Our First Home, Adventures in Renovation, and Design Ideas



We purchased our first home on May 20, 2005 and went right to work renovating it.  The house was built about 1900 and past owners had done some AWFUL renovations on it, as well as many "repairs" that just made no sense. 

Major Projects Tackled

  • re-wired the entire house*
  • gutted, insulated and drywalled about 90% of the house, this involved many layers of walls... in some places 4 layers deep (wood paneling, drywall, crumbling plaster, etc.)
  • torn down two load bearing walls
  • replaced, restored or painted all the wood floors*
  • added a dormer & replaced the roof*
  • completed gutted and renovated the kitchen*
  • replaced all the interior doors
  • moved 2 bathrooms and redid them from scratch
  • filled four 30 yard dumpsters*

(items with an * we had some help with) 

Future Renovation Plans

  • Tear down the HUGE ugly garage behind our house, landscape the back yard & add a storage shed.
  • Repave the driveway, have decorative pavers on the upper part and then pave the rest.  We will also add a gate to the driveway.
  • Convert the 3rd floor into a master suite
  • Remove all the siding on the house and replace it with cement board siding & paint it (no more white!)
  • Repair or replace most of the exterior trim on the house

Our House


  Major Renovations

We are still finishing some details of Renovations Round #2 

but this gives you an idea of what we have done lately.....

Kitchen- Before and Almost Done After


basically poly'd plywood, built in place.  That is sheet vinyl "wood" flooring.  Can you say NIGHTMARE!  I made an attempt at a quick face lift before we could totally renovate, like my lime green.  ;)


During- Yikes!  We gutted down to the floor joists


After (need to take some better pictures)

still need undercabinet lighting and some finishing touches, but its pretty much done! I LOVE my new kitchen!

-ultracraft cabinets, maple wood floors, KA stainless appliances, Delta faucet (Michael Graves design)



Looking into the TV Room 




Main Upstairs Bathroom-Before & After

Before- a wood paneling nightmare!  It was like Wood O.D.

 After-my nice relaxing bathroom w/separate toilet room.....

Kohler jetted tub, sinks/cabinets from Lowes, delta faucets

DINING ROOM & LIVING ROOM- still a work in progress

We removed the load bearing wall ourselves, I was a bit freaked but all worked out okay.

With the wall in place & the useless small room and tiny 3/4  bath behind it

The wall GONE
New Dining Room: drywalled and with flooring. 
Dining Table Project

We have a dining table!!  Kirt built it from some salvaged pine floor boards from our house. 

The boards started out as the black ones behind me in this picture.....

But after lots of planing, sanding and poly......    


Our almost finished dining room.



Then its just finding fabric for a valance, installing the other shades, and having a family member do an original piece of art for the interior wall (for now its a Winslow Homer print). 

As for the living room......  

We need some art more art & a fireplace surround,

but we got some new furniture that is smaller scaled

This is what the wall opposite the windows used to look like... no focal point.

And this is what it looks like now....
(this is where we need the artwork & surround)


Fireplace & Paneling Projects in Living Room
We found this awesome mantle at an architectural salvage place

Kirt  started framing in the bump out area for the firebox and he added an eyeball light to focus on the mantle.  I stripped & repainted the mantle.

In addition the fireplace project Kirt added a paneling detail under the stairs.  Before the drywall on it was kinda warped and looked funny, it looks so much more finished now. 

Man Room
This project started back in 2006 with the demo & some construction, then we took a break while we did our second round of major renovations.  In 2008 and 2009 we have gotten back to working on it a bit more. 
It all started with having to replaced the crumbling brick columns in the bacement with steel. But that involved having to knock down the brick.
But that got the Man Room project started
This project has involved the use of lots of recycled materials....light fixtures from other parts of our house, wooden pallets from an industrial area for the wainscotting, salvaged doors from an old apartment renovation for the bar, etc.
New Dormer
We added a dormer last summer so that you would no longer have to duck going up to the 3rd floor.  Eventually we hope to do a master suite up there.
Roof line before
and then after

interior going to 3rd floor before (forgot to take a picture before the plaster was removed)
And then after
First Round of Renovations: 2005
When we first bought our house we had no idea what we were really getting into.  Luckily we are pretty handy, especially Kirt, and we had helped my in-laws with some renovations on a house they owned.
The niave new homeowners
Living Room- before, during & after (well the after is before we did the 2007 renovations)
Kitchen- before & after a quick face lift (again before the 2007 renovations)
Bathroom- before & after (a quick face lift, cost under $700 to do)
Guest Bedroom- before, during, after
Master Bedroom-before, during, after
3rd Floor- We also have two bedrooms up on the 3rd floor, we haven't done much more than paint a bit and remove some carpeting.  Long range we may turn this floor into a master suite, we will see.
No After of this one
Front Entry Porch-before & after
Some Random Renovations Pictures.... Doesn't it look like FUN!
Between our 2 rounds of renovations we have filled 4 of these
How my Kirt and I would talk... through what was left of walls
We hired a guy to mud & tape after we hung the drywall, he was so messy!