Demo Day…Days..Weeks….Monthsss

For weeks before this day I had closed my eyes each night anticipating ripping this house apart.  As per usual, things were more simple in my mind.  We closed on the house, picked up fast food (I don’t know WHY we thought we could eat there).  Anyways, I walked straight into the house and took a hammer straight to the “drywall”.  SURPRISE…it wasn’t drywall…it was basically cardboard.  A thin fiber board that was barely nailed to the wall.

The good news was it wasn’t crumbling plaster behind it (worst case scenario) but it was “shiplap” …it wasn’t HGTV pretty (and it’s actually tongue and groove…more on that some other time) but it would do and the price tag on creating that character from scratch would have been out of our budget.  We were thrilled to have found it on every.single.wall and ceiling.  The bad news was that it a) had some intense gaps in places and b) was covered in soot from the old stoves/fireplaces.

Probably the most rewarding part of demo was to look above the drop ceiling in the bedroom!

We took out nearly every wall covering, carpet, layers of linoleum flooring…it just kept going and going and going and going!

This is essentially what was left in the 4 rooms when we finished demo.

We severely underestimated the size of dumpster we would need.  If you ever reno a house, just get the biggest dumpster they will bring you…trust me, you’ll fill it.  We also found some issues that the inspector failed to identify in the inspection which was very frustrating…was it things that would have kept us from buying the house?  Probably not.  Was it stuff that would have been great to know on the front end? Obviously.  A foundation issue (isn’t there always one??) put us about 3 weeks behind schedule as we just stared at a giant hole in the floor wondering who we would pay to fix it.  Below is a picture after we took out all flooring…a rotten floor joist was here where the washing machine used to sit.

This hole really did sit here like this for at least two weeks….

We can’t say enough positive things about Cantey Foundation Specialists!!! Reasonably priced and they treated us like we were their #1 customer even though it’s likely we were their smallest.

The demo honestly seemed to go on forever as we took out walls, parts of walls, and kept deciding to expose more and more tongue and groove siding.  On the exterior we were paying a neighborhood guy $15/hour to clear the brush…that alone about put me in the grave as we started straight out the gate REALLY over budget on weed clearing (if you’ll remember, I personally didn’t think it was an eyesore….which is laughable).

During that first week we had to get a roof put on (we of course knew and planned for this) and they suggested taking out the chimney all together because the fire places had been cemented in and would never be used. We also have great things to say about Consumer First Roofing Company…we got several quotes and they were by far the NICEST and also most reasonable.

This demo hit everything….truly nothing was safe.  Next post I’ll show you a couple of ways we rearranged the layout to be more functional!

Like I mentioned in the last post our sweet Finley died 3 days into this project and things just felt so dark for a while…   He wasn’t new to the demo and renovation world, often keeping us company through various projects.   I resented this project for having me so distracted during the month leading up to his death that I felt like I didn’t play with him or talk to him enough.   I know in my heart that dogs don’t keep score like that but Blake and I both felt an enormous guilt for the way Fin had taken a back seat often to our kids and our projects…

This before and after of these same walls feels like a pretty accurate depiction of the transformation the house and our hearts went through together! 🙂

Demo is messy for sure and it’s easy to get carried away! When it comes time to actually pull out tiny little carpet staples and nails you realize just how big 850 sq feet is! Besides the obvious of gloves, glasses, and hammers, our favorite tools for demo are:

3M respirators






This saw






This nail puller

“Be Free” Challenge Day 10

All I want for Christmas is 8 quarts of black paint. I’d like 1 each month until then please and thank you. Why you ask? Oh because I have every intention of painting our interior doors black.

Go ahead…cringe it out. Stand up and shake it out if you must. I know you want to …for some reason people think that black and paint shouldn’t go in a sentence together. Oh but I do…I think they should go right next to each other and then doors (or anything really?) should follow.

Do you need me to show you some pictures? Ok good I hoped you would say yes because I didn’t want to have to force them onto an unwilling viewer:

1-black doors source

before and after source

door bath coll source

triple 2 sources 1 2 3

triple sources 1 2 3

See. There isn’t one of those you can tell me doesn’t look uh-maze-ing. More distinguished. More regal. More mysterious. More depth and drama and handsomeness. …yes a door can be handsome. It’s like a tall drink of water at the end of a hallway. It says “my owner cares about me” like a “my kid made the honor roll” bumper stickers only “my doors reached their full potential”.

Anyways, I’ve already started my crusade around the house. See exhibit below:


Pantry doors. ….well let me back up…when we moved in there were no pantry doors. We stared at our mess from down the hall for probably 4 months before I discovered this set of closet doors in the house fit perfectly would work if my husband spent 2 hours chiseling out the hinges.


So we’ve had these white doors there for a few months. It’s great…I don’t have to stare at my mess anymore. However I have had to stare at a pair of doors that needed some TLC (see old paint/splotches of some weird muddyish looking finger prints/missing chunks of paint that the top, etc)

I even bought new hardware for these doors probably 3 months ago. Well, last night I decided I was going to make a change. I grabbed the quart of black paint I had and put two coats on these beauties (after filling in spackle holes, buffing the thing for a couple minutes, and then washing).

The paint went on incredibly well. The doors look MUCH better and silky smooth and now when I walk by I reach out and touch them.



See from down the hall? It looks like things keep going…like there is more to be had than just a blunt end into the pantry.



Still cringing? That’s ok I guess I won’t sneak into your house in the middle of the night and paint your doors black too. The good news is…it’s just paint, ya’ll! Don’t ever be afraid to try something. My mom always said “don’t do anything you can’t come back from”….you can come back from black paint so I went for it…and I LOVE it so I’m going to keep going for it.

Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for my wallet, I can’t go out and buy gallons of black paint because it’s the be free challenge so I’ve registered for every paint giveaway google could come up with. If I win one within this 30 days it’s on! if not, I’ll resort to buying 1 quart per month until it’s done….that’s like $10 a month aka one box of k-cups.
Black doors > coffee.

if that wasn’t enough to convince you please go here and read this post about what will happen to your life if you paint your doors black. HUH-larious! (but probably true, no?)