Charles is an engineer at a psychiatric hospital and a lover of all things adventure. He is glad to be alive and can't wait for tomorrow!
My work is cut out for me
The day I was introduced to this house I had just lost everything....I was really in need of a place to call my own. I signed the deal and decided to plunge forward and bring this place up to today's standards. The house was in a pretty bad state of disrepair and non use. The roof leaked in 2-3 spots, the kitchen was severely outdated, there was no shower to speak of and the walls were covered with dated 50's wallpaper...2 layers thick. It has 3 bedrooms on the second floor with the possibility of a 4th in the attic. The heater and hot water heater are new and a modern fridge was included. The floors are painted pine, not much to work with in the area of refinishing those, as they are not of a very high quality and meant only to be a sub floor. The basement is small with not much room for more than the heater and hot water heater. The electric service panel was recently upgraded to a 200 amp service so I should be OK with my power needs.
So, my first thought was to remove all the wallpaper and to renovate the downstairs living area and kitchen before moving upstairs to tackle the bath and bedrooms. The water service was not turned on so I brought water with me and used a spray bottle to soak the wallpaper to help with the removal. Once it was all removed I began spackling the walls and ceiling in the living room. I moved into the kitchen for more of the same. Once the walls were prepped I picked out some paint and began the arduous task of priming and painting everything. The kitchen was going to be my favorite project as I love to cook. I envisioned a Spanish themed kitchen with bright colors and a Mexican style décor throughout. The cabinets were outdated, so to save money I decided to paint the cabinets and change the hardware to update them. The gold and green colors in the kitchen looked good to me, the rest of the downstairs was left to neutral colors on the walls and white trim throughout.
I searched far and wide for an inexpensive but nice alternative to the painted pine floors. Several stores and home centers eventually led me to Lumber Liquidators. I have had good experience with them in the past and was hard pressed to beat their prices. I settled on an Antique Oak laminate floor, I thought it was a good choice based on the age of the house. Originally I had planned on flooring the Living Room and the Front Room, leaving the kitchen to be tiled or some sort of linoleum. After much debate, I decided to use this same flooring throughout the first floor. It's easy to install and very maintenance free. The flooring really will help give the house a nice flow. If I can still find this particular style, I may install it throughout the 2nd floor as well as it is inexpensive and looks great.
The second floor
Starting in the stairwell, the walls had more of the same, 2 layers of 40's and 50's wallpaper badly needing removal. The walls behind the wallpaper were badly in need of repair, so more spackling was in order for the entire stairway, ceiling and upstairs hallway. Once all the holes and cracks were filled I primed everything and painted this part of the duplex a neutral color, the walls I painted tan with white trim throughout. this area required a lot of work and was time consuming because of all of the doors and trim. The banister and hand rails were specifically tough and everything needed at least two coats of paint. Moving down the hall to the front of the house is my bedroom. Not much to do here as the landlord recently renovated this room to include painting the walls and floor. White. The white room will soon be painted and flooring installed to compliment my taste. More to come on this room....
My Daughters Bedroom
This bedroom was in need of repair as much as the rest of the house. The saving grace was that the wallpaper was already removed and the major damage was limited to one wall. I started by painting the window trim with a light blue that my daughter picked out. I spackled all the holes and cracks with three coats of spackle, sanding between each coat as needed. One wall was extremely bad as the chimney leaked in that area for years before being corrected. So with a lot of spackle, paint and patience I think it will pass. I primed all the walls and ceiling and painted the final color the palette that my 8 year old Daughter picked herself. Flooring is last and as of this writing nothing has been purchased yet. So with the addition of a new ceiling fan, this room is livable and i'm ready to move on.
"The bathroom was a challenge", is an understatement, It began with removing the old cast iron tub and replacing it with a new fiberglass one, to include a shower and the addition of two walls at the front and rear of the tub. While the tub was out awaiting the new one, I removed the old linoleum and luan underlayment. The walls were covered in pink Masonite tile board and the ceiling was comprised of 12x12 acoustical tiles. all removed to facilitate the installation of new drywall. once the bathroom was gutted, I discovered a weak spot in the floor near the toilet so I ripped that up and replaced the damaged section with 3/4 tongue and groove pine that was donated by the landlord. Once repaired, I covered the floor in 1/4 luan and am still awaiting a flooring choice as of this writing. Installing drywall on the walls and ceiling went smoothly and spackling and paint is next. The addition of a new light fixture, exhaust fan, toilet, vanity and sink should complete the bathroom and the process of moving in will begin.
It has been a few months since I have updated my pictures. I have finally completed the renovations to the Duplex and have moved in! I have one bedroom and the laundry room left to redo, but the majority of the work is done and I am able to live comfortably while I renovate these last two rooms. Enjoy these pictures and imagine the joy I took while watching these transformations take place.