Waxing Nostalgic on the Rehab

My reward for finishing the project was a tired immune system that snagged the first bug coming its way.  In fairness, it fought mightily as each member of my household was felled with it before I finally succumbed. Thank goodness for DayQuil....I'm functional.  I'm staying close to home as no one needs the generosity of a shared cold for the holidays.

Other than the wreath on my door; I have no decorations up.  Our spirits are up, though, because the house is finished (or as finished as we plan to partake in).  The appraiser comes next Monday.  I surely hope for the buyer that there are no snags.  I'm confident that the home will appraise for the price in the purchase contract.

I've prepared a little before/after on Picasa.  You can see it here:

The kitchen looks particularly good:

Here is a before/after picture.  I sent these two photos to the lovely woman who sold me the double oven and the glass cooktop and stainless steel hood.

I'm looking forward to creating another portfolio of pictures for the next property. 

This is my LAST post on this rehab project. So with that, I will provide consolidated (geez, it does not look too consolidated) specifics:

  • Flooring:  
    • AFter pulling up carpet, carpet tack strips, underlayment staples etc, sealed putrid floors with Zinser B-I-N.  Adhere to ventilation precautions.  It is alcohol based, and will send you to an alternative consciousness.
    • Installed 1/2" engineered hardwood by Robina:  Gunstock.  Supplied by WoodFloorsPlus.  I purchased close out.  Used DVR Floor Muffler for the underlayment.  The floors are stunning.  Every single piece of flooring from the box was perfect and went together easily.  No warranty as I purchased during super low closeout....but I'm okay with that. Most flooring warranties are to the original purchase. We laid the floor on ALL surfaces, including the bathroom and utility.  Cost $2.30 (for floor and underlayment) per square foot.
    • Silicone sealed bathroom edges.
    • Protected floors from continuing construction with the flooring boxes.
  • Kitchen Cabinets. 
    • Degreased with TSP. Wear gloves and goggles.
    • Sanded where needed.  Wear a mask!
    • Used Bondo and Rockhard to repair deep grooves in the handles.  Sanded all repairs carefully. 
    • Primed cabinets (interior AND exterior) with 2 coats of Zinser B-I-N (found at super low price @ N&W Salvage.  Sanded after each coat.
    • Wiped with a vinegar water solution to neutralize any residue.  Primed with Zinser B-I-N and sanded between bothNote that the instructions tell you not to use TSP; hence the vinegar/water solution.  
    • A word about grease: I had no problems EXCEPT a couple of pin-hole bubbles from some speck residue of grease that remained.  NOTHING covers grease.
    • Painted with Benjamin Moore Cabinet Coat in Chantilly Lace.   Applied paint with Wooster mohair blend, shed resistant mini-roller. 
    • New hardware from N&W Salvage.  Self closing hinges from Home Depot.
  • Other Kitchen:  Formica FX80 countertop supplied by West Coast Tops.  Kohler Enameled Cast Iron sink from the ReStore.    Appliances found on Craig's list ($600).  Gently used, but upscale.  Yes, that is a double oven in the picture.
  •  Doors:  All doors were replaced due to significant damage.  All but 1 passage way door was secured at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore for a price of $25 each for a solid wood door. Click on the link to find one near you. (Primed, sanded, painted--3 coats needed).  Bifolds and remaining passage way and closet door supplied by Steves and Sons. 
  • Windows:  All exterior windows had to be replaced.  Mid-South Building Supply supplied Vinylmax windows. Cost was $1600 to include installation.
  • Front door and back patio door were replaced with Fiberglass doors from ProBuild. Cost of about $1000 for both.
  • Paint:  Used Benjamin Moore paint throughout.  Applied Aura Paint in matte for the walls and semi gloss for trim.  In the bathroom, used Aura Bath and Spa. It has a built in mildewside.  Aura is quite expensive, even with a contractor discount.  Nevertheless, it touches up beautifully, has exceptional coverage and color.  With all of the other budget-minded things done, the splurge was on the paint.  I'm confident it will last many years!
  • Colors..wall/trim
    • Riviera Azure/Chantilly Lace (bedroom custom match to customer's textiles)
    • Balboa Mist/Chantilly Lace (ditto)
    • Crisp Straw/Ivory Tower  (Bathroom and ditto)
    • Cameo White/Decorator white (bathroom and ditto).
    • Hawthorne Yellow/Chantilly Lace: Great room, front room, halls.
    • Harbortown Green/Chantilly Lace:  Back room.
  • Plumbing Fixtures:  Faucet Direct.
  • Lighting Fixtures:  Lighting Direct.
  • Toilets:  Toto Drake  National Builders Supply.
  • Electrical:  New Panel from Square D's HomeLine.  You can get it at Home Depot.  Make sure you get the right breakers!  I slept with one of the electricians (who happens to be my husband), so I got a great deal on the electrical work.  
  • Masonry:  Great friend of husband's provided brick repair.  
  • Plumbing:  We had a melange of plumbers who tore out the old oxidized copper pipes and replaced with PVC.  No small task.
  • Heavy lifting for carpentry :  Fitzgerald General Contracting.  They did a terrific job fixing the joists, installing the windows, repairing drywall and providing feedback on other jobs we tackled ourselves.
  • Trim:  We reused (prepped for painting) wherever possible, though see takeaway below).
  • Urine/other stained subfloors can be contained with Zinser B-I-N.
  • Select quality contractors whom you know and trust.  Use referrals.  The cheapest guy in town or work done as a favor may not always the most reliable.
  • Grease on kitchen cabinets must be completely eradicated--any speck will bubble through.
  • There are NO shortcuts in well-prepped wood surfaces.  Use your fingers to ensure smooth prep on all wood surfaces.  IF your fingers can feel it, your eye will see it.
  • For plumbing fixtures purchased on line, make sure to check availability highly discounted items. I had to cancel two orderswith a supplier, because they could not get one of the products, and the other product had more than 3 week lead time.
  • CAULK.  Caulk your trim to the wall.  It makes for a beautiful, finished look.
  • SHOP internet. The internet had great deals and most things shipped free.  I did not have ONE mis-step from any supplier.  Compare prices...the same fixtures can be found more cheaply elsewhere and/or free shipping might be replaced with a lower net price.
  • Shop locally. Designing around spectacular deals (flooring, appliances, fixtures, lighting) can provide many upscale inclusions at a budget price.
    • Go to your Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  You can find some great buys plus you are supporting a local charitable effort. Also, don't forget Goodwill and Salvation Army, both of which have good deals.
    • Craig's List, or similar list.  We were lucky to find upscale, gently used appliances at a very good price.  
  • Minimize custom paint choices.  The end-purchaser had custom color choices.  The next rehab is only going to use 3 paint colors.  It is hard to paint efficiently when each room is a different color choice.
  • Use the right tool for the job.  Missing a tool?  Think of the money that you are saving by doing work yourself and go BUY yourself the tool that you wished that you had.
  • If trim is banged up, and you are moving from natural to painted trim, consider replacing the trim rather than prepping for painting.  Paint grade trim is affordable.  Banged up trim is still banged up when painted.
  • Don't dither on replacement windows.  If the windows look bad now, they are going to look even worse when you spruce up everything that houses them!  The last thing want is for people to see your great work and then immediately say, "but the windows look like shit!".
  • Plans....rules are made to be broken and plans are made to be amended.  It will likely cost you more and take more time than you originally expected.  However, if you plan well, you will be able to minimize deviations to the plan and make considered judgments regarding those deviations. Plan for the worst, expect the best. Keep your budget updated, and reforecast your price to finish so that you know where you are costs.
  • Don't get overwhelmed.  When every where you look something needs to be done or looks like it is half-done, undone, unhinged, then regroup.  I found that as soon as I could call one room complete, I immediately felt refreshed.  We had some real low moments when it seemed that nothing could get completed.  Retrenching to ONE room and doing ALL things, made a huge difference.
  • Be safe. 
    • Buy a first aid kit and make sure that everyone on your job knows where it is. 
    • Buy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a bottle of sterile eye wash and put them by the sink if there is one. 
    • Wear appropriate protective equipment.  Eye and ear protection are critical. Have safety glasses and ear protection handy.  Protect your skin and eyes from caustic materials.  Have chemical resistant gloves handy.
  • Protect your finished work. Use cardboard boxes from flooring/fixtures to set tool boxes and other items that might damage floors or walls.
  • Organize tools.  We spent too much time looking for stuff because we had to keep moving things.  On my next job, I'm going to buy one of those large chrome shelves from Costco.  I'm going to keep all job stuff and tools on or near the shelf. Put rollers on it to move it easily.  Disassemble and take to the next job.
  • Buy a big trash can and splurge on the thick, contractor bags. 
  • Rags in a Box (by Scott)--...man are these handy. 
  • No water/plumbing? Baby wipes can refresh hands and other areas.


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