The main level of our house has changed a lot since we purchased the home. We removed several interior walls, including a brick wall in the rear of the house. We also removed several radiators, which left behind holes in the floor that you can peer through to see directly into the basement. On top of that, the “bonus room” addition out back was half an inch lower than the rest of the house.
All of these issues were not conducive to installing brand new hardwood floors. So Jeremy and I did what we do best and set about making the floor level and even ourselves. We purchased 35 sheets of half-inch plywood and laid them across the entire first floor of our house.
Before screwing them in place, Jeremy had the bright idea to shore up the floor in the bonus room addition by adding a layer of thick plastic (to reduce heat loss through the floor) and a layer of metal mesh (to block mice and other critters from sneaking through the space where the floor meets the walls).
These were covered by two layers of plywood to bring it up to the same height as the rest of the house. Jeremy cut the plywood sheets with a circular saw to fit it around walls, columns, and other annoying barriers throughout the house.
Then we got to work screwing each piece of plywood in with approximately 24 screws. The goal was to screw them into each joist but after a while I gave up and just screwed them into the floor. They are definitely secure and not going anywhere–plus they’ll soon be covered in our new floor.
For anyone thinking of doing this yourself, know that while it’s not technically difficult, it is physically grueling. My knees and back were killing me after the first day, and it took two days to complete. Knee pads are a must!
My face looks unhappy because I was miserable at this point from so much kneeling on my knees.
The house is now ready to have our floors installed tomorrow! EEP! We spent the whole weekend painting the ceiling and walls in an attempt to get the majority of the painting out of the way before the floors go in. Unfortunately we wont finish painting 100% of the main level of the house in time, but we got a huge chunk done.
When Jeremy and I first walked into this house, there was a LOT to take in–mostly the previous owner’s piles of possessions and garbage everywhere, with tons of walls cutting off the space into small rooms. But we also noticed the *potential* in this old, run-down house. So how do we get from this:
The answer is that we have to knock the walls down.
This week, a construction company removed the load-bearing walls on the first floor of our home. Now we have the fun task ahead of us of making it look like a million bucks. Our rough plan for the next two months is:
Figure out how to either restore or replace floors (it looks like we will sadly have to replace them because they are in really bad shape)
Rewire all electric that is currently dangling out of our ceiling
Install recessed lighting
Replace some old windows
Close in the beams and columns
Replace entire kitchen–many decisions and choices to make!
We have a lot of work ahead of us and tons of decisions to make on materials, styles, who to hire, etc. etc. but we are feeling good about the progress we’ve made. I can’t wait to see how it looks at the beginning of next year!
It’s been one week since we returned from our fabulous vacation and SO much has happened in the house.
For the first time in a long time, I feel calm and in control of the next few weeks. We know exactly what we need to accomplish between now and December first. The list is long and highly aspirational but at least it lays out our plan.
Meanwhile, last week the DC government came to the house and inspected all the work we’ve done so far and gave us the green light to keep going with our MASTER PLAN! Next week a company is going to remove the load bearing wall that goes the length of our main level. We were told we could save $3-4K if we did all the demo work ourselves—by demo I mean removing all the plaster/lath/drywall on top of the studs in the wall. So dammit, remove it we did! Of course we had tons of incredible and much-needed help from friends (thanks to Julian and Matt for channeling your brute strength to smash through all the walls) and stripped all the walls bare in just two days! Unfortunately, demo produces a LOT of garbage. In just two days, we filled 3 Bagster dumpsters (with a combined capacity of 9,000 pounds)!
We demolished the walls on the first floor, to be removed professionally next week
Julian went to town on that wall!
Matt literally smashed this wall to bits in only 2 hours!
Three huge garbage bags hanging out on our parking pad
Our house came with a fake fireplace. We knew it was fake and assumed it was just a thin brick façade. Turns out it was actually a full-sized fireplace made out of genuine (heavy) brick—except it was not connected to the adjacent chimney and therefore completely inoperable. Jeremy destroyed it with a small jack hammer while Matt and I helped him carry them out of the house. Cute enough, a previous owner had installed a fake log with a built-in light bulb (for warmth?). All of this work has helped to expose several square feet of living space that had previously been occupied by a useless pile of bricks.
Jeremy used a handheld jackhammer to destroy the fireplace
Tons of old bricks…what should we do with them?
Cute lil DIY log from the fireplace
On Sunday, our friend Lauren came over and helped us think out plans for our kitchen remodel. Always invite your architect friends over on the days you are finalizing plans for a kitchen remodel. She also helped us yank all the nails out of the window and door trim that we want to re-use. After marking on the floor where we envision the new island, we took a field trip the greatest place in the world.
It took us a few minutes to figure out this tool, but eventually we got it to work for us
We are pulling the nails through the back side of the wood so we can re-use the original trim around windows and doors
We are designing our kitchen using the frames of Ikea’s kitchen cabinets but covering them with the beautiful doors from SemiHandmadeDoors. Their doors are heavier, thicker, and more customizable than the options at Ikea, but still in the mid-level price range. And lucky for us, Ikea is having their annual kitchen sale in two weeks!
I love Ikea. It’s like a playground for adults—with meatballs!!