Monday, September 12, 2016

The Kitchen.

Here's the story of our kitchen.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Stairs.

This stairwell was one of our favorite features of the house. Like everything else, the transformation was painfully slow. It was actually the very last project we finished. This photo of Jaime was taken on one of our first days working on the house in the late summer of 2011. Note the light spots on the walls where hanging artwork protected the wallpaper from tobacco stains. Also note the intact wall on the left side of the photo. In the final photo, you can see the new doorway into the living room.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Exterior Transformation.

Hard to believe it's been more than a year since we sold the house. It's also been a year since the last blog update. I was saving the exterior shots for the final, climactic post, but at this rate there's no point in waiting. Thanks for your patience, Jaime. Hopefully I'll get around to the kitchen and living room posts before 2016.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Upstairs Bathroom.

I suppose you could say the upstairs bathroom had a certain "charm" to it. After reading about the movement to save the pink bathrooms, I felt a little guilty that it wouldn't be allowed to stay, but Jaime felt no such hesitation.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Bedroom #3.

Here's the downstairs bedroom as we found it upon our first tour of the house. Faux-wood paneling, thrashed wood floor, windows nailed shut, dropped ceiling with curious water stain...

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sun Room/Breakfast Nook.

The sun room wasn't very sunny when we moved in. Items to note: curtains, beige walls, brown baseboard, partial laminate wood floor, single glass light fixture, fly strip.

Friday, August 1, 2014

How to Repair a Broken Sash Cord in a Double-Hung Window With No Access Pocket.

Old windows use weights on strings for counterbalance. The weights are inside the walls, and when the string -- called "sash cord" -- breaks, the window won't stay up on its own. If it's just one broken line, the situation is less precarious, but for some reason broken sash cords seem to come in pairs. When we moved in, there were at least five windows with broken sash cords.

How do you repair something you've never seen that's contained inside a wall? It was a total mystery to me, and all the tutorials I found online made reference to an "access pocket" that our windows did not have.

But that made figuring it out all the more satisfying, and I can tell you with confidence that there is no reason to pay a professional to do it for you. If you have the slightest experience with home repair, you can fix your own broken sash cords.

How to Repair a Broken Sash Cord in a Double-Hung Window With No Access Pocket.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bedroom #2.

Even after the purchase was complete, it still took the sellers a while to clear out their possessions. Note the "fly strip" dangling in the first photo.

The Master Bedroom.

At long last, the house is done! Which means it's time to start firing out the blog posts. If you caught the Craigslist ad when we posted it on Facebook, you got a sneak peak at the finished job, and you know that we are not keeping the house. It sold the first day we showed it for asking price to an awesome couple, no realtors involved.

After pouring our hearts into this project, walking away will be bittersweet, but really, this was the plan all along. Jaime gets some killer before-and-afters for her portfolio, we pay off our debts, and the proceeds get reinvested in the next project.

Here is the story of our master bedroom, starting in September of 2011 with yellow walls, tan trim, mouldering carpet, and a water-damaged ceiling.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meet our downstairs bathroom.

You'd think that as a project neared completion, the excitement would motivate you to work faster and faster. That's not really how it works. It's more like summiting a mountain, but instead of cresting the hill, the slope gets steeper with each step, until it's almost vertical.

It's not that the work gets harder. It's that those minor details become almost invisible, because you've lived with them for so long, and you have so many other, bigger, more pressing tasks.

Pretty much every room is at the 95% mark now. We've been waiting to showcase a room that's 100% done. But the downstairs bathroom is at 99%, which seems good enough for a blog post.

So let's start with the befores.

The original layout was a filthy slot of a room, updated on a budget in the early '80s.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Gutting the Stench.

It has been a year. When we started, every room in the house had its own swirling cloud of flies. The top floor smelled like dog piss, the basement smelled like mildewed cat piss, and the main floor reeked of cigarettes. (The sellers were smoking in the house while we walked through for our first tour.) Oh, and the well stocked refrigerator, left without power for weeks in the heat of summer, offered the faint aroma of a rotting corpse.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Interior Befores and Garbage Everywhere.

Before we closed on the house, the bank gave us a list of items to be addressed before they would approve the loan: install two stair railings, scrape and prime any peeling paint, repair a non-functional toilet, and activate electrical service. (The sellers hadn't paid the electric bill, and power had been shut off.)

Knowing that the sellers would be basically unable to do anything, we offered to do the repairs. So the realtor gave us the lock box combination, we let ourselves in and got to work.

Most of these pictures were taken on the first day we had access, a whole month before close. Most of the personal items strewn about the house were obviously unwanted and abandoned, and garbage service had been stopped for some time, as evidenced by the mountain of garbage bags in the side yard. But the place was still kind of ambiguously occupied, with some important bulky items like a T.V., mini fridge, and bed still in an upstairs bedroom.

Can you smell these pictures?

This Is It: Exterior Befores.

We bought this Northeast Portland house eleven months ago as a major fixer. We took walls down to the studs, re-plumbed, re-wired, and gutted the kitchen and baths, filling countless containers and dumpsters with demolition debris. Then drywall went up. In March, we moved in, setting up our home in the basement.

The changes since then have been less dramatic, and we still have much to do, but progress continues.

And now we’re blogging.

The plan is to tell the story of our home renovation one post at a time, highlighting one feature or room or phase or story. It will be a historical document covering what we’ve done, probably, rather than a daily update of what’s happening right now. For the first post, here is a quick walk-around, showing the house exactly as it looked while it was still for sale.

Stay tuned. This is exciting.