Real Estate

Remembering Renovations

April 24, 2012

I’m currently in the process of my third renovation and it has brought up fond memories of some of my past reno experience. The first reno was really my parent’s, but I lived through the hell of peeling improperly applied wallpaper, concrete dust and no kitchen for months, so I consider it as almost my own – even though I didn’t plan or pay for anything. The second reno was definitely one of the largest projects I’ve ever taken on. It was a total gut of a 1921 Colonial foursquare and it was the popper of many of my ‘firsts’ cherries, more about those later…Which brings me to this current renovation, which is basically a total gut and rebuild of the lower half in our new 1980’s raised ranch (for the record, if you would have claimed I would be a proud owner of a split level ranch even 8 months ago, I would have laughed ferociously in your face).

I’ve learned quite a few things along the renovation path, which I’d like to start sharing over the next few posts, but all this construction reminded me that I never posted any photos of that huge undertaking from my Clermont house. So, only 5 years and a short sale overdue, but here was the beast of a project I took on when I was 22. (Please note I have a billion before and during reno, but surprisingly cannot locate all of the afters, so I’ve had to resort to realtor photos from when we had tenants occupying, so there’s a lot of their crap lying around)

This is how we first found this lovely beauty, in need of the most indescribable scrub down. I’m not sure how people occupied it in the condition it was in, especially with 2 children. As you can see in the after, pretty much full inside and outside rehab. We took down the screen porch, and found out it wasn’t even built to code, so had to rebuild the whole darned thing. New roof, paint, pavers, carpentry and landscaping was done in front and back.

Front of the house before we bought it and finally a year later

We had to redo all the back windows because the previous frame was rotted out (the fun of finding out things after walls are taken down). We also added a back patio with double out swing French doors and larger stairs. Really opened up the outdoor living area.

It turned out when we cleared away the lower tree branches, there was a view of lake Minneola:

And now to the inside. The following series of pictures will show you just how NASTY the conditions were inside the house. In fact, in the below shot, you will see the difference in carpet color on where the couch was versus actual walking area. Just imagine dog and cat piss, candy, dirt, and other fluids all over the place and add a touch of every allergen in the world. This was also lining the air ducts which were soon replaced:

The “Original Heart Pine Floors” underneath weren’t in much better shape. In fact, when someone advertises hardwoods under carpet, rest assured 8/10 times there is something wrong with the floor…

There were also quite a few electrical issues we encountered. I’m surprised their house didn’t burst into flames after all of these years. What you see below is the laundry room setup. Yes that’s right, let’s wrap a non grounded (and old) electrical plug around the water supply. They also were draining the sudsy water onto the sidewalk. Where was Holmes Inspection when I needed him?

Can you see anything wrong with this?

It became apparent a few months into the project that this may have been the house from hell…

So here was the upstairs bedroom we called the blue room. Can you guess why? Turns out under all that blue was lovely 70’s football themed wallpaper. We should be so lucky.

The blue room had a twin, we called it the pink room.

The Master was in dire need of attention, here is the bedroom and back porch view before and after


My dad and I belt and hand sanded all of the floors, and I poly-ed them all… I appreciate anyone that does that for a living.

I couldn’t find an empty after shot, so this is almost finished back porch, just missing trim, and electrical fixtures:


Upstairs bathroom was so large, when we bought it, they had an exercise bike in it. The floor was actually 2 layers of linoleum on top of a thick layer of plywood, it took weeks for me to get it removed as in the kitchen and baths, they nailed the plywood almost every 4 inches. The chair rail around wasn’t even beadboard, but actually inch thick tongue and groove siding. The best part was opening the moulding to find a hot orange and pink bathtub! It’s hard to tell, but the inside was actually a robin’s egg blue accented by those lovely rust stains… again, not sure how these people lived like this (or are my cleanliness standards too high?)



Check out the awesome moldy wallpaper I found underneath


And finally the downstairs photos (again for some reason I cannot find the after shots so I have to default to the real estate listing photos – no way would I ever have this much crap in one room, but hopefully you can still see how lovely the place is)


The downstairs bathroom was a hot mess, they designed it all wrong. The tub literally did not fit in the space so they created a knee wall for it. It clearly needed a gut and replumb. (after photos were hard to take because the space was so small, but you get the gist)

Saving the best for last, here was the kitchen circa 1970, and after. I should note that the floors were so filthy you could skate on them. During reno, and before after comparison:

Well folks, that’s about all for now, stay tuned for next week’s episode of This Old House!

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  • Reply Tim April 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    OK, I’m going to stop whining about the little projects I do around the house!

  • Reply Amanda Welch May 3, 2012 at 8:26 am

    That’s incredible, Christa! And to do that at 22…astounding.

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