Wednesday, April 16, 2014



The three closets in the house were in pretty bad shape.  The custom wood shelving were cracked and bowing, and the walls… well let’s just not talk about the condition of the walls. Also, the hanging exposed light bulbs are not to code and can start a fire. Need to replace these with a more functional light. (The light bulbs still say 25 cents on them.. So ancient!)

Master Closet: Sliding metal wallpapered doors are salvageable (more on that later), but need to be removed for right now. Yuck.. outdated VCT tile on the floor in here… That’s got to go!

2nd Bedroom/ Office Closet: This is a very small closet. Need to turn this into a functional, organized space with a better closet design. 

3rd Bedroom: Same size as the master closet, but without sliding doors. Hmm.. I see a trend happening back then with painting the inside of closets two different colors???
Now that all the shelving and supports are removed, closets are ready to go for preppin’ & muddin’!


Let’s talk about plumbing… the water pressure was extremely bad when I first purchased this house.. almost dribbling out of the faucets. The house inspector said it was time to replace the plumbing after 83 years. Yea, you would think so!!! About time! The inside of the pipes were so bad that you could barely fit a toothpick through it. Ewwwwww. So all new plumbing is in, and now I have holes in the plaster walls. In the master bath, the brand new Premiere Care elderly tub is finally removed. I am selling this at a reasonable price, so please contact me if you are interested. In order to get the tub out, we had to remove the door trim..not a problem since the doorway was exceptionally small and I have a better solution for it to appear larger.

The pipes for the shower had to be moved to an inside wall, since it is not to code to have pipes on an exterior wall due to the pipes possibly freezing. 

Called in my contractor to build this luxury walk–in shower with a seat.  It’s all prepped and ready for tile J Can’t wait to show you what I picked out.  Also, the small wall mount pedestal sink is out of here, it looks too commercial…need more counter space especially in a master bath.

Onto the guest bathroom, the old pedestal sink in there was rusted and cracked, time for it to go. The guest bath originally just had a bath tub, so I had a shower installed. With big holes in the wall from the new plumbing and the medicine cabinet removed its demolition time in the bathroom!!

Sheet rock is going up. Bathroom is ready to go for preppin’ & muddin’!

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Monday, March 17, 2014


The fireplace needs a little updating. We discovered from the inspector's report that the fireplace could no longer be used due to the interior damage of the chimney. I wanted to keep the original look but add a more craftsman style feel to it. Finally came up with a design that will fit perfectly for this large brick fireplace.

First, I called in my handyman/carpenter which happens to be my dad. Yes, I have a family who happens to be handy and crafty and has had lots of experience renovating multiple homes... just what I need! Very blessed . J First, we need to patch and cover the huge crack in the wall above the fireplace and any other holes. The two white circles were actually where two sconces hung at one time. They covered these up with the second layer of wallpaper.

Then, he put up a ¼ ” thick melamine board to make sure there is a smooth base surface. Next,  he used 1 x 4's (the 1 x 6 seemed too wide) to create the unique windowpane design below. I designed it this way to frame out a large screen TV that will eventually be mounted above the mantel.

Notice the walls are white and not that yucky brown with a whole bunch of cracks? The white is actually a fresh skim coat of plaster. We started to skim the walls in here because they weren't in too bad of shape. 

Whether to strip the fireplace mantel or re-paint it is the next question? I like the look of an exposed wood mantel with a painted brick. It's good to use multiple textures and different design elements in a room, creates a focal point for the eye. A smooth wood surface with a rough brick is my kind of taste!  So I took the risk not really knowing what the color of the wood or the condition it would be…could always stain it. Using a paint stripper and a scrapper, my mom stripped two coats of paint off of the mantel. The wood is beautiful and in mint condition! All it needs is a little sanding and a clear satin poly coat finish to protect it. The fireplace is primed and ready for paint.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014


Time to tackle this outdated bathroom… Ahhhhh so much PINK! And look at that WALLPAPER!!! Eeekkk! These tiles are actually plastic tiles...the same tile that was used in the kitchen but just a different color.

Have to point out these original white porcelain handles... HOT, COLD, and WASTE. Hmm...hopefully I can salvage these. It adds character to the bathroom.

So again, just used a small crowbar and a flathead screwdriver to pop these right off. Took me less than an hour. And you can see, I'm slowly stripping the wallpaper, one of the last rooms in the house. Learn more about wallpaper removal here.

Hmmm…interesting that the plaster walls from the 1930's has the same pattern that is popular today (subway tile).

Thank you for following! Will be posting more blog posts soon! 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Now that all the wallpaper is off, it’s demolition time in the kitchen. Those gray plastic stick-on tiles in the kitchen… they have got to go! I used a small crowbar, and a flathead screwdriver to pop these right off. Please make sure to wear safety glasses if you are doing anything similar to this because sharp plastic pieces tend to break off.

Onto the green kitchen cabinets, first I thought about reusing them, just a little paint to freshen them up and some new hardware. Well… I was wrong. The inside of the cabinet on every shelf including the bottom was covered with VCT tiles that I thought would come right up. WRONG AGAIN. Some pieces did, but others were a challenge and left a glue residue that would have taken forever to remove. Basically to narrow it down, I would have had to replace all the shelves, paint the inside and outside, repair the plaster walls behind the backless cabinetry, and lots of caulking! The time and the labor did not add up, so I decided to replace them and start from scratch. Soooo.. green kitchen cabinets are outta here! I had to call in one of my brothers to help me with this one. After 3 hours of hammering, unscrewing, and sawing, the kitchen cabinets are gone (except for the kitchen sink.)

Now what to do with that bulk head??? To keep it or take it out?

After designing and redesigning the kitchen cabinet layout multiple times, the final decision came down to remove the bulkhead. With the 9 foot ceilings, the bulkhead made the ceiling look lower. I wanted to emphasize the ceiling height and actually make the room look larger than what it is. So I called in my hefty defty (other) big brother who has a secret passion for demolishing things. (I mean who doesn’t, Right?...It’s like on the movie Office Space when the guy takes a baseball bat to the printer.) J Anyways….. After 3 hours and only using a sledge hammer, the bulkhead is gone! Ta da!

 The deep red color near the ceiling shows the interior color of the original kitchen cabinets. 

If you are wondering…the two openings at the top of the adjacent walls appears to have been a pantry back then in 1930. It also shows that the original kitchen did not have a bulkhead and was put in later.

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It’s time to REMOVE all of the outdated WALLPAPER. Dreaded this, but it had to be done.  I started with the Kitchen because some of it was already peeling off the walls. Found out they used vinyl wall covering when they renovated the kitchen in the late 50’s. It was easy to peel off, but left a paper backing and glue residue. I used a wallpaper stripper spray and a sponge to clean the walls.

Meet Maylie (my little… well 55 lb.) 10 month old English Bulldog.  She is always by my side and a good lil helper.

Moving on into the Living Room.. this is the largest room in the house so I wanted to get this out of the way. Didn’t know what to expect with the condition of the plaster walls.

Here I used a scorer, then applied DIF Gel Wallpaper Removal with a roller. (You can buy this at Menards) Let it soak for about 15 minutes then used a wallpaper scraper. Worked great! Came off in large strips. There was a second layer so sometimes had to soak it twice to get through to the second layer.

Did uncover these large cracks… Guess this house is Blessed J

You might be wondering why the walls are that icky brown??? It is actually a type of primer they used back then over the plaster walls. Literally the room at this stage reminded me of a haunted house in a creepy scary movie.

Dining Room also had two layers of wallpaper. Hmm… lovely trees.

I thought the most interesting original wallpaper was in the hallway…little town of people in carriage rides.

All the wallpaper is finally off (except for the ceilings and bathrooms), walls are scrubbed and cleaned, and ready for repairs.

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First thing is taking down all those curtains & blinds, and removing any excess furniture or rugs left behind. (Uh, sorry didn’t mean to rhyme…) LOOK! The rooms already feel bigger with all the natural light coming in and the hardwood floors exposed… which are in great condition!   

So how neat is this?... I found out the rugs that were in the dining room, second bedroom, and the hall runners are 19th century Persian rugs and were all the way from Russia! (see them here) The estate ended up selling the two hall runners for nearly $4,000! Wish they would’ve left them ;) that money could have gone towards my renovation budget.  

While cleaning out the attic, basement, and garage,  I found so many neat collector items including Women’s Day Magazines & McCall’s Knitting dated from 1930’s-1950’s; old glass 7 up, Sprite, & Coca Cola bottles; rolls and rolls of all the original wallpaper used throughout the house over its 80+ year history, and a four panel embroidered silk Japanese screen. 

Plus, look at this antique Speed Queen Lady Kenmore washing machine and dryer with A, B, C, D, E, F, G buttons for cycling. Even found the original pamphlet of when the owner first bought it. Yea, I know…OLD SCHOOL.

And that’s all for now diving back into the 1930’s era, now back to reality. Next up is tackling that WALLPAPER!.. AAAAHHH!! Bring it on!