The Lake House Renovation: Living Room, Day 1

Posted 8 February 2017 at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

We weren’t really planning to do anything to the living room. There were only three objectives here: turn the firewood storage (the hole to the left of the fireplace) into a useable shelf; get the gas fireplace serviced, and paint the walls.

But, as you can see, the ceiling tiles just came down. (Insert shocked emoji.) Simultaneously, Elmer the expert came over to service the fireplace.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Living Room, Renovation Day 1

I did not want to replace the ceiling. I was fervently against it, in fact, because I wanted us to save our money for a future vaulted ceiling. But things sometimes go as they go, and in discussions with our contractor, I began to see the wisdom in replacing it. So, we are doing it, and somehow that one act of taking down the old ceiling vastly improved the smell of the house. Go figure. Maybe it was full of rat pee.

Here’s the before photo from the listing:

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Living Room, Renovation Before

I should start titling these posts, “Money Pit, Day 1.”

The Lake House Renovation: Our Bedroom, Day 6

Posted 6 February 2017 at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

Aaand we have a sliding glass door!

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 6

And maybe someday, a deck?

(In case you missed it, this was the situation before glass door.)

The Lake House Renovation: Kids’ Bedroom, Day 5

Posted 5 February 2017 at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)

We’re moving along slowly, but this has to be the most exciting bit of progress made so far. Remember how Matt the mason was cutting into our brick facade? It was to make way for this beautiful new window.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 5

Let’s compare to the original, shall we? Here is a photo I took of the house just after we bought it. The kids’ bedroom window was high and horizontal—very characteristic of ranch houses. We knew we had to enlarge the window to comply with egress codes, but I didn’t want to stray too far from the 1950’s ranch aesthetic.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 5

I did a ton of research. (I now know more about the architecture of ranch homes than I ever cared to know.) While it would have been more authentic to keep the window horizontal, it would have cost more money to make the window wider, since it would have required structural changes. So we could only enlarge downward.

Disappointed that we couldn’t keep the horizontal format, I went full steam ahead with an alternate detail that is characteristic of ranch houses—the casement window in the center with the horizontal grid lines on either side. It allowed me to keep some horizontal emphasis even though I couldn’t keep it all.

Then, Matt the mason used the original bricks to lay the sill.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 5

Doesn’t it look great?

The window is from the Andersen 100 series in a color called Terratone. It complies with egress codes, adds more character, and looks smashing against the brick. This felt like a huge step forward in our renovation. Drywall next.

The Lake House Renovation: Our Bedroom, Day 5

Posted 21 December 2016 at 9:05 PM | Comments (0)

It’s mighty hard to believe that not everyone is in support of the sliding glass door. They fought hard, but I fought harder.

But Matt the mason understands me. He agrees with my dream of stepping straight from my bedroom onto a deck someday. It is possible that he is just trying his best to placate me, but that is probably the right thing to do, given the circumstances.

And by “circumstances,” I mean about fifty sketches of my future off-bedroom deck, where the only thing missing is an image of me in my bathrobe.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 5

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 5

The Lake House Renovation: Kids’ Bedroom, Day 4

Posted 21 December 2016 at 8:38 PM | Comments (0)

It wasn’t easy to find a mason. With so few brick houses in this town, all we could find were masons who worked on chimneys. Even our contractor, with something like thirty years of local experience, didn’t know a mason.

Eventually we found one, and I think he is legitimate because the house is still standing. We affectionately call him Matt the mason. If the house collapses, I will call him Matt the marauder.

With that… our kids are ready for their egress window.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 4

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 4

The Lake House Renovation: Our Bedroom, Day 4

Posted 26 November 2016 at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

New lights are not just for the kids. We’re getting some, too. And you can also see some building activity in our closet, where we have: 1) closed up the firewood pass-through, and 2) added framing for deeper storage. I can really feel the progress today.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 4

The Lake House Renovation: Kids’ Bedroom, Day 3

Posted 25 November 2016 at 9:43 PM | Comments (0)

Lights! We have lights! They weren’t installed per my instructions, so unfortunately they will have to be redone, but relatively speaking, it is not even a setback—it is actually the smallest problem we have had. So, celebrate with me. Lights! You can also see that the plywood walls are going back up. We are making progress.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 3

In the next photo, you can see the water on the floor where our ceiling is leaking (the other leaks have been fixed, so these are new), and you can see the bathtub outline through the closet, where we continue to have a rat problem. Pest control comes on Tuesday. I am not an aggressive or violent person, but it would not disturb me if the rats… er… perished.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 3

The Lake House Renovation: Kids’ Bedroom, Day 2

Posted 12 November 2016 at 7:59 PM | Comments (0)

So many problems plaguing us this week. We pulled off the drywall in the kids’ closet and had a perfect view of the bathtub barrel through the wood frame. That “perfect view” was sullied by loads—LOADS—of rat droppings, all the way around the bathtub. Oh man, it was gross.

We also realized the roof had a leak, because after a heavy rainfall, the kids’ bedroom floor had a big puddle of water.

It was not our best week. I am tempted to tear this entire house down and start over, but that is not in our reach right now.

Going to wallow with a piece of cake.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 2

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 2

The Lake House Renovation: Kids’ Bedroom, Day 1

Posted 5 November 2016 at 9:14 PM | Comments (0)

Whoops. I forgot to take a picture of the second bedroom before we started working on it, so I had to pull one off of a website.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Before

We finally pulled down the cheap, wood paneling off the walls, which exposed the plywood underneath (this house is too old for sheetrock, apparently). Gone are the tiled ceilings, too, so we can’t get out of that now…

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 1

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 1

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 1

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Kids' Bedroom, Renovation Day 1

If you’re wondering what’s going on with the masking tape on the window, that’s me brainstorming a stylized, larger window, so that we’re up to code. Time will tell what ends up on that wall. Probably not jail bars, though. My husband said no.

The Lake House Renovation: Our Bedroom, Day 3

Posted 4 November 2016 at 8:31 PM | Comments (0)

There have been many setbacks, but we’re pressing on. From the pictures it looks like we haven’t done anything at all, but that’s because most of our work has been under the house:

1) We replaced the pipes under the house that were leaking sewage. (Gross.)

2) We cleaned up the rat infestations both above and under the house. (No more rats, but no more insulation, either.)

3) We replaced all of the rotted posts that support the house from below. (They weren’t doing their job before, but now they are.)

4) We lifted the house slightly to try to level it. (It kind of worked. Well, not really.)

5) We made a lot of improvements so that moisture and rodents under the house are no longer a problem. (We hope.)

So finally, we’re back to working on our bedroom. That means the ugly, tiled ceiling is gone! We are currently trying to decide if we want a basic, sheetrock ceiling, or if we want something with a bit more pizzazz—in the modest, lake house sense of the word—which basically means wood planks.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 3

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 3

We can now look directly at our nude roof, which, as you can see, has no rats, no insulation, and no dignity left.

1959 Lakeside Ranch House: Our Bedroom, Renovation Day 3