Diving back in (and thoughts after a year of *thinking* about renovation)

Our contractor’s work should basically be done this weekend (the first big lesson of owning an older home is that the job is never done:-) and I can finally take a step back to see the crazy enormous renovation that has been accomplished since we moved here.  It has been just about a year since my whirlwind one day house hunting trip that ended with us putting in an offer on this house.

From the moment we saw the Cape online, Adrian and I both thought it felt like home and seeing it in person definitely solidified that for me; but, it needed a lot of work and definitely has some quirks.  The floors were old, worn, water damaged, and in many rooms carpeted.  There was wallpaper e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.  The kitchen was tiny with sticky old cabinets, a stove from 1953, and a fridge that was literally hanging through a hole cut in the wall to the garage.  The upstairs bathroom was a monstrosity of yellow and blue with tiles popping up from the floor and mildew on the ceiling.  The sunroom had non functional sliding doors with calcium deposits between the glass panes, carpet that was so threadbare it had rotted to just the warp, and a dropped ceiling that barely cleared my head.  The deck was an ER visit waiting to happen. The basement was an unfinished, cement block dungeon with parge peeling off the walls and some possible moisture issues, not to mention a nasty old shower stall in one corner and the original laundry sink….but…there was potential.

The Cape has tons of light, great “flow” from room to room, almost no wasted space, quaint built-ins, lovely moldings, gorgeous hardwood floors, and a large yard.  It is in a fantastic neighborhood (for up here…don’t get too excited…NYC it is not, but it has its own charm, great schools, and is definitely convenient) and we liked it. Adrian and I both like DIY renovation projects, and given how much we wanted to get done, there was no way we could afford to hire a contractor for all of it.

Our big initial DIY renovation projects were to:

  • sand and refinish all the floors
  • strip all the wallpaper
  • paint all walls and trim
  • gut the old kitchen
  • design and install a new IKEA kitchen in the same space but with a different layout
  • replace all light switches and outlets
  • refresh the sunroom

We planned to hire a contractor to help with building an actual walled bump-out into the garage for our new fridge and  to renovate the basement in a very affordable and restrained way.  I planned to chronicle the journey on this blog so we could share our adventure with friends and family and random strangers who clicked here aka “lovely friends we haven’t met yet”. Oh yeah, and we were going to do this renovation while I worked full time travelling to and from NYC multiple times a month, Adrian started his first year of medical school, and we parented our two amazing but high-needs young sons.

***excuse me while I step out of the room to hysterically laugh my head off***

Since I can barely keep track of my phone and  my 8 year old’s technical skills may have already surpassed mine, it should be no surprise to anyone that blogging while swinging a hammer, slinging a paintbrush, cursing at wallpaper, and wrangling my kids did not happen. But, I figure better late than never, so stick around and I’ll try to fill you in on where we were and where we’ve come.  We still have a ton of renovation projects to tackle–first on the list are installing the ceiling light in the music room, re-painting trim throughout the house, replacing doorknobs, building some furniture, and planting a garden…but we have come so far and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (or maybe that’s just the paint fumes talking:-)

Check back Friday for the first big project–The Egress Window!

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