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Renovating Indiana house

The Indiana Project is a 1,600 square foot home built in the 1920’s in Sarah’s sweet North Carolina town of Southern Pines. This historic renovation took a full 8 months to complete, and got its start in January of 2013. Here on the blog, Sarah recounted the demolition, the woes of construction limitations and bureaucracy, the agony of lighting choices, and the decision, nope re-decision – nah… deciding again over the exterior paint color.

The story of the Indiana House unfolds before us in the chronology of blog posts below.

Indiana Project: Mission Accomplished

Last week the deck was completed. Let’s review again…


Rear Exterior


New deck

deck railing

As you can already tell the windows are in too.

kitchen windows

new windows front exterior

I hope to receive sign off on the rough in inspection this week, that would mean clearance to begin hanging drywall and really begin making the magic happen on the interior. I should be able to make the call to the inspector on Wednesday requesting the inspection. Thats my goal.

We’ve come a long way but still have quite a ways to go at the Indiana project.


Indiana Project: Out of the dog house

This week at the Indiana project its all about the exterior.

Repairing those cedar shakes…

silver & gold

shakes repaired2

The carpenters named that unsightly shelter that once housed the steps to the cellar door the “dog house”.

Well its gone now, the cellar door was removed and the hole sealed and dirt filled in to the cement hole.  I am so glad that thing is gone, I hated it and it was sort of inhibiting me from seeing progress.

Dog house

Dog house trashing the view, well actually the dog house isn’t the only negative in this image

Dog house gone

Dog house gone

The underground oil tank was pumped out last week and my Dad dug it up with his backhoe. He had tons of fun doing that. I think its therapeutic for him. The tank was about 6 feet long and 45 inches in diameter. It should go to the salvage yard soon.

oil tank 2

The rain drove the carpenters inside for part of the week. While inside they removed some original flooring from the master bath and other areas of the house to patch the reading nook upstairs, the master bedroom and the closet in the master bedroom.

By reusing the original wood we hope to save money in material and we like reusing materials original to the house.  We will not however, save any cash in the labor department.

Pine floor upstairs hall

New pine flooring

The floors are oak downstairs and yellow pine upstairs.  I’ve noticed in other remodels of homes built before 1940, that the more expensive wood was used in areas where guests were more likely to see it–oak being the more expensive of the two in this case.

As a side note, oak holds up a lot better to doggie toenails than the pine floors I’ve lived with in the past.

Looking forward to window installation possibly next week?!?


Indiana Project: Exterior Repair

Checking in with the Indiana project…really I don’t check in, I should actually pitch a tent out back because I’m there so much.

Front exterior 2/20

This week there are different sub-contractors running all over the house.  The HVAC will be roughed in and should be complete by the end of the week. This was a significant unforeseen expense. The house has an existing oil furnace and we are changing it over to natural gas, this required all new equipment.  We knew that we had to extend central a/c to the upstairs but we had no idea that we would upgrade the entire system and switch fuel types. This was a blow to the budget and we had to make some adjustments.


Plumbers will begin their work this week.  The plumbing rough-in is expected to be complete by the end of this week. I spent most of last Friday afternoon learning about drop-in acrylic tubs and doing some price comparison.

Electrical rough-in is almost complete, the absence of a concrete kitchen plan has delayed the electrician’s work.

Kitchen windows

The windows were measured last week. The window installation is now 3-4 weeks away, this will result in the largest delay in the project thus far. I cannot move on to the next level until the entire rough-in and framing are inspected and the house cannot be inspected unless the new windows are in.

Left side exterior

This week the carpenter will continue to repair the exterior. Some of the shakes needed to be replaced or added where windows were deleted. When the vinyl siding was installed all of the molding around the windows was trimmed down and the original wood brackets were also cut.  All of those are being repaired to look as they did when the house was built.

window trim cut


Indiana Project: Unmasking

In the last couple of days the vinyl siding was stripped away entirely. Vinyl was stripped from the soffits to reveal exposed rafter tails. The cedar shakes can see the light of day again.  We found the receipt for the siding job in the house. The vinyl siding was applied in 1980 for $6000.00, materials and labor.


upstairs windows left side

front without vinyl siding

A huge development this week and a total change in plan. We’ve decided to relocate the steps to the basement. Currently the basement door is in the kitchen, inside of a wall that separates the kitchen and the dining room.  This is that wall.

kitchen wall

We are going to move the steps in to what was going to be our half bath.  The new basement stairwell will be off the living room. 

kitchen new windows

The kitchen in it’s current state.  The old window was deleted, four new windows have been framed in that will line the exterior wall, you can see the first two.

The place is still pretty torn apart.  It will be exciting to go there this afternoon in hopes that the kitchen wall is gone.


Indiana Project: Permission Slip

I got the permit that I was complaining about.

building permit

and I kindly invited the inspectors over for a little pow wow and to take a look at the framing job in progress. They liked what they saw, they were cordial and answered my questions. Score!

I know all of you want to know where those pumpkin orange drapes came from and those wood shutters that are hung unevenly and stained from nicotine and tar. The sources are; somewhere in a 1950s curtain vortex and Phillip Morris

More to come on the Indiana project later today.