House Renovation Progress: Mid-2013 Update

I finally got up the strength of will to draft a renovation update. I must give you fair warning: this will be a LONG post because it has been over half a year since I’ve done a renovation update. (*Reminder: if you are not interested in posts about our home renovation, you can choose to subscribe to just the sewing & crafting section of this blog in the sidebar.*)

The Yard

At the beginning of the year, we got rid of our fence in preparation for all the work we’d be doing to the yard. We advertised the old fence for sale for a good deal to anyone who would come out and take it down.

In April, we regraded the yard, removed old concreted (including the porch) and filled in the pool. You may remember that the pictures on my porch during MMM showed a big dirt lot for our backyard. It is now a combination of weeds and grass.


IMG_6557We plan to expand our driveway and have it circle back around to the street near the house, so we dug the path for the new driveway.


IMG_6549Before we started to redo the yard, I had to temporarily pot any plants that I wanted to save. Since we haven’t planted anything, this mostly meant that I had to save as many Daylilies as I wanted. So, I spent half a day pulling out a veritable tub full of them. In the picture below, it doesn’t look like many, but trust me, those are large pots. They’re stuffed to the brim.

IMG_6537I also had to move most of my pots to the deck for safe keeping.

IMG_6555We put a lot of concrete in the pool as we were filling it in, but we still had a lot leftover.

IMG_6567It was done in a systematic way, eventually. No sink holes in the future. We did find a sink hole on the edge of the concrete pathway in the backyard when we started tearing the yard apart. I’m glad none of us were unlucky enough to fall into that over the past couple years.




IMG_6934We finally had someone come out to haul most of the remaining concrete away this past weekend. Yay!

IMG_6718The most important thing that Alex accomplished with the skid steer was fixing the grade of the yard. Water will now flow away from and around the house and down and out the back of the yard properly. Water used to flow right along the house and either leak into the basement or keep the basement walls damp.

IMG_6841One section of the yard looks really good, because we were very diligent about seeding and watering.

IMG_7335I can’t wait to build our planters around those trees. Under the plastic are piles of tilled up grass and weeds that have turned into a nice mulch. It was a lot of work smoothing out the dirt and raking all the clumps toward the trees to build up around them.

We put grass seed down in that area, and we then scattered seed in the rest of the yard over time. At first, I spent a significant time watering every day. It was a good excuse to be outside. Then, it got hot and I became less interested in attending to the watering. šŸ˜›

We’re putting planters around the crabapple tree and cherry tree in the front, as well (the trees in the picture below).

IMG_6931Around the same time we regraded the yard, I cleared out the overgrown side yard.

IMG_6576There were overgrown bushes along the side of the road, tons of little trees growing, downed branches, piles of leaves and debris (A.K.A. plastic bottles and soda cans).

Beyond the mailbox is the cleared side yard area. Sorry ’bout the renegade trash can. ;P

Now it’s cleared out and I threw some flower seeds down in the area. We’ll see what happens. Unbelievably, with all the time I spent in that area, I only ended up with one tick. Still icky, though! šŸ™ They’re disease ridden, so it’s best to do a thorough search and find them before they can transfer a disease into your bloodstream. I think it takes 24 hours before that happens. For those who may have missed it, I found out last summer that I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever from a tick. Blech!

Anyway, moving on… Our neighbor was clearing out some of his property as well, so we had a fire going every evening for about a week.

IMG_6853Since Alex had the skid steer, he helped our neighbor fell a tree that was leaning toward his house.

IMG_6846That was quite the neighborhood event. ;D

The House

Master Bathroom and Closet

Recently, we tore out the old closet walls in our bedroom (they used to separate the bedroom from the old kitchen), and Alex started framing the new, master bathroom and walk-in closet.

IMG_8486IMG_8495Since we didn’t have another place to put the clothes, We temporarily piled them on the bed and covered them.

Once Alex had most of the framing up for the wall between the bathroom and closet, we made a makeshift closet with a couple nails and one of our closet rods.

IMG_8496He almost finished framing the new closet. The picture below shows our current closet. Haha!

IMG_8501Luckily, once he’s done with framing, we can quickly put drywall up in the closet and keep the clothes safe and clean.

I’m so excited about the bathroom.

IMG_8481There will be a lot of natural light in there because there are two windows. The shower is about 8 feet by 3 feet!

This is the shower. It’s bigger than it looks, trust me!

We decided to forgo a tub in the master bathroom to have more closet and shower space. Besides, the upstairs bathroom will have a tub.

Kitchen & Living Area

In the kitchen, we’ve got most of our cabinet boxes in and some of the trim up. I’ve filled a lot of holes and done a lot of sanding. The insides of most of the cabinets have been painted, although they will need another coat.

IMG_7394I’ve had most of my kitchen stuff stored on a shelving unit that I stole from the basement. Where that shelving unit is now (see the pic below), there will be a full-height, pantry cabinet. There are curtains around the shelving unit now, to keep any dust, etc away from everything.

2013-03-07_18-47-29_890We had been working on concrete countertops. Alex really wanted to go with this option, so I went along for the ride. We tried several different methods, but have never gotten it quite right. He told me on our anniversary that he’s decided it’s time to just order granite countertops. I am STOKED!

IMG_20130309_160936We put three big beams up to replace the wall that used to separate the kitchen and stairs from the living area. Surprisingly, Alex and I managed by ourselves to carry the beams up from the basement and put the beams in. It was all due to my massive muscles, I’m sure. šŸ˜‰

2013-03-07_20-12-29_856We put our mark on the center beam with a little meat branding iron that I got Alex last year.

2013-03-09_16-04-38_983Alex did the electrical and reinstalled insulation for the front living room wall and put drywall up.


IMG_7403We finished taking the fireplace apart and poured a cement base for the wood burning stove. We’ve carried some heavy things up the stairs, but let me tell ya’, that was a beast to get up the stairs.

Front Porch Progress

This past weekend, Alex’s parents came over and started working on our front porch. They started pouring the cement footings for the wood porch.


Laura was also kind enough to trim up my trees for me. šŸ™‚ They look so good now!

IMG_8511We made our mark in one of the concrete footings, just like on the beam inside the house.

Upstairs Demo

I think it was March when we started to demo the upstairs. Our first steps were the bedroom and bathroom walls.


IMG_6709Then we removed tile from the bathroom floor and shower and removed the wall between the bathroom and second bedroom.

IMG_6712We tore out the cubby walls, which we plan to remove. Alex cut out part the bathroom floor and part of the cubby floor of the bedroom near the stairs.

IMG_6708Now the center dormer is open to the entryway, which lets a lot of light in.

2013-03-08_16-57-59_613Our ultimate plan is to give the entryway and bedrooms vaulted ceilings.

In April, Laura and I tore out the attic wall and back bedroom wall.

IMG_6711We also finished removing the drywall from the cubbies. A couple of weeks later, Alex started tearing out part of the attic wall framing.

IMG_7395We’re going to utilize some of that attic space as a den area. We plan to add a skylight on that side of the house, opposite the front dormer, in order to flood the entryway with light. The other section of attic space, behind bedroom 2 is going to be a bathroom. We’re moving the back bedroom wall forward a tad to give us enough space for the new bathroom.

In May, I started tearing out the ceiling in the upstairs bedroom closest to the stairs.

IMG_8467Unfortunately, there was blown fiberglass insulation above the ceiling.

IMG_20130721_124522_468You may remember the MMM post in which I sported fiberglass insulation covered clothing. I’ve grown wise since then and started wearing long sleeves despite the heat. Being extremely hot is better than getting covered in fiberglass.

Once I did that, I cleared out all the drywall, wood, insulation, tile, etc from the upstairs.


IMG_8469I had spread plastic sheets out on the floor of the bedroom before I started ripping the ceiling out in the bedroom. So, all I had to do was bag some of the excess fiberglass and tie up the sheets like bags.

Alex and his dad took most of that upstairs junk to the dump last week (including the tub).

Once the upstairs was clean, I started to get it dirty again. šŸ˜€

This past weekend, I spent my time monkeying around in the hot attic space. After I tore out the ceiling in one bedroom, it was easy to get up in the attic space. In preparation for removing the ceiling drywall, I had to bag up all the fiberglass in the center section of the ceiling, above the entryway and old bathroom.

IMG_20130725_164344_021Naturally, we didn’t want to have fiberglass all over the house. This was a bit scary at first, knowing how high up I was. Luckily, I’m not too afraid of heights. I used a heavy piece of shelving from one of the closets and a couple planks of wood to scoot along the ceiling joists.

IMG_8502I stopped bagging fiberglass insulation once I reached the area above the second upstairs bedroom. I figured I could just spread a sheet out the same way I had in the other bedroom to catch the insulation.

I knocked down the drywall upstairs in the middle section of the house. Things really started getting fun at that point. Now, I could see how high up I was. Knowing how high you are is one thing; seeing it is another. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the photo below of me among the ceiling joists.

IMG_8508Here is another one that shows just how high up I was.

IMG_8509When I was in the area above the stairs, it was quite nerve-racking thinking about how high I really was. Just below those stairs are the stairs to the basement (see the picture below). :0

IMG_8522Once I got to bedroom 2, I broke a hole in the middle of the room and pushed the fiberglass out into the middle of the plastic sheet that I’d laid out.

IMG_8517I tore out the rest of the drywall,

IMG_8526and sat back and enjoyed the view at the top.

IMG_8514Then, I had to move all the drywall downstairs (it’s easy to throw everything on the trailer through the sliding glass door) and bag all the insulation.

IMG_8523As I said, our plan is to have vaulted ceilings. It will be necessary to support the roof with beams. We’ll need beams across the length of the house in each section (entryway, bedroom 1 and bedroom 2) to hang the beams on that will span the roof like the ceiling joists are now. I’m sure that will make a lot more sense once it’s finished and I can show you pictures and/or video.

Over the next few weeks we’re going to put the new master bathroom plumbing in and start on the new framing upstairs. We poured a concrete pad for the air conditioning unit, and hopefully, we’ll be putting our ducts in soon. We have a little window unit to keep us cool in our bedroom, but the rest of the house can get pretty warm. Luckily, the weather has been much cooler this last week than it was throughout the beginning of July.

We’ll be doing a lot of work on the renovation over the next several months to meet our self-imposed deadline. So, I’ll probably be posting monthly updates from now on. I’m going to try to do a video update soon, because I know that will make it easier to understand the layout, etc. Soon enough, the house will actually start to look like a house again. šŸ˜€

  1. GA

    August 1, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Unbelievable!!!! What a transformation! Glad you wore the proper attire to do this. Now tell Alex to wear real shoes in stead of flip flops while working!!!!

    1. Becca

      August 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

      We’re getting there! Yeah, I was still itchy even with all those clothes on, so I can’t imagine how miserable I would’ve been without those layers. I have, and I will. He usually does wear sneakers. Ha!

  2. Emma Jayne

    August 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Wow, you have been busy. We’re also renovating our house but due to busy careers we’re having a year off… although I’m itching to get the wallpaper steamer out!

    1. Becca

      August 6, 2013 at 10:33 am

      It’s a lot of work, but as I’m sure you know, it’s also a lot of fun. šŸ™‚ I can relate to having to take the renovation slow. We’ve had several breaks from it here and there ourselves. We’ve been in the house for a little over two years and haven’t really finished a project yet. šŸ˜‰

  3. Sabs

    August 1, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    Bloody hell, how do you get the time to do this AND sew?! Looking good though!

    1. Becca

      August 6, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Thanks! We’re definitely making progress.

  4. CGCouture

    August 1, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Holy cow! I don’t know how you do it. I’d go crazy with so much of my house under construction!

    1. Becca

      August 6, 2013 at 10:44 am

      I thought I would too, but I’ve gotten used to it. I knew what we were getting into when we decided to buy a fixer upper. Besides, it will all be worth it in the end. šŸ™‚

      1. CGCouture

        August 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

        Too true, here’s hoping you can maintain your patience until the end! šŸ™‚

  5. Laura

    August 1, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    wow, wow, and wow!! So fun to see it all in one blog! Great job!!!

    1. Becca

      August 6, 2013 at 11:57 am

      It is fun to see everything together. šŸ™‚ Thanks, and thanks for your help!

  6. Kelly V

    August 1, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    I am sooooo impressed! So much energy, muscle, thought, everything! It’s like you’re jumping off of Mr. Wayne’s springboard! You go, guys! God bless this amazing endeavor!

    1. Becca

      August 6, 2013 at 12:05 pm

      Haha. Thanks. Wayne and Laura have definitely been a huge inspiration and a huge help. We’re very grateful for them! Thanks for the well wishes! šŸ˜€

  7. Sally @ thequirkypeach

    August 2, 2013 at 1:35 am

    HOLY MOLY! This is unbelievable! And you live in the house while you are doing all this work??? How do you have the time and energy to sew also? I know I would need to drink a lot more coffee – lol. It is really impressive and is going to look so amazing when you’re finished! Way to brave the high beams! šŸ˜‰

    1. Becca

      August 6, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks! Yep, we live in the house. It’s a different kind of life, but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Believe me, I am a coffee addict. Ha! Just ask anyone who knows me. šŸ˜€ Thanks again, I can’t wait to have some finished rooms to share with everyone.

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