It pains me to use that header image, but that’s where we are!!! We’re knee deep in renos on the house. So much to say, so I’ll jump on in. (No pretty pictures to be found in this post. Hopefully they are coming soon!!!….)
When we bought the house, we knew we wanted to update/change what we could afford as soon as we could afford it. We were obviously already saving, but we tightened our budget even more after we got the house in December. There were so many unknowns, mostly around cost. We literally had no clue what anything would cost and therefore had no idea what we would be able to do. I mentioned in the last post that we decided not to take on the labor of the popcorn ceilings & hardwoods — we have accepted the fact that we aren’t huge “project people”. Sure, we (Parker) can take on simple projects. He’s actually very handy. I’m rambling on that, but bottom line, we just weren’t comfortable taking on such huge projects that could potentially RUIN the house if we messed up said projects.
Other than being clueless as to what things would cost, we didn’t have “people” to call. You know, people always talk about their “people”. Their painter, their handyman, their whatever, but people covet their PEOPLE once they find them. We literally put our job request on Thumbtack and Angie’s List and waited. We heard back from TONS of people. All wanted to come out to the house to quote the projects. Parker handled all of the communication with these people. This was right before the holidays. I remember when Parker told me he talked to a Jeff. Parker told me he liked this guy (going off of the phone conversation) and that he seemed like he wasn’t bs-ing him. We scheduled a time for Jeff to come over a few weeks out.
Jeff came over the day before we closed (along with several other people who passed Parker’s phone interview). Jeff was very impressive. He was professional, confident and let us do the talking. (Some of these people did all the talking and we felt like we didn’t get to explain our vision…) Jeff came back with a quote (a nice, detailed, itemized quote). We had received some other quotes online via Thumbtack and Angie’s List, so that’s what we were comparing Jeff’s quote against. His was very reasonable. Plus he was very professional and seemed to be very knowledgeable on what we were doing. He put us at ease. Parker was ALL in after meeting Jeff in person and receiving Jeff’s quote. He LOVED Jeff. Said he felt very comfortable handing all of our monies over to him and letting him go to town on our house.
Me? I had nightmares that Jeff took our money and ran, I had nightmares that everything was done wrong and we had to pay for bad work. The thing is though, I know I’m that monster that goes there in my head…… I know that I make people work too hard for my trust. Aside from that, we had just bought our first house AND decided to jump into renovating with no experience or knowledge under our belt. That was a bit overwhelming…..
But I trusted Parker that Jeff was our guy. (It’s not that I thought anyone else was our guy…. I was just FREAKING OUT.) I was having second thoughts about putting $$$ into the house and I actually wanted to back out of the renovations. Parker assured me that we were making the right decision and that we were totally safe working with Jeff.
Well, he was right. Did you know that Parker is ALWAYS right?? I’m not kidding, Jeff has been AMAZING. Incredible I tell you. I want to hug him every time I see him. I think I was SO hesitant about hiring someone for the projects because I’ve heard all the horror stories. I’ve heard about people running with their money, I’ve heard about contractors not being insured and messing something up in a huge way and then disappearing. I’ve heard about bad jobs….. contractors messing something up but the homeowner having to pay for the mistake. And most importantly, I generally just freak out about a lot of things……….
Back to Jeff. He emails us with daily updates on the work that was completed each day. He answers Parker’s 15 daily phone calls and talks through anything Parker feels needs to be talked through. He meets us at the house to check-in and talk through things. The communication is amazing, and I think that is rare in a gc. He clearly understood that we were nervous going into this, but he has absolutely earned our trust and confidence. All of his contracted workers are professional and do great work. Jeff gave us a detailed, day-by-day timeline of when projects would start/end and get this: we are still on that timeline!!!! Have you ever heard of that happening??? We are scraping the popcorn ceilings, removing a wall, demo-ing a lot (floors, all baseboards, casing, plus some other things), walling back up a room and installing hardwoods and are set to be finished with it all in a couple of weeks……
Bottom line: It was totally by chance that we found Jeff, but he’s our person now. I’m sure he would greatly appreciate me passing along his name to fellow local people (although I secretly don’t want to share him), so here is his info if you are looking for someone –
Supreme Finishes – Jeff@SumpremeFinishes.Net – 512-800-2614
I didn’t tell Jeff I do all of “this” when we started working with him. It’s always weird telling people you “have a blog and decorate for people” especially when what you do is kind of in line with what they do but you’re especially clueless during your encounter….
The top priority was scraping the popcorn ceiling. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me too much in the living room because the ceiling is vaulted and tall, but in the bedrooms, dining and entry, it feels like those bumps are going to cave in on you any minute. Another reason the ceilings were top priority is because it’s much easier to have them done before you move in the house. (Moving everything out of the house to scrape the ceilings would be terrible.)
Cost………….. Know that this is very uncomfortable for me to share, but when I read other blogs and they don’t include cost it kind of kills me, partly because I’m nosy and just want to know what they spent, but also because i wouldn’t have been so clueless going into this shindig if these people would have given me cost estimates!!!! Obviously numbers are going to range depending on where you live, BUT the above is how/why I made the decision to fully disclose everything I can remember to share on this reno.
Jeff quoted us $2900 for popcorn removal which included floating as needed, retexturing (orange peel) and painting the ceilings white after retexturing. This number was less than the google search told us it cost to have popcorn removed. (We googled the cost of all projects and that was our ballpark until we received real quotes.)
I should have talked about demo before popcorn ceilings because that was the first phase of the project. Funny story: Our google search told us it would cost 10,000 to remove a wall so we went with it…….. That also meant we might never have that kitchen wall removed. We decided to get quotes for it just because. Jeff quoted us $1,100 for demo of that wall plus demo of all existing floors. And that included the dumpster fee. After receiving that quote, we were able to justify that cost as we knew it would make a HUGE difference to have that weird wall gone, which would allow for the vaulted ceiling to continue on over there.
This was after day 1 or 2 of demo. Floors up, kitchen wall on its way out….
(We were told during this phase that there were signs of potential rodents in the attic………………hgftdjytdtyk)
I mentioned in the last post that we wanted to open up the kitchen/living room by removing that kitchen wall, but that we didn’t want one HUGE living space with the dining room as part of the open living space. That just seemed too open to me. So, we walled back up the dining room. Jeff confirmed that the past owners did remove that wall and used those posts as support because that wall was load bearing. He also said that the past job wasn’t a great one and that it was good that we were reworking what was done in the past. Jeff quoted $3,500 for framing/drywall. That includes framing out the new ceiling (mirroring what is already there), framing the new dining walls, moving the door in the kitchen that leads to the garage over a few feet (eliminate the breakfast nook to allow for bigger kitchen). After framing comes drywall, which is taping, texturing, floating, and all that jazz.
Dining being framed out….
Drywall going in…
We left a 5′ opening from living to dining to still feel a bit open. There’s also another 5′ opening on the left side where the front door entry is.
That nice pano was taken this morning. Had to resort to a pano via my iPhone to show wall to wall…..
And a reminder of the before….
We are scheduled to start flooring on Monday! Wahoo. Parker and I are taking on the painting ourselves to save some cash, and we just realized today we should probably finish the painting before the floors go in. So that’s what our weekend will be…..painting the entire house in 2 days. (emojis needed here……)
Jeff quoted us $2.50/sq ft for hardwood installation. This includes all demo, hauling off the old floors, prepping the floors and all adhesives. (We’re gluing down.) We were happy with this number. We went back and forth on if we should go ahead and install hardwoods throughout the entire house now or do half now and the remaining later. We bit the bullet and are doing it all now.
As of now we have an entirely empty kitchen……. We were attempting to salvage what we could of that kitchen and were then going to put it back together until the kitchen reno. There’s possibly a slight change in plans there. More to come on that soon…..