Kitchen Floor Saga

When we moved into our home a little over 5 years ago, we didn’t make a ton of changes.  Oh, we painted most all the rooms and made a doorway where there was none. The kitchen was pretty decent. Not colors I would have chosen, but certainly more than livable. 🙂 The kitchen had a half wall separating it from a small family room(?) with a fire place. So, we removed that little wall, which of course left a hole in the flooring and made the difference in flooring much more noticeable. Pink terracotta tile in the kitchen and stained up, light carpet in the fireplace room.

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You know that book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”? Well, that’s how this kitchen project started.  We knew we needed to replace the flooring – one floor for the whole room. And if we were gonna change the floor we needed to remove the cabinets. New cabinets would be nice. I really don’t like the empty space between my cabinets and the ceiling. And I’ve never been a fan of our super dark backsplash or the corian countertop.  I’ve got nothing against blue – in fact I like blue, alot. Just wouldn’t have put navy and robin’s egg or teal or whatever you call that cabinet color together.

About 1 1/2 years ago I got really sick of the stained carpet in front of the fireplace and tore it out, painted the subfloor and called it done – for now.  It took us months to decide what floor to put in. We knew we wanted wood, but what look? what color? Finally, finally, I decided on herringbone; did a bunch of research and info gathering, scoured the internet for pics and instructions.  Some blogs made it sound very intimidating ‘ the floor pattern even the professionals mess up’, ‘takes 4x longer than regular wood floor’…………….great.  That wouldn’t have scared us off – we like a challenge and we had time. But I stepped back and really started looking at all those pics I’d saved. Almost all of those showed an empty room or very minimally furnished room.  That is not my kitchen. I have a lot of furniture/stuff packed into my kitchen /dining room.  Is this herringbone going to look too busy with all my furnishings?  Then my husband says “yeah, I’m not really a fan of herringbone.”  WHAT?!? Well, at least we didn’t start the floor yet. So, we ended up getting unfinished hickory from Lumber Liquidators. Our 1st experience with them. We never had a high opinion of them – not sure why; they just seemed like low quality to us. So far so good. Here is the floor in progress and completed.

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We love it! We were going to stain it, but after seeing it all in and experimenting with stains we decided natural was the choice for us.  And bonus! it saved us a whole day of staining.  haha

We’ve been without a kitchen sink and cabinets for a week and a half now.  I should have prepared better on where to go with everything, but we aren’t dying over here. 😉






Our next flip was a bit of stinker. Literally.

The owner had moved out (the home had been foreclosed) and apparently left his 2 dogs to live there, unattended. The stench of this place was a slap in the face! The previous house wasn’t quite as bad as this one. But we shoveled out the crap that was all over the kitchen floor, removed all carpets and soft stuff. Fortunately, the pee hadn’t saturated the subfloor so we put oil based primer on the floor before installing new carpet. The kitchen had laminate so after that was removed the smell was significantly better.

reamstown kit before

Here is the kitchen, lovely fly strip and all! Cheap cabinets did this kitchen no favors.

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Here is the after. We upgraded the cabinets and went with 42″ uppers to maximize space. The new owner will have to find another spot to store the alcohol besides the top of the cabinets. Hate that wasted area! New bamboo hardwood floors, paint and appliances really dressed the place up.

reamstown before

I called this post “forgettable” because there was nothing unique or interesting about this semi-detached home. Not so anymore! I have recently become enamored with the cable stairway railings and decided that was what this house needed. This stairway was only half open. The other side of it (you cannot see it in this pic) was a solid wall that separated the dining area from the stairway and thus the living room. I really wanted to keep the feel light and open so we knocked down the wall and put a matching railing in its place.

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Looks so sleek and totally different, right? Love when things turn out as awesome or even more awesome than what I picture in my head!

This home was under agreement in an astounding 24 hours. How can we top that?!? 😉








marietta ave befores & reamstown after 017

Finding space in a crowded Bathroom/mosaic tile


Can’t believe how fast time goes! The house I mentioned in my previous post has been completed and sold! Our fastest sale at that date. We listed on a Thursday and had it under agreement on Sunday evening. Competing offers! 🙂 exciting times.

Well, here is a look at the bathroom on the first floor that we redid. And unfortunately, I have no pic of the completed look. Unbelievable. 😦  Hate the stuff i miss because I’m too busy.

Anyway, this bathroom had a closet that seemed to take up 1/3 of the space.


You can see it in this picture. The brown door on the left is the closet. I believe it was 3 feet into the room.

So, we removed the closet and the plan was to put in floating shelves to give some storage space.

akron bath after

It really opened the room up without that closet making it feel like a cattle chute. We added beadboard to the walls and a dramatic paint color. We also used small tiles for the first time. These came in 12×12″ sheets. They didn’t have a mesh or netting on the back, though. It was more like glue dots holding the tiles together, one dot at each connection.I really liked the overall look of this tile, but we thought it was more difficult to install than larger single tiles. One thing I especially disliked about these was the glue dot aspect. If the tile was not angled just right with the glue it stuck up when mortared to the floor or you had to cut the glue off to adjust tile to sit correctly.  Annoying. But if you are patient the end result looks great! So terribly saddened I do not have a pic of the bathroom completed. sniff

We did add floating shelves that looked amazing! They were just the right amount of storage. The vanity we chose also had storage in it.



Our first ‘clean out’

This house was quite an adventure! We encountered a few things we’ve not had to deal with yet so it was a good learning experience.  Waiting to settle on this house was most torturous! What were we gonna find inside?!?!? The day we settled was a truck driving day for Brian, so I headed over to the house myself – with some trepidation.  We knew the previous occupants had torn some screens and left windows unlocked for their own ingress. So, I figured that was how I was gonna get in, too.  Had my bucket already to climb up and reach the window. I called Brian to let him know what was going on. He suggested just trying the front door. Never occurred to me, because who doesn’t lock their front door? Well, apparently people who don’t own the house anymore! creepy

As I was opening the door I was hit with the horrendous smell of old smoke, pet odors and general yuck.  This place stank! As I went from room to room making an inspection, I have to admit it was a little discouraging. They had left so much stuff. I’m not talking hoarder or anything, but we are used to having the houses cleaned out. And, because this house was sold to us as ‘occupied’ we were now obligated to hold on to their crap for 30 days. They left 4 full sized sofas, 2 huge projection TVs, 3 more TVs, water bed (complete with disgusting mattress that I needed a shower after looking at!), desk, dresser, mountains of clothes, and the stuff you leave in the attic cause you forgot about it or just don’t want to take the time to look through it. We filled 2 dumpsters, folks; two 26 yard dumpsters! That doesn’t include the TVs – they need to go to a different dumping area and the clothes we washed and sent on to GoodWill. My inspection did reveal that the house itself was in good condition. No holes in the walls, no ceilings falling down, no plumbing issues and no evidence that someone was still living there. phew.

As we removed carpets and stuff the smell was getting better, but it still hit you in the face like a brick wall when you walked in the door. yikes! are we going to be able to get rid of this smell? Some of the rooms didn’t need much besides new paint and redoing the floors – so, we got to work on them first. We washed down the walls and ceilings with this product.

FullSizeRender This worked wonders on removing smoke haze and smell from the rooms. If you ever find yourself in need of a good cleaner, this is it. 🙂

We did what we could while waiting for the 30 days to be up so we could dispose of all the junk they left. It made me a little sad; there were pictures, home videos and the trophies of someone pretty talented in the karate realm.  We moved all the stuff to the bonus room in the basement and the garage. Demoed the wall between the kitchen and living room and put up a header.


Primed the bedrooms, demoed the bathroom, cut down trees (that really needed to be – we weren’t doing it willy-nilly 😉 ), cleaned up flower beds and removed a small pond.

akron front 2     akron front  and removed a small pond.

pond before                pond after

Basically, we got the house ready to be put back together. But, I’ll save that for another post. 😉




Are we crazy?! um, maybe?

Crazy? Perhaps.

So, what is this craziness you ask. Uh. Well. You see, we just bought a house we’ve not set foot in nor peeked in the windows!  Why?!?  Flipping houses is a very competitive business. Sometimes you gotta take a chance or a leap of faith as an investor. 🙂 This particular house is a foreclosure and as far as the bank knows, is still occupied (so we were unable to take a look). Yikes! that is something we really didn’t want to have to deal with. We did a bit of reconnaissance; ie. staked out the house and talked with neighbors.  haha And felt fairly confident that the people had moved out. Of course we don’t know what damage may await us once we open that door. Scary thought. But it has a nice exterior and is a rancher, something we haven’t done before, and we look forward to the challenge. Am I going to have nightmares of broken toilets and flooded floors or flea infested carpets, gaping holes in walls & ceilings? Of course I am! But I also feel confident that we can over come such things and end up with an attractive, desirable home.

In the meantime of this searching-for-a-house phase I got to do a bit of baking. I opened the freezer the other day to see that I’ve still got lots of frozen blueberries from last summer. Does anyone else save things ’cause we want them to last and then realize “hey, it’s almost that time again and I still have some”? So, this used up some berries and some of the Greek yogurt that might go bad if I don’t hurry up and eat it! win/win

We all agreed this moist, delectable cake is a definite make a again! I will add that it seemed to be just a bit much batter for my 8″ pan. Or my oven is off. Reserve a scoop for a single muffin or small ramekin to avoid the getting too brown but still gooey in the center that we experienced. I also didn’t have any other use for the lemons in the recipe (only zest was required) so mixed the juice with powdered sugar to make a glaze and drizzled that over the cake while warm.

Wondering about the cute brick cape cod? We’re settling the end of May.

Are we crazy? I guess we’ll find out! lol


One man’s trash………..

This is the story of a door. A sad door that had served its time and was left along the side of the road. It was set out with some other stuff and marked ‘free’. Hard to pass up free! Plus I liked the door. I really struggled to get it in my suv. The leaded glass made it super heavy!

pantry door beforeI stored this bifold door in our garage for about 1 year. My husband hated this door. He couldn’t understand how anyone would think this door was nice let alone want it in their house! It was big and awkward to move. And it was blocking his lawn mower. His hatred for this door grew by the month. I wanted to use it in the last house, but it just didn’t seem to work with the style of home. Then we got this lovely 1850’s house and I knew it would fit there. He was so happy to get it out of our garage my husband didn’t even complain too much when he had to modify it a bit and buy the $7 hardware kit. I thought this door was pretty neat and just needed a new home. Well, here it is. Welcome home, door!

pantry door after The kitchen didn’t have a pantry so we built one for it and the door really fits the house. I almost laughed when person after person touring the house admired the door and asked if it was original! I think I may even have been able to restrain myself from saying ‘I told you’. 😉

Here are some before and after shots of the rest of the kitchen.

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main st before and boys 004springsummer 2014 flip house afters 022 Here you can see how we opened up the kitchen to the dining room. The doorway was a skinny little thing to the left of the blue cabinet with the shutters on it. As you can see we also switched the stove and the sink. It just makes sense to me to have the sink and dishwasher next to each other and there wasn’t room to add a dishwasher with the other layout.springsummer 2014 flip house afters 019springsummer 2014 flip house afters 018      I was so psyched about these mason jar pendant lights we made. They were pretty easy to make and really fit the feel of the house, I thought. 🙂

.main st before and boys 005springsummer 2014 flip house afters 024        All in all, a great kitchen redo if I may say so myself!  haha



Leaving the Past Behind

Back to the bi-level we bought in November…. we finished it in about 6 weeks!  This house did not need the scope of work that our previous houses needed. No major surprises like knob and tube wiring hiding behind modern connections or adding a bathroom where there was none. So rewarding to see huge progress made daily! This home was built in the late 60’s and had not had anything more than paint and carpet updated since it was built. I’m sure you can imagine, but here are some befores and afters to help you visualize.  I’m a sucker for before/after pics, but you already knew that, right?  😉


3112 briarwood blvd 020 This house has a nice entryway, but the familiar 60’s-70’s slate and metal railing really dated it.

008 We removed the carpet from the stairs and added new tile to the floor. We also decided to update the large railing on the upper level with a half wall. You’ll see in another picture that we removed the blinds from the window over the door and replaced the light fixture.

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In the living room we only needed to remove the carpet and finish the hardwood underneath. This after gives you a better view of the half wall and the new light fixture. You can also see the window that was hidden behind the blinds. For some reason I just couldn’t get over the angle of the window and the blinds ignoring that. I don’t know how else you would address a window covering. Personally, I would leave it as is, but if the new owners want more privacy I’d go with a window film with a frosted finish or something.

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What a difference just removing the drapes made! Again mostly this room just received new paint, removal of the carpet and finishing of the wood floor. Of course, opening up the whole wall between the dining and kitchen really helped. And that allowed us to make a seating area at the peninsula.

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In the kitchen we removed the soffit around the perimeter of the kitchen (it was empty – thank goodness!!). I don’t know what purpose it served besides making the kitchen feel claustrophobic. All new cabinets in a taller size to maximize space. New tile floor, gently used stainless appliances and granite counters. Don’t want to forget the subway tile backsplash!

A new arrangement seemed in order for some of the appliances. Is it desirable to have the stove top and oven separate? Please tell me why. Inquiring minds want to know. (if you have any insight on a partially dropped ceiling in the kitchen – i’d like to know that, too!) 🙂

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Brian and I really like an open feel and it seems a lot of other people do, too. So, we widened the doorway on the right – unfortunately, you can’t see it in this picture. What started as a standard 32″ doorway (and there were 2 louvered doors on it! saloon style, but full length) became a 48″ cased opening.

006  If I had a before (doh!) In this pic you would just be looking at a lovely pansy papered wall. The kitchen was really closed off and now will get alot of natural light from the sliders – not to mention all the recessed lights we added.

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Oops, didn’t realize I had the camera turned, sorry!! I like teal, but I’m a firm believer that toilets and tubs need to be white. New tile floor, new toilet and tub. We removed the old tile from the walls and just finished them with sheetrock.

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We were able to reuse the vanity base, just a fresh coat of paint. New sinks, granite and faucets. The mirror seemed odd to us. If you were using the sink you’d only see half your head! haha So, we added a larger one that seemed to suit the space better. We were originally going to keep the little mirrored cubby below the mirror, but upon closer inspection the mirror was in bad shape and the metal box that extended into the space was badly corroded. We chose to tile that area for a little extra storage instead.

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Master bedroom. All the bedrooms needed was fresh paint and ceiling lights. What is up w/ no ceiling lights?!?!? I find that annoying. Beautiful oak flooring was hiding under the carpet pad. A nice coat of neutral paint and voila!

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2nd bedroom. Again, more neutral paint, light fixture and white trim!

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I chose to keep this room blue, but went with a softer blue with some grey in it. The heavy window treatment and blue trim seemed to make this room dark. I love the crispness of the fresh white trim.

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The basement received paint and carpet to update its appearance. The fireplace came with a gas log insert that wasn’t working. Turns out all it needed was a cleaning. yay!

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Here we have the powder room. Avocado toilet, salmon sink…. I think not. And check out that floor! my eyeballs hurt just remembering it.  😉 New tile floor, new toilet, sink, paint, mirror and light fixture – basically nothing stayed. The old owner stopped in one day and took a quick look saying “we just painted that room”. Sorry, I like white, but not on walls!! Of course my response was much kinder. It was hard for him to leave this home.

3112 briarwood blvd 036 Here is a pic of the exterior. All we did here was clean up the yard and repaint the front door to a terracotta- y color. Which I found out later was close to the original color of the door. huh.

Finished ahead of schedule and under agreement after 4 days on the market. Happy dance!