Weekend One, done.

Whew! The first weekend is under our belts. My body is exhausted, but my mind is energized by how much we accomplished! We got the keys on Friday, which happened to be Alex’s birthday. What a day! I don’t know how we resisted, but we actually didn’t tackle any work until Saturday.

The to-do list for the first weekend:

  • clean! (this alone took hours!) and prep for paint – spackle, caulk, NO SANDING ALLOWED
  • paint living room, hallway, kitchen (including ceilings) – BM Simply White – Benjamin Moore paint is AMAZING. I’m a convert. The no-VOC is no joke. The paint smelled faintly like vanilla extract – no fumes whatsoever!
  • start bathroom demo
  • demo pine subfloor in kitchen
  • remove electrical wire in basement – (why? becau(se it would never pass inspection as-is and we don’t want to pay to have it professionally done. So we are removing it until we are ready to correctly wire the basement.)
  • sheetrock bedroom ceilings to cover texture (we hired this out, those guys are badass)
  • cut grass (this wasn’t on the list but a generous friend graciously offered!)
  • remove chain link fence from middle of backyard (this wasn’t on the list either, but Alex’s mom got after it! It makes such a difference in the yard already!)
  • demo wall between kitchen closet and bedroom closet – we are going to combine the two spaces and close off the opening to the kitchen.

I’m happy to say we accomplished everything on this list! We had incredible, generous help from our parents and our friends/neighbors. To say we are grateful is an understatement. We couldn’t do this without their moral and physical support!




After taking out the pine floor in the kitchen, we noticed some creaky subfloor. So Alex and Dad replaced a few boards and shimmed them up nice and secure. While the basement is unfinished, we will probably go around the house and shim under subfloor to take care of some more creaky floorboards.


Chain link fence, bye bye!


The walls, ceiling, and trim will all be Benjamin Moore Simply White. This definitely makes painting easier, but I did choose different sheens for each. The ceiling is their flat ceiling paint, and it is positively velvety. The ceilings in the living room and kitchen have a lot of imperfections, but two coats made them look nearly perfect! The walls are eggshell and the trim will be BM Advance in Semi-Gloss, which dries to feel almost exactly like oil.

I debated between Simply White and White Dove for weeks. I ultimately chose Simply White because we are getting replacement windows, and I think the white vinyl will match better. I also felt secure in my decision when BM crowned Simply White the “Color of the Year”! There are a lot of opinions to be found on the interwebs regarding white paint, and I think I’ve read them all. I was looking for something warm but fresh looking. I do think White Dove is great for an older house, but I feel compelled to make this house look as clean as possible. White Dove reads a little gray/muddy. So Simply White it is! My other favorite white paint is Behr Powdered Snow – but I wanted to use BM and didn’t want to mess with color-matching.

We didn’t paint any trim yet, because I’m trying to wrap my head around how to deal with peeling paint. On a lot of the trim and doors, there is a layer of latex that peels off of oil so easily it’s delicous. But I can’t spend the time peeling all of it completely. So I need to  get the loose paint off, but I can’t sand or scrape anything because nearly every surface I tested came back positive for lead. Liquid deglosser isn’t safe for pregnancy either…

Being pregnant has added a layer of complexity to this renovation. I wore a lead-approved respirator the whole time Alex was knocking down the closet wall, even though we completely taped the room off and he was spraying water to keep it wet. He wore a respirator mask too. Usually Alex and I are dangerously cavalier about lead paint (so stupid), but I’m not taking any chances with this babe in my belly!





Happening this week:

  • HVAC guys are currently there installing an air conditioner.
  • The hardwood floor guys are dropping off the new hardwood today so it can acclimate for a few days.
  • The drywall guys are coming back to sand the mud tonight.
  • The electrician starts tomorrow.
  • Hardwood floors start being finished on Thursday! I’m so excited for this.
  • The IKEA kitchen delivery also is due sometime on Thursday. We will have to store the boxes either in the basement or garage, until the floors are done. This weekend will likely be spent putting together cabinet boxes!
  • Alex has his sights set on the bathroom – will start by demo-ing two of the shower walls so we can install a showerhead. I need to get the tile from the Tile Shop…
  • I’m hoping to make serious progress on trim painting, once I decide how to deal with the peeling paint.



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