Home Updates

Taking a home from 1962 to the 21st Century 

Here's a shot of the kitchen before we moved in.  There's some dark, large print wallpaper that needed to go.



Nancy stripped off some old, ugly wallpaper from the kitchen, freeing us to update it with new paint.  Here we are applying primer. 

The built-in oven quit working.  Not bad for 44 years of use.  We hired a carpenter to remove it, along with some cabinetry, to make room for a new, modern glass-top range and oven.  Here's Nancy with the first meal we baked in our new oven: frozen pizza!

After removing the old oven, the carpenter was able to enlarge our pantry.  Ken, Nathan and Neil Isaac installed new shelves for us.  Nancy arranged our cans in picture-perfect fashion.

Here's the bedroom with the previous owner's stuff.  The original windows were wood casements that the previous owners painted shut.  Prying them open did little good because we'd need to hammer them shut from the outside!


Enough was enough, so we had new vinyl sliders installed.  Here's Nancy in our master bedroom, trimming the windows in white and repainting the walls "supreme green".

Here's the final result!


This is what the old dining room looked like with the previous owner's furnshings...


Nancy had the wonderful idea to paint with tan and burnt-red (actually, Sherwin-Williams' "Blonde" and "Flower Pot").  Peter cut, spray-painted, and installed chair rail and still has 10 fingers and 10 toes.  We then installed new light switches.  Sparks flew, but the house hasn't burnt down (yet).  

 The picture below was taken on October 26th.  We installed vertical blinds and hung some artwork.  Nancy thought the colors would work well with an Asian theme, so we hung some pictures that Peter bought in Cambodia.


Our bathroom was so 1960s: green tile, peach-colored fixtures and very tacky wallpaper.  


Nancy started with tearing down the wallpaper, repainting the walls AND ceiling, and replacing the light fixtures.  Peter installed a nice, new Kohler toilet; Dad Isaac shimmed it to perfection.

Mom and Dad Isaac aren't allowed to visit unless they work on our house.  This time, we conned them into removing the glass shower doors, installing a new tub surround, grab bar, shower curtain, and some much needed towel racks.

We were delighted to learn that IKEA opened a store in Michigan.  It was well worth the 100 mile drive from Saginaw to Canton.  Here's Nancy unpacking a love seat we purchased there:

Assembly was a piece of cake.  IKEA provides great instructions and we didn't even need a tool!

We loved the love seat so much that we bought TWO of them!

After saving up for months, we finally had enough money to buy new windows for the kitchen and the third bedroom.  This let in much needed fresh air and sunlight.  As usual, Nancy painted the trim and installed the blinds.  Peter took photos.  What a team.

The third bedroom was painted with Sherwin Williams' "Take Five" blue:

Here's a "before" shot of our living room.  Note the dated wood paneling...

We had the paneling removed and the drywall mudded and sanded.  New windows were installed, along with baseboard and outlets.  Nancy primed and repainted everything in one day.

Nancy bought artwork during her trip to Europe.  She dreamed of framing these paintings from Paris and Venice and now we had the perfect excuse!

Here are Nancy's tea sets:

We upgraded the sconces and hung new blinds for our new dining room window:

We reached a milestone last February by replacing the last of the old windows.  Here's the new casement window in our bathroom:

Now for the ultimate upgrade...

For most of February, March and April (then dragging on into May), we tackled our most ambitious project of all: a kitchen makeover.  Step 1: Sand down all of the cabinets and doors.  Step 2: prime and paint the cabinet frames.


We set up a work area in the basement to work on the doors.  They had reversible panels held in by rubber gaskets which had aged and become brittle, so we glued the panels in one by one.  By one.  By yet another one...  Here's Peter painting as Esther supervises.


When we removed the original built-in oven and stove, that left holes where the oven and stove controls were.  For the past two years, we kept this covered with drywall and paint, but we finally took the plunge to redo the entire wall.  Nancy picked out some beautiful tile.

We also hired a carpenter to build additional drawers.  This gave us 5 drawers instead of 3, and raised the countertop to a proper height.  He made them match the originals perfectly.  (It was Ben Ginac, the man from our church who built Nancy's hope chest.)


The original ceiling fan matched the old cabinets.  Whoever built this place really loved dark wood and wicker.  So out with the old and in with the new!  Peter bought a stylish white fan used for just $10.


Here are the rest of our "Before & After" photos.  Note the new wood countertop to the left of the stove; Ben made that too.  We refinished the existing countertop and stained them both to match.  Meanwhile, we had new laminate flooring put in.