Finished product first.
After 2 years of work, it's finally done!
EDIT: That's "Renovation", not Reno, NV. Didn't realize this would cause confusion. My bad.
Curb View- Before
The before- ugly, washed out blue.
Living Room- Before
Speaking of ugly paint colors… this color was everywhere. It made the place feel dark and dirty. We couldn't wait to get rid of it.
After- so bright and clean!
Painted trim, walls, and ceiling. The carpet with hired out- one of the few things we didn't want to do.
Living Room- Before
The blue tape. When renovations began people kept asking, are you painting already? NO. The previous owner just left blue tape everywhere. There's no way we were painting the house that color. That blue tape was hard to remove in some areas because it had been there for so long.
Off with the curtains and in with blinds!
We didn't do much to this room. There is a lot of natural light so a ceiling fixture didn't seem necessary. This was the simplest room to complete.
Previous owner put in a new toilet and vanity so we kept those, the tub, and mirror. Their plumbing job however… you'll see some of that later.
New light fixture, tile floor, and tile shower surround. Feels much cleaner now and hopefully the tile will hold up well for renters. Used porcelain tile on both the floor and shower. The shower tile is the same as the kitchen floor. New plumbing was done with PEX.
Dining Room- Before
"What color goes well with mustard brown? How about poop brown!" – old owner
The is the only room we decided to refinish the original hardwood floors in. A heavy sanding removed stains and old paint splatter. The hand sander had to be used to get some of the rougher areas. The dining room turned out well for what it was before. A dark wood stain helped mask any remaining blemishes that couldn't be sanded out. Topped with 2 coats of polyurethane. As for that built-in… many, many, many coats of white paint were used to make it look nice again.
Bedroom A- Before
There was a lot of stuff/junk left, the basement had even more.
A few coats of paint, new window and blinds, carpet, and ceiling fan and bedrooms were done. Also added ceiling lights in the closets (not pictured).
Bedroom B- Before
The pattern continues… ugly paint, junk everywhere, covered windows, and no light.
The entire upstairs was carpeted which is another reason that part was hired out.
Bedroom C- Before
Kitchen Ceiling/ Bathroom Plumbing
The kitchen ceiling plaster had been removed so they could run new plumbing. These are the kind of people that give DIYers a bad name…
Look at all those pipe fittings. I wonder how many trips to the store it took them to complete that run? No, it's not properly sloped. It actually went up a little bit in the middle. But that's not the worst part….
Kitchen Ceiling/ Bathroom Plumbing
That is exactly what it looks like. They cut ALL THE WAY THROUGH 3 joists in a row and put them "back together" by nailing a 2×4 under the pipe they just ran.
Kitchen Ceiling/ Bathroom Plumbing
The more we examined their plumbing job, the funnier it got. Here you can see they tried to notch the joist to run a pipe. But they didn't notch it enough. They said "Meh, close enough" and put a piece of metal under for "support" leaving the pipe not flush. On the next joist they didn't even bother trying to make a notch. And it continued that way. No idea how they planned on putting up drywall.
And finally… the kitchen. The Pièce De Résistance. The best part of every renovation. The counter top and back splash appear to have been the color inspiration for the rest of the house. An outlet above the sink? What a great idea!
Standard layout for older homes in our area is to have kitchen and dining room separated by a wall and connected by a small opening. Obviously that had to change.
The first step to any renovation? Find a wall to take down! I promise it was NOT load bearing. The kitchen ceiling was already exposed so it was easy to tell what walls were load bearing. A hammer and sawzall are the best tools for taking down a wall.
Almost gone. So much rubble.
There's so much room for activities! This is when the removal of the old plumbing began. None of it was going to be salvaged so it was all cut out.
Due to the skillful plumbing job that was done, a few of the joists had to be sistered (on both sides). You could tell the floor was sloped when you were standing in the bathroom.
We used a jack post to lift the new joists in place. They were ran the entire length of the original joists for maximum stability. Putting the jack on cinder blocks helps to spread the load between two floor joists. Then it's slow work of moving the ceiling up enough to get the new joist in.
Ceiling has been raised! Bathroom floor slope was fixed and the structural integrity of the house had been restored.
Here you can see the old electrical is starting to be removed. The kitchen was completely rewired. The location of the cast iron stink stack made it easier to run plumbing up to the bathroom. That is also where the kitchen sink will go, once again making it easier to run the plumbing.
Added recessed lights. The plumbing cavity was also used to help run new electric to the kitchen.
All new plumbing for kitchen and bathroom. Installed a PEX manifold in the basement and ran PEX throughout the house. This system is nice because it modularizes the plumbing system.
Removing the wall left us with a small cosmetic problem. The ceiling transition is sloped at the corner making it hard to mimic. Cavities on either side of the kitchen/dining room transition were built to serve two purposes. The first being the sloped ceiling and the second being the need for more plumbing cavities.
Ceiling is in and started spackling.
Added electrical for pendant lights that will go over the peninsula. Here the utility cavities are finally able to be covered up with drywall.
Finally, walls that are a solid color! Walls are textured and painted. Floor is getting ready for tile. Wonderboard is laid on a layer of thinset then screwed into the sub floor. Seams are taped and mudded with more thinset. The 2×4 on the ground is where the half-wall is going to be built. This will be the back of the peninsula.
Starting to lay tile. We started from the center and worked out. The walls are not square (house built in 1922) so they do not provide a good guide for tiling. Working from the center means a straighter tile grid in the end. Used a tile scoring tool to make cuts.
Porcelain tile is recommended for floors because it's stronger. We chose a neutral gray that will match the concrete counters.
Floor is grouted! We use premixed grout just because it's easier and more consistent.
Cabinets have arrived. Went with basic white from Big Box store. They come assembled and are easy to install.
You can see another reason why the half-wall is being added- to cover up the back of the cabinets. The wall will give us something to attach that end cabinet to and provide more support than a sheet of melamine would.
Slowly but surely coming together. Half-wall starting to be framed with 2x4s.
This renovation sponsored by: Dewalt (not really but we wish). The Dewalt family of tools grew a lot during this project.
Even though the half-wall isn't structural to the house, studs were spaced 16 inches apart just as you would a normal wall. This keeps things consistent and predictable.
At this point, the cabinets, floor, walls, and ceiling were done. The first piece of counter top was formed and already serving it's purpose under all of our tools.
We use pre-mixed concrete counter top mix, the kind you just add water to. Melamine board is used for the mold. The slab is 1.5 inches thick. We recommend taking advantage of your Big Box store's wood cutting service for the 1.5 inch melamine strips. We purchased a whole sheet (like the one used for the bottom of the mold) and had an associate cut it into strips for us. I don't think we were his favorite customers that day.
Strips are screwed down to keep them in place during pouring. Make sure to pre-drill to prevent splitting. As long as they're fastened well, there won't be any leaks. One trick we learned is to put a piece of tape over the head of the screw so it's easier to find and remove later. You can kind of see the tape in the next picture and how muddy the whole thing gets.
Rebar is inside the slab around the sink since that area will need extra support. The rest of the slab has chicken wire in the middle. Foam board cut to shape was used for the sink hole. Wooden dowels of the appropriate diameter made holes for the faucet.
DIY concrete counter tops. Not a very clean job and probably not recommended to do indoors. This piece will go on the far wall with the sink.
The peninsula piece was about 300 lbs and we had some problems during pouring. Our mistake was using plastic saw horses and believing the manufacturer's maximum weight capacity was what they could actually hold. All the concrete was poured and we were skimming the water off the top. As we were about done, I noticed water started to run to one side of the table and onto the ground. He looked under the table and started to crawl under it to examine the saw horses when one of them suddenly snapped. The whole thing fell to the floor, crushing the other saw horse under it. Luckily, no one was injured. But now we had 300 lbs of wet concrete and a 50 lbs melamine board mold lying on the ground. When it fell, concrete and water splashed everywhere. We ended up covered, looking like a bunch of little kids playing in the mud. We were able to get the supports out from under the mold and lay it flat. The piece was left on the ground to cure and turned out just fine in the end.
Lesson learned and we upgraded the saw horses for the next piece.
Counter top piece # 2- removed mold and left to dry out before flipping and moving it. The advantage to creating the counter tops using this method verses pour-in-place is that you are guaranteed a smooth surface on top.
Counter tops in place. This is the part where you call your strongest buddy to flip and move the cured pieces. The slabs are glued down, mostly their weight holds them in place. "Solid as a rock"
Special diamond sanding pads are used to smooth out the surface even more. Food-safe epoxy seal is applied using a sheep skin roller and is the most expensive part of these counters. It also gives them a little shine and darker color.
We went with a glass and stone mixed back splash. It was on sale and just what we were looking for! It comes in 12×12 sheets that can be cut apart. An angle grinder was used to cut the small pieces.
The completed kitchen! The pendants are wine bottles we cut the bottoms off of. The only thing missing here is the cabinet hardware (and that one outlet cover).
Cleaned up and ready to show!
Kitchen/ Dining Room
This is the view from the living room. We love how this renovation turned out and couldn't be happier with the results. Time to get it rented and move onto the next project!