Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Progress on the house

As most of you know, we're remodeling the house prior to selling and downsizing. Here are some photos of our progress. (This post is as much for the benefit of our daughters, so they can see the changes, as it is for my dear readers.)

For years -- 16, to be exact -- we lived with the world's ugliest blue indoor/outdoor carpeting. Blech.

Additionally, the walls were stark white, with remnants of other colors left over from previous owners -- notably one section of dark blue on the stairs. Again, blech.

Working on the precept of "ceiling down," we started with putting up sheet rock to cover the ugly walls. We used a thin 1/4-inch sheet rock as "skin."

This is our living room during some of the remodeling chaos. We laid the sheet rock in the center of the floor.

We also had to shove furniture all over the place. We disassembled the hoosier and jammed it into the kitchen.

The birdcage also got rolled into the kitchen (which the bird actually enjoyed; she was far more in the center of things).

Chairs and bookshelves got crunched into the front room.

This chaotic state of affairs lasted weeks. Typical remodeling scene: ladders and measurements.

Lots of pre-prep work was needed for the walls. In this photo, Don was prepping the west wall (on the right) for painting. We used the carpet as a drop cloth since we were getting rid of it.

Here I've removed the rest of the books and shelves, as well as all the pictures from the walls.

The books, shelving units, and pictures got piled in Older Daughter's bedroom.

View from up the stairs. What a mess.

Ready to start painting. We covered the piano with sheets to protect it.

Putting on primer.

Don disassembled the ceiling fan, then put a plastic garbage bag over the workings while painting the ceiling.

(The fan parts desperately needed cleaning anyway.)

It's hard to tell in the photos, but the walls are going from stark white to a lovely buttercream that reflects the sunlight beautifully.

After the walls were dry, Don started putting up oak trim. Wow, all the difference in the world in "finishing" the room.

The next step was the floor. At long last, we could get rid of that ugly blue carpeting!

Underneath is bare concrete.

Look at all the dust that accumulated underneath!

Here's what the room looked like without the carpet.

Then came the exciting part -- the flooring. We used the vinyl peel-n-stick from Home Depot.

We temporarily put the carpet and furniture back -- for one reason, we needed a place to sit; and for another reason, we wanted to see how things looked with the room set up.

It looked great -- a whole lot better than before we started -- with the exception of this accent wall. We had painted it a shade of green that (we thought) complemented the green accent walls in the kitchen.

The results were underwhelming. We sat with the paint color for a couple of days, and just didn't like it. So we repainted it the exact same shade of pickle-green as the kitchen.

It made a world of difference. Perfect.

Don still had compressor hoses and tall ladders everywhere as he worked on finishing touches.

Next step, the entryway platform.

We decided on a contrasting color.

Darcy fully approved of the results.

Don continues to add trim and accent wood. He's framed in doors, boxed and framed windows, and trimmed the walls at top and bottom. Talented guy, no?

When the entryway platform was complete, we were able to move the hoosier out of the kitchen to where it belonged (backed up against the entryway platform). This gave us breathing room in the kitchen.

But there was one insurmountable problem: the concrete stem walls around the perimeter. They're ugly. How to fix them?

Don's solution? Handcrafted wainscoting. He made it in advance to the correct size, then took it outside to stain.

Here he's installing one section.

The room is taking on the beauty and warmth of a Craftsman-style home.

That's what he's done so far in the living room. There is still more bits of trim to add, but at least the room is now livable. Next, it's on to the front room -- which, fortunately, has a lower ceiling and isn't in nearly as bad a shape.

We've also done some outdoor work, as the weather improves. Don removed the ugly tangle of wire field fence that separated the yard from the pasture...

...and is gradually replacing it with sturdy handsome railroad ties and 2x6 railings.

Oh, and we have a new cat that adopted us. She's a stray and found food and attention with us. She's a sweet and friendly soul.

The challenge is to keep Darcy from attacking her, for he would certainly kill her if given the chance. (He's a hunting dog, after all, and didn't grow up with this cat.)

This means the cat will stay with the house when we sell. She's making a superb shop cat. You might remember Don lost his shop cat a few years ago, and he's been without a mouser since then.

So that's what we've been up to ... not to mention trying to ramp up the garden, cleaning up debris and unneeded things outside, and all the other flotsam and jetsam of preparing a house to sell. Busy spring!


  1. Wow. After all that work, it would be a shame to sell it.

  2. It's a curious phenomenon that we are content to live in an ugly, unfinished house until it is time to sell; then we finish it all, pretty it all up ,and then go on to live in another house that needs all those finishing touches too, that never get done. Why don't we set a deadline (up to a year) to finish and beautify our homes so WE can enjoy it? Or is it just me? I'm totally looking forward to getting our current (and hopefully last) home refurbished so I can fully enjoy it!

    Yours is looking lovely! And you are blessed to have a handy AND willing man to do so much work.

    1. Isn’t that the truth... seems as though every home we wait till we sell to fix all the little things that I should have done when we moved in. 😊

    2. I lived in a home for 16 years that started out a decent home but as years, babies, and expenses came my husband and I always put beauty of our home on the back burner. When we moved to our new home I was and am adamant that beauty of our home is at the forefront. We beautified within the first couple years and still to this day, several times a week I think how much I love the changes we made. I’m very practical, stating beauty with function is important (I hate little knick knacks sitting for no reason - things need a purpose in my home) and I’ve done well with this motto. Now something I had noticed is that since moving to my new home and purposely improving our home to reflect us but also to beautify it, I noticed I didn’t feel depressed the way I did in our other home which was a make do approach to fixing things as well as no matter how much one cleaned things never felt clean enough. Old unfinished wood floors have a way of doing that to you. Anyway, It has made a world of difference in my outlook on my home. Some things have to be made beautiful if only to save ones spirit. The world outside can be black as night but my family and I feel the sun shining on our backs in our home. It has made such a difference!
      Ouida Gabriel

  3. Fixing up the house for selling is the smartest thing you can do. We lived in our 1956, original condition home in California for 14 years. When it was time to sell and relocate, we hired a contractor that agreed to remodel and update the WHOLE house if his son, a realtor, could sell it. We paid the contractor out of the sale of the house. There was no way we could pay up front for all those improvements. I didn't pick out anything. We had them use upgraded finishes in colors that were in style and would appeal to the average buyer. We got 9 offers and ended up getting $200,000.00 over what the exact same house across the street got the month prior with no updates. Obviously, California real estate is not the same as Idaho but your improvements will help you sell at top dollar.
    Your daughter didn't take her bird with her when she moved out! What?!?! LOL

    1. Yeah, the Navy frowns on personal parrots accompanying recruits. The nerve.

      - Patrice

    2. Us parents always inherit the pets. My daughter moved out and I kept the dog and bird. In our case she would have never had time to care for the dog since she was working two jobs. Our dog died in March and I honestly can say I am so glad we kept him with us. He was and is very much loved, especially during those last difficult months.

      Ouida Gabriel

    3. Ouida, I know some parents who were thrilled that it was the pets they got to keep!
      Montana Guy

  4. Yer killing me............. Wish I had the means to buy the whole place.

  5. It's beautiful! Aren't you glad you were able to do the work yourself?

  6. The house is looking great! Maybe you could start a handyman service at your new location. Love seeing the progress photos... thanks

  7. We just did this very thing. It took us four months to get the house ready to sell. But we had two full price offers immediately. The work is worth it in the end. I completely agree with our other reader.....the next one we are giving ourselves a year to get the A list stuff done.

  8. I can so identify with this. We are currently painting and reflooring our pantry/utility room as well as installing a new water heater. I've been waiting 25 years for new flooring. During the process, all of my food products are spread throughout the dining room and spare bedroom. Making dinner is a challenge!

  9. Oh my goodness, all that hard work...are you sure you want to leave? It hurts my head to think about the fact that you have to do it all again to make your new home your own too! We are looking at having to move soon, so feel your pain!

  10. Looking great! Do you plan to keep/move your wood cook stove? Tim

    1. No, the cookstove stays. For one, it weighs over 400 lbs. And for another, it's the primary heat source for the house. If our new place, wherever it may be, doesn't have a cookstove, we'll save up and get the same model. It's a wonderful stove.

      - Patrice

  11. Looks great! Do you plan to keep your wood cook stove? Tim

  12. I've always had hunting dogs and they've never attacked cats. They're either wary of them or they try to make friends with them.

    1. Trust me, Darcy would kill this cat. It's a pity because she's a sweet cat.

      - Patrice

  13. Why, why, why do we all do this? Fix up a home to sell it when we should have done it years earlier so we could enjoy it!

  14. One problem is that people are too eager to move in. Once you have all your stuff in the house, it makes remodeling jobs much harder. When we downsize in a few years, my plan is to live in a motel for a few weeks and get all the flooring and painting done in an empty house. That's the plan anyway. ;-)