First House – Week 2

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will realize that I’m a bit behind on posting week 2, but one day when I have more than one subscriber and someone wants to dig through the archives of our first renovation, they won’t even notice the time lapse. I’m posting this a month after week 2 actually started, so it’s kind of fun to go back and see how far we’ve come since then, especially when it feels like there’s still so much to do!

Day 8:

We last left off with a teaser about raising the sunken living room, and boy was it raised! Here’s the guys at work mixing up the concrete and leveling it all out:

floor raising 1

floor raising 3

floor raising 2

We also paid them to finish demoing the tile, and considering what a hard time we had trying to do it ourselves, it was really nice to just go to work and come back and have it already be done. Some things are worth subbing out.

Tile demo 1

tile demo 3

tile demo 2

However, I will say that the contractors did some damage to the tub while taking out the tile in there, which isn’t a huge deal to us because we were already resurfacing it, but if you have one you want to save you should protect it before letting anyone lose with power chisels.

Day 9: 

I left the guys working into the evening on Day 8, and when I came in on Day 9, this lovely sight was there to greet me:

raised floor 1 raised floor 2

Can you hear the angels? There’s just something special about smooth, perfectly clean new concrete. Is that just me? Oh well. We also got started on tiling the hall bath which we got mostly done before Adam had to leave for work in the evening.

tile hall bath 1 tile hall bath 2

Another project that I realize was totally not vital to getting the house move-in ready but that really helped my morale to finish was the mailbox. It was icky dark green with bright yellow address numbers spray-painted on the side and a faded red flag. You can kind of see it on the bottom right corner of this picture from the listing:

Before - front exterior 2

mailbox makeover

Finishing the mailbox was kind of symbolic to me. I feel like it represented a change of ownership, and a new start for the house. Once it was in need of TLC, and now it’s fresh and new and loved. Is it the most gorgeous mailbox in the world? No. But for the cost of a few cans of spray paint and stick-on address numbers, it has been reborn and makes me happy.

I also found out I had to spend $200 to replace some pool filters that had never been cleaned and were totally trashed, but let’s not talk about that.

Day 10: 

Day 10 was mostly running errands to get pool stuff, returning our vanity top to Lowes because it was scratched, returning the dinky tile scorer we got and replacing it with a wet saw, etc. I also got almost all the cutting in done. I always forget that it takes just as long to cut in as it does to roll on. Labor of love.

Day 11: 

This day was mostly spent working in the hall bath. We got the last tile laid, and installed the board and batten to help cover up the drywall damage from where the old vanity was. It also looks super snazzy, so it’s a win-win.

tile hall bath 3

Last Tile!

The backer-board goes up first...

The backer-board goes up first…

Then the top and bottom rails (bottom isn't in yet in this shot)

Then the top and bottom rails (bottom isn’t in yet in this shot)

Then the vertical slats!

Then the vertical slats!

The pink tile in this shot drives me crazy haha. I JUST got around to resurfacing it last week, and I still need to do the tub and touch up spots on the tile. It’s pretty intensive, smelly, and sweaty due to the rubber gloves and respirator mask. It’s worth it to get rid of the salmon color though haha.

Day 12: 

We got the toilet, vanity, and grout done in the hall bath! I love how the white board and batten breaks up all the gray and brightens it up a bit. It also gives the room character and keeps the reno from looking like a builder-grade flip.

hall bath 1

Say it with me: ahhhhhh…

Just a bit better than the orange and brass dirty and broken nightmare that it was before haha. Here’s a reminder:

Day 2 old vanity

Adam got his music room/study flooring all done, and I painted the laundry room and installed the master bath light fixture (same as the hall bath).

sneak peak flooring

music room 1

painted laundry

Day 13: 

I went back to work on Day 13, so I only got a few things done after work. Adam took the day off to recuperate. I got the mirror in the hall bath hung, and applied some special epoxy putty to the rusted out tub drain to get it ready for resurfacing.

hall bath 2

rusted tub


tub putty


Knowing what I know now, I would have put on a much thinner application of the putty, and really worked harder on feathering out the edges. I thought it would dry and I would come in there with a sanding block and make it look perfect, and that’s not exactly what happened haha. At least it’s waterproof now, and once I get a drain cover on and shower curtain up it won’t be super noticeable.

Day 14:

I finished cutting in the entire house,we got the pool mostly clear, had an electrician come out to fix the thermostat, had the ducts professionally cleaned, and got most of the fireplace whitewashed. I did some general cleaning too. Adam continued working on the floors in the guest room and hallway.

whitewash 1

Light and bright, here I come!

Close-up of the whitewash

Close-up of the whitewash

finally looking clean!

Finally looking clean enough to live in!

Word to the wise on the thermostat: I got a free Ecobee 3 from work which is really awesome, but I apparently installed it incorrectly and blew our A/C transformer, which cost a little over $200 to fix. It would have been around $75 to get it professionally installed. I feel totally comfortable changing out light-fixtures, doorbells, and light-switches/outlets myself, but maybe for more complicated stuff I’ll leave it to the professionals in the future haha.

ecobee 3

The protective plastic is still on, but isn’t it cute?!

No one is paying me to tout it or anything, but it’s got an app that will let you know when you need maintenance or when something is broken, you can program it or change the temp from your phone, and it comes with little sensors that you can put in your hot and cold rooms to help balance them out. I figured paying to fix the transformer was kind of like paying to buy the thermostat which I got for free, so that made me feel better haha.

So that’s all for week 2! Week 3 was all about finishing up some of the major and minor things to make the house livable so that we could move in on Day 23. Stay tuned for more updates while I get caught up!


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