Renovate

Renovate, such a simple word but, man oh man, does it bring along some big challenges! My husband and I have been renovating a gorgeous ranch near Nashville, Tennessee since July of 2012. We had some experience with minor projects like tiling from our other two homes in Texas. We knew what we were getting into when we bought this house – and I couldn’t be more proud of my husband and his skills! Be sure to check out some of the projects we have done listed below and follow our journey in renovation.

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Floor Makeover

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One nights work in the kitchen

Our floors were not in the best of shape when we bought this place. We had some really nasty stained carpets in all the bedrooms and the living room. The carpets near the back doors in the living room were the worst with evidence of mold. The flooring in the kitchen was a hodge podge of peeling vinyl and laminate. The dining room had parquet floors that were in decent shape but would need to be refinished. We needed a floor makeover!

We already knew we wanted hard wood through out the house. We searched for a while until we found a great deal on the internet for unfinished 3/4″ hardwood oak floors for .99¢ a square foot. It was important they were cheap because we had to get 2,200 square feet of it!

The floors were 4-6″ in length. We spent two weeks nailing these bad boys down. We developed a process that made it easy – I laid the boards and the hubby nailed them into place with this bad boy:

Powernailer

Powernailer

It is truly amazing how the right tool makes the job easier! We went through countless boxes of nails – each piece received 2 nails! We thought about whether or not we wanted to stain the wood, but after staring at the floors for 2 weeks we decided against it. There was so much variation in the floors, some looked like they had tiger stripes while others were a more red hue. So we called up a friend of an uncle and had him come and seal the floors for us. High gloss – because who wants to move all the furniture again in 10 years to have it polished? I also loved the look of high gloss floors.

OK – enough chatter! Here are the floors during and after installation! A caveat – when it says completed, really there is the area where the nailer wouldn’t fit against the wall that we had to go back with a different nailer and nail them down. This whole process took us about 3 months – but for 3 weeks we were out of the country 🙂

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There are a few lessons learned with installing these floors ourselves.

  1. Wear knee pads! This will honestly save you a lot of pain
  2. Make sure that first row of floors is square! If not, you end up with a crooked room
  3. Having two people makes the job go faster, having that little garden cart made it a little easier on my back!
  4. DON’T GET 4-6″ BOARDS! The longer the board, the less work involved 🙂

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Bathroom Refreshed

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Decided to paint bead board full white

Our half bath in the entry way was a dark little dungeon in a very dark corner of the foyer. The walls were a deep maroon with a whitewash bead board on the bottom. This bathroom needed to be refreshed!

Foyer bath, kitchen to right, foyer to left

Foyer bath, kitchen to right, foyer to left

Not exactly what you would expect in a country style bathroom. Bathrooms should be bright and cheerful. So enters my paintbrush with some BRIGHT cheery blue!

Started with the blue

Started with the blue

To be exact it was Cloudless blue 🙂 It made the bathroom SO much brighter! But something was bothering me about the bead board. It needed to be bright white. Enter my second paintbrush and my wonderful mother in law because I was about 9 months pregnant painting this!

Decided to paint bead board full white

Decided to paint bead board full white

Simple bathroom refreshed with paint. I think I might like this Cloudless in the bathrooms 🙂

Cloudless bathroom

Cloudless bathroom

There is a mirror for this bathroom, but it is just a small nail hung thing. I already have an idea for it that will involve reclaimed wood. Another day.

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Laundry Room

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The beginning of my laundry room was quite sad- 4 walls and a plywood floor.

Laundry room to the left after coming in from the garage

Sad laundry room beginnings

What makes the room even more melancholy, a small water heater secured to the CEILING. Again, the guy who owned the house before us was a complete moron. We covered that with some pallet wood to hide the ugly lurking behind.

Water heater cover

Water heater cover

The other issue with this small room, 9′ x 6.5′, the water line is on the right side of the room and the dryer vent on the left. My washer will only open to the left creating this annoying dance between the washer and the dryer when switching loads. I fought this battle for about a year until we decided to stack the machines.

Much better! To do this we had to run a longer gas line and a longer vent line. **Please do not run your own gas line! My husband has done this before and had it inspected before using our dryer. Go to porch.com and find a licensed professional to help you with this! ** I got to stare at these vent lines for a while, probably 6 months. Then I finally convinced the hubby to cover them with a box, that can open if we need to get to the gas line.

Gas and vent line cover

Gas and vent line cover

Now I had some time to think, dream, and drool over cabinetry in the laundry room. I already had in my mind exactly what I wanted: tall cabinet closest to the corner with a bottom cabinet in the other and some extra countertops we had in the kitchen on top. But we aren’t into spending money, part of Reclaiming the Joneses is reusing items to better serve us. We got some used kitchen cabinets from a family member. I knew JUST what to do!

Stacked cabinets before

Stacked cabinets before

I stacked the three top cabinets and they turned out to be the perfect thing, specifically depth, for this tiny laundry room! I threw the bottom cabinet to the opposite corner. I Then took them outside and spray painted like there was no tomorrow. I wanted WHITE!

We stacked the cabinets again and screwed the backs directly into the wall. My husband then had this GENIUS idea of how to finish off one side of the cabinets: pallet wood! We had already used this look with the water heater cover and I loved it.

We then secured the bottom cabinet to the wall, added the countertop, and a closet bar. We had to cut the countertop funky because of the space in the room, it isn’t the prettiest thing but it does work.

And a close up of the pallet wood outlets the hubby made 🙂

Thanks for following along as I revealed my awesome laundry room!

Keep Reclaiming!

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Screened in Porch – Part 3

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The screened in porch is getting done today! Now that the frame is up and we have a good basis to put the screen on, it’s time to screen!

The screen we used was your everyday window screen – I didn’t go with pet screen or solar screen because it wasn’t necessary. You may consider solar screen on a porch that gets a LOT of sun coming in on it – it will significantly reduce the amount of heat build up.

I wanted something that would be simple to remove in the event I have to replace a section of screen. We began by cutting lattice slats to fit the top and bottom of the area between the posts. There is a 1×6 that was already on the patio that we were going to attach the lattice slats to. We then cut 1x4s to go over the 4x4s – the screen would be stapled underneath this and the 1×4 would help to secure the screen in between the staples. Painted these in almost no time – they dried so quickly because they weren’t very thick.

Then it was time to start putting up the screen. We began by measuring the length of the screen for the area and cutting at the bottom with a tiny bit of leg room. Sometimes when you start screening, you will end up with it somewhat uneven, as you staple to the boards it becomes VERY apparent towards the bottom- especially if you run out of screen! So give yourself an inch or two of wiggle room.

After we made sure the cut on the top was straight all the way across, we held it against the lattice slat and stapled it to the 1×6 on the top. This made sure that the screen didn’t start slipping on me as I stapled the sides and bottom. We went ahead and stapled ALL the tops so that my hubby could go work on another project while I finished the screen.

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From here, the rest was a breeze. Starting from the top, work your way down about a foot on one side then switch to the other pulling the screen tight as you are staple. Be sure to staple at an angle or even perpendicular to the screen. Doing so helps ensure the screen won’t come loose! Staple the bottom, trim excess. This took very little time in respect to the rest of the project.

I then caulked the bottom of the boards that were on the concrete. We already knew it would be exposed to water and we had already painted it with exterior paint – but one more line of defense never hurts anything! Next step was to place the 1x4s over the 4x4s. Best method for easy removal was screws. We predrilled the holes, 4 in total, about ever 2 feet. After this, we stapled the lattice slat to the bottom banister’s 2×4. Staples will be easy enough to remove and if the slat busts, it was a dime a dozen sort of deal.

Stay tuned for the reveal of the porch decorated! Find part 1 here and part 2 here. Keep Reclaiming!

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Screened In Porch – Part 2

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Time for part 2 of the screened in porch!

So after letting that concrete dry, we were ready to start putting up the posts. We decided to do the posts 36″ apart because that was the width of the screen material that we had on hand. Sure, you can do larger spans, but I figured the less space between, the less likely the screen will get ripped!

So we pulled out our handy dandy air hammer drill to drill holes for some railroad spikes we had on hand. This would serve as an anchor to hold the bracket in place for the 4x4s. This was some TOUGH work, by the end of all the posts the bit was completely toast. We secured the posts to the top board with a large nut and bolt. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of this process… it was pretty intensive and I had to help hold the posts as they were being bolted in.

Once we got the posts in place, it was time to work on the banisters. They aren’t necessary, but with a dog who is known to break through screens (sorry grandma!), I decided we needed these. We simple measured between each 4×4 and then cut the 2×4. We didn’t mass line this, we did one by one since some posts were original and slightly twisted. After the 2x4s were cut, we cut a LOT of 1x1s to serve as the spokes. This was an easy mass line: I measured while the hubby cut away!

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To secure the 1x1s to the 2x4s, we drilled holes in the 2x4s – marking it after measuring distance. Then we also drilled a hole in the end of the 1×1. Pre-drilling saves the hassle of a hard time hammering in place – this can be tricky when it is freestanding.  To attach, we used some flat galvanized nails, 3″ in length. I put the nails into the 2x4s – be careful to NOT step on this! then I added the 1x1s. You might need an extra hand to get the second 2×4 on – these little 1x1s move a lot!

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Valspar Duramax

Valspar Duramax

After all these bad boys were put together, it was time to paint. This is a long and tedious process. If I had to do it over again, I would have painted the banisters apart rather than together with all the nooks and crannies. I swear by Valspar’s Duramax – it is a nice thick paint that helps hide any dents and comes with a 25 year warranty! Cannot beat that!

Painting done – this took 3 coats, it was time to put them into place. We used an all purpose adhesive like liquid nails to secure the base of the banister to the concrete and then screwed the top into place.

We reused the storm door that came off of the garage door, simply screwed it directly into the 4x4s. The next step will be the screen – but that is a whole new project in itself!

Stay tuned for part 3! You can find part 1 here and part 3 here. Keep Reclaiming!

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Screened In Porch – Part 1

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So THIS is my exciting post! A screened in porch! Tennessee can have some pretty amazing temperatures in the spring and fall. For half the year we can open the windows and enjoy the cool mornings or warmer afternoons. We have had some uncharacteristically cool mornings and it has me wanting to be outside. The con: mosquitoes. We even have cases of West Nile here! Solution – screened in porch.

Back door from living room

Back door from living room

We have a fairly large back patio that is covered- 30′ x 10′. I figured we could easily just add some 2×4’s and some screen and viola! we have a screened in porch. If only it were that easy! But alas, our back patio has some serious water drainage issues with two areas that pool water. So we would have to build up or insert a drain.

Water pooling in corner of porch - this happens every time it rains

Water pooling in corner of porch – this happens every time it rains

We decided to build up and add a drain, just not the entire length of the porch. The first thing we had to do was cut into the concrete. We rented a concrete saw from the local home improvement store. That saw had to be the coolest tool we have rented. It ripped through that concrete like BUTTER! We cut through two large sections of concrete in less than an hour! We thought it would take much longer!

So we cut straight lines from one corner out to create a drain to run water off the patio in the shortest distance possible. We did the same in the other corner. Overall, we were quite pleased with the first step in this long process. This is what it looked like after we removed the concrete pieces (used a sledgehammer to loosen it up).

I was in a rush to get this porch completed, so we started to lay out the concrete wall base. You can see it in the above picture with the 2x4s laying on the ground. This served as a form for the new concrete we mixed and poured into place. Only mix one bag of crete at a time – anything more than that and it will solidify on you, unless of course you have an actual mixer 🙂 After you put some concrete in the form, dampen it down with a trowel. The more you dampen the bigger rocks move to the bottom of the concrete and the finer sand will come to the top. This is KEY! Dampen! Dampen! Dampen! If you don’t, then it will turn out all rocky and we just couldn’t have that. Below are the after concrete pour.

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We had two supervisors during this entire job. They approved of our excellent craftsmanship 🙂

See part 2 here and part 3 here. Keep Reclaiming!

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Our Home Tour – The Beginning

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Well of course y’all are wondering what makes this house our home. I am here to tell you why 😀

Roni Stoneman

Roni Stoneman

It was built in 1973 and the first owner was Roni Stoneman. She played Ida Lee on Hee Haw, but most importantly, a noted bluegrass banjo player. Living in Nashville, that just makes this little house a little more special. There is even evidence of her recording studio in the basement still. One of the previous owners removed it.

After Roni moved, the house was owned by a few other people. The last owner didn’t really know what he was doing as far as renovations were concerned and we have been trying to make a mends. Also, the house sat empty for nearly 3 years. We had dirt dobber nests, spiders, vandals – all in the house when we bought it. If that wasn’t enough, we had water damage in the basement and mold as a result from the Great Nashville Flood of 2010. Fortunately, we were able to stay with family as we worked on doing the floors. We knew this was the biggest job. We hauled 1.01 tons of trash to the landfill. It was worth the back breaking work to install those gorgeous wood floors 😀 Now that I have jabbered long enough, here are some images of the house BEFORE we started doing any changes.

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Keep Reclaiming!