Do It Yo’self

As I mentioned before, Charles and I created a complete list of work we want done on the house, broken out into phases.  Now we are trying to decide where we can cut costs and do things ourselves.  In an ideal world, we would already be living close to the house and could be much more hands on.  But that’s life, right?  So we are working on putting together some weekend projects and other things that we can do ourselves.  Here are a few things we have come up with.


1.  Paint.  Don’t worry; we aren’t crazy enough to try to do the exterior ourselves…although I do peel a little more paint off the house each time I’m there.  Hey, every little bit helps!  But we could definitely paint some of the inside.  We know the painters will fix any plaster that needs fixing and coat the walls and trim with primer, so we would just have to do the paint.  I think we can handle that!  And who knows, maybe a few of our lucky friends and family will be recruited to help.  I promise free pizza and beer.  :)

2.  Shutters.  A lot of the exterior shutters are looking pretty rough, but several of them can be saved.  Some just need a little wood glue and a good cleaning, and all need some paint.  I see a massive sheet in the yard with tons of shutters and a paint spray-gun.  And voila!  Good-as-new shutters.

3.  Demolition.  Y’all know I can’t wait to rip out that green tub!  And the entire upstairs bathroom.  And the carpet.  And the vinyl flooring.  You see where I’m going with this…

4.  Refinish the pedestal tub.  We’d like to use the antique pedestal tub that’s currently in the guest bathroom upstairs.  It’s in pretty good condition, just needs a good cleaning, a few rust stains rubbed out, and a little paint.

5.  Furniture and fixtures.  Once it comes time to decorate, I will DEFINITELY be doing some DIY-ing!  Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to share it all with you.

Unfortunately, it’s not a time issue keeping us from being more hands-on with this project.  It’s a distance issue.  But that’s ok, because soon it will be time to move in and decorate!!  And I really can’t wait for that part!  Stay tuned…



Find #1

A few days ago, I mentioned that I wanted to find a vintage pedestal sink for a not-so-outrageous price.  Well the stars aligned and I found this awesome one on Craigslist for 100 bucks!

IMG_2147     IMG_2148     IMG_2149

I’ll admit it looks a bit silly in our living room.  If you think that’s bad, you should have seen our neighbor’s face when we asked him to come help us get it in.  It was definitely NOT a request he was prepared for!

I found the sink on Craigslist and inquired with the seller.  Turns out she lives about 45 minutes away, so Charles and I made the drive over one night after work to look at it.  I fell in love!  I know it’s just a sink, but it’s so perfect for the house.  I can already see it in the guest bathroom.  It was made in 1924, which I thought was fitting, and was original to the house that we took it from.  I think we got a pretty good deal!  However, this will certainly not help my Craigslist addiction.

A Few Favorites

So I’m beginning to get a little frustrated with this whole contractor bit.  We’ve had two look at the place and after three weeks, one has backed out due to other projects and one doesn’t feel comfortable taking on a project of this size.  I feel like we are back to square one and like we have just lost three weeks.  But as my dad always tells me, and as Charles reminded me a few minutes ago…I’m trying to “flow.”  (This is NOT my nature!)

We are meeting with another contractor this Sunday, and hopefully we can set something up with another one or two as well.  We need some bids ASAP!!

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite blogs.  Besides scouring Pinterest for hours on end, these are where I get a lot of my inspiration.

1.  Young House Love


2. Making It Lovely


3.  Style by Emily Hendersonemily henderson

4.  La Dolce Vita (for when I’m feeling really glamorous!)


I’ve also learned that there are actually salvage stores ONLINE for finding all of those unique pieces that belong in a 110-year-old house.  It was kind of a mind-blowing moment for me.  Here are two of my favorites:

1.  Ohmega Salvage


2.  Salvage One

salvage one

A Busy Weekend

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!  We spent Saturday with my family celebrating my brother, Jason’s, birthday.  We were planning to have an oyster roast, as we often do for his birthday, but NC and its crazy weather brought us SNOW!  Seriously.  It snowed all day.  Last year at the oyster roast for his birthday, we were outside without jackets!  But that didn’t stop us!  My dad steamed 2 bushels of oysters…let me tell you, that’s A LOT of oysters for 6 people!  Plus a bunch of shrimp too.  But we finished ’em off like champs and then sat around feeling bloated and watched a few episodes of Modern Family.  It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday!  (Happy birthday, Jay!)

jay      jay 2

Aside from Jason’s birthday festivities, Charles and I ventured out to Lowe’s in the snow to look at a few finishes and get some ideas.  For the kitchen, we decided on white cabinets, white quartz countertops with touches of gray/silver, and a slate blue/gray for the island cabinets.  We also landed on keeping hardwoods in the kitchen.  We looked at some pedestal sinks for the guest bathroom that we really liked too, but I’m hoping to find a more vintage one.  I’ve scoured Craigslist and found a few that might work.  I just haven’t been able to pull the trigger.  Here’s what I’m going for:

pedestal sink     pedestal sink 2

On Sunday, Charles and I made the trip to go meet with one of our prospective contractors at the house.  We met him at 2:00, and it was about 34 degrees!  It was freeeeeeezing in that big drafty old house! I think our heads are still spinning a bit from the information overload.  We still do not know all of the numbers, but we got a few estimates back.  Some were right where we thought they would be.  A few were actually lower.  And a few were way higher!  I guess that’s how it goes in this business.  We talked in more detailed terms with the contractor about what we wanted and what our priorities are.

When we got up to what will be the master bath, we all sort of drew a blank.  It’s a big room and an open canvas, but that also makes it hard to figure out where we want all the fixtures to go.  Plus we have to think about reworking the plumbing.  So as we stood there completely stumped, I decided to give my design guru a call.  Charles’ cousin’s wife, Mary, is amazing at this sort of thing and always has great ideas and great style.  (Check her out at The Remedy House!)  Her and her husband, Michael, have flipped two houses; Michael is a realtor and Mary is about to be a realtor…so they are our go-to’s for a lot of questions.  Mary kindly ran over and looked around and took a few dimensions, and I know she’ll come up with something perfect for that room.  I can’t wait to see!

Charles and I spent the entire two and a half hours of the trip home making a priority list for everything we want to do with the house.  We divided it all up into five phases:

1.  Get the house safe and livable- this includes all exterior and infrastructure work, plus electrical work

2. Interior priorities- we went through by room and listed what the immediate needs are for each

3. Bathrooms- master bathroom first, then upstairs guest bathroom, downstairs bathroom, and ripping out the other upstairs bathroom

4. Kitchen- since our kitchen is ugly and dated, but functional, this is not a top priority; we’ll wait till we can do it right!

5. Other stuff- for example, fixing the garage doors, paving the driveway, and landscaping

It was a grueling process that took several hours, but we feel like we have everything in order now!  We are expecting (ahem, hoping) to get bids back from the contractors on Friday.  I’ll keep you posted…

Get a Tax Credit for Rehab

The Taylor-Gaylor (soon to be Taylor-Gaylor-Gaylor) House is a historic property.  Not just for our family, but for the state of NC.  Charles and I wouldn’t dream of doing anything to it that would take away from it’s historical charm–except for maybe to rip out that green tub!  ;)

So far in this process, we have learned a lot about the tax credits that NC has to offer homeowners who are renovating or restoring (or “rehabilitating,” so I’m told) a historic property.  There is a federal credit of 20% for restoring income-producing property, so we won’t qualify for that.  No way we are renting this place out after all of our hard work on our dream home!!  But NC has a 30% credit for homeowners restoring a historic residence.  It’s called the State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program (catchy, huh?).

Here’s a few more interesting facts:  first, the building must be registered with the National Register of Historic Places.  Luckily, our house is located in one of the three cities in NC that are certified historic districts, so we shouldn’t have a problem there.  Next, we must spend over $25,000 in a 24-month period.  Oh lawd, please don’t let it take that long!!!  But of course there’s a catch–all rehabilitation work must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s standards.  This means that we would be wise to run all of our plans by the Department before making any changes.  And I’ve heard they are sticklers!  But hey, for a 30% credit on all renovation work, that’s totally worth it!

I would definitely encourage anyone interested in restoring a historic home to look into these tax breaks.  You can find more information here.  Preservation NC’s website also has lots of information.


And last but not least…for those of you who know the joke…”Let’s all go to rehab!” :)

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