House Flipping: Avenue House - Weeks 4 + 5

Guys, these last few weeks have been a STRUGGLE! We were making pretty good progress with paint and some of the systems (HVAC and plumbing are in!) but we had a pretty big setback with one teeny tiny mistake: using the wrong type of paint. Uggghhhh. We learned a very valuable lesson with this mistake, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

Basically what happened is that when I was determining what type of paint existed in the house, the previous owners had left some paint cans behind. Score! The paint was all latex, so I thought we had the green light to go over the existing paint with latex again. I primed and painted (about three coats total) all of the trim and windows in the laundry room and kitchen. As it was drying, I noticed that paint had started to crackle in spots. WTF. I let it dry overnight just to be sure, but when I went back the following day, you could just peel off the paint in sheets. It hadn't stuck at all.

It turns out that at some point someone had gone over the oil-based paint with latex without using the appropriate primer. So my latex never had a good base to stick to. I could peel the previous coat of paint off easily too. The only solution was to sand off all of the layers of latex paint and start over with the appropriate primer. Brian and I spent the better part of an entire weekend just scraping the trim and windows. We did burn the midnight oil and get the kitchen painted so that we had SOME progress to show to make ourselves feel better.

House Flip - Budget Renovation - Sherwin Williams Silver Strand with Dark Wood Door | Elizabeth Burns Design

If you ever have a painting dilemma, I would highly recommend consulting the guys and gals at Sherwin Williams rather than a box store paint department. Sherwin Williams specializes in paint and they have always come up with a solution and product that will remedy my painting problems. Often, the recommendations from the box store fall flat. Brian asked SW for recommendations on our paint issue and we bought a different primer (oil-based this time) that worked really well. It actually covered a lot better too so I only had to do one coat of top paint this go around. Going forward, I think I will use an oil-based primer no matter what just to be sure. Fun fact: with this primer, you could go over it with oil-based paint OR latex paint (we chose the latter).

Luckily, this wasn't an expensive setback, but it was a time-consuming one. These last few weeks all we really did was re-do the work we had already done. We were able to get the plumber in so we have all new pex pipe to the plumbing fixtures. Brian also poured the concrete slab for the new hot water heater and got it in place prior to the plumber hooking it up. We met with the electrician so now he and his crew can get everything wired up. Once he is finished, we can get the rough-in inspection scheduled and then the hardwoods refinished. The rest of the work will be more of the fun cosmetic stuff like installing cabinets and sprucing up the bathroom (and we won't be at the mercy of the subs' busy schedules, which is a relief).

Brian carved out some time to work on the brickwork in the house. In the living room, he removed the brick patch that was closing up the original fire box. I was hoping a coal basket would have been left in there but sadly it had been removed at some point. We don't plan on making this fireplace functional, but we will leave the gas line in place in case the buyers would like to do this down the road. Brian closed up the hole in the brick chimney in the kitchen. We lucked out and found a few old bricks in the shed that matched this type of brick exactly. It still needs a good cleaning and a clear coat, but I think the brick adds so much texture and character to the kitchen.

We were able to score a few deals on lighting and faucets by purchasing them new from the Habitat Restore (donated from Lowe's). I also ordered the cabinets even though we are not quite ready so that I could take advantage of a 20% off sale. Our beautiful hardware arrived from DLawless Hardware and I could not be more in love with them. (Is it normal to have this strong of feelings for cabinet hardware? Probably not...). These hardware pieces are a STEAL and super high quality (mercury glass knob - $4 | polished nickel pull - $2 | polished nickel latch - $1.25). 

We also ended up getting a different vanity for the bathroom. The space we are working with is very limiting since it is long and narrow (we really need an 18"-19" deep vanity whereas standard is 21"-22"). The plumbing is also coming up from the floor instead of the wall, so we couldn't have a vanity with drawers. I found an oak one on clearance at Lowe's that will give the buyers plenty of counter space and storage without being a nightmare for us to install. I have fun plans of adding trim and painting - stay tuned! :)

I'll be honest, I am starting to feel a little burned out from everything going on. Between our day jobs, coordinating this project, and the activities that come with summertime, staying motivated and energized has been a chore. I'm beginning to realize that renovating or flipping a house is very much like climbing and descending a mountain. Getting the permits, systems, drywall, and prep work done is like climbing uphill (difficult, time-consuming, frustrating, and full of setbacks). However, when you get to start seeing the transformation with paint, flooring, and decorative finishes, it is more like going downhill. Easy breezy and more enjoyable. I can see the summit on the horizon for this flip. Man oh man am I looking forward to the descent. :)

P.S. With this house, I am going to do a full financial report at the end verses including weekly costs. If you ever have a question about a cost or product, don't hesitate to email me!