Reno Week 2-It’s not easy being green, or framing walls

We made it through Week 2 and nobody has any more puncture wounds or lockjaw!! Woohoo! I am very relieved that the streak of bad luck we had going only lasted a day or so (knock on wood, and whatever other superstitious things you are supposed to do to not jinx yourself!!).

The week started off with us losing our dumpster, so we had to figure out how we were going to get rid of the rest of our debris, and haul in all of the supplies we needed. Over the last few years there have been so many times that we needed to borrow a truck or van from someone. It has always been a big inconvenience so we decided to bite the bullet and buy a used pick up truck. Luckily, my brother-in-law was selling his for a great price. So, here she is… a big white Ford F150. Seth quickly put the truck to work and went and got all the remaining lumber we needed.

The next big event of the week was the removal of the beautiful trees in our front yard. This was such a heartbreak and it was literally painful for me to watch, especially knowing that it shouldn’t have to happen! The previous owner had a cesspool that was perfectly functioning and could last another 100 years. However, due to a law that was passed in the last few years, it is illegal to sell a house with a cesspool in the state of NJ. You need a septic and you have two months after purchase to get it done if it is not done by the seller. We knew all of this before we bought and the price was dropped to compensate for this. We were hoping that they could put the septic somewhere else but the way our property is set up is very challenging and they could only do it in the front yard, right under these fully grown trees. The morning that the tree company was scheduled to come out, I went out and took a few pictures of the yard and the light coming through the magnolia. I plan on getting these printed and hanging them up somewhere in the house.

A few minutes after I got in from taking the pictures, the tree company arrived. I felt like I had to sit there in the sunroom and watch the whole thing unfold. It was like when your kid is sick and you want to just stay with them through the night in case they need you. Yup, in case you couldn’t tell by now, I am a big environmentalist, AKA a treehugger. So for me, this was a very sad day.

The tree company made quick work of the trees. They mulched the branches and cut the trunks into big logs. Unfortunately we won’t be keeping the wood as our contractor will be taking it and discounted our price slightly to compensate.

After a full day, the work was done. Our front yard went from fully shaded to wide open. It looked so strange!

The next morning I went outside and surveyed the wreckage. It was interesting to get a close up look at the trees…hundreds of holes made by birds and insects, sap dripping from the saw wounds, wood split in intricate patterns, deep groves of bark. I couldn’t count the rings of the magnolia because the wood was too soft and damaged from the saws. I did figure out though that one of the pine trees was 63 years old. 63! That’s awesome, and made me even more sad that it had to go.

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Although if I could have prevented the loss of the trees I would have, I must admit it does open up the yard quite beautifully and we are looking forward to having a flat space to have a vegetable garden close to the house. The before and after says it all…

A day later I went to visit a friend and by the time I got home, most of the logs were gone and there was a huge backhoe in the front yard! So it looks like today, August 29th, the septic work will be fully underway! I am so nervous to see how this goes. Obviously, I will keep you all posted 😉


Borrowing from one of my favorite shows (Sunday Morning), here is a Moment of Nature to give you a break from reading… Teddy staring at ants, and our gigantic Koi fish hanging out with a frog.

Back to work.

So this week was mostly about framing our new walls upstairs. The majority of the demo was done last week (with a few exceptions, like the entire bathroom…) so now it was time to plan out the final details of the layout. This involved hours of discussion between Seth and I, and lots of troubleshooting because the house is old, crooked and full of surprise challenges.

Our first big triumph was putting up the wall to Liam’s room and framing out his pocket door. I wish I could say this was easy but it took us hours, and the funny thing is we had said, “Let’s do Liam’s wall because it’s the easiest one.” The length of the wall at the top of the space was a full 2 inches off of what it was at the bottom. We didn’t find this out of course until we had fully constructed the wall and tried to erect it. Lesson learned, always measure the top AND the bottom of the spaces in an old house. Oh and this pocket door assembly was no piece of cake either! We still aren’t sure it’s right…. I guess we will find out soon enough lol.


The next big success was building out the end of the hallway and the doorway to Jordan’s room. Seth did this singlehandedly because I was at a friend’s baby shower for the day (shoutout to my girl, Ariel!). It was great coming home to see the hallway actually take shape. It was a difficult task because at the end of the hallway, where Jordan’s door will be, there are TWO load-bearing walls back to back. So two headers will be necessary instead of the normal one. We also have this problem where we will be putting Liam’s closet door in so, wish us luck that the house doesn’t fall down!

Next up was the front wall of our bedroom. We have a piece of glass that we will be putting in this wall to allow the natural light into our room. We didn’t want to wall up right in front of the big picture windows in the front of the house. Yet again we struggled with some crooked walls (noticing a theme here?) but got it done. The window is 2ftX8ft and will look great surrounded by the dark wood beams. I plan on framing the window with floor to ceiling flowing drapes. It looks so Pinterest-worthy in my head, let’s hope it doesn’t wind up as a Pinterest fail!

The back wall of our bedroom was next. We want a gigantic (well gigantic to us lol) walk in closet so that we can get rid of our dressers. Unfortunately, the two load-bearing walls fall smack dab in the middle of our closet but we are just going to make it work. We are going to have the closet split into two sections: the front will have wall to wall open shelving and the back will be where the hanging clothes will go. The back wall was already completed last week (reused the wall from somewhere else) so we just needed to use our new lumber to make the front wall and frame out a closet door. The wall is 10ft high and Seth only used our 6ft ladder instead of getting the taller, more difficult-to-use one from the workshop. So there he was, standing on the very top of the ladder (the part that says, don’t stand on this!) using a pneumatic nail gun… I think I just went grey typing this!

Late at night after a whole day of framing, we decided to tackle the bathroom ceiling. I had pulled down all of the sheetrock a few days prior (while I was waiting for Seth to cut the pocket door framing down to the right-crooked size) so we just needed to get the studs down. We decided last week that we wanted to open this ceiling up all the way to the tongue-and-groove exposed beam roof we have. It would make it look a lot bigger, and more pretty of course. Seth really enjoys demo work that’s above his head. Sawing particle board is his favorite hobby…

One of the most exciting accomplishments of the week was installing our bedroom door! It feels like we are finally making progress!! Now, this door will most likely have to be taken back down and reinstalled because of a mistake we discovered but shhh, we have a door!!!


For some reason, Teddy was NOT a big fan of our work yesterday. He had gotten pretty good about all of the noise but yesterday he kept running upstairs to me and pawing at my leg until I picked him up. Then he would sit on my shoulder and shake like a leaf. Poor little guy! When I had to put him down once in a while, you know, to actually get work done, he would hide behind and under things (can you find him by the toilet??) instead of just going downstairs to the quiet part of the house.

The solution? This is how I spent a lot of time yesterday…


(And oh yea, I chopped my hair off.)

Well although we definitely had some tough times this week, I think we are making great progress!! Next week we will be working on the electric (fingers crossed nobody gets shocked or burns the house down) and framing out the bathroom.

**On a side note, thanks so much for reading! We have been hearing a lot from people about how much they enjoy our blog and it’s so nice to hear that you are all going on this journey with us! If there is anything we can do to improve readability or anything, let us know. I am completely new to this blogging thing so I have no clue what I am doing really lol.**

Costs this week:

Truck: we won’t count this because we will use it beyond this project 🙂 

Lumber: $190

Pocket Door: $70

Tetanus shot: Priceless.

Total cost: $260




2 thoughts on “Reno Week 2-It’s not easy being green, or framing walls

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