We Won't Forget 2013

2013 will be forever remembered as a true testament to the strength of our 35 year marriage. On June 1st of 2013 my husband and I began our biggest DIY venture yet......the remodeling of our 640 square foot cottage.

I suppose I was a bit naive about the timing, but I didn't realize when we began that we would be living at my inlaws for three months. Yep, it took a very long, hot summer (actually three months) before we had progressed enough to move back into our cottage.

When that day came the beginning of September we decided to take some much needed time off this DIY project. This extensive job was draining on the mind, body and our finances so this break was very welcome.

Time has flown by. Two days after moving back in, we had family visiting from the mainland. Two weeks after that, more family came. Surfing season came early this year and since this is my husband's lifelong passion, it looks now like it will be early Spring before we finish up the detail work on our cottage.

Here are a few highlights during the renovation. (I plan to publish another page once the job is complete.)

Photo credit: Pam Irie

Where To Put Stuff???

We Begin.....

Two weeks prior to moving out of our cottage, I had to go through all of our belongings to determine what was important to keep and what we would be replacing.

A lot of necessary purging was completed. Many, many items were donated to our favorite charities and some furniture pieces were sold via Craigslist. Everything else was wrapped, boxed up, labeled and either put under tarps outside on our covered lanai or taken to be stored ceiling high in the spare bedroom of my in law’s home.

There it remained for the 3 month duration. Whatever wasn’t in our overnight bags we didn’t see until we moved back in.

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

Remodeling Checklist

  • 1
    Demolition - Remove Existing Ceiling, Gut the Kitchen and Bathroom, Remove all Remaining Staples from Ceiling Framework
  • 2
    Haul Away Rubbish
  • 3
    Take Accurate Measurements and Order New Building Materials
  • 4
    Install 1/2" Plywood as new subfloor over original hardwood flooring (original hardwood too worn to refinish)
  • 5
    Frame Walls, Windows and Doorways, Frame Out New Bathtub
  • 6
    Install New Single Hung Windows
  • 7
    Rough in plumbing work in bathroom and kitchen area
  • 8
    Install bathtub and shower surround
  • 9
    Secure new interior 2x4 framing to existing exterior walls from the outside in
  • 10
    Add hurricane straps on wall studs to secure roof inside (Hawaii building code)
  • 11
    Install heat deflecting shields in attic rafters
  • 12
    Rough-in electric work
  • 13
    Final inspection for electrical, etc before closing up interior walls
  • 14
    Apply insulation between wall studs
  • 15
    Drywall guys come in and hang, Mudd and texture ceilings and walls
  • 16
    Cut opening for vent for new exhaust fan over the stove
  • 17
    Prime paint all interior walls and ceilings. Top coat ceilings and walls with finish coat.
  • 18
    Install new hardwood flooring throughout home.
  • 19
    Install new ceramic floor in bathroom, attach pedestal sink and install toilet
  • 20
    Begin interior finish carpentry by installing baseboards, framing windows and doors
  • 21
    Build frame work for kitchen cabinets using new Kregg Joint System. It's awesome!
  • 22
    Apply kitchen countertop, hang new exhaust fan in kitchen, install recessed lighting, ceiling fans and light fixtures, and electrical covers.
  • 23
    Move back in. Take a much needed break!

Demo and Framing

Me and a sledgehammer. The sledgehammer is your friend during the demolition phase.

Some walls are down.

Breaking through a closet.

Kitchen deconstruction. What a mess!

Every nail and staple in the ceiling framework must be removed before the new drywall goes up.

Storing materials and a few furniture pieces into one area until the very last minute.

Framing work and the new windows are installed.

Framing is complete. Notice in the foreground that white blob is our refrigerator which we had moved into the living room area during renovations.

Heat deflecting shields in place in ceiling rafters. They really make a difference in regulating the temperature inside our cottage.

My husband installing the tub and tub surround.

Should YOU Do It Yourself?

Start small and work your way up in DIY.
Pick up new tools as you progress in skill.
Click here to see some of the DIY projects we've done.

Quick Birthday Break

After two months of work we were ready for the drywall guys to come in and do their magic. This is one job my husband and I opted out of. Drywall is one job we both absolutely hate PLUS the professionals are FAST and they do great work! Neither of us have the patience for the taping and mudding, not to mention how heavy those drywall sheets are.

So, while the drywall guys were doing their thing, I flew to Oregon to celebrate my 58th birthday with our daughter and left my husband home to deal with the crew.

It was a relaxing trip. When I came back to the islands, it was time for clean up. We still had the flooring to install but this basically marked the beginning of what we call the “pretty work”.

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

The Renovation Continues.....

Click images for larger view

Drywall finished - Kitchen.

Drywall finished - Living Room

Drywall finished - Bathroom

Drywall finished - First Bedroom

Hubby is installing the new hardwood flooring.

All the ceilings were painted flat white. I chose barley for the walls of the living room and adjoining kitchen.

Bathroom floor tile work completed.

Interior trim work begins. We found out I was much better at cutting and installing the trim than my husband. (I have more patience). :)

New T111 plank siding is going on the outside of the cottage. Notice wrappings around the new window frames BEFORE siding goes up.

Measure twice, cut once. :)

Two Days Left to Work

We had only two days to get our kitchen up and running and we did it! We built the base frames of our cabinets (with the exception of the clearance-bought corner cabinet) in a very short time using our new Kregg jig. It makes the strongest and fastest joinery in woodworking.

The doors aren’t on the cabinets and there is a space waiting to be filled with a dishwasher, but the water is running and the appliances are in place.

Photo credit: Pam Irie

Best New Tool in Our DIY Arsenel!

Kreg System is THE BEST!

This Kreg jig is absolutely THE BEST system for joining together two pieces of wood. It makes the cleanest most accurate pocket holes EVER. It truly beats any previous methods we've used. These joints are super strong (even WITHOUT glue)!

More Cooks In The Kitchen!

You can see there is still paper taped to the windows, but the new exhaust fan is installed, the pots and pans are hung up. We now have a working kitchen for the foodie members of our visiting family.

Photo credit: Pam Irie

Time to Play!

It’s time to play. The finishing details have been put on hold temporarily. For all intents and purposes, the main job is done.

The pretty stuff will just have to wait a bit. Stay tuned for an updated page!

Photo credit: Pam Irie

Have you done any remodeling or renovations on your home?

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  • adina123 Jan 16, 2014 @ 8:36 am
  • ChocolateLily Jan 11, 2014 @ 7:50 pm
    Nothing this extensive. Wow! It's looking good, though. Congrats on LOTD!
  • Steve_Kaye Jan 11, 2014 @ 1:35 pm
    Wow! This is very impressive. You almost built a home. Congratulations.
  • smine27 Jan 08, 2014 @ 11:39 pm
    What am amazing job. I wouldn't know where to start!
  • jennabeezer Jan 08, 2014 @ 2:48 pm
    When my husband and I first toured the home we live in, we said to each other, "We have to live here! But we'll change everything, of course." Next month marks nine years that we've lived there, and we're STILL working through our renovation a bit at a time...Nice job here with yours. I enjoyed the photos.
  • veryirie Jan 10, 2014 @ 3:48 am
    That's the way we usually did things too, especially when we had the kids at home. Now it's just me and the hubs (and the dog) at home, its a little easier just to jump right in. lol
  • KFRaizor Jan 08, 2014 @ 2:08 pm
    My favorite renovation tool is the Yellow Pages! I commend your ability to do it yourself. I don't have enough talent to drive a nail in straight.

    Congrats, too, on your Lens of the Day award.
  • veryirie Jan 10, 2014 @ 3:33 am
    LOL. Your comment tickled me! Thank you! :)
  • VickiSims Jan 08, 2014 @ 8:34 am
    We've done some remodeling projects, but never ones so extensive that we had to move out while they were being done. We recently embarked on the journey of planning and building a new home, so we'll soon see how well that works - I hope we do as welll as you did. Great lens - congrats on LOTD!
  • veryirie Jan 08, 2014 @ 1:04 pm
    Building a brand new home......that will be an adventure. Congratulations! I would love to read a lens and see how that is done and I'm sure I'm not the only one. :)
  • angsiuta2 Jan 08, 2014 @ 1:08 am
    Stopping by to say, Congratulations on getting LOTD!
  • veryirie Jan 08, 2014 @ 1:02 pm
    Thank you! :)
  • PriyabrataSingh Jan 08, 2014 @ 12:02 am
    Congratulations on getting Lens Of The Day !
  • veryirie Jan 08, 2014 @ 1:01 pm
    Thank you! :)
  • Jan 07, 2014 @ 9:40 pm
    I'm not very handy but this is a terrific lens. Congratulations on getting LotD!
  • veryirie Jan 08, 2014 @ 1:01 pm
    Thanks so much!
  • TedWritesStuff Jan 07, 2014 @ 5:43 pm
    In the middle of doing it right now...am replastering all the brick walls ;-) oh the joys!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:31 pm
    Wow! THAT is a job! You should definitely do a lens on this!
  • sierradawn Jan 07, 2014 @ 4:57 pm
    What an enormous job you tackled! And you made it all look so easy! Congrats on your great lens!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:31 pm
    Glad our cottage is only two bedrooms. lol
  • eilval Jan 07, 2014 @ 4:45 pm
    Fascinating lens . Congrats on LOTD !
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:30 pm
    Thanks so much!
  • ASMMohiuddin Jan 07, 2014 @ 4:31 pm
    Congrats for a great lense
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:30 pm
    Thank you!
  • holisticwriter Jan 07, 2014 @ 4:15 pm
    That first photo of stuff hidden under tarp reminds me of my place right now. Ugh!!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:30 pm
    LOL That stuff stayed there 3 months. I was so sick of looking at that pile every day though.
  • tbrianpeel Jan 07, 2014 @ 2:20 pm
    Incredible account of your experience! Things are looking great and that is very well-deserved play time!!!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:28 pm
    Thanks! We really need to get back to work though and get this finished. When surf season is over this year, it'll get done! :)
  • DaveStone13 Jan 07, 2014 @ 12:19 pm
    Very minor, and I think you are a very brave family to take this on. Great presentation on the project, a pleasant read.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:28 pm
    Thank you Dave! :) We're not so brave, just not rich enough to hire the work out. lol
  • calconcrete Jan 07, 2014 @ 12:11 pm
    Congratulations on a project well planned and almost done. Looking forward to seeing the completion. Liked your tool references.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:27 pm
    Some of those tools just make the job that much easier. :) Can't wait to get this completed!
  • partybuzz Jan 07, 2014 @ 11:53 am
    Buzzing back to say, Congratulations on LotD!
  • partybuzz Jan 07, 2014 @ 11:52 am
    We haven't remodeled, but we did build our house, which is also taxing on a marriage. :) We did a lot of the work ourselves and contracted some of...like the drywalling. It was worth it in the end, we love our house.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:26 pm
    I think a brand new home is something I'll never have, but that's okay. It's just so expensive over here. I'll have to be happy with my cottage.
  • TomMaybrier Jan 07, 2014 @ 11:46 am
    Wow, I love your landscaping! What a view through your new windows!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:25 pm
    Thanks much, Tom! We love the greenery too. We refuse to enlarge our cottage because we enjoy the outdoors here so much and want to keep as much of the yard as possible. :)
  • StephenJParkin Jan 07, 2014 @ 11:44 am
    Yes we have removed kitchen cabinets and laid laminate flooring over old pine floor boards which had gaps so large that we got plenty of ventilation! Well done on the LOTD and purple star.

    The only time I had to move out and redo was an apartment I had bought to let out. The guy I hired to do the job moved in and never completed anything. When I returned from overseas I had to tear everything out and redo it all. I had just 2 weeks before my first tenants were due to move in, but I managed it, still not sure how!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:23 pm
    Every DIY job you do seems to make you better and better, doesn't it? Rush deadlines are fun WHEN it's over! lol
  • nancycarol Jan 07, 2014 @ 11:14 am
    Congratulations on LOTD! If any lens ever richly deserved it, this is the one. You described perfectly, not only the work on the renovation, but also the trials and tribulations such a job places on the family and the marriage. Terrific work, well done!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:22 pm
    Thank you so much, Nancy! It means a lot to mean to hear you say that!
  • FreshStart7 Jan 07, 2014 @ 10:54 am
    Not yet. Congratulations on your well deserved Purple Star, veryirie!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:20 pm
    Thank you!
  • Graceonline Jan 07, 2014 @ 10:49 am
    Oh yes. When I was eight months pregnant, we gutted our kitchen. You can imagine what it was like washing dishes in the bathtub with that belly. : )

    Congratulations on your richly deserved LOTD. You've told the story of your renovations in pictures and in words so well, that I hung on every word--when I had planned to spend those minutes an entirely different way. Looking forward to the update.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:20 pm
    Grace, what a compliment!!! Thanks so much for your words! I totally can just picture you doing that. The things we women do, huh? :)
  • Merrci Jan 07, 2014 @ 10:25 am
    Years ago. Your's looks great! It always takes so much more time, energy and money than expected! Hope you are loving the results! Congrats on LotD! Enjoyed all the photos too.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:15 pm
    Thank you! Yep, we always have to figure in at least an extra 10% on materials, money, time. Something ALWAYS comes up. :)
  • d-artist Jan 07, 2014 @ 10:16 am
    Congratulations on LOTD! I give you guys credit! I will never go through remolding or renovations again...nope never again!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:14 pm
    Thanks! I would like to say NEVER AGAIN too, but I'd be lying if I said that. I'm sure there are more renovations to come. I just don't want it to be too soon and NOT this big. lol
  • flora-crew Jan 07, 2014 @ 9:40 am
    No, but I am a member of a student chapter of Habitat for Humanity and helped with a house painting last summer. Great lens. Your cottage looks like a fun place! Also congrats on your length marriage!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:13 pm
    Thanks for both! I LOVE Habitat for Humanity. It's an awesome cause and you can learn a lot working with those guys!
  • Susan52 Jan 07, 2014 @ 9:16 am
    Back to congratulate you on your Lens of the Day! I'm thrilled for you - I really did enjoy this lens!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:13 pm
    Thanks a lot, Susan! I was happy this lens made it for sure.
  • daria369 Jan 07, 2014 @ 9:15 am
    Renovations can be stressful in every way but it sure is nice to move into a renovated living space. Congrats on LOTD!! :)
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:11 pm
    Thank you. It WAS nice moving back in. Everything seemed all brand new. Probably because it was. :)
  • susan-zutautas Jan 07, 2014 @ 8:46 am
    Coming back to say Congrats on your lens for being chosen as LOTD!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:11 pm
    Thank you!!!
  • gottaloveit Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:53 am
    Congrats on LoTD! So happy to see your face on the article! And, your pictures are amazing. More pics of that husband though please - he's totally rocking that tan.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:10 pm
    LOL haha Thanks Lori! I think he's pretty cute too! lol
  • bossypants Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:50 am
    Congratulations on LoTD! Well deserved! I sure enjoyed reading this lens and seeing all your hard work pay off in such a nice new look to your cottage!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:10 pm
    Thanks bunches, Ann! It just feels so much homier now. :)
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:05 am
    So very, very pleased to see you in that LotD place of honor on the home page. Doing a DIY happy dance for you. Just had to stop back by to celebrate.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:09 pm
    Thank you so much, Diana! :)
  • Jan 07, 2014 @ 6:00 am
    had to rip out the kitchen because the floor was sinking... so we had it done while the bub's in kl and my husband had to oversee everything.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:09 pm
    A kitchen remodel can be a pain. Not having a sink to work out of or a stove for cooking. Bet your kitchen looks nice now!
  • stajo82 Jan 07, 2014 @ 5:52 am
    Yes...twice in a period of 2 years :) I'm so glad we have our new home finished and no "big" remakes are needed. Fabulous lens... Congratulations on LOTD!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:08 pm
    Sounds like you've been busy too. You should do a lens on your home!
  • OhMe Jan 07, 2014 @ 5:51 am
    Congrats on a well deserved LotD. Your remodeling looks great.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:07 pm
    Thanks so much! It was very exciting to see that LOTD. :)
  • rattie Jan 07, 2014 @ 5:41 am
    We have. We have made many mistakes, but we have learned from them. We are just about to undertake some more renovations prior to selling our home and moving to somewhere nice and warm.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:07 pm
    Good luck on your renovations! You'll probably get it just the way you want it and then its time to sell. We did that too many times in the past. lol
  • esmonaco Jan 07, 2014 @ 5:01 am
    Seems you made a good choice to take your time and with some well deserved breaks in between. When I do a DIY I tend to want to hurry things along, not always a good idea. It looks like you guys did a fantastic job, and the most important thing is, that your happy and satisfied when all is finished. Congratulations on LOTD.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:06 pm
    Thank you! My husband has a full time job in addition to this so we were juggling everything for months.
  • lhbeninger Jan 07, 2014 @ 2:12 am
    My husband and I have remodeled, but never DYI. You are a brave woman. Congratulation on the LotD honor. Great lens.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:05 pm
    Thank you! I was so excited to see that! :)
  • wiseriverman Jan 07, 2014 @ 12:15 am
    This is so inspirational. I have an 80 year old house that's slowly coming apart but I've never really thought about making any repairs myself. After reading this I'm going to give it some serious thought. I can't wait to see how your project (home) turns out. Good job!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 12:29 am
    Thanks for your comment. Makes me feel great to think we may have inspired others. But, seriously, do your research before you start and ALWAYS practice safety first. There are many, many home improvement jobs that the average person can complete. YouTube has a lot of helpful videos. I also love the DIY Network and HGTV and Lowes and Home Depot websites. Give it a go. If you're dealing with electrical or plumbing or any work requiring permits, follow the building codes and laws in your area. Good Luck! (Do a lens on your "homework". I imagine your home has a lot of character which is so charming!)
  • RubyHRose Jan 05, 2014 @ 1:09 pm
    Wow, what a huge project, the right tools for sure make a difference. Looking forward to more about the final project. Small jobs we have done, never this extensive, great work!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 12:30 am
    Thank you! I can't wait to get everything done so I can publish a lens about the final outcome. :)
  • veryirie Jan 03, 2014 @ 7:56 pm
    Thanks Susan! And yes, we hired the drywall work! Leave THAT to the professionals. lol My husband is an electrician and he does plumbing and carpentry and is really skilled at those, but drywall.....yikes! The pros are fast and skillful and just plain BETTER at it. ha Your home sounds awesome! :)
  • susan-zutautas Jan 03, 2014 @ 5:59 pm
    Many, many reno's :) My husband has always been in the building business and we own a family drywall business so that tends to help a bit. We live in an old Victorian home that is over 130 years old so there always seems to be something to do. We just recently re did our living/dining room. I think our next big renovation will be the entrance-way and Al wants to remove the stairs and banister and replace them. From the pictures it looks like you guys did a great job!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:04 pm
    Susan, I replied above for some reason. lol
  • libertyduckling Jan 03, 2014 @ 12:28 am
    looks like a lot of work! ^_^
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:04 pm
    Sure was, but worth it for sure!
  • MarcellaCarlton Jan 02, 2014 @ 3:34 pm
    Not to this extent, but I'm pretty good at helping out. The cottage I'm in was built in 1989 and we are the first family in it. It could probably use a new water heater but it has a new roof, some siding, and a new paint job that was finished while I was convalescing from a stroke I had in 2011. Love this lens!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:03 pm
    It sounds charming! Glad to see you appear all recovered now. YAY!
  • Titia Jan 02, 2014 @ 1:22 pm
    We've been renovating our old farmhouse for over 30 years and it's still not finished and our 44 years marriage still holds LOL
  • veryirie Jan 02, 2014 @ 2:12 pm
    Wow Titia! THAT is so impressive! Congratulations!!! :)
  • Ruthi Jan 01, 2014 @ 10:31 pm
    In my younger years I've done home remodeling but I am not sure I'd tackle a job like you just did! Fantastic that now you get to do all the pretty stuff to show off your newly renovated home!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:02 pm
    Ruthi, I cannot wait to be finished. :)
  • lizzie-robinson Jan 01, 2014 @ 4:15 pm
    You have done so much work! Well Done!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:01 pm
    Thanks so much!
  • scarlettohairy Jan 01, 2014 @ 12:26 pm
    Oh man, Pam. I am tired just looking at all of the work you guys did! I have done a renovation and this all brought back memories. So much work!
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:01 pm
    I'm kinda tired looking at these pics and remembering. lol
  • Mommie-Moola Jan 01, 2014 @ 12:24 pm
    My projects have pretty much been small scale. Happy New Year :)
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:01 pm
    Every DIY project finished deserves a pat on the back!
  • PaigSr Jan 01, 2014 @ 8:10 am
    The biggest thing around here would be the barn being taken down before it fell over.
  • veryirie Jan 07, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
    Hope you saved some of that awesome hard to find barnwood! :)
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 Dec 31, 2013 @ 8:13 pm
    The better question would be this: When am I not remodeling or renovating my home? I love what you have done to your cottage. Of course, I wouldn't expect any less from such a DIY pro. Very impressive results. Happy New Year, my friend!
  • veryirie Dec 31, 2013 @ 8:57 pm
    Thank you, Diana! Happy New Year to you too! I can't wait to see your DIY workstation for your new bike stand!

See all comments


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