This Old House

There are certainly some foibles to renovating a 1953 home. Many we expect, since we renovated our current house when we bought it and it was built in the 70's so it has some of the same issues. However, each house is always different. I thought I might share some of the hurdles we've encountered so far with renovating this house. Plumbing issues we've kind of covered, and they're obvious. Old pipes, drains mostly blocked. Wiring? It's a little messy. We're tackling that too, as much as we can without ripping the roof off (that we, ahem, just put on).

The first thing to keep in mind is that the house has had several additions. It was initially a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home built out of gray 4"x8"x16" masonry block. Then, someone added a family room and bedroom (with a separate outdoor entrance) onto the back of the house in the '60's, which were also built of the same block. In the '90s, the one-car carport was turned into another bedroom/apartment with its own entrance, but by then block construction had become very expensive so this one was framed in. We believe that it was at this time that the brick was added over the original block, to tie the whole facade together where stick frame construction meets the block.

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Lots of Progress

We had some major victories this weekend! First and most visually appealing, we made some major headway in the hall bathroom. Kyle and Wayne finished the plumbing for the shower and sink, wired the light, and wall-mounted the vanity. It's so dang fancy! It's not totally done (we need to finish painting, switch out the outlets for white, patch the hole where the wiring for the light used to be, install the vent fan, hang towel bars... ok enough, I'm depressing myself right when I was so excited). I'll do a full post just on the bathroom when it's totally done and compare before and afters.

New bathroomNew bathroom other side

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Good stuff coming soon

New can lightNew electrical

Well, this week's updates aren't going to win any beauty contest, but they are awesomely functional. This week has been all about electrical and plumbing - inside-the-wall stuff. There's some crazy wiring going on in this house, and we're trying to get it straightened out while adding nice new lighting and getting outlets in the right places. There was also some pretty hinky stuff going on in the panel - now that's cleaned up, thanks to Roberto.

Our weekend work focused on taking up the old wood and vinyl floors. The living room was pretty easy, but Colan spent hours getting only part way up the hallway. There is a LOT more glue there and the boards don't come out in one piece, but in lots of tiny splinters.

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Floor Plans

Thought it might be easier to understand the photos if you could see the floor plans, to make this whole thing clearer. Here's the "before" floor plan:

Original floor plan

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Demo Day 2/Unexpected awesomeness

Another weekend of destroying stuff! I've found that while no one really wants to come help you paint your house, people are surprisingly willing to give up their weekend time (even on their birthday - you're aweome Becca!) to swing a sledge hammer. Especially those of the male persuasion. This past weekend we got a LOT accomplished, again thanks to the help of wonderful friends Colan and Becca and dad/father-in-law Wayne, and this weekend also guest starring Terri, Mike, and David. We filled a 20 yard dumpster in two days. TWO DAYS. That's a lot of destruction.


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I feel like this is a Subaru commercial

Yeah. You can TOTALLY put 2x6s on your Impreza roof rack.

Yeah, this happened Read on...

Demolition: Day 1

In a flurry of good happenings, last Saturday the appraiser came to the house and approved our repairs AND the tenant moved out AND a group of great friends came over to pitch in as we broke everything we just fixed. Yay!

Ready to take down the first wall

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Our New House

And so it begins: this is the story of my husband and I renovating a dirty, neglected house and (hopefully) turning it into something awesome. What might look a little like giant holes in the ceilings and broken parquet sure seems like potential to us - now it’s time to do the work to reveal it. Welcome to our little journey!

A little background: my husband, Kyle and I are both former architectural designers turned graphic designers, and this will be the second house renovation that we’ve done together. They say if you can get through a renovation together, you can withstand anything. We’ve found that to be pretty true!

Front room of main house

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