We bought a fixer upper home in Wilson, WY - Let the remodel begin!
My husband Chris and I recently purchased a fixer upper home in Wilson, WY! We used to live off the Village Road when we were first dating and have always wanted to move back there. After the successful remodel of our townhome in Rafter J, located south of Jackson, we jumped at an opportunity to try our hands at much larger project. The older home (built in 1972) is roughly 2,700 square feet and sits on a 0.6 acre corner lot in a great local neighborhood in Wilson. While we know it will be a big project (probably taking a few years) we are excited to get started! Please check back (and scroll down) to follow our progress.
BEFORE PHOTOS: Here's a look at the house the day we moved in - lots to do!
We are going to remove the wall at the top of the stairs separating the kitchen and living room to open up the whole upper floor. We are also going to remove the wall (with the window opening) separating the current living room from the stairs and replace it with a railing. You should be able to walk in the front door of the split level house and look up and see all the way to the back deck! After giving it much thought, we have decided to move the kitchen to where the living room currently is located. While this creates much more work for Chris (moving plumbing and electrical), it gives us space for a larger kitchen with a big island (where we spend most of our time anyways!). We'll have a small sitting area and dining table in place of the current kitchen.
An addition was built onto the east end of the house above the garage sometime in the early 80s. The previous owner used it as her art studio. It's a great room with large windows looking at the mountains to the south and large windows looking over the backyard to the north (with filtered views of the Grand). We are not quite sure how to configure this part of the house. We are contemplating making the art studio the master bedroom and building a larger master bath (with views to the south). Another idea is to enlarge one of the other two smaller bedrooms, also included in the addition above the garage, for the master bedroom and turn the large former art studio into a rec room / play room / TV room. We don't yet have a clear vision for that end of the house - stay tuned!
There is one large bedroom at the west end of the house, that used to be two bedrooms. Our tentative plan is to split it back into two rooms - perhaps a guest room and study/TV room. Not sure yet; this project will be down the road after the kitchen and master bath/bedroom remodel. There is a guest bathroom at this end of the house as well, that also needs to be remodeled.
Piper's favorite part of the house is the HUGE backyard. She has lots of room to run and play. The yard is fully fenced, so it keeps her contained. It's hard to imagine what we will do with all this space. There is definitely room to build a guest house or shop space down the road. We hope to build a garden and add some additional landscaping next spring. Any ideas out there?
Living Room / Kitchen: Demolition & New Electrical and Plumbing
Demolition is the fun part right?! We (when I say "we" I mostly mean my husband Chris) removed two walls - one separating the old kitchen from the hallway and the other along the side of the stairs and entryway. Our plan is to install a metal or iron railing in place of the old wall so that you can see through the entire first floor when you enter the front door. Even right after tearing the walls down, the room already feels bigger!
Given our decision to swap the kitchen and living area (which allows us to have a larger kitchen), quite a bit of work was required to install new plumbing to the new kitchen sink. There was just enough room to run the new drain pipe below the sub-floor and through some existing joists to get it back to the north end of the house and the rest of the existing plumbing/drain lines. We also had to reconfigure and/or re-do much of the electrical set up in the room. All the old kitchen outlets had to be moved down closer to the floor and all the old living room outlets had to be moved up to kitchen counter height. When we purchased the house there was only 1 ceiling light, located above the old dining area. We installed 8 can lights in the new kitchen, including two above the bar area that will have pendent lighting. We also installed a ceiling light in the entry way (hoping to find a neat antique chandelier) and installed an extra light in the new dining area (which was the old kitchen). Finally, we installed all new light switches, with 2 and 3 ways, on different walls throughout the rooms. Chris can do quite a lot on his own, but we called in the pros to complete much of the difficult electrical work (we highly recommend Kyle Singleton!).
While we were tearing down parts of the drywall, we took the opportunity to replace the small old window that used to be above the sink in the old kitchen. The newer window gives us much better views into the backyard from the future new dining area.
Wondering what we are doing while our kitchen is torn apart?
We are living out of the old art studio in the addition over the garage. We have a two burner camp stove set up on the dryer and Chris temporarily installed the dishwasher in the bathroom! It's actually not that bad, but we are excited to move into our new kitchen!
New Drywall, Flooring & Building the New Kitchen
While it was a big decision to swap the existing kitchen and living room, we are confident we will be happy about it in the end as we will have a much larger kitchen and more room for a dining room table (for dinner parties!). After ripping apart the existing walls and ceilings to install all the new electrical and plumbing, we decided to hire the professionals to come in and put up the new drywall (and patch the holes we made!). While Chris has done most of the remodel work so far, this was money well spent. The drywallers did such a good (and speedy) job putting up the new drywall. Chris was able to then do the painting. Bye-bye green wood paneling in the entry way.....
After the drywall and paint, Chris went to work installing the kitchen cabinets. We decided to go with IKEA cabinets again (similar to what we used in our townhome remodel). We thought about going the custom cabinet route with either Home Depot or Lowe's, but the cabinet package would have been twice as expensive. Not worth it (in our opinion), given that we liked the way things turned out at the townhome. We put the money we saved on the cabinets towards the counter tops. After a trip to Salt Lake City and Idaho Falls (the joys of doing a remodel in a small town), we selected a unique granite piece from a yard in Pocatello (about 2+ hours from Jackson) for the large center kitchen island. We then found a sage green quartz for the periphery counter tops which complimented the light green coloring in the granite. Check out those purple garnet pieces in the island!
UP NEXT: Selecting and installing kitchen back splash, trimming out the kitchen, selecting new matching appliances, and possibly a new kitchen window (large single pane).
The Kitchen is Done! (and so is the trim)
Chris first ripped out the original kitchen the weekend after Thanksgiving 2016 and started work on the new kitchen location (where the original living room was located). After many months of hard work, we had a functioning kitchen by St. Patrick's Day and a fully completed kitchen by June 1. Check out the progression below - from living room to new plumbing and electrical installation to new cabinets and finally counter tops and trim!
The backsplash turned out great (thanks to our friend Tommy Price for installing it!) and matches the green quartz counters well. The very LAST thing left to do in the kitchen is the glass pendants above the bar. We hired a local glass artist to create two very unique purple glass pendants (to pull out the purple garnet in the counter tops). They should arrive later this week!
In the place of the old kitchen, we now have a large dining area, along with a new, larger window looking out over the big backyard. We scored the cool chandelier and the set of 6 brown chairs from the local Habitat Restore. Quite the transition from the old walled off kitchen to open dining/living room!
We selected solid wood (alder) trim and doors. We hired someone to stain them in his shop and then another friend helped Chris install them. I think it turned out great and really ties the rooms together! Check out the dining room progression from start to finish below.
A rather obvious decision was to remove the wall that separated the old living room from the entryway and stairs. It really opens things up and lets you see all the way to the back deck from the front door. Chris hand built the railing using white oak, an alder post and iron balusters. It took some time, but the result was amazing - Way to go Chris! Check out the before and after photos below.
Chris also had time to set up the back deck. He ripped out an old bench to make room for the larger patio table. Just in time for a beautiful summer!
UP NEXT: Making one large bedroom back into two and remodeling the upstairs bathroom. Stay tuned!
Guest Room, Guest Bath and Family Room
We've completed the remaining portion of the upstairs remodel - finishing the guest bedroom, guest bathroom and a family room/tv room. When we purchased the house, the two rooms were actually one large bedroom. Learning that they had originally been built as two rooms (with a door frame buried under the drywall), we decided to convert it back into two rooms. Chris built a wall separating the two rooms and we continued the fir wood flooring and alder trim into both rooms.
We completely remodeled the guest bathroom. We ripped out the old tub, toilet, vanity and old linoleum flooring (which was covered in carpet!). We used similar tile to our Rafter J bathroom remodel for the floor and shower walls. In addition to a new toilet, vanity and mirror, we also put in a new window in the shower.
We also completed some final touches to our kitchen - installing a new stainless steal refrigerator and custom glass blown light fixtures by local glass blower Laurie Thal. Two are above the bar and one is in the entry way.
UP NEXT: We have now completed the first phase of the remodel - the upper level of the split level home. Our next big project will be to remodel and reconfigure the addition above the garage, which currently consists of two bedrooms, a bath and a large room that was the previous owner's art studio. We plan to convert the art studio to a master bedroom and master bath and plan to reconfigure the existing bath to make a bathroom and laundry utility room. Both existing bedrooms will need to be updated too. Given that we just welcomed our newborn son (Cameron - born in Aug 2017), we are taking some time off before jumping into this next phase.