Monday, July 6, 2015

Hart House 1 - Renovation: All you need is a little vision

When we looked at the house we bought for the first time, our real estate agent said, "Now you need to have some vision for this one." Ha, it needed a lot of vision.
Note the wagon wheel light fixture! Am going to attach it to the deck for Simon to "drive." 
Overall the house was in great condition for being almost 50 years old - can't go wrong with good bones. We were only going to buy the house if we could knock down some walls and make a good open space, otherwise it was super boxy and dark.
Before we even purchased the house, we got a contractor to give us quotes on how much everything would cost - had to have accurate estimates on everything that we would have done. We were planning on:

-knocking down 2 walls
-completely gutting the kitchen
-installing new cabinets/counters/backsplash, and appliances
-sanding and refinishing the floors
-scraping all the wallpaper that was in like every room
-painting all the green molding, doors, shutters white {EVERYTHING was so green}
-painting all the wooden paneling

We bought this house way below our projected house buying budget, got a renovation loan, and at the end of the day our mortgage and loan will be wrapped into one nice little payment. I would do this again in a heart-beat. Obviously organizing kid-care was more work since our kids are little - but with lots of help from Tom, and both of our moms, we were able to make it work. 

{click on the link above}

What I learned from this renovation:

    1. Seriously, the most important part is having a contractor who is prompt and actually does what he says he's going to do. We LOVE our contractor and would use him again in a heart-beat. He was responsive, did a good job, and was pleasant to work with {because he did what he said he would do!}. AND if you have a good contractor, then he's likely to hire good subcontractors. A job well done by all, and everyone is happy. 

     2. When you have little kids, something like this is much harder to do. Those little people still need to be cared for.

     3. If I could do it all again, I would do it like we did it - knocking out all the renovations while we were living in a rental. I canNOT imagine living in a house and trying to do all that we did with little people around. 

     4. Caulk is the key to making things look good. Our house is almost 50 years old, and it honestly looks like a 'new construction' - and I attribute that to caulk. It gave our house a real face-lift as it filled all those little cracks. 
{click on the link above}

What I would do differently:
- While we LOVE our counters, if I could do it again, I would take the time to drive out and pick out my slab. I just didn't have time to do that. 

-I would get a bigger sink. Many people get smaller sinks because they need the counter space, we weren't in need of more counter space, so I wish we'd gotten a bigger one.

- I would think through more details when taking out our renovation loan. Didn't think about including knobs for the cabinets. And a expenditure we added later was can lights ($$$) - now was the time to do all those things, but that money came straight out of pocket. 

Paint: All paint colors are Benjamin Moore
  • Dining Room & Living Room: Ben Moore Revere Pewter
  • Kitchen: Wedgewood Gray {a fancy name for blue}
  • Hallway and Foyer I mixed Revere pewter and Classic Gray because I wanted a blend of the two
  • Bedrooms: Healing Aloe {I LOOOOVE this color, takes on a blue/green/gray depending on light}
  • Master: Quiet Moments
  • Bathrooms: Classic Gray
  • Trim, doors, shutters: White Dove

What I learned about painting with a professional Painter:
  • You only cut-in the section or wall that you're going to paint immediately, as opposed to cutting in a whole room at a time. Otherwise paint will dry and not look even... so only do a wall first....
  • Primer is your friend. I knew I was going to have to prime because of the wallpaper, but I learned that when you patch a lot of holes, it's important to prime because the 'mud' {patched spots} and walls will absorb paint differently. So when you prime, everything will absorb the paint evenly - giving your a more even paint look. 
  • While it's more work, it's better to prime everything and then buy paint without primer. Paints with primers in them just don't have the same chemical composition as just primer, and then you'll use less actual color paint.
  • I've never painted with high quality paint before until this house reno {I usually just used Walmart paint or Lowe's paint}, and boy can you tell a difference between high quality paint. It does make a difference.
  • If you don't know whether paint is latex or oil, TEST it to be sure. ALL of the trim in our house was oil, and had I not primed it with oil based primer, the paint would have bubbled and dripped after a while. 
This is what happens when you try to paint latex on oil based paint - I though I didn't have to prime one of the rooms because the paint was light enough, so we tested it on the inside of a closet door. 

I probably spent at least 60 hours scraping wallpaper. Thankfully all the walls were plaster, so it was almost impossible to damage the walls during the removal process. What was difficult though was that EVERY room's wallpaper removed differently, even if it was the same wallpaper, but in a different room. So each time I began removing wallpaper, I would have to figure out how to remove it in that room. 
After removing the wallpaper, it was removing ALL the glue. Such a yucky job.
After removing wallpaper, glue, patching holes {and there were so many}, sanding those spots, we used 20 gallons of white paint to prime and spray trim. So much paint y'all. 
I did all the trim priming myself {with some help from college students}, and then I am SO thankful I got over myself and realized that I could not actually paint all this myself. We hired a friend from church {who's a professional painter} to spray all the doors/trim/shutters the final coats of paint. While it cost us a little bit of money, the sprayed trim 1. looks better than if I'd painted it all with a paint brush and 2. saved me weeks, months, maybe even a year of painting. SO WORTH IT. 

And we really didn't mind hiring someone to help paint since we probably saved close to almost $10,000 just by doing all the wallpaper removal, hole patching, sanding, priming, painting ourselves. Someone quoted us $7,000 just for 3 rooms because there was just so.much.wallpaper.

Our counters are Brazilian Kashmir White granite - love the lighter counters. 

Cabinets are white shaker style. LOVE them. We used Southern Cabinetry in Greenville, NC. It really was great working with those guys. They did quality work and promptly responded when we had questions. 

All of our appliances are whirlpool and I love them all so far in the 2 weeks we've lived here.

Floors are red-oak. Thankful that we were able to re-do them; they were in bad shape. Originally we wanted to get rid of the parquet in the kitchen and living room, but it would have cost $5,000 extra to change those to slatted hardwoods.... so we decided to keep them and put that money in the kitchen instead. 
I didn't love any of these options. Deciding on the floor color was way more stressful than I anticipated; it was the only decision in this process that gave me heart-palpitations. Originally I wanted dark floors, but then when I polled the masses, everyone loved dark - but almost everyone who actually HAS dark floors had some complaint about them. I didn't really want Golden Oak {standard hardwood color}, because it has a tendency to turn yellow/orange after a while. So our sweet flooring people mixed a color for us: it's 4 parts golden oak and 1 part provincial. I LOVE IT. 
Here you can see the difference between the old parquet color and the new color - feel like the light really brightens it!

My favorite view: 


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