tape the ceiling above the microwave and the flat ceiling in the kitchen, we had to take the upper cabinets down. 

Jake and I had been debating fighting and arguing to no end about what to do with our kitchen cabinets (in general). Replace them or refinish them. I wanted (SOOOO BADLY) to paint them white (like I had always planned on doing) but Jake wanted to replace them. I even painted some of the lower cabinets and bar white to show him how good it would look:

We even spent a Saturday sanding the doors down and we bought breadboard and cut it to fit in the recessed part of our cabinet doors. I really love old country-looking cabinets and I love saving a ton of money, AND I love a good project... but in the end, I lost the fight. 

Here is why. I had measured and re-measured and pieced our cabinets to fit perfectly back together to our plan of having an L shaped kitchen with an island (in my head and on paper). We were going to take the cabinets in the bar apart and then re-arrange them to their new place (and then I was going to sand them and re-finish them... and now was the perfect time since we were taking the upper cabinets down anyways). We took the counter top off (because that was going to be replaced regardless) and that is when my dreams of re-finishing our cabinets fell apart. 

We slid the stove out and then lifted the counter top off. 

One of the cabinets had a built in cutting board that was horrifically disgusting and had blood all over it. I shivered and gagged and then we threw it out. 

Then we moved the cabinet just to find mice poop EVERYWHERE. I wanted to die. Under every cabinet there was a ton.

I shivered and gagged and wanted to die all over again as we vacuumed it up with the shop vac. 

I knew that our cabinets were in less than perfect shape (and were in need of a good cleaning) but I finally came to the realization that our cabinets are crap. 

We only had five tiny, tiny, tiny drawers in the entire kitchen and, in general, the cabinets didn't function well at all. Plus, they were the cheapest version of builder grade cabinets from 20 years ago. 

So that is how we ended up with three cabinets, a sink, and a dishwasher for a kitchen and why our hallway is our temporary pantry; all because our laundry room needed texture... and we wanted to do all of the texture at once. Are you following this ridiculous story?

To add to the craziness of this past week (you know, the biggest, coldest storm in forever) we replaced the window in our dining room with a sliding glass door. 

It's a nice, big, 6 ft window... but below the window (on the outside of the house) there is a deck. But there in no way to get onto the deck unless you go out the slider in the 'den' and then walk across the concrete and then up onto the deck. So we wanted there to be a slider in the dining room instead of a window. We could have replaced the 6 ft window with a 6 ft slider but I couldn't stand how the window wasn't centered with the dining room/dining room chandelier. It hangs over on the right about 16 more inches than it does on the left. So we replaced the 6 ft window with a 5 ft slider to help it look a little more centered with the dining room. 

There were electrical wires that ran under the window... so Jake had to rewire/add more wire and go up and around the window so that we could make it a door. 

 Jake's family happened to be over because they were out of power and were coming over to shower... little did they know... we didn't have a kitchen, or a TV (just a couch in an empty room), and that Karl would have to 'work' for that shower! He helped Jake take out the window and put in the slider.

See how there was no way to get onto the deck from the inside of the house:

Huge hole in our house during the biggest storm ever:

We had to replace the window with a slider now so that the wall to the right of the slider could be taped and textured too... because we only want to have to do this once!

Do you like where our oven is!? At least it's hooked up!

The good news is that the laundry room, kitchen, dining room, kitchen ceiling, and parts of the 'den's' walls and ceiling were taped on Saturday and are ready for sanding tomorrow (technically today...) and then the texture will get sprayed on Wednesday. It's looking better already!

While everything is covered in plastic, we'll paint the ceiling. Then, perhaps we'll figure out some sort of temporary kitchen and get our living room and dining room put back together. 


  1. Why didn't you just move the chandelier?!! Jk It's going to look amazing when all is said and done! I can't wait to see pictures!

  2. Wow!! All I can say is it's a dang good thing that Jake us such a handyman :-) good luck girl can't wait to see pics of all the new changes!

  3. Wow, I am seriously IMPRESSED. How the heck do you guys, or Jake rather ;), know how to do all of that! It is going to look so awesome. I am just so blown away by both of you....your vision and jakes handy-ness. Seriously! Come over and take a look at my basement and tell me what I should do with it...and how I should do it myself so it doesn't cost my life's savings. I know that the disorder totally drives you nuts, but it will be worth it when the house looks totally amazing. Keep the updates coming; I love seeing the process!

  4. My house was like that when we first bought it, but I refused to live in it while we were fixing it lol... you're much braver than I am. Plus, repainting my house from top to bottom has completely ruined me lol.. I have areas that need to be touched up and they drive me nuts every time I walk by them but the idea of getting out and actually painting them makes me want to gag! It's going to look great when you guys are finished, I can't wait to see the pictures!

  5. You guys should have been on that "moving up" show where they have the old owners come back and look at how the new ones changed the house so much. I'd bet they would be shocked!

  6. Oh my gosh. I feel for you. Big time. I'm glad its all coming together though, and I can't wait to see the finished result!