Help! I Wrecked My House S2E7June 10 2022
Kadie and Bryan Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 7
Here’s the story of Kadie and Bryan’s home: before they met and got married, Kadie had her own apartment that she renovated herself (she even updated the bathroom). She did an amazing job and became obsessed with DIY projects. This woman knows her way around a table saw, so she’s pretty handy. So then she meets Bryan, they get married, and she talks him into buying this house. He doesn’t really love it, but she convinces him he will if they do all the necessary updates it needs. Bryan obliges, but then they start having kids. Next thing you know, they have three kids under the age of four and the to-do list is a mile long. Plus, anything they tried to update in the meantime was really a temporary bandaid – the tile flooring they installed they ended up hating and ripping out, they had a hole in their wall where they tried to demo the fireplace, their kitchen island was installed poorly, their stair rail was basically a piece of glorified plastic with zip ties – the list goes on. They began to look around and realize that nothing was safe for their kids, and nothing was how they liked it. Kadie, the one who fought for this house initially, was ready to move. They were tired and not even remotely close to feeling like this was their forever home.
We had 5 weeks to make this home safe, functional, and something this family was proud of. I needed to fix the fireplace, replace the flooring on the main floor, update the staircase railing, and find a way to unite the first and second story (the architecture in this house exposes the second story of the home right when you walk in the front door). We also needed to address some serious black mold in the kitchen and reconfigure the flow of the space without really changing the floor plan. Kadie also had an extensive collection of artwork made by her grandfather, so I wanted to find a way to incorporate that into the home’s design in a special way.
The Living Room
There were a lot of things going on in this living room when I first stepped inside the house. With the home’s existing architecture you can see the second story when you walk in the house, but the makeshift (and unsafe) railing made it more of an eyesore than a feature. And speaking of eyesores, Bryan and Kadie tried to tackle the fireplace themselves, but stopped before they got very far. The single brick line extending all the way up to the ceiling was puzzling to them (and me!). They’d also started to rip up the tile flooring on the first floor because they couldn’t stand it anymore. So we replaced all the flooring with an all new luxury vinyl plank flooring. This material will not only look great over time, but it will hold up to the traffic of kids and life. We also installed a custom bookcase on the back wall and ran it the entire length of the wall. New paint, new trim and a new custom stair railing were also on the list for this space.
Kadie’s collection of artwork made by her grandfather was very special to the family, so I wanted to make it a focal point in this room. Instead of spending money to remove the fireplace brick that goes all the way up the ceiling, I decided to drywall over the whole thing. That meant padding out the walls on either side to create one smooth surface for displaying art. The only place in the wall that was inset was the place where we installed their TV. And since Kadie and Bryan had started this fireplace together, I wanted them to finish it with me so they could have a project in this home that they were able to complete from start to finish. Kadie got to flex her DIY skills and use the tile saw, and Bryan also helped to install this fun tile on the hearth ($300). For the gallery wall above, I had Julio and Scott help me map out the placement of each art piece by hanging paper templates of each artwork – a go-to trick of mine. We installed gallery wall lights above ($950) to make this wall feel really finished. Overall the fireplace project cost $5,000.
This might look like another piece of art, but it’s actually a TV! We were able to put this screen saver image on it to make it look like art.
Special Project: Custom Bookcase Wall
I knew whatever we did on this wall – both upstairs and downstairs – needed to be cool. When you first walk into this house, this is what you see, so the wall needed to make a statement and it needed to look awesome. I had my carpenter Miguel come in and help me figure out this two-story bookcase wall so the two visible stories would feel cohesive and functional. We also wanted these bookcases to complement the existing architecture in the home. I had never installed bookcases this big before, but I was up for the challenge! They add so much character and charm to the home while also providing that super important feature every home needs: storage. All in all, this custom bookcase wall cost $4,500.
One of the biggest pain points for this home was how dangerous the stairwell was for Kadie and Bryan’s three children. Since this home was built in 1970, the code for balusters back then was that they be 6 inches apart. Nowadays the code is 4 inches – any little one could slip through a 6-inch gap like the ones here in the existing railing. Installing this custom glass railing made all the difference… more on that in a minute.
Upstairs, the railing is now a safe height for the kids, and we even integrated desks into the bookshelves. I love a good desk opportunity for kids – I have a fun DIY for one here.
Special Project: Custom Glass Stair Rail
Kadie came and helped me remove the old, dangerous stair railing so we could replace it with something that was to code and also beautiful. We chose a custom glass railing with a wood top. The wood top also ties in nicely with other elements of the first floor’s design. Now the stairs look clean, safe, and really bring home that Mid-Century Modern vibe. Custom railing: $14,000.
One of the problems with the kitchen and dining space was the flow. It also felt like Bryan and Kadie had a pretty large home, but their kitchen felt like it was small in comparison and tucked in the corner. There were only so many options for me with the existing floor plan of the kitchen, but what I could do was make that floor plan work better for this family. We replaced the sliding glass door with a window, giving us the ability to double the square footage of the kitchen by running cabinetry along that whole wall. We also rerouted the plumbing so we could move the sink under that new window (that cost $7,500 to run a new sewer line, which was much needed for this project but shows you that it isn’t a super easy or cheap thing to move a sink). The kitchen island they had before was a poorly installed hand-me-down – it had electrical in it and it wasn’t bolted to the floor properly, yikes! Also, the 200-pound granite slab on top of the island wasn’t glued down. The whole thing had to go.
Special Project: Custom Banquette
Before, it felt like you had to walk through the dining room to get to anything else in the house because the dining table was in the middle of the room. To open up the pathway between the kitchen and the living room, we installed a custom banquette for seating. This moves the dining area closer to the wall, but makes it feel intentional at the same time.
The corner where the sink used to be had a decent amount of black mold from water damage and splashing, but nothing that would break the budget. We removed the old cabinetry and installed all new custom made V groove paneled cabinets. We also removed the existing window where the sink used to be and installed a new door to the backyard. To keep the flow functional in this kitchen, we did not add an island back in – it just didn’t make sense for the space. So instead we installed a whole wall’s length of porcelain countertops printed to look like marble, so there is plenty of prep space. This beautiful material came from my buddy Dale at Marble Yard. We also added a new gas stove under a custom hood vent and kept the refrigerator where it was.
We ran the same material as the countertops up the wall as the backsplash – this is called “self splash.” This is always a guaranteed clean and modern look. The porcelain material cost $3,800.
Storage, storage and more storage. It’s wild to think that there used to be a sliding glass door where this new cabinetry is.
Special Project: Family Message Center
Kadie is a stay-at-home mom, and the way she organizes everyone’s lives is with a huge calendar board. It used to be on the wall in the dining room but I wanted to incorporate it into a message center in a part of the kitchen that was not being used. For this project I called in my custom carpenter, Edgar, to help me create a message center that disguised a bit of an eyesore on the first floor. The structural post at the base of the stairs you’ve seen in photos throughout this sourcebook just so happens to be holding up the second story of the house, so we couldn’t move it or remove it. So instead I had Edgar build this beautiful custom cabinet around the post. He used a white oak wood that he stained so it tied in with the custom stair rail. Now Kadie has an organized place to manage the family’s schedules, and it feels cohesive and integrated with the rest of the home’s design. All in all, this custom message center cabinet cost $1,800.
The total budget for this kitchen was $50,000.
This bathroom needed some serious TLC. The vanity looked like it was 15 years old, but it was really only 3 years old. Because the vanity was installed without a proper barrier from the shower, it had extensive water damage on it. We removed the old vanity and the parts of the wall with the mold on it behind it. I also wanted to make sure the new vanity didn’t fall apart, so we opted for one that was lifted off the ground. This leaves less places for water to become trapped. We chose a fun wall tile to keep the moisture under control while also bringing a playful Mid-Century Modern feel to the bathroom. Bathroom total: $3,600.
I’m so grateful that we were able to make this home safe and functional for Bryan, Kadie and their three kids while also staying right on budget.
A very special shout-out to Found Rental Co. for helping us style this home, from the furniture to the decor and everything in between!
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