Reno Week 1- Demo for Days

Tomorrow marks 1 week since we closed on the house!! Finally. We seriously didn’t know if the day would ever come. The hold-up involved an existing mortgage on the property that had been paid off many years ago by the seller, but paperwork had not been filed properly by the bank. No big deal, track down the bank and get the papers. Except, the bank was no longer in existence and had been bought out by PNC. Now all we needed was a huge national banking corporation to find paperwork that was over 3o years old… Yea, so that’s why we closed a month later than we were supposed to. But, as my darling niece Natalie would say, “It’s in the past.”

So how do we celebrate finally purchasing our little cottage in the woods? By tearing it apart, duh! The entire upstairs needed to be gutted. The carpeting had been used as a doggy pee-pad by the tenant that had lived here the last 3 years. The dark wood work was pretty outdated and the layout left us with a big bathroom with no shower and 2 very small kids bedrooms. From the minute we saw the property, we knew the upstairs had tons of potential because of lots of dead space. It would just require time and a lot of sweat equity. It also would mean our kids are sleeping on couches for a while and us sleeping in a closet. People sometimes ask if we are crazy, we often wonder so ourselves.

Here are some pictures of the upstairs before we started ripping it apart:

Immediately after returning home from our closing, I got to work prepping for demo. Let me note here that I am asthmatic and have very bad allergies to dust, so this work is perfect for me! We wanted to make sure we kept as much of the dust upstairs as possible. So we taped up a big plastic sheet and attached a zipper to it right down the middle so we can get through. This really confuses our little pup, but has been fairly effective so far.

(Mom, this picture is for you to show that I am being smart for my lungs, AND I’m wearing an Iron pigs shirt…)

Now that the plastic was up and my face mask and safety goggle swagger was on, it was time to say goodbye to the carpet and moulding. Jordan helped me for a little bit getting the moulding off of the walls. As soon as a I can figure out how, I will post the video of him taking down some dry wall. It was pretty fun to watch 🙂


Pretty soon the carpeting was out, but anyone who has ever taken up carpeting knows the fun part is taking the billions of staples out of the subfloor. See all those little green spots? That is where the carpet cushioning stuff is still stapled to the floor…


A week later and we still aren’t done with this. I have no idea why…


Seth got home after work on the first day and although it was late, we just couldn’t resist the temptation to knock some walls down. We had been waiting so long! So we decided to clear out the closet from the old master bedroom and take down the walls that were holding it up.


After night one, we were covered head to toe in drywall (see below), but felt super accomplished and relieved.


On Demo Day 2 my dad came up to visit not knowing that we had already started demo. What’s that dad? You want to help? Well would you look at that, we have an extra set of work gloves. He also brought over my 13-year-old nephew, Isaiah. It was a full family effort.


The morning of Day 2 also was delivery day for our dumpster! Coming in at $390, this 16 yard dumpster will be a huge help. Only problem is, it takes up pretty much our entire driveway and needs to be out by next week in order for the septic repairs to begin (Oh, did I mention we need a new septic?…). So time is seriously of the essence.

Now because we are doing this all ourselves on a budget, we decided before we even started that we were going to try to salvage as much of the wood as possible to reuse it (inspired by Rehab Addict). We knew we would save quite a bit of money, but it definitely comes at a cost time-wise. First we have to get all the wood safely outside, instead of just throwing it out into the dumpster. Luckily, the previous owner/builder of the house, put a convenient hatch in the wall of a closet upstairs that opens right up to the space above our patio. So all we need is someone willing to stand on the ledge of a big hole in the wall and carefully drop heavy pieces of wood studded with nails down onto the patio without breaking the windows below… that’s what they make nephews for!

Next we needed someone to take all of the old nails out of the wood we were saving. You know, kids are off from school in the summer and it is our job as parents to keep their work ethic on par with what it should be. Right? (Just kidding, Pop-pop offered to pay them…)


We pay in ice cream…

It’s not just individual boards we are saving. We even went so far as to sawzall whole walls down and relocate them. It saved us a LOT of time, and money. As of today we have framed out half of our walk in closet and all of the hallway (except for our bedroom door) with wood we salvaged (approximately 30 2x4s).



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This week we also went to Miller’s Surplus Home Store in Catasauqua, because they are selling off everything since they lost their lease. We got tile for the bathroom and for the laundry room at $0.79/sqft, and laminate floor with the padding already attached for $1.59/sqft. We also got all of the base moulding that we will need for upstairs for $75, and two nice wood doors. It was a freaking steal!

The interesting part of that trip was getting all of the stuff into the house. The laminate needed to be kept inside so that it could acclimate to the temperature of the house before we lay it down. Instead of keeping it somewhere else just to move it again when we are ready, we just opted to put it upstairs now. So we used the handy-dandy patio door yet again! All-in-all it was 4 bundles of moulding, 9 boxes of tile, 2 doors and 42 boxes of flooring that went up. Yes, forty-two. Quite the workout.

Now, no condo2cottage post would be complete without mention of our beloved pup, Ted. The poor thing is trying to figure out how to handle all of the loud noises and construction mess. He decided on two occasions to retaliate and go to the bathroom in the demo-zone. But I think he is finally starting to settle down a bit. You can tell he is torn between running away from the chaos and sticking by our sides loyally. He doesn’t do well with change lol. But he sure does make a cute subject for photographs!

Well folks, that pretty much brings us to the end of week one. We are exhausted, sick of take-out food and sore. But we are psyched for all of the progress we have made so far and can’t wait to get more done this upcoming week! I leave you with these creepy photos of my husband, reminiscent of The Shining, and sure to give you nightmares…

Costs this week:

Dumpster: $390

Framing nails: $20

Tile: $128 (savings of $200)

Framing Wood: $0 (savings of $85)

Laminate Floor: $1113 (savings of $700 compared to $2.59/sqft at Home Depot)

Total cost: $1651….. Total savings: $985


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