When we bought our house in 2013, it had been sitting vacant for around two years. It came with wild paint colors on the walls, poorly stretched carpet throughout, outdated light oak cabinets in the kitchen (and laundry room and bathrooms), a moldy vanity in the downstairs bathroom, an outdated master bathroom and guest bathroom upstairs, vinyl windows, and Saltillo tile that was past the point of ever looking pretty. Our renovation budget at the time allowed us to take care of a lot of those projects before we moved into the house. The utmost in luxury and convenience when it comes to reno work – no furniture to shift and move! Here are some before and after photos from way back then.
The upstairs bathrooms (master and guest) are still on the list, but we earmarked some money this year for Saltillo tile replacement and to replace half of the windows. And to destroy a random, tiny “wet bar” – which is really just a sink – in the living room.
We started with the tile which was sure to be the project to cause the most inconvenience because we needed to move out of the house while it was being completed. Fortunately, my in-laws (who live a few blocks away) were kind enough to let us – and the cats – stay at their house. We stayed there from Monday to Friday when the work was being completed, and it really did work out in the best possible way. Craig and Sue were out of town so we didn’t need to worry about being in their way and the house is close to ours, so we were able to go every day to water the crops (the garden) and check on the progress of the work and even get clothes and other items as we needed them. Sue and Craig have a cat, so Kiki and Rue needed to be sequestered upstairs. They may disagree, but I don’t think they suffered too much. First world cat problems – trapped in a little room when you’re used to having the run of the house.
Here are some before photos of the horrible tile:
^ Top: The entryway. The realtor who had the house listed when we bought it had used extra heavy duty duct tape to secure a rug to the floor (or maybe the previous owners had used the duct tape and the realtor was trying to hide it from potential buyers). It was such a…fun surprise to find when we bought the house and tore up the rug. Needless to say, we found a rug to cover the duct tape ourselves. ^
^ Bottom Left: This little stretch leads guests to our home from the entryway to the living room – with a trip hazard to boot. Because the tile is the same in the entry way and the living room, it was really hard to see that there was a small step down into the living room. So many people have not noticed the step and stumbled down it. ^
^ Bottom Right: The downstairs bathroom. Not much to see here. Just more bad tile and tile base work. ^
^ Top Left and Top Right: These photos of the living room/breakfast nook area show the tile – in all its glory – really well. Cracked, discolored, strange grout, unevenly installed, gaps between the wall and the “baseboard” tile…. It was not attractive. ^
^ Bottom Left and Bottom Right: More of the same in the kitchen. When Kevin was cleaning out the garage a few weeks ago, he discovered some acid tile wash and grout cleaner, which really explained a lot. I don’t think the tile was well installed to begin with, there was nothing to keep it from cracking when the foundation shifted (as it does in new houses), and someone took some heavy duty “cleaner” that was not meant for Saltillo tile to it at some point. Also, the grout was painted white, once upon a time. Why? Who knows. ^
^Left: Living room. In slightly better light so you can see all the strange variation in color, and even the cracks and permanent discolorment. (Discolorment? Maybe not a word. But it works here.) The floors always looked dirty, even immediately after they had been mopped. ^
^ Right: The laundry room. Kevin especially didn’t like this white tile. ^
We worked with a local company for the tile replacement. The foreman did an excellent job and they finished on schedule. We were very impressed with him and the quality of work that the crew did.
They came in and moved all of our furniture, then immediately started jackhammering up the tile. Saltillo is incredibly messy – it crumbles and gets dust everywhere. Here are a few of the during pictures:
^ See? Messy stuff. ^
And finally, the after photos. We are so, so happy with the final result. I’m even happier than I thought I would be with how it looks. It’s easier to walk on barefoot, the tiles are consistent and clean, the baseboard looks sharp, and the decorative tiles in the entry way are a lovely touch. We really think that it fits the style of the house (Southwest), which will be good for resale purposes if we go that route someday.
^ Rue likes the new tile. Amy likes the decorative tile near the step – catches the eye well. ^
We also replaced eight windows in the house this month. Unfortunately it did not rain on the 4th of July, so we have to pay Renewal by Anderson for these new windows, but I guess that’s the risk you take when you decide to gamble with weather and home improvement. Our old windows were vinyl and poorly insulated. I know we’ll notice a big difference with the new windows!
^ Window limbo as the job was in progress. ^
Last but not least, we hired the guy who re-did our kitchen cabinets before we moved into the house to replace a wet bar (which was really just a random sink and ugly cabinet) with some shelves and cabinet space. It ties in really well with the kitchen, looks great with the new tile, and will be so much more functional than what filled the space previously.
Here is before:
We need to fill the shelves and finish the baseboard, but overall we are done done done with home improvement projects for the year. It feels awesome.
Do you have any home improvement projects in the works? Do you DIY this kind of stuff, or leave it to the experts?