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By the time I walked from the entrance to the dining room I was sold on this unit. The solid dusty wooden beam ceiling that adorned the dining and master bedroom called out in a very alluring way. The rest of the unit was covered in forest green carpets, golden stripped wall paper, gold trim showers and bathrooms, bathroom dividers that closed off valuable space and a hideously enclosed kitchen. I looked pass all of this for the chance to work around the wooden beams.

After Dining Room Ceiling

Naturally, my first project was staining the beams. I went to see my friends at Wonder Products. This is a mistint paint store that sells any gallon of paint for $9. It wasn’t always $9, it was $5 when I first discovered this place in 2005. They had a batch of deck sealer/stain that worked wonders on the ceiling. With the help of a long ladder and my trusty rolling scaffold, I proceeded to painlessly work the wooden ceiling with a lambs wool hand stainer. It was slow going. But at the end of the day the results were exactly as I envisioned before I bought the place.

After Half Bathroom

The half bath downstairs required a new cabinet and sink. Removing the old unit exposed an untiled square. Since the tiles were probably as old as the unit, I did not even attempt to search for replacement. I just replaced it with patterned slate. The legged cabinet showcased it’s slate base well with a crowning of glass bowl sink. A splash of bright Chinese red paint from the ceiling onwards heightened the drama.

After Stairway

Since the stairs were covered in the hideous green carpet which found it’s way throughout the unit, I removed and exposed the bare wood. After running a belt sander with coarse and fine sanding belts, with the Fein Multimaster triangle sanding attachment making easy job of the corners, I applied a liberal coat of outdoor deck stain sealer. There was a small ceiling fan that didn’t do much for the area. I replaced it with a very modern Ikea wire chandelier, which filled the space just enough to draw the eyes up with tiny sparkling lights.

Guest Jetted Tub

The guest bathroom drew blood, literally. I made the cardinal mistake of removing the toilet by myself. Instead of going the safe route and either vacuuming or sponging out the water, I tried to unbolt the bowl and dump the water into the cast iron bath tub. Needless to say, the bowl slipped out of my hands and landed first on the cast iron tub, then the floor, then onto my calf or in some sort of order. Next I remembered seeing stars and red. A trip to the Emergency Room bleeding all over my car and trailing a blood line into the hospital ended with 12 stiches.

After cracking the cast iron tub, I gutted the entire bathroom, removed a dividing wall which closed off the bath tub and started over. I replaced the tiny fan with a modern fan/light combination that also has a night light function. The vanity and glass bowl was a major online purchase from the then Modern Danish Company, now Dream Fixtures. As my luck would have it there was an awesome steal on a Jetted Tub from Home Depot. The shower recycled glass tiles and fixtures came compliments of ebay. The UPS men at the time was always trying to get me to open my packages to peek. They were well aware of the renovation going on. I rounded off the flooring with 13” x 13” Sedona Desert Porcelain Tiles from Lowes with a border of River Rock interlocking tiles bought from that great site ebay.

After Master Bathroom Sink

During this renovation I kept an eye open on Home Depot’s elder brother The EXPO Design Center which was going out of business and rapidly slashing prices. Two elegant Master bath vanities, light fixtures, and vanity mirrors dropped in my lap. Tiles were from Lowes.

Throughout the upstairs guest and master bedroom I choose the Ikea flooring line. Downstairs living room floor I installed Bamboo from Home Depot. The kitchen is Cork from Lumber Liquidators. Cork is probably the most comfortable flooring material I’ve ever laid feet on. It is like walking on air.

After Kitchen

In designing the kitchen I found that Ikea had the most support and materials. I went with butcher block wood counter tops, gloss white doors and cabinets. Appliances are from Frigidaire Gallery and Whirlpool. My hands were tied with the butcher block choice of oak, since there was no other alternatives available or even in sight. But it all worked out.

This total renovation spanned the better part of two years on and off as time and funds permitted, but well worth it. The space has transformed from the green cavernous hideout to an open inviting modern dwelling. There might be some little things that can be done here and there, but I am ready for another big challenge.

Go see a collection of before and after pictures on Flickr.

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