In 2014, my brother, Tom, and I bought two homes. Yes, next door to one another. I’m living in the pastel teal one, and Tom’s in the dull peach colored one. They are sister homes built around 1890-1910. Yeah, like really really really old houses, over a hundred years old. They were in the worst of worst conditions, but the area was perfect. Walkable to downtown, the bayou (which at the time had just started its own renovations). For the next 3 years, we were our own architects, contractors, subcontractors, and we worked to get these houses restored and updated to contemporary design standards, while keeping as much historic quality interwoven as possible. Basically, a shit ton of DIY.
We started the majority of renovations in the pastel teal house. The idea was to get one house up and running so we can move in and then work on the second home. We stripped the house down to its bones, and rebuilt from the ground up, literally.
Months went by quickly, and any sight of progress was rewarding. We slowly put in electrical, plumbing, walls…WALLS! When we put up walls in a house, it FELT SO GOOD. I finally could see what the hell my plans looked like in real life, not just on a computer screen or paper.
Oh let me pause really quick and show you the plans that I made up with my favorite tool (http://www.roomsketcher.com/). The original layout of the house is on the left and my new proposed layout is on the right.
The new layout needed to accomplish a few things:
1. Two bathrooms and two bedrooms. If this house is to eventually become a family home, two bathrooms are definitely required. Also, when I have people over, who wants to wait for the bathroom?
2. Kitchen is the highlight of the house. I moved the kitchen to the middle of the house because I believe food is the center of our lives. It brings people together.
3. Open concept kitchen/dining/living. Since it’s a small house, having a view from end to end of the house will give the feeling of spaciousness. Walk in and you’ll be able to see the window all the way at the other end of the house.
Back to progress, we finally completed the interior walls and floors of the home, and then Tom and I moved in. First things first, we installed the kitchen…ourselves. I know, why didn’t we just hire a cabinet maker? Why didn’t we have a contractor? Well, we chose to go with Ikea kitchen cabinets because of the cost and the full featured rails/cabinet hardware and all the blogs I read that went with Ikea cabinets. Seriously best decision ever. I’ll go into detail one day about the kitchen installation, the pain in the ass process if you don’t have straight walls, and the cost breakdown. (Look at that photo below. You can tell I care more about cooking in the kitchen and light fixtures then I did about having doors for bedroom privacy. Seriously, I was tired of eating out)
Although we finished up 95% of the house, there are still little things to tweak here and there. For example, we need these blasted single pane aluminum windows swapped out. I don’t even want to think about it yet.
For now, let’s just look at the picture below of my mom making lunch and my dad vacuuming. This is a normal weekend for our family. My parents come over, and we hangout, do some building/painting/restoring, and always eating something delicious and home made.
For Part II, I’ll go over the mini-house behind my house. I’m seriously understating it when I say it was in shitty condition. Ciao for now.