Home Renovation

The Crestview Project

The Crestview project was technically the first home renovation my husband and I tackled without actually living in the home upon completion.  We purchased it strictly to transform the home for someone else to enjoy.  If you take into account the homes we have renovated and lived in, then the Crestview house would be our fourth remodel project.

It has been our dream to own real estate and renovate properties ever since we were first married.  It takes a ton of hard work, discipline, and faith to accomplish a house “flip”.  Home renovating can be downright painful at times.  Mentally, physically, and financially painful.  However, in my opinion, there is not much that compares to the reward of seeing a house transform from the “before” to the “after”.  It has become a passion of mine, and as soon as our current project is completed, I am anxiously awaiting the next.

It is so exciting to walk into a home for the first time, and dream about it’s potential.  I would guess that most people were probably not as excited as I was when entering the Crestview house.  The neighbors actually jokingly (not jokingly) asked us to please “throw a match in it” during our first conversation.

The Crestview house had sat empty for a total of 8.5 years.  Well, I shouldn’t say completely empty.  When we purchased the property in the fall of 2015, the only tenant who had been living in this 1950s ranch was a raccoon.  So, it wasn’t completely unoccupied.  We kicked the little guy out, and in November, we got to work.

We LOVE to demo!  It really is so incredibly enjoyable to me.  The Crestview house had a ton of old wood paneling that needed to be taken off and saved for later use, so that was hugely time consuming for the first day.  My husband tore it all off of the walls and put all the boards in a heaping pile on day one.  I later spent an entire day pulling nails from the boards, and stacking them in the garage so that we could reuse them after we rewired, insulated, and plumbed the house.

We tore a ridiculous amount of material out of Crestview.  It pretty much went down to the studs in a large majority of the house.  Ceilings came down.  Wiring, ductwork, plumbing, drywall, woodwork, lighting, doors, flooring-it all got thrown away.  I believe we filled eight dumpsters by the time it was all said and done.  Dumpsters…who knew getting rid of trash could be so expensive?

Trash removal wasn’t the only expensive thing in this project.  As I said, the whole house needed assistance.  On the exterior of the home, we had the roof reshingled, all new windows, and the soffit and facia were updated.  There was a terrible decrepit wooden deck on the side of the house that my husband tore off, and then we replaced it with a concrete patio.

My husband also removed tons of old debris, dead trees, bushes, etc. from around the property, and he also spent a day power washing the siding on the house.  It was amazing to see what simply cleaning the exterior of a house can do!  It turned out beautifully.

The inside also turned out pretty great.  I took photos of the progress on a daily basis so that I could watch the transformation take place bit by bit.  I thoroughly enjoy looking at all of those pictures, because, for me, it tells a story.  However, I know for lots of people, those pictures might be a little mundane and pointless.  Therefore, below I have attached the traditional “before” and “after” pictures.

First up is the mudroom.  It was decked out with the sweet seventies paneling and rockin’ blue carpet.  My husband had the brilliant idea to “wall off” the mudroom from the living room so that traffic would only flow into the kitchen.  It seems like the obvious best decision now, but trust me, it wasn’t so obvious to me in the beginning.

Believe it or not, I thought the mudroom should stay open to the living room.  My argument was that everyone these days wants an open floor plan, and I thought it seemed strange to put a wall up when everyone wants to take walls down.  However, after he convinced me that I could have a bench and coat hooks on the mudroom wall, and the future-owner’s television would go on the opposite side of the wall in the living room, I was convinced.  It was a great choice.

In home renovation (flipping), there are 14 million decisions to be made, and sometimes it’s difficult to choose the very best one.  Especially when you are trying to make decisions for, well, not you.  Someone else is going to live in this house and you have to try to guess what they will want in their home.

The living room was huge.  I loved the beams on the vaulted ceiling.  However, I did not love the stamped drywall pattern in between each beam.  Our contractor added pine boards in between each beam to add a bit of character, and then painted it all a bright white.

As you notice from the “before” pictures, there were skylights in the living room that we decided to eliminate while redoing the roof.  We simply didn’t feel like dealing with a faulty skylight if that were to potentially happen.  We envisioned a perfectly redone house, and then, a giant rain storm pouring onto a brand new hardwood floor.  So, decision made.  Skylights gone.

Our contractor faced a bit of a challenge wiring the chandelier, however, being as amazing as he is, he figured it out.  We used bamboo on the floors.  New woodwork.  We updated the exterior door.

As you can see from the next picture, we took down the sandstone on the wall.  We received a mixed review on this decision.  Some people loved the sandstone, others thought it was outdated.  I was in the latter group, so “Tada!”, sandstone eliminated.  Sorry sandstone lovers.  But, I did recycle the wood paneling we tore off in the beginning.  Except, instead of it being hung vertically everywhere, it’s now horizontal.

Another piece of architecture we removed were the little “half walls” separating each room.  We thought it looked much better and felt a great deal more open without them.  Of course, then, all of the wood got a fresh coat of white paint upon completion.

Next up, the kitchen.  This was the room that, before purchasing, I simultaneously loved and hated the most.  I loved the giant windows over the sink that overlooked the front yard.  I was so excited about all of the counter space.  You can never have enough!  The cabinets, despite their awful appearance on first glance, were actually in pretty great shape.  The only thing that they needed was new hardware, a fresh coat of paint, and a bath.  Not in that order.  And, ohhhhhh the paneling.

Loads and loads of paneling.  As you can see, we tore all of it off, and reused it as part of a feature wall in the kitchen.  Those were all of my happy thoughts toward the kitchen.  But, I also had some sad thoughts.

The thing that I hated the most was the kitchen layout.  There was this giant hutch that jutted out right into the center of the kitchen that made the room seem tight and closed off.  We actually ended up cutting that hutch in half, painting it black, and sitting it up on the countertops.  That hutch and I became friends in the end.

My contractor made the countertops and island from inexpensive pine.  I loved the way that they turned out.  There are many tutorials on Pinterest if you are interested in this type of countertop.

The chalkboard is painted directly on the wall and simply framed out with recycled wood from the house (that we painted and distressed).

If you notice to the left of the chalkboard, there used to be a “laundry room” in that space.  We ended up tearing all of that out and moving the laundry room to where the bathroom was located.  We took one of the house’s four bedrooms, and made it into the bathroom.   We enjoyed moving things around in this house so that it made more sense in the end.

Another project that included moving things around began in the dining room.  In the dining room there were two hutch cabinets flanking the fireplace.  We ended up placing them back to back, one in the kitchen, and one in the dining room.  Moving the hutch cabinet that was to the right of the fireplace (in the dining room) to the kitchen, as well as tearing out the little laundry room in the kitchen, provided enough room to make a walkway from the kitchen to the dining room so that the two rooms weren’t so separate from one another.  I felt like I could breathe better in this house once this transformation took place.

In the end, the kitchen was hands down my favorite room in the house.  It is just adorable.

As I said before, in the dining room we separated the two hutches and placed them back to back, one in the kitchen, and one in the dining room.  I stared and stared at that awful fireplace, trying to make the best out of what was there, hoping that we could salvage something and make it cute.  I. Just. Couldn’t. Stand. It.  We tore off the entire face of it, and hired a mason to come and lay new brick.

Our contractor, once again, reused the old paneling, and added a bit of shiplap at the top of the fireplace.  He purchased a rough cut piece of lumber from a local business for the mantel top, and built the mantel base himself.  The fireplace needed a new (expensive) firebox, so we opted for my girlfriend to create the “faux logs” in the fireplace.  I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.

This project ended up taking about 24 weeks to complete.  My husband and I worked on it when possible, but most of the work is done by our contractor.  We tell him our vision, and he brings it to life.  It’s a beautiful thing.

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