We bought a duplex. The front unit was pretty nice. The back was not. We decided to live in the nice side for a couple months to get a head start on fixing up the other. Then we could move in and rent out the back to help afford it. This is how it’s going so far. We took possession at the end of August 2014 and I took the most recent photos mid December.
This is the first thing you saw when you came in. Off behind the wall is a living/dining room area. The kitchen was small and awkward and really didn’t fit in with the overall space so we decided to move it to the other side of the house.
And what it looks like after the cabinets are out. My friend Tom had a use for the cabinets so he came by to help remove them and take them away. After that, I managed to convince a bunch of other friends that demolishing houses was fun so they all came over and helped us rip the place up.
Before we go into the messy details, I think I’ll jump to the end. I know there are several schools of thought on this but I think most people like to see the results early so here’s the same view afterwards.
The entry railing is still temporary (see the 2×4?) but it’s basically complete at this point.
Looking back at entry way, before and after.
Here are a couple views of the living and dining room area. The kitchen is behind that section of wall with the hallway.
And here are a few views after as well as some kitchen detail shots.
So how did this go from the before to the after? A lot of work. Much of the main floor needed to be re-wired and a lot of plumbing had to move. Taking out the wall and all the flooring was only the start.
Kitchen was being rewired to it’s just easier to take off the walls.
I didn’t pay for a lot of labor but putting up drywall on the ceiling seemed like a good choice for subcontracting. Here are a couple progress shots.
While this is going on, I’m figuring out the wiring. A lot of re-wiring is detective work. To come up with this map I was disconnecting and shorting out wires and then using a continuity tester to see which was which.
And making a lot of trips into the attic. Late August, early September is about a zillion degrees up there so painters suit with nothing underneath is about the best you can do.
Just pretend it’s snow. Really hot, itchy snow that gets in every orifice and is hard to wash off. I spent a LOT of time up there. I had to install 12 pot lights, 3 regular lights, 2 in-ceiling speakers and fish about a dozen wires to wall switches and plugs.
After all that, the wiring is finally done and ready to be inspected.
Perhaps you’re wondering what Sharon was doing. Well, a LOT of painting for one thing. 26 gallons at final count. She also did a lot of work on the flooring, cleaning and was in charge of all planning, scheduling, shopping, and generally keeping our lives from completely falling apart while we spend an extra 40-50 hours per week working. We’ve discovered that her in management and me in labor works very well for both of our sanities.
The next few shots show the place after the drywall has gone up. They also show the scope of clutter we had to deal with whenever we did a big shopping run. We discovered that Home Depot would occasionally do an interest free deferment on a purchase if you hit a certain amount so we would take the massive shopping list and buy 3 or 4 thousand dollars worth of material in one shot.
Spare room ready for flooring but blocked by temporary tile storage.
Putting down cement backer-board.
1/4″ plywood underlayment.
Starting to tile the kitchen.
There are some pretty clever products out there for spacing and leveling tiles. Works really well especially when you’re using larger tiles.
Kitchen tiles finished.
We chose a nice grey laminate for the bedrooms. As with anything, floor prep is key. 1/4″ plywood and cork underlay and this stuff went in great. Looks fantastic and feels solid as a rock.
Used a really nice engineered bamboo for the main area. It’s durable, beautiful and environmentally friendly.
The kitchen people came and installed the cabinets. It was then that I realized that I had put the row of recessed lighting too close to the cabinets on one wall so I had to move them. Pain in the ass. I didn’t want to make a huge mess on already finished surfaces so I made a tent with drop sheets so that I could drywall to my hearts content.
Bica doing what she does best.
Got them all moved and now the first views start to come in.
Countertop and sink installed, time to plumb it up.
Purty backsplash. My friend Cedric came and helped out with this bit.
Working on the under cabinet lights. I wanted the wires hidden so I had to fish them through behind the cabinets and trim. I fished strings through and made loops that I could use to pull wires along. You pull along one string to get it out the hole, then tie the end to the next string to pull it to the next hole while keeping the connector sticking out the first one. Lather rinse repeat.
Here’s the stove backsplash going up and the range hood being installed.
Here’s a nice view of the entry way tiles. Cedric helped with those too. He’s a good worker. I should hire him for beer again some time.
A lot of other things happened although not quite so dramatic as the main area. Sharon did a minor makeover of this bathroom with paint, curtains, new medicine cabinet, etc.
Sorry about the distortion. Tried panorama mode to get a wider shot.
I replaced all the doors on the main floor and the two main floor bedrooms got new floors, paint, baseboards, lighting, switches, cover plates and closet doors.
Thanks for looking. We’ve still got a few things to do on the main floor but it’s pretty much done. Stay tuned for the next phase which takes place in the basement. Since this is a bungalow, we have about the same square footage to work with directly below this.