I’m back and looking forward to catching up with some of your posts.  In order to enter the cyberworld again, I am motivating myself with a good cup of coffee at hand, the aroma of a vanilla scented candle, and fresh flowers from the garden – that should do it.  I am happy to say that we accomplished must of the work that we planned on this trip’s agenda.   This is what the agenda looked like and what really happened.

Saturday – Drive there.

We enjoyed the drive there – gorgeous skies and …

the unusual.

Sunday – Cut the blessed grass – again.

  • We cut part of the grass, and had rain in the afternoon, for a few days.  We cleaned one room (vacuum every crevice and got rid of some old wood) to store all material in it.  We kept some good pieces of wood that we can reuse.  We unloaded the truck with the material we transported  – cabinets, tools, flooring, lighting …  We have been able to find great material at half the cost or less.  If you are doing a similar project, a great source for material is Craigslist, where you can find pretty much everything at huge discounts (new and used) and even free.  We got our kitchen cabinets from a contractor, and they were brand new from a showroom – we paid only $60.00 for pieces that would have retailed for about $1,000.  The flooring (brand new) for two rooms was free.  Just to give you an example.

Cabinets – a huge savings

Boxes of flooring

Room full of Moulding and a few boxes of tile – we got this from a commercial contractor (via Craigslist) for a fraction of the cost – paid only $260.00 for all.  This will be enough for the entire house.  Due to the large quantity, we were unable to transport it on this trip, but will do it in the next.

These findings have helped our budget immensely. 

Monday – Finish the steps outside and paint them.  Clean the inside, plus we have to vacuum the entire place and eliminate some debris that is still inside.  That will take all day.  Take measurements for Tuesday’s job.  Measure the inside stairs as well.

  •  We vacuumed the entire place, walls, floor and ceiling.  We cleaned the windows and doors, as well.  This took the entire day.

Tuesday – We are planning to build the frame for the upstairs closets.  If there is any time left, we will start working on the next day job.

  • We built the frame for his and hers closets.  We bought the material in the am and worked the rest of the day.

Hers closet

His closet

We got two prehung closet doors, which will be installed later. 

Wednesday – We need to spackle and fix the stairway wall, which we are keeping since the stairs where build after it was up.  We figured that since it is still in good shape it only needs some spackle, sanding, and some paint much later.  We are planning on highlighting this wall and make it a family tree wall later on, where family pics will hang.  We also want to work on fixing the steps, which have to be built new and have a non-standard shape and size – it figures.

  • We decided to keep the original stairway and only replaced the broken steps.  In the afternoon, we finished cutting the grass and trimming the trees, since it did not rain.

These steps are over 100 years – it would have been a shame to change them, so we decided to keep them, reinforce them, and replace the damaged wood only.  They are very sturdy. 

The blessed grass was tall. 


My hands were so swollen from work, that I had to remove my wedding ring which was already cutting into the skin.  Not pretty. 

Thursday – Finish working on steps if not finished.  That day we plan to work on opening the floor in the backroom and fix/support any beams that may need support.  We will have to lay down the wood without nailing as the burst plumbing presents an issue.

  • Since we only had two more days of work and the forecast showed no rain for two days, only overcast, we decided to work on the steps outside.  We figured that the cement would dry in a day and we could paint them before we left.

We used the wheelbarrow to mix the cement.

Getting there.

Could not resist adding this touch (Eddie loves Piny) .

I plan to add something fun or pretty on each trip – something not so work related – just to lighten up the load and keep me “fun-focus.”  This time I added a few fun touches.

A rooster hook on the back door that will be used to hang a beautiful wreath (maybe next trip).

I wanted to give the screen door old fashion appeal, so I thought that this old-fashioned latch was perfect for it.

We don’t want a door bell so we opted for an old-fashioned Eagle door knocker. 

Friday – Finish anything that needs to be done from this agenda.  Some beams upstairs need a bit of reinforcement which won’t take much time.  If nothing else, then we can tackle fixing the outside porch beams, which need that some of the wood be replaced, but we are looking at that as an extra task.

  • We painted the steps.  They used to look like …

this!  Ouch! 

Now it is more like this.

That day, we decided to paint the cement around the foundation.

It is starting to look cleaner; we still need to paint the siding and put a new roof – but at least we are getting there. 

  • We also had time to tackle the porch columns, which were broken.  They used to look like this.

The rotten wood had to be replaced, sealed, and painted.

We had to cut the wood to the same existing shape.

 Painted columns.  Hard work.

So far, this porch has gone from this

 to this.

We still have tons of work to do, but when we look back at where we started, we see tons of progress. 

Saturday – We will travel back to Jersey.

  • We decided to stop by before leaving on Saturday and install the 3 fan brackets.  Before closing up, we made sure to set up foggers, as we found another black widow lurking under a cinder block that Eddie happened to pick up.  We will have to call the exterminator again in case that there are more.

We left around 11:30 am since we had a 10 hour drive ahead.  It was a lot of work for a few days, an although we decided to leave the back room alone, we feel that we accomplished most of the things in the agenda and a few extra.  We budgeted $1300 for this trip, and we came under budget at $1217.90

Food – $121.19

Gas – $405.49

Materials – $411.12

Misc/pet care – $280.00


Now, we have to start planning for the fall trip.  I hope you enjoy this post and that it is useful to some of you who may be thinking about restoring an old house.