Renovating an Old House Ideas

Tree on house 1Wanna go for a ride?  This is the story of one of my projects I’ve been (and a bunch of others) chipping away at for the last year.  My sweet aunt left her home to me when she passed.  To be honest, it took me a minute to figure out what I was going to do with it.  We had just purchased a home in January of 13′.  We got married in March of 13′.  Then, in July of 13′, a tree fell on this extra house.  Right in the middle of my book project deadline for Earringology I might add.  Although, is there ever a good time for a billion year old tree to fall on a house?  Tree on house 2That tree was hollow to the core and wrapped itself over the top of the house.  We felt so lucky no one was hurt.  It did minimal damage to the house too.  That will always amaze me.  This house was built sometime before 1874 and those timbers were the real deal.  Solid.  It took us hours and hours to clean up.  That pretty much cured me of wanting to work on it until January of this year.Candie Cooper Old House RennovationRemember all those winter storms?  Something happened when I got off the Country Music Cruise–still not sure what, but I knew it was time to dig in.  Luckily, I have the most supportive husband in the world.  I said goodbye to my downtown studio and helloooooo DIY home improvement project!  This is what I look like when I’m getting’ it done!  I drove hub’s blue pick up around all winter collecting building stuff and cleaning out the rest of the house.  Please guys, take a moment to appreciate my custom Mod Podged work gloves and beaded bead earrings with cammo jacket and hat.  Let’s go inside…Before rennovationsAfter the tree fell, hubs still had some gas in his tank and tore out all the carpets to reveal the original hardwood floors.Before renovations 2Eighty percent of the place (which is around 900 sq ft) was still plaster and lath.  This is the front room.  A little poking around on Pinterest, showing hubs pictures of the looks I was thinking and the rest is history.  I’m creative, but not when it comes to interiors.  Pinterest saved my booty.Repurposed wood wallsWe started in the bathroom (which would end up two rooms later because why on earth do you need a bathroom 30 feet long?  I told you I didn’t know what I was doing.  Well, our friend Blake actually started the work.  Hubs had enough sense to buy this huge pile of old wood at a barn sale the past summer for $200.  I drew a picture on the wall of what I was thinking and Blake made it happen.  I have some family roots from Kentucky, so I wanted this room to feel like a back porch with a tin roof.  This was a double win because both of these treatments hid a lot of imperfections in the drywall.Sawing repurposed pine boardsThe front room was converted into a lumber yard/saw mill for the next few months.Sloped ceilingThe wood walls were up and the sloped ceiling was begging for a tin roof!  Thank you Lord, for Blake!Tin Roof CeilingThere you have it!  But, we didn’t stop here with wall treatment.  This is my mom’s studio where she can teach guitar and art lessons.Tearing down plaster wallsAbout that plaster and lath…it’s all gone!  We kept the original door with doorbell plus the two front windows and that’s about all.  The ceiling came down, the windows came out and we were moving upward and onwards with three months to get it finished before Earringology’s book signing party.  Oh yes.  By then, we had set a finish due date (because I am crazy).  Nothing like the pressure of a deadline to get things done!Gutted floor in officeAt about the same time we tore out the floor of what is now the office and tweaked it.  I was sad to loose the original floors though.  This room used to be a back porch on the house way back when.  No hidden treasures, I’m sad to say.  No skeletons either which is always good!  I forgot, we had to get under this floor because we also had a busted pipe from that harsh winter.  I could say something about why it’s important for men to wear belts, but I think you already figured that out.Vaulting ceiling and adding track lightsSo we vaulted the ceiling, electrical was run, so was speaker wire and more…  One of the Pinterest pictures showed a vaulted ceiling and  Hubs said, “you know we could do that at the White House.”  That’s what we call it:  The White House or Wabash White House.  I’m glad he suggested it, because it made that room more open.  Amazing.vaulted ceiling and loftOur friend that vaulted the ceiling also had the brilliant idea of leaving the space over the next room open for a storage loft.  Now I really really really want a library ladder.  Do you have one hiding in your garage that needs a good home?  Drywall was starting to go up too.  Things were moving!  Fast!Redoing porch roofMeanwhile, Hubs (who by this point calls himself Tim the Tool-man Taylor) and my dad had been chipping away at the roof and fixing the porch damage.  The old cedar shakes went buh-bye.  I believe this was in April.On the roofThis is Mother’s Day weekend.  Dad and I took mom antiquing to celebrate the day before, but this is a testament to what a team player my mom is.  Working on a roof on Mother’s Day!

At some point, Hubs also decided he wanted the other side of the house sided.  At this point I’m thinking really?  We are on a deadline and the inside still looked like this at the end of May.  My husband is a super optimistdry walling old houseDid I mention the inside looked like this?  (deep breaths…deep breaths….)Redoing old wood floorsI was still traveling to bead shows with Jesse James Beads and working my regular job.  This kind of stuff was happening at night and on weekends.  That’s water on the old floors.  When it dried it went back to chalky and gross.  I wanted to cry.Scrubbing floorsHere’s a picture of “Beaderella” after I got home from the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee.  Needless to say I was….over it.  But not.  It “only” took 8 floor scrubbings to get them ready for stain.  My sister saved the day by trying to clean the old floors them with TSP.  I’d never heard of it, but we mixed up a solution of that and warm water, scrubbed with a really stiff brush and then went over it again with a rinse.  The TSP brightened them right up.  We went over them again with Murphy’s Oil Soap and a rinse.  Then!  They were ready.FloorsHubs stained the floors while I was in Philly.  Those floors were so thirsty, they soaked the stain up a little too much, loosing all signs of wood grain.  Our friend came to the rescue with a sander and showed me how to use it.  Thank you Dewalt rotary sander with velcro discs!  I sanded each board with 80 grit and then wiped those floors down ONE MORE TIME with a damp cloth.  Then, we threw some tarps over them and called it a day on the ol’ floors.Cindy PaintingMy mother and father in-law painted the place while I was out of town and up to the day before the party.  My mother in-law was an absolute trooper.  She cleaned.  She painted.  She ripped up tack strips.  I’m sure she did more that I don’t know about too.Putting up trimTrim was going up, thanks to my brother in-law.  He taught hubs how to finish it off the week of the party.  Thankfully, my sister and her husband came down for several weekends in a row to carry out the final push.  I sit at their feet for that.  I really don’t think the place would have gotten done had they not.Carrie CleaningThe place got dry walled!  This is my sister up on a ten foot ladder scrubbing away drywall mud and dust.  If you want to learn how to clean, call my sister.  She is a whiz!!  Now that I think about it, she got all the boobs AND THE cleaning skills.  Lucky girl!  I nicknamed myself “Clean-zilla” when I try to clean the house.  I’m cranky.  I’m clumsy.   Blah.  Poor Beaderella-Clean-Zilla.  I’m smiling.  Don’t feel sorry for me.  I’m smart enough to phone-a-sister when I get myself into a real pickle like this.Grandma and GrandpaOutside, my grandparents came to put their touch on the landscaping out front.  Flowers and making things beautiful is my grandparents specialty.  I didn’t ask, they just came.  They can take anything and make it pretty.  I had saved a few hollow logs from the tree that fell the year before and gram worked them right in.  Grandpa edged the area with a neat brick design.  One thing that really struck me was how many times my gram remarked how great the soil was out front.  Apparently, my other grandma that lived there babied her flower beds with fish heads over the years.Logo sketchLastly, I scrawled out a logo for my friend and she whipped it into something pretty.  I’ll show that to you in the next post.  This is before…

There were lots of before’s through this project, but one I didn’t expect was my relationships with my family and friends.  It brought us together on a new level.   Team work=Love.  It was all very special and I could babble on and on, but I think you can imagine the ups and downs of what 6 months of intense renovations could bring.  I know for sure, the place wouldn’t have come together had my family and friends not saved the day.  It definitely would not be as special as it is.  Thank you guys, from the bottom of my heart.

After pictures to come next week…but if you can’t wait:

Check out the White House Facebook page here!