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Rehab with Habitat Restore

Updated on May 8, 2014

My Condo Renovation

I am still looking for the initial photos of scratched floors, bubbled up double linoleum in the kitchen. Horrible grassy wallpaper on the walls and holes from where the previous owner banged with her wheelchair. I can now only describe the mess and the damage but for lake front with a great view and the price, it was hard to pass up.

I asked my boyfriend to assist in the renovation. He saw the place and offered to help but only after the purchase, told me that he thought it was a huge undertaking and would not have gone there. The kitchen was in the worst shape. There was no refrigerator and the dishwasher had obviously leaked and destroyed the flooring underneath, The stove was an ancient double oven and there were missing parts and it was old and dented. The floor was a double linoleum that bubbled several inches in several places. The sink was installed backwards so she could reach it and the lower cupboard doors had been removed and set in at an angle to allow for wheelchair access. The walls were ugly wallpaper. The cupboards are not in perfect shape but intact so I decided to keep them. The counter-tops were off- white Formica and in very bad shape.

Being that a working kitchen is almost essential, I took this on first. The habitat restore had wall board that I used for the walls and after getting up the floor that was damaged. I only had to replace one large section of the sub floor. Habitat gladly came and removed the old appliances. I looked on Craig's list and got a used white side by side refrigerator with an ice dispenser and a water filter. I think it was about $400.00 it worked for a while and then didn't. It took a couple of tries but he was able to find the problem and fix it for under $100 and it has given me no trouble since. A couple was upgrading to stainless steel appliances and I bought the stove and microwave. The dishwasher I got new as I did not trust anything after looking at what had happened. A friend from church took out the cabinets and put in the wallboard up, fixed the floor and put down the tiles (also a habitat store purchase). Stripping the wallpaper was a huge chore. After much of it was gone from several rooms, I found that hot water and cheap laundry fabric softener works better that the store bought stuff and less toxic as well.

The counter tops I purchased from Lowes. They came and measured and got one wrong so they redid it without charge. We installed them ourselves. It was tricky but not terribly difficult. The corner round cabinet was off kilter and needed to be reset. That took a day but he somehow managed to get it straight. The sink was turned around and cabinets built and the doors hung properly. A little stain and wood putty worked well. No it doesn't look perfect but a bystander would not notice it and to me it just adds character.

The light fixture was a huge florescent eye sore. That was removed and a new Lowes fixture installed. The ceiling was painted and the walls and the wood over the cabinets. I used a light purple for the walls and a darker purple for above the cabinets.

Much of the rest of the place has seen huge improvements as well. I bought laminate flooring from the restore and hired a friend to do the instal. My mother had seem an article somewhere where they used the flooring for waist-coating up the walls. We did that and bought trim which I stained to go over it. It gives the hall an one living room wall a more classy look.

The living room has two sliding doors leading out to the roofed open deck. I found two cornices at the restore for $10 a piece, reupholstered them and they go over the doors perfectly. They were the same general shape but not the same size but the room is offset so it worked wonderfully. We have a local discount fabric store that is only open once a month for a few days. They have been an excellent find for fabric for curtains and furniture.

My friend is an artist at heart. Above my kitchen cabinets he has hand- painted different colored dogwood flowers for me. The trim we stained ourselves. Yes I have several other projects done and several in the process.

The master bedroom is painted. I replaced the sink and redid the walls in the bathroom. The wallpaper tore through the sheet rock and so we textured the walls to hide the defects. It was easier and cheaper than replacing dry wall. In the whole place, I have only replaced one sheep of drywall so far. That is amazing to me. The light fixture in the master bedroom was a restore find. We had to use different parts to hang it correctly but the light and fan was only $45. I saw on Craig's list that a hotel was going out of business. I sent my cousin there and they got a bed, nightstand, desk, chair, mirror, two lamps, and draperies for $500. I have an antique chest of drawers from family and that worked very well. The master bath has other unique feature but we repainted the stainless steel bars, and kept the handicap aspect. My mother uses the room when she stays for the winter. I have a recliner and a computer desk and chair. It is a perfect space for her with large windows overlooking the lake. Still a few things to do before it is complete- but is anything ever really done?

Above the wall with the flooring on it, we are painting a huge mural. We used mostly house paint in the beginning but now are using mostly acrylic to paint the houses and other items that we want to stand out. Another project in transition. Everyone who sees it is intrigued.

I have reused things that I had in the past (like my daughter's daybed cover I made for her when she was in high school). I actually had saved the fabric and trim and am making new pillows. The window is smaller in the current room, so I made the curtains smaller.

I have many projects ongoing and will likely do a phase two of this hub later to explain some of the other ideas.

I did not get everything from the Restore but all of the flooring, the wall board, the cornices and a ceiling fan with light. I haven't visited the restore lately. It is interesting to see what is new and different. I think we even got a piece of rubber molding for the kitchen cabinet that was rebuilt as well. It was not the right color, but that was fixed with a can of black spray paint.

This could have been a very expensive project and I still have much to accomplish but with a few thousand dollars I have more than doubled the purchase price and I have my own unique corner of the world. It has taken (and will continue to take) a lot of elbow grease and probably a few things that will need to be hired out. So far the only hiring I did was the initial work on the kitchen and the flooring install. Of course my boyfriend did a lot (except for the wallpaper removal) and I would not have been able to do this without his continual assistance. I hear these stores are popping up more and more. Please donate things you don't want or extra supplies from completed projects.

My remodeled kitchen


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