Remodeling an Ugly Duckling, Part 2



As part one mentioned, this was suppose to be a quick two part blog (click here for part 1), unfortunately there were two years that comfortably fit between part one and part two. TWO YEARS. That ongoing joke from the old movie Money Pit, about “two weeks” ? Well, it was never two weeks in the movie, and it sure as heck isn’t two weeks in real life.


The first phase of the renovation is the fun stuff… the demolition. 24 hours after settlement, we owned significantly less home than we did at settlement. You would be amazed at how much carpet, paneling and drop ceilings were removed to get down to the bones. It seemed to go on forever (really just a weekend), but once it was over there was the big “what did we get ourselves into” panic. Nothing but studs and piles of trash remained.


Once the demo was done we slowly worked on our priority list. Fist up was bathroom for obvious reasons, from there was the master bedroom (in the meantime we were ‘camping’ on the 3rd floor under the romantic glow of press and stick glow in the dark stars and the previously mentioned disco ceiling). Next on the agenda was the living space; Kitchen, Dining Room, and Living Room. After much discussion and planning we decided on a kitchen layout. After the new appliances were delivered, we had a working stove and kitchen the night before Thanksgiving, which gave us even more to be thankful for and made our first thanksgiving in our home that much better. We were bundled in scarves and extra sweaters because we still didn’t have heat, but a meal never tasted so special before. Heat came in December on the eve of the coldest night of the year. It seems we work better under pressure and with a deadline. Year two brought fun things such as a paver patio, laundry room, a half bath, and a coat closet.


Lessons Learned:

  • Renovations will ALWAYS take more time, more money, and more thought than you anticipated, but when it’s all said and done you appreciate it so much more because of the time, hard work, and the fact that you created it.Help will be needed, and accept the help that’s offered. You will get tired, the project will get old – very old, but having help and a support system makes it a tad easier. We had a lot of help, and couldn’t have done it with out our family and friends. It doesn’t matter if it’s construction help or just a home cooked meal, help helps.
  • You will have to make a TON of decisions. It will get old, and tiring. We use to hang out at a neighborhood restaurant and draw plans out on napkins and make lists, lots of lists. Organization helps. Pinterest helps. and sometimes just winging it is the best decision. Trying something new or unusual can yield awesome results. For example, we disliked this skinny closet in the dining room and decided to take it out and expose some brick and much to our surprise we found an amazing old brick fireplace.
  • Never jokingly question the wallpaper choice in front of neighbors, you never know who helped hang it… uh oh!


Would we do it again, I say no. But do I look at renovated homes online and then immediately find one on the same block that still needs love and my heart skips a beat? Yes, and it probably always will.

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