Don’t question the blessings, just give thanks.

20171028_161540.jpgOne of my clients (who I now consider a friend) is very spiritual and as I shared some of my contractor stories she said I’m going to pray that the right workers are brought to you.  I believe her prayer manifested in the form of my cousin Cameron.  Cameron does demo work, but was recently laid-off his job.  His mis-fortune became my fortune.  This weekend was official #demoday and the work Cameron, along with two of his friends (co-workers also laid off) and his younger brother Greg pulled off this weekend is beyond incredible.  They filled a 40 yard dumpster, freed for reglazing a monster cast iron tub (had to give hi fives on that feat), and cleared out all the water lines from the old boiler heating system.  We only got through half the house, so more photos and hopefully a Quik video are forthcoming.

Another blessing came today from a long time friend via a morning text that read:
Good Morning Venus.  That small voice that speaks to me and some times I question it but have learned to follow what it is saying and the results are always, and I mean always, wonderful said I am supposed to give you $1000 on your renovation.  Please let me know the best way to get you the money.

Blown away!  That covers a second dumpster and funds to pay my awesome crew.

Thank you!

Time to Save the Stained Glass

20170729_161120Today, in preparation for #DemoDay (the real one) I had Architectural Art Glass Studio, located in Pleasant Ridge, come out to my house to remove the stained glass from the entry foyer.  It has some cracks and is  in need of repair.  Unfortunately I missed the actual removel as I had to run to Harbor Freight and pick up a generator (finally broke down and got one to keep batteries charged on grinder and reciprocal saw).  I got back in time for the cutting of the plywood that now fills the hole.  Amazing how much light that window provided.



YouTube, a DIYers Resource

shared previously, my house had been ransacked.  Stripped of plumbing, electric, most metal of value.  What was left, fortunately, were almost all of the doors.  The french doors seperating the dining room from living room; upper half of dutch door separating kitchen from hall to bedrooms; and a swinging door separating the kitchen from dining room were taken.  No big deal with two as the wall is coming down that housed them.  The french door would have been nice, but no great loss given how small the area is (relatively speaking). Of the remaining doors only 2 are damaged beyond repair and I’ll need to replace.

With the rest, I plan to clean them up and reuse them.  The biggest issue with them are the hinges.  They are rusted, some so severe the doors don’t open or close, so I Googled how to remove rust from metal and found some great YouTube videos that recommended soaking the object in vinegar,, or vinegar with salt added,  I decided to give both a shot.  Here are a couple of the hinges.  Prior to putting them in the solution I used my Dremel tool to remove the surface rust.

These hinges are from the door to attic and they soaked for 3 days and as you can see from the video they now move freely.  Upon taking them out of the vinegar and salt solution I did scrub each with a steel brush.  I sprayed the hinges with WD40.  The kitchen entry hinges are still soaking.  They at least move now, but not as freely as in the video, so I put them back in the solution.


These door plates and knob were not as rusty as the hinges, so I opted to soak them in vinegar only and they only soaked approx 24 hours.


Truly, A Beautiful Day in My Neighborhood

Vanity came in handy today.  Since I just got my hair done on Friday I was not anxious to dawn a bandanna and tackle more demo this weekend, so instead my friend Joan and I took part in the final Saturday of “Made in Camp”: Camp Washington Artists Open Houses.  Camp Washington’s community of 40-plus artists, galleries and makers
collaborated on two successive Saturdays.  They say artist, the creative class, are the first to expose the “gems” in neighborhoods.  I had no idea that the warehouses I drove past for 20 years in working in downtown Cincinnati were filled with a wonderful area of talented people.  We made it to about 8 shops, a few of which I plan to patronize for items for my house.  The absolute coolest stop was The Swing House.  From the outside it looked like a typical row styled house, but on the inside the owner, Mark DeJong, created the most cool living space and centered in the middle of it is a swing.

I also got to meet some of my neighbors, which was super cool too.  Following Joan and I had lunch at Camp Washington Chili, this is starting to become my spot, before going to my house to pull staples out of my kitchen floor.  Joan picked up on the Hint Hint I threw out in a previous post, Thank You Joan.

20171021_123057Thanks to one of my neighbors, Theresa Ferrari (she’ll be running a new coffee shop Mom N’ Nem that will be housed inside of a 1969 31-foot Land Yacht Airstream trailer just one block from me), I stopped by Camp Washington Hardware and bought a tool similar to this, which she said makes pulling the staples a breeze.  Boy was she right.  Unfortunately the store only had one and I let Joan use it.  She pulled up twice as many as I did.  You have to love a friend that will spend a Saturday afternoon on her hands and knees on a dirty floor pulling staples.  I can’t wait until all the demo is done, just so I can mop the floors.  She also made me a great first aid kit to keep on site as my first house warming gift.  She wouldn’t use my thrown and I put in a fresh bag in just for her.  Since the site is called Venus’ DIY Projects I thought I’d share a pic of the toilet thrown I made out of a pallet.  Turning a 5-gallon bucket into a porto-potty with the snap on lid was a great Amazon find, but squatting down to it wasn’t fun, especially after a long day of demo.  On a rainy day I threw this together to elevate it.  My plumbing can’t come fast enough.

By Gosh It Works and Surprise, Surprise, Surpise

I live on #HGTV and #DIYNetwork.  #RehabAddict is one of my favorite shows and I feel like @NicoleCurtis and I could be sisters from another mother.  It blows my mind the contractors that come in my house and talk about short cuts or throwing out some of the coolest features of this house just because they are old.  You can’t recapture the craftsmanship that was done back in the day.  Case in point my light fixtures.  The house was pretty much ransacked and stripped of any metal deemed valuable.  However about a dozen of the light fixtures were still in place (or the base in the case of the dining room chandelier and door entry light).  All were covered in cobwebs, soot, and layers of paint (which is probably why they were left behind).

Nicole always shares how she removes paint off her home’s hardware by cooking them in a crockpot of water.  Also, with the new season of #SalvageDawgs (another favorite show) @RobertKulp has a commercial that talks about the same topic.  He takes Nicole’s tip one step further by transferring the hot item into cold water.  The sudden change in temp causes the paint to just crack off.  I tried this today.  To my surprise, surprise, surprise the process revealed the most beautiful gold finish.  By no means is gold going to become a main fixture color in my house, but these six fixtures will be prominently displayed for all to see (assuming I can get them rewired).  Check out these before and afters.

First Cut

Unlike in Forest Park, the City of Cincinnati does not consider yard waste trash and they only pick it up every two weeks (I’m on the Green Schedule) April thru January.  It has to be placed in special paper yard bags or a dedicated can that is marked yard waste.  Forest Park tried enforcing paper bags for yard waste and that lasted one season.  I guess I’ll have to get use to using them again and today picked up 3 packs of 5 to tackle my first yard work at the house.

My grass was getting pretty long and tonight is my night to set out for pick up tomorrow, so I figured out a way to haul my lawn mower over to the house (bought a ramp that fit on my Cruiser) to cut the grass.  I also took my string edger and backpack blower.  The house has probably not been edged in decades; grass was very overgrown on the sidewalks and curb.  Unfortunately I ran out of string (I didn’t think I’d need a refill), so I didn’t get to do the entire property.  I did cut my yard as well as my neighbor’s, Laverne.  I used the blower to clear the sidewalks and get more leaves up.  My cousin Greg showed up just in time to pick up all the debris, my least favorite part.

At the closing for my house Joe Gorman, Camp Washington Community Board Executive Director, told the attorney that my house is a signature property for Camp Washington.  I’m on a mission to make sure it lives up to that status.  Getting the yard in pristine condition will be a major part of that.  My father designed the landscape around my current home.  I’m looking forward to designing this one.

Pine It Will Be

Today I had more meetings with contractors at the house (HKC Roofing, EverDry (again- they seem so shady to me), and Tri-State Roofing), so to kill time between the first and last I set out to reveal the full kitchen flooring; removing the last of the debris and linoleum flooring.  Aside from a few holes from the old radiator heat pipes and an approximate 5′ x 2′ bad patch the floors will be beautiful once sanded and sealed.  That bad patch would actually end up being under the cabinets, so I could just let it go (NOT).

Yellow pine tongue and groove is the sub floor of the entire house, except for the living and dining room where they laid oak on top of the pine sub floor.  I plan to let that pine sub floor be my actual flooring and I most likely won’t stain it, allowing the natural color to come through the sealant coat that will be applied.

Only thing left to do with the floor is to remove the million staples used to put down the plywood that the old linoleum was adhered to.  I’m hoping a few friends will want to bring their pliers and help me pull them out on Saturday (hint hint).



I realized that I have not shared before pictures of the house, so I thought I’d do so now before the project gets too involved.  Three things attracted me to this house.  1) Location.  It is located within the City limits and close to downtown.  Cincinnati’s downtown has gotten very expensive and beyond my current reach, but Camp Washington is just minutes from what I love most about Cincinnati (Findlay Market, OTR, downtown, my best friend Joan). I believe and the press has touted Camp Washington as the next up and coming Cincinnati neighborhood, so I really feel I’ve made a great investment.  With the tax abatement I’ll receive over the next 10-years I’ve got a decade to watch property value climb, while experiencing a 96% drop in property taxes.  Here is an article that appeared in the Cincinnati Business Courier if you’d like to learn more:  All Signs Point to Camp Washington.

2) The Lot.  My purchase price included 3063 Henshaw, which holds the house, but also the corner lot 3061 Henshaw, which will allow me to build a garage and have off-street parking.  As a suburban raised person, the one thing I can’t see giving up is garage parking.  A detached garage will be enough to get use to.  The street would be way too much.  Already I’ve been to the house in the evening and had to park down the street as most of the houses on the street don’t have driveways and many houses have multiple people with multiple cars.

3) The unfinished attic space.  The house is two bedroom, 1 bath on the first level but the attic space is unfinished with full height ceilings divided into two rooms (2/3 and 1/3).  That area will become my master suite.  The 1/3 section will be the bath and that space is the size of my current bedroom.  I already spend the majority of my time in my room and now I will have a true oasis.  Heck the entire house will be my oasis!!!!  Enjoy the pics and await the transformation.


It Smelled Really, Really Bad

I had not planned to do anything at the house today, but Friday night two of my neighbors stopped me as I was loading my car.  Ron, owner of TCB Plumbing, offered his services and gave me a great suggestion for getting rid of the debris I’ve accummulated and Justin offered to help remove the debris.  I took Ron’s suggestion and rented a U-Haul trunk and Justin’s offer to help fill it.  Once loaded Justin and I went to the Rumpke Landfill and dumped the load.  If I could find five more Justin’s I could have the entire house demoed in no time.  Dude was AWESOME, a true worker bee.


Armed with 2 PB&Js, Vitamin Water, and Gatorade

20171013_130741Today was another productive day at my house.  I met with two more contractors.  Another foundation company, Everdry, and a roofer, Deer Park Roofing, regarding the box gutters.  Not a great start to the day as both provided me with 5-digit estimates to address the problems.  Not to be deterred I went back to my sweat equity work.

I totally understand why Chip Gaines loves Demo Day #demoday.  There is something exhilarating in ripping down walls, but today I set out to my original goal of removing all 20171013_155752the trim.  I almost stayed on task.  All trim is removed from the kitchen and dining room; none damaged, so can be reinstalled.  I also managed to completely expose the brick in the kitchen.  Less than an hour, so very glad I did it.  It is going to look awesome once cleaned up and sealed.  Hopefully the vent for the stove can utilize the hole that was filled with plaster.

I also managed to free up the built-in cabinet that was located on the wall to be removed for the open concept kitchen/dining room.  I planneds to relocate it next to the kitchen door and that became a reality today.  Amazingly only 6 nails held it in place and I only had to remove two studs from one side to gain access.  The real struggle came when I realized that the 1/4″ sub-floor that was laid down for the linoleum flooring was stopping it from freeing up.  Once I got that out the way I was able to move it relatively easily (by myself) and it is going to be fabulous once it’s all cleaned up.  I can already picture my cookbooks sitting on the shelves.  Saving that piece saves me 2′ of upper and lower cabinets, cha ching!

The true bright spot of the day was discovering the original pine floors were in great shape underneath the linoleum sub-floor.  COST SAVINGS!!!!!  I will have these restored and sealed vs. laying new flooring.  I think the flooring area where the sink use to be will need to be replaced along with splicing in pieces to fill the radiator hole, but that will be cheaper than a whole new floor!  Hopefully it will be in equally good shape in the hall way as the linoleum runs there also.  Amazingly they put oak flooring in the living room and dining room, but pine everywhere else.


I couldn’t resist taking a selfie