The First Addition Before & After

Welcome to the second post in a three part series on the renovation of our first home. 

You can find the first installment, the interior renovation here.

This itty bitty 900 square footer totally lacked storage and dining areas.
So we added 600 square feet.

This picture below is the view of the back of the house on the day we first looked at it with the realtor.

In the upper right hand portion of the picture is one of the three Weeping Willow trees. They were were what really attracted me to this train wreck.


Originally born and raised in Upstate New York, I miss all the lush green that climate affords.  Colorado is pretty much high desert, with the exception of the alpine forests found above 8000 feet in elevation.
Big green trees are rare around here, and lush doesn't exist.

See that roof next to the Willow held up on those four posts... it's a garage door! Sometimes repurposing isn't such a great idea.

This was the woodshed for the wood stove you saw here.

But more like a prehistoric sized Black Widows  colony!

The surprises never end.

Hubby, just starting to tear off the porch. 

You will notice parts of the house now sided that weren't before. We had to clean her up quite a bit just to qualify for the loan, since it was pre-1978(?) Peeling paint was a lead hazard, so we did a lot of fixing up before we even closed. 
We're risk takers like that.

We had a guy come in with a backhoe and dig the foundation, but of course he couldn't get it perfect with the house in the way, a fence and neighbor's house on the left and a low wall on the right.
So we dug the rest by hand, with shovels. Yup, whatever it takes. WEEKS WORTH!

Ahh, much family friendlier.

What exactly did we do? Here's the not so short and not so sweet of it;

We  relocated the gas meter and ran all new utilities (replacing the old single aluminum wire 110 with double ) AT NO COST!!!

We had quite a tangle with the electric co-op. Our next door neighbor alerted us to the fact that the power line coming in to our house was rubbing against the side of the roof. Upon closer inspection, we found that the power line had been rubbing against the metal roof and had rubbed through the protected coating on the wire and halfway through the metal wire inside! There were black scorch marks on the roof!


It was determined that it was due to the angle the line came in from the pole. The electric company wanted to cut down the pine tree (from the picture below, with the rainbow over it) and put an electric pole in our yard!

But we convinced them otherwise. Sooooo... they paid an electrician (of our choice) to install all new lines underground, since there was no other way to safely route the lines above ground from the pole. We learned from the electrician that the phone company and cable company supply the cables free of charge, if we were to install them underground. So while the ditch was already dug, after the brand spanking new power lines in thick conduit were laid, we back filled a little (so the lines aren't too close (it can cause interference )) and laid down all new cable and phone lines, then a plastic tape that had "caution, underground wires" printed on it, to warn anyone should they dig in the yard in the future! And finished backfilling. That is how we landed all new underground services FOR FREE!

The Gas company guys were the icing on the cake, though! It was going to cost us about $5000 to replace and relocate the meter, but they suggested we just dig up the line and move it over, which would be FREE! If you don't count us digging up the old line, by hand, then digging a new ditch, by hand, to lay the new course. It worked perfectly and now the meter is out of the way on the side of the house.  Performed under the direction and supervision of the gas company. Those guys were AWESOME!

Ready for more on this roller coaster ride?

Because, this part was really scary, secure your saftey harness!

Hubby framed the forms for the foundation for a monolithic pour. We needed to get this done as quick as possible. SO instead of forming the footers, pouring the concrete, then framing the walls and pouring again...the footer and walls are framed together and only one pour.

You see the ladder haphazardly tossed aside? Well we had a couple guys come to help, but the concrete truck and pumper truck arrived first. The concrete truck is charged by the yard of material ordered and the hour. A short 15-20 minutes is factored into the price to unload, anything more costs extra. It was Hubby and I. WE COULDN'T  JUST STAND AROUND WHILE THE CONCRETE SET UP IN THE TRUCK! The pump truck operator  was a HUGE JERK!!! All he had to do was control the pump with his big remote control, and he was letting it flow too fast! Hubby takes the hose and starts, walking around and around the forms and you put the concrete down a little at a time, round and round, so it settles and sets a bit at a time. Well the "Jerk" set such a fast flow rate that it almost filled up the starting corner before hubby could move. We were yelling and screaming "WHOA! WHOA!!!! I think he thought there was no way "these two" are pouring this foundation by themselves, and I can make sure of it. Our help arrived soon after, but the damage was done.

The weight of the concrete was too much and the forms began to give way. We stopped the pour and Hubby jumped into the pit (as we called it) and braced the forms with 2X4's. I was in a complete panic! This is where grey hair comes from. The forms were creaking and busted out at the bottom in that corner, I feared all the 1000's of pounds of concrete were going to flow in and bury him!
It all worked out, though.  What was to be an 8" thick wall turned out to be 10-12" thick, so it was extra strong!

2 1/2 concrete trucks and hours later, we made it! It was a success, though the pump truck operator maintained his sour disposition the entire time.

Here I am screwing down the subfloor. I am quite adept with a screw gun whether it be drywall (dimple the paper don't tear it), Hardibacker tile underlayment, or OSB. Pink gloves and all. 

*Caution* Long hair must be restrained! I learned the hard way that your hair (in a pony tail) can get sucked into the housing of the gun (think the back of a hairdryer) . It ruins your hair and smells terrible!

I had to screw it anyways. See that chop saw above? Wellll...Hubby was in a hurry cutting blocking and removed the guard. The one that is there to protect you, he ran the back of his hand into the blade, while it was spinning. Quick trip to the ER,  a few stitches and 10 days down time = more grey hair for me.

If you look close there is a rainbow above the framing and tree! We sure needed a sign to proceed, considering it rained more that summer than ever, the saw accident, the concrete pour...

Now we have a bright, spacious area we could gather with family and friends. Phew!

The sun streaming into the windows makes the paint really glow! I did not choose sunny yellow but actually a creamy color. Light can transform paint in really unexpected ways!

A before view from the kitchen...

...and happily ever after!

The arch is very thick due to the fact that the house is constructed out of concrete. Thick. Concrete. Walls.  (Already, some patching is in progress.)

Here's a view of the third bedroom, half bath and pantry we added. As well as a round wall. The rounded wall just transitioned better since we knew we would be traveling out the sliding door to the outdoors. And it really didn't affect the usefulness of the pantry. Love my plant shelf with lighting for ambiance. (Shhh, the trim hasn't been painted yet)

Here's the sage green half bath.  I can not tell you what a learning experience this was in color, paint and light. There are no pictures of the guest bedroom, which we use as an office...No one wants to see that mess.

Below, this willow had been chopped off at about 8-10 feet high and sprouted into a bonsai sort of effect.

The hillside rising above the tree grows cactus and Pinyon, Juniper and Cedar trees. Desert. But with some interesting rock formations.

The redwood stain is not my favorite, but oh how I do love rusty metal!

 We trimmed out all the foundation in corrugated metal.
 This is where the BBQ will go. We once had a little mishap and seeing how the siding is wood, we put in a fireproof panel behind. 
The patio isn't done yet... because, the work is never really done, there's always something else.

Like my little green house, hubby built me out of recycled windows (we scored free from remodel). And more rusted metal. 

My special little place :-)

I wish we could have sided the whole house in metal and barn wood! The barn wood was from the interior garage walls, nice patina and rough sawn, LOVE IT!

In due time, we are on the 1,2,3 plan. The first two houses are investments and the third we hope to build our dream home, debt free.

The backyard looks overgrown and wild and lush green...and I love it!

That's all for now, please check back for the third and final post about the remaining exterior and amazing transformation out front!

Thanks for stopping by.


  1. You've made so much progress in your home. Congratulations to doing most of the work yourselves! You must be thrilled to have such a cute greenhouse too!

  2. Wow - this "remodel" is sooooo impressive. You guys did a wonderful job! Guess you saw something in this house that not many could see and the transformation is just awesome.

  3. Wow! Renovation is not for sissies! I am impressed with your huge vision and accomplishments. Looks so nice now. And what a talent your husband is!Michele

  4. Awesome transformation and I love the job!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  5. One word - - WOW. You guys should be very proud of your work.

  6. I agree, WOW! You're so brave and talented! I know you're proud of your lovely home and work! I'm so glad You stopped by my blog, so I could find yours! I'm now following on GFC and Linky Follower! I look forward to more amazing stories!

  7. Really a great job, love your hoosier! Thanks for stopping by my blog and following, so glad to have you and hoping you will come back and visit again! I'm following on your Linky Follower and GFC now too!
    You have a wonderful home!

  8. OH MY! I am coming over to say THANK YOU for the sweet lil notes you left me about our bathroom remodel... you invited me to come see yours, and I am flabbergasted,,, but alas I have been here before, looking at the amazing things you have done to that sad sad 'before' house. I am 95% sure I have left you a comment before... but if I haven't I truly apologize... remodeling my house and raising a sassy 6 yr old hasn't left me much of a brain LOL!!
    Anyway, FABULOUS job! I am VERY jealous of your huge dining/living room!

  9. Ya'll did a great job! I agree with you about doing things yourself EXCEPT for the PLUMBING. We did ours but we have had a mishaps with it. Seeing you with screwing down that subfloor brings back memories. I was quite efficient with power tools when we built our home as well. I'm your newest follower!

  10. That looks amazing!! WOW! So pretty! You guys did an awesome job!
    I currently have a link party going and would love for you to share this and anything else you would like!

  11. WOW- have you been a busy pair! Your home looks truly amazing-you have to be so proud of all the hard work-Following you from SSS-stop on by for a visit!

  12. You are so talented and creative (and busy). I've often wondered about when you sleep. Do you sleep? I've tried to think back over all the years I've known you to know if I've seen you sleep, ever. I guess I have :-). I am happy you have a husband that can help you keep up with your grand plans and ideas--and that you can give his creativity some direction. You are a great team! I suspect you'll have your dream home soon enough. It's good to have a few practice houses to figure out exactly what you *don't* want in a house! I wish I had been able to visit when this house was finished. Did you take your green house with you when you moved--is it moveable--or did it have to go with the house? Hopefully who ever lives there now appreciates all the hard work you put into it!