Monday, September 21, 2009

Ikea floor and stupid dog

So this is the floor we got and installed in the kitchen and new bathroom. During the installation (and I assumed until the baseboard was in) ikea suggests putting in the black spacers between the wall and the floorboard. Well our stupid dog Brutus has been picking up the spacers and is now recovering in hospital after surgery to remove one from his stomach!! This is his second surgery to have something removed from his insides in the last 6 months. In his defense he is half pug and pugs apparently will eat anything and everything and will even eat until it kills them. Now how did this breed survive?


I know I said I would post pictures but I couldn't find the camera. Well, I found the camera, took new pictures and then I couldn't find the cable to download the pictures. But now I have both, so here are a couple of pictures of our kitchen. It is 90% complete and only needs under-cabinet lights and some drywall on the ceiling! These pictures were taken when we started the remodel so it is a little messy....

The kitchen before: All the counter space we had is in the middle picture can see all the counter space we had (it is right next to the window). The picture on the right was taken after the plumber was done putting the waste stack into the wall.

The kitchen now. We still have to paint and are going to do a greenish tile for a backsplash. We filled in the missing pieces from the reuse center cabinets with ikea sheves and wine rack, and are going to paint all the cabinets white.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Kitchen remodel.

I have to apologize, I took pictures of different stages of the plumbing an kitchen demo to post and with the mess the house is in, I can't find the cord to download the pictures to my computer. I promise to post them as soon as I find the cord though.

The electrical and plumbing rough-in inspections should be completed tomorrow. After that we can put in the kitchen cabinets and start to drywall. Last weekend, I put in the new floor for the kitchen and new bathroom. It is an Ikea floor with a black and white pattern on it, which looks really good. So things are progressing, but not fast enough. What is worse, is that we have to get a lot done by the wednesday before labor day. Seth's parents are coming up to visit for the long weekend! I hope we will have some semblance of normalcy by then.

When we were looking for kitchen cabinets we went to Menards and Ikea and used their design program and figured that the Ikea cabinets would work best cost-wise. Then a couple of weekends ago, we went to the reuse center to looking for something completely unrelated, and they had a complete oak kitchen set which fitted our kitchen almost perfectly! So we ended up buying it the next day. We also fortuitously found that all the appliances we picked out were available at the Sears outlet in NE minneapolis and we got a great deal on those. So with all the money we have saved so far we may even be able to get more stuff done around the house.

Fired the contractor

We fired the contractor about a week or so into getting things started. It just wasn't working out. Insisted that the plumber finished before he would send in his guys, but the plumber needed the contractor to do several things so he could put in the plumbing. So, we (and by we I mean Bill mainly), ended up tearing out the kitchen and everything else that the plumber needed. Finally it got to he point where Bill was going to put in the new cabinets and we are getting custom concrete counter tops so all the contractor had to do was sister 4 joists in our kitchen ceiling before all the plumbing could be finished. well, then he said he would show up on 2 separate occasions - once to check on how many joists he needed and the second to actually do the work. The first time he said he had too much to do, and the second time after telling him I had to be at work at 9, he called at 8:40 telling me he was still a half hour away and had to stop to talk to someone on the way. With that, he brought the firing on himself......

Turned out though that I also fired the plumber. After the ceiling joists were fixed, I called the plumber asking him why he had not shown up and he told me that he had a contract to work for us with the contractor and not with us. Sigh, set us back a couple of days, but we got a new contract with him and now have our rough-in inspection tomorrow!!!! He is a great plumber, did a ton of work - tore out everything, and put in new water lines, gas lines and waste and vents for 2 bathrooms and the kitchen. Anyway, we hope we will be done with the plumbing sometime next week!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The people helping.....

With the demise of our 203k loan application, we decided to use our savings to fix up as much of the house as we could. We decided that redoing the existing bathroom and kitchen were our top priorities for now, and we nixed the new bathroom and figured we could work on other areas one at a time. But we decided that it would be easier if we had some help getting things done. So here are the people we have (or had).....

The General Contractor: Our general contractor for the 203k loan was still around and we felt really bad for him, because he hung around for so long only to end up out of a big job. so we really wanted to give him something to do. It was very obvious from the get-go that the contractor was not as into the project anymore. We told him what our priorities were and asked for a new bid. So he haphazardly pulled out some relevant bits from his original estimate and sent it to me, insisted on getting a new plumber to turn in a bid and threw in a general figure for electrical. It was clear though that we were not going to be able to afford doing the plumbing and all the priorities we had set, so after a lot of back and forth, we decided that the contractor would do a complete kitchen remodel, which included supporting and leveling the sagging ceiling (which is also the bathroom floor).

The Plumber: We ended up asking for the first of 2 plumbers that the contractor had turn in estimates - the new plumber came in a little bit higher than the first, but his bid only included redoing the existing bathroom and not putting in a new one. So we asked for the 1st guy and decided to put in the new bathroom.

The Electricians: We ended up getting a local company to come in and do the electrical. It basically included everything we wanted in the loan and they came up with a very reasonable estimate. In fact they just called me to tell me that they were done with rough-in and were going to schedule an appointment for the inspection tomorrow.

Our friend Bill: Born and brought up on a farm in Nebraska, Bill has been a great handyman. Although he prefers to to frame and hang drywall, he will probably do anything construction related. Unfortunately Bill got a job that started Monday, so we don't know when we are going to see him next. It was great when he would come over do some stuff during the day when we were at work and suddenly we had new walls, ceilings and plaster ripped out, a leveled kitchen ceiling.

In spite of all the help, we have still been busy ourselves, but it all seems more manageable. Although Bill got rid of old hanging cabinets in the kitchen, Seth and I tore out the rest. We then put down a new IKEA floor in the new bathroom and in the kitchen and are the general clean up crew. I even cut up our old cast iron bathtub and we hauled it downstairs to the dumpster. We will probably be putting in kitchen cabinets this weekend!!

RIP 203k

I took a little bit of a hiatus from the blog, but I'm now back! We have had a lot going on recently but things are definitely moving, but I will probably fill you in with short posts, rather than one long, boring one. After waiting for a long, long time for our FHA loan, the company we were using quit the 203k program and denied our loan. We tried resurrecting it with other companies, but unfortunately found another problem with the appraisal. Our appraiser the "as is" value of our house way below its current value. He apparently took our purchase price of the house and then took into account depreciation in the neighborhood and the number of months we have owned the home to come up with the current value our house. So according to the appraisal we owe more than it is worth. The bottom line is that if we pursued the 203k further, we wouldn't be able to get everything done.

So we are now back to doing things ourselves, with a little bit of help.....

Monday, June 29, 2009


I need to vent. We still have not yet gotten our rehab loan. The underwriter is apparently still working on it. So we are playing the waiting game, but it has been a long, frustrating process. We did get the house to appraise for the amount we need, which is great! I may post more about the loan process after we close, for anyone trying to decide if they want to try getting a rehab loan. In the meantime, we received a letter from our mortgage company saying that they were informed that our home owners policy had been terminated. Now, I knew this was coming, but it was not supposed to happen until the middle of July.

When we bought the house last year, our insurance company came up with a list of things that they wanted us to do - paint the house, fix the cracks under the porch, fix the garage door and window. When I talked to them last year, the person told me that I had a year from that day to finish it, which was the middle of July last year. But instead they cancelled our policy from the day we bought the house.

What is really surprising is that we got nothing from them. There was no letter, no email, phone call, nothing - to say our policy was not going to be renewed. Anyway, we were forced to find a new insurance company in a panic to make sure we had coverage. I am pissed with the previous company for not informing us or we would not have known had the mortgage company not contacted us. I called them to tell them so and got the runaround, but someone is supposed to call me back in 24 hours.....