Reno Progress: Week 2

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We closed on our house a little over two weeks ago, and we are slowly chipping away at our long list of projects. We are taking on some of the smaller projects ourselves but are hiring out larger projects that we don’t have the time for or experience to complete effectively. I feel like we have never worked so hard in such a short amount of time, but we still have a long ways to go! I tend to want to have everything done quickly and put in its proper place within a week, so this home is sure teaching me patience!

The Land

We didn’t even think we would start clearing out the land until a few weeks after moving in, but my mom, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law have spent hours helping us and it already looks so much better! I don’t know how we would accomplish anything without help from our family. We have been trying to balance caring for Lincoln, Carson’s job, necessary travels, and some unexpected doctor’s visits while making the house safe to move in to. Our family has been so incredibly helpful!

Here are a few before and after shots of our land so far! We are prepping for planting gardens… possibly in the fall but more than likely in the spring. We have at least five HUGE piles of brush that we are hoping to mulch later this summer and reuse throughout the property. Also, our property is covered in mulberry trees, so I’ve been enjoying snacking on them in between jobs!

My mom and I cleared the bottom of these mulberry trees, took a few trees out, and pruned the bushes. I’d love to plant some flowers next spring under the canopy.
This isn’t exactly a before/after shot, but this is just part of one of the piles of brush and what the flower bed looked like after being cleared.

The First Floor

The first floor of our house had vinyl planks that were coming up in a lot of places. We were going to have to pay for them to be repaired or replaced, and after getting a great quote from Flooring Innovations, LLC. we decided to replace them wood planks that resembled what the original floors would have looked like. Pedro and his team did a phenomenal job, and we think it was definitely worth the investment! We saved money by doing the demo ourselves (the day we closed on the house!), and we will install the quarter-round ourselves, too.

Warning: Gross Content! We found a few pounds of dog hair, dirt, and other nasty things under the floorboards. We were going to try and save the padding, but they were soaked in dog pee. It was so gross, and I think I showered for almost an hour that night after demo.
I REALLY wanted to try and save the original floors because so much of our home’s historical character has been covered up over the years; however, we decided not to for a variety of reasons. 1. They were in pretty rough shape and were missing complete planks. 2. We have some mold on the underneath of the floor boards (visible only in the cellar). that we are going to remediate. We met with a mold specialist, and he highly recommended covering the original floors to provide another barrier of protection. 3. This will be Lincoln’s main play space, and adding new floors made the entire home smell fresh and feel clean!
Not the same part of the room, but you get the idea! We are planning on lightening up the walls and repainting the trim in the next week or two.

The Second Floor

The second floor has the original wood floors put they were painted grey, probably because of the condition of the floors. We were going to sand them and repaint them white, but we ran into a problem right before starting. I spent a couple of hours talking to the employees at Home Depot’, making sure I had all of the correct rental materials for sanding. I also decided to test the floors for lead paint, not expecting an issue because the grey paint looked relatively new and was in good shape. Well… the floors came back positive for lead paint, and I found the culprit in the closet. Underneath the grey paint was a layer of dark red lead-based paint which made sanding a definite no-go.

We spent hours researching our options and talked to several paint companies and people with experience dealing with lead paint. Total remediation would cost up to $30K and could potentially be more dangerous than painting because of disturbing the paint. There are special encapsulate paints you can purchase, but they aren’t recommended for floors because of the wear-and-tear.

We decided to get Behr Deck Paint in matte white, and paint on over 3 heavy coats… completely covering the paint underneath. We are planning on removing shoes upstairs and keeping our son’s toys downstairs. From what we understand, the lead paint is only dangerous if eaten or if the dust is inhaled, so we will monitor the wear of the floor closely for signs of chipping which could reveal the lead paint underneath. If this becomes an issue, we will look into covering the floors completely with something that wouldn’t cause a lot of disturbance to the floors. We are not lead specialists (obviously) and know that this isn’t the perfect solution, but it was our best option at the time within our budget. We don’t recommend this as advice for painting floors with lead-paint and highly recommend doing your own research.

 This was our progress after two coats. We ended up doing 3.5 coats total. The floors soaked up so much of the paint on that first coat. I tried using spray paint in the gaps, but found out that switching up the direction we painted in between coats was more effective. We used paint extenders for the middle and a an edger near the trim.
Since we couldn’t sand the floors, my mother-in-law and I rubbed liquid sander onto them to help the new paint stick. It worked great and was a lot easier and safer than sanding!

This was our progress after two coats. We ended up doing 3.5 coats total. The floors soaked up so much of the paint on that first coat. I tried using spray paint in the gaps, but found out that switching up the direction we painted in between coats was more effective. We used paint extenders for the middle and a an edger near the trim.

Carson is a really careful painter. I, on the other hand, am not.


The only thing that we will be doing in the bathroom ourselves is painting and replacing the mirror. After seeing the process that our contractor went through and how he approached issues such as uneven walls and needing to drop the floor, we felt very relieved that we decided to hire someone to help us! I know a lot of people are brave enough to tackle major DIY projects like bathroom renovations, but since this is the only bathroom in the house currently, we needed help and wanted someone who knew what they were doing! We hired SB Home Improvements and have been really impressed by their work! I can’t wait to see the finished bathroom in a few days.

They have made so much progress in just a few days, and their work is beautiful and precise! We are adding glass shower doors, a toilet, a pedestal sink, a tiled shower, and bead board. I’m hoping to eventually add some dainty wallpaper and a vintage mirror and shelf.

Other Projects

Carson and my sister-in-law helped me relocate this pile of debris off of the front porch. We are planning on renting a dumpster or hiring someone to haul it off, but we haven’t gotten that far yet! We also cleared out the chicken coop and Carson mowed the acre of lawn surrounding our house. We’ve painted ceilings, went to Kansas City to get our things from our storage unit (thanks to my brother, his girlfriend, and Carson’s cousin for their help), and unloaded our belongings with the help of family. We traveled for work and a wedding, and celebrated our anniversary and my birthday somewhere in between!

It’s been a long two weeks, but we are working hard to get these projects done so that we can move in and continue the work but also make time for rest. Our families have been so, so helpful, and we know that we wouldn’t be this far without them. We are so grateful that my parents have let us stay with them until the renovations are complete and how they have helped us care for Lincoln during times when we have been working to make the house safe for him to live in. We are ready for things to slow down a little so that we can establish some routines and a sense of normalcy for our little family. It’s been over a year since we have felt settled, but our little homestead is already starting to feel like home.

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