Happy Friday: Almost Finished Home Sweet Home

Thanks so much to Mr 1500 for sharing their home renovation success in today’s Happy Friday post!

Our home was beautiful, but our neighbors were not.

Two years ago, we were in a bad place. Literally. Mrs. 1500 and I had moved from Wisconsin to what we thought would be greener pastures and bigger mountains in the state of Colorado. It didn’t take more than two weeks to realize we had relocated to the wrong city. We were surrounded by Consumer Crazies on steroids. Everyone was in a battle to see who could spend the most money. The high school students of driving age had nicer cars than us. We didn’t fit in. We didn’t want to raise our children around these people. It was time to move again.

After careful consideration, we found a town that we knew would be a better fit. We did our homework and everything clicked. The town had a vibrant center, a great library and good people. We had found our place in the world. The problem was that everyone else wanted to live there too. Houses would be on the market for mere hours before receiving multiple offers. However, one house didn’t sell right away. This house was Uglyhouse.


Enter Uglyhouse

Uglyhouse had been on the market for 40 days when we first toured it. It had been a neglected rental that had been foreclosed on. Everything that wasn’t nailed down was stripped out of the house. No stove, no refrigerator, no washer and dryer. Only a lonely blue toilet.

I wrote Uglyhouse off almost as soon as I walked in the door. I don’t mind remodels, but the first impression was not a good one. However, that night, my mind started to change. The conversation with Mrs. 1500 went something like this:

  • Me: I keep thinking of that ugly blue house…
  • Mrs. 1500: Yeah?
  • Me: It was pretty horrible, but the price was right and I think it has potential.
  • Mrs. 1500: I didn’t mind it so much, you were the one who didn’t like it.
  • Me: I know. However, now that I think about it, we could do a lot with it. It will need some work, but I think that ugly house could be something great.

So, we made an offer. It wasn’t a great one, but Uglyhouse had sat unwanted in a hot market, so we felt justified. We ended up coming up just a little bit before Fannie Mae accepted our offer. We closed on the home in June of 2013. Then the fun started.

Construction Chaos

Early design

Within a month of moving in, we started to tear the house apart. We decided that we’d turn the 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom home into a 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom home by adding a small addition and reconfiguring the layout. We would be doing much of the work ourselves. Did I mention we have 2 small children and I have a full time job? Here is roughly how it went:

June-August of 2013: We tore off the old siding, replaced the worn out windows, insulated the walls and secured permits for the rest of the work.

This bridge would get washed out the next day.

September 2013: Massive floods happened in our area. A couple days before the rain started, we had removed the decrepit gutters. Chaos ensued and it was very, very messy. Mud, everywhere. At the same time, we fired the original carpenter who was helping us because he was completely terrible.

November 2013: Plans were finally approved and permits were secured for the second story addition. We hired new carpenters, a father and son team, to help us frame it out.

February and March of 2014: With the help of a family member, I wired the electric for the new addition. We also upgraded the service to 200 amps. At the same time, I ran the plumbing for the two new bathrooms and a washing machine. I had never done any of this so it took a little longer, but I’m far too frugal to hire a plumber.

Taking shape

IMG_2301May 2014: Kitchen time! We tore it all out. I took the tile up and all cabinets out. We put down new tile and installed new cabinets and can lights. I also built a recess in a wall so that the refrigerator didn’t stick out quite so much.

At about this time, the son from the carpenter team discovered that his wife had been cheating on him. His mood was foul from that point on. He would quit a couple weeks later after a big screaming match in our driveway with his father. The drama would have made for great reality TV.

June 2014: We redid the landscaping in the front yard. We ordered 2 tons of dirt and 8 tons of rock. We helped Home Depot’s profits that quarter by buying no fewer than a zillion plants.


IMG_0301July through August 2014: I built a deck in the back of the house and also finished the one that wraps around the front. This work was fun. Except for the post hole digging. That is the opposite of fun. At the same time, Mrs. 1500 was up on ladders painting the home.

September 2014; A landscaping wall in the backyard was leaning to one side. I poured 2 tons of concrete supports to stabilize the thing. I am a skinny dude and hauling 8o pound bags of concrete was a chore.

IMG_3630November 2014: We installed 600 square feet of hickory flooring throughout the addition. This was fun, except the day the chop saw nicked my thumb. That was not fun.

December to present day: There were two new bathrooms that needed to be finished. I tiled them, built a shower from scratch in one and installed all fixtures. We went from being a 1 toilet household to a 3 toilet household. Life improved dramatically!

Just last weekend, we finally finished the showers in both bathrooms. We had to get these done because we have visitors coming in a couple weeks. This is a major milestone and it feels great.


Almost two years of remodeling draws to a close

It hasn’t always been easy. Pulling wires when it was 10 below wasn’t fun at all. Neither was all of the effort it took to finish the plumbing. I sacrificed a lot of time.

While I enjoy building, it was frequently overwhelming. The mountain bike rides that I loved were replaced with setting tile or building a deck. Lack of exercise and a poor diet caused my weight to balloon up to 176. I have a thin frame and 156 sits much better on me. However, most of the construction is now over and the pressure is off.

In 3 months, we’ll cross the two year anniversary of our move into the house and life couldn’t be better. We like how our home has turned out. More importantly, we love our neighborhood. We will raise our two young girls here. They learned to ride bikes on our street last year. They have good friends. We also have made new friends who are good people that we can depend on. Life is good. Life is actually pretty great.

And Uglyhouse is no longer Uglyhouse.

Happy Friday everyone!


We’re so happy for the 1500s for being so near to completing their home model, but also a bit jealous since we’re now entering week 7 of not having a ceiling as part of our kitchen remodel.  =)


What are you happy about today?

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