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  • Writer's pictureJenna Beall Mueller

Our Unexpected Remodel of 2019

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

This year, Adam and my big house expense was supposed to be a new roof.

"Ugh, this is so boring," I groaned, looking through the brochures as we debated our roofing options. Real thrilling stuff, let me tell you. "And expensive."

They put our new roof on in April, and I promptly began daydreaming about purchasing a plot of land in Upstate New York. I may have even bought a dish set during an anthropologie sale for this someday Adirondack getaway.

That is where my head was at when we started noticing a water mark on our kitchen ceiling.

Technically Adam noticed it as I was too busy watching tiny house shows and plotting.

"There must be a problem with the roof," Adam said, ever the rational one.

The roofers came back not once, but twice, as that water mark grew and grew. "Listen, dude," they finally shrugged. "The roof is fine. It's not us."

A plumber came in next and ended up having to bust into the upstairs bathroom wall. He was promptly met with a gush of water. "Turn the water off!" he exclaimed, as Adam handed him a bucket and dashed downstairs.

The culprit of our ever-expanding water mark? A previous homeowner had used a nail gun to attach the bathroom molding, shooting a nail right through a copper pipe. The theory was the vibrations had been aggressive enough during the new roof installation to knock that little nail loose, setting off the slow drip in our walls.

The water damage was extensive.

They had to use a jack hammer on our bathroom floor and remove most of the plaster walls. The kitchen ceiling was partially taken down as were a few of the upper cabinets.

Our Tudor was a mess.

We planned on simply putting things back as they were—maybe switching out the backsplash, woo hoo—but then my mom got in our ears. "You should just do a total remodel while your house is all torn up like this," she said. "Oh, and add a first floor bath."

Don't you love how moms suggest home renovation projects like you have GOBS of money that's unspoken for? "Do a kitchen remodel! Just add a half bath! Easy peasy!"

But there went my tiny home dreams.

We were now on a kitchen mission.

My mom sent me the name and number of their kitchen designer, and we got to work. Elaine was impressive in that she was not only a talented designer, but also a professional cook. When she sent over her first design, she instructed us to mentally cook a meal in the space and see how it functioned. Adam ate that up.

After months of tweaking the design, it was time to get a contractor involved. It was August at this point, about two months into having a partially demoed kitchen, and we knew it was going to be tough finding someone who could start the renovation before the end of the year.

Both of the contractors we contacted would not be able to start until January at the earliest, which was disappointing but not surprising. But then the kitchen renovation goddesses smiled down on us and gifted us with a cancellation in one of the contractor's schedules.

I couldn't send our money over fast enough.

Jim, our big teddy bear of a contractor, began the second week of October. He was friendly, dependable, and soooo patient with our weird dogs. He also did not kill us when three weeks into the renovation, we brought home a THIRD rescue dog.

I still can't believe we did that.

I also just realized I've never introduced Margot on this blog (Sorry, Marg!), but she's an all-tan Frenchie we adopted from Louie's Legacy and is absolute perfection. She dances for treats, and her tongue is almost always hanging out.

Anyways! Jim finished up yesterday, and I am so excited to show off these before and after photos.

The craziest changes? Jim moved the location of our back door, turned the awkward back nook into a powder room, closed off our double-sided staircase, AND took down the wall between our dining room and kitchen.

It's been a wild six months, and we are beyond thankful to settle back into our newly remodeled home.

Here is our old kitchen before the water damage. I took this photo on Adam's birthday. We didn't usually have balloons on top of the cabinets.
This is the new powder room, where the weird back nook used to be. The back door was right where the toilet is!
Elaine added a niche in the wall where we closed off the double-sided staircase. It looks like it's always been there!

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