DIY Days at The Frankfort House

It looks much nicer without the snow! Too bad it rained 90% of the time.

It looks much nicer without the snow! Too bad it rained 90% of the time.

We’re always looking for and working on projects around our Indy house, but after spending the past week at The Frankfort House (our new summer home in northern Michigan) we’re gaining a new appreciation for DIY-ers.

First off, props to the previous homeowners. The place was very clean in places like the living room, kitchen, basement and bathroom, but it was just a little, well, “loved” in other areas. Holes in the walls, torn-off painting, paint splotches on the original 1936 wood floors and a big pile of crown molding in the living room that apparently is up to us to install. Surprise!

We knew we had work ahead of us, so we spent the past week fixing up the old lady. On our “to-do” list:

  1. Move all our “stuff” from Indy to Frankfort.
  2. Spackle and sand down bedroom walls.
  3. Paint bedroom walls.
  4. Replace flooring on entire first floor (minus bathroom).
  5. Level flooring in uneven spots.
  6. Install crown molding in living/dining space.
  7. Run to Traverse City for inevitable list of forgot-to-bring items.
  8. Set up furniture in final configuration.
  9. Take photos for marketing purposes.
  10. Have electrician and Internet folks come out.
  11. Install ceiling fan/light.
  12. Host Caitlyn’s mom for a few days.

OK, in hindsight, it was maybe a bit much to chew off in one week (we’ll be going up again later this month for another week of DIY fun — yay?). What we actually got done:

  1. Move all our “stuff” from Indy to Frankfort.
  2. Spackle and sand down bedroom walls.
  3. Paint bedroom walls.
  4. Level and replace flooring in bedrooms and hallway of first floor.
  5. Run to Traverse City twice (oops!) for inevitable list of forgot-to-bring items.
  6. Have electrician and Internet folks come out.
  7. Hang the ceiling fan/light, only to blow a fuse. Project is under inspection.
  8. Host Caitlyn’s mom for a few days.
Earning my keep. Not a bad day to load up in Indy, but the weather would turn in Michigan.

Earning my keep. Not a bad day to load up in Indy, but the weather would turn in Michigan.

Of course, we arrived in a monsoon and, thankfully, a nearby neighbor understood our plight and moved many heavy pieces of furniture and flooring into our house (our other neighbors came over with cookies — also good). Our home looked like it belonged in an episode of “Hoarders” at this point, so we got to work.

Spackle, sand, spackle, sand ...

Spackle, sand, spackle, sand …

The walls

The bedroom walls were a light shade of pink, with some nice gashes and holes — made all the more visible from sanding and spackling — and the trim around the windows had seen better days. We painted the walls “Dolphin Fin” (a faint grey) with Behr Interior Enamel Paint. We’ve used Behr in our Indy home and it seems to get the job done. Two coats in each room did the job.

Caitlyn trying to level the floor in one of the bedrooms.

Caitlyn trying to level the floor in one of the bedrooms.

The floors

The floors here are something special — they all slant in different directions. We purchased some Henry floor-leveling compound (the stuff in the box, not in the big bag) and patched up a few small areas in the bedroom and hallways. We also bought some OSB board, which will probably be needed in the decidedly slant-ier dining area. The compound took a little longer to dry than the box let on; instructions say 1-2 hours, but we found overnight worked best.

From there, the bulk of our trip was busy cutting and laying Expressa brand vinyl wood planks; the original flooring was too far gone to fix without hardcore sanding, staining and cleaning. The planks are nice and sturdy and, best of all, were purchased on sale and with a Lowe’s 10% off coupon at Menards, which accepts competitors’ coupons. For any flooring project of this scale, make sure you have a jigsaw and several blades – they’ll die out quickly. We also brought our miter saw and a special fine-tooth blade, but it made a stink and huge pile of vinyl dust whenever we did a cut, so make sure you do it in a well ventilated space.

The hallway was murder, mostly because the original molding and trim for the house is still in tact. It required a special run to the hardware store down the street to grab a simple hand saw to create the space where the planks could slide under the molding. Poor Caitlyn probably will develop arthritis thanks to this house and it’s never-ending list of sawing projects.

We'll figure out how it all fits ... eventually.

We’ll figure out how it all fits … eventually.

The configuration

Another surprise this trip (it was filled with many) is that we couldn’t fit more than two twin beds in either bedroom. We also have a trundle, which wouldn’t even fit in the queen bedroom. This is problematic, as we’re trying to find a way to comfortably sleep up to 5 in the house. Furthermore, the two twins will need to be set up in a configuration where the headboards meet at a 45-degree angle due to the placement of the windows and trim.

Believe it or not, we did (briefly) get out of the house. Those details to come uin a future post …

 

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3 Comments on “DIY Days at The Frankfort House

  1. It looks great and it will be even better when you finish … if you’re not stuck on twin beds, maybe you can try a loft-type bed like from college dorm days … it will help free up floor space and sleep more folks 🙂

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