My turn for House updates

I just wanted to share something big going on in the next few months with you, if you don't mind.

Five and 3/4 years ago (but who's counting, right?), we bought a "fixer upper" house, with the intent to fix it and move in.  It was cheap and old (1890s built) - with so much potential!  We were insanely naive (the house should have probably been bull dozed).  Our idea was that my husband would do the labor himself, and we'd work as we could afford to - and be in the house in a few months (remember, I said we were naive?).

We ended up replacing the foundation, the roof (including the "bones"), three of the four exterior walls, everything load bearing, and most of the interior (we kept some of the subfloors), and all the functional pieces (electrical, hvac, plumbing, gas lines, etc).  Whew.

Monday, my husband's work on it passed the electrical wiring inspection, and yesterday the structure, hvac, plumbing and gas lines all passed inspection.  We are celebrating!  And it seems like the remainder may be somewhat quick because we're hiring contractors to insulate and drywall, and it's looking like we may actually get to move in to the house before six years of owning it have elapsed (that's in April).  After that, it's finish work (which can go on forever, I know) - wood floors, paint and trim, cabinets, fixtures, and bathroom and kitchen stuff....

Soon though, I may also be showing house-in-progress pics if you don't mind!  And what house decorating sites should I read?  

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Laura (rhubarbgirl) replied 6 years ago

    Congrats! That is a wonderful milestone to reach.

  • kkards replied 6 years ago

    wow! congratulations! looking foward to seeing the pictures, after fashion, looking at houses and interior design is one of my most favorite things!

  • texstyle replied 6 years ago

    Yay!  Great news Amiable. I like Apartment Therapy as one source of online inspiration, but I know there are so many others too. It's not really just apartments (they started that way in NY I believe) but they have a LOT of houses, feature many smaller homes, small kitchens, ways to create great design on a budget, etc. Their other blog thekitchn is also great.

  • MsMary replied 6 years ago


    My very favorite for ideas is  They have photos of every. single. thing. you could possibly imagine for your house, and a great search function.  So if, for example, you think you might like blue cabinets with carrara marble countertops, you just type that into the box and boom!  Up come the photos!

    Also, Pinterest.  Of course.

    And  Again, really good source of inspiration photos, although I find the search function to be a little eccentric.

    And my very very very fave ever is  Gives new meaning to the term "shelter porn."  LOL

    Can't wait to see your photos!

  • deb replied 6 years ago

    How exciting!

  • Transcona Shannon replied 6 years ago

    Such fantastic news Amy and something you and your family should be incredibly proud of. That is no small undertaking.

    Looking forward to hearing the updates and seeing pics.

  • Alassë replied 6 years ago

    Congratulations; that's huge!

  • Meredith replied 6 years ago

    Oh my, what an accomplishment! Can't wait to see pictures!

  • Caro in Oz replied 6 years ago

    How exciting - would love to see the pics :) :)

  • harmonica replied 6 years ago

    Congrats! That's fantastic news! Now the fun part starts :-)

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    Woohoo! Bring on the pics! I always checkout Houzz too. And Elle decor. And House Beautiful. I also like the Canadian House & Home. And Architectural Digest. And Domino... And ok, I'm decorating junkie.

    What's the exterior of the house look like? Traditional lap siding?

  • citygirldc replied 6 years ago

    I would love to see it, since we are having housing problems of our own.

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    Thanks for all the house love! 

    I have some "before" pictures that I can share - it's been quite a while since we've taken pictures (you know, projects that stretch on so long get depressing after a while - and that hit us pretty hard).

    Here's an interior tour when we bought it.  (It's okay to laugh and know that we were nuts to buy it.  :) )
    Here's some pics of the gutting.

    And putting in the new foundation.

    The exterior wall repair

    Repairing fire damage

    Now it actually looks like a house (from the outside, anyway).  I just texted my hubby to take some current pics, and I'll post them later.

  • Beth Ann replied 6 years ago

    Wowza!  After seeing the "before" pics, I think 6 years is working really fast! 

    I'm a big believer in rehab projects as an issue of stewardship.  It's rarely the easiest choice, but restoring life to an older home brings intangible benefits and teaches your kids a valuable lesson.

    Can't wait for the housewarming!

  • rachylou replied 6 years ago

    I only started laughing after the cats... ;)

    Did you keep the interior floor plan the same?

  • jackiec replied 6 years ago

    Congratulations!!! I agree about Houzz being super useful.

    ETA - coming back after looking at your pictures - wow!! You are so brave! What a lot of work. Amazing! 

  • amiable replied 6 years ago

    It makes me laugh too, looking back!

    We kept the second floor plan pretty similar to what it was (bathroom and three bedrooms - but we added closets).

    On the main floor, we opened it up so that the front two rooms and kitchen are pretty nearly one space (we have a mini-wall in the middle to bear some load).  We added a bathroom on that floor as well (the old pantry).

    The basement is now a walk-out, and we're putting a bathroom and three bedrooms down there also.  We'll likely sleep in the basement, because it'll be cool in the summer and we put in a heated concrete floor for easy winter warmth.

    I can't wait!

    Here's some sorta-recent pictures (today's didn't turn out).  Since these pictures, the rest of the exterior is painted, and there's a front porch (and part of a huge back deck).  The asymmetric and strangely-sized windows (ahem - buying what's on clearance!) make me laugh.  It's just like us to have a wonky looking house (even our house is RATE!).

    #1 is the back - walk-out basement, and #2 is the front.

  • Angie replied 6 years ago

    An unexpected adventure and never a dull moment, Amy. CONGRATS. xo

  • carter replied 6 years ago

    What a wonderful story! Can't wait to follow all the way to completion. I second MsMary's suggestions for and pinterest. I could entertain myself for days with those two!

  • Laurie replied 6 years ago

    Bring on the pics - love before and after renovation pictures and stories. We have been renovating our house for 21 years.  Houzz is my go to.  (Pictures of my sunporch and patio are on Houzz, courtesy of the designer and the furniture store where we bought our pieces)

  • Gail replied 6 years ago

    Good Luck  that is super exciting for you both.

  • DonnaF replied 6 years ago

    I love the character of old houses!  My go-to when we redid our kitchen was  There, I learned that Ikea kitchen cabinets (but not their bedroom stuff) is fantastic for the price and are designed to hold a ton.  And, that there is a DIY site on how to modify those Ikea cabinets. 

    A great little thing we learned about from the Gardenweb's Kitchen Forum was the Tapmaster.  It enables you to turn on (and turn off) your faucet basically by kicking a section of your baseboard.  It is controlled by water pressure so no need to worry about electricity.  Makes it look like your water is controlled by magic and will have your kids fooling their friends.  It wasn't terribly expensive; I think the company is in Canada.  It keeps nasty chicken fat or whatever is on your hands from getting your faucet just as nasty.

    Doesn't keeping one wall make your project a *remodel* and thereby keep your property tax down?  I am impressed that you and your DH took on such a huge project.  And are still married, lol.

  • Nebraskim replied 6 years ago

    This is outstanding, Amy. Congrats on being brave enough to tackle such a massive project.

  • abc replied 6 years ago


  • anne replied 6 years ago

    Amy, this is so fascinating. What could have possessed a previous owner to put a staircase in the bathroom!?
    I hadn't heard of "walk out" basements before.  It really is amazing how different houses are much of the US and in Australia - here basements are very rare, most houses are only one story and the house are not built in a square shape (which I understand is for heat conservation). Also,  US houses I see online seem to have big kitchen with tables in them and LOTS of wall cabinets, while Australian ones, at least those built since the 1970's tend to be open plan with the bench looking out on the living area - and not that much storage unless you are in a higher end house.
    Sorry - slight threadjack here!

  • susannechoudhary replied 5 years ago

    Congrats.....Nice attempt of home renovation of your old house.I must appreciate your husband as he is doing renovation work on his own and you also help him as much as you can.Great Going...ALL THE BEST!!!

  • susannechoudhary replied 5 years ago

    Wonderful transformation of your kitchen! You have worked really hard for such a nice change.You can share more pics here they are just awesome.

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