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Last weekend, to put most of the finishing touches on the updating/refreshing of my mother’s house in Sherwood, Oregon, in preparation to start leasing it. The odyssey started on Thanksgiving weekend when Rich and I felt it would be best to move my mother to our Mount Vernon house where we could better monitor her care.

We also thought it would be a good time – dead of winter – to tackle dispensing with her household belongings, and clean up the house. She’d always had lots of animals, mostly cats, which did a splendid job of perfuming the floors, walls and cabinets. Nearly every surface had been damaged. Not good.

Previously, I wrote about the work we did from Thanksgiving through mid-January in the post, “Life Happens.” We continue working on the house, usually every weekend, taking off work, and leaving on a Thursday or Friday morning. In February, Rich was at the house three weekends in a row.

Because I had significantly less vacation than Rich, three times I took Amtrak after work, and joined Rich in Portland to work on the house Saturday through Sunday.

While Rich needs to return on Tuesday, March 12th, to oversee having the wood fireplace converted to gas (to prevent renters from dragging wood into the house, forgetting to open the flue, and other wood-burning mishaps), 95% of everything we needed to get done to start leasing the house is now done!

We have contracted with a leasing company who works with people relocating to Portland for Nike, Tektronix, and other local companies. Chances are a professional couple with perhaps a child or two will lease the house… for at least a year. We were told because the house is in such good condition, we can get top dollars, and the renters will be carefully vetted.

Take a look at the before and after pictures. Here’s what we accomplished in the past few months.

Work Done Rich and Julie

  • Removed flooring downstairs and part of upstairs, pulled out staples and readied for installation of hardwood and carpeting
  • Repaired damaged flooring in two bedrooms
  • Painted two coats of Kilz on walls and floors that were damaged by cats
  • Repaired damaged dry wall and retextured the bottom of several walls, filled holes from pictures and bumps
  • Painted entire inside of house, including several coats on walls that weren’t original white
  • Removed outdoor cat run
  • Patched the exterior and interior walls where there was a kitty door
  • Removed and replaced pocket door
  • Trimmed doors throughout house so they’d fit over carpeting and wooden floors
  • Built new Formica countertops for master and downstairs bathrooms
  • Reset and plumbed bathroom sinks
  • Removed and replaced tile in master bathroom (plus, drywall work to replace where tiles were removed)
  • Replaced mirrors in upstairs bathrooms
  • Painted over-sink medicine chest in downstairs bathroom
  • Replaced toilet seat in one bathroom
  • Replaced facet in one bathroom
  • Cleaned and reinstalled toilet in downstairs bathroom after hardwood floors were installed
  • Remove old caulk from bathrooms and re-caulked
  • Replace thermostat
  • Created tile entryway by front door
  • Painted fireplace mantel another color, removed bad grouting, re-grouted, and sealed grout
  • Purchased new stove/oven, microwave, and dryer from Sears
  • Installed microwave, microwave vent, stove/oven, and refrigerator
  • Replaced kitchen sink faucet, plumbed and re-installed garbage disposal
  • Thoroughly cleaned all drawers, cupboards, closets
  • Cleaned refrigerator and painted rusted areas with appliance paint, and cleaned freezer in garage
  • Remove tile in kitchen, repaired (drywall) and painted walls
  • Tiled kitchen walls
  • Put up cove base molding in kitchen, laundry closet and downstairs bathroom
  • Re-installed washer and dryer
  • Replaced heat registers
  • Added smoke detectors
  • Replaced hinges on several doors
  • Painted and installed baseboards over carpeting
  • Re-keyed all locks (Rich had a short stint as a locksmith decades ago)
  • Replaced front door hardware
  • Replaced molding around front door, and painted both front-and-back
  • Replaced some of the electrical outlets, which were ivory instead of white
  • Washed insides of windows
  • Wiped down blinds
  • Took down and washed light fixtures and fan covers
  • Put contact paper in kitchen drawers, bathroom cupboards, etc.
  • Washed floors and other surfaces
  • Trimmed and tidied yard (very neglected), re-arranged stepping stones and pathways, divided plants, weeded
  • Spread 2.5 yards of bark dust
  • Spread .5 yards of pea gravel for pathways
  • Scrubbed patio and patio cover
  • Ordered dumpster to discard refuse such as cat run, old stove, flooring, etc.
  • Cleaned out garage
  • Made a million trips to Home Depot and Lowes for paint, tile, caulk, tools, dry wall, hardware, etc.
  • Shopped at Sears, tile and flooring stores for supplies

Work Done by Contractors

  • Installed hardwood floors in kitchen, family room, downstairs bathroom
  • Installed carpet in living room, dining from, hallways, and stairs
  • Refinished kitchen and bathroom cabinets, along with doors throughout house (amazing work!)
  • Installed composite counters in kitchen along with stainless steel sink
  • Had roof and driveway pressure washed
  • Converted wood fireplace to gas (March 12th)

Other Work Done by Julie and Rich

  • Purchased new refrigerator for Kirkland house and moved the one from Kirkland to Mount Vernon house (previously had a small bar refrigerator)
  • In early December, rented small moving van, packed furniture, and move my mother to Mount Vernon
  • Unpacked moving van, arranged Mount Vernon house to accommodate my mother’s needs, including raised toilet, supplies, food, walker, wheelchair, etc.
  • Arranged for Visiting Angels to come twice a day, and monitor weekly
  • Purchase groceries and supplies weekly, and monitor usage
  • Set up and brought my mother to doctor several times (Rich since I can get the wheelchair down the stairs in Mount Vernon)
  • Changed my mother’s medical insurance, address, arranged for paper delivery, cable TV, etc.