Here We Go Again

Jacob and I closed on the house 2 weeks ago (which was, of course, fraught, but that’s another story).  We’ve been so busy with all the renovations so we could move in, I hadn’t gotten around to posting any photos!  So I’m posting a bunch of photos without much in the way of witty comments- I trust you can add your own.

Before

living room and front door

living room

flag border in doorway between living room and kitchen

kitchen

kitchen

hallway (after all the painting weve had to do, I hate blue trim now)

bathroom

bathroom (what you can’t see is the vanity base. The previous owners were so patriotic, even their bathroom vanity was red white and blue- red door! blue door! white frontpiece!

patriotic banner in the bathroom

front bedroom

front bedroom from doorway

back bedroom from doorway (closet area is a mirror of the closet in the front bedroom)

garage (door to kitchen. Stop sign was a bonus that came with the house. It keeps me from riding my bike clear through the back wall)

deck and backyard

So there you have it!  We’re working diligently on painting, getting new carpet laid, installing fake wood flooring, getting plumbing work done, and general decorating.  Hopefully, for all our sakes, we will be done in the next week and I can show you photos of the after!

Renovation Redux

It’s January, which means we are starting a new renovation!

Jacob and I are in the process of buying a house here in Kansas City that we plan on living in for a year while we spruce it up, then rent it out once we move back to Australia.  (The long-term plan is to redevelop the lot into townhouses or apartments.  That’s just dreaming right now, but it is why we chose this property –  it’s located in an area the city is trying to get to intensify uses in.  Great!)  Once the inspection is done this coming week –  and nothing major pops up during it –  we will be locked in to buy.

Our American Dream

The house is a 768 sq ft rectangle that was built in 1949 by JC Nichols (the guy who developed the Country Club Plaza and half of the inner suburbs of Kansas City) , and is exactly like a thousand other houses in the area.  Currently it is decorated in Americana (bright red room with a star border, bright yellow room with a flag border, and a bright blue room).  That will definitely be changing.

This renovation will be almost the polar opposite of the one we did in Sydney (and not just because we’re now on the opposite side of the planet).  The Sydney reno was a high-end, do-it-right, deal- with-apartment-block-neighbors, don’t-mess-it-up-because-we-could-be-out-of-a-lot-of-money-if-it-looks-bad job.  This reno is going to be a lot more laid back, a LOT cheaper, and hopefully a bit more experimental.  We’re not going to care if it isn’t done ‘right’, as long as it looks good and is going to last a few years.  We aren’t going to buy top of the line, most renters probably wouldn’t notice anyway.  My big worry is going overboard on renovations and spending money that isn’t necessary, particularly if we want to knock it down in a few years.

Here we go again…

Renovation Report: Finished AND Rented!

As you might know, the reason Jacob is still in Sydney is that we are doing a massive renovation of our apartment (nothing in our apartment has been updated since at least the 60s if not earlier).  I thought people may be interested in seeing what we are doing, as well as provide us with a bit of an archive.  I’ve broken it down by room to make it easier and not such a long post.

Jacob has been working furiously to get the apartment done and rented before his scheduled flight out this coming Sunday, and all his hard work paid off!  We have rented out the apartment for the year to a couple that are new lecturers at University of New South Wales.

Overall, we are happy with the renovation.  It looks great, is neutral enough for renting, and is a great basis for adding the extra details that make it ours when we move back into it.

Just to remind you what the bathroom used to look like:

Wow, we lived in this craphole.

Behold!  Where we are NOT living:

And this is what our kitchen looked like (messy, which of course our renovation will solve our cleaning habits as well!):

Kitchen after the renovation:

Proper countertops that are actually deep enough to function!  Cupboards that are finished on the inside!  A BALCONY!  Is this heaven?  No, it’s Clovelly.

So the renovation is done, the apartment is rented, and Jacob is due to head over to America.  Our Year Off is finally kicking off officially!

Other Renovation Report Posts:

Overview

Balcony and Kitchen Pt. 1

Balcony and Kitchen Pt. 2

Bathroom Pt. 1

Bathroom Pt. 2

Bathroom Pt. 3

Renovation Report: Bathroom Pt. 3

As you might know, the reason Jacob is still in Sydney is that we are doing a massive renovation of our apartment (nothing in our apartment has been updated since at least the 60s if not earlier).  I thought people may be interested in seeing what we are doing, as well as provide us with a bit of an archive.  I’ve broken it down by room to make it easier and not such a long post.

Jacob has been hard at work building our custom vanity and niche in the bathroom.  They are both made of Tasmanian Oak and stained with a walnut stain.  The photos show both mid-installation, I can’t wait to see the finished bathroom!

The glass screen was also installed between the shower and the rest of the bathroom.

This weekend the plumber is coming back in to install the fixtures and (I think) the bathroom will be done!

The quality isn’t so great, it was taken from Jacob’s mom’s iPhone. Doesn’t Jacob’s dad make a great model?

Obviously mid-construction…  The niche will be right next to the toilet.

Other Renovation Report Posts:

Overview

Balcony and Kitchen Pt. 1

Balcony and Kitchen Pt. 2

Bathroom Pt. 1

Bathroom Pt. 2

Renovation Report: Balcony and Kitchen Pt. 2

As you might know, the reason Jacob is still in Sydney is that we are doing a massive renovation of our apartment (nothing in our apartment has been updated since at least the 60s if not earlier).  I thought people may be interested in seeing what we are doing, as well as provide us with a bit of an archive.  I’ve broken it down by room to make it easier and not such a long post.

A lot has happened to the balcony and kitchen since the last Renovation Report!  I’ve just been waiting for Jacob to send me some photos, which, lucky for all of us, he has!

The contractors have been hard at work installing the railing around the balcony, sheeting the walls, and laying the bamboo flooring.  The kitchen looks so much more put together with new sheeting on the walls!

Since the flooring is in, the kitchen company could install the cabinetry.  It looks even better than I expected, especially since we went with the money saving plain cabinets.  We had planned on the peninsula sticking out in front of the windows, but Jacob thinks it would work better if we chamfered the corner so the single panel door is more easily accessible.

Jacob in the opening between the kitchen and living room, on the new bamboo floor!

This is the corner that we’re going to have chamfered.  You can see the balcony railing supports in the background.

New cabinets!

More new cabinets!  And a spot for the refrigerator! And a wine rack!

Next up: the Caesarstone countertop!

Other Renovation Report Posts:

Overview

Balcony and Kitchen Pt. 1

Bathroom Pt. 1

Bathroom Pt. 2

Bathroom Pt. 3

Where in the World is My Husband? or: Lessons Learned

Answer: Still in Sydney.

But we do have a flight booked for him! Jacob is officially to touch down on American soil 22 August.  Fingers crossed nothing happens to delay him.

If you would have told me in March that he wouldn’t get to the US until August, I would have said no way.  We knew that renovations usually take longer than you expect, we were just a bit too optimistic.  Lesson learned.  Actually there were lots of lessons learned in this renovation:

Council (i.e. the city) drags its feet until you get shirty with them.

Contractors take a long time to put in bids and get everything organised.

Scheduling construction so it happens in the right order and in a timely manner will make you pull your hair out.

Even if you expect surprises, you will still be surprised.

Everything costs more than you expect.  Everything.

Unexpected Action and Adventure

Thrilling Tales of Action and Adventure, July 1950

Thrilling Tales of Action and Adventure, July 1950

The other day I demolished an old built-in storage unit in the deepest darkest corner of the apartment. I never know what’s going to fall apart around me when I demolish things in the apartment, so I try to be careful about it.

Being careful paid off this time, because sitting under the cabinet base were a few sheets of very old newspaper.

Behold, the Thrilling Tales of Action and Adventure as seen by earlier occupiers of my apartment! I also have a few pages of July 1950 local sports news, weather maps, shipping information and some very awesome advertisements.

Just when I’d gotten used to old construction meaning ‘I wasn’t built properly!’ This one’s a keeper.