Our Home Remodel Progress Report: Part I


No turning back now!

We’ve made so much progress on our home and I’m so proud of the work we’ve done. But if I’m being honest, it looks like we haven’t done much. In reality, we’ve done all the unsexy stuff that renovation shows just breeze right over, but has taken us almost six months. Let’s review, shall we?

One of the most laborious things we did was tear out the old dry wall from the entire house. Floors, ceilings, everything. The pictures and video never really captured how bad the old dry wall actually was. It was sagging from the ceiling and it was patched very, very badly. Our home was a rental and unloved for a long time.

Tearing out drywall While the walls were out, we had an electrician rewire the entire home. Our home inspection had picked up on the fact that our wiring was old, none of our outlets were grounded and wouldn’t support modern electronics.

When tearing out the walls in the office, we also discovered carpenter ants. It was biblical. We were tearing out a wall and all of the sudden ants come pouring out like the freakin’ plague. I screamed. George yelled, “Get the bug spray!” I got it and sprayed and smashed those little devils into oblivion. In retrospect it was kind of funny. I wish I had it on video.

The next day I called a great exterminator and had him spray the entire house and re-check for signs of termites and carpenter ants. (We did not have any signs of bug damage during our home inspection.) Luckily, the ants had done very little damage and seemed to be contained to a very small part of the wall in the office. (If you need a good exterminator in Asheville, email me! Seriously, so professional and he even took a look at a very large anthill in our yard, gave us some advice, and sprayed it as well.)

We also tore out (what was left of) the laminate floor in the kitchen and former dining room. (We’ll be changing up the dining room into a home office.) And had to replace and build more subfloor to makeup for the rotting floor and add more area to the kitchen.

The floor in the kitchen after the laminate was torn out

The floor in the kitchen after the laminate was torn out.

We also took out the old wall from the living room to the kitchen. I had mixed feelings about that one. One of the things I loved about the home was the archway from the living room to the kitchen, but we knew that wall wasn’t load-bearing and it was making the house look smaller. So it had to go. Since I was so upset about it, George convinced me he could replicate the arch in the hallway door– which is on a load bearing wall and had to stay.

Taking out the wall from the kitchen to the living room

Taking out the wall from the kitchen to the living room.

When the walls and the old, nasty insulation was finally out, we discovered some fun things. #1 The ceiling was sagging because several of the joists were compromised. The joists were built out of wood with knots and the knots had begun cracking over time creating a sag. We replaced those. (You can see the sagging in the first picture.)

#2 The house had very little insulation. We knew the house didn’t have insulation under the house, but we didn’t know that the insulation behind the walls and in the ceiling would have deteriorated so much. Amateurs, right? So we put insulation back into the walls, under the house AND in the attic. The house is so much warmer now! But we’ve also spent thousands in just insulation. I’m hoping those up-front costs pay off during the summer and winter.

#3 We had an inkling of this, but some of the studsĀ in the bathroom were rotten. We knew the window in the shower wasn’t water-proof and had rotted, but we didn’t know if the water had gotten to the studs. It had. So we also had to replace those.

That’s all for today, I’ll share more of our progress later and I’ll eventually get y’all caught up to real time.

Phew! I’m worn out just thinking about it! As always, talk to me in the comments!

A Video Tour of Our New Small Home

I finally got this video uploaded and posted on YouTube! YouTube coupled with country Internet makes me want to gouge my eyes out. It literally took a full day to upload. Oh well, it’s ready now! I thought it might be nice to have a little walkthrough tour of the “before” version of the house. Sometimes it’s hard to envision layout and spaces in photos.

I hope that I can now move on to our progress shots which are scary, but encouraging. Ya gotta tear it up before you build it back up, ya know what I’m saying?!

As always, let me know what you think in the comments!
– Melanie

New House Moodboard

I’m working on a video tour of our small home before we began renovating, but I forgot how much of a noob I am when it comes to video editing. Seriously, there has to be a better, easier product than iMovie. If you’ve got any apps or software that makes editing videos quick and easy I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Anywho, in the meantime, I thought it’d be fun to share some inspiration that I’m using for the new house. I won’t be using all the fixtures/furniture shown here because some of it is out of my price range, but it can be helpful to create a board with my vision to refer back to while shopping or when I just can’t see the end in sight!

I’m going for chic, minimalist, modern with an industrial twist. Is that a thing? šŸ˜‰ The links to the products are below.

  1. Matte Black Delta Faucet
  2. Barnwood for cabinets via a local dealer
  3. Metal Pendant Light
  4. Hand-knotted Persian Llama Rug
  5. Axel Leather Loveseat
  6. Marble and Iron Console
  7. Rustic Subway Tile
  8. Acapulco Chair
  9. 2 Light Wall Sconce
  10. Black Matte Penny Tile

This weekend is full of cabinet making for us. What are y’all up to?

FYI: Some of the above links are affiliate, some are not!

Link Love: 81

Before picture of the kitchen

Yet another “before” picture

Thank you all so much for your kind words on my most recent posts. I felt weirdly nervous about sharing our new house journey, but I appreciate your support more than you know. It’s Friday, so that means I’m sharing Link Love. It’s the time of the week where I share what I’m diggin’ online. Here goes!

I guess it’s spring? It’s almost 80 degrees here today which is insane. I don’t know if I’ll have time to plant my garden this year, but these galvanized metal garden beds are pretty tempting.

I wish our new bathroom had more of it’s original fixtures. At least we get to keep the tub! Here’s some beautiful vintage bathrooms with their original, colorful fixtures.

I’m having trouble picking a paint color for the front door. I’m thinking either dark green like this. Or maybe tangerine orange like thisĀ (scroll down.) Or maybe I’ll do a pattern?!

Sometimes I like to browse the most expensive homes on Airbnb. We’re going to Nashville in April for a wedding. Anybody want to go halfsies on this gorgeous $3,000 a night home? Kidding. I don’t even have halfsies. (But, if you are truly booking with Airbnb and it’s your 1st time, this link will get you a credit for 40 buck-a-roos.)

Can’t keep up with national politics? Me either. The newsletter, WTF Just Happened Today can help.

Happy weekend! I’m going to get out and enjoy this unseasonably warm weather!

A Small Home: Before Pictures of Our New House

A Small Home: Before Pictures: Living Room

Living room from the front door

Ok ya’ll, so this is it. The interior before pictures. In all their glory. Since the pictures are pretty low-quality phone pictures, I must admit, the house doesn’t look that bad. But let me assure you, this was and still is one fixer-upper. Let’s point out some of the fun issues going on, shall we?! Continue reading

Our New Home

Our New Home! First things first: we bought a small house! That hunk o’ junk in the picture above is ours!

Ok, ok, I know this might seem like it is coming out of the blue, but it’s actually been a long time coming. Let me explain: the real, honestĀ truth is that we purchased this house months ago. But I had a full-time job outside of this blog that I was trying to protect and I couldn’t tell anyone online because the house we bought is quite far from our current Airstream home– like 4 hours away. But I can now spill the beans because I recently quit my job and fingers crossed, we’ll be moving to our new location and our new home soon. Continue reading

Link Love: 80

Puppy snoozin' in the van

I’m so thankful for all the positive feedback and lovely comments that we’ve received on the van remodelĀ on the blog and on Instagram. I can’t wait to take NirVANa on a long road trip! In the meantime, here’s a few links to keep you busy.

An interesting article about who benefits from the tiny house revolution.

Ikea’s new campaign includes a cute little camper!

The latest Fixer Upper episode was right up my alley. In fact, my friends were texting me the entire show. I’m ready to redo a houseboat next!

I’ve been reading The Happiness Project. It’s not really a new book, but it’s been interesting and we could all use a little more happiness, am I right?

And what goes great with book learnin’? Tea drinkin’! I’ve never been a sweet (or even) cold tea gal, even though I’m from the south. I love a hot cuppa and Tazo’s sweet orange with a slice of lemon is my favorite.

Do you give Valentine’s Day gifts? We might give each other something small, but we’re usually just about eating a good meal and relaxing. So boring! If you’re looking for some ideas, here’s areĀ men’s gifts under $10, last minute Valentine’s giftsĀ and some V-day dinner ideas.

And when your loved ones voted the other way.

I hope your weekend is full of love!

*Post contains affiliate links.