Several months ago, Gabe and I took a leap and bought a 40 year old mobile home to move out the farm, renovate, and live in for… at least several years.
But – spoiler alert! – neither Gabe nor I know anything about renovation, so it’s been an extremely slow process since getting it moved out to the farm.
Gabe has the benefit of being handy with tools, and having some idea of what will or won’t make the house fall down around our ears, but when we first started, I would stand there in the middle of the room going “well, I know we have to take out these cabinets, and the ceiling beams, but I have no idea how to do that without breaking something that shouldn’t be broken”.
So, we cautiously started digging in, tearing up carpet, taking off trim that was obviously cosmetic in nature, and carefully pulling staples out of paneling.
But after a few months of replacing sub-flooring at a rate of about three sheets of plywood per week, we finally decided to hire someone with the skills and tools to get it done quickly.
The flooring contractor tore out all the old flooring and put in new subfloors throughout the whole house in three days.
At that point, we hit the pause button on flooring, and after much deliberation, and talking to other contractors, went to work on the ceiling and walls ourselves.
Taking on the DIY Project Ourselves
When we first bought the house, I was determined to replace the paneling with drywall on all but a few statement walls (which would be covered in shiplap thankyouverymuch).
But since we’re already six months deep in this project (which means we’ve paid rent on our current house three more months than we had hoped), and since drywalling was going to cost us a minimum of a thousand dollars (closer to $5,000 if a contractor did it), assuming we hung it ourselves, we decided to replace the water-damaged ceiling, and paint over the paneling instead.
I’m not thrilled with this idea… but priorities.
The ceiling had to go, the walls didn’t.
So in the morning, we pack up our lunch for the day, and head out to work the walls and ceiling.
Another thing that had to go was the cabinets. The sections that weren’t falling apart were gross, not to mention ugly.
One of the interesting modifications that has been made to this trailer is that the HVAC and water heater were taken out of their built-in cubby, probably partially because the duct work under the mobile home is severely damaged – to the point that we’ll have to put in all new if we decide we want central heat and air later (I do, Gabe’s not convinced).
So while the HVAC was completely removed, the water heater was replaced by a larger model (yay!), and put in what was the master bedroom’s walk-in closet, soon-to-be tiny office.
the upside to all this is that it left a place in the kitchen for a pantry, which makes me equal parts annoyed at the lack of central heat and air, and ecstatic that we have pantry space. Probably the biggest annoyance in the two mobile homes we’ve lived in previously was the lack of storage space.
You can only put so much under beds and in closets. 😉
One of the biggest boost in productivity we’ve had this last week has been my fifteen year old brother, Boaz, coming to spend the summer with us.
He is SO much more adept at knowing how to do all this renovation stuff than I am, and he’s about 99% responsible for taking out the ceiling and getting it ready for the new drywall to go up.
I’m a pretty goal driven person, so at the beginning of the week, I set the goal of getting the ceiling pulled out, and put back up (not finished, just put up) by Saturday (today), but after spending Monday being a slave driver, I could see that nobody else was on board with it.
I was all “ceiling, ceiling, ceiling” and everybody else was chasing squirrels (in the form of useful tasks, but nothing that would get the gallons of paint out of my car’s trunk – because we have to get the ceiling up before we can start painting).
So Tuesday, I promised Boaz that we’d go see Wonder Woman if we got the job done by Friday.
On Thursday, we were ready to put up the new ceiling – yay! – brought in the drywall – yay! – and then kind of petered out when we realized that all three of us didn’t have a lot of confidence in cutting out the necessary holes correctly and getting it up efficiently.
I offered to run to town and buy a rotozip, which is a tool that really saved our hides back when I helped dad hang drywall in the house he built, but in the end, Gabe decided to talk to a local handyman, who had all the necessary tools and expertise to get it done quickly, and I agreed that it was a good idea.
After that, Gabe will be dealing with the septic system, and I’ll move on to framing the new closet which we’re putting in the master bathroom where the garden tub used to be, kitchen cabinets, and other finishing touch kind of things.
One of the biggest expenses we’ll face when we do move in is furniture. Most of the furniture we currently use belongs with this house, and Gabe and I are both pretty serious about doing without before buying something we don’t really love and want.
After using hand-me-downs for the last seven-plus years, I have a pretty strong idea of what kitchen table and couch I want. 🙂
And that’s it for this little, long over-due update.
If you’ve read this far, thank you for bearing with my rambling! A lot of you were asking for an update, and I hope I did it justice.
But like I said, this project is SO far out of my league, I don’t even know what came over me when I encouraged Gabe to buy it.
NOT that I regret it at all, it’s been a great experience, and I’m looking forward to moving in and having our own house.
But it’s definitely been a learning experience, and it makes me uncomfortable forging ahead with something I know so little about.
Get Your Garden Cheat Sheets!
Want to know exactly when, where, and how to plant your vegetables? Sign up to get our FREE companion planting guide, and garden planting cheat sheet printable.