31 Days: Break for progress

Since we are about halfway through the series, I decided to continue with Friday’s theme and take a break (rest) from the series to give you some updates. Guess what? I have more than wallpaper to update you on. Woot woot!!!

Mom and Dad came out last weekend to give us a hand. Ryan put Dad on electrical duty, which consisted of pulling all of the old knob and tube wiring.

Dad even agreed to go under the house and pull the wiring there. Ryan was very excited Dad was willing to go under the house! Some spots of the crawl space are pretty spacious and easy to move around; however, some spots are pretty tiny, like “I am in no way shape or form going under the house unless someone is chasing me with a knife” kind of tiny.  Dad hopped through the hole in the porch creating A LOT of confusion for Bella and Tori.

Bella kept running back and forth between the living room (right above Dad) and the hole in porch. Dad caught on  and decided to ag it on. It was pretty hilarious! Poor confused puppy!

A little while later Dad reappeared from underneath the house looking a little dirty…

Ok, a lot dirty 🙂 Isn’t my Dad awesome?

With Dad on electrical duty, Ryan started working on sistering all of the joists in the kitchen. One joist had a good bit of water damage and the others were, well, OLD. Instead of being stiff and solid, they were more like trampolines.

Can you guess what I was doing?

Yea. Wallpaper. Only this is not like the other wallpaper on the ceiling. The dining room wallpaper came down pretty easy thanks to the steamer. This wallpaper you ask? Um. No. This wallpaper was made by the Devil himself to torment me. My guess is they painted one the of layers of wallpaper so the steam can’t penetrate the bottom two layers. In the time we scraped almost the entire dining room, we had only done an eight of the living room. *Womp womp*

Now, let’s fast forward to this weekend. Operation New Fence began!!

Step 1: Take down the chain-link fencing.

Step 2: Dig up posts.

Ryan and our friend John were able to take down all of the chain link fencing in about three hours. After lunch they started working on the posts. Ryan and John were able to muscle several of them out with just a few tugs. Some, however, required digging, muscle and even a tractor.

By 4 o’clock Saturday, all that was left was a few more posts.

In case you were wondering, the dogs were tied to their dog house and will be staying there during the fence project (except for at night when we take them home with us to the condo).

Please pray we and the dogs can survive without a fence for two weeks!!

While the boys were working on removing the fence, I started working on taking up some of the hardwood flooring in the back living room. We are hoping to re-install this flooring upstairs in one of the small bedrooms and refinish the hardwood underneath.

Well, what I hadn’t planned on doing was removing the small concrete pad in front of the fireplace….

I quickly realized the concrete was actually laying on a small portion of the wood, so when the wood came up, the concrete came up.

I tried to take up a few large pieces by myself, but quickly saw I was only butchering the wood while trying to pull it up by myself. It would have to wait until I had another set of hands…err…crowbar.

Ryan did get wood moved around for me so I could finish scraping the wallpaper in the back living room.

Scraping this was almost blissful after that demon wallpaper!! I was able to finish in about an hour.

I forgot to take a picture of the room COMPLETELY FREE OF WALLPAPER! Oops!

Last update – We got our building permit!

What did you guys do this weekend? Any takers on helping peel demon wallpaper??

Thanks for reading! Regular 31 day series will start back tomorrow! If you have advice to share for the series, I would love to hear it 🙂



The Floor & Chimney Showdown

The chimney demo finally happened folks! We actually have to rewind a little to before framing started. I am trying to really hard to keep this blog in “real-time” as in how things are happening, so you see a post from something that happened the week of (give or take a few days), but the past two weeks have been a little busier for various reasons. Therefore, I am behind. Bad blogger!! Forgive me.

With that said, let’s move on. Two weeks ago we had two big tasks that had to happen in order for the carpenter to get started.

Task 1 – Remove the kitchen chimney. You can see here where we found the third chimney  we didn’t know we had. I wouldn’t put that into the “fun surprises” category; however, seeing to go was fun!

I actually was out of commission for this project. I was in a wedding that day and left the chimney demo to Ryan and Muscle (aka Dad).  I was expecting there to be a lot of sledge hammers, sore backs and coal dust. Ryan and Dad were expecting there to be a lot of sledge hammers, sore backs and coal dust. I think everyone who reads this blog was probably expecting a lot of sledge hammers, sore backs, and coal dust.

Um, wrong. I think it went something like one hammer, two hammer, take-all-of-the-bricks-down-one-by-one-with-your-hand, no sweating required. It was WAY easier and WAY faster than anyone expected. Dad and Ryan were done in an hour. Hurray for a pleasant surprise!!

This leads us to Task 2 – Removing the hardwood floors upstairs in the future master bathroom.

Like most of the demo jobs in the house, the only tools required were a hammer, crow bar, and a little muscle. Since it only required a little muscle, Ryan and I tackled it ourselves., slowly, plank by plank, in hopes we could reuse it downstairs in the termite bedroom.

We were both pleasantly surprised how well we were able to take them up. By well, I mean  we could take each wood plank up with the tongue and grove in tact. We took our time and will probably be able to reuse about 95% of the hardwood. Score for the Saffells!

This room is about 15′ x 12′ and we were able to get all of the hardwood up in two afternoons of work, so about 5 hours. Not shabby (by our standards)!

One funny moment from the floor demo – a lesson on how to fill holes in a hardwood floor.

Apparently a plastic bag will do the trick! Who knew?? 🙂

Once we had all the flooring up, we had to bring Bella in for quality control.

Luckily, she approved of our work. She even went as far as WALKING on the bead board ceiling. Um, I about had a heart attack. For one, I thought she was going to fall through the ceiling, and two, if she had fallen through the ceiling I would have cried. Not just because Bella fell, but because she messed up my beautiful bead board ceiling. True story. Thankfully, the bead board held her weight long enough for us to grab her off of it.

While I wouldn’t call this project hard, there was some labor involved. We both definitely woke up Monday morning with sore backs and knees. Even at twenty something, we are too old for this! Ha. Okay, perhaps it isn’t age, just our bodies not being used to manual labor. Whatever reason, it made for a rough Monday morning.

I am very excited about he possibility of reusing this floor downstairs. The only issue is we may not have enough, so I need to do the math (yuck) and figure that out. We also have to take the up the hardwoods where the second upstairs bathroom will be. I think between the two rooms, we will have just enough. Ryan disagrees, but we all know what happened last time Ryan was in charge of square footage….

Progress is still going on with the framing, slowly but surely it is all getting done. Also, no updates on the construction loan. BOO! We were supposed to close on Friday, but no luck. What do you guys have going on this week? Ryan and I had a nice date last night to celebrate my 24th birthday. Thank you to those of you who wished a Happy Birthday in person, over the phone or via Facebook. All were appreciated 🙂 Have a great rest of the week!

Bringing in the muscle: Removing 5 layers of kitchen flooring

When it comes to projects that require (or would at least be faster) some extra muscle, I call in the destroyer: My Dad.

Beginning to demo the kitchen floor definitely qualifies as one of those projects where some extra muscle comes in handy. Thankfully Dad was free and willing to help! He is totally in the lead for Dad of the Year 2012.

The guys attacked the floor with a circular saw, sledge hammers, large crow bars, and some muscle power. The goal was to remove the top half of the flooring in the laundry room: One layer of vinyl, one layer of particle board subfloor, another layer of vinyl, and a layer of hardwood. Crazy, right?!?! All of the floors measure to about 3 inches of flooring. Insane.

We didn’t leave ALL of the hard work to Dad. Ryan got his fair share of fun, too.

My Dad wasn’t the only one to join the fun on Saturday. My Grandpa and cousin Tyler gave a hand as well. Tyler now has a new hatred for wallpaper.

Just kidding. Well, he may have a new hatred for it. I am not really sure. In all seriousness, he was a champ. He didn’t complain AT ALL! How many adults teenagers scrape wallpaper without complaining? Um. Like none. Major props for Tyler!

Grandpa pitched in with the kitchen floor demo and clean up.

I am not sure if Grandma knows Papa can use a broom. He has been hiding that skill for years. SECRET IS OUT PAPA! I have a picture to prove that you can pitch in with house hold cleaning 🙂

I spent my Saturday with this guy: Hello Shop Vac. I am glad we are friends.

I started vacuuming downstairs trying to remove the 100+ years of dirt and coal dust under the stairs and between the removed walls. It may not sound fun, but it was pretty rewarding watching all of the dust and dirt disappear. It gave me hope, hope that one day, in the not so distant future, this house will be clean.

After some quality time with the shop vac, Tyler and I had a nail pulling party. We went around the living room pulling nails from all of the studs that will be remaining, either as interior walls or exterior walls.

I threw in a little wallpaper scraping and vinyl scraping just for kicks, ya know, round out the day. By the end of the day, the “muscle” (Dad and Ryan) had removed the top layers of flooring in the laundry room, just like we hoped. Yay! Tori looked like this at the end of the day.

Tired puppies + tired Saffells = done for the day.

Fingers crossed we can stay on schedule the next few weeks before we bring in contractors and things REALLY get moving! Still no updates on the construction loan. It shouldn’t be too much longer though.

What have you been up to this weekend? Any floor demo? Clean up? Do you share a love for a shop vac? Thanks for stopping by!

And The Best Grandparents’ Award goes to….

MINE. That’s who.  Let’s meet them, shall we?

My Grandma

My Papa

They VOLUNTEERED to come scrape wall paper! I’m not sure if Grandma was completely serious at first, but be warned – if you volunteer to help us work on the house WE WILL take you up on it, sooner rather than later 🙂

Grandma and Papa spent half of Saturday scraping off four or five layers of wall paper in the future living room.

They definitely made progress on the wall paper situation. Look! That’s a whole five feet of wall with no wall paper. Yea!!!

Lots more to go! While my grandparents scraped wall paper, Ryan and I got busy taking down the wall between the stairs. I let Dad take over for me when my parents got there. Ya’ll, on Saturday my Dad morphed into some kind of crazy demolition BEAST. For real. He was like taking down walls with his bare hands. There was wood flying left and right. Coal dust galore. It was pretty awesome to watch.

Here are the stairs, one last time, before demo began.

Isn’t that black plastic covering just lovely? I know you are all jealous. It’s ok.

Let me tell you one more thing before we jump into stair wall demo. We were told before buying the house that the wall between the stairs was added after the house was built and was built so it sits on top of the stairs. Keep that  in mind as we go through the next photos, k?

Stair wall demo began with a lot of excitement, but was dampened when we realized the wall was NOT built on top of the stairs, but thru them. Kind of a bummer. Actually, not kind of. It was a bummer. Add fixing to the stairs to our growing list of things to do 🙂

I’m going to call this the stair’s glamour shot. You can see how wide the stairs will be now that the wall is gone…69″ wide if you would like to know. Much better than the previous 30″ per stair, hmm? (yes)

After the stairs, Dad took on one of the fireplaces. This fireplace we plan to expose the entire brick fireplace all the way around. The wall will be removed, so all that’s left is a walk around fireplace. Last chance to view the fireplace before Dad attacks!

Here is where things start to get a little scary.

Eek!! The inside of the fireplace was not nearly was pretty as we were hoping for. We had no idea what the inside would look like with the wall down, but we are optimist 🙂

Don’t even get me started on the coal dust.

The brick was as pretty as I hoped though! The view from the future dining room into living room was pretty awesome.

Ok, so it’s slowly working its way towards awesome. Baby steps. Lots of progress for one Saturday. Thank you to my family helping out! Also, thank you to anyone and every one who is supporting our adventure! We are excited to be sharing it with you all.

What did you do this weekend? Any demo action? Fireplace drama? Peace and quiet? 🙂


Out with the old (and nasty)

Day 3 – Saturday – Out with the old (and nasty) and in with…well…nothing yet. We are a long LONG way from moving anything in, but we did get a lot of stuff out today!

Ryan and I started the day off with ripping out the disgusting green carpet.

Goodbye Green Carpet

The carpet came up really easy, along with lots and LOTS of dirt. Goodness gracious. Clouds. Of. Dirt. It just required a little bit of muscle to get it started, but once we got part of the carpet going, piece of cake. Then, we got to the fireplace. *Don Don Don – scary music sound*

So, the fireplace was closed up with some sort of shelving unit?? I’m not really sure what to call it. Is it a tiny bookcase? Coffee mug storage? Climbing wall for toddlers? Who knows. Hopefully not the last option. You can see in the photo below that the shelving unit (we will go with that) is sitting on the carpet.

Cutting around the shelving didn’t work so well, so we decided just to go ahead and remove it completely. I backed away (in case something can running or flying out) and supported Ryan’s shelf removal from the doorway.

Praise the Lord! Nothing came running or flying out! Just an old, dirty fireplace.

Removing the carpet didn’t take long at all. We had all of the carpet out in 15 minutes, at most. We then made our way onto taking up the pad under neath.

Yea…so we aren’t really sure how old the carpet is…therefore we don’t know how old the pad is. I can tell you that whenever this was installed, they secured the pad into the hardwood with staples. Lots and lots of staples. Like 200 STAPLES! Into my precious old hardwood. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE??

We had some wonderful helpers – our puppies Tori and Bella!! Bella thought it would be helpful to lay on the pad and carpet while we were trying to put it up…

At least we did confirm the hardwood is still there and in decent shape, if you just ignore the awful paint job and staples. Hopefully the paint will come off when we refinish the floors. *Fingers crossed*

Goodby carpet!

While Ryan and I were taking care of green carpet, my mom bravely tackled the one and only bathroom. By tackle I mean clean. I had warned her the day before that this is what I wanted her to help with. Mom could have come over and done nothing else but clean that nasty bathroom and I would have been one happy little camper.

Brave woman. It actully felt safe for human use after she finished cleaning, but she didn’t stop there. She even started a little demo action. Mom started removing the faux green tile (plastic sheet that looks like tile) from behind the door, which led to discovering this.

Moldy plywood. No need to panic people. Mold in a bathroom is a pretty normal discovery, even more normal when people who remodel or install bathrooms don’t use correct materials (like plywood behind faux tile in a bathroom). So, mom continued on with demo and took out the plywood to discover this little surprise.

Yea. Shocked us, too!! Ryan and I know that the bathroom was an addition. When the house was originally built, there was an out-house, but to find the original exterior still hanging out in the bathroom?? Not planned. Kind of cool. coolish. Almost cool. Ok, more like shocking, confusing with a hint of neat-o/cool.

We decided to leave the rest of the bathroom surprises for another day and move on else where in the house.

While the three of us were working downstairs, Dad was upstairs doing some damage (good kind) to the Tiger Room. One tiger down, one more to go!

Not only did Dad conquer a tiger, but he removed every shelf, cabinet, art piece that had been previously screwed or nailed in place by the previous owner. Look at him go!

Since my parents were so awesome to help, I treated them to a really fancy lunch….hot dogs compliments of our toaster oven. Who needs a real kitchen?!

Dad’s real work started when he began pulling up the vinyl flooring.

After pulling up part of the vinyl, we discovered particle board flooring laid on top of the original hardwood flooring. Awesome. More to scrap/dig/hammer up.

Yea. Removing that flooring was HARD work. Ryan took a stab at it after lunch. We will be working on removing the flooring for a while. We will keep you posted!!

Overall, I would call it a pretty productive Saturday! A big thanks to Mom and Dad for helping! We got a lot done, but have PLENTY more to do. We are so excited to see the ugly slowly leave 🙂 We are renting a dumpster this week so we can start taking down the ceiling tile and even some walls, yea!!

What did you do this past weekend? I’d love to hear.