Has it really been 3 months since our last post? That is so sad! Lots going on in the remodel. I got so sucked into actual house work that I’ve had very little time to post anything. Also, I think I felt so defeated the last three months that I haven’t felt very motivated to post. We’ve had great highs and great lows. We get really excited by our progress and then defeated by the thought of all of the work to come.

AND, Tim is now traveling to Hong Kong two weeks a month! We are so happy he has a job, but it definitely puts our projects a little behind.

Here are some setbacks/challenges:

– We needed about twice as much wood trim than we expected.

– The custom wood milling takes a lot of time, which throws schedules behind.

– The staining of the old wood and the new wood in the house has been much more difficult than we thought.

– We’ve gotten hit by significantly more cold weather and snow, which has monkeyed with our exterior work.

– We got hit with a last minute inspection surprise yesterday on our last CO inspection. We can’t get our CO until we have “landings” outside of all of our exterior entrances. We weren’t planning to do landscaping and exterior work until the spring, but now I have to scramble and get patios in the next two weeks.

– Our 50 year old house has some quirks…like different size door frame strikes, which don’t fit new standard door hardware. This is requiring some creative hunting.

– Did I mention that Tim is traveling 50% to Hong Kong now? I haven’t figured out how to clone him yet.

Good news/Progress:

– The wood trim is 99% done. The trim team is finishing up the very last minute items. They have such tiny things left and our front door is getting installed on Thursday. AND, all of the wood looks really great.

– We have countertops. We are so afraid of hurting them in the last stages of construction that I have them covered in bubble wrap and plastic and paper.

– The stain around the house looks great. And, you get a free contact high if you’re around when they are applying the stain.

– I am now an expert sander and wood prepper. Because I’ve had to deal with all of my mistakes, I’ve gotten better and better at prepping wood.

– The restored stairway built from mahogany looks fabulous. We THINK we’ve re-built it similarly to what may have existed.

– Tim has finished the kitchen cabinets. As a rookie cabinet maker, he struggled on some items, but I think they look great. He has not made the cabinet drawer fronts, but we plan on doing those after we move in. Those can be done in stages so I didn’t want to worry about them now.

What’s upcoming in the next few weeks?

– Trim guys finishing the the last details on the wood, including the front door.

– Some punch list stuff on our concrete block (no hurry because it doesn’t affect our moving in).

– Prepping the remainder of the woodwork for staining.

– Finish staining the kitchen, stairway and old wood pieces scattered throughout house.

– Finish drywall touch-up & paint.

– Floors (refinishing old oak floors & installing new cork floors)

– Need to get “landings” outside of all our door entrances.

– Get appliances installed.

What we will be doing AFTER we move into the house:

– Finish the kitchen drawer fronts & drawers

– Install baseboards

– Work on bathrooms (We have the vintage sinks and Tim has all of the wood to build the cabinets)

– Build closet doors

– Install very basic closet hardware (shelves & clothing rail)

Here are a few pictures from the house progress:

View from Family Room looking into Kitchen. The shallow pantry is original (sans doors that will be re-installed). The cabinets are all new, but based on the original cabinet design.


View from Family Room looking straight at kitchen. The countertops are installed, but buried under protection. You can also see a little of the new wood panels on the walls. They are not finished. They will look a little deeper in color once the final color and seal is applied. Also, that wall between the kitchen and family room is the old exterior wall of the house. Also, the paper is covering exposed concrete blocks.


View looking into kitchen on the bar side. What do you think of Tim’s rookie cabinets?


View of kitchen from the house entrance looking toward the family room.


View looking into the galley kitchen. We kept almost the original layout with modifications for different appliances. All of the utilities are almost in their exact former locations.


The new stairway. Our front door is on the ground level and the living spaces are above the garage and house. Because our property is sloped from north to south up, our one level house is even with the backyard. One of our neighbors says that in Pittsburgh, this would have been called a “High-Low” House.


View of the stairway from the bedroom hall looking into the living room.

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3 replies on “We’re almost there!

  1. I have been wondering how your remodel was coming along. It looks great! After having worked on two old houses, I can sympathize with your frustrations about things being nonstandard. But we are willing to put our blood, sweat, an tears into these houses because they are worth it at the end. If we wanted a cookie cutter house, we could have easily purchased one (but that would have been too easy and not quite as satisfying). Hang in there, you are making great progress!

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