Part two of Friday Fun is house related. Remember the site plan I shared a couple of months ago? This is the floor plan of my house. It's about a 1000 square feet in size. Based on stories from the neighbors, I think it was built in the mid-to late 1940s. That makes sense when thinking of greater Albuquerque, because it had a huge boom post-WWII. My Mom's house probably dates to the 1920s or 30s, when the South Valley really started to expand as a farming neighborhood.
This floor plan (above) represents the layout of the house as it was when we purchased the property in December 2001. It had a cute cozy appeal to me, but it was really choppy due to some strange decisions in a series of add-ons. For example, the door to the bedroom was off the kitchen, and their were two bathrooms that were both in bad shape. The kitchen was huge, but just had a tiny set of cabinets in one corner and then a lot of empty space, and the water heater was in the kitchen (which I hate!). There were two little rooms at the back of the house with no obvious purpose other than storage, so I've deemed them mud-rooms, except that they are attached to the bedroom... where's the logic in that? There was a lot of fake wood paneling, and nothing had been updated since sometime in the 1970s, so a lot of the surfaces just needed to be torn out and replaced. The bones were good though. Everything except the blue part is adobe construction. The pink part has wood floors. There are lots of windows. There is a a wood stove (it's not my style and will someday be replaced, but a fire in the winter is awfully nice). The house has a nice pitched metal roof. And it's spacious for a one bedroom house.
This floor plan represents my planned changes. The first few months of living in the house I mostly just painted everything white and tried to start cobbling together enough furniture to have things to sit on. Then a few months later, I started grad school. I was so busy that I don't even remember the exact order that I made the next major changes. I think I ripped out the closets that served the bedroom and living room in order to re-open the original door from the bedroom to the living room. Then I demolished the kitchen because I couldn't live with it. My house had been a rental, while the owners lived in my mom's house, and like most rental kitchens no one had really cleaned it well in decades. There was a grease layer on everything. The stove top worked, but not the oven, and the stove was brown. The counters had been retiled by an amateur, who meant well, but was not talented. There was a hole in the floor by one of the windows where moisture had probably leaked until the subfloor rotted, and there was a section of wall near the door where the roof had leaked and eroded the plaster. I had just about zero dollars to redo the kitchen, because I was in grad school full time, but I didn't care. It was disgusting!
A few years ago I had a hard drive crash and I seem to have lost most of my "before" pictures of the house. I have these two tiny images that show the demo in progress, but can't find any of the ugly old cabinets. The wood ceiling was covered in drywall, but I knew it was under there and wanted to reveal it. The door on the right next to the water heater leads to the bedroom, and the stove used to be just to the left of it.
This image is looking into that same corner of the room where the water heater and door used to be. My mom and I framed and dry-walled a new wall, and I had a plumber come and relocate all the piping for the sink, stove, etc. Oh yeah, and relocate the water heater to the mud-room at the back of the house. (Woo-hoo!) That was the largest bulk expense. I think all that plumbing work cost about $800. I saved a lot on electrical by running all the new wiring myself, and then having our electrician come and inspect it all and connect it to the circuit breaker. All in all that probably cost about $500.
Brick floors were one of the cheapest options I could find, flooring-wise. Brick floors are pretty traditional in adobe houses, so it was regionally appropriate. The bricks were manufactured a couple miles from my house, and I was able to buy seconds, which made them pretty cheap. My awesome best friend helped me install them on Thanksgiving weekend. Materials, delivery, and wet-saw rental came to about $650. It was really hard work, and I have always said that I'd never do it again. Bricks are heavy, rough, and can be hard to level over an existing slab. The tamping and sand-filling process, which I did completely alone after the floor was laid, took forever and I honestly thought that my knees might be permanently damaged. Once I got it finished and sealed it was all worth it.
I lucked out and got my cabinets for free. The director of my grad program was redoing his kitchen the same summer and I asked him what he was going to do with his old cabinets since I knew that he had replaced all of the doors and they were pretty nice. He was happy to give them to me instead of the landfill or the Re-Store. I had to figure out how to configure them to fit the kitchen layout that I wanted, but it worked out well because I didn't really want upper cabinets. I took a couple of the cabinets and constructed an island. I bought his dishwasher for $75. That old stove is one that I've had for years, and I really like it. I planned to use it, but ended up buying a white Jenn-Air range ($900 at scratch & dent warehouse) instead because the 1930s stove just looked out of place.
I spent another $650 on IKEA butcher block counters, stainless steel sink and faucet. Grand total so far? $3575. Super cheap for a kitchen. Even with other materials, such as light fixtures, paint, tools, wood, etc, the kitchen comes in well under $5000. Pretty miraculous for a complete gut job. That doesn't include a couple of big ticket items. I've yet to get a new refrigerator, and I am stymied on tile for a backsplash. Also, no range hood, or ceiling fan yet. It took a long time, six years to get fully functional, but that's because I did everything myself with the help of friends and family, and as I could afford it. I don't have a complete after photo, because I'm still doing things like painting the cabinets and doing finish trim. I'm working on that though! There is a more recent photo of that original corner where the bedroom door was in this post. And since then, I have gotten the shelves up which alleviated some of the clutter because my cookbooks finally have a home. (There are two mirrors above the sink in since it's on an interior wall).