Taping, mudding, scraping, and washing

One year ago this week we still hadn’t even picked up a hammer, decided on floor plan revisions, or even lined up any subcontractors.  Everything we have done since that time has been towards one big goal – drywall.  Last week our drywall was officially completed.  Let’s pause for a moment to celebrate…. Okay, time…

Taming the backyard… again.

Week 53  (Joe) One of the very first projects we did a year ago was to try to make the front and backyard of the house not look so…  abandoned.  The house had been vacant for more than 10 years and it definitely looked like it.  Weeds had turned into trees.  Parts of the yard…

Happy 1-year anniversary!

Week 53!!!  (Joe and Amy) One year ago TODAY we took possession of our new house!  How fitting that the 1-year anniversary corresponds with one of our biggest milestones – drywall!  By coincidence, another small milestone will be passed today – some lucky reader will be the 10,000th view on our blog!  We wanted to…

A better drywall experience

Week 52  (Joe) All of our drywall is now up.  It only took them 2 1/2 days to finish and (for the most part) everything went smoothly.  In my last post I commented on a couple issues that occurred after the 1st day of drywall.  The reality is that most of those issues have nothing…

Drywall finally begins

Week 52  (Joe) Amy and I spent last weekend and Monday frantically preparing for the drywall crew so that they could begin on Tuesday.  The big day finally arrived and we drove home after work like a couple of kids on Christmas morning.  Except…  there was nothing under the tree.  Sadly, no drywall.  The drywall…

Prepping for drywall

Week 51  (Joe) Once the insulation crew began work we gave our drywall guy a call and scheduled him to start on Tuesday.  We knew we had some small jobs to take care of before drywall, but we wanted to get the drywall finished soon so that we would be able to work in the…

Insulation!!!

Week 51 (Joe) Insulation just doesn’t seem like it would be that exciting, does it? But to us, it is! It is a huge job that gets us one big step closer to drywall.  As a reminder, our house had no insulation anywhere.  As tempting as it might have been to save money by doing…

Preparing for insulation

Week 51 – (Joe) Last week I met with our insulation guy to walk through the house before they begin work.  We decided he could go ahead and start this week on the blow-in insulation for the existing plaster walls while we were waiting for the arrival of our loft window.  Then we got the…

It’s cold and snowy, but we plow ahead

Week – 50  Joe After the excitement of finally connecting to the service panel last weekend, we naively thought we be able to get all the lights on that very same weekend.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  Then we experienced a frustrating week of sub zero temps and a broken furnace that made work slow and…

The Great Recession: How Recessed Lights Took Over Our House

Week 47 – Joe The pace of our work is picking up as we get closer to another major renovation milestone for us – electricity!  Amy and I took a personal day from our “day jobs” last week so that we could work together on the house and make a few more final decisions that…

A Morale Boosting Saturday: Windows and Wiring

Week 46 – Joe After many weeks of typical winter weather we were blessed this weekend with a day of 50 degrees and sun!  My mom took Lucy to the Children’s Museum and Aiden hung out with a friend all day which meant Amy and I could both work on the house and take advantage…

Top 10 home renovation time sucks

Week 45 – Joe We are smack dab in the middle of winter in Indiana.  We never see the light, it’s always cold, and our winter this year is just full of moderately cold days with barely any snow.  Just bleak, chilly, wet, and depressing.  Not exactly the type of weather that inspires working on…

Mission Electrician: Part 2 (Roughing in)

Week 43 – Amy If you read Mission Electrician Part one you know I’ve decided to do the electrical work myself. The first part and probably most important part of any big project like this is the planning (also mentioned in part one).  After planning out all of the circuit loads, deciding what kind of…

Making new floors from old floors

Week 41 – Joe The original floors of our fixer upper still exist and are in surprisingly good condition on the 1st level of the house.  We are planning on sanding and finishing all the hardwood floors in the house…   which is ALL the flooring in the house.  These 100 year old 5″ pinewood floors…

Framingpalooza!

Week 38 – Joe We are now in our 2nd week of Christmas vacation and our 3rd week of having our wonderful carpenter at our disposal.  This is the last push to get everything wrapped up before we insulate and drywall.  That means finishing all the little details of framing and blocking.  Besides the loft,…

The loft begins to take shape

Week 37 – Joe One of the most enjoyable aspects of this renovation has been getting to create spaces that will be unique, interesting, or different.  We have chosen to live in old houses with character because Amy and I are wired to crave aesthetically interesting and personalized spaces.  I think everyone enjoys finding a…

Treasure in the attic!

Week 36 – Joe The “loft” area is located above the master bedroom.  It overlooks the common area of the 2nd floor and would normally just be considered attic space.  It has been an area much discussed, but up until now, not touched. Amy and I determined a long time ago that we would like…

Mission Electrician: Part One

Week 35: Amy [Edit from Joe:  Before my wife tells you about our latest progress you need to know something important.  My wife is amazing.  Seriously.  She is one of the most determined people you will ever meet.  Just try telling her she can’t do something and see what happens.  I dare you.  Amy and…

“I’m yours until you say to stop”

Week 35 – Joe A week ago I got a text from our carpenter.  It was a text that rehabbers in need of structural expertise only dream of getting:  “I’m starting Monday and cleared out all week or longer if needed.  I’m yours until you say to stop.”  There was much rejoicing in our house…

New Upstairs Windows are IN!

Week 35 – Joe We have reached another exciting milestone!  The new windows have been framed out and installed in Aiden’s room, Lucy’s room, and the upstairs bathroom.  They are aluminum clad wooden windows.  For those of you who might not know (I didn’t), that means that the exterior is aluminum and will never need…

6 Hard Questions for the DIY Rehabber

Week 34 – Amy We are about half way through our house project! [Note from Joe:  Well…  maybe halfway to moving IN.  We all know the “house project” will never actually be done] At the beginning of the project we knew enough to know that there was a lot we didn’t know.  Along the way…

Winter is coming!

Week 32 – Joe Apparently winter is arriving a little earlier this year.  An abnormal “polar plunge” is dropping the temperatures below freezing and will continue for the foreseeable future.  I don’t mind cold weather. In fact, I normally embrace it…  but it’s too early!  We have been preparing for the inevitably of cold temps, but…

Window resolution and forward progress! (part 4)

Week 29 – Joe Amy and I are in the middle of a fall break from work.  This means we have been able to make much more progress on the house.  A couple weeks ago I finally figured out how to make the new windows match the old windows.  The amber shellac that I had…

New stairs are framed!

Week 27 – Joe Amid the slow-paced progress of this fall we have managed to arrive at another small milestone.  Our new stairs are framed in and now provide a new, functional way to get to the 2nd floor.  [Edit from Amy: I’ve been imagining what the house will eventually be in my mind so…

Window Standoff – Part 3

“The windows have been an ongoing project.” I feel like I say that in every blog post.  Now that my work schedule has ramped up I don’t have time to run over to the house just for an hour here or there.  I moved the whole window project to my basement, which is great because…

“My room is broken”

Week 21 – Joe While the work continues on the hvac and plumbing, Amy and I have been busy preparing for new windows!  If you recall, the front gable of our house had been butchered with a gigantic fan and vent opening. That room will be Lucy’s room so it needs to have a window…

A flute in one hand, a power tool in the other

Amy- Week 20 Many people believe they simply don’t have the time to take on big projects, especially when it comes to young families with kids. For many, this is most likely  true. Others claim not to have the wherewithal or skills to pull it off. Also, usually true.  When surveyed 8 out of 10…

Work continues without us

Week 20 – Joe School started a couple of weeks ago and that means the type of work we are doing on the house has completely changed.  Progress is still moving forward and the house is changing every week, but it is because we are now in the stage of the renovation that requires us…

Brain explosions

Have you ever walked into an open house and thought about all of the things you’d change? It’s fun. Maybe you said to yourself, “Well…I really wish the cabinets were a little less country” or “Gosh! That tile around the fireplace will just have to go.” It’s fun to do these little assessments of houses…

Finally, something new – walls!

Week 16 – Joe We have been working hard this month completing demo and making tough decisions on the floor plan.  We have been putting in long hours at the house, but it is still slow going because one of us always has to watch the kids.  I can’t imagine how much easier this would…

More demo, more treasure

Week 15 – Joe We have had a little lull in demo work while finishing up our floor plans and lining up subcontractors.  During this time I have kept progress moving forward by continuing with the windows.  All the kitchen windows have been stripped, scraped, sanded, repaired, and primed.  I have also removed 5 other…

The demolition continues…

Week 11 – Joe Once we decided that the kitchen was going to be in the back of the house we knew we were going to have to relocate the bathroom.  There is a very small room right next to the kitchen that will make for a very nice and well-placed bathroom.  That part was…

Things we found in the walls

Week 12 – Amy A few years ago we did some renovation work on our current house. This required tearing down a wall and busting into some floors. Since our house is over 140 years old, I was certain we would find an artifact of some sort. Maybe an old photograph, a bottle or perhaps…

Decisions, Decisions!

Amy and I are well aware of how small projects can become big projects before you even realize it.  In our current home, a little dog pee on the carpet in the upstairs hallway resulted in ripping out that carpet and then the subfloor…  which meant it was a good time to scrape off our…

So… Now What?

After closing on the house we were anxious to get going!  In fact, we were so excited that we immediately started getting our current home ready to sell and prepared to move.  We weren’t really that naive about the timeline, we just wanted to make progress of some sort and that was the only thing…

Under New Management: A BEFORE house tour.

One of the first things we noticed about our new house was that at some point someone had left a nice note on the boarded up front door. “No body luvs me. My owner is an asshole.” Now, I want to make clear that the former owner of this house was a really nice guy….

House Stalkers! How we found our fixer-upper.

  Once the house hunt was official two things quickly became apparent: 1. We wanted to live in the Cottage Home neighborhood. 2. We needed to find a “project” house in order to achieve our financial goals. This left us with a small territory of land and a finite number of houses to work with. …

Wait! What? You’re moving? Why?

  We like our current neighborhood and love our current house. We live in an 1870s cottage and are as close as you can get to all the cultural highlights that Indianapolis has to offer. Our neighborhood is full of beautiful historic homes, tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks, and friendly neighbors.  Our house isn’t big by…