Chickadee House is Done

Whew, it’s been a while. I’ve been racing to get Chickadee House done in time to celebrate our son’s first birthday. We made it with time to spare. This house did not require alot of demolition or rebuilds, mostly cosmetic fixes.

First major hurdle was getting the sprinkler system to function properly. At closing the previous owner made it a point that sprinkler was fixed and working 100%. Imagine my surprise and amusement when sprinkler was turned on and water sprayed every which way. Previous owner’s sprinkler repair company took our call and promised to come out and take a look. They never showed up to appointment and vanished in thin air.  Needless to say we got another company to come out and fix their mistake, wait no…..totally did their job which they were paid to do. Major issue was a 5 inch root barreling through the main supply line. Sprinkler works great now.


We removed and replaced old laminate floor from living room and extended to bedrooms.


We replaced laminate counter top in kitchen and bathrooms with a light colored quartz.


We painted the back patio floor and added sofas, chairs and table with covered umbrellas.

A neutral coat of interior paint freshened the house to create a light open feel. Landscaping around the yard will be an ongoing project. We are settled in and loving our new home. On to finding the next flip.


New Project Chickadee House in Meadows Of Maudehelen Apopka


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The search started when Foxforrest Project ended. However, serious house viewing started when Foxforrest Project closed. It took three tries to finally land this amazing house.

We decided that it was time to make a move from condo living to house living. Even though in the back of our minds we knew that Apopka is where we would need to be, it did not hurt to consider properties in neighboring Longwood, South Apopka, Winter Garden and Altamonte Springs. Why Apopka? One word Growth. Foxforrest House sold in one week both times that it was listed. Downtown Apopka has a development plan that is ambitious and challenging. With a new hospital set to open at the end of 2017, the area is poised to really ramp up development. Biggest growth factor is the Wekiva Parkway Loop. As this road loops around northern Apopka so does the real estate development. They can’t build houses fast enough. Oh and my parents moved there. Built in baby sitters!

In our search, we narrowed down to a few areas closer to my parents. We saw several houses in the Lake Doe area. One particular house came on the market and we saw it the second day. Great choice for us, right next to a playground, no rear or side neighbors, minimal work to bring it to what we would like to live in and large driveway. We placed a HUD house bid and did not get it. Next day after we lost the bid, another house came on the market in Lake Doe not far from the first. This was spectacular. Move in ready, large back patio with a lakefront view. Lakefront view! We didn’t care much what the rest of the house looked like inside, which was fine. We could have lived with everything. Maybe kitchen needed a new counter top. We put an offer in the same day. The sellers accepted. We placed a deposit. The sellers backed out of the deal! Something happened to house they wanted to buy and the deal fell through so they got cold feet and completely backed out of our deal. We looked at a few more houses and a few more subdivisions.

A friend of mine lives in Meadows of Maudehelen and he keeps telling me about houses in his neighborhood that is on the market. This subdivision is a tad farther than we wanted to be. But the houses are gorgeous so is the neighborhood. When we saw Chickadee house it was a feeling right away that we could make this into our future home. The house boost 4 bedrooms all on the same side of house but away from master bedroom. Fourth bedroom has french doors that open to one big room or closed off to separate room or office or den, more of a flex use space. The living room runs whole length of house from front to back. Kitchen is partially closed off to living room but shares breakfast area. Even though current trend is open concept with one great room sharing kitchen, living and dining, this separation seems useful. We are okay with our kitchen not having to be on display all the time. The back patio is a stunning space. Concrete slab runs from one end of the house to the other and a good ways back leaving a little grassy area for our little dog to exercise within a fence. There is a hot tub. Not so sure if it’s working but we’ll see.

There are a few areas that we can update to make this house into our vision for a home. Master and guest bathroom needs some work. Not a total gut job, we will keep some items and update others. Kitchen needs a new counter top and backsplash. Living and bedrooms need new flooring. A few light fixtures and fans are dated, we will change them out. A coat of paint and we can move in! This is not like our other flips where we redo almost the whole house. But, these updates will make this diamond sparkle once again.

Keep reading this blog and follow as we transform this builder’s grade house into a space we can call home.

Foxforrest is Closed


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It takes sheer good nerves to be in this business. Just when one thinks everything is going fine the rug gets pulled from under your feet. No we did not close on the deal I wrote about in my last post.


It was too quick to be true. There were subtle nuances from the beginning that smelt like trouble. There was always a snag something or the other was either missing or needed an extension or the answers did not come fast enough. Looks like the buyer was stumbling or maybe they did not get proper representation. To the end they asked for another extension that really did not seem reasonable. So we backed out of the contract and in good faith kept half of the deposit.

So we relisted the house on a Friday afternoon right before 5pm. That same afternoon we had a showing. Saturday was a buzz. I lost track how many times my agent texted to say that there was another showing. Saturday afternoon we started receiving offers through Sunday. Monday we made a selling decision. This transaction went through smoothly until the last few days. There was a mix up with the lender and title, causing a three day delay.

I am ecstatic to report that closing is done, funds are in the bank and we no longer own Foxforrest House. This was a long journey with many ups and downs. Overall, it was a great experience. On to the next purchase. This time we are looking for a house that we can move into.

This house is flipped


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Yes, we are done. Further, we are under contract.

Upstairs carpet was installled by a carpet crew. These guys really knew what they were doing. In two days, upstairs carpet and stairs were installed.

The kitchen had it’s own set of challenges. We decided to mix things up with white upper cabinets and dark brown lower cabinets. The assembly of IKEA’s new cabinet line was as easy as it’s old line. Once you figure out how to put cabinet together the rest becomes easy. We choose the rail system for uppers and lower cabinets. This worked out to level both uppers and lowers seamlessly. Granite countertops made a definite statement here with single bowl undermount sink. Kitchen turned out spectacular.


A few minor loose ends here and there completed this project.

We listed this property on a Friday and got two low ball offers on Monday. Through the week we negotiated and got more offers. By the end of week we accepted a reasonable offer. Seven days on the market and we are under contract. This deal should go through, if all goes well, by the end of month.

Until then, we hang tight and start looking for the next flip. Or will we move into another house….

Downstairs flooring is done


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This was a fairly simple choice. There are many elements of modern country in this house. A ‘weather beaten country oak’ seems like the befitting name of flooring. 

The key to any floating floor is good padding. For this project we used QuietWalk Padding made from recycled clothing. The material was very difficult to cut with a box cutter or blade. However a heavy duty sewing scissors cut through it like butter. Vapor barrier is attached to the underside of very thick felt like blankets. This padding really dampens the hallow sound that goes with laminate installation.

Lumber Liquidators is our choice of supplier. Their have a huge modern current selection of today’s flooring. Our choice of Weather Beaten Country Oak laminate Made in the USA displays saw teeth grains with modern rustic looks. The first cut of a log at a saw mill is with huge saw blades that normally leaves heavy marks. This laminate takes on those saw marks visually and texturally. It feels rough, non slippery under your feet but still very smooth to caress the feet. Woven complex oak strands makes this flooring a stunner. 

Seamless installation is always challenging. Making every room marry into the next room is always a very tedious task. However with patience and meticulous attention to details the daunting task of seamless floor was achieved. End caps were placed along sliding and exterior doors. Transition strips were used to marry tile surrounding fireplace. 

Countless hours on my knees paid off for a seamless floor. Next, carpet upstairs and kitchen installation. I can see the light shining at the end of this project.

Bathrooms and upstairs are finished


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It’s been awhile. Well, I’ve been busy finishing these bathrooms, all three of them. In my defense, one must have patience and resolve when ordering items on the internet.

We found a great looking complete vanity, sink and mirror combination with a few configurations that could work with our existing bathroom layout for a reasonable price. Small little issue, when we ordered the first vanity we assumed they would have others in stock when we were ready. Not so. We had to wait three weeks. Then they kept sending boxes with half of hardware. How can a packer make the same mistake twice? There is a huge difference between 16 pairs of fasteners and 32. Needless to say finally all hardware arrived.

Next big issue, drains for these sinks. The combination came with drain, p-trap and tailpiece. To match our existing plumbing we had to do some really deep thinking. After a few failed attempts and several trips to Lowes Hardware Store we finally got a fixture that worked. One would imagine a new item would work flawlessly. Not so. After connecting all the plumbing, there was a persistent leak from the tailpiece connected to drain. Deeper investigation resulted in the tailpipe being slightly too narrow for drain. Easy fix, get a new tailpipe. I could not find a tailpipe to match the drain. Guess what? I had to change every drain and tailpipe and toss the ones that came with combination. Luckily Lowes sells a sink drain and tailpipe combination. Oh, but I had to drive to another Lowes because the one closest to me stocked only three of these items at a time. I needed five.

Guest bathroom was a straightforward renovation. Remove and replace old bathtub, vanity and toilet. We decided to tile tub up to the ceiling and trim the outside with metal. Our tile of choice was a calm soothing color scheme.  A band of mosaic glass tile broke up the large walls to accentuate. Grey wood look tile on floor created a very calm space. Mason jar lights with LED bulbs mounted above vanity and ceiling adds a vintage feel with modern sensibility. Dual flush toilet allows for water conservation. Dual vessel sinks sits on top of green glass counter top and deep ebony vanities. A set of drawers separate vanities and adds storage. Serene light paint tone makes this space open and inviting. This bathroom will serve three bedrooms on that side of the house.

Guest Bathroom

Master bathroom was a little different. The shower had a small door and seemed boxed in. Garden tub was in excellent condition so that stayed as is. Removing  the shower door and wall created a larger more accessible shower. Same tile as guest bathroom were used on these walls and floor. Same dual vanity, vessel sinks and dual flush toilet added cohesiveness to the house.

Master Bathroom

Downstairs guest and pool bathroom followed suit as upstairs bathroom with single vanity, dual flush toilet and wood look tile floor.  Shower was in excellent condition so that stayed as is.

Downstairs Guest and Pool Bathroom

One of the most challenging issues was the back patio roof which connected house to pool. In the beginning there were minor leaks from flashing. Roofing contractor gave me a piece of flashing to install and that should do the trick. None of his crew wanted to get on top of this roof. Well, we had to paint the back of the house so we got on top of the roof. Then we had to clean years of leaves. The roof drain had a small garden growing in it. All of this over the pool. Disaster. Disaster. After spending a month messing around with this roof, it was clean but still leaked from flashing which now entering the first floor sliding glass door and a few minor other leaks. One day I was painting inside and suddenly the Florida afternoon downpour came. It sounded like a waterfall was flowing at the back of the house. Guess what? The huge amount of water at such a fast rate caused separation of the aluminum panels. My heart literally sank. I continued painting and when I was done washed up and left.

I had some earlier quotes to replace the roof. Their prices were, let’s just say, through the roof! Once again, my realtor Ryan Rogers to the rescue. He recommended a guy who did patio screens but he wasn’t sure if he did aluminum roofs. I called the guy. From the first phone call I was at ease. This guy put all my troubles to rest. He replaced the roof and did not break the bank. Some little wannabe Hurricane is churning in the Gulf of Mexico dumping rains in Apopka. Guess what? There is no longer a waterfall in the back yard and the sliding glass door is dry. No leaks anywhere. I’m breathing easier.

Patio Roof

The entire upper floor of this house is done painting. A soft grey paint tone soothes the eye and mind. Fans with combination lights are in all rooms for added air circulation. New modern ceiling lights replaced the old golden fixtures. Two new air conditioning units to handle upstairs and downstairs replaced the old non existent units. Yes, the insides of old air handlers were missing.

Moving on to downstairs, a coat of paint, a new floor, new kitchen and we could wrap this flip up. I better hurry, we are expecting our first child in a month!

Ready for a swim


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The black, dirty, smelly pool with several creepy crawly creatures is now sparkling again. When we purchased this house, the pool was covered. Apart from a little corner peek, we weren’t really sure what to expect. At least there was water in there.


So we took the plunge. After several pool companies came out and submitted quotes, we decided on Butler’s Final Detail. Terry Butler was professional and patient with my tons of questions, concerns and gave workable solutions. The verdict, two non functioning pumps and a complete pool resurface with marcite.


Work started with cleaning the screen enclosure. It never amazes what a little bleach and a pressure washer can do. That thing is spotless, much to my utter astonishment. Just that darn tree that keeps dropping needles. Then they drained the pool completely. Out came the demo hammer. They carefully chipped around light fixtures, pump nozzles and tile line. I was very skeptical about the tiles. They looked hopeless. Terry assured me to have fate. More bleach, a good pressure washing and the pool was staring to peek out.


The crew showed up in numbers. A cement mixer was parked on the lawns and off they went. Well, I didn’t quite see them start. They started at 6 am. I was still in the shower at that time. Needless to say by 2 pm, they were wrapping up and the pool looked marvelous. Lights were tested. Oops, problems. Light bulb blown. Easy fix. This pool was not functional for five years. I did not expect the lights to come on. Both pool and spa pumps were replaced. The filling started. I guess with one garden hose it takes a long time. A really long time. Several days long time. Chemicals were added. Finally, today we cranked on the pumps and the pump seal was leaking. Easy fix. Everything is now up and running. After holding my breath for several days, I can finally exhale. The pool is sparkling and ready for swimmers.


There is a new roof on the house


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When we bought this house there was a blue tarp on the roof. Since it was an ‘as is’ sale we factored in a roof replacement. Little did we know the extent of damages.

It is always challenging to narrow down a roofing contractor. For whatever reasons, they are always so busy, show up whenever for appointments or never show up at all or never call back after appointments. I was fortunate enough for a referral from realtor Ryan Rogers to Johnson Roofing. Steven Johnson, owner, answered the phone, made an appointment and showed up. He was knowledge, insightful and humble. Steve didn’t push nor did he over promise nor did he constantly sold himself. He was straight up and up front in what he could provide. I was sold the first time we met.


Demolition day is always exciting. Old shingles go flying in every which direction. Which revealed the extent of wood damage. There were 9 solar panels on this roof to heat the pool. With so many trees surrounding the house, leaves falling and getting stuck on solar panels spelt disaster for the roof. The guys had to replace 8 sheets of rotted plywood.


Speaking of guys, this crew was on top of their game. These guys knew exactly what and how to accomplish each phase of the job. They were efficient, motivated and worked like a well oiled machine. After the feltpaper was laid, we got an inspection from the City of Apopka and passed with flying colors.

Check out a video tour of the new roof on my YouTube Channel, here.

Next day it took the crew not more than 4 hours to lay the entire roof of Georgetown Gray shingles. They were neat, precise and in a straight line. Clean up was spectacular. Every piece of debris was gone, like they were never there. I’ll definitely use Johnson Roofing again. Roof looked spectacular. On to more spectacular things inside the house.

Outside is done painting 


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The outside of a house is what a buyer first sees. Choosing the right paint scheme is always important. Lucky for me that was very easy. I choose the same colors.

Here is an opportunity to change the look of the house. I choose not to. As I spend more time on the property and speak with the neighbors, the true colors of this property revealed itself. The prior owners of this property was a church. The church used this house as a shelter for people struggling to keep a roof over their head. What a noble dwelling. I feel that the soothing colors of this house was a beacon for so many that it is only fitting I keep it that way with a fresh coat of the same color.

The actual work was fairly easy. It took us longer to tape and cover windows and other areas than to spray the house. We followed by cutting and touch ups with paint brush.

Now that the outside is painted, the roofer can get on with replacing the old worn out roof. The good thing about painting before roof replacement is, we did not have to cover or protect the roof. Just spray and move on. In the coming days we will replace the non functioning garage door and opener. I will turn my focus to bathrooms, kitchen and interiors.

Things will move at rapid pace… mishaps. Murphy’s Law should just take a nap and let things move.

Demo is Done


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Done? Oh yeah, done. Well two weeks of jack hammering results in things moving along nicely. Here is a full 20 yard dumpster.

Upstairs second bathroom was a full gut job. Bath tub, vanity, sink and toilet were all in bad shape. Downstairs bathroom shower was in very good shape. Vanity, sink and toilet not so much. All were ripped out. Upstairs master bathroom faired a little better. Garden tub and surround is in excellent shape. Looks like no one ever used it so that stayed. Vanity and toilet were ripped out. Shower door was widened to create a more open space. Old tile floor and backer board was ripped out.

The kitchen floor was a little more challenging. People really need to stop tiling over vinyl. Popping the tile was easy but that vinyl was pain to scrap off. After a few good days and some bruised knuckles we finally finished. Kitchen cabinets literally fell apart to touch. Clean slate.

Tile surround was removed from fireplace to make way for a more updated look.

Now that all major demolition is done we can move on to clearing shrubs outside and a new coat of paint.