Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ready for cabinets and tile

Things have moving along. The kitchen box has been wired for appliances, and the drywall has been hung. We put a coat of primer on the walls and it's really beginning to look like a kitchen. Our next step is to put the cabinets in the kitchen and start putting up tile in the bathroom. We also finally picked a tile for the kitchen floor. Once the cabinets are in and the tile is done, we really won't have much left to do. It's very exciting! I guess after working on the house for almost a year, you never really expect an end to be in sight. We bought the house on January 6th, 2012 and we won't be done by our anniversary, but it will be darn close.
The kitchen box is ready for the next step and so are we.

Since we bought this house there has been a running joke around the Crap Shack. Anytime someone asked us when we were going to be done, we always said "Two months." Now it looks like that answer may be fairly accurate. I am not really looking forward to the moving part though. There will be lots to pack and even more to sell. At least we'll finally be in our new home in 2013, so I'll deal with the moving part.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Could it be time to close it all up?

Last week we took a mini vacation for birthday celebrating. Honestly the only way we've really taken a day off in the past year is leave town, so that's what we did. It was good to get away from everything and just relax. Of course the Crap Shack is never far out of our minds, and we did find a great deal on a chimney style range hood while we were traveling. It spent the rest of vacation in the back seat.

Yesterday the plumber came over to check the plumbing work that we did ourselves and do a couple things we needed help with. All of the rough-in electrical and plumbing work is done. That means now it is time to start closing everything up! I can start laying the tile and Clay can start getting the kitchen cabinets installed, plus we can finally put the appliances where they belong instead of randomly placed around the house. It's very exciting. It looks like the Crap Shack might actually get completed soon and we'll be able to move in before you know it.

The fence is done in the backyard now, all we need is a gate. It looks pretty awesome, and really defines the yard space making it look huge.
We both love how this turned out.

As you can see it's been a pretty exciting couple of weeks at the ol' Crap Shack. I'm looking forward to actually seeing the kitchen and bathroom put together.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trim debacle, final edition

Ah jeez I got so worked up about the trim and then got excited about the fence, so I forgot to post a pic of the finished product. Whoopsie.
My front porch. Color makes me happy!
You could say we are not afraid of color, and you'd be right. I love my front porch. It makes me smile every time I drive up to the front. Yes our door is orange, and the ceiling is purple. Yet somehow it seems to work together. It's a cheerful house. That's all I wanted to say for today.

Oh wait, we added an electrical outlet to the front porch so I can put up Christmas lights. Yay!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Loving the fence

We decided long ago traditional is not our forte. Why do we want to be like anyone else? This has been the case with our fence idea and I'm loving how it's turning out so I thought I would put up a picture of the progress. It is a combination of metal, wood, and pvc. There will be one more section of metal that goes along the top. I, for one, can not wait to see the finished product.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Recent changes

I pulled up the subfloor in the original kitchen floor

We were hoping to be farther along on the inside, but we are waiting for some other people. Namely the electrician and the plumber. We need to add the electric for the appliances that will go in the area we've been calling the "kitchen box". So we did what we could inside then turned out efforts outside to work on the fence until after the holiday. The plumber is scheduled to come by Friday to check our work and help us with some final details. The electrician should be out there soon as well, then it will be time to install the kitchen.

Clay finished adding the "kitchen box"

While we were waiting work on the fence began. After all once we move in we will need to be able to contain the dogs. What fun is a big yard if the dogs can't run free in it? We added to the existing fence on the side of the yard. It's your regular ol' picket style fence, but it still looks lovely! Then we pulled up the rusted wire and kudzu fence along the back, to make way for something spiffy! (By the way I did get a nasty case of poison ivy from pulling up the old fence. Who knew you could get it from the roots as well)

Kudzu and rusted wire can't hold in our dogs
Side fence
The fence in the backyard is going to be a little different than your average fence. It's quite possible that you've never seen anything like it. It's going to be a combination of metal and wood, no pickets. So far we have pulled up the old fence, dug all the holes for the posts, and begun to lay it out. We've made our house fairly unique where we can, so we felt no reason to be traditional when it came to building a fence. Why not have a fence that is functional and beautiful? Here's a sneak peek at what we've been doing.

Hmmm...that's different. Wonder what they are up to now?
There you have a little update from the Crap Shack. Hopefully we can get lots accomplished this weekend.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Back on track

This weekend we have been very busy. It's been nice to see things changing again and not just because of a coat of paint. Since our inspection for the exterior was signed off we could finally move back inside. We decided to start tackling the kitchen. We removed the back wall and one layer of the subfloor. Removing the back wall will add about 40 square feet to the kitchen, and give nice tucked away spot for the fridge and washer/dryer. Removing the subfloor allows us to put down cement board and tile and not have a big step up from the living room. It is looking great!
New header beam, back wall removed, and one clean flat floor!
I can't wait to see what the next week will bring.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A big step forward

Yesterday our demo permit for the back of the house was signed off by the city as complete. This is a big step for us, because it means the exterior is complete. Now we can start putting together the inside. We have a goal to have most of the house together by Thanksgiving. That's only about 3 weeks away, but I think if we work hard we can do it. It's going to be busy over the next few weeks.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

From Patience comes Cabinets!

There has been an ongoing struggle at the Crap Shack, finding the perfect kitchen cabinets. We've looked everywhere. We scoured every outlet we could think of. Nothing seemed to be right, or it was way out of budget. We had finally gotten to the point where we were going to give up and just build them ourselves. Then last week, when we were out and about and having a cocktail, our luck changed. We struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to us at the bar, it turned out he managed a cabinet company. They had just removed a set of cabinets that were displays and he said they might be what we are looking for. They were!
The sink base and corner

I love the pullout in the blind corner cabinet.
Now there are two sets, one is that beautiful blue color and the other is bright red. We will find a way to make it work, which probably means figuring out a way to change the color. I am totally okay with that, the cabinets are amazing! I am super happy about this development.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The trim has been decided

Well after much deliberation, the trim issue has been worked out. We went with the tan trim around most of the house, but kept the orangey-yellow color around the door. I love it! It's bright and beautiful. 

My front door, just needs the new handle set and the door knocker.

The house as a whole
I think it turned out pretty neat, and I'm happy. Much better than the original colors.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trim debacle Part 2, aka I think I have it now

So there has been some issues picking a trim color, nothing was really right. I tried the multiple colors. The one I liked the best in the first go around was bright, so I would not be able to use it for the trim on the whole house, maybe just around the door. So now this is where my internal debate comes from. Today I went and painted some trim a nice cream color. It was the last color I wanted to test and I think it looks nice.
Then I tried it around the door. Still nice, but I may like the bright yellow color around the door. Here is a side by side comparison. It seems like the yellow color makes the orange stand out more. Although I think they both look nice. Thoughts?

This one gives a more complete look at the front
I'm not sure why this particular decision has been so difficult for me when all the rest of the choices I've made have been fairly easy. Picking out fixtures, tile, and appliances? No problem! Picking siding color? No problem! Even the door color was pretty easy. Yet the trim has been the bain of my existence recently. Oh well, it will get figured out. Eventually.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Trim debacle

Oh goodness gracious, picking a trim color has been more difficult than expected. I have tried at least 5 colors so far. A grayish blue, bright orangey yellow, dark gray, forest green, and a light gray, Nothing has worked, or come even close. So now what? Well the next color to try is a cream color. It seems so boring but it's a trim color and has already taken up too much of my brain power. Let's hope this one works out. So frustrating!

PS. The mirror will cost about $41 to fix, and hopefully FedEx will pay for it. If not at least it still keeps me under budget for the medicine cabinet.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Adventures in online shopping

Let me start by saying, I have found that I am great at searching out a bargain. Between Craigslist, Ebay, and various online outlets I have found some fantastic deals on unique items for the house. I have saved thousands on appliances between Craigslist and the Sears Outlet. I am thinking I missed my calling as a professional shopper.

Recently on Ebay I found a great recessed medicine cabinet from the 50's with an outlet inside and sidelights. It was perfect! We are going for a combo of retro and modern styling in the house. It's shaping up to be beautiful.

I received my package last week with the cabinet inside. It was one of the best packing jobs I had seen! Placed inside a wooden crate with bubble wrap and "Fragile" stickers all over it. The first thing I thought of was A Christmas Story, it was my major award. Alas, there was no leg lamp inside the box. So we began to unwrap the package.
So much bubble wrap!

Then I saw this...
Oh man, what the heck happened? This thing was wrapped perfect. We were so bummed. I contacted the seller and luckily it's insured. So now we get to fight FedEx for some reimbursement. We should be able to get the mirror fixed easily enough, but it still sucks. I place no blame on the seller, he did a great job trying to make sure it got to me in one piece. Either someone intentionally threw something on the box to try and break it, or since it was so heavy it accidentally got dropped. Who knows. Now it's time to see if we get some money to fix it.

This is what it looked like before shipping.

On a another note, I am working very hard to pick a trim color for the outside. It's not going well. I'm not really finding anything I really like. Back to the drawing board on that one. I think I will need to do an art project with all the test color samples I have at the end of all of this.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Now on Facebook

Recently I have been told multiple times that people stalk my personal Facebook profile to look for pictures of the house project. Today I decided I was going to devote a page to the project. In the first few hours I'm up to 24 likes. So here's the link if you want to check it out. I will get better about updating this blog again.
From Crap Shack to Home on Facebook

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cheap and good

Clay has a saying he uses at work "Cheap, fast, or good? Pick two and the third is irrelevant." We have decided or house will be cheap and good, which means it's not fast. I'm okay with this. Over the past couple of weeks we've started closing everything up. The walls in the kitchen and the ceiling in the living room have drywall now. We've mudded and sanded, mudded and sanded, etc. It's dirty work, but the house is really taking shape.

I bought a new (to us) door knocker. Apparently I inadvertently bought a 7" cast iron vagina. Whoopsie! Oh well, I still think it's awesome and I have no problem displaying it on my front door. 

But yes, I guess it does look like a vagina.

Today my super beautiful bathroom sink arrived and it is better than I expected in person. It should be, it's been on backorder for months and I thought I was going to have to get a different one. Things are really starting to come together. I will be able to post some better pictures soon, now that we are doing stuff worth looking at.

I'm not minding the time it is taking us to get this all done, but because when it is done, it's going to be amazing!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We've been working hard

Finally we are getting close to closing everything up on the inside. Clay ripped out all of the plumbing in the house. When we looked at the original 4-inch drain only about an inch of space was left inside for water to pass through. After inspecting the other pipes it was decided that it was best to go ahead and replace the plumbing now, rather than having to open up the walls again a year from now when the plumbing finally gave out. It added some time to our timeline, but it will save some headaches down the road. The house has been rewired (it really helps to have connections in the electrical world), and it is also now wired for overhead lighting and a ceiling fan in the living room. We changed the bathroom door to a pocket door. Since the bathroom is so small it really will be a space saver. We found this great old fire extinguisher cabinet and we are going to make it a recessed medicine cabinet, complete with a outlet on the inside.

The tile for the bathroom has been picked out and purchased. Things are really starting to move along. Clay finished up the plumbing, so now we have water! That means tile work and painting can begin as well. Now it's time to start putting everything back together.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Back to the drawing board

Went to Cabinets to Go, and it was over $2K for cabinets. That's not going to work, considering we are going to paint them once we get them. It seems silly to spend that much and then paint the cabinets. We might end up building the cabinets ourselves. It might just be easier in the long run. The idea for the kitchen is a high gloss granny smith apple green for the base cabinets, and a high gloss white for the wall cabinets. We are undecided on whether to do a concrete countertop or a butcher block countertop. We have picked an awesome fake marble tile for the floor, and a really neat tile for a border. The hardest part is finding cabinets. Sigh.

Moving forward...

We have been working hard on our little crap shack, trying to make it a home. Things have been moving forward. The addition has completely been removed, foundation and all. We have gutted the bathroom, removed the kitchen floor, and created a pass-through between the kitchen and the living room. The addition is gone foundation and all, we are back to the original house. It's sturdy and well built, as most homes were in the 50s. We replaced the back door and the alarm system is hooked up. Appliances have been bought, all that is missing a stove. We have hauled away four 30-yard dumpsters, and one 10-yard masonry dumpster of debris. Lots and lots of trash!

While removing a wall we found this hiding behind the drywall
It must have been there since the house was built in 1953, how neat is that?

We called in a plumber to check out the house for upgrading the plumbing. They came back with an estimate of $2250. I guess that's not bad, but we have decided to attempt it ourselves. Clay has some plumbing knowledge and we have some plumber friends to guide us (they don't have the time to work on our house right now, and we need water sooner rather than later). We'll see how this works out. After all we are doing everything else, so why not this? We are not your average home remodelers. Clay has almost 20 years construction experience, and I have remodeled a house before. Plus I'm a fast learner, so we aren't going in to this project blind. It just seems like there is so much to do. It really boils down to only two rooms now, the kitchen and the bathroom. 

To make up some time for doing the plumbing we may just buy kitchen cabinets, instead of making them. That was our original plan. So we have been pricing that out. Cabinets to Go seem pretty reasonable and we are considering using those cabinets. At least I have been finding us some great deals along the way. This house should turn out pretty nice with not too much money spent on it, just the way I like it.

We also got the yard mostly cleaned up, that made a big difference outside. Especially since it's spring and the flowers are beginning to bloom. I am interested as to what actually grows in my yard. It's like a springtime surprise. Our neighbors have told us we have one of the nicest yards on the block. Goodness, I hope I can keep it up.

So there it is, a little update from Stevens Road. It's been a lot of cleanup over the past month, so not much progress that looks good in pictures. But 5 dumpsters later it's really coming along.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


It has been an interesting first month of renovation realities. We tore down the awful addition on the back of the house. Eventually a new one will be put up in it's place.
You can see why it had to come down, the floor was 5 1/2" out of level, it had to go. Now it's gone!
Now there was a slight problem when we bought the house, an open electrical permit. We thought it was for the power pole to be reconnected to the house. Not so. Turned out that addition had un-permitted electrical work, so the electric company refused to reattach service to the house until it was resolved. It wasn't that big of a deal since we were going to take down the addition. The problem was, we had to tear it down without electricity. That definitely made the process more difficult. We rented a generator when we absolutely needed power. This week we were finally able to get the permit signed off, and we officially have power! Now we can finish the clean up and start thinking about the inside. Yay for power!

This past weekend we pulled up the old floors in the kitchen and the bathroom. Four layers of linoleum in the kitchen and two layers in the bathroom, plus an extra sheet of plywood in between for both rooms. Yikes! We also found a barely used fridge and possibly a stove. It may start looking like a real kitchen soon.

Today I ordered the tile for the bathroom. Once we get the water turned on I can start tiling. I think things will begin picking up pace now.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some ideas

We have come up with a few ideas for our little crap shack. We have to start from scratch in the kitchen, so we can do anything we want. The idea is to have the base cabinets be a high gloss granny smith apple green. The wall cabinets will probably be white, after all you don't want too much green in a kitchen. There will be a butcher block countertop. Ikea has some great prices on wood countertops! The idea for the floor is white tile, with a blue/green glass tile border that will match the backsplash. Although behind the stove I have found this awesome lucite panels in bright colors so there would be a green panel behind the stove. It should be lovely, if we get it all done. Right now the front porch has those wrought iron handrails and posts. They are painted and I just don't like how it looks. We will eventually replace them with wooden posts and handrails. There is a bar that has given us an idea for the posts. If we put lighting inside the posts and do similar cutouts, it should give the look of porch lanterns. I think it could be a real neat effect.
So there are a few ideas that are bouncing around in the brain. It's going to be a lovely house.

Monday, January 16, 2012

A little rundown of the week's events (a pictorial)

On Jan. 6th we finally closed on a house. This is it:
Most of the house is in good shape:
Although there isn't a kitchen:
And the electricity was in the yard:
Someone put an extension on the house, but it didn't seem right. Turns out it was 5 1/2 inches out of level, and there was mold:
So over the past week, we investigated and found the problems:
So we decided to tear it down, rather than save it. It's more cost effective in the end:
Today the dumpsters arrived, and things are getting cleaned up:
We've had some issues getting electricity in to the house. There is an open electrical permit from the previous owners. Part of the problem was with the addition we tore down, so that part is solved. This is going to be a tough project. We're not investors, we're homeowners. This house is for us. With the foreclosure price of $53K, it gives us some money to do the repairs. Neither one of us make a lot of money, so this project is on a tight budget. We have some great ideas, lets see if we can make them happen!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finally a crap shack to call our own!

This blog is going to change. Why? Because we were never able to buy the house on Sasser, as far as I know it is still in the foreclosure process. All is not lost! We were able to find a house, and closed on it this past Friday. It's a foreclosure, and has been vacant for at least a year. In the first week, we have already begun the demo process. More to come!