Monday, April 14, 2014




Missy (builder's supervisor) said that to me this week. I am totally devastated. But I'm finding a little comfort in those words.










Even this doorbell made me smile.

I can't explain this yet, but eventually I will get there. There have been too many unexpected things... once upon a time I thought I knew the story God was going to write. And then He wrote something completely different.

YEAH I KNOW. BIG SURPRISE THERE!!
Posted by Katy On 6:35 PM 18 comments READ FULL POST

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Every month as I write (bigger and bigger) checks, I am getting so completely worn out that I'm actually NO LONGER HAVING PANIC ATTACKS.
If you've ever read this blog before you'll likely be as shocked as I am. As I look back on the scrapbook of hysteria /  portrait of fickleness / diary of anxiety that this blog has become, I realize: I still freak out on a regular basis. (I am practicing this new thing called "no yelling". So far I failed a couple times today but I keep trying to hit the reset button. I told my kids -in a calm tone of voice - that they don't hear me unless I yell. They kept talking to each other like I hadn't even opened my mouth. I think I accidentally trained them to only respond to my shouts.)
 
But anyway. I mean -- I am no longer having panic attacks over this whole house thing. Because clearly it's not making any difference. Whatever.

This MUST be progress? I feel like if I could just get my kids to stop bickering, I would be the laid-back person I was in college! (HAHAHAHAHA that was a joke my nickname in college was "Shout-y")
Posted by Katy On 10:46 PM 4 comments READ FULL POST

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I've never been so excited to see sanded drywall!
 
 

looking up the stairs (that's the laundry alcove, I've got big plans for that)

upstairs hallway - bathroom at the far end. That closet door opening into the hall used to be on the other side -- it's the bedroom closet. But in order the get all the built-in bunkbeds into that room, we had to close up that door and access the closet from the hallway instead. If that makes sense...


And interior doors and trim are going in. I picked out my doorknobs, aren't these cute? :) Its the little things !

Posted by Katy On 9:13 PM 6 comments READ FULL POST

Monday, February 24, 2014

The latest:

the underpinning will be painted white to match the rest of the foundation..

the back staircase didn't really fit within my setbacks (We didn't know the city required two entry points on the main floor until the house was designed and the plans were approved) - so it had to zig zag away from the back door (there are a couple of corner steps that go between the back door and that platform) and then taper down to the bottom. !


More drywall being delivered....

and I've been ordering more art for the bunkroom from Etsy...
(Omar's Etsy Shop - he is a childrens book illustrator, this is "Captain Cur" !)

Hey what's that? Do you see that little glimmer .... at the end of this tunnel... ? It looks like HOPE! ;)
Posted by Katy On 9:32 PM 8 comments READ FULL POST

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hey - it's all I got right now! But the built in bunkbeds are going to be so awesome, more to come...
Posted by Katy On 12:44 PM 4 comments READ FULL POST

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Another update for those of you who are actually still reading this :)
Hopefully siding and paint will be done after next week, then it's insulation and drywall on the interior - super excited to see the color going up. I chose this off a paint chip without doing any samples first - which is usually not the thing to do. But in this case, I knew I wanted it to be very bright.
 
This is Pantone's "Sweet Lavender"
 
The color looks off in these pictures - for some reason it looks washed out and sort of periwinkle. But in real life it is a very vibrant purple, a bit on the electric side. I love it - totally perfect. Of course we're going to have an accent color too, and I've almost decided what color the floors will be painted...

The latest drama is getting a notice in the mail from a law firm, saying one of the framing subcontractors put a lien on the house. HA. Because they walked away from the job and never finished my porches or stairways or anything? Builder just rolled his eyes and told me he would take care of it. I told my dad -- what did they think, that by sending the single mom a threatening letter demanding payment + interest+ legal fees, that I was going to freak out and write them a check? I've been to the rodeo so many times now, a threatening letter just makes me snicker. 
 
Plus I can't find my checkbook.
 
Plus the city just changed my address so they put a lien on an address that doesn't even exist anymore. hahahaa
 
 (I am writing this stuff down so that someday I can look back and remember all this - it's sort of a haze at the moment.)
 
Also I was lamenting the fact that I couldn't figure out how to get all the beds I wanted into the smallest bedroom - and Builder said "why can't we turn the larger bedroom into the bunk room?" - and we decided it made more sense, since this house is really all about the kids anyway. He's cooking up some built-in bunkbeds, I think this is going to be so FUN!
 
Framing is finished (the porch and stairs will be last after the rest of the siding is up) and the paint is awesome - so the progress continues. One week at a time...   hanging in there. 
Posted by Katy On 10:17 PM 12 comments READ FULL POST

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Every step of the way, plans change. This is why I hate planning with every fiber of my being -- it seems so pointless. Nothing ever turns out the way you "plan" - so why bother? All you can do is keep moving in the general direction of your goals. But a lot of times, instead of making a plan I just pray. (This is why I am not a financial adviser, because people will not pay you to pray for their goals, unless you are Tammy Faye Baker or some other Snake Oil type).
ANYway.
Here is the first picture that started me on this obsession with painting the house like a rainbow:
SO I was happily going along with this "plan" and collected a large horde of paint chips in the hopes of making this house the Skittles Palace. And then the architect tactfully brought up some things... about my resale value... and how other people don't perceive things the same way that I do sometimes....and I fell back to earth with a CLUNK.
But, I am not quite as stubborn as I appear sometimes. I do listen. (When it seems wise to do so, of course.)
So here is our new paint color idea:
And the painters were going to start, but with all this polar-arctic-blasting-wind-type stuff going on, nobody was getting up on a ladder just yet. But SOON.
My new (vintage) sinks have been refurbished and delivered to Missy (the building supervisor) - so we are ready for the good stuff.
The builder did bring up some concerns about the clawfoot tub and the subway tile behind it...how renters were not going to be careful about using the shower liner, and I could end up with water damage.
That's when I told him -- I think I've changed my mind about renting this place out to strangers. I think I'm going to keep it to people that I know. Because when you've worked so hard and so long on something, it doesn't make sense to throw it out there for the wolves to play with... ?  I know that houses get worn over time, but I just want to sleep at night knowing that people who stay here understand what it took for me to reach this goal.

So basically - there aren't gonna be any wild college spring break parties here. I'm still hoping to use it for something closer to my heart. xoxo

EDITED TO ADD:
The comments are making me realize that I wasn't clear on what the architect was actually talking me out of! :)  I agree that I have to do what makes me happy, this is the exterior paint job I was originally going to do:
we are going to do purple instead... :P
Posted by Katy On 1:24 PM 15 comments READ FULL POST

Thursday, December 26, 2013

My winter blues are in full swing, so I'm going to the tanning bed tomorrow. Desperate times, people. Desperate.
But my brother surprised me with the best Christmas present ever - I was so overcome when he unloaded it in the garage that I kissed all my nieces twice and then hugged it!
God it's so beautiful, isn't it? :)

Okay and now to my new sweetheart, I found this little nugget on Craigslist and peeled tires to Greenville to get it - wow.
This is a late 1940's Standard wall sink with chrome legs. I love that the water spout is cast into the sink. It's in glorious condition, so I'm hauling it down to the beach shack on Monday, along with the other sink, a load of leftover subway tiles, and some more odds and ends.

Here's some recent pics of the house, courtesy of lovely Kathryn who found my blog and has a house nearby - she figured out that I was building in her neck of the woods ;) Her husband drove by and took these and emailed them to me out of the blue this week!
Crazy - small world, right!?
 DID I MENTION THAT THE CITY CHANGED MY ADDRESS THIS MONTH WITH NO WARNING?

Did I? no?  Boy that was fun, panicking and hounding the bank and insurance agents. Then I got a notice that my flood insurance isn't adequate.

This is not good for my depressive winter state. I've decided that if I want to make it to old age with less hysteria I must move to Costa Rica. I'm already looking at real estate. You know it!!!

Posted by Katy On 8:50 PM 3 comments READ FULL POST

Monday, December 16, 2013

I haven't completely forgotten the blog here, but I frequently get overwhelmed with life so - whatever.  :P Where did we leave off?  I think I have windows and doors now, and we passed our plumbing and electrical rough-in inspections. woo hoo! I think I have HVAC too, but last I saw the ductwork was being run - it was a toss-up between using 2 mini-splits in this house or doing forced air - but in the end I think the forced air won the cost battle. (Probably not by much).
Now for that other sink.....here is a reminder of what I started with, muhahahha:

It took a while to get the first layer of scum off. But after that, I alternated scrubbing with extremely strong muriatic acid (same ingredient that I used when I restored the clawfoot bathtub) and Comet cleanser. It took a couple of hours of scrubbing. I think the Previous Owner might have been using this thing as a urinal.

Here's one more blurry cell phone pic: instead of patching the rusted edges of this sink with fiberglass (like I did with the vintage kitchen sink) - I decided to paint the edge red. This is another option if you have edges that are a mess but patching it with fiberglass would look worse:
 I am ordering these faucets:
And I decided to build a vanity for this to sit on, rather than just hanging it on the wall in the powder room. Here is my inspiration that I found on Pinterest:
The thing that I have to alter is that board under the backside of the counter - it's mounted to the wall, but in my case the plumbing might be in the way so I'm going to mount that backer board to the top of counter instead, since it will butt up against the sides of my sink.
I'm waiting on my glue to dry up:
This is two pieces of edge-glued 36" X 12" - I'm edge gluing them together to create a 24" X 36" piece, which is the perfect size for the bathroom vanity. I'll jigsaw a hole for the bottom of the sink.

So there's my update. I'm busy busy busy! Next I'm trying to pick out paint colors for the floors, and the rainbow siding on the exterior -- seriously losing sleep over that one!!
Posted by Katy On 8:10 AM 6 comments READ FULL POST

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

George wants to say that he's not happy with the house wrap and it's getting tweaked, but I don't care because it's just so AWESOME
Here is the plan from an earlier post:
and here are some interior shots:
George is standing where the kitchen sink will be.
staircase, I was taking pics of the go-bolts. This is hurricane building code now. 25' (?) threaded rods that go from the concrete piers all the way through to the top plate. This is all new to me, Missy The Supervisor :)  tried to explain the special screws she had to use on the front face of the house but I got lost in all my excitement.

smaller bedroom upstairs. This is where the bunkbeds will go. and maybe the antique bed.
corner closet in the small bedroom, the laundry area is directly behind that.

OKAY so you wanna hear all the fun stuff right? I am afraid to post WTH is really going on because eventually I will have to post where this house is located, so I don't want to blog too much about my neighbor drama, right? I am not sure what to do, because it is almost too good to ignore it...and yet maybe it will bite me in the butt later.

Most of my neighbors seem totally cool. There is ONE though.....

she told the supervisor :  "I hope those aren't children's bedroom windows looking down on my backyard because I'm not going to change my lifestyle. If I want to lay out topless and burn one, I will."

 OH YES.  And now I am trying to decide how many windows need interior shutters that I can lock into place. If you want to lay around naked outside and roll joints (or worse), you best move out to the country and get some acreage. The funny thing is, she hated the shack that I tore down and called the city to complain about it, but of course she doesn't want me building anything else there, either. Apparently she owns the whole block and me and my kids better get used to it.

Not likely.

At least she's not killing racoons or possoms and roasting them out back, like Previous Owner.
*whimper*
Now I wonder if I will have to delete this whole post. Or maybe edit it later. sigh.

Posted by Katy On 10:04 AM 7 comments READ FULL POST

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


woo hooo!  I'm hauling the clawfoot bathtub down there on Monday!
Posted by Katy On 7:11 PM 4 comments READ FULL POST

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Trying to remind myself how far I've come, because we're stalled on framing and I feel like I will be an old lady before this is done. (My mom told me to quit whining. I HAVE NO PATIENCE. 2 YEARS OKAY!? TWO...YEARS...)
my parents took a day trip to the island and took some better pictures of the finished foundation...(yeah that's my mom)

my sweet builder and his lovely supervisor, Missy, carved all the kids' names in the concrete for us.


And something to remind us why I took this leap:
Someday!!!
Posted by Katy On 7:22 PM 9 comments READ FULL POST

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

{Check out How to Spot Bad House Flipping, part 1}
As I cruise through the MLS listings and see house after house getting "flipped", I decided that this would be a fun series for anyone looking to buy a house. (And educational for those who want to flip houses, because this is the stuff that makes your house stagnate on the market.)

I've renovated and sold houses in the worst market in a century, and I've still managed to make a profit and not lose my shirt. (Yet.) The key to flipping is not being a licensed builder or real estate agent. It's giving people what they actually want, at the price they will pay. Sounds easy, doesn't it? (evil cackling...)

This is the photo in the MLS listing where I realized that this was a flip. (My lovely Realtor friend looked up all the details for me to make sure that I'm right.)

Those were oak cabinets. The style of the doors and hinges screams 1989. Notice how the knobs are strangely spaced far from the edge of the cabinet doors -- this was a feature on my parent's identical cabs. (I designed my parents' kitchen reno 8 years ago, and they had a similar house built the same year as this one.) It isn't hard to putty those holes and re-position the hardware to a more current look, if you are going to all the trouble of adding crown and paint.

But THEN....
The vinyl is brown. The cabinets are olive green. The walls are yellow. The countertops are black. The knobs are white. (And the flooring in the adjacent room is a red-toned wood, from the look of it in another photo).

This kitchen was thrown together with whatever Lowes had on sale. The problem is not that they didn't use fancy finishes -- the problem is a total lack of coordination. (New home builders make this mistake too, but usually their problem is that they are 5-10 years behind the design trends. Probably for cost reasons.)

For the buyer who does not have design experience, they may not be able to point out every mistake -- but they will not feel impressed.


In the bathroom they painted the old cabinets, black this time, but left the knobs in the odd position (and white, to boot - which doesn't relate to any other finishes), and glued some molding to the plate-glass mirror. Given what I know about the area and the asking price, this will not fly.
(The Realtor confirmed for me that this house has been sitting on the market for a while.)

Details matter and paint does not always add value!  It all depends.

So what have we learned today?

If you're a buyer, you won't be fooled by new surfaces & finishes that aren't coordinated, and/or half-hearted paint jobs. The days of being able to slap a coat of paint on your 1980's cabinets and have the buyer falling over themselves to give you their money are OVER.

If you're a flipper, well...  #1. Get Houzz & Pinterest accounts and look at them a lot, and  #2. The house above could have sold already if the hardwood floors were a nice medium brown color and they continued throughout the main floor without breaks, and you probably could have skipped all of the cabinet painting.

P.S. And your price should be tethered to reality, preferably under-cutting the comps.

P.P.S. - Wow it appears I have really strong opinions on this subject!!

 I do have more ~  Part #3:  Bad Bones & Staging Gone Wild - we'll see if I feel brave enough to show you that one.  I am afraid all of these flippers are going to find me. !
Posted by Katy On 8:15 AM No comments READ FULL POST

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I'm a mechanical engineer by day and a carpenter by night. I have 3 children, ages 7, 9, & 11. While attempting to parent them alone, I build cool stuff. I'm currently building a tiny beach house on the Southeastern US coast.

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