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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten

The Prettying Has Begun

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

Phew! It's been a while since I wrote a post. We've been busy, working 6 days a week, starting as soon as we eat breakfast every morning. For the first five or six weeks, we'd work until the sun got low, at which point the temperature would plummet quickly, sending us back to the RV for warmth. Now, we work until we're ready for supper, or finish up what we're doing, or until it gets too dark to work. We still only have one light in the house, and one portable shop light.


Before we started, Abe and I agreed that, no matter what, we would take the Sabbath off. We knew that if we didn't make ourselves take a day off every week, we'd go until we were burned out and miserable. The first couple weeks, it was hard to stop. We were doing demolition, and who doesn't like tearing stuff apart? But we quickly learned that our day to rest is a life saver, and by Friday, we're exhausted and more than ready for a break, even though we're both loving what we're doing. Thank you, God, for giving us a day off!


Demolition is done. We've finished what came undone, like finishing a wall that only had the frame and hanging sheetrock in the garage and laundry room, and we've rebuilt what we tore apart, other than the kitchen and bathroom because they have to wait for the floors to be done before we install cabinets and the toilet, and now we're finally starting to make it pretty.





We had a water leak somewhere under the house, so we hired a plumber to help find and fix it. He was helpful, and we'll use him in the future if we need him, but he had some health issues and some emergency jobs for other people that came up so he wasn't able to work on our house as quickly as we were hoping, so Abe did most of the work himself. We were originally going to run a few lines, but keep the original copper pipes for hot water, but Abe soon figured out that it was easier to replace everything with Pex than mess with fittings on the copper pipes, so he ended up replumbing the whole house, other than what the plumber had already done. We also realized when we saw the original cloth covered wires under the house from 1953, when the house was built, that it needed to be completely rewired, so we hired Felix, a local electrician, to do that for us. Abe can do almost everything, but even he has his limits.


I have been amazed at the quality of the original house, the high quality hardwood used, level floors, and perfectly square corners, even afterall these years. And I've been dumbfounded at some of the work that's been done over the years. If we'd known that we'd have to replace several floor joists, we wouldn't have bought this house. Fortunately, we learned that floor joists aren't that difficult to replace! As long as you have a strong man, and it helped that we had some huge holes in the floor where we had to tear out rotten wood. We were able to slide the new joists through the holes to get them where they needed to be. Four joists had to be replaced because they were rotten. The other four were more shocking. Three that were next to each other had two foot sections cut out to make room for two different furnaces that were in the crawl space, and one had been cut to make room for plumbing - right next to the cast iron bathtub! It's a miracle the tub didn't fall straight through the floor when it was full of water. Not only was one cut right next to it, but the other two joists under it were ones that had been cut not ten feet away for the furnaces! The good news is that the floor in the hallway, where the two furnaces were, no longer feels like a saggy trampoline.


I'm almost finished with the kitchen cupboards, and I am so happy with how they're turning out! We couldn't bring ourselves to tear out the 70 year old solid wood cupboards, but they had 70 years worth of build-up on them, especially over the stove, so I spent a few days sanding, and today I got to apply the first coat of polyurethane. Tomorrow, I should be able to sand them again and apply the second coat. I couldn't be happier with how they turned out! They're going to look wonderful above the brand new gray cabinets. This is the first step of the prettying.


Next week we begin taping the sheetrock, after that we'll paint, next we'll tile the bathroom and kitchen backsplash, then we'll do the floors and trim, and finally we'll bring in the new everything for the kitchen and bathroom (except for the cast iron bathtub that I'll clean up, and refinish if I need to). After that, we can paint the outside of the house and do landscaping. Lots, and lots of landscaping because there's about a quarter acre that is completely overgrown with greenbriers, small trees, and other weeds.


The kitchen came with a VERY old (probably from 1953) cabinet height water heater that had to be replaced. We were going to move it from the kitchen into the cinder block laundry room, but that ended up being near impossible because of the cinder block, so we decided to replace it with another cabinet height heater in the kitchen, which we weren't thrilled about because there was little cabinet space in the kitchen to begin with, and we really didn't want to use the space of two cabinets for a water heater. Thankfully, Abe figured out that we had plenty of room in the dining room to build a closet for the water heater, which he finished up this week. We now have a water heater closet with extra space to use as a broom closet or whatever the new owners want to use it for. And the electric panel is in the closet, which is a bonus. Instead of losing storage space, we got more!

Bobby, one of the owners of the local hardware store, Swinnie's Hardware, has been helping us design the cabinets. Going through Swinnie's is only slightly more expensive than using one of the large hardware stores, and this way not only do we get custom cabinets built just for our space, but they're solid wood instead of the usual particle board, and they come with high quality, soft-close hardware. He stopped by to go over everything, and we discovered a small problem. The beautiful wood cupboards that we are so happy to keep were only 14 inches above the stovetop, and we still needed to add a vent under them. At first, we were going to cut off the bottom third of the cupboards, hoping that it turned out good and knowing that it was going to be a LOT of work, but then Abe figured it out. We just needed an entire kitchen redesign! Bobby had already convinced us to scrap our idea of a tall cabinet with a built-in microwave in the back corner and a peninsula in the middle of the back wall, and instead just do a wall of lower cabinets. It would not only be less expensive, but it would keep the kitchen more open. Now Abe realized that we could move the stove to the opposite wall, where we were originally going to have the peninsula. Felix was almost done rewiring, but not quite. There were holes in the wall for outlet boxes, so Abe cut new holes, moved the wires above the future cabinets, and got under the house to move the wire for the 30 amp stove outlet from the original spot to one of the lower outlet holes. Abe found a stainless steel vent to go on the wall over the stove, and just like that, our kitchen went from nice to incredible! I can't wait until it's all done so I can share our vision in pictures, because it's hard to describe it accurately in words. I love that we've gone from barely enough cabinet space to function, to two full walls of cabinets, minus the refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove. And if they need more storage space, the laundry room is nearly a full size room, so the new owners can add a ton of storage there.


The weather here is starting to warm up, getting into the 80s some days, although there are still days in the 50s. And the cinder block house stays really cool even when it's warm, especially now that we replaced all twenty three (you read that right) windows. The Carolina room alone had ten windows. Thankfully, we installed a Mr. Cool mini split heater and air conditioner. The old ducts under the house had to be removed, both because they took up so much room that it was impossible to work around them, and because they were full of rusted out holes. Instead of a traditional HVAC system, we went with the mini splits, which require no ducts, keeping the crawl space clear and easier to work in. And they are amazing! Abe thought they were broke at first when he turned them on because they were so quiet. And the two main bedrooms (it's technically a three bedroom house, but the third is more functional as an extra living area) have their own units and thermostats, plus there's a unit in the front of the house and another in the back. It's incredibly efficient, AND cost us less than a traditional HVAC, especially since we needed all new ducts. I am 100% sold on mini splits.


I know the general rule with flips is to make them appeal to the masses, but there were things in this house that neither Abe nor I could bring ourselves to get rid of, including the kitchen cupboards (the cabinets on the bottom are all being replaced), the old doorbell on the wall (even though it doesn't work), and the wooden valances over the dining room and living room windows (they'll be easy to remove if the new owners don't like them). I love the touches of history that we're leaving, and I hope the new owners do, too. We know that God already knows who the house is meant for, and we're praying that we make it perfect for them. I know we're making it something we love. Every time we walk in the front door, we see what it's going to be when we're finished - and it's going to be the nicest house I've ever owned.


Abe is a little bothered when he goes to buy supplies and is asked, "Is it for your house or for a flip?" He takes that as, "Do you want it done right or cheap?" and we want it done right, even though it's a flip. We're putting our faith to work in this house, and we're trying really hard to make everything the same quality that we would want. We are taking seriously the command to work as if we are working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23-24) and, although I know we can never make any house worthy of the King of kings, we are doing our best and trusting that God will take care of the financial part. Plus, I want people to learn that when they see our names as the sellers of a house, they will be happy with the workmanship. That's one of the benefits of doing almost all the work ourselves - we are in full control of how well it's done.

We're pretty sure our next flip will be in Andrews, or at least nearby. Neither of us feels like we're done here. God brought us here for a reason and we still don't know what that reason is, but we're still looking forward to finding out.

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jacksanders3831
04 mar 2022

Love what your doing great job . You’ll get everything you put in it no worries. Prayers for a beautiful place.

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