Ugly fireplace … awesome laundry room!

One last blog for the day.. As I was going through my photos, I found a video that I thought worth sharing!

  • The back room was a large eye-sore. The fireplace had to go! Not only was it dated, but it had issues, and took up major space.   

This modification provided the ability to go from  


To raising the ceiling and putting in French doors to exterior, dividing remaining space between mud room, enlarging master and putting in a laundry room. 


A Transformation of Dollars and Scents!

When we first walked into this house, I watched my husband’s face  to determine  whether it was going to be a disppointing day or  my start of destruction!   He is typically my gauge of Good to Bad based on his expressions alone (or rather the level of trouble I am currently in). The first house we ever did together, he said I was insane and his initial reaction demonstrated the speed of exit as if I brought home yet another abandoned animal.

The smell alone was enough to send him running. But.. with time, and results, I won his confidence that even the smelliest can be a remarkable home. I won’t deny that he did not say to me about a 100 times during the process “how on earth did you get me into this?”.   But, even now, he will say our first was our favorite – 900 sqft of total insane improvements…. but I will share more on that one later..  The current transformation is double the size, and double the trouble!

For this house, with all the issues, and issues not related to the house such as my father’s passing, it has been an emotional ride. It is funny how something as silly has the installation of decorative shutters being installed can leave me in tears. It is like the icing on the cake, the graduation of the rebellious teenager, or the triumph of a mountain climbed.

I know I still have lots to do to bring this property to market, but when I look at where we have come, yes, the emotions are forefront as this was certainly one of the more difficult jobs. Difficult jobs like this are power-packed with determination. Combine that with the perfection required of a Virgo – and well, you have a master piece at the cost of major sanity. Being sane is over-rated.

and we have more to come!

We’re Making Headway … Time waits for no man…

Due to the recent death of my father, I had to cease work and focus on more important family situations.It seems logical/reasonable to think that when we have serious and or important personal situations, life should wait on us, give us time to recover so we can pull our selves up by our bootstraps and ease back into life.  Life certainly has no patience for this and goes on, and so must we. 

As difficult as it was or is, it is time to get back to work and finish this home.  We are getting close and speeding things up to get this house ready to sell. It is never fast enough at this stage, the most expensive stage; putting the pieces back together to bring life back from studs and concrete.

We finally got the insulation done, sheet rock in and taped, floated and textured.

and painted..

I love the color – a slight – a Sherwin Williams light grey which should allow the white trim to pop and accent the windows (because that is what I am absolutely in love with – there are so many windows!)

I have started selecting flooring and some of the finish outs. This is much more difficult for this home. There are so many options, and trying to stay focused on the style and not the glitter and glam in the galleries!  I did manage to find a wood-look tile, which is ceramic and more than I wanted to pay, but it definitely completes the impression I was after.







Rain, Rain, You Didn’t Stay!

During the last couple of weeks we have had some excessive rain, and tornados.  I am happy to report that no water came into the home and the implemented drainage solution worked like a charm!

If you read some of the issues we encountered when we started this project, the drainage was a significant problem .   This was first and foremost on our list as if this could not be repaired, we were in big trouble, or I was. Nothing else could be done to improve the home if water was going to make its way into the home.

A lot has changed since 1957!  When this house was constructed, I am sure the streets were lower, less concrete was around, and well, just different!  I mean, considering this house had a fall out shelter, you can say things were very different.  In other words, it wasn’t that the house was bad – it was that the house had not changed with the times.   So you have two choices; tear it down, or fix the water issue.  It would be really hard for me to tear down a house – I am too much of an optimistic person, or maybe just have a insane obsession with physical exhaustion.

So back to my project.  We hired a concrete contractor to grade the yard, and resolve the drainage around the home. The home sat so low that the vinyl siding I HAD NOT ANTICIPATED REPLACING was actually underground. So it quickly became obvious that the siding was coming off. It was sort of like that annoying thread hanging on your sweater; you tug and before you know it, you are naked.



You can see where the driveway was once even with the house – we had to put in steps in order to not have such a steep drop off!  In addition, we had a French drain put in, going into the side of the concrete and redirecting the water that would come into the new concrete to the street where it should have gone all along.

Because I never just do anything half way – which is not such a positive attribute when we are discussing financial matters, I decided that the foundation could use some leveling and height, so after receiving approval from our foundation expert, I brought in 3-5″ to the existing slab to ensure we would never have water in this home again!  Besides that, I had already had the holes where the plumbing had to be replaced in the slab, so it only made sense to take care of all of it at the same time.

Once the concrete was poured, it started to look like a realistic home. But, we were still no where near where I had planned to be in budget or time.

More photos of this phase …

Are you kidding me?

So what sounds cool can often times turn around and bite you in the butt!  A neighbor mentioned that he thought there was an underground fall shelter at the home. Immediately, I was intrigued! How cool would that be!

I break out my shovel, and just a minute into digging, my shovel disappears. Gone. Into a an abyss. I call my son-in-law Dustin Walker, who is a bit handy with issues involving scratch-your-head mysteries.

A day later, Dustin reports the conclusion. What used to be an underground fall shelter was now a pain in the butt. Because curiosity didn’t not kill this cat, the only option now was to fix the issue I knew about. The collapsed fall shelter that was holding water behind the home.  Urggg.  Why do I have to be so curious!

and then to fix…

Making Sense of Non Sense


411 May St

The original floor plan was designed with the theory of in the box.  If you can imagine being inside of a box and someone tells you to make as many rooms as possible with four walls. It is best described as a maze, with some rooms leading to other rooms that would normally flow down a hall way. The living room was 4 walls with one opening to the breakfast room which also opened to the kitchen. The kitchen had one opening to the dining room and also to the hall opening to the half bath that sat behind the kitchen and the over-sized laundry room that was equivalent to today’s bedroom size, and a large multi-purpose room.

The dining room, in addition to the opening to the kitchen, on the far rear wall had an opening to the multi-purpose room that included an even larger dated fireplace. This room had a short hall that lead to the back side of the guest bath on one side and an entrance into the far rear bedroom. The far rear bedroom opened to the middle bedroom and the middle bedroom opened up to the hall on the right side living room which lead to the right to the guest bath and to the left the front bedroom.

So if you followed all of that, you found yourself back into the living room scratching your head with how to make sense of a nonsensical floor-plan.

Walls had to be removed.
Walls had to be closed.


It was time to bring in Chris Whatley, of cMARC Homes,  and his framing crew.   We put our heads together and came with a workable plan.


And then.. more demo..






In the Beginning…


There was mayhem with a sprinkle of home. Just enough light to see the possibilities of this 1957 home with years of deferred maintenance, poor drainage, odd layout, outdated electrical, leaking plumbing, cast iron pipes and flat exterior pipes.



This was bad.. but what was worse, is what we could not see. Not really understanding what was going on with the flooring, or why you could see plywood under some of the tile, we had no idea what to expect. Once demo was well underway, we realized quickly that this was going to be the longest demo EVER.. the entire front of the house, including kitchen, 2 bedrooms, guest bath, breakfast room and living was all built up with plywood that was attached to the slab by way of strategically placed 2×4’s lined approximately 1 foot apart throughout the afflicted area with each drilled into the slab with the toughest nails ever made.  You see all the time how people get excited when floors are covered up with the hopes that some magical find of original hardwood would reveal itself. I wish I could say that happened here but it didn’t.  Removing plywood took days.  Removing the 2x4s nailed into the slab took a 10lb sledge hammer, Evan, Melvin and Larry.


Once the “fake” floor was removed, we started to understand that the previous owner had attempted to resolve a major issue.  The house sat lower than the ground outside. Not by a little. By several inches. This was causing water to come into the house, however, the previous attempted repair did not resolve the water coming into the house. It merely just went under it. Thank goodness there was no major issues resulting from this YET.  The drainage issue had to be top priority.

Making Sense,,,

Curiosity Is not always the best trait