DIY : Interior Construction and Painting is Officially Complete!

Rebuilding a Beautiful, Vacant Historic Detroit Home (Episode 44)

This past week or so has been incredibly eventful on the to-do list side of things. After this week, we can finally say that all interior construction, repairs, restoration, painting, and wallpaper are finished! We even ended this week with a final inspection and appraisal from Wells Fargo, which means that our Purchase and Renovate “HomeStyle” Loan is complete! We are so excited to say that the heavy lifting of our home is finished, but now that means that much of our focus needs to shift to outside and small details.

Before and after of our 1st floor powder room

Painting/Wallpaper is Complete!

Our living room was the last room to really show its transformation!

After many, many weeks of work from our painters Jeff and Kurt, we are excited to finally be able to say that all of our interior painting and wallpaper is finally done! The wallpaper was the final finishing touch to the home, and it’s remarkable how much of a difference these wallpapers made for each room.

We are especially happy with our bar/lounge area dark damask and the pink bathroom which is absolutely stunning. The dark flower paper really took our light and feminine pink bathroom and made it much moodier and cool. I definitely feel like we made the right decision to keep the pink bathroom long-term now that the wallpaper is up.

Electrical Finishes up!

We had a few loose ends to tie when it came to our electrical. We had a couple old outlets that we discovered were shooting sparks, some old outlets that didn’t work, a couple humidity sensing bathroom fans that needed rewired, and a new awesome address plaque that I wanted installed on the outside of the home. Our awesome electrician Brian Anderson of Electricmax showed up and tackled all of our loose ends with his awesome team of guys. Brian has been one of our favorite subcontractors to work with and it was great to have him back over to see how far we’ve come since he finished.

He and his team fixed all of our problems, including rewiring our false fireplace mantle in the basement that had completely corroded wiring and was crackling with electricity inside our walls. I was most excited about our new address plaque, which he wired up to one of Brandon’s Insteon Smart Switches so that it now comes on and off automatically with the time of Sunset and Sunrise. It definitely feels like the cherry on the sundae to have our lighted address up and running.

A Fancy Fake Fireplace

The final day of Jeff and Kurt on the job made for one fun surprise.I had pulled out an old plug-in false fireplace from the mantle to get it out of the way while our electricians were doing some finish work around the house. As they were repairing the faulty wiring in the wall, Kurt noticed the plug-in fire and asked me whether it worked. I explained to him that it needed to be rewired but that it was a goal of mine to get it working again someday.

Well, when I came back from work, Kurt had surprised me by carrying it upstairs, rewiring it by hacking up an old extension cord, and placing it in our newly wallpapered living room plugged in and glowing! The plug-in fire is labeled “Magi-Coal” on the back and it is a strange sight to behold. Amber glass shards sit on top of 3 round light bulbs inside and the movement of small fans on top of the bulbs creates the illusion of glowing coals. It’s such a quirky, nifty little thing to find in the house and I am so excited to have it working! It will make a great addition to our living room in the summertime when we want the aesthetics of a fire going but not the hassle or heat.

Handrail is Back in Business!

As a recap, Brandon and I spent about a month last summer stripping all of our balusters back down to bare wood using a heat gun and chemical strippers. We then took the handrail itself to Plymouth Furniture Refinishing and we received it back a month or so later completely refinished and ready for installation!

Our balusters after fresh paint

Unfortunately, we ran into a problem with the man who was supposed to reinstall our handrail. We first struggled to get some recreated balusters back from him and then later we struggled for weeks with him not showing up to complete the job. Given that he was the person who took our staircase apart, we were really anxious about handing the reinstall job to someone else who didn’t know how it went together…but we finally decided that he wasn’t worth the wait and hassle and contacted new subcontractors Luke and Roman of Classic Woodworks of MI for their help.

Roman working his way up the staircase by creating custom hand-carved shims between each one

Luke recreated balusters for us to replace a few broken and twisting ones from our staircase, and after our painters sprayed the balusters we stripped and the new balusters, Luke and Roman came to the house for the handrail install.

Luke and Roman did an INCREDIBLE job. Their work was spectacular and we were especially impressed with the carving skills that they used in order to shim each baluster into the handrail. Over 60 hand-carved pieces were made so that each baluster was properly spaced, supported and held inside the curved channel under the handrail. These guys were true craftsman to watch and a joy to work with. They had the extra challenge of essentially assembling a puzzle that someone else took apart before you got there to see it, and they did a fantastic job of reverse engineering how to get our handrail back together.

Some Furniture Arrives!

Not much to talk about here, but we’re starting to get some things in the mail as far as furnishing goes! First up are two chairs for our bar lounge Brandon and I found. We’re really pleased with how they look and can’t wait to see them paired with our new Chesterfield couch we’ve ordered.

Furniture arriving has forced us to start the deep clean process. We are moving room by room to wipe everything down, scrub our windows which haven’t been cleaned in at least 7 years, vacuum, sweep, and mop. One Pro Tip we have learned with grimey windows from our leaded window expert Ann Baxter, is using ultra fine steel wool to clean the windows. No Windex required! just scrub with the wool and follow up with a microfiber cloth. It works surprisingly well on windows that are extra gross like ours and even helps with removal of flicks of paint and other stuck debris.

The final thing that arrived this week was our IKEA walk-in closet! We have a lot of work to do now, but we spent many hours planning our our PAX pieces on IKEA’s closet design tool, so hopefully it all comes together correctly!

A Night Out with Neighbors

Finally, probably our single favorite thing about our home is actually the neighborhood it lives in. This past week we organized a small get together with some of our neighbors and took a trip to the Dakota Inn Rathskeller, Detroit’s oldest genuine German Restaurant. We had an amazing time with our neighbors and really enjoyed this awesome Detroit staple.

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