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Destruction! (Just a Little) – Curbly House Week One

by on Aug 3, 2017

Well, folks, it’s official! Jon* and I signed the closing papers last week, and we are now the proud owners of the new Curbly House! Now all we have to do is put in a new kitchen, renovate the bathrooms, add a new back door, replace the HVAC, finish the basement, improve the landscaping, and figure out how to get a parking space into the back yard! No biggie.

*Reminder: Jon’s my partner on this project; he’s a real estate investor with knack for DIY projects and a love of old houses in need of TLC. Alicia and I will be focused on the design elements, while Jon will be overseeing the day-to-day construction.
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The other important thing to note: we want to be able to list the house for sale this fall (to avoid the poor winter selling season), which means our timeline for this project is crazy fast. There’s a lot to do, and not much time to do it. Plus we want to make sure everything gets done right – no cutting corners. But with a team of us working together, I’m confident we can do it.

Here’s our preliminary plan for the first floor:

Measurements are shown on a black and white blueprint.

As you can see, we’re basically doubling the size of the kitchen and opening it up to the new informal dining room (slash family room… we’re not really sure what to call it yet… great room?). 

On top of that, we’re turning a closet that was in that back room into a new exterior entrance and foyer. That’ll give this house a better way inside from the new parking space we’re adding in the backyard. For Minnesota families, a place to park your snowy boots, coats, and groceries is super important. Even a small “mudroom” is worth its weight in gold.

So, what did we start with?

Maybe you missed it on that plan above, so I’ll call it out:

House plan with living room, kitchen, bathroom etc.


This week Jon and I spent a day ripping out the old kitchen. We removed the old appliances, took out the cabinets and countertops, and tore down most of the two walls that needed to be removed. 

Renovation of house kitchen.

A window sits over a sink and counter in a small kitchen.

Carpentry work at wooden cabin and sink.

A countertop in a white room is situated under a window.

Construction  work is going on .

A room under construction with a green ladder and a push broom.Since it’s been a while since I’d done any real demo, I was reminded of a few important lessons:

Always. Always. Always wear your safety gear.

Seriously. Eye protection, especially. When you’re tearing out stuff, bits and pieces are going to fly around, and inevitably they’ll get in your eyes. It’s tempting to pull those glasses off (they get foggy, they’re annoying), but don’t. Same for gloves – you think you won’t hurt your hands, but you will. Keep your body safe. It’s worth the extra effort.

Demolition is messy.

Well, yeah. Obvious, I know. But I always have this tendency to want to do demolition in a neat, clean way. Not possible. Just accept the mess, and clean it up afterward. You’ll get through the demo faster without wasting time trying to keep things clean.

Demolition is fun!

That’s not a lesson. It’s just true. 

Now for the paint!

After the demo was done, we started priming most of the other rooms for paint. We’re working with Sherwin-Williams again (recall that they helped us with all the paint for the first Curbly House), and we’re psyched to be using their super-low-VOC Emerald latex paint. That means whoever moves into this house won’t have to worry about any harmful chemicals or odors leeching out of the walls. 

A can of Sherwin Williams Emerald interior acrylic latex paint.

Three blue paint lines on the floor and a paint box is also lying on the floor.


What’s next?

Painting will be an ongoing process; I estimate about two week to get the bulk of the rooms re-painted. A few areas (kitchen, bathrooms, mudroom) will have to wait until other construction is done first.

In the meantime, we’re finalizing our kitchen plans (layout, cabinet styles, etc.) and also working hard to source appliances and fixtures. 


Curbly House 2017 Living Room Inspiration

Some living room inspiration from Hayneedle.

Alicia has been coordinating with our pals at Hayneedle to select what feels like a tractor-trailer full of furnishings for the house. Remember, we’re going to fully design and furnish this place, and the buyer will be able to keep all the goodies inside! For a reminder of what she has in mind, check out this post.


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  1. I love posts like this so I look forward to following along. It’s going to be spectacular when you all are finished–both the space planning and design.

  2. So exciting! I’m loving that you’re sharing this whole process… it’s been a dream of mine to do something similar, so it’s fascinating to hear all the ins and outs!

  3. Hello, LOVE your home!! Is there any chance you can share whether you painted the ceiling in your master bedroom SW Crushed Ice as well, or is it Pure White like the trim, or something else? We are repainting our house and we, too, have a vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom and are painting a light neutral color. I can’t decide whether to do the ceiling Pure White (the color of our trim as well!) or the ceiling the same color as the walls. In some of your pictures, I think the ceiling is white, and in others I think it matches the walls. Whatever you guys did, it looks GREAT, and I would love to know! Thanks so much for opening your home to us. 🙂