Renovations from PoPville – A Fixer Upper in Park View episode one

Ed. Note: We used to feature these renovations from PoPville back in the day but it’s been a while since I’ve found folks willing to share. A good time for me to say, which I sadly realize I have to say, if you have negative comments about the reno please consider keeping it to yourself. Critiquing the renovations is not the point of these posts. It’s simply to show what some folks have done. If you like it, obviously, feel free to let them know but again – well let me be clear – don’t be a jerk. Thanks. Sorry to have to preface with that. I really do love these features and am fortunate that 2 or 3 three more folks have also agreed to share their renovations. These renovations can be extensive – like a whole house gut or simply a 1/2 bath added, floor refinished or even smaller. It can be a whole series of posts or just one. If you’d like to share one of your projects please email princeofpetworth(at)gmail thanks and thanks for understanding!


My name is Taylor, username ParkViewRes and I bought this house with my partner in September 2014. We were actually looking for a fixer upper because we wanted a house that we could make our own. We went to see the house the day it hit the market because our realtor said it would probably go quick. There wasn’t even a for sale sign in front of it yet. They ended up getting 11 offers on the house in less than 24 hours! We were really lucky considering this was the first and only house we put an offer on.

The owners were selling the house “as is” so we knew what we were getting. However, they did fix a leak in the roof and some minor issues with the electrical box. So “as is” doesn’t always mean they won’t fix anything and it doesn’t hurt to ask! We closed in early September, but did not move in until October so we could do a few things before moving all our stuff in.

They rented this house to students the entire time they owned it as far as I can tell. Therefore, it had a few weird things going on. There’s a pocket door that divides the dining and living room. I actually went to paint the pocket door today, but the little bit of white paint we have left was no longer good! The pocket door and tin ceiling are two of my favorite things about this house. When you walk in the front door there is an entryway to the living room on the right. They sealed it by putting up drywall and adding a door to it. I still cannot believe it, but I never took a photo of it! However, I do have photos of my partner removing it. The annoying thing was that they had done some electrical inside the drywall so there would be a light outlet inside the living room since it was being used as a bedroom. We had an electrician come out and take that out since the wire running across the entry way looked rather bad and it’s probably a safety hazard. He also fixed the light outlet in the hall so it controls the living room along with the downstairs and upstairs halls.

The laundry room in the basement had a coin-operated washer and dryer. I mean we could have just used the same quarter over and over, but we replaced it. Bonus: the laundry coin machine had about $4 in quarters in it! We sold the coin operated washer and dryer on Craigslist in a day for $150! They even unhooked, removed, and unloaded them.

LivingRoomAfter1.23 1

Something we knew we wanted to do before we moved in was paint most of the house. Painting is not too difficult, but it is time consuming. We picked a neutral gray (which I know PoPville loves!!), but honestly I like the gray. We did buy a plum color for an accent wall in our bedroom though. I think we’re also going to paint the back bedroom/office the plum color too. For now, we painted the living room, downstairs hall, dining room, stairwell, upstairs hall, guest bedroom, and master bedroom. My back hurts just thinking about it! The ceiling height along the stairwell and hallway made it difficult for amateurs to paint. I wasn’t about to maneuver on a ladder to try to paint it! I recently had someone come finish that up along with the trim around the entry door. We also painted ALL the trim downstairs, up the stairs, and in the hall. I learned I REALLY hate painting trim and thus have not finished painting the trim in the bedrooms! I also have to mention that my mom and friend helped us with some of the painting, which was very much appreciated.


Lastly, we received six quotes for the downstairs hardwood floors before moving in. This process was the least painful of all the estimates we have received. Maybe it was just as bad and I have put it out of my mind and replaced it with the torture of getting bathroom, central air, and window quotes! This house had original wood floors with the exception of the upstairs hall and back bedroom/office (the previous owners put in some newer wood floors that I don’t care for). I did get quotes for refinishing the downstairs hardwood floors. The quotes were not that much cheaper than replacing the floors entirely. Plus one company told us they would not look great as they were in really bad shape. The floors had a bunch of divots likely from high heel shoes. Companies said it would be difficult to completely sand those out because it would ultimately make the wood too thin. I am fine with some imperfections, but they also said they would have to replace some boards completely since they were too damaged. That can add up fast as the original wood in here is apparently not cheap. I didn’t want to plan to spend $2500 restoring and refinishing the hardwood and then it end up being $3500 or more because they had to replace a bunch of boards. Especially when almost everything is more expensive than the ballpark figure I had in my head.

Also, I know a lot of people love original hardwood floors, but I actually love the newer, wide plank look. Nicole Curtis would be cursing me right now. My friend recommended a contractor and I met him at Mr. Floor in Springfield, Va to pick out a wood floor. The wood, shoe moulding, materials, and cost of delivery came to approximately $3000. The contractor charged $725 for labor, but we paid him $800 since he finished the job quickly and we were happy with his work. He is much more affordable than other companies too, probably because he is a one man show and the other places were companies. I think the other quotes we received ranged from $4800-$8000. If there’s one thing I have learned while doing home improvement it’s that the cost varies wildly. I want to laugh at some people when they provide their “amazing, competitive” estimate. That’s it for this post, but next time I’ll have more on little things we did, such as removing closet doors and putting in a “custom” closet.



38 Comment

  • If it’s not too late, keep the old flooring, even if just to sell or donate! That heart-of-pine is worth a fortune!

    • justinbc

      Yep, it no longer exists in mass production (although I do remember reading somewhere they were attempting to bring back the old species).

    • Seriously – I’d buy that flooring! We’re looking into Community Forklift and Second Chance stock now because the original 100+ year-old wood in our house was ripped out, then replaced with plywood and laminate on just the first floor. I’ll buy it and transport it – we’re in Parkview, too!

  • justinbc

    I think the floors work just fine in that space, it’s hard to tell though because the photos aren’t labeled, did they actually change the direction that the boards run? I’m a huge fan of tin ceilings too. Did they paint over the original tin finish or did you guys do that?

    • If you look at the last two photos, it looks like they changed the direction the boards run.

      • Yes, changed the way the boards run. Kind of had the bowling alley look before. The tin ceiling was painted already. I wish it wasn’t, but I don’t think we can change that without spending a lot?

      • justinbc

        Yeah that’s why I was asking, but wasn’t sure if that was the same door in each photo.

  • It’s clear that you ladies have put an incredible amount of energy into this renovation. It looks fabulous, and it’s gotta feel good when you know you’ve done so much of it with your own hands. Great job!

  • Andie302

    So glad you are doing these! I got to take a quick look at your blog and it was awesome!

    • Thank you! Glad you enjoy it.

    • Where is the blog? (Or is it something you shared privately with Andie302?)

      • No, it was shared during a rave/rant and that’s basically how this reno post came about. Here’s the link for those that missed it:

        • Thanks!
          (I live in Park View too, BTW.)

        • I was reading some of the blog entries last night. I’m very impressed with all of the things you two have done yourselves! Did either of you have DIY backgrounds, and/or had you previously been homeowners?

          • Thanks!! I’m personally a total newbie to DIY and also first time homeowner. I did/do watch a lot of HGTV and DIY though (you may laugh, but you do learn a lot!). My partner owned a home for a few years, but it was brand new. She learned a lot on her own and through her dad. I have to give her a lot of credit because I can’t do some of the stuff like changing the light fixtures (electrical ah!) and things like that. I had never used a power drill until we bought this house, LOL!

  • I Dont Get It

    Haha I love the coin laundry story!

    • Me too! I love that you were able not just to get rid of them, but to get money for them! And the $4 in quarters must’ve been a nice surprise. 😉

  • So who was the wood floor contractor?

  • OMG please don’t tell me you got rid of that pine. If you paid the contractor to remove the old wood, he/she probably made the amount they charged you to remove/install the new floors, maybe even more.

    • Nooo. It’s underneath the new hardwood b/c I don’t think there’s a subfloor. Also, in case I come into a lot of money in life and/or decide I do want the original hardwood floor. And the original is all upstairs still.

      • I’m confused … why would coming into money make you want the original hardwood? If you don’t think it can be restored to your satisfaction, how will that change? Or would you actually remove the newly installed hardwood in order to replace your subfloor (the old wood likely was the only floor) to take out the old wood and have it replaced into new boards, to use in another home? Many of the boards could probably be restored to perfection that way.

        Clicked on the link to your blog. Just wanted to note for others who do love the old hardwood, even if it isn’t refinished to perfect shape, that divots, while they cannot be sanded out, can be raised out – that is, by steaming or heating them, getting the crushed wood fibers to swell back up. It is amazing what you can learn on the internet. I love the old heart of pine floors – had them in my last place – they weren’t refinished perfectly, but I’m a sucker for the old imperfect over the new – but boy, anything dented them, and I don’t ever wear high heels! I didn’t end up trying this on my dents, as it requires refinishing after such fixes. That said, your new floors look quite nice in there – a really different look from the original, but very nice!

        • that was supposed to read “replaned” into new boards – hate autocorrect …

          • Because to make the floors look the way I want would cost a lot of money. First of all, there were definitely many boards that needed to be replaced. Like I said that adds up. Secondly, I like a darker wood floor so I’d want them stained after they were repaired. Again more cost. Lastly, I’m a perfectionist and if it cost 10k to get them perfect, great! But I’m not spending that right now.

            Also knowing there were so many people living in this house it made me feel better having fresh, clean floors in. Putting in new floors was a quick win and I love them. Almost every contractor that comes through compliments them.

          • I was told something similar by a flooring company about my heart-of-pine upstairs floors (the downstairs floors are oak) — they said that they could be refinished, but that they recommended replacing a number of boards, and that they would also need to replace any additional boards that broke during the sanding process. The more they talked about it, the more expensive it sounded, and I was particularly worried about not having a good sense in advance of exactly how much it was going to cost.
            IIRC, the other two flooring companies I got estimates from didn’t think it was possible to refinish the heart-of-pine floors because of the floors being too thin to sand. (They gave me estimates for buffing the floors.)

          • I have approximately ~800 sq. feet on heart pine on my first level and have the same issue – the boards have been sanded down so much that some are starting to flex because the tongue & groove system holding them together is no longer thick enough to prevent some rotation. They can’t be sanded any further. I met with a few contractors that said they could take up the floor, lay a new subfloor, then reinstall the boards to eliminate this, but we’re talking 15K or more depending on the number of boards broken during removal. Saving old floors is not cheap.

          • @JS Yes, lots of unknowns with restoring original hardwood floors the right way. Ours would have had to be sanded a lot in some places and like textdoc said they could end up breaking even more boards while sanding. Also, I didn’t know that the originals dented easily (as mentioned by dcres), but that makes me happier I didn’t stick with the original because that would drive me nuts. One other thing is that the original floors creaked so bad, but installing the new floors eliminated that! Now we just have to deal with it upstairs.

  • ** that amount back on selling the pine

  • I live next door! Great work so far….I saw the house pre fixing up. Let me know if you want to see what my place looks like. Its the same layout as yours except my staircase is on the other side. Also, I have an open layout so the kitchen/living room/dining area run together.

    • Hi Neighbor! Thanks! I would love to see your place as we wonder what some of the other houses on the block look like. You can email me above or if you see me and you have a minute I’d love to stop in.

  • Great work! Congrats and thanks for sharing!

  • This is great, thanks for sharing! I’m looking forward to episode 2.

  • I actually love the gray too. That shade you chose is really great. Mind sharing what brand/color it is? Our very large row house was covered wall to wall and ceiling to ceiling in dingy beige. It took us FOREVER to get rid of it. We chose a very light warm gray for our living room and bedroom, but two years later, we wish we had chosen something a bit darker for the living room. I’m really liking the color you chose!

    • Thank you! Of course not, it’s Behr Cathedral Gray ( Yeah, I also wanted to buy a big tub of it to do most of the house so it was basically between beige and gray. When we finally do our bathroom we’ll paint it a different color (it’s white right now).

      • Thank you! Funny, because we actually were considering that color when were first painting and were afraid it would be too dark (hadn’t actually seen it on a wall). Now that I see it in action, I think we made the wrong choice! Maybe a trip to HD is in order 🙂

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