** I realize that I posted this on a Monday and that makes my title confusing… but I started writing the post six days ago on Tuesday!**
I’m working on a few projects but none of them are finished yet, so I decided to dig up the pictures of one of my first whole-house remodels and share those. This was the first house we lived in after we got married and it was very small but very perfect and we both really liked it. I have no idea how many square feet it was but I’m going to guess somewhere around 500.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have the forethought to take any pictures before I did all the work, so you’ll just have to imagine.
One of the first things we did when we moved in was to replace the front door. It had no deadbolt and was a hollow core door and the house was in a semi sketchy neighborhood and there was evidence of attempted break-ins on both the front door and the back door. We replaced the entire front door and beefed up the security in the back.
We had a deal worked out with the landlord that he would pay for half of any improvements that we did to the place, or rather we would just subtract that amount from the next month’s rent. Months later, after we knew we would be moving, he agreed to pay for 100% of material costs for my projects and I just provided the free labor. That worked out well because I wasn’t working anywhere else and had a lot of time at home by myself.
In all, here is the list of projects completed while we lived there:
– replace front door and interior trim around door
– repaint every room in the house and all trim
– replace decking on front “porch”
– install new floor in kitchen
– replace broken closet lights
– install pantry cupboard, base cabinet, and countertop in kitchen
– landscape beds in front of the house and mulch
– reclaim front walkway from the weeds
– beef up front pillars and install molding
– install handrail up front steps
– touch up paint on lower exterior of house (red painted brick)
– re-home four large ant nests in the front lawn
– clear front sidewalk (by the road) of weeds and make it walkable
– lots and lots of cleaning up and clearing out junk!
I guess these two pictures of the front porch are actually “before,” because I can see the board in the back corner that is pulling up. I replaced the entire decking of the porch and it was the biggest project I’d tackled up to that point, or at least tackled by myself without my dad close by!
First up when you walk in the house is the living room. It was a very narrow space with only enough room for a couch, not enough room for chairs to face the couch on the opposite side of the room. All I did in here was repaint the walls, the trim, clean the carpet very thoroughly, and hang some pictures. We also kept our dining table in this room though we usually ate in the office.
On the left hand wall in the photo above, the door handle you see sticking out is where the one closet of the house is. It was about 3x6ft and just had a long bar to hang clothes and a single shelf above that. The light fixture was broken so I replaced it, my first electrical project!
Opposite the couch in the living room were the doors to the bedroom on the left and the office on the right, via a small hallway with the HVAC closet at the end.
Because of the lack of closets and the small size of all of the other rooms, we stored a lot of stuff in the bedroom. We kept it contained in cardboard boxes but it was everyday items that we used frequently and they had to go somewhere!
The paint color in here is not my favorite, and actually it was the second color I painted the room. All of the paint that we bought for the house was discounted “oops!” paint that had been mistinted and we bought it all for between $2 and $9 a gallon. As a result, the colors were not necessarily our favorites, but they did the job. The first color I painted the master bedroom was a dark green that I thought would match our bedspread, but after it was covering the walls it looked like puke. Good thing I’d only spent $2 on that gallon!
The bedroom also was our bike storage, and we really did use those a lot. We lived about 3/4 mile from a bike trail that was a former railroad that had been paved over and it stretched from our house into the downtown area and then into two neighboring towns on the other end. I would frequently hop on the trail in the morning, ride to another city to eat lunch, and then ride home again, just for something to do.
The office is where we spent the majority of our time. We filled it with two desktop computers, a large chair that rarely got sat in, and two bookshelves full of books that rarely got read. We spent many an evening and all day Saturday playing Lord of the Rings Online with friends.
I painted the office two different shades of green, mostly because I had those colors leftover from other rooms and it made more sense to use them than buy a new gallon. It looks like three shades in the pictures but I think that’s just because of the lighting… although maybe I did paint it three colors and just don’t remember?!
We did the most work in the kitchen. What you see above (minus the countertop in the bottom left corner) is all that the kitchen had when we moved in, besides a refrigerator. That would have left room for a small dining table to have an eat-in kitchen, but it left almost no workable counter space and very little cabinet space to store dishes, pots and pans, and pantry items!
So we purchased the tall freestanding cupboard to be a pantry, and then the base cabinet and a piece of countertop to go with it. I think this tripled our kitchen workspace and storage space! The countertop was a little bit too long but we didn’t have the tools necessary to cut it nicely, and also the overhang provided the perfect amount of space to tuck our trash can underneath. There was a power outlet behind the cabinet, which we couldn’t afford to cover up because there was only one other usable outlet in the whole room, so we cut a hole in the back of the cabinet and ran a power strip extension cord through it. It’s on top of the counter in the picture, but I later mounted it on the side of the cabinet under the counter overhang on the left.
The yellow paint was because a former renter had left a nearly full gallon of yellow paint in the house and I was being frugal. I don’t especially care for yellow, but it is very cheery for a kitchen.
The kitchen also housed the laundry room. Had we had front loading machines, we would have also put a countertop over them to have some more space. That back door was pretty solid but did have a lot of marks on the door and on the trim outside where there had been several attempted break ins… one of them happened while we were at home. We installed a new deadbolt lock on it that could only be unlocked from the inside and didn’t have any mechanism on the outside of the door to be tampered with.
I also put down a new kitchen floor! Guess I forgot to take a picture of it. I used the peel-and-stick laminate wood flooring which was fairly cheap (especially for a room that tiny!) and very easy to install. I cut the pieces to size with scissors and stuck them down. The floor held up great the rest of the time we lived there but I don’t know about any long term results.
And there it is! Maybe someday I’ll get around to a photo tour of the house we live in now, which is where we moved right from this tiny house and have lived here ever since.