Friday morning I woke up knowing what a big weekend we had in store. We hadn’t packed a single item in the house and I knew my timeline was quickly approaching and we had to be out by the end of the weekend. Thankfully, I enlisted the help of my family. They ended up helping us the entire weekend… thankfully.
We first started by grabbing all the picture frames hanging on the walls throughout the house. Then we tackled all of the breakables in each room. I held off on both of the girl’s rooms because I wanted them to go through and donate everything they didn’t want anymore. By the end of our 1st day we had around 65% done.
The entire weekend wore me out. We got almost everything packed and moved to storage but had to go back every night to prepare for the garage sale and finish up the rest of the packing.
In an ideal world Jay and I would run this project together and eliminate the need and costs for a contractor. Realistically, neither of us are cut out for a job of this size. We both work full time. We have kids with crazy schedules and at this point in my pregnancy I would rather sleep then pick out tile. With that said we headed out to find the builder that would be perfect. When we first started thinking seriously (not counting my 3 year dream, but more recently since I got Jay on board) we engaged a contractor friend of ours for his thoughts on our rebuild and if it would be worth it. He turned into a great adviser and someone we knew we could trust, but we also wanted to do a sanity check and make sure that he truly was the right pick. We did ask others to provide estimates and liked a couple of them, but we just kept circling back to our friend. Turns out he was the right choice. I think that it is important to fully trust the person who is about to rip down your exterior walls.
BEFORE – Front Porch Demo
AFTER – Front Porch Demo
In September of 2012, we began the start of the rebuild by interviewing several architects. Jay really liked one particular house by us and he was able to figure out who designed it. We pretty much choose them based on that and the fact that they worked with a lot of cape cods around our town. At first the rates were incredibly high, but we were able to negotiate them down to a reasonable price in which we could all agree on. I think our main advantage was that we were entering into winter time and it was a slow period for them. Not to mention that we weren’t in a huge hurry to get the drawings done, since we weren’t 100% certain that we were going through with everything. We had several meetings to redesign both floors and we finally came up with the these below:
We aren’t 100% set in stone on how our kitchen is laid out. We just told him to throw it out there for now. We did flip the dining room and our kitchen, so our kitchen has easier access to the mud room where we are going to put a bigger pantry.
My first thought several years ago was to add a Jack & Jill bathroom and a bedroom to our upstairs. I figured it would be a pretty simple feat since it would be only adding a second story on top of an already existing living room. My husband immediately said no but to go ahead and have contractors bid it out. To my surprise we had bids that came in that were $50,000 dollars in price difference and I had no clue who to trust. Do we take the low ball offer and hope for the best or go with the one that my gut instinct was telling me that I could trust him? All contractors seemed to have great experience and could point out several homes that they worked on in our area. Lucky for me, I didn’t end up needing to decide, because my husband still held at a firm no.
Now jumping in our time machines 3 years into the future, we set out to do a rebuild. I am not fully sure what happened, but somehow I had my hubby on board and I am not about to risk it and ask any questions.
My sister-in-law was moving, so she let us use her sofa for the front room. We had a dark gray West Elm sofa in there for awhile, but I liked how light this one was. Unfortunately, our wall colors matched the old couch and since we knew we were renovating soon we decided not to repaint the walls. I hated how nothing matched in here because of that. We also ended up giving our piano back to Jay’s cousin. We decided that we could have more space in the living room if we got rid of it. I was a little sad, but I know I will love to be able to put chairs in that room.
Our Front Room before our demo:
Our living room has always been comfy. We got the couches when Alexa was three, so it was time for them to go. We ended up listing them on Craigslist for $30 and they went super fast. I do plan on keeping this room pretty much the same, but we are getting rid of the paneling and adding sheet rock.
Our living room before our demo:
I didn’t mind the colors or tile in this bathroom, but there was a huge problem with the ventilation. We kept fighting off the mold from the walls and ceiling. It will be so nice not to have to worry about this in the future and have a fan to clear out the moisture. We are also going to get rid of the window completely to ward off any future issues with moisture.
The girls’ rooms are always fun to do. Maren’s we added the chair rail and the bottom part of it is painted in magnetic paint. It was sad to see it all go. It took me forever to paint those stripes!
We redid Alexa’s room a year ago to a newer color. She was getting sick of pink on the walls that we painted when we first moved in 5 years ago. I let her pick a new color that would still go with her green curtains and bedding. We originally didn’t think we were going to do anything, but maybe change where the closet opens up (her door hits her dresser right now), but we decided to go ahead and put in new sheet rock to smooth out the walls more.
We didn’t do a single thing in this room since we moved in. I pulled down the towel bars and some hooks, but that’s it. We rarely ever used it, because we felt that there was a leak somewhere. We had plumbers come out and say there wasn’t, but I was never convinced. I am excited to finally get my own bathroom.
We loved our huge bed, but we decided that we would get a size smaller to give us more room in our new bedroom. We won’t have many walls to pick from, because we will have a door on each wall pretty much. We decided to put in a walk out porch in our room, so the wall where our closet is will probably be the only place we can put our bed.
One of the things that attracted us to the house was the backyard. I loved how the porch looked and how big it was. However, with this remodel we are changing it all up. We are adding a longer back porch and adding a walkout from the master bathroom. Hopefully it will come out as beautiful as it was before if not better.
We are keeping the front of the house the same for the most part. We love the look of the Cape Cod and we want to keep the same look and feel like the other homes around us. When we first started doing the architecture redesign, we did have a third dormer and a full porch on the front and it never id look right. In the end we ended up dropping the porch and middle dormer and switching up the portico a tiny bit. We also want to redo the sidewalk to have it wind out a little towards the drive. If budget allows, we want to eventually redo the driveway and turn it into a two car driveway.
We put in new counter tops and a sink about a year ago. Had we even considered about doing a renovation at the time, we would not have upgraded the counters. Jay was able to find someone that needed the granite counter tops, so at least it didn’t go to waste. I also resold the washer and stove on Craigslist.
One of my pet peeves about this kitchen was that our microwave was falling apart and even if we wanted to replace it, we couldn’t. It would require us to pull the tile off to get the Microwave out. The cabinets were a little cheap and falling apart, so it was nice to know those were going away. I did save all the pull out shelves, so that I could reuse them other places. They will just need to be repainted and I think they will be back to new.
Our dining room is going to be completely changed. We are flipping the kitchen and dining room and adding a drink area / station in the dining room. We originally had a dark wood table, but sold it months ago. Our sister-in-law let us borrow the table and the other one is lending us the chairs. I am finding the chairs a little to hard to keep clean, so we will have to decide on a table as we are in the middle of our rebuild.
Our Dining Room before our demo: