17th Street Project – Demo Day!

Last week we walked through the sometimes fun, sometimes daunting search we underwent to find our newest Hidden Gem endeavor, our beloved 1958 ranch-style fixer-upper, the 17th Street “Project”. The search finally ended in June of 2020 and we got our keys on Thursday, July 2nd.  In last week’s blog (check it out here), we shared pictures of just how much of a “project” this really has turned out to be.  We started with a kitchen that probably hadn’t been updated since the 70’s, a possibly original pink bathtub and enough flooring problems to keep us busy for months.  

Thankfully, the home was in working order for the most part (provided you don’t consider a working kitchen sink, shower, washer/dryer or any appliance for that matter, a necessity).  The toilets were operational and, perhaps more importantly, the air conditioning worked like a champ.  But, in order for us to move in, there were updates that needed to happen before we wanted to move all our junk in and then have to do it.  At the top of the list, we needed at least one fully operational bathroom and we wanted/needed to replace the flooring throughout the house.  So, what does one do when they get the keys on a Thursday?  Start demo on Friday, of course!  Even if it’s 108 degrees outside and you start sweating just thinking about it…

Luckily, the boys had been juiced about helping out with this part of the plan for a few months and it didn’t take much convincing to get them to help us out.  At least for the first 30 minutes anyway!  It didn’t take long for the excitement to wear off and the brutal truth of just how much work we had to do surfaced.  Add in the heat and it started to lose its appeal for everyone.  We decided to gut the entire house – ALL flooring, every countertop, appliance, fixture, tile – even the hot tub that the sunroom was built around! 

It was daunting and seemed like it would never end.  We had to call in the big guns (thank you Roshonie!) for a few things, but we managed to pull apart the entire place by ourselves in about 2 days. We had reserved a giant commercial-sized dumpster that sat in the street to house all of the “treasures” that we were discarding and it was full to the brim in days.  It was crazy how much we pulled out of an empty house!  

In hopes that others learn from our experience, there were definitely some things that we wish we would have done differently in the demolition process.  For example, rent the right tools right away!  Don’t break your back and knees, and your kids’ backs and knees ripping up glued-down laminate flooring (WHY?!?!?  It was a floating floor!!  It didn’t need glue!!!!) when you can rent a machine from Home Depot to help make the process significantly easier.  Also, strongly consider keeping the existing floor (more on that next week.) 

I’d also recommend that you look for “treasures” from an older home that you can keep in the home to tell it’s story and give it interest.  I tried to convince Mike to keep the pink bathtub, but since it was all of 12 inches deep, it didn’t end up making the cut in the end.  We also uncovered two different lovely, albeit ancient rose wallpapers underneath a layer of paneling, but, unfortunately, they didn’t survive the paneling removal. 

I did, however, save these pretty little light switch covers that I love.  Mike tried to conveniently “lose” them a few times, but I found them and they’re going to be in the new version! 

To say that the process was exhausting would be undeniably correct and, also, somehow inaccurate —we sweated out the gallons of water we were drinking, were sore in places we didn’t know possible and were beyond tired — but it was also exhilarating to start to see the bones of our newest project! 

We managed not to tear anyone’s head off and didn’t have any major injuries (although here’s another “pro” tip –wear protective eye wear ALL the time when your mom tells you to!) and we were really getting somewhere —but man, was that somewhere dirty!  I grew up on a farm and thought that I knew dirt —but this was a new level that I had not experienced!  If you are considering this level of renovation while living in the house, please call me so we can chat!  

Check back next week to see what we did with all the mess and what our next project was!  

Thanks for stopping by!