Monday, May 16, 2022

Foundation Repairs, Demo & Permits

When you rebuild a house something is always happening. Whether it's inspections, picking out and ordering doors, setting up times with subcontractors, digging trenches or removing landscaping...your days are full.  Right now if we have an hour to do something, we are over at the house doing it. 

Quick recap because some were confused - we are taking our house down to the foundation, with the exception of saving some exterior walls and rebuilding it adding a second story and new floor plan. Also, we are really involved-  Justin is the General Contractor. So everything essentially falls on us. So, its a lot and we are very hands on...but also fun and exciting.  Some days I cry, some days I laugh and cheer. No matter what, every day is good because we are one step closer.

So its been a quick minute since I posted anything - so where are we in this journey? A lot has transpired...

Demo&Asbestos Removal

Before we could get official and have our permits submitted and approved we had to have the house inspected for any asbestos and have it removed. We knew that a part of our exterior was asbestos siding but we were unsure about the inside. We found a great company to come and do a really thorough inspection (they checked every little thing)...we did find that under two sections of old flooring there was some asbestos. I was a little bummed because I was hoping we wouldn't have to pay for that removal but also I'm glad to have it removed and be safe. This is super common in older homes and totally not an issue as long as its not disturbed. But, it had to come out and be removed properly. We had another company (Remtech) come out and do all of the removal for us. They were quick and did a super job. We passed our air test and were good to go. Yay! Things we learned, asbestos is still used today in building materials (in smaller quantities). Our asbestos was in the newer section of our house after it was supposed to have been banned from using. You just never know and if you have an older home you should definitely not skip this step.

After the siding came off we needed to protect the house with a wrap, we used Tyvek bc we found enough at Lowe's.

Once we had all of the asbestos was out we got to work on demo. Everything is coming out. The only part we are saving is the foundation and some exterior walls. We are still working on the complete demo of the house but are getting close. Framing starts in 2 weeks and by then we have to be finished and that includes the roof removal...more on that to come!

Foundation Repairs 

One other piece we needed repairing before we could apply for permits was our foundation issues. We needed an all clear from an Architectural Engineer before moving forward. We discovered way back in the beginning that we had some sagging on the front and back corners of the house that needed reinforcements and the recommendation was to have helical piers installed. We needed 7 total. Seemed simple enough but this process ended up being one of those difficult moments because the situation became worse than first thought. 

These are helical piers and you add more length by 7' sections as you drill down.

Turns out, our soil is very soft that our house sits on (which apparently is uncommon for this area). There is no way to know this until you start drilling down. So what we thought was going to be a short helical pier fix turned into a major helical pier fix. The cost was wayyy more than estimated. Originally we were aiming for 21' piers and we ended up with 42' piers. Pretty much, we are tethered to the earth's core now. After that shock I decided it was best for us to have a strong and stable foundation. But boy, those are not fun surprises. It's all done now and we have moved on but if you ever need foundation repairs I would just expect it to be worse than you think it will be. No one will ever see those piers, but I know they are there and I will cherish them always.

Permits & Exterior Work

Finally it was time to apply for permits! Something we have been anticipating a long time. We heard a lot of horror stories about this process so we were a little unsure of what to expect. It's a ton of paperwork and all props go to Justin for being extremely thorough. When he went to turn them in they ended up throwing a bunch of our documents out because we overdid it, haha. Better to be over prepared! Still, somehow they misplaced a document and we had to resubmit something but it was a fairly easy and painless process. We have enjoyed all of our interactions with the town. Everyone has been helpful and kind and quick. Getting our permits approved was the biggest sigh of relief. We have the green light now to go -and it feels great. 

Porch Piers

First job to get going on was the exterior work done before framing. We have a little additional section of foundation going in, old porches coming out and piers for the new porches going in. Each step has to be inspected before you can proceed. I had no idea how many inspections take place when building a house. Not that it's a bad thing, you want things to be safe. I guess I was just naive to that fact. We are getting pretty close to this part being complete. 

Brick work has started, this was our first thing going back on the house so it was exciting to see. We had a bit of a miscommunication about the mortar color and it's actually not what I was picturing at all. But, it is what it is now. Actually, it's growing on me. The craftsmanship of the brick work is beautiful and they are doing an excellent job. I'm learning I need to be really clear when communicating design choices. Still, I think it looks awesome and I can't wait to see it all come together eventually. 

Tree Removal

To add a second story we had some really large branches hanging over the house that needed removing. We have some really amazing friends who volunteered to come out and get them down for us. It turned into a whole neighborhood event. I love our friends and neighbors. Y'all, this was nerve wracking for me. But the branches got down safely and correctly. I am forever grateful to the people who helped us with that and so glad that part is done. 


And finally, probably the most annoying part to date - our electrician. Ok, so to get the roof off of the house we need to have the electrical removed. We live in an older downtown area that still has the electrical connected from the pole to the roof. To do this, you need an electrician to set up a temporary pole/power box off of your house. Then, it has to be inspected by the town and then the town utilities will come out and reroute the power to the temp pole. (When we are done the new line will be buried so we won't have this issue in the future). Well, turns out our electrician didn't agree with the way the town wanted things done. Arguments happened and our electrician quit, came out and removed his temp pole and all. This was fun. Thankfully, the company doing the brick work has connections and found us a person who could do a temporary pole for us quickly so we could move forward. We are on a major time crunch because of our framing starting soon. Still not sure who our electrician for the whole project will be yet. We have some recommended names and are trying to find someone. Its something we don't need immediately but also something we need to get taken care of. 

Coming Up

Our temporary power was inspected and passed this morning! Yay, it's amazing when someone just does it right the first time. We had our dumpster delivered. This made me giggle because we asked them to please put it on the farthest right of the driveway and it's sitting in the middle of our yard. The rest of the siding will be coming off, the electrical and plumbing will all be pulled out and the roof is coming off. All of this should be done by May 25th - that is the day all of our lumber and our beautiful trusses and floor joists arrive and framing begins! I can't even believe it. 

Silas removing our other landscaping!

Whew, that was a lot. If you read all of these words you are next level devoted. We are so grateful for the support, help and encouragement during this whole process. It's been quite the ride already! Sometimes it all seems surreal that it is happening. I know a lot of people are curious about what is happening at the house and I do post on instagram quite frequently in my stories. I will keep blogging about it here but it may just take a little longer since we are all hands on deck right now!  I can't wait to have a big open house when it's all done. We love having people in our home. So much to look forward to!

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Our House Plans and Design

Months ago we began researching on whether or not our dream for a complete house rebuild was even an option. We started by talking to several people we know in construction and getting some feedback on options. One particular friend of ours was determined to make this whole thing happen and helped to really support and push us in the right direction. His guidance and encouragement really is what sparked us to jump all in. We are so grateful for that help.  With his guidance we found an amazing team to work with in the pre-planning stage.


At first we weren't sure which direction to go. Do we save part of the house? Can we? What kind of condition is our foundation in? (Our house was built in 1961). Should we just bulldoze it all down and start from complete scratch? We needed major help. 

Our first goal was to determine what we were working with as far as our foundation goes. We found an amazing Structural Engineer who came over to do an assessment and help us know our options. Like most older homes, we had some foundation issues but thankfully nothing that was not fixable and also something we could add a second story to. After talking with him we decided our best course of action was to move forward with trying to save our foundation and anything else that made sense. This would save us on total cost which is a top priority for us. Additionally, we really like the idea of using part of our old house for the new.

Next up was meeting our architect (part of the structural team) and letting him know our hopes and dreams. Honestly, I think we were both kind of surprised at this point that all of this was actually moving forward but after living somewhere for 11 years you know what you would like. 

Dreams - a second story, a front porch and a screen porch on the back (we love being outside), open floor plan downstairs with more space to entertain, a downstairs owners suite, fireplace, laundry room, upstairs loft area, a bedroom and bathroom just for Silas, an office for Justin and spare room for guests.  Oh- and a pantry! We have never had one. Our current house square footage is right under 1000 square feet. Its small but worked for us for a long time. We learned how to use every square inch well and hosted many many parties, meetings and all sorts of gatherings there. 

We thought a lot about adding extra square footage to the footprint on the main level - something doable. But honestly we just didn't see the need for it. We've lived in a small space for so long - this was going to feel huge for us. We have a small section of foundation being added at the front of the house but that was it. And with the right design - your space can really work well for you.

Literally blown away the first time I saw this!

I was honestly skeptical of what could actually be accomplished and what I had kind of pictured in my head ended up being nothing what was presented to us - and I'm so glad because they gave us something even better. We are absolutely in love with our floor plans.  Somehow they turned that little house into a beautiful thoughtful space with every single item on our wishlist. They also captured our exterior exactly the way we wanted, even though I don't think we even said what we exactly wanted, lol. I'm pretty sure I said- I like old houses and big porches. That was the only thing I gave him.

I absolutely loved the design process of this project. Our engineer and architect were amazing, listened well and delivered a beautiful product. I cannot wait to see this come together in real life. 

Once we settled on our final plans it was time to get a loan and get to work on figuring out the best way to repair our foundation. It feels like we have been in the planing stage forever but we want to get this part right. It's important our plans are done well, our foundation is correct and all of our permitting is in order. So in the meantime, I dream of our new home that's waiting to be built. 

More on the process of becoming our own General Contractors next! Some of you have already reached out and said this was something you are considering. This was a hard decision but one we are happy about! I'l try and give some info on how that works here in NC, so stay tuned! 

So much of this has been surreal. We have always been thankful for the little home God provided for us 11 years ago. To have a safe and cozy place for us to learn how to be hospitable and use what we were given well. We pray this new space will be the same. We want our home to be a place always where people feel welcomed and loved. A place for laughter and tears and for God's word to be shared and enjoyed. Good meals and gatherings, celebrations and prayer. Expectant for what comes next.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

A New Begining

I started this blog 11 years ago. Silas had just been born and my life felt so different. We had bought a house that needed a lot of TLC and I was looking for a creative outlet while I adjusted to being a stay at home mom.  So this space was created as a way for me to document our new little journey as a family of 3. 

Fast forward and here I sit with another turn of seasons. We are currently in a temporary home, we started a new church a year ago, I opened a shop selling my handmade jewelry and goods and Silas is about to be a middle schooler. Sometimes I feel like I have blinked and other days it seems like the days have crept along. Life is so amazing that way.

Since we are embarking on a major home renovation I felt like this was a really great moment to open this space back up and document this crazy journey of rebuilding a house. Honestly, If I'm the only one who looks at this blog anymore I'm good with that. I want to remember this season and celebrate the good things that are currently taking place. It's a very full year for us and at times overwhelming. There are so many decisions being made daily, things are moving more slowly than expected and we are learning so much about what it takes to get through a major remodel together.

I'll be sharing more specific things about our home remodel soon. Honestly, it's hard to even know where to start. I'll begin by saying this project is not typical. It's been a slow plan, one step at a time thing for us. We have had some great, more educated people help us with the pre-planning phase. We had an amazing lender who worked through the best financing for our budget. And, we have had so many talented people in the construction world come alongside of us to get this house built. We are seriously humbled by the support and help offered our way, even in the early stages. 

Most people will think we are crazy. But I think we are used to that by now. I feel like we haven't always gone by the book in life. We love an adventure and this feels like a big one. So without any more intro: Here is a little overview of where we are right now with our house plans-

Our little old house (which we truly love so much) was really in need of some major repairs. We prayed and talked through the best approach for handling the situation. What we came to, was realizing that this was a great moment for us to go all in. We could spend a lot of money patching and repairing. Or we could just take it down to the foundation and build something that would be a good place for our family to grow in for the years to come. This is our home and we love our neighborhood - and let's face it...where are we going to find anything we can afford right now in the Triangle area?  So we began the search for someone who could design something that fits our needs, wants and budget. And wow, were we blown away at the creativity and beautiful plans they came up with!

Our architect and structural Engineer really worked with us to give us a house that used the footprint we already had really well. Everything we asked for they managed to make happen. I would strongly recommend them to anyone in the area looking at home renovations or new builds.

When we settled on the final designs we got all approved for our loan, moved out and began the demo work.

After talking with several General Contractors we came to the conclusion that we were going to do this ourselves. Justin is the GC for our house project. Crazy, we know. But also, not for us. It puts a lot of the decisions in our hands and gives us total freedom on how to do the work.  We can use our own subcontractors and choose which parts of the project to do ourselves to save money. It's taking a little bit longer to go this route but for us it's worth it. How cool is it going to be when we move in and know we did this ourselves? 

The plan for our house is to take it pretty much down to the foundation (save a few exterior walls) and build it back up. We are keeping the exact footprint - with a small extra foundation being added to the front and also adding a second floor. All of the current electric, plumbing and hvac are being removed and completely redone and the current floorpan is completely refigured. Where you see the eat in kitchen area below...that will be our laundry/mud room.  Silas' bedroom and our living room is now our Primary bedroom suite and the kitchen is being moved to where our old bedroom, laundry and spare room was. It's completely different and brand new.

So many people ask us what our timeline is....y'all I wish I had an answer. Right now we are trying to do it as quickly as we can. We have to wait for subcontractor availability, things like windows are taking a long time to get. It's all dependent on so many factors. But...we do know it will be done and it will be amazing.

We took those first few pics of us in our house right before we moved out. Literally we had boxes all over the place the other side of the camera. We saved that little space to grab our last moments together in our home. There are so many memories we will cherish. And it's also weird bc our house is still going to be our house - just different? So, it's bittersweet but exciting and all the feelings.

Below is the most current picture of the house. It's almost gutted. Justin does this in his spare time, weekends, nights, etc. In a couple of weeks we have an abatement company coming to remove our lovely asbestos we discovered and then it's go time. Foundation repairs, foundation extension, roof's going to get crazy.

Because starting a new home Reno isn't enough I also had the opportunity to start a new business and open up my own little shop in Cary. This was also a crazy whirlwind of events but it truly has been a blessing for us so far. Remodeled has evolved and become something so sweet for me. Now, it's taking on a new adventure as making a brand for itself. 

Sources (Affiliate Links): Gold Sconce Lights
Table is from Hobby Lobby

My space is in the Painted Tree Boutiques in Crossroads. You can find lots of unique handmade jewelry, tees and hats designed by me and hopefully even more fun things soon.  The whole store is a beautiful way to support local small businesses. I'm so thankful for the support already given. It was kind of scary to do something new and put myself out there. It's one thing to sell on Etsy or at a weekend event..but this is more permanent. It was a major commitment and honestly a dream come true for me. I'm so glad I took the leap and went for it. When I was a kid one of my favorite things to "play" was store. I would completely redo one of the rooms in our house into my own store and make my parents come and buy things from me - haha. Am I the only one?

Something I have noticed - just from taking the time to sit and think through our current life station and write a few things down is how much more appreciative and thankful I am. It's so important to take the time to pause and be thankful. We can so easily get caught up in the daily decisions, current news events or disappointments of the day. It's so essential to stop and see what God is doing around you. If you are feeling overwhelmed I encourage you to take some time and write a few things down. To pray over the specific situations bringing you anxiety and to share your story with others. God is in the details of our life, let's not forget that.

PS- As I am opening this blog back up I have been updating some of the pages here. Our House Tour page is updated with how our house looked right before we left and what we had completed in each space. It's funny now because it's all gone - but I wanted to remember it how it was and how sweet those spaces were for us. As always, thanks fo much for taking the time to stop by and spend a moment with me. I am truly grateful! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

New Spring/Summer Collection!

You guys! The new Spring/Summer collection is here! I have been so excited to finally get all of these new goodies launched and ready for you.  I have a new set of lightweight necklaces, new leather earring textures, colors and some new acrylic and leather earrings that are a favorite of mine. Everything will be dropping today starting this afternoon and into the evening (April 23rd).  Here is a little sneak peek of some of the new items available later today!

New Lightweight Necklaces -

Necklace details - super lightweight! Made with fabric, wooden beads and vintage beads. These are so light and comfy! Also each one is fully adjustable and easy to throw on over any outfit.  You can dress these up or down, great with tees or a dress!!  Bonus - they are super durable and can be tugged on.  I have been loving wearing these and I can't wait for you to try them out too!

Available in single strand, double strand, chunky, bold, slim, colorful and neutral! 

New Earrings - 

Earring details - So many pretty colors and shapes coming your way in leather! Classic teardrops in large and small, Oval, Arrow and Mod Circles.  Earrings are genuine leather and always lightweight and easy to wear. Also new is a leather/acrylic earring that I am in love with!  Equally as lightweight and on trend for spring and summer.  I have a limited quantity right now with these!

So many earrings pair with the new necklaces too! 

I need to say a big thank you to all of these beautiful models! They made everything look so good and I had the best time shooting everything with them! 

To shop my Etsy shop you can click here.  Or click the icon on the sidebar!

 Don't forget you can sign up for my newsletter to get 15% off your next order! Here.

Also, Tees are up and ready! They will be available until May 20th! You can shop tees here.

Thanks to everyone for all of the support along the way on this journey! 
Love and appreciate all of you!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Start Spending Daily Time in God's Word

Last year was a real eye opener for me when it came to my private and personal time with God.  Something I realized I needed in my life was discipline...especially in my spiritual walk.  What I mean by that is real structure, real goals, a plan if you will on how I needed to prioritize my day.  God was really implanting the idea and desire for spiritual discipline and I began to seek after what that looked like for me.  I have to be quite honest here and say that I am still a work in progress, I still have a far way to go but I have seen the fruit and good work God has done in my heart and life this past year or so when I got more serious about spiritual discipline.

Today I want to talk about reading God's word.  If there is one thing that I have heard over and over again from being in ministry with Justin is that people desire to know God more.  They want to feel connected to Him and have a thriving relationship with Jesus. Yet over and over when asked if they spend time reading scripture the answer is usually "no" or, "when I have time".  Let me pause and raise my hand here too.  There have been plenty of times in my life where I have found myself here.  Friends, if we desire a personal and intimate relationship with the creator of the universe....we need to spend time with Him and that means more than attending a service on Sunday (and I am a huge proponent of being involved in a local church).  We need to read His word.  Reading the Bible and knowing His truth is everything for your walk with Jesus.  It will awaken your soul to God working around you and even make that Sunday morning ritual become an actual act of Sabbath worship for Jesus.

So...where do you begin?  Where does someone who has mismanaged their time and mixed up their priorities start?  We don't just start something new on our own and hope it sticks.  That never works.  We can't just try harder - it takes faith.  Faith in action. When God presses something down on your heart - you move and He guides.  He convicts and you act. He changes and softens your heart and you bend toward Him.  The biggest lesson I have learned in all of this is that its not perfection but its progress.  God's calling us towards Him everyday but we will never hear it unless we listen to Him...and how we listen is by reading what He has already written for us to hear.

In my journey towards discipline I realized that God had already gone before me, was pressing on my heart and I needed to take action.  I didn't need to become a biblical scholar overnight but I just needed to start.  So here is my plea to you today...just start.  Begin. One of the best resources I have found in cultivating a daily discipline for seeking God is a book called Hello Mornings.  In her book Kat Lee lays out the simplest plan for living a life focused on Jesus.  She asks you to just start with 3 minutes a day.  Now before you balk at the idea and think how little faith that 3 minutes a day seems to sound, please ask yourself the tough question...Did you spend at least 3 minutes each and everyday last year reading scripture?  Every day.  Not skipping.  Not being too busy to stop.  Wouldn't you want to answer yes?  Yes! I was someone who stopped and met with God every single day last year.  Every single day for the last 2 years, 5, 10? I believe I would rather say I was someone who met with God every day for 3 minutes than someone who planned lofty goals, didn't reach them and quit.  We all have to start somewhere and I believe God knows that.  The beautiful thing though is that once you begin, once you start, you will start to notice God working around you.  You will remember things you read about God and that will affect how you respond during your day.  You will fall in love with spending time with your Savior.  Your relationship with God will flourish because He is growing your desire to spend time with Him daily.

God loves to start new things (2 Corinthians 5:17). I believe He wants to start something new in you today.  Pause, stop, be still before Him today and begin.  He has already gone before you (Proverbs 16:9). He has promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  His word promises to be alive and ready to lead and guide you wherever He needs you to go (Hebrews 4:12).  He is already there, join Him today (John 5:17, Philippians 4:19) .

Its hard to even stop and begin to write what this has meant for my life this past year.  It doesn't mean that its been an easy year...but its been fruitful and abundant.  I'm learning more about God than ever before, He is drawing me to his side and there is no place I would rather be.  I am praying for you today.  If you need anyone to help and talk to about your spiritual walk please contact me.  I would love to help encourage you along your way.

Coming up I want to share some practical resources for applying spiritual discipline into your life.  Things that have helped me or others.  So stay tuned for some helpful tools!

Go and begin!