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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

I Just Want Brick

In the opening segment of last year’s Rehab Addict Nicole Curtis, @nicolecurtis, laments “I just want to see brick”.  Well I know where the brick walls are located in my house, the question is do I have the strength and energy to pound off the plaster to expose it.  I think I’ll have to choose my battles.  In the hall way leading to the bedrooms/office is the back of the fireplace.  About 8’x9′ of plaster to expose it.  Not sure about tackling that much, but I do think it will be cool.

On the second floor the chimney narrows to about 2′, but 3 of 4 sides will be enclosed in closets, so is that worth it?  1 side, inside master bath DEFINITELY, but the other three I’m not so sure.

Then there is the kitchen.  It took only about 30 minutes to pound off the bottom half, so now I need to rework my kitchen design to take advantage of this great feature.  Open shelving utilizing the wood from the walnut trees I’m cutting down was the first thing that came to mind.  Cabinets with glass doors and no back is another thought.

Master Bath

Ms. Kent’s Future Neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor,
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?



Inside my small entry foyer is a bench and today I had a childhood flashback as I sat on the bench to change into my work shoes and coverall which are stored in the closet on the opposite side.  I felt like Mr. Rogers (folks of my generation will get the reference, youngins Google it).

During my days of contemplation I picked a sunny day and drove around taking pictures of homes near my house.  I was told by Joe Gorman that my house is the only Cape Cod styled house in all of Camp Washington.  It definitely stands out in its uniqueness.  Check out this video I made – Ms. Kent’s Future Neighborhood.

Monday was a very productive work day.  I met Kevin with Gregory Forestt Lester Tree Removal Service and got a great quote to remove 15 trees out of my backyard.  People have reacted so negatively when they hear I’m cutting down almost every tree in the back yard, but it’s a necessity in order to build the garage.  Also most are weeds that were ignored and now have become ugly, scaggely trees that were allowed to grow out of control.  Many have grown into the chain link fence on the side and back yard and are covered in poison ivy.  Plus the dense shade in the back has created a mosquito breeding ground.  The first time I went in the backyard I came out with a dozen or more bites.  There are five walnut trees that drop huge nuts making the backyard a hot mess and not dog friendly.  Yeah, the trees need to go.  I am going to try and harvest the walnut tree wood for some DIY projects in the house.

I spent the rest of the day removing trim moulding out of the dining room and kitchen.  As I await the architect drawings that I need to request permits, I plan to use the time to carefully remove all the floor and door mouldings before official demo begins, so they can be re-installed.  So far I have not broken any piece that I was not able to fix with wood glue and my pin nailer gun.  The dining room is now ready for demo although I could not resist knocking through the wall that will eventually be removed to create the open concept kitchen/dining room.


Meeting with my Architect

20170929_121934As if getting a house and additional lot for $10,000 was not great enough, the Camp Washington Board also has one of its members, Sean Keith of Sean Keith Design, LLC, provide homeowners with a floor plan of the existing house.  He is also providing me the renovation plans I’ll need to submit to the City of Cincinnati to obtain the permits to begin the “real” work on the house.

Here are links to the existing floor plans:
3063 Henshaw-Existing First Floor Plan w measurements
3063 Henshaw-Existing Second Floor Plan w measurements

The first floor will remain relatively the same, only removing the wall that separates the kitchen from the dining room.  The real transformation and reason I fell in love with the house, will be the attic space as it’s converted into my master suite.