Archive of ‘Fixer Upper’ category
I apologize for the lack of recent posts. I was hacked and my site went down and it was a just a really pleasant experience for me. I wish I would have taken coding in college so I would know more about WordPress but as one guy at the help desk described it…it’s like having a new puppy that never gets trained. Such a pain in the a**.
So it’s been a long time since I’ve posted any photos or status updates on the Fixer Upper. Life’s been busy and I lost track of what I’ve posted recently. So I will try to take you on a journey from last spring.
Here’s what the kitchen looks like. The cupboards are in, the lighting is in. We need to add the crown moulding to the cabinets and a few other projects lingering here.
There’s our new island. All the countertops are concrete. And pretty much everything from cabinets to appliances and lighting are new.
See that old door in the background? That will eventually be a sliding barn door to cover the pantry! That one is still on the list of to-dos.
Remember how we opened up the wall here and added the beam to make the space feel bigger?
I apologize for my curtain shortness, I threw them up wherever there were brackets already.
Here is the entry door painted a very light blue.
Remember how we used an old door for the front of this island?
My little coat closet.
Here are the French doors that go out to the newly constructed deck. (More pictures of that in the future.)
The hallway down to the bedrooms. The flooring goes throughout the whole upper floor. Well minus the bathroom.
Here’s the new vanity.
Again, pretty much everything is new. New tub and shower, new interior doors, new toilet!
Here’s the master bedroom.
And the second bedroom.
Here is where we attached a garage and added an entrance door to the garage in the main entryway.
Here’s a shot of the basement. Which is currently under construction. We cut this door into the wall to make the basement a walkout. You can’t believe how much more light it added to the room which makes the space feel bigger.
We’ve done so much work on the outside too but I think I’ll leave it at that for today!
Enough time has passed now I think I can talk about the front door situation without muttering any cuss words under my breath. I’m half kidding.
When the Mr. and I looked to replace the front door, we knew we wanted an entry system. That basically means that there are sidelights and a transom (the “window” above the door). We should have some experience purchasing said item as we put in a new entry system in our former home. That too was a long and painful experience that I have since pushed out of my memory like last year’s labor and delivery.
I don’t know how general contractors order these things. I suppose they just get everything standard and are in and out of Menards in a matter of minutes.
We, however, were not that lucky. We had some rotten luck straight out of the gate.
As the designer on this project, I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to choose for the new entry system. I wanted a craftsman look and surprisingly, I can make those choices at the design counter rather quickly that might have stumped your average joe. Because you know you can’t buy an entry system off the shelf at your local home store. It’s all custom order. Which leads to madness. MADNESS.
What color do you want your hinges? Do you want a hole b-o-r-e-d (ironically, that is how it’s spelled) for a dead bolt? These are all questions I can get through. And with the Mr. there helping with measurements, etc. We kinda knew what we wanted.
The very first time we were looking in the home store for IDEAS for an entry system, there was a returned entry system there on clearance. To save you the sad details of this experience, suffice it to say, we did not come home with said clearance entry system and we basically bought the same exact one for full price. Full price. That was bad luck number one.
Then we went countless rounds with our home store on trying to get the look we wanted- grills in the sidelights and in the transom and all matching white. I lost track of how many times we entered the door into that system.
We ended up finally ordering the door locally to get all of the specifics we were wanting and their price was better. But somewhere in the process we did not have the door prefinished.
Here is a picture of the door as it came.
However, I was confident that I could stain the front door. People do this every day, right? I did a bit of researched and decided to try the gel stain option. I watched some YouTube videos on how to apply it. And I got to work.
Again, in summary. I’m not a big fan of gel stain. At least not in this application.
I really took my time and applied the stain with a brush, very carefully. I mean, I have paint skillz! Here it was after application number one-
I was happy with it but the Mr. thought it looked too streaky. I thought that was the look we were going for but I told him that I would apply a second coat.
Here it is after coat number two-
Now it looked just streaky in spots and I didn’t like it. So after much sweating, researching and swearing/crying/freaking out, I applied coat number three. Here is the results of that-
Now, it looks great, don’t get me wrong. But basically I feel like I could have just purchased brown paint. That was not the look I was going for. But what is done is done. I finished with a top coat and I never want to do that again. NOT EVER.
What’s your experience with gel stain? Have you ever stained a front door?
It’s crunch time at the fixer upper before snow flies so we have been busy, busy, busy! Thank you for being so patient with my posts.
After we finished with installing the windows and doors, we had siding to start. This process has been pretty lengthy and we’re still not 100% done. But it certainly makes a difference!
Here are some shots of the siding going on.
First Side Going On
Top of the Front
As the designer, I also had an idea to put some faux stonework on the bottom of the fixer upper, just to dress up that portion a little bit. It’ll eventually wrap all the way around the front, to the garage.
Close Up of Stone
And speaking of the garage, the house has one now! We hired the footings and floor to be poured from a local concrete company and it was so nice to stand and watch someone else work for awhile!
Before the Footings
Footings and Walls
After Floor Poured
I really enjoyed seeing how the concrete was smoothed out. That was cool.
Then the Mr. and my dad began framing. We ran into a little trouble with the roofline and some miscommunication between the designer and the workers. 🙂 So we had to make some adjustments which delayed the process.
From Far Away
Figuring Out the Roofline
In Its Final Spot
It was so light and bright in there, I thought maybe we should add some skylights. That did not go over so well with the workers. 😉
With Sheeting and a Backdoor
The housewrap went on after the sheeting went up and it was sided so fast that I didn’t even get a picture of it! And then when it was time to roof, help appeared and we couldn’t be more thankful for the friends and neighbors who have helped out- without even being asked!
In case you forgot what the before picture looked like, here’s a reminder-
Fixer Upper Front
After Thru This Week
I’m sure you noticed the front door. But the saga that was working on that is another post in itself!
That’s all for now!
One very, very tiring weekend, we installed all of the windows and two doors. It was amazing what we accomplished with a small crew but everyone helped, including babysitting. And with only six adults, we got it done!
Here are some pictures of them going in!
Back Side First
Big Front Picture Window
Using the Skid steer
Front Windows In
Patio Door Going In
New French Doors
Original Opening for Front Door, Looking Out
Opening Minus the Old Door
Front With Door Installed
I have to say, there was a dramatic finish to the front door installation, which we did last. The doorway had to be widened and it took most of the day to put in a new header and supports. So by the time we were ready to set the door in, it was almost dark and it started to rain. But we got it! Just a few chiropractic visits in my future…
Doesn’t it look nice?! A big thank you to our crew that worked so hard!!
Some small updates…I’m starting to lose track of what’s been done and what I’ve written about. Oh and what week we are really on! 🙂 Back to school time is sure busy! I’m looking forward to having a little more writing time. Ha, who am I kidding!? I’ll be busy painting trim before snow flies!
These aren’t life altering projects but I tell you, what ever little bit makes big impacts! Here’s a few for example:
Small Kitchen Canned Lights, Above the Cabinets
Living Room Canned Lights
Moving my “old” light fixtures over (I’ll post the new ones in my own house soon!)-
A Hallway “Boob” Light
Kitchen Table Light
Did you also notice there is one less window in the kitchen? This wall used to have a window but now there will be garage there!
Garage Sale Bathroom Vanity Light
$15 Garage Sale Ceiling Fan
Master With New Shelf
2nd Bedroom Closet Shelving
An Interior Door-
Bathroom Door (only one done so far!)
With hardware, I may add…
A Dishwasher and Small Kitchen Touches-
And the end of the cabinets in place.
Close Up of Island Corbels
Trim Pieces Put on Island Door
We’ve been busy! And it’ll be nonstop until the winter!
Next week, new windows and doors!!!
Last week we were slowed by some family get-togethers. We had to attend two birthday parties, one wedding and one funeral. Sounds like a title to a movie?
Work continued anyway. And I promised last week that I would show you our countertops! I decided to give concrete a try. I found a local who did concrete countertops because we could try to DIY but we just don’t have the time.
I wanted something that felt more upscale than laminate. But also something affordable. We considered stainless steel but the price wasn’t right. I also thought about butcher block but I wanted something a little more maintenance free. Concrete it was!
We thought about doing this project ourselves but since we already have a renter, we felt in the best interest of time, we should just hire it done. One less project waiting for us! We found a local who did concrete countertops and put him in charge!
One thing I love about concrete is how rustic it can feel. You can have concrete that looks polished and like real stone but I wanted it to feel more organic than that. So I told the concrete man to mix in a tint (a darker grey) and to seal it in a matte finish instead of gloss.
The concrete man came out and took measurements for the countertops. I decided on no backsplash. I think it looks a little dated. Plus eventually we might install some subway tile or a tile backsplash. He also took measurements for our island. Remember the one with the door back?
I wanted an overhang so that there could be a couple of bar stools slid up to it. We discussed support and he took his information back to the shop to create the countertops there with his forms.
The only hiccup we had was the sink. We had him measure for an old stainless steel sink we had and the corners of the sink were bevel cut. And the hole that was made was square! Thank goodness he brought out a new sink he found that fit the hole. We were scared we wouldn’t find one that would fit!
I think they turned out fantastic. I couldn’t be happier with the look and feel of concrete! Here are some picts!
Close Ups of Concrete
Close Up of Concrete 2
New Sink and Faucet
Here we are on week 14 and we’re still working away hard on the inside of the place. I’ve had a few panic moments that soccer starts a month from now and we haven’t touched the outside of the house. Gah!
One of the things I thought would really enhance the kitchen was a small island. There isn’t a ton of countertop space or work space when you’re cooking. And by taking out the walls that enclosed some of the kitchen space, that left it open to incorporate an island. Specifically the island would have enough room to have space for some bar stools!
Measuring the space and what we could fit, we chose a cabinet that was as wide as we thought would fit comfortably and still allow movement in the kitchen and space for a small table to the side.
And here’s where I had an idea. Instead of walking up the stairs to see the backside of a plain white stock backing to the cabinet, why not put something there that gives the back a little character and maybe also a bit of color?
So I found an old door that we could use to give the piece a bit more dimension and with my dad’s help, we cut it down to fit so that most of the pretty pieces would show. Here is the door in its original finish.
We took the door and gave it a good coat of paint and mounted it. And here’s what it looks like now-
I thought leaving the old hardware was cool too. All around this door will be trim so no raw edges will show.
So now there’s a little bit of muddy gray loveliness in a bright white kitchen.
Next week, hopefully we can get outside and get going. And soon to reveal…the countertops!!
Right before we were to receive our renter, we had started working on our stairs. More on that later…
The stairs, when we purchased the home, were already carpetless to the upstairs and we also removed the carpet off of the steps to the basement. So we were left with stair treads that had leftover glue on them and were in rough shape from years of wear.
My dad, who is the foreman of this little project (remember, I’m the designer and laborer), made an incredible suggestion. He also might just be a “cut-the-corners-genius” (it comes from years of remaking and redoing on a small income). He knew if we would take up the stair treads and flip them over, they would be good as new. Yes! What an incredible suggestion! Forty-five years of wear on one side of the treads, zero on the other!
Here’s a little before and after-
Up The Stairs
Weathered Stair Tread
I had to sand a little bit on the old side because of the hangover of the tread.
Round One of Sanding
But here’s the original tread, just the side that was nailed down all those years. Looks pretty good!
The “Other” Side of the Stair Tread
The sanding commenced and I went through three different sizes of sandpaper on the old stair treads. The risers also got a good sanding so they could be painted.
It was then that our renter moved in and we had to quickly nail down the stairs temporarily so we could move furniture! I also decided anytime you’re working on stairs, it’s best to only do three at a time. 😉
After our renter was settled, the tops of the treads were stained and sealed.
Here’s an “almost done” after-
And the basement-
You want to know the best part, there aren’t anymore squeaks! Taking them up and redoing them let us put in new glue and get them attached again so they are like brand new steps!
Yes! I do still have a blog! I know I keep you guessing but what I can I say? This summer has been a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda summer.
For two weeks now life has just been barely breathable and I can now sigh a little breath of relief. Among having company and having a birthday and few quick trips inbetween, we now have a renter in our fixer upper! I’m so glad that our renter doesn’t mind that we are still working on finishing the place.
Last I left you, we had just installed the flooring. And that was the last thing that we completed before the moving truck arrived. Whew! Just in time!
Here are some better pictures of the flooring, as promised.
Kitchen with Flooring
It’s a little dusty but ain’t she pretty?
Look how nicely it matches the beam? This flooring runs through the entire first floor, minus the bathroom. I love how seamless it feels and makes the whole house look like hardwood.
Now that it is essential, it was time to turn the water on and see how many leaks our plumbers had to fix. Turns out there were a few. 😉 So installation for the shower and getting the washer and dryer hooked up took a little time. But now there is actual running water, laundry services and a soon to be shower! These things don’t necessarily translate well into picture form, but everybody needs water!
I think that’s all I’m going to post for today. We are working fast and furious to be livable. Once that happens, work on the outside will start. And that will be very exciting work!
Time slipped away from me this week. After we had the kitchen cabinets 85% done, the flooring began!
Here’s a little better picture of the kitchen-
These are really exciting parts of the remodel process and I’m happy to see my design decisions come to life.
For the flooring, we chose a laminate flooring that resembles hardwood. I did a bunch of scratch tests on my sample, even taking a knife to it. I think it’ll hold up pretty nicely. And whatever doesn’t can always be stained over.
My only flooring pictures this far are these (please excuse the dust)-
Flooring Going In
Not too exciting but I hope by the weekend the first three rooms are done and I can get some better pictures.
It’s really starting to feel closer to “done” on the inside!