Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The house that We built.

Okay, so we didn't actually build the house or even have it built. We spent three years renovating a ranch home in Reno, NV from top to bottom and in the end it felt like we built it. It was ALOT of hard work and at times pure and utter craziness. Luckily, we had no idea what we were doing so we didn't really know that we were over our heads. There were months spent living, eating, sleeping in one room, a month when there was literally a hole in the kitchen ceiling (in the middle of winter) as a result of taking down a soffit and another month when we used a garden hose (again in the middle of winter) to spray water on the popcorn ceilings to soften the plaster so we could scrap them. Good times.

We worked so, so hard and in the end the house was beautiful and just what we wanted. And then what did we do? Kick back and reap the benefits? Of course not. Because, well, I don't know about your life but mine just does NOT work that way. For some reason it has never, ever and I mean EVER gone accordingly. Not complaining, I'm just sayin'.

Almost as soon as we finished we decided to move across the country to Ohio. Dave had a great opportunity to work for his dad and so being the kind of people who would rather try and fail than to just wonder "what if", we moved. We were unable to sell our home before the move (that's a whole other, LONG story that I'll tell later) so we hired a property management company to find renters and hit the road.

Since we no longer live there, I suppose this post (and the ones to come about renovating our Reno house) is a tribute to the little house that we worked so hard on and that we loved. So I'll start with the basics- transporting the floors, walls and ceiling from 1970's ranch to modern day fab. Other than Harvest Gold and Avocado Green appliances, nothing says 70's more than popcorn ceilings and textured walls. We were lucky enough to not have shag carpet but what we did have was pretty old and dirty. Initially we were just going to install wood floors but then thought we'd get rid of the popcorn ceiling too. Then we figured we just couldn't do those two things and not do the hideously, super textured walls!

We started with scraping the ceiling. Popcorn ceilings come off quite easily, all you have to do is spray it down with water (warm water is the best), wait until it soaks in and then scrap away. It's easy to do but a lot of hard neck and back breaking work!

Dave did most of the neck and back breaking scraping. I did the spraying.

After we finished scraping the ceilings, we moved on to the walls. Getting the texture off the walls was a whole different story. After some research we discovered that they couldn't be sprayed and scraped like the ceiling, instead they had to be sanded down. We decided to hire someone to come in and get it done in one day instead of doing us doing it ourselves in small areas at a time, prolonging the dust storm factor.

The unbelievably, out of control texture.

After the walls we moved on to what had originally started this whole thing- the floors! We had hoped that we would luck out and find hard wood floors under the carpet but in a 1970's ranch the odds of that are slim to none and of course, we found none. So we got to work starting in the family room laying, cutting and nailing boards.  

Every night after work we'd lay 8 to 10 lines of boards. That actually worked well and we made a lot of progress by the end of each work week. That combined with weekends, we were able to finish off the entire house in a few months.

Boo Kitty enjoying the cushy carpet for the last time.

Dave laying boards in the hallway.

 Boo Kitty investigating the new flooring.

So that was the big three. Doesn't seem like much when I'm writing about it but it really was so much hard work and it seemed like it was going to last forever. We worked hard and I'm very proud of how it turned out. With that said, we have decided that our Do-It-Yourself days are over and that our next house won't be such a huge fixer upper. A few projects here and there are okay with us but major things like the floor, walls and ceiling...those need to be right before we buy.

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