One year ago today…

The renovations started on our house! Some pictures of Demo Day from last year, which is always the most exciting part of the process. :-)

The dumpster arrives!

The dumpster arrives! We had this dumpster in our driveway for 3 months last fall. It was completely full by the time they were done!

Upper cabinets down

Starting to take down the cabinets.

Multiple layers of wallpaper and ceiling tiles

Showing the multiple layers of wallpaper and ceiling tiles our kitchen had.

Walls coming down!

Caroline shows off the kitchen at midday – the walls are down and the cabinets are gone, but the studs are still there. They called in an electrician at this point to take care of all the wires.

Everything gone but the stove

The wall of the kitchen with the stove, after the cabinets and backsplash are gone. It looks so ugly once everything is gone!

Where the sink used to be

The floor where the sink was. When I saw this, I was really worried about water damage on the floor underneath, bit thankfully once they removed that layer the subfloor underneath was fine. Phew!

Where the fridge used to be!

Where the fridge used to be! It was crazy to me to be able to see all the way to the bay window from the kitchen window. I remember how much brighter the downstairs felt once the walls were down.

Walls coming down...

They thought one of the walls was load bearing and would need a beam and a column, so they put up temporary walls on either side before they took down the studs. We had these temp walls here for a few weeks before a structural engineer inspected and said the wall was not actually load bearing, and we were fine. That was very happy news!

Getting ready to fix the foundation

After demolition, the first task was to fix the foundation. They had to remove the stoop outside the back door to get access to our crawlspace.

The kitchen is opened up!

The walls in the kitchen are completely down! (You can see the temporary walls on the right) Hooray for an exciting day!

I am hoping to chronicle the whole renovation process, but not sure how fast those posts will come. :-) Just as a heads up! You can jump ahead to the official before and after pictures here.


clean-up, part 2 – pictures!

I wrote about how we cleaned up our yard about a month ago here.

Unfortunately, I don’t really have any before pictures, except for this one. This is the front flower bed with the cement in it:

My dad helped us dig up all the cement, and then we got rid of the pieces that day that we cleaned it all up. Here is the after picture that I took with my cell phone:
Our cement-free front flowerbed!

As you can see, we still need to sift all the stones and tiny pieces of cement. But, it’s getting there!! The day after I took the pictures, it rained and our flower bed becomes a pond when that happens! (As does the rest of our yard.) So… I guess we’ll have to figure out what to do about that before I can plant flowers. There is another flower bed on the other side of the front door that still has cement. Someday I’ll tackle that one. Someday, someday…

I wish I had a before shot of our backyard! But here is the “after” picture:
Our backyard - cleaned up!

The trash was all piled high towards the left. Afterwards, I raked the whole backyard:
Our backyard - raked for the first time in 6 months!

I know, it looks less impressive when you don’t know what it looked like before. :-) Our Bagster bag after we were done:
The Bagster bag with all our junk

We couldn’t pile it higher than the sides of the bag, or we would have put a LOT more stuff inside. :-) It’s good to get rid of everything we did, though! It really made a world of difference in our yard.


what we’ve been doing

Originally posted at twentysixcats.com

The outside

I finally uploaded all the house pictures to Flickr! So click here to go see them. (They are the same pictures as the Facebook album I uploaded a while ago.) I took all these pictures last July when we were doing the walk-through with the home inspector, so it doesn’t have any of the changes we have made since we got the keys!

We’ve spent the past week and a half hard at work! My parents have been SUCH a great help. Also, last weekend my sister, aunt, and uncle all drove down from North Carolina, and my other aunt drove from South Carolina to help. My two uncles who live here in Atlanta came by on Sunday and everyone was hard at work! I am so grateful because there is very little I can do physically, and we are racing the clock to get the house ready for us to move by September 30th.

The house is 50 years old, and was a rental house the past 3 years. It needs a lot of work, but it’s not as bad as it could be. However, as I am working at cleaning I wonder how people could have lived in such dirt and grime… The bathtub for example was absolutely horrible, and after many many hours of scraping and cleaning it still doesn’t look great.

Here’s what we’ve done so far:
* Cleaned out all the gutters and replaced the ones that were broken or missing
* Replaced the hollow wood front door with a steel front door. Also replaced the ugly storm door with a storm door with a screen so we can get some cross-ventilation without letting the kitties out.
* Took down the weird shutters around the front door
* Replaced the old fuse box (original to the house, which was built in 1960) with circuit breakers and added more switches or whatever you call them
* Pulled up the carpet from the entire house, which made it smell 1,000 times better. Also, beautiful hardwood in the upstairs bedrooms!
* Cleaned the kitchen with a heavy duty degreaser – it was pretty disgusting
* Cleaned the bathroom, also quite gross
* Removed the shower doors and we’re still in the process of scraping all the caulking from all around the edge of the tub
* Replaced the washers from the faucets in the shower to stop the leaking
* Painted all the ceilings upstairs
* Removed the border print and painted the walls in Savannah’s room and our room (one bedroom left to paint)
* Cleaned the window panes with bleach so as to kill the mold/mildew on them; also removed the nails so now the windows can open
* Removed most of the wallpaper in the kitchen, which is NOT coming off easily despite the wallpaper removed that’s supposed to work wonders (we’ve actually decided to only do two walls; we’ll just paint over the wallpaper on the other two walls)
* Removed the border print in the living/dining room
* Weed whacked about half of the backyard (the mosquitoes have been terrible; we hope that the weed whacking helps get rid of those); most of the yard is weeds – there is actually very little grass, but we’ll deal with that in the future

Major things we still need to do:
* Replace the toilet downstairs to bring it up to code – we need to do this before we can get the water service started
* Replace the hollow wood door coming in from the carport with a steel door – the current one isn’t even an exterior door!
* Run wires to the outlets to allow for three-prong plugs
* Buy a new refrigerator and perhaps an oven (or find someone to fix the oven that’s there)
* Finish painting all the ceilings and the walls
* Put carpet in the downstairs den/family room (this probably won’t happen before we move in, as there is some question about the floor down there)

There are a whole bunch of things on our long-term to do list, but they require more money than we have right now and/or more time than we have. We have a lot to do! I am so tired right now; I will be glad when this is settled. I hate that I can’t help – I would NOT recommend trying to do this a week after having a baby! I hope it’s worth it, because a huge part of me wishes that we had walked away from the house when we were getting so close to our due date… I can’t tell you how much this is stressing me out!