It’s The Little Things

Many times the small jobs take the most time…and they deliver a heap of frustration. The 80/20 rule applies here. The small jobs (20%) seem to take the most time (80%).

IMG_4958For example, when we took possession of our current renovation, our first priority was to change the toilet seats and get things cleaned up. But, one toilet seat would not budge. The bolt was corroded in rust, and that sucker wasn’t moving.

After pulling the toilet into the front yard (classy), we were able to knock off that sucker. That’s a 25-year-old toilet. Oh, the stories it could tell.

Now, the town home has transformed. And, we’re not finished yet. So far, we’ve completed the following:

  • All-new floors from top to bottom.
  • New stainless-steel appliances.
  • New AC unit. (We weren’t expecting that expense, but that Apollo system had to go!)
  • 18 beautiful light fixtures.
  • Granite in the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • All-new solid-wood cabinets with soft-close drawers.
  • Brushed-nickel fixtures everywhere.
  • Smooth ceilings in every room.
  • Every surfaced painted.

We’ll leave you with a few photos of the kitchen mid-renovation.

This week we’ll be working on a new tile backsplash in the kitchen featuring a grey grout that coordinates with the countertops, wall paint, and floors. Plus, we need to swap out all the beige switches and outlets for white ones along with finishing the painting. It’s already so beautiful!

If you know someone looking to buy for under $200k in the 27613 zip code, let us know. The home is walking distance to Lake Lynn, includes swim and tennis, and is convenient to Highway 70 and I-540. We’d be glad to give you a preview. Realtor friends, we definitely value your service, and we’ll certainly pay the 2.4% realtor fee.

This move-in ready home features 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, a beautiful deck that overlooks the trees, plus a bonus loft with tons and tons of storage.

Stayed tuned. We’ll post before-and-after photos soon!

First-Week Fun

Jennifer and I covered a lot last week…even with my daughter and Jennifer’s nephew graduating from high school.

Demo is complete! We named our dumpster Bertha. We held a small service when she left us — she served us well. (BTW, we filled the dumpster in 8 hours!)


With the new floors being installed next week, it’s important to have the cabinets installed and the nasty ceiling and walls prepped. No more popcorn ceilings! And, we could do messy projects this week without worrying about damaging the floors. For example, instead of painting all the stair rails and spindles by hand, we could use spray paint. Yep, spray paint! But, using spray paint indoors can be dangerous. So, we use googles and respirators. Pretty!


The cabinets look fantastic! The townhouse looks brighter and better every single day.



Demo Day!

The renters are gone, and we’re finally in our townhouse. Time to sling the sledgehammer!!

Here are a couple “before” pictures.


Our goal today: Get all old cabinet, counter tops, and vanities into the dumpster.

Here’s an action shot.


At the end of the day, we fit every single item into that dumpster.


Check out the gutted kitchen! And, we were able to finish before the sun went down. Time to shower and go to bed.


Back to Where It All Started

Jennifer and I are ready to jump on our next renovation! This adorable town house is in the 27613 zip code…the same area of Raleigh where we met. AWWWW.

Queen Anne Front

This area of town is HOT! Great schools, great shopping, great community.

The 3 bedroom, 2-1/2 bath home needs a lot of work, but we’re gonna make it shiny and new, top to bottom. Great fireplace, built-ins, and a beautiful, large deck with a private view of trees in the back. There’s even a large loft with skylights that could be a home office or fourth bedroom.

This foreclosure is very different from the last in that it’s not vacant. We’ve officially owned it for a week, but we can’t swing the sledgehammer yet. There are renters who have until May 31 to move out. In a situation like this, we must follow the law that protects renters.

Even though we cannot work in the home, we’ve been super busy picking out the new cabinets, floors, granite, tile, lighting, and more. Like I said, shiny and new.

Looking forward to June 1 — DEMO DAY!


A Big Shout-Out!

Our Five-Points cottage is now sold, and we’ve placed a bid on another foreclosing property located in North Raleigh. If no one out-bids us, we’ll have our next renovation at 5pm on Monday!

Looking back, we would not have been so successful without the help from several key experts. Here are two local specialists we highly recommend.

Our dear friend and certified building contractor Jeff Williams came to our rescue in assembling and hanging our barn-door sliders. Jeff’s forte is big projects, like full-house remodels, kitchens, baths, outdoor spaces. But, we needed brute strength and the expertise of properly securing and hanging these hefty, beautiful doors. He came to our rescue. So, if you’re in the Triangle and need an expert for your home remodel, call Jeff at 336-314-1010.

Second, you may have seen the beautiful cast-iron tub in our last renovation. When we took possession of the property, the tub looked awful, and the surrounding tile was an ugly beige. Don with A Perfect Surface refinished the tub and tile to perfection. (I even hired him to refinish my own claw-foot tub.) Don can be reached at 919-698-9142.

Whether your renovating your own home or someone else’s, know when to hire an expert for a job done right.



Doors Are a Pain in the Ass

In the Bernard renovation, we learned that taking care of the existing doors can be a HUGE time sucker.

For a 1950s home, the doors are magnificent. They are solid wood, which means they weigh a lot. Especially the front and back doors. We certainly would not replace them.

We found that the previous home owners painted over the existing hinges. That’s decades of layers of paint. After hours of chiseling  with a screwdriver and hammer, we found the screws and removed the hinges. The new hinges make such a difference to this clean, updated home.


In a recent post, you saw that we used a heat gun to remove lawyers of paint from the back door. Unfortunately, when the heat came near the glass, the glass cracked! So, we removed all the panes and wood frame to restore this beautiful door. We spent almost two days just on this door! But, it was worth it.

Have you considered the inside paint color of your doors? Most folks don’t think about painting the interior-side of their doors a fun color. We decided to go with a cool blue on the inside of both the front and back doors. With grey walls, wood features, and a pale blue ceiling, it’s perfect!



Never overlook the beauty and potential of your home’s doors.