This Old House #1: Catching up On What We've done so far

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Blog entry by dakremer posted 11-17-2014 05:40 AM 3592 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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My wife and I recently bought a 100 year old house. It is in really good shape, but needs some updating to suit our needs. I wanted to start a blog on our work we are doing, but got a late start. So this first post will be “catching up” on everything we’ve done so far! Enjoy!

Warning: I am a DIYer. So (most of the time) I’m just winging it. Feel free to criticize and/or give me some advice. But just remember…..i’m not a Pro. :) :) :)

So the first thing I did was build some steps off of the deck in the back of our house. This is the easiest way out to the backyard, and owning a dog….steps were a must. The grading of the land around this area was a little tricky. So I had to work with what was there. I also added a nice brick landing. These (clay-like) bricks are very old. I found them stored in a shed out in the backyard….

The next project was moving the laundry room from the kitchen pantry to downstairs…..

In this pic, the appliances are moved out. I also already removed the horribly ugly bifold doors and trim…

removing all the layers of crap on the floor…..

Drywall patched and painted. Flooring installed, and shelves being installed. Still some work to be done. We are adding some drawers and baskets in the center of the shelves….

I found some solid mission style doors (same style we will be doing our cabinets) at Menards for $30 each. They were regularly priced at $167. They were in the bargain area because a few of the glue joints were coming apart. Easy enough fix. First time installing doors. Had to install new jambs, cut all the mortises, etc, etc. For my first door install, I think it turned out very well. We will be painting these doors white (to match are future cabinets)....

Staying in the kitchen, we decided to tackle the island. There was no cabinet under the island – it was just an open area, and looked horrible. The previous owners just covered the 2×4 frame with some really “awesome” paneling….

My wife wanted a shelf on the end of the island. I said “sure, no problem.” First time building a cabinet…Still a work in progress….

The other side matches the mission style we are going with in our kitchen….(again, still a work in progress)....

Another first for me – replaced a few windows! Only progress shots – no pics of the finished window yet….

A few windows were still in good shape…..but they were brown, and we wanted white. So we sanded them, primed, and painted them….

still have to find some white hardware for them…. (maybe we’ll just paint them too)

And last but certainly not least….I started replacing some of the other doors off the kitchen to match the pantry doors I installed. Found some more doors in the bargain area, that matched the pantry ones. Unfortunately I did not realize the rest of the doors in the kitchen (bathroom, and basement door) were 84” tall instead of 80”. What to do? – well I got lucky and found ANOTHER solid mission style door for $10. It was damaged pretty badly, but I only needed the two rails so I could addd some length to my other doors….

So 80” doors become 84” doors…..(used dowels to join)

Used some glue and sawdust to fill in the seam left from the glue up. Still a little clean up left to do, but they are turning out great. These doors will also be painted white…

Here is the entry way to the bathroom after I took out the trim and old jambs….

Had to add a 1×4 to the space above the “head jamb” (?). The old one I took out had no support above it. I added our names and date to it for the next guy!....

So this is where I ended this weekend. Hopefully the rest of this door installation will go smoothly. Sorry this blog was kind of long, but wanted to get caught up! Thanks for stopping by

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

18 comments so far

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 3492 days

#1 posted 11-17-2014 05:59 AM

Oh man.. brings back memories.. 4 years ago, I was doing the same thing. Looks good.. keep it up! The second you lose your momentum is the second 2×4 “cabinets” turn into a long-term fixture

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4133 days

#2 posted 11-17-2014 11:50 AM

You are really good at this DIY stuff. Everything you did looks really nice. Personally I hate DIY because I usually wind up on the floor on my back or knees or I have to stand on ladders hours on end. Not an attitude my wife a appreciates!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3603 days

#3 posted 11-17-2014 12:49 PM

One thing for sure is you’ll always have something to do, being a homeowner. Work/Play safe.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


16789 posts in 3417 days

#4 posted 11-17-2014 01:06 PM

Dak, to my eye it looks like everything you’re doing is great! Stretching the 80” doors is a great idea, and the finished product should be invisible unless you know it’s there. Save $, get a good product… can’t beat it. Huge updates so far, but I’m guessing the tip of the iceberg. 20+ years after buying our century+ house, we’re still working on it.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2806 days

#5 posted 11-17-2014 01:07 PM

Looks like you’ve got a great start on the re-do of your new house. We’ve been married 40 years and have lived in about 20 houses (no, I was NOT military, we always moved for a better house or a new job). So I’ve “been there – done that” on pretty much everything you’re gonna be doing.
In one of the houses we had I found an old poem behind a wall I had torn out and the last few lines were pretty apropos to all the work I was doing on that house.

”But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View SPalm's profile


5336 posts in 4681 days

#6 posted 11-17-2014 01:28 PM

Congrats on all the work to date. I have done a lot of this myself and can appreciate the work involved.

Thanks for the updates. It is fun to watch.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View tyvekboy's profile


2023 posts in 3812 days

#7 posted 11-17-2014 02:56 PM

From the looks of it, you’re doing a wonderful job on the renovation. You may say you’re not a PRO but usually DIYers get better results cause they’re not working for money and tend to do a better, more detailed job.

I like your frugal attitude and your ability to see beyond damaged goods. Good use of the damaged door to add height to the other doors. If you don’t tell anyone, no one will notice.

Pantry looks great.

Have fun with the rest of the renovation.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24922 posts in 3905 days

#8 posted 11-17-2014 07:56 PM

Way to go, Doug. soon it will just like you want ti. nice improvements. You are a handy guy, doc!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View ToddJB's profile


8679 posts in 2930 days

#9 posted 11-17-2014 10:19 PM

Awesome job so far!

20+ years after buying our century+ house, we re still working on it.

- Smitty_Cabinetshop

As a fellow century old home owner who is only 4 years in… this is a little depressing. Ha.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View Mean_Dean's profile


7047 posts in 3946 days

#10 posted 11-18-2014 01:17 AM

Looks like you’re off to a great start! I’m looking forward to seeing all of your great progress!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View dakremer's profile


2748 posts in 3891 days

#11 posted 11-18-2014 04:43 AM

Thanks for all the kind words and support! There will definitely be more to come….

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


118077 posts in 4376 days

#12 posted 11-18-2014 04:56 AM

Lots of great work,very well done. Just wondering about the stair stringers,are they presser treated ?


View dakremer's profile


2748 posts in 3891 days

#13 posted 11-18-2014 04:59 AM

Hey Jim – yes they are pressure treated :)

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View a1Jim's profile (online now)


118077 posts in 4376 days

#14 posted 11-18-2014 05:12 AM

It looks like all of your rises on each step came spot on.


View dakremer's profile


2748 posts in 3891 days

#15 posted 11-18-2014 05:51 AM

Yes, I measured, measured, and measures again (and then used Sketchup to verify) to make sure my stringers were correct! I think out of everything I’ve done so far, those steps were the toughest – a lot of different skill sets I’ve never dove into before

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

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