Measure Twice, Cut Three Times

I obsess about the big picture – am I on budget, will I meet my project deadline, are my partners happy, are the contractors doing good work – things like that.

My wife…my wife obsesses about the finishes.  She’ll spend 15 minutes debating me about shades of gray (hehe), the placement of the kitchen island, the budget (“but for $200 more, this is light fixture soooo much better”) … and that’s exactly what I need!  I have little interest in being bothered with that kind of stuff; I’ve got far bigger issues to deal with.

With that said, it’s no surprise that I missed a rather glaring issue in out master bedroom that she saw within the first 5 seconds of stepping in the room.

As we’ve wrote about in the past, the master bedroom went through several iterations – we ended up expanding the size of the closet and adding a large fireplace.   This all happened after we had drawn new electrical for overhead lights.   You get the picture … the lighting placement just didn’t look right after we moved things around.

The first time we moved the light placement was after we expanded the closet.  I told my electrician to “center it.”  I never looked at it again.

My wife, however, quickly realized it wasn’t “centered” with the fireplace…it just looked off.  Fortunately for me, my father is an electrical engineer and charges me $0 per hour.  A little father-son bonding and 1 hour of work, the lighting was moved for a third and final time.

Check it out below – far left hole (placement #1), large hole in the middle (placement #2), final hole centered with fireplace (placement #3).

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A Guest Post From …

…..the Wife!!

Hi there! It’s Harriet – i’m the reason for all of the large bills from Home Depot, Build.com, Pottery Barn, Sherwin Williams and Restoration Hardware, just to name a few.  Yep, I’m the reason projects always seem to come in over budget.  With good reason, though!

I know my husband is focused on the budget, but when you are trying to beautifully rehab a property,  you sometimes need a little pizzaz! Unfortunately, pizzaz = money.

Over the weekend we did one of my favorite shopping trips for the Century Home – lighting! We shopped at two local lighting stores to find just what the flip needed…a little sparkle!  While we always try to leave plenty of room in our budget for lighting and other finish projects, our daughter Mila couldn’t take her eyes off of one of the most expensive (and sparkly) chandeliers we’ve ever seen! Definitely castle worthy!

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Here’s a sneak peak of the dining room chandelier we chose – a slightly tarnished silver that will definitely go well with the 100 year old sconces we were able to salvage.

We haven’t been updating the blog as often as we should, but I have to brag for moment.  When you seen the end result … the transformation … your jaws will drop!  My hubby is an intelligent man, but with all of the stress he’s been under to hit project deadlines, I think he’s been too distracted by the little things to realize just how beautiful the Century Home flip will be.

Ladies, this home is something we fantasize about.  The walk in closet is the size of most bedrooms.  The master bedroom is just as big and has a gorgeous fireplace, where the crystals radiate more than the flames.  The kitchen is inviting and will be perfect for hosting large parties.  Stay tuned, we’re just a few weeks away from hitting the market!

Xo,
Harriet + Mila + our little dog Zeus

Master Bath – Tile Sneak Peak

Construction is moving fast! Much faster than I can keep up with on the blog!  Our crews are finishing up some minor drywall repairs, installing trim around the new doors and windows, crown molding in a few of the rooms and, most importantly, tile in both the master and kids bathroom!

Here is a sneak peak, with compliments to The Tile Shop for their awesome product selection and design inspiration. Can’t wait to show off the finished product!

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Century Home: Interior Before Pictures

We’re officially on day 6 of construction at the Century House.  So far, our HVAC contractor has been removing the existing radiators and associated plumbing in preparation for a whole-house forced air system.  Our general trades will begin demo of the kitchen, bathrooms and a few walls on the second floor this week.  We’re beyond excited to be in the full throws of rehab.

I stopped by the house earlier this week to take a few “before” interior photos.  Below is a quick photo tour of what will, in 3-4 months, be a beautifully restored home in  a storied neighborhood.

Note: The home was vacant for two years and was broken into by some punk kids, who decided to add a little bit of their own vulgar graffiti. 

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Butler stairwell and butler’s pantry off the kitchen. Both will be demo’d to increase the size of the kitchen by 40%.

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Kitchen – cabinets and soffit to be demo’d this week. Increased square footage will allow for a center island.

Dining Room - love the coffered ceiling!

Dining Room – love the coffered ceiling!

Looking down from the stairwell to the front entry.  To the left, the living room.  To the right, the dining room.

Looking down from the stairwell to the front entry. To the left, the living room. To the right, the dining room.

Center hall colonial - stairwell leading to the second floor.

Center hall colonial – stairwell leading to the second floor.

HUGE living room.

HUGE living room.

The hardware in the home is tremendous!

The hardware in the home is tremendous!

Third floor.  Will make for an amazing rec room.

Third floor. Will make for an amazing rec room.

Second floor hallway.

Second floor hallway.

Current master bath.

Current master bath.

Reader Email: DIY or Hire a Contractor?

Hi Guys.  Love the blog! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us; it’s awesome to see.  Flipping a house is something my husband and I have wanted to do for a while, but aren’t really sure where to start. We both have full-time jobs, so I’m not sure if we even have the time.  Do you do the work yourselves, or do you have contractors? Thanks so much.  I can’t wait to see how your latest project turns out – it’s huge!

– Joan

Hi Joan,

Thanks for the email and the
kind words! Great question. We’ve done both.

For our first property (a rental) we basically did everything ourselves (paint, tile, flooring, bathrooms, finished basement, etc).  The rehab took a total of 63 days, with my father and I working most weeknights from 6-10 and then weekends from 8am – 8pm.  We subbed out plumbing and the garage rebuild.  Between my full time job and the rehab, I was working about 80 hours a week.  It wasn’t ideal, but we saved a lot of money. We also do most all of the work at our other rental properties.  If you’re not afraid of putting in the time, then by all means do the work yourselves!  It’s a great way to appreciate and understand everything that goes into a rehab.

That said, I’ll probably never do that again.  For our Century Home flip we’ve subbed out the entire scope of the project, from electrical and plumbing to paint.  There is certainly pieces of the project we could do ourselves to save some cash, but given the size of the house there is no way we’d be able to meet our project timeline.  Managing a crew is a full-time job in and of itself, so while I may not be laying tile I’m sure I’ll be glued to my phone.

Good luck!

We’re Back!

So, I’ve been MIA for awhile! I’m sorry!

We’ll have more regular updates over the next several weeks as we transition from our latest rental property rehab to some DIY projects around our house in anticipation of our baby girl’s birth in late October. My wife is ready to kill me as I haven’t even started the nursery 😮

Until then, I have a lot to share – we recently completed the rehab of our first rental property, bought a second one and are on the lookout for a third. It’s been an interesting journey thus far, with far too many “Oh shit, I didn’t budget for that” moments and late nights to boot.

Kitchen Update – Demo Complete!

Construction is well on its way in all corners of the rental property – from stripping wallpaper in each of the eight rooms and hallways, demoing the waterlogged walls in the basement, interior waterproofing and most notably, rehabbing the kitchen!

Our plans for the kitchen are as follows:

  1. Update flooring in the kitchen and hallway with either tile or luxury vinyl tile
  2. Put in new granite countertops and backsplash
  3. Install new cabinet hardware (nobs and pulls)
  4. Replace light figures (there’s a ceiling fan in the kitchen!)

To keep within budget, my wife and I decided to keep the existing cabinets.  While we originally wanted to replace them, the cabinets are in tremendous shape and are only a few years old. We’re optimistic that new flooring, cabinet hardware,backsplash and colorful granite will be sufficient to give this kitchen the updated look it deserves.

We just wrapped up demoing the existing square white (beige?) tile backsplash and removing the old countertops.  Next step is to install drywall and select our finished – the fun part!  We’ll be sure to keep you in the loop!

Before

Before

Demo Complete

Demo Complete