And then I bought a crowbar…

>> 9.25.2009

With the bathroom reno, I was spending hundreds left and right and feeling a little helpless with the whole thing. I learned first hand how much I could save by doing the dirty work on the popcorn ceilings myself and since then I’ve been trying to do every job possible on my own. At the point where painting just wasn’t enough work, I said to myself , “why not do some demo?!”

Before: the bathroom had a dated mirror and black hole of a cabinet
After: the wall is ready for an update!

Before: the galley kitchen had a set of cabinets that created a semi-open feel

a little hammering...

some prying and jiggling...

After: now that's an open kitchen!

What’s the deal with the lack of action shots?? I couldn’t take any because I was busy doing all of the demo alone. (Yeah, a little dangerous)
How much did I save? I’m not quite sure. I do know that I succeeded in creating a giant void in my kitchen that needs to be taken care of and a few holes in the bathroom wall that need to be patched… but it did feel nice to know that I could do the dirty work if I needed to.

Ever do any demo work yourself to save money? Also, anyone have an opinion on what I should do with the kitchen void? I’m thinking about adding an open shelf and pot lights… or pendant lights.


Graham September 25, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

I'd go for the lights. Keep it simple and open. Something like these:

Of course, you've seen the demo we've already done so far. For your readers' benefit.

Isn't it fun to get in the middle of the project and realize you don't quite know how to finish it? I definitely feel like that right now, since half of our room-in-progress is now missing drywall. :)

Songbirdtiff September 25, 2009 at 11:24 AM  

Girl you are BRAVE! It looks like you're doing a great job. :)

change is a good thing September 25, 2009 at 2:25 PM  

Nice work! We have been doing a lot of the demo work ourselves as well. Last weekend I tore out all of the carpet, pad and wood trim myself before my parents even showed up to help. Needless to say, I was a little sore the next day! There is something very rewarding about doing as much of the work ourselves as we can, don't you think?! I love the openness to your kitchen now!

Meg September 25, 2009 at 2:36 PM  

Go you!! Serious props for all of your hard work. That's very impressive.

Sara @ Russet Street Reno September 25, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

I would do pendant lights and maybe some open shelving on the little wall on the right of the that empty right now? Is that counter a 'breakfast bar?' I love the new pendants they have at Rejuvenation, they aren't 'bargain priced' but I usually spend more for permanent fixtures that can really make a space, like feature lighting. As far as demo, I always do it myself! I'm cheap and I like to be in control of what gets demo-d and what stays put.

Sara @ Russet Street Reno September 25, 2009 at 3:21 PM  

Oh I almost forgot, I have given you the 'Honest scrap' award, even though I know you just got one - doh! You are just an inspiration that I couldn't ignore....check out the post when you get a chance.

chacha September 25, 2009 at 3:43 PM  

How'd you get the bathroom mirror off? I have a GINORMOUS one that needs removing and I'm scared I'm going to slice something open in the process.

We have never hired someone for demo. It's just elbow grease and a little common sense.

The void? Hmm... I am wondering if that other little wall next to it is load-bearing because it would be awesome for the kitchen to be completely open... Are you overhauling your kitchen (i.e. replacing counters, cabinets, etc? I can't remember).

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog September 25, 2009 at 5:16 PM  

@Sara- Yep, that's a bar, but I'm considering getting rid of it since my table takes up practically the entire dining area. Oh, and I'll happily take another award! :)

@chacha- I was really worried about taking down the mirror, but it came off in one piece thanks to my crowbar! If you look in the picture above, you'll see that it was just stuck on with some sort of tar. All I did was jiggle a corner at a time until it was loose enough to pop off (seriously, less than a minute of work).
I wish I could tear down that wall as well, but there is electrical involved as well as weight issues that will create more work than I'm willing to tackle right now.

Jeremy and Kathleen September 25, 2009 at 6:03 PM  

Demo STRESSES me out! Our kitchen remodel cost around $5k and demo was $100. It was totally worth it to me to not feel like I was tearing my house apart. But I'm a wimp.

I vote for pendant lights and barstools to create a casual little dining area.

Kerry September 25, 2009 at 9:42 PM  

Ahhh I LOVE demo :) And -weird coincidence- I just bought myself a crowbar yesterday (any prior demo was done with a borrowed one, but a girl's gotta have her own!)
Also, I echo Songbirdtiff - your demo took guts! Way to go!

dink2sink September 25, 2009 at 10:10 PM  

Your house is looking so different! I've been out of the loop and missed your giveaway :(, but am glad to catch up on your home renos.

Susan September 26, 2009 at 8:28 PM  

Dangerous or not, you totally made that kitchen look sooooo much more inviting! I love it. I think a large open shelf would be gorgeous there! You are definitely a brave soul. I hope you have the gussy to complete it all and not leave it half done. Good luck!

Gretchen September 26, 2009 at 8:37 PM  

Yes, I have certainly done a lot of remodeling on my place. I felt like I virtually lived at Home Depot, it seems like I was there almost every day needing something. Great job!

Pip September 28, 2009 at 5:00 PM  

We've done the bulk of our renos ourselves (demo, plaster, flooring, wiring, plumbing, etc). It saves you tons of money to learn and do things yourself (some community colleges offer courses on trades, the Internet helps too). We talked to a contractor friend after we did our bathroom and figure we saved about $5k going DIY. Once you figure out what you are/aren't comfortable doing it's a great money saver!

Marcy Tate September 29, 2009 at 8:32 AM  

I am so impressed, I am not sure i could handle this on my own, good for you. I belong to a group (like a forum) on called DIY Divas- you should join! Good luck with your projects!

DIY Divas group link

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