The Fun Part Now Begins

So much work is now complete in our old house. But, most of that work hasn’t been glamorous. Framing and foundation work…plumbing, electrical, and duct work…all inspected and approved.

Now, we finally begin to see the installation of our beautiful material selections. It’s starting to look like a home!

The hardwood floors in our large kitchen were in rough shape. We decided to pull those up and use the good wood to patch the damaged areas throughout the house. Then, we installed an all-new sub-floor. Check out the installation of our brand-new kitchen hardwoods that match the 100-year-old quarter-sewn pine in the rest of the house.


Tomorrow, the new roof begins installation. The rotten siding is being replaced, and we’ll soon have an outside paint color to show you. And, the plaster repairs begin on Monday.

There are so many fun pictures to come. Light fixtures, tile, faucets, cabinetry, and more. So exciting!

“Ladies Changing Durham”

When we purchased the Colclough house, Jennifer and I met with dozens of contractors. They’d come down the driveway, open the truck door, and exclaim something like “this is quite the project.” Or, “do you two really own this?” Or even, “I’m a little freaked out about going upstairs.” Seriously.

It’s amazing to us just how many of these guys … guys who work on homes every day … had no vision for this house or thought we were crazy for taking on this giant restoration.

But, one guy pulled up, jump out of his truck and exclaimed “Ladies changing Durham!” We immediately loved this guy!

So far, we’ve surrounded ourselves with experts that see the vision and respect that two women can make it happen.

One of those experts is our electrical company Dynamic Electric. Check out Andrea, one of the electricians who wired the entire house. We think she’s pretty adorable along with being a badass! She’s definitely another lady changing Durham!


Wall-to-Wall Wood


Have you ever heard the saying “It’s gonna get worse before it gets better”?  Well, that certainly applies to the Colclough house.

As you’ve seen in our previous posts, we removed a few walls to turn three rooms into one big kitchen.  The floors in that new layout were good and bad, with many damaged areas. In other areas of the house, we have some patching to do. Our solution? We removed the entire kitchen floor. The good wood will be used for patching. Anything left will be sold for use in other homes.

As you can see in the photo above, we used one of the front formal rooms as the holding area for all that wood flooring along with a lot of the bead board that we removed from the ceilings. We also tried to remove all the old nails from each strip of wood.

The new kitchen will feature a new subfloor and all new hardwoods using the same cut and species of wood: quarter sewn heart of pine. This is the finest cut of wood used back in 1910.

This week, Sedaris Flooring began to patch all the damaged areas throughout the house. When the house is close to completion, they’ll come back to sand and seal the floors throughout the entire house.



People You Should Know

Things are moving fast at the Colclough House. In the past few weeks, so many experts have put their stamp on this historic restoration. Here’s the first list of contractors who’ve exceeded our expectations.

Asbestos removal. We hope you never find asbestos in your home, but, if you do, call ABControl. Call Jeff at 919-363-7575.


Foundation Repair and Reconstruction. Thanks to Ken Gash at Turnlight Partners, our foundation is rock-solid. Not sure why this extremely tall man chose to work in short spaces, but we’re sure glad he did. Call Ken at 919-475-8866.


Project Management and Site Supervision. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again…we’re super lucky to have Trinity Build/Design on our side. Steven manages the sub-contractors, schedules, and budget, and Trent directs the work on-site. We’ve learned so much hanging with them on a daily basis. If you need a GC, give Lee a call at 704-277-2699.


Plumbing. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but seeing the plumbing installed was really exciting. I guess this was the first sign of new, modern materials installed in this old home. Greene Hunt Plumbing installed the rough-in (all the plumbing behind the walls and under the house) with meticulous precision. Archie seems to be a perfectionist. You can reach Greene Hunt at 919-291-5209.

Heating and Air. We chose to work with Brown’s Heating and Air Conditioning because they met all three criteria: high-quality, on-time, and on-budget. Bobby provided us with a great estimate for the highest-quality Trane products including gas furnaces. And, they’re delivering right-on schedule. Give Bobby a call at 336-570-2321.

Tree Removal. The team of tree experts with Gonzales Tree Care swooped in yesterday and removed one large tree and numerous huge branches over the house. In less than two hours, they cleaned up and drove away. Brian provided us with an expert evaluation of our tree situation along with fair price options. Call Brian at 919-231-9244.


Coming soon! Electrical, roof, wood floors, and carpentry.

“Dirty Jobs”

Jenn and I have always been “hands-on” when it comes to our flips and we don’t mind getting a little dirty in the process. But we’ve found ourselves grossed out on more than one occasion.

While there is so much about the Colclough House that we love, we are finding a whole lot of nastiness in the demo!

We were removing everything from the upstairs hall bath and needed to move the toilet downstairs and to the dumpster out back. We hoped we could move it easily and without leakage. WE WERE WRONG! Let’s just say that Jenn’s sneakers were christened and there was a whole lot of gagging going on!

After the toilet fiasco we moved on to our next bathroom project. We are converting an upstairs bedroom into the master ensuite and needed to remove the bead board ceiling in the room directly below it so the plumber would have full access to the floor joists to run the plumbing.

It was painstaking work since we were trying to salvage the bead board for future use. As we pried the boards out a whole lot of dust, debris and rodent poop fell on our heads! Thank goodness for hats, glasses, respirators and hot showers!

Mike Rowe would be proud!

Heavy Metal

Our contractor let us borrow their magnet roller, a rectangle on wheels with a high-intensity magnet inside.


We spent a couple of hours rolling the property to capture all the nails and screws that could flatten our tires.  Look what we found!



Jennifer and I have made a ton of progress over the last several weeks with great appreciation to our building team at Trinity Design/Build. With the expertise of Lee, Steven, Trent, and Jody, we have complete architectural plans, an engineer review of the home’s structure, the building permit, numerous sub-contractors scheduled, and, finally, our windows ordered.

The previous owner replaced many of the home’s old windows with cheap, vinyl windows. And, because these windows were much smaller than the original, the previous owner filled in the gaps with wood trim.


Notice the large wood trim around the smaller windows.

As you know, we’re working with the Historic Preservation Office to restore this home. And, the HPO is extremely particular about windows. We set out to find 13 standard windows (custom is cost prohibitive) to match the style of the original windows of the house.


The windows above are just a few of the original windows that we’re saving and trying to match.

Our challenge…find a standard-sized window that comes close to the original opening (no wood fill) with nine lights on top and one on the bottom. (See the nine squares on top and the single on the bottom above.) The windows should be wood at least on the inside, and, even though the top nine lights won’t be individual pieces of glass, it should appear so with what’s called “shadow bars.”  This is called “SDL” or simulated divided lights.

Thanks to Builders First Source and Windsor Windows, we found them! After weeks and weeks of HPO discussions, they’re approved and ordered!

Up next, foundation repairs and more demo.