The Dam Is About To Break Wide Open

UPDATE 1-24-17: Hey y’all! Matt and I are fine. 🙂 This week my only goal is to get my floors refinished. The sanding has been delayed by two days, so I’ve been concentrating on getting the rooms cleared out, which is the perfect opportunity to do some organizing and getting rid of junk that has accumulated. When I have some progress to share, you’ll see a new post from me. Once these floors are done, I can hit the ground running on my 2017 “to do” list! Hopefully I’ll have some pics of floor progress by the end of this week. 

I’m so excited this morning because I feel like I’m right on the cusp of really starting to see things happening in this house, like the dam is about to break wide open. The obstacles are about to be removed. The boulder is just about to be pushed right over the apex of the mountain.

What the heck am I talking about? Well, I’ve mentioned that I feel like there are two big obstacles to me really diving right into my “to do” list for this year. First of all, I’m refinishing my floors, and that needs to be done ASAP before I can move on. (I’m so glad most of you agree with me that the floors need to be done sooner than later! That just makes sense in my mind.) The pantry and breakfast room have brand new unfinished red oak floors that need sanding, staining, and sealing, so while I’m at it, and since the big sander needs to be rented, I decided to go ahead and do the rest of the rooms (except the bedrooms) as well to get rid of the orange color.

But before that can be done, we need a door installed in our bedroom. If you’re confused as to how the two relate, let me explain.

First, here are the areas of hardwood flooring that will be sanded, stained, and sealed…

house floor plan - hardwood floors that will be refinished

While the floors are drying between coats of stain and sealer, Matt and I are perfectly fine being holed up in our bedroom as long as we have some snacks, drinks, laptops and Netflix. And although it’s the worst room in the house, we do at least have a tiny bathroom right off of the bedroom that we can use. Our cat is perfectly content hanging out in Matt’s game room all day long (it’s one of her favorite places), so as long as she has food, water, and her litter box, she’ll be fine.

But then there’s our dog Boo. Boo is 15 years old, so he spends most of his days lounging around the house, mostly asleep in his bed in our bedroom. But he does like to spend a few hours spread throughout each day in the back yard marking his territory, defending his territory against neighbor dogs, chasing squirrels, and rolling in the grass. Right now, the only way to get him outside is through the sunroom, which means at minimum he has to go through the hallway and through the music room, but generally also includes a detour into the living room to look out the windows and check for squirrels and stray cats that need to be chased off, and through the kitchen for some water and a quick snack before heading outside.

house floor plan - only one door into the back yard right now

So I want to add a door in our bedroom that will open directly into Boo’s fenced in yard.

house floor plan - add another point of egress into the back yard by adding a door in the bedroom

Of course, I’m not just adding a door for the dog. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while now just for safety purposes. If I ever needed to get Matt outside quickly (e.g., in case of fire), the only way I could do that is if there’s a door there. It just so happens that now’s the perfect time to do it since it’ll make floor refinishing so much easier.

Anyway, aaallllllll of that to say that the guys are coming tomorrow morning to install the new door. YAY! Obstacle #1 is close to being gone.

And then that opens the door for obstacle #2, the floors, to be taken care of. And the best news ever is that I’ve decided to hire out the sanding!!

I had gotten a quote from a floor refinishing company about two months ago. I told them that I just wanted them to sand, and that I’d do the staining and sealing. They said that they sanding was the biggest part of floor refinishing (which I knew, having done it myself the first time), and so just having them sand would cost almost as much as having them do the whole thing. Anyway, just for sanding, they quoted $3500. That wasn’t even an option. I’m happy to pay that kind of money for something that I just don’t know how to to do (like major plumbing projects that require crawling underneath the house), but not for something I’m completely capable of doing myself.

So I was all geared up to do it myself, but on a whim, I asked the guys who will be installing the door if they can also sand hardwood floors. Of course they can! After all, “remodeling” is in the name of their business! They do everything from small jobs to big remodeling jobs. So he measured the rooms, and texted me the next day with a price of $750 for the labor if I’ll pay for machine rental and sandpaper.

DONE! That’s a price I can wrap my head around for handing off such a huge and NOT fun job to someone else.

So door installation (obstacle #1) is tomorrow, and floor refinishing (obstacle #2) starts Monday. I’m so excited! And then I’ll have no excuses. I can hit the ground running on the rest of my list for this year and start getting these rooms FINISHED! Woohoo! It’s going to be a good and productive year. 🙂


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  1. So glad you’ll be able to get moving with the projects you planned for 2017. That’s a fantastic deal on the floor sanding/refinishing. Just goes to show you that you should never be afraid to ask.

  2. No wonder you are so excited. The door is a really smart move on your part for several reasons. Having someone else do the sanding is genius. So glad you we’re able to find an affordable deal.

  3. Great news on the house front! I am so excited to see how you plan to put the finishing touches on all those rooms. I was wondering though, what program do you use to create your floor plans? I would love to create our house plan and see what moving walls would look like. I have big ideas but am not sure if they would work or are practical.

  4. Yay! You deserve some progress after the detours you faced the first few days of 2017! I’m a firm believer in exterior doors leading out to all major areas of the yard a homeowner plans to use. Forces integration between interior and exterior!

  5. All the oak floors in our house have been refinished. The hallway and a bedroom had to be redone after a leak. I ran into the same disparity in prices. I finally located my original floor guy, who was no longer in business for himself but working for someone else, and he did the job for considerably less. The floors are blond and beautiful with lots of wood grain showing through.

  6. I’m so happy to hear this! It’s decisions like this that make things interesting. I love that you are such a hands on, proficient, fearless DIYer, but at the same time I love that you are learning to hire out once in a while. Some things are just too much to do, be it the moment for whatever reason, the actual thing that needs doing is tedious and mundane, or the simple fact that it’s just nice to have someone do it for you. I love that you are finding balance in this process. I understand this is a DIY blog but at the same time- you still have to live through the seeming endless remodel and we only see excerpts and clips. You live there and have to function 24/7 (well minus your sleep… 😉 )

    Anyhow- glad to see you move forward with things that need to get done whether you do them or hire out. It’s always fun to see your process. I enjoy your blog. Here’s to a FANTASTIC 2017!

  7. Love that they were able to give you a good price on the sanding! We did something similar just this week when we had some guys come in to do the tile removal for the 2nd half of our house. The first go around, tile installers said they wouldn’t do it unless they did the whole job (for $6K+), so we rented the machines and did the removal ourselves and my husband did the install.

    This time, we found a company that just did the tile removal this week for not much more than if we had rented the machines and done the removal ourselves again. So glad… saved us a LOT of backbreaking work!

  8. Great news Kristi!

    I can’t understand how some trade people quote several times more than the competition and get away with it. Perhaps there are customers who don’t bother to shop around? Or could it be because they see a woman and think she is gullible and can be conned.

    Last summer I was looking for somebody to fix the gutters of my 2 storey house. Contacted a reputable company and explained that I want a couple of brackets replaced or just tightened, depending on their condition. The 2 man who came to have a look said that in their opinion it is best to replace all the gutters and quoted me £700. I asked how much of this will be the cost of the materials. 50/50 said they. I took a short drive to the nearest DIY shop just to find out that all the materials, including the screws would sum to less than £100. Needless to say I never contacted them again.

    The painter, recommended by my neighbour, fixed the gutters and painted the house for less than the first absurd quotation.

  9. Wow! Major progress! Let this experience be a lesson to us ALL, always “shop around”. Ask your neighbors, your friends, the clerks at the grocery store, “Do you know someone”? I needed an “open to the outside” crawl space enclosed. This area was located under a deck and there was maybe 30 inches of headroom. Got quotes of $1200 & $1600. Some guys were doing work on a commercial building, I asked, they came out and took a look. It cost me $400 and that included material. Sometimes I think jobs are “high bid” because the bidder figures if you’re dumb enough to hire him…good for him.

    1. I don’t have one yet. Right now, my washer and dryer are in the sunroom. When we do our addition on the back of the house, I’ll have a separate laundry room. You can see the plans here under the “Floor Plan” section by clicking on “The Ultimate Goal” tab: And the door that I’m currently having installed in our bedroom will actually eventually be used in the laundry room out to the back yard.

          1. Oh, wow! Completely missed that. (Slapping myself trying to wake up the senses!) I’m loving that ultimate goal!

  10. Just wanted to let you know how much I admire you. You have such tenacity. I enjoy reading your blog so much!!!!! I like to do things myself but I can’t hold a candle to you. Girl, you are amazing. Keep up the good work.

  11. Sounds great Kristi, now you will be happy to move on. Looking forward to another year of viewing a beautiful home come together.

  12. Sounds like you’ve hit the ground running, Kristi! Good for you. Just a question, will you have a way to seal off your rooms, and keep fumes from being circulating through the heating system when the urethane is applied to your floors? I can tell you that the fumes are VERY bad. For humans and for pets. I’m concerned if everyone is going to stay in the home during that part of the process.

  13. Oh my gosh, Kristi! I haven’t checked in on you in awhile and I love all the changes you’ve made to your home. Dare I say we have similar tastes!? Love all you’ve done…looking forward to browsing and getting inspired! Hope you’re doing well!!! ~ Jeanette

  14. I like the idea of having an escape door for you and Matt, if nothing else. You will find it handy for the dog going out and someday you’ll have a way to link with a deck off the sunroom from your bedroom. Imagine sitting out there on a beautiful morning enjoying your backyard oasis while you sip your morning coffee/tea. Ahhhhhhhhh.

  15. Thank you, Kristi, for the update post! As a reader, whenever I go to read the day’s entry by a blogger that posts pretty regularly and I don’t see a post that day, I figure “no big deal, she’s busy.” But when several days go by with no word, I start to worry, and I know I’m not the only one who does that!

    You’re a very popular blogger whose blog is really engaging and who receives a lot of comments, and I think that’s because people like you and care about you and Matt a lot. So even though it might be a PITA to do it, I’m sure I speak for not only myself when I say that your putting up a post saying “this isn’t a post, I’m busy, but back soon!” goes a long way to alleviate undue concern in your readers. So again, thanks for the update, I can exhale now! 🙂 <3

  16. Just wanted to leave a note telling about my experience with floor sealer. We refinished my moms very old oak floors 2 years ago and just used regular ole minwax stain and varathane matte water based sealer from lowes and it’s still looks great! Haven’t had any problems whatsoever.
    Also I think the colors on your cabinets look good, but the top color looks dirty next to the blue. I like the not completely white look but it needs to be what’s called a “clean” color.