Wednesday, May 20, 2009

And so it begins

We've been in the house for almost a full week, and the work has already begun. I'll leave it to Chris to do the official recaps, as he has done the lion's share of the renovating work, whereas I've done more in the "unpacking" and "lawn mowing" and "wire fishing assistant" areas instead. But since I'm the one taking most of the pictures and also the one who has them on my computer, I thought I'd give a quick photo recap of what's gone down in the first six days:

We closed on the house at 1:00 last Thursday. By 4:00, we were removing carpet - wall to wall in the living room, dining room and upstairs hall, as well as large (and dusty!) area rugs in all three bedrooms and of course all the really, really nasty padding that was underneath every last, square inch.

Fortunately, we were relieved and delighted to discover that the hardwood floors underneath the carpeting look like this on the main level:

and are only slightly more worn in the bedrooms, where it appears someone once polyurethaned only around the edges of the area rugs instead of, you know, removing the rugs and doing the whole floor.

The next big project was rewiring the house. There was cable in the kitchen and family room, and an internet connection in the office, but that was about it. We wanted cable, internet and phone accessibility in every bedroom, the living room, a different place in the family room and in the office. Chris busted out some mad wire-fishing skills and managed feats like this:

finding teensy-tiny holes and spaces in the basement from which to run wires up to the upper three levels of the house. Well, not all the holes were teensy-tiny...

It's okay - these are all in the closet in the office. We need practice with patching drywall, anyhow.

Once he got the basic wires pulled throughout the house, the next item on the list was wallpaper removal. We have what seems like miles of wallpaper in the house, so Chris tried out the WallWik system we'd seen on one of the DIY shows and discovered that it worked really well. Whew.

The biggest concern is keeping the solution off those hardwood floors we uncovered... down in the office it wasn't that big a deal since the floor is just asbestos tile that is going to be carpeted over, anyhow. For the rest of the house, it will require more careful floor protection.

Tomorrow, I am going to pick up a gallon of "Garden Moss" colored paint - it is a fairly neutral green. We're going to test it out for the family room and office, and if we like it, that's what we'll be putting up on the walls this weekend for the lower level. If we don't like it, we'll be back to the Soft Ecru (now called Soft Linen, apparently) that we used and liked in our old house.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

List of Projects

In the rough order in which we plan to tackle them, here is the list of projects we intend to start working on once we move in:
  1. Paint over the dark wood panelling in the family room and take down wallpaper and re-paint the office. Once that's done, we'll have wall-to-wall carpeting installed over the vinyl tile.
  2. Strip the wallpaper and paint our 6-year-old daughter's room. Getting her feeling comfortable and settled early in the process will help her in the transition.
  3. Gut and re-do the kitchen, including taking down a non-load-bearing wall, stripping wallpaper, laying a new porcelain tile floor, installing new cabinets and counters and re-painting. This could take a while.
  4. Strip the wallpaper from the dining room, living room and foyer and re-paint.
  5. Strip the wallpaper from the master bedroom and re-paint. Possibly install ceiling fan.
  6. Replace the vanity and sink in the upstairs bathroom, install new vent fan, strip wallpaper and paint. Possibly retile the floor.
  7. Strip the wallpaper from the master bath, replace vanity and sink and repaint. Possibly retile the floor.
  8. Strip the wallpaper and repaint the hallway.
  9. Strip the wallpaper and repaint the guest room.
  10. Strip the wallpaper and repaint the downstairs half bath.
  11. Paint over the dark wood panelling in the laundry room.
As part of the interior work, I plan on running new wires to just about every room for cable, internet and telephone. My plan is to have two Cat 5e (one for voice and one for data) and one coaxial cable outlet in every room, all terminating in a central distribution hub in the basement. Most of the rooms will be accesible from the crawl-space attic or from the basement below, so fishing the wire shouldn't be too much trouble.

In addition, there are some exterior projects which will be weather-dependent:
  1. Re-paint the trim (going from robin's egg blue to a forest green).
  2. Powerwash patio pavers and re-set to slope away from foundation.
  3. Powerwash then paint or drylok concrete stairs leading to backyard.
It's an ambitious list, but other than the kitchen, it's not really rocket science. We've got this great wallpaper removal system from Wallwik which is supposed to make that task a piece of cake. And we have lots of painting experience from preparing our house for selling.

Friday, May 8, 2009

What started it all...

We're moving from a house we had built in 2000 to a 1965 split level currently occupied by the original owners.
The house is in fantastic condition, as are all of the original 1965 fixtures and 1965 wallpaper.

We're looking forward to getting in there Thursday and starting the process of updating every room -- from the dark wood-panelled family room, to the Pepto-Bismol pink master bathroom, to the closed-off dark kitchen.

We are planning on doing all the work ourselves. We have watched a lot of HGTV and DIY Network. We might be over confident. We might be in over our heads.

We are almost certainly crazy.

We plan on updating our progress as we move through the various projects. We have learned a lot from other people's project blogs, and we hope someone else as crazy as us might find it helpful.

At the very least, we'll let you know where to get your straitjacket.