17th Street Project – From the Ground Up!

Welcome back to the story of our flipping endeavor, the 17th Street Project!  Last week, we walked through our initial phase in the flip – demolition.  If you didn’t get a chance to check it out, you can do so here, but, essentially, it took the four of us (Mike, myself and our two boys) about 2 full days of back breaking work to really pull the house apart from floor to ceiling.  We uncovered some interesting things including a bunch of hand-drawn sketches all over the bathroom wall which were hiding under layers of paneling and wallpaper and that we had a wall with absolutely no drywall on it all.  But probably the most important thing we discovered was that we could all work together quite well when we wanted to —a finding which will turn out to be important since this portion of the project barely scratched the surface!   

With the house completely torn apart, it was time to start putting it back together which was what I had been looking forward to all along!  But where do you start?  You couldn’t find a spot in the entire house that didn’t need SOMETHING.  At this point, I may have been a little bit overwhelmed (okay, a lot) and panicked at the true enormity of everything that we had to do – but there was nothing we could do about it now – we owned a house that we just gutted and it wasn’t going to fix itself.  So, like all good planners, we made a plan and got right to it.  

We decided to extend our lease on our rental by one month to afford us some time to do some renovations before we moved in.  I took a week off work and Mike took off two weeks to dedicate to the cause.   So, knowing we had limited time before we had to be in the house, we prioritized our projects.  There were about 500 “cart before the horse” type conversations —we should do X before Y, but you really have to do Z before you can do X and on and on.  It was overwhelming, but we narrowed it down to the following as the first 3 to tackle:  

  • Paint
  • Floors
  • At least one working bathroom 


You might be wondering why we would choose to paint when it’s a cosmetic improvement and we currently didn’t have a kitchen sink.  Ultimately, we had decided to invest in a paint sprayer and wanted to put it to use without masking off everything in sight. We thought it would be more efficient and that we could get through the job quicker without that hassle. Additionally, in an effort to make it easier and because we have tried to pick finishes that are pleasing to the masses, we opted to paint the entire house Agreeable Grey by Sherwin Williams (SW 7029).   It’s a lovely neutral “greige” —a warm beige-y grey that goes with just about anything and coordinated well with the flooring.   

While I was painting, Mike started working on the 2100+ square feet of flooring that needed to be installed.  Unfortunately for us, the previous homeowners had glued down a laminate floating floor throughout the home.  Besides the giant pain the @$$ that pulling it up had been, it actually caused a significant amount of damage because they had glued it directly to the cement subfloor.   The 62 year old subfloor.  So, when we removed the laminate flooring, it brought with it chunks of crumbly cement leaving craters, dips and divots throughout the house.  So, Mike spent hours working on the floors to level them before he could actually start laying the new floor.  It was at this point that we were strongly reconsidering our decision to remove all of the flooring – in general, it was in good repair with the exception of a few spots, but it was in a dated cherry wood color that would have been difficult to design around.  Ultimately, I “won” and we (Mike) refloored the entire house in a fabulous, water-proof, scratch-resistant vinyl plank flooring that was much more current and would hold up to pets, kids and (hopefully!) endless trips in and out of the pool come summer time!  

Next up on the list was a working bathroom – we knew we could manage without a kitchen for a while but a fully functional bathroom was a must!  We decided to work on the hall bathroom first – it was larger, required less renovation and had better access for everyone.  As a reminder, this is what we were starting with:  

What we didn’t know was that the drain to the bathtub had not actually been hooked up to a drain at all and the shower head was merely decorative —it had never been (or at least wasn’t now!) connected to the plumbing! Sigh. We were in for yet another exciting turn of events!  Check back next week to see what we did to navigate through that little “issue” just in time to move in.

Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you next week,