Monday, November 9, 2015

I will skip over the horror of "before" pictures on this one, because I feel like we've all seen a gazillion of them and this is the only thing we care about, right? Just imagine that this screened porch/balcony was once home to a lot of wasps and cigarette butts. We had to rent a hole saw and drill through 8" of brick to put in a drain just so I could hose it off and paint. :/ But voila!

Then I had to quickly repaint the powder room because it was nasty and we were having people over, but that is boring and since I still haven't busted up the ugly tile floor, I will wait to post pictures on that one.

I was beginning to despair over how long it took to make progress but...
this is what it takes just to replace 4 broken-down ceiling fans. :/  I do NOT LOVE this because I am terrified of heights.

Now. let me explain that this monster house has an insane amount of square footage, but it is missing these things: a decent sized laundry room, a linen closet, a designated office space, and the master bedroom is completely open to the rest of the house:
 The bulk of the square footage was taken up by the greatroom and a massive dining room that nobody besides the Vanderbilts would ever use:

The first thing we are doing is closing up the master bedroom (seriously the echoing in this house is horrific. I need painkillers to live here, but my doctor doesn't view this is as a medical problem. WHATEVER.)

Then I am closing up this dining room and making it into a home office/den/the-place-where-we-keep-the-massive-liquor-cabinet.

And I'm currently cooking the hinges from this buffet to get the paint off them. I am thinking of repainting this piece ivory:
Once upon a time this blog was about renovating entire rooms for, like, $37.  And building kitchen banquettes out of stuff from the dumpster. And trash pallets.

Unfortunately this house is going to require a level of crazy that I never saw myself embarking on -- but is that how expertise is built? You start out making crap out of trash and then you build a teensy beach house with prayers and and then -- WHAM! suddenly you're renovating a warehouse? (please say yes, that there is some reason behind all this, because otherwise I am just exploring a hobby that never yields any financial returns.)

Anyway Happy November and I hope it's not raining where you are :)   We've had a solid month of rain, starting with the flooding across the state of SC at the beginning of October, and there's been no end in sight!

Posted by Katy On 4:28 PM 6 comments READ FULL POST

Thursday, August 13, 2015

This house was built in the 1990's, and the house plans were definitely tampered with.

The Previous Owner acted as his own general contractor. His version of "upgrade" was building the whole thing with steel, like a commercial building. He also did some odd things to the interior but today I'll stick with the outside shots. ;)  The inside is where the really crazy stuff is - don't want to get ahead of myself.

The basic architectural style is supposedly "neo eclectic" which means a mix of North American modern mansion + some (i think) mediterranean elements. (As far as I can tell. I am not an architect but I did some freelance CAD work for my architect who designed the Tybee house, and he taught me a lot.)  The exterior is not finished, though. And the railings are all wrong. and the color of the brick... Le sigh. (It is a very yellow beige, these pictures aren't doing it justice.)

Previous Owner also installed tons of cameras and everything was connected to his "control room" where he had a computer and could monitor all the cameras.

Ok so I'm getting ahead of myself now...

I've never lived in a house this size, or with this many issues. It's overwhelming to me because I'm not an organized sort of person. My first task is to come up with a to-do list (6 miles long) and then we have to put everything in order of priority.

So far I've had the plumber out here 5 times just so we have hot and cold water and all the toilets work.

I feel like all these (rotten and leaking) patio doors and windows will be next but... that's just a guess.

Looking at these photos, you can think "wow - looks cool!" - One of the big lessons I'm learning is that a mansion can hide gigantic problems, and fixing all the issues won't necessarily make this a good investment. Because even if you fix all the problems, you've still got the aesthetics to worry about, such as:

oh but there I am, getting ahead of myself again.

Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed, I try to focus on the view.

None of these are "real" problems, and thanks to the last 12 years I will never lose sight of that. This is a house blog, though, so money + time = possible gigantic waste of resources. And I am very good at analyzing all the potential disasters ;)

This is our local road warrior - we see him out and about quite a bit. Seems like he needs a name..

look at those forearms! I'm thinking King Koopa?

Posted by Katy On 4:09 PM 10 comments READ FULL POST

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Everywhere I look:

grout lines from hell... I cannot slide my chair across the kitchen floor.

Grout smeared across the painted trim. When I step on the special tiles, they rock under my feet to say hello. Sometimes I play hopscotch.

I like the geometric ways that they connect, different colors, angles, and then -- Wood!
But why?

the older tiles, the ones that were here in the beginning and saw things before the flood -
sometimes they crawl up the walls for no reason and then ... stop.

and they don't need to apologize. They didn't have any power in this. They are a testimony to cheap manufacturing and horrendous taste and maybe a man who had lots of money but refused to spend any of it on a professional.

The tile stretches down the hallways

like the snakes I catch outside

I am surrounded. Where will my help come from? I lift my eyes and ---

He says busting up the tile can't happen all at once because there are other priorities. Like leaking windows and doors.

I will get a jackhammer while he is at work.

Maybe he won't notice...
Posted by Katy On 9:07 AM 5 comments READ FULL POST

Monday, August 3, 2015

So a lot of crazy stuff has happened this year and I can't even blog it all, so let's just skip right to the good parts. Right? Because after the past 6 years of drama and anxiety, this blog (and my life) just took another turn. Praise Jesus, I can finally stop breathing in a paper bag before I hit "publish" around here. I don't even recognize myself y'all.
First: I got married
in Las Vegas! to the best guy I've ever known :)  and then, I sold off my houses (he told me I didn't have to sell my Tybee cottage but honestly, I started feeling like it was more of a burden than my daydreams used to tell me, and I think in the end it served its purpose. It got me through the last 4 years and it will always hold a special place in my heart).
So I moved... me and all my kids into Prince Charming's mansion:
Except that this isn't just any old mansion. It has...... issues. A 400 page inspection report, only one working shower for 6 people, and boiling toilet water, to name a few.The previous owner (who built this house in the 90's) was a little afflicted.
It reminds me very much of when I bought the shack on Tybee and had to go through the (deceased) previous owners' junk. The (deceased) previous owner of this house also had some weird things...
like cameras in every room and corner of the house. There's so much more to show you.

But I was thinking today, about these men and the stuff they left behind. The porn collections, the makeup collections (one of them was reportedly a crossdresser), the general filth and mess. I think the big question is: if I drop dead tomorrow and my children had to sort through my junk, would they find anything that would scar them? Would they find anything that would reveal a hidden side to me that they knew nothing about?

Thankfully at this point in my life I am not trying to hide things, but my oh my. It is a good thing that all we leave behind is our closets and not all of our thoughts and memories. Closets can be cleaned out at least before our house lands on somebody's remodeling blog.

Now I must run outside and check the snake traps. (!)  more to come. xoxo

Posted by Katy On 2:18 PM 18 comments READ FULL POST

Friday, May 22, 2015

I closed on this house yesterday. I know. MOMENT OF SILENCE PLEASE! This is my goodbye-post for 15 Wilson Drive, Tybee Island Georgia, the center of my existence for 3 years. :P
I never even got to finish all my custom window treatments etc etc etc. I will probably always be sad about that.

I heard the new owners are renting it out this summer, and I left all the furniture there - so. Check it out if you want to go to Tybee. I hope the new people love this house as much as I do :)
(and yes I have an extra kid in this pic)

Let's all just take a deep breath, open a box of wine, and try to get past this. To the next project.. do you think I can top this? I'm not sure. We'll see.

I'm grateful that I had the chance to chase this dream, EVEN IF IT WAS ONLY A STINKIN DREAM RIGHT.  xoxo
Posted by Katy On 1:50 PM 9 comments READ FULL POST

Friday, April 17, 2015

Things are moving - literally.  I've put up my house for sale, and it's been a little surreal cleaning out the years of accumulated junk. I can't believe I moved here 6 years ago (that's also when I started this blog). I also tentatively sold the Tybee cottage. Soon I will be homeless! (not really ;))

Here are some listing photos (but first a picture of the kitchen when I moved in) -

I am still in love with my bird cabinet, I want to build another one. I seriously need a carpentry business but nobody will pay the prices I would have to charge :P

and my pallet wall is still alive, although the room has been emptied so I wouldn't exactly call this "livable" -- showing a house and living in it are always very different things.

Okay, so !!  On to the next thing!  And HGTV wants to put the Tybee cottage in one of their magazine publications this summer, so that is cool.

Once I am homeless I will show you my new project. ;)

AND... in case you need a Mother's Day gift or graduation gift for a girl in your life -- Give Her Wings is offering this exclusive cuff bracelet for sale. All proceeds go to their April & May mamas and their children. If you feel moved to help out some more victims of domestic violence (or just want a snazzy piece of jewelry by Monique) - please check it out here.

I hope y'all are surviving this insane spring monsoon, stay dry and I will be back with more soon. xoxo 
Posted by Katy On 10:03 AM 7 comments READ FULL POST

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I used to be a mechanical engineer and a single mom of 3. Suddenly I am now a married mom of 4 (8,10,11,& 12) and I'm working full time on remodeling my latest gigantic project (lake house). I previously built a tiny house on Tybee Island that I sold in 2015. Stop by for the house stuff, stay for the panic attacks. (kidding. maybe. ha. ha....)

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