Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Little Bit Of Everything

[Heads up: This post is long. I thought I'd cram about two weeks into one post.]
Dry wall went up in the bathroom against our closet wall. We then had to do something with the bathroom arrangement. Because of where the big window was on the exterior wall, it made it really difficult to fit any normal sized bathroom fixtures in the space. I really wanted the natural light, but in the end, it was gonna make everything else really awkward and we would have to spend more money moving the plumbing. So we took out the window. Looking back on it, I think we made a really good decision because we saved a ton of money.
Cody, Casey's brother, came over to help with drywall and taught me how to use Mud to fill the spaces and cover up the screws. I did most of the bathroom wall. By far my favorite job on the house! To me it felt like clay, which is probably why I loved it so much.

On a side note: you can see from these first few pictures, the beautiful original glass door knobs. *Swoon*

Here's the other side of the bathroom and the patched exterior wall that Casey and Cody worked on. More green wood that I'm assuming came from the old school house days. We took out the miniature tub and shelves attached to the end of the tub. We decided the toilet was in a weird place so we chose to rotate it against the guest bedroom wall. It was a relatively simple fix for the plumber since all the pipes would still remain in the same spot. We kept the shower and sink plumbing on the same wall, again, saving us money.

Our master closet is coming along. All the drywall is up and mud is happening. They used the space really well and built a little shelf at the very top instead of making the other closet floor to ceiling. Although its still pretty tight, its such an improvement from the original closet.

Here's a couple random pictures of what the chaos looked like as we were working on things. Holes in the floor and we bought our tub and shower walls! We ended up going with a tub with pre-made shower walls. As much as I wanted to tile the entire wall with subway tiles and create a standing shower, it was just too much money and work. We considered re-sale as well when we bought the tub. If we ever need to sell the house, I wanted the house to cater to a family with children as well. 

Outside we started to seal up the foundation. Using a water proof felt paper we draped and nailed it down around the entire perimeter of the house. Then covered the paper with cement hardy siding to, hopefully, ensure that water won't ever run under the house again.

Here's a picture of Cody's son, Truett. I asked him to do a jumping picture. The second one makes me laugh so hard. It's too cute.

The front and back porch both needed a little TLC. Casey, Cody, and their father George all worked on replacing the floor boards and fixing the cute gingerbread banisters. The porch itself was also leveled because like the house, it had shifted over the years.
 And then new siding was put up around the base of the house where the foundation was fixed.

The back porch needed to be pulled away from the house so that the foundation could be reached. (Putting it back on was fun...)
We noticed while taking the window out, that the house was insulated, but not very well. It probably needed to have new insulation put in all the walls. But that was a huge job, that we kinda skipped. We're in the winter months right now, and haven't noticed it being too cold yet. So I think we were okay cutting that corner. 

Monday, 25 January 2016


The next biggest overhaul that needed to happen to our little house was the foundation. The images don't really do it justice, but there was a giant hump running from the bedroom through the bathroom and guest room. We knew something was off but really had to get underneath the house to see the true damage. 
What we discovered was that our house was built on Bodark wood stumps. Yes. Our house was sitting up on wood and from a couple of those pictures you can see how badly it was leaning at the front. Bodark trees are native to Arkansas, Oklahoma, and some places in East Texas and were used on many pier and beam foundations because the wood can last over 100 years before decaying.
In an effort to save us tons of money, Casey and his father worked for about a week removing each bodark stump from the ground and filling the pier with new cement blocks. They replaced about 50 stumps buried about two feet into the ground. Not only that, but they were underneath the house with very little clearance. Definitely wasn't a job for me. 
A friend came to look at the foundation before we started. I didn't realize that he had a prosthetic leg and noticed when he removed it to crawl under the house. It was pretty hilarious seeing a leg sitting there, so naturally I took a picture.

Here's the finished foundation. So much more level than before. Now when it rains hopefully the cement blocks won't sink into the ground and shift the house again. Our next step is to seal off the foundation so water can't run under the house. This was a huge job and I'm so thankful Casey, and his family were able to do it themselves and worked so hard.

And I leave you with a super cute picture of our nephew Jacob. He was desperate to be just like his uncle Casey and crawl under the house to help with the foundation. 

Monday, 18 January 2016

Renovations: PART II

 This post spans a couple days of work but I thought I'd lump it all together in one post.
The first thing I was dying to discover was more wood shiplap. I had this vision of having the fireplace wall be wood and the rest of the walls being painted. So we peeled off some of the drywall and sure enough, wood! Casey tells me that it's tongue and groove shiplap a.k.a. the real deal. I think its absolutely beautiful. We also ripped off these weird wooden inserts on the fire place mantle. 

And look! the green paint again. It showed up in the bathroom walls too. After working on the house for a while we discovered, from some of the sweet neighbors we got to know, that the house itself was an old school house that was moved to its current location. The color sort of makes sense now, and you can tell from the exposed ceiling wood that original walls have been moved. So being a teacher myself, that makes the house that much cooler to me. One of the veteran teachers at my school also lived in this house when he was a newlywed. So its a sweet little house with lots of happy memories for many people.

We discovered electrical plugs everywhere and in strange places. There's one next to Casey (in the picture below) half way up the wall. Not sure what that one was intended for.

Another major job we tackled was the closet. Since Casey and his brother and father have construction experience Casey went right to work with the demo. Casey's brother came over to help frame up the walls and started to put together the closets. We decided, instead of making two closets the same size, to make the master closet deeper and just have a small linen closet in the guest room.
In the bathroom there was a floor to ceiling cabinet (which I didn't get a picture of) with multiple shelves that you literally couldn't reach to the top shelf. It was totally impractical, and taking up valuable space in any closet we wanted.
We finally got all the vinyl flooring up in the kitchen and also ripped it out of the closet too. It was an awesome surprise to find pretty pine wood floors in every room, and in an okay condition at that. But because the floors had years of vinyl on top of them and tons of screw holes it wasn't looking good for us to be able to sand down and refinish the floors. We had a few guys come look at them. Two of them said no, and one guy said yes. I'm pretty sure, seeing how young we both look, they weren't giving us straight answers, but I was sure, after my years of HGTV watching, that it had to be possible.

I think the only thing I wish we could change about the house is the paint color. It was so hard to pick a color. At first I wanted a really light color, and almost have this beachy/coastal look. Then I flip flopped to a really dark color which I thought would look amazing with white trim. 
Here's a couple of our paint samples we tested. Color reacts so differently to others colors in close proximity, which is weird to me. But they looked so different painted on the wall than they did on the paint chip paper. I'll follow up on our final paint color decision in a future post.

Casey, his brother, and his father worked so hard on this house. I'm blessed to have Casey. He dropped what he was doing for two months to fix it up, and he worked on it almost every day. 
He's pretty great. 
We're both grateful for his brother and father that, without hesitation, offered their time and energy to help us get it finished before the wedding.

Stay tuned for more. :)