Finding a layout that worked

This house is only about 800sq ft so we really needed the layout to be as functional as possible so we weren’t wasting the little space we had to work with.  Below shows the original layout on the left next to what we ended up doing on the right.  I pointed out 4 major changes made.

Opening up where we could and moving a couple of doors around made all the difference…and honestly it’s weird seeing the way it used to be because it feels like it’s always been the way we have it now.

Here was the view upon entering….there was a small opening to the kitchen just to the right of this photo:

During demo we put in a new header and opened up that wall as much as we could within budget (the column stayed).  This is now a bar for eating and lets SO much more light in!

Here is a more recent picture so you can see how this worked out! I personally think it made a huge difference!

When we bought the place there was a window in the kitchen that had been boarded up.  We knew it was there by looking at the outside but on the inside it was hidden behind a china cabinet.  Day 1 we let the light shine in my friends!

This next one is a little more challenging to see in pictures but we moved a door frame over to accommodate a hallway within the house and also make for better furniture arrangement. The door you see open in the right side of the photo there was in the middle of this wall and opened into the second bedroom (where the bathroom was).  we moved this door from over to the space on the left!

You can see in the above photo how we slid everything over a bit.  The wall for the second bedroom now followed the right side of this door frame so that bedroom actually lost about 4 feet of space but….we couldn’t have the only bathroom in there!

We’ve been incredibly pleased with the new layout!….a positive side of tearing everything single thing out is getting to put it back in the way you would want it!

We’re down to punch list type items at the house now and I’m going to try and knock a couple off of it this weekend with the girls while Blake works! I think grouting a bathroom floor and cleaning a tub are perfect weekend activities (#opposite). Have a great weekend everyone! See you Monday (unless you want to follow us on Instagram to catch sneak peaks of the finished product @numbers_and_nails) 

The BEFORE before…

As you know if you read our last post or follow us on Instagram we have been renovating a little house to use as a rental.  The original game plan is to do very short term rental like AirBNB but we’ll have to see how it plays out and shift to long term if we need to.  We’re actually about to round 3rd on the whole project so this is quite overdue but I’ve got to start somewhere, and sometime 🙂

The MORNING this house went on the market I called our agent and asked if we could schedule a showing.  We went to see it during lunch time and were quite surprised to find what was a revolving door of potential buyers already at the property when we pulled up.  I (Katie) look at a house with my heart….I could probably do it blindfolded.  Blake looks at a house with his brain only.  My Dad also joined us as my parents are investing with us and I like to think he falls in between head and heart when it comes to assessing real estate.

There were no pictures associated with the listing so we were prepared for the worst.  When we pulled up to the house this is what we saw.

The house sat between two other houses (one of which is abandoned) and the other which is occupied by a very sweet lady.  Across the street is a new Catholic school.  The abandoned house on the left was torn down the day we went under contract and is now a nice grassy lot.

Upon entering the house we walked straight into this:

All my heart could see was the height of the ceilings!! At the time we thought that was just wallpaper on drywall we would steam off.  It turned out NOT to be drywall but more on that later…

So to me, the living room was doable.  Walking around the house you would go into the kitchen.  At the time of the showing we didn’t know there was a window that had been boarded up behind the massive china cabinet.

My initial thought for the kitchen was that we would just have to put an IKEA kitchen in (that’s not what we did).  The ceilings are low in the back of the house but it’s just the way the roof line goes and I was ok with that.  We definitely HAD to replace the back door to let more light in!

At the time the washing machine was also in the kitchen and we ended up moving it to the laundry room.  From the kitchen you walked into a small back bedroom and on the left there was a bathroom.  I’m going to do a post on the initial floor plan and what we reworked…because previously a renter would have had to walk into the second bedroom to get to the only bathroom.

The bathroom needed A LOT of work.  It’s tiny but the wallpaper and black curtains weren’t helping anything!

The laundry is off the second bedroom and this room was already small but we actually made it SMALLER.

From that bedroom, if you’re walking around in a circle in the house you would enter the first bedroom.  It had a fireplace (which was covered up) so we’ve deemed it the “master”.

The drop ceiling intrigued us because we knew these ceilings should be just as tall as the living room ceilings.  We peeked above them during the showing and saw MORE tiled ceiling above but that’s all we looked at during the tour. Also, all the floor except for the kitchen and bath were carpeted.

I think we were all overwhelmed for different reasons.

  • Me-I was overwhelmed at the other potential buyers swarming the place trying to buy MY house.
  • Blake-He was overwhelmed at the amount of work this old house would need.
  • Dad-Probably overwhelmed at what the heck we were thinking.

The outside was terribly overgrown:

It’s funny…because I saw a lush green garden and my Dad and Blake saw a JUNGLE that would need to be tamed.

I obviously tour houses with rose colored glasses and blinders on.

So the story goes, we closed on the house and started work on September 22nd.  It was a day of the highest highs (we found great bones in the house!) and the lowest lows (that same day we discovered our sweet Finley boy had cancer…he died 3 days later).  We spent a week demoing the project and shedding tears into the mess over our dog.  We’re coming up on 3 months and I’m happy to say the house looks NOTHING like these pictures and our spirits are higher for sure.

Next post I’ll share about demo and finding our new footprint!

Upstairs Bathroom Renovation/Addition Part 1:

When we moved into our new house the upstairs was actually missing a bathroom. (yes, it is okay to judge our sanity after that first sentence…we did) Walls were there from what used to be but someone had started the demolition and never finished. We set in right away trying to put this part of the house back together. In addition to tearing out everything that was there the previous owners had started building what looked like a spot for a stall shower or a closet…we will never know.

Here are some before pictures of what we moved into:


Blake and a carpenter spent a day just tearing the floor up and finishing the demo. Lots of hardwood and linoleum came up and some of the old drywall came down. We also made the decision to add a pocket door between the sink area and the toilet/tub area. We will probably end up doing a post just on how to hang a pocket door because pocket doors seriously come with the worst set of instructions I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s like a picture book for a 3 year old. No words…only drawings by someone who, if I had to bet my house on it, probably isn’t an artist.


After adding rolls of insulation between the studs we started putting up drywall. Neither of us had ever put up drywall before. Want to test your marriage? Hang drywall after working all day.



Next came the mudding which Blake tackled on his own. (Note to ourselves if we do this again: lay it on THICK. It’s better to sand off extra then to wipe 3+ times.)



Then we sanded. We pretty much prepared for a zombie apocalypse before doing this. We LOVE our 3M respirator masks and are so glad we invested in them! We hung plastic all around the outside of the bathroom so dust would stay as contained as possible. Next we rigged up our shop vac to blow out the window. MAJOR NOTE: unless you have a fine particle filter for your shop vac (they don’t come ready with those) it will not catch drywall dust. You will turn around and see a giant white cloud which if it gets into your air system let’s just say you will get a white Christmas early. So…. This is how we prepared for drywall dust battle 2012.


The feeling of seeing actual walls is the best feeling in the world after all you’ve seen for what feels like eternity is studs. The shape of the bathroom really starts to come together. Blake says this is that turning point in renovation for him. Not I…my turning point is paint. Next we primed the walls in “new wall primer”. That stuff is about $12 a gallon and spreads reallyyy well so that’s all we needed and we even had probably a third of the can leftover. Super. We can add that to the paint store I seriously could run out of the basement.

Capture before and after

We’ll be back later with Part 2 which covers the floor, paint, trim, and the final product!