Demo is done on Second Bathroom upstairs 


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Double vinyl flooring, over-sized mirrors, stinky commode, pitted bath tub and chip shower tiles held this bathroom together. 

This second bathroom serves one side of the second floor with three bedrooms. That is a lot of traffic. One look at the vinyl floor and I knew this was a total gut job. 

Now we can start fresh and give this much used space a complete make over to accommodate three bedrooms. 

On to demo the master bathroom.


New Project Foxforrest House in Pines of Wekiva Apopka


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Apopka? Where is that? Why do a project there? What’s happening out there?

Apopka is north west of Orlando. A few years ago the powers to be approved an extension to Highway 429 which would connect the Florida Turnpike to Apopka and extend around Apopka to Lake Mary making a Beltway around the northern parts of Orlando. A complete circle. With this extension taking shape the construction boom around northern Apopka is staggering.

Homes are flying off the shelf like hot cakes. My sister bought a new construction. My mom and dad started searching for their retirement nest nearby. We looked at homes for two weeks straight, everyday. Every time we put an offer in, the house would go pending. Finally, we nailed one. They are very happy with their choice.

This got me thinking. Maybe I should take a closer look at distressed properties that I can bring back to old glory. Hence, the long search. It really was a touch and go, stroke of luck or miracle. Finally, I got my claws around a house in Pines of Wekiva subdivision.


The house is a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, bonus study or possible 5th bedroom, 3311 square feet, 2 story pool home on a corner lot. Does it need work? Oh yeah! There is a ton of work to make this shine again. This will be our biggest project thus far. But I am very optimistic and excited.

My realtor, Ryan Rogers of Keller Williams Classic worked tirelessly to show and guide me towards better opportunities. After we made a choice and finally won a bid on auction site Hubzu, his assistant Rachel Young-Holmes took over. Rachel worked diligent and timely with several communications back and forth to ensure a smooth transaction. I think Rachel graduated with a Masters in dealing with Hubzu. Her next Hubzu deal would be a breeze.

Time to breakout the tools and get to work. Follow my progress as I make this diamond shine again.

Making of a Grand Room


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They really boxed off living spaces in 2005 (the year this house was built). Many new builds are still the same. This property had separation of the living, dining room and kitchen. Imagine how closed off that felt.


Closed off living, dining room and kitchen

We wanted to make sure that opening up the space would not entail load bearing issues. Once it was determined that there were no structural issues, the demolition began. All the walls and cabinets were removed creating an open concept.

The focus was rebuilding an island that would serve as a main gathering point. It was challenging to find a single piece of granite to fit the bar top. We searched 4 granite yards in Orlando and was lucky to find one with an adequate sized White Colonial granite slab imported from India. The island was shaped in a U, with a pull-out cabinet interior on the left and a carousel on the right. The center housed a double bowl sink, garbage disposal, goose neck faucet and dishwashing machine. The Ikea cabinets are all shelves, this allows the new homeowner options of adding from the generous Ikea cabinet interior options. Back wall housed the electric cook range, refrigerator, lower cabinets and 39″ upper cabinets with glass doors. Gas hook up is already piped in. Recessed and a hanging bar light illuminates the island area, while the open dining room and breakfast nook has their own spot lights. A 6 speed fan with remote control moves air around. Microwave hood provides cooking exhaust. Driftwood laminate floors cover the entire house creating one seamless floor.

Open Concept

Open Concept

Opening up the walls is the most dramatic change in this house. The days of planning and head scratching all paid off when anyone walks in and saddles up to the bar, looks around and says, “Wow this looks so open and amazing”. Exactly, the idea we were going for. Touting my horn? Well, what do you think?

Would you like to make this your new home? If all is still on track it should hit the MLS tomorrow. Greater Pines Subdivision (where the house is located), is having a community garage sale and Open House for all 11 properties currently on sale this Saturday from 8 am – 12 noon. Feel free to share this information with anyone looking to move to the desirable Clermont area.

Property address: 13350 Loblolly Ln. Clermont, FL. 34711. Listing price $245,00. We would love to discuss an offer with you. Feel free to contact Real Estate Agent Ryan Rogers, Keller Williams Classic,  at 407-492-0674.

Rebirth of the sad little shed


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When we first walked this property as a perspective to buy, the shed in the back was locked. So we never really had an opportunity to look inside. After purchasing the property, I just broke open the door since there was no key. This did not take too much energy. You can already guess what I was going to find.


The entire left wall of the shed was rotted and falling down. The ceiling was covered with what felt like 1/8 inch flexible plywood. There was fiberglass insulation everywhere but inside the walls. The right and back walls were covered with more flimsy wood and peg board. I couldn’t walk in there without suffocating or being attacked by some tiny creature. The roofing contractor took one look and said he was not going on the roof without something being done to the supports. Thankfully, Marty the foreman from All Ways Roofing is a genius at framing. He told me to rip the inside walls open and leave the framing to him. He rebuild that entire thing.

IMG_2093Most of the left wall is new framing studs. The remaining studs were not affected by rot or mold. We replaced every molded and rotten wood in that shed. Then I insulated the ceiling and walls with an aluminium reflective shield. Drywall was hung on the wall and ceiling. A coat of texture, primer and paint created a whole new space. The Air Conditioner is in great shape, so that stayed. New shingle roof was installed with new roof for the house. Since this could be used for a multitude of purposes I applied a coat of stain to the finished plywood floor.


Any additional space in a home is bonus. This shed could be a work shop, man cave, she shed (yes that is a new thing….girls need their space to roam also), reading room, wine lounge, “special room”, the uses are endless. I am happy that I did not listen to my better half and just tore the whole shed down. It was one of my most delightful projects on this renovation.

DSC09710 We are still on track to take professional pictures tomorrow and try to list by the end of the week. What’s the next blog post? Wait until you see the kitchen/grand room make over.

Bathrooms are ready for their close up


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The house is finally ready to list for sale! During construction there was really no time to make posts, shame on me….so here I am. The next few posts I’ll outline different areas of major renovation. Both master and guest bathroom had their share of moments.

On initial look at this house, the master bathroom seemed okay. Master closet was moldy, vanity needed updating and the garden tub had a minor crack. First, I removed moldy drywall from closet and treated area. Surface mold, no big issues. Metal studs behind the wall was in perfect condition. Then, removed the vanity. As I was removing the floor tile, it occurred that maybe I ought to replace the shower threshold tiles also. Bad idea. Never poke a bear. Or probably in this case, it needed to be done. Lo and behold the entire threshold came apart with my bare hands. As  I poked farther, the half wall that connected the threshold was also in bad shape. Since I had to take out the wall, the garden tub seemed like a sore thumb. Removing the garden tub was an easy choice since there was a sparkling hot tub in the Florida room. Talk about space. Master shower opened up to the size of a New York City apartment.

Master Bathroom Before and After

Master Bathroom Before and After

The old single vanity with double sinks was replaced with double vanities each featured their own sinks. Ikea vanities with hidden plumbing and two drawer storage made very matured and stylish statements. Rectangular tile with mosaic glass band was used in the shower to further extend the contemporary look. Floor tile is a mixture of wooden veins and distressed wood. Random pattern allowed to use these spectacular tiles in a very creative and material saving way. A disastrous discovery, although putting a huge strain on the budget and time, turned out spectacular.

Guest Bathroom Before and After

Guest Bathroom Before and After

Guest bathroom single vanity was replaced with Ikea double vanity featuring hidden plumbing and storage drawers. Elbow grease on the tub and shower walls bore sparkling results. The floor tile on the other hand was one of the most difficult tile jobs I’ve done thus far. I used a generic construction grade thinset that just could not hold the tiles. I’m not going to mention the brand name. Next morning, half of the tiles were raised. After resetting them, the next morning another half was raised. Needless to say, I took all of the tiles back up, scraped the surface clean of thinset and redid the entire job, with a different thinset. I swear by Ultra Crete Multi Purpose Thinset. This stuff will probably stick to anything. I’ve used it in very different applications and never once did I have to redo the job. Thanks to my buddy from Tile Etc.

These bathrooms were well worth the time and energy. Both looks fantastic with their rainfall shower heads and functions wonderful. Next post will be about the sad little shed in the back. Check back to see how I transformed it into a man cave, she shed, work shop or whatever you want to call it.

This house will hit the Florida Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sometime towards to end of the week.

Painting commences


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All open drywall is closed; patches, taping and mudding is done. This includes Master Shower rebuild, kitchen, living room, laundry room and Work Shop. On to painting.

I decided it was time to invest in a paint sprayer. After some research and talking to a few pros from Lowes and Home Depot, I chose the entry level Graco Magnum LTS 15. First try at spraying primer was a breeze. After experimenting and playing around with a texture hopper powered by a compressor, three tries over a week period, I finally got to a point where I can live with the texture. This is one thing that has a steep learning curve. Hopefully I’ll get better at it. A second coat of primer over the texture is recommended to protect the texture.

Here lies my almost complete melt down. I couldn’t get a gallon out of the sprayer. I’ve used a sprayer before. This being my first sprayer I’m very novice. I read and reread the manual, went to Lowes and Home Depot to talk to their experts. Called the manufacturer’s helpline, who referred me to a service center. After explaining my dilemma they recommended a total clean out or I could give the machine to them at a nominal charge of close to a hundred bucks and about a week wait time. Seriously? I took it back to the job site and cleaned it out, same issue. I wouldn’t bore you with the details but I broke. After coming back to earth I thought spraying was not meant for me. I was about to return the sprayer and roll the paint. As I was walking out of the garage, boxed up sprayer in hand, I walked pass my other containers of paint. Why not give another paint a chance? What do you know, the other paint worked! Needless to say, when I took the paint back the guys informed me that I was not the only person who could not get this paint to spray from a smaller sprayer. Did I mention in trying to figure out why the sprayer wouldn’t work I swapped it for the bigger more powerful Graco Magnum LTS 17? Oh yeah, I’m keeping that bad boy.

Now that I got the sprayer working it was easy breezy. Not so fast, after spraying the first coat on living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom I am not pleased with the color tones. Definitely, these tones will not coordinate with shower tiles and laminate flooring. Back to the drawing boards to adjust the color scheme. But at least I can spray paint.



Demo is done, rebuilding starts


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With the return of rental dumpster, we turned a corner to start rebuilding.


Full Dumpster

I did not think we would fill up a 20 yard dumpster. Not only did we fill up, but we were over weight by 2 tons! The debris was floor tiles, floor linoleum, floor carpet, drywall, plywood and some yard waste. There was quarter container of left over “stuff” from the previous owner in the attic. A little over jealous tree pruning saw an entire backyard of branches. These could not fit in the dumpster. The gentleman who picked up a good quantity of scrap metal, from this property, was more than happy to oblige with his trailer.


Full Trailer

After what seemed like forever, the roof was finally done. It wasn’t the time to install that roof, it was waiting for Lake County to issue a permit. Okay, let me clarify. For whatever reason the “processor” sent the deed to Orange County for recording. Throw in holiday festivities and no one was really too concerned that this house needed a roof. Finally after my realtor, Ryan Rogers from Keller Williams Classic Realty, got to the bottom of it, we got a recorded deed and permit was issued. All Ways Roofing came out on top of the pile of bidders. They are a small local Clermont company who have been in roofing installation for 9 years. However, the owner John has been delivering roofing material for his dad’s company to Clermont since his high school days. Even more tight knight, Marty the foreman is John’s best friend from high school. One step further, 3 of Marty’s sons make up one crew. The other crew was the most efficient, dedicated, cordial, hard working group of Latin Americans I’ve seen on a job site. In a few days, they banged out an architectural shingle roof of Owens Corning Beachwood Sand.


Roof Installation in Progress

Now that the roof is done, interior drywall fixes shifts into high gear. Removing walls that divided living, dining and kitchen opened the space to one gigantic open concept. A new stand alone island will create a main focal point for gathering and entertaining.

Walls are all gone

Walls are all gone

Poking the bear never results in anything good. In this case, replacing a few tiles to make a greater impact in the master bathroom revealed a serious leakage issue that damaged most of the shower. Since I’m going to tackle the shower anyway, I figured removing an old garden tub would create a larger open shower. There is a hot tub in the Florida room which should satisfy any soakers.

Open Master Shower ready for tiles

Open Master Shower ready for tiles

Marty, the roofing foreman, reframed and shored up the work shop out back. Drywalling this shed will create a space that could be another work shop, man cave, gardening center, secret hideout, the possibillities are endless.

Sad little shed, but wait....

Sad little shed, but wait….

Here is a sneak peek at the floor. I’m so excited to incorporate some of Ole Florida into this design.

Driftwood Inspiration

Driftwood Inspiration