DIY Home Improvement

Another CRAZY Announcement

As if this year needs any more craziness, we have gone and added some more crazy to our lives.

We are very excited (and slightly overwhelmed) to announce publicly that . . .

That’s right!  We are moving!  We grew up in a small town a few hours from where we currently live.  We have thought about moving back closer to our families before, but the opportunity had never presented itself.  That is, until about a month and a half ago when San received a text from a previous coworker asking if he would be interested in a position as a Sous Chef with another company.

A couple interviews later and now our entire lives are upside down!  The end result will be completely worth it, and being pregnant is what really motivated us to jump on this because the idea of raising our daughter and any (hopeful) future children near family is important to us, but the timing is a little less than idea.  What about this year has been ideal, though?  I’m learning to trust God because he’s just doing some amazing things and I don’t want to stand in his way!

San already started the new job next week and has moved in with my parents who we are so grateful for!  They have a large house with a finished basement (which definitely doesn’t feel like a basement at all) that we can call home with a little kitchenette (a small fridge, a sink, and a mini dishwasher), a living room, a bedroom, and an exercise room.  The dogs will be quite at home with us down there.  As a nanny, I couldn’t just give the standard two week’s notice (well I could have, but I didn’t feel right doing that), so I gave about 5 weeks’ notice.  I have to find a job now in the new city, so that is my biggest concern right now.  I have a little over two weeks until I am done.

We met with our wonderful realtors a couple weeks ago to run through a few market analyses to see what our home would sell for given different scenarios.  Basically, the price we could sell our house at right now with no changes would be about $11,000 more than what we bought it for, but after all the fees of selling, we would only be left with about $2,000.  We put a lot more than that into the renovation, so it’s not worth it to us to not make anything back.  Plus, we would love to be able to have some extra money to put toward our next house.

We ran a few scenarios, but we ultimately decided on the whole shebang: finishing the basement, and bringing the upstairs to a “finished” standpoint.  When we renovated the main level of our house, we turned a legal bedroom (that made no sense – had four doors in it – and was being used as the dining room) into an open dining room to make the floor plan open.  By doing that, we took our house from a technical three bedroom/one bath home to a two bedroom/one bath home.

To the main level, we will be:

When the basement is finished, the house will have about 600 or so more square footage, another bathroom, a family room, and two more legal bedrooms.  It should sell for  A LOT more than we paid for it, and even with the cost of finishing the basement, we should have made our money back and then have plenty extra to put toward a new house.

Here is what the basement floorplan is currently:


The laundry area is on the back wall of the house under the dining room and the utilities (furnace, water heater, etc.) are positioned right about where our upstairs hallway is.  There are currently two “bedrooms” already sheetrocked, but they are not legal because only one has a closet, there is only one entry into that area, and there are no egress windows.

Here is the plan for the basement when we are all done with it:


Under our current upstairs living room will be a family room.  Behind that will be the bathroom and behind that, the storage/laundry/utilities area.  We will add a little hallway off the family room to the two bedrooms.  The front bedroom will use the closet that currently has a doorway into the back bedroom (which will be closed up).  The back bedroom will then get a brand new closet with only one bifolding door since the electrical panel is on that wall.  The two windows on the back of the house have been replaced with the same size vinyl windows.  The two windows in the bedrooms that are on the right side of the floorplan will be replaced with 36″x36″ egress windows.  Thankfully, our house sits up high, so not much digging will need to be done to add the egress windows – just a lot of cutting cement blocks.

The list for the basement seems almost endless, and I think it’s pretty obvious by the changes in the floorplan that there will be a LOT of work.  Thankfully, it is in an unused space and there is not a lot of altering the existing structures, which is what made the upstairs renovation take so long.

I’d like to give a shout out to my amazing parents, by the way!  Whenever I say “we will be _____” what I really mean is, “my parents will be _______ and San and I will be helping as much as we are able.”  My dad is a contractor and together, my mom and dad have turned an Amish house into a beautiful farmhouse (with added electricity, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, etc.) and have built a house from scratch, with countless other house projects under their belts that I haven’t mentioned, plus all the work my dad has done during his 30 years of carpentry experience.  They feel very strongly about helping us live the “American dream” of owning a home, and have helped us build equity through renovating our home.  We could never have done the initial renovation without them, and there is no way we could ever even attempt the basement renovation without them.  We are very lucky they are not only letting us stay with them, but they are working as quickly as possible during their own spare time to help us make money off our house.

Wish us luck as we get to this new chapter in our life!  We hope to update as much as we can, but it certainly won’t be as often as we had been.

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2013 Holiday/Renovation-Completion Tour

It’s definitely been far too long since we have posted, but this has been a very crazy year!  We wanted to update with posts for every step along the way during our renovation, but since that took up our weekends and many of our nights, there was really no time to update.  Instead of going step-by-step through the renovation (which we might break down a little more in the future if anyone is interested), we are instead showing you the “final” (right, it’s never finished) tour now that the renovation is done and we have it decorated for the holidays.

In this video, I explain what we did as well as what we are planning on doing, because there are still tons of things on our to do list.  Coming up soon, we will be posting a rundown list of all the projects dealing with our house, both finished and left to do.  Trust me, there are a lot more “to dos” then there are “finished” at this point, but most of the major stuff is out of the way!

Before you view the video, let’s recap what the floor plan looked like when we bought the house:

house plan before

And this is the house after the renovation:

What we did:

Please don’t mind the random music in the middle of the video.  I’m not sure how that happened and didn’t realize it until it was already uploaded.

We are so excited to finally share the results!  We have tons of projects planned for this year, but will be tackling them at a slower pace so we hope to update as we go this year!

We would love to know your thoughts on what we have done and what we plan to do.  I love being inspired by other people’s ideas and love getting input from others!

I hope you all had a merry Christmas and have an amazing new year!

When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

When we first saw our house, we really liked it, but we had some reservations.  The main drawbacks were that it did not have a dining area that made sense, one of the three bedrooms was very awkward (one door to the kitchen, one to the hallways closet, and two more doors to two different closets), and the basement was not finished which meant the square footage was only around 1,000.

Here was the original floor plan on the day we bought it (the basement is not shown, but it is pretty much an empty shell besides two framed and sheetrocked “bedrooms” that are not currently legal.

Marital Glue Floor Plan At Closing

The house had two original dining areas, one right beyond the front door and one beyond the kitchen cabinets in the kitchen.  Both of which were WAY too small, cumbersome, and awkward.  The bedroom off the kitchen had a chandelier in it, so we know that the previous owner used it as a dining room, so that was our main option.  However, with four doors in a fairly small space and no easy access to the kitchen or living room, it made for a layout that just wasn’t going to work for us.

However, as we started planning out the space, we talked to my parents who have a ton of renovating experience from my dad’s 25+ years of carpentry experience and my mom’s experience renovating and building a few houses.  They suggested that we go for some big renovations straight upon move-in to make the most of the space and to make living in our home easy for the longest time possible.  We agreed that it doesn’t make sense to buy furniture, organize, and start decorating right away only to renovate and mess everything up in a few months.

Now, we totally stand by the “live in your house for a while before doing anything major” rule that many people follow.  However, this is something we thought about a lot in advance and knew it would be the perfect choice for us.  We also have been doing everything on the weekends and started with the kitchen, so we lived in the space for almost two months before anything major was knocked down or put up.

So, with my parents help, we came up with a plan that would make the most of our space.  This plan involved a few different renovations:

In case that is confusing, this is the layout that we are working toward:

House After Reno Floor Plan Marital Glue


We will definitely be breaking down each step of the process the best we can so you can see exactly what we did.  It’s important to note that we know we are getting rid of a legal bedroom, but we have plans of finishing our basement and making the two sheetrocked non-legal bedrooms into legal bedrooms (by adding egress windows) while also adding a bathroom and family room.

We really love how this new floor plan will make use of the open, unusable space in front of the front door, create an open living area, and make going to the basement much easier.  It is not fun to cart laundry through the dining room, and into a cramped space with the back door, the basement door, and the dining room door all competing for the space.  It will be much easier to go through the living room.

If you noticed the closed in closet in the dining room that is on the same wall as the bathroom and thought we were crazy to leave a hollow space, we have big plans of knocking down those closet walls in the bathroom so we can have an extra long vanity and much more open bathroom than we currently have, but that’s not on our list of things to do for a while.

I’m sure we missed some of the details, but we will be chronicling the whole renovation in many different, detailed posts, so you won’t miss a beat.

Have you drastically changed the floor plan of a house?  Ever closed one doorway only to open up another?  Ever move your stairs?

Pros and Cons of Original Kitchen

I’m pretty sure shows like House Hunters and Property Virgins have made it clear that no house is ever perfect, especially a person’s first house.  I mean, even if we had unlimited funds, I don’t think I could design a “perfect” house because so many of the things I like are contradictory (love the functionality of a rambler but love the look of a two-story, want a neighborhood where future kids could run around with other friends but also would love to be out in the country with lots of space, you get the idea).  Every house has its pros and cons, just as each room does in a home.

Since we are in the process of some serious renovation, I thought I would share with you where we started at in the kitchen.  I’m kicking myself for not taking better photos of the house when we first bought it, but I just couldn’t wait to move in and change everything!

Before we get to the lists, let’s remember the layout of our house when we first moved in:

And, here are a couple photos:

Marital Glue House at Closing

The photo above shows the view from the living room/front door. There are cabinets on both side of this door way (although only one side is seen from this angle) and there is a very small open space that makes this kitchen considered an eat-in kitchen, even though that space was definitely not big enough for us, our table, as well as a walkway to the basement stair that were just around the corner.

Marital Glue House at Closing

 Pros of Original Kitchen:


Cons of Original Kitchen:

Whew!  That’s a long list!  Although we had a lot of cons to work with, I must say that there were a lot of pros for a sixty-year-old kitchen.  I will reveal that we are almost done with the kitchen part of our renovation, but we will be sharing over the course of many blog posts so you can see how it all went down.  Now that we’ve seen the transformation, I’m happy to report that we were able to remedy almost all of the cons!  That’s pretty good considering we definitely did not gut the whole thing and start over.  We worked with what we had, and even added a few extra bonuses in there!  I can’t wait to share over the next few weeks!

Check back on Friday to read about (and see pretty inspiration photos) our plan for the kitchen!

In the meantime, I’m wondering what are the pros and cons of your kitchen?