Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

July 23, 2012

Our Two Week Reno + The Huffington Post Feature

Pinch me.  I was interviewed by telephone for the Huffington Post's Stylist Home section last week!  Click here to read the story but, before you do, I just wanted to clarify a thing or two.  Michelle Manetti wrote a fabulously flattering piece that totally made me blush!  But I think I might not have been clear explaining a couple of things. 


Our two week timeline:

I think I made it sound like our whole townhouse went from ugly to pretty in two weeks.  What I meant was, we made it livable it two weeks.

When we bought the townhouse, it was hideous (you can see the before pics in the townhouse tour).  Hubby had two weeks off from work and, with the help of my parents, grandpa and Hubby's dad, we set about making the townhouse livable.  It's in this two week period that we did the biggest projects: ripping up carpet and installing hardwood floors, painting the main floor and upstairs, re-doing the main bath, etc.  BUT, after two weeks the space still looked pretty dismal:

Our bedroom had nothing but new hardwoord floors, fresh paint and our bed and nightstands.  


The guest bedroom had no furniture yet (we bought that later), except an armoire and pieces of the guest half bath.


Our main bathroom had a lovely new tub, tiling, vinyl floors and vanity but no marble counter-top, sink, mirror, etc., yet.


The guest bath had nothing yet.  Sorry for the blurry pic!


The office had curtains, new flooring and paint.  My desk (with a crappy desk chair) and expedit were set up so I could get to work.


The dining room was a storage room.  You can kind of see me (by the stove) unpacking and my dad installing a light fixture in the kitchen.


Why the kitchen wasn't gutted:

I don't think I was clear in the article that two weeks was just for the bare bones issues.  So we could move in and, you know, flush the main bath toilet (old owners couldn't) and take a bath without barfing.  We didn't tackle the kitchen until the following year and it was money, not time, that prevented a full gut.  There's only so much money you can put into a small townhouse and see a good return on the investment when it comes time to sell.  And we only had so much money to funnel into this home.  A realtor agreed that a full gut wouldn't raise the price enough to make it worth it - we would have out priced the market and not gotten our investment back.  So our patented spit and polish (re-finished cupboards, new counters, sink and herringbone backsplash) was on the menu.

Here's what we lived with for a while (I used stick-on tiles to hide the ugliest ones):



When we called in the pros:

We did almost all of the the work ourselves, with our families lending a hand.  But the bath tub we left to pros.  We imagined sending the bathtub crashing down the stairs during removal or accidentally building a new tub on a weak sub floor.  Because I splurged on a deep, soaker tub, getting the pros was especially important to make sure the floor could hold the added weight of the water (the thing is deep).



But the vanity, vinyl flooring, etc., was all DIY.  As was every other single thing in the house.




You can see in the photos just how much more work came after that initial renovation.  And, as Michelle says, we're still tweaking, framing walls and dry-walling (in the laundry room), and decorating.   So, check out the article here and, please, please, please, take a look at the "after" photos here so these images aren't burned in your brain.  I hate sharing ugly pics!
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28 comments

  1. Wow Tanya!! What an honor! I hadn't seen the before pictures. You and hubby should be very proud. Congratulations!

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    1. Thanks Jamie! The befores were bad. The in progresses only slightly less so. It was definitely a lot of blood and sweat that got us here. But I'm waiting for an opportunity to start the process all over again. Hopefully we can move in the next couple of years.

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  2. Congrats on being interviewed! That's fantastic.

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    1. Thanks E! Hope I didn't scare you from visiting with the "in progress" shots of the guest room. It's all pretty and done now, with a little toilet room (with toilet) and everything!

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    2. Oh no - I love that guest room. I plan on wheeling out the treadmill at some point. You'll walk by one morning to ask if I want a bagel and I'll be gettin' my cardio on. You'll have to check to make sure all your Lotte lights are still in the house though ;)

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    3. Ha ha! Getting the treadmill out is cardio in and of itself! Everyone lusts for the lotte. You can still buy them, you know. With the fiberglass shades and all.

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  4. Congratulations on the interview, love your follow up! I feel like awful before/during pictures make the after shots that much more appreciable.

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    1. It's true: bad befores make my "afters" seem that much more magical! "The toilets flush, hurrah, best makeover ever"! Lol.

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  5. Gratulálok Tanya, tényleg gyönyörű a házatok! P.S. A tapéta letépős kép vicces. Látom, nagy volt a lendület közben :))

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  6. I saw you on the huffington post...and clicked over and was like hey! i know this blog! SO exciting for you! congrats! :)

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    1. Oh, you just can't escape from Dans le Townhouse! Happy to see you around again :) And thanks for the kind words.

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  7. Congratulations on the interview! You two have really made some beautiful changes to the townhouse.

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    1. Thanks Dana! You've been reading long enough to see so much of the changes unfold.

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  8. Great feature - very brave to put yourself out there. Those comments on those sites can be brutal. I loved reading about all your changes. It's a fab transformation. xx

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    1. Eeek, really? I hadn't even thought of negative comments! Well, they can bring it because I love the townhouse now. Even though I'd be happy to start all over because I have so many fresh, new ideas . . .

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  9. Wooohooo! Also nice feature at better after today too!! I was like oh I know her I know her!!!

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    1. Awww, thanks!! Your positivity is awesome. I appreciate your sweet words.

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  10. This is so exciting Tanya!! Big congratulations to you!! What you've done as all been gorgeous transformations!

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  11. This is super exciting hun! Congrats :) We are super happy for you!! You guys made such beautiful changes to your home. It can only get better from here!! Congrats again, WOOOOOOT!

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  12. Congratulations! It's wonderful to see your terrific blog getting some well deserved recognition.

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  13. It looks aaaaammmmazing!!! Really great job! I do have to add...I would use wood filled that is stainable and fill the holes where the kitchen hardware is. (In the center) and move it to the corner "proper" location!!

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    1. Thanks!

      Ooo, our neighbours did that (we all have the handles in the exact same location in this neighborhood) and it looks terrible. Our cabinets aren't stained, just varnished, so a match is unlikely. Plus, we like them where they are! We've gotten used to them and I love them centred because it soothes my OCD mind that likes things nice and centered.

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  14. Great feature Tanya! You've done of work and it shows. Your home seems so much brighter, lighter, and happier now.

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  15. Wow, congrats on such an awesome feature! You have really come a long way and done some amazing work.

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  16. Yeah for HuffPo!

    Shame on the people who left comments...this is the downside to sharing your world with the world...a lot of critics! Everyone seems to think their opinion is actually worth a dime...when, really...come on

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