Hello! Jamie and I bought a 1970s rambler in the woods of the Moyaone Reserve in southern Maryland and we moved in a month ago. We love the house (and the Reserve, which we’ll describe later and mention many times on this blog, I’m sure). Of course the house needs work…but we like that it needs work!

We decided to start this blog to document the repairs and renovations, trials and tribulations, and as a record of where we’ve been and what we’ve learned. We want to do a lot of the work ourselves. (Or, if you will: just another home DIY blog. I know we’re in good company on the internet.) I’ve been meaning to get this first post up before today but time flies!

Here are some of the listing pics to give you an idea of what we love about the house:

Soaring mantel! Two fireplaces! Lots of windows! A deck! A solarium! Five acres of Nature!

As for the work that needs to be done: we’ve created a detailed list of needed repairs and improvements (new roof, new deck, proper insulation, etc., etc., etc.) to hopefully keep us focused and prioritized. But before we get started on any big projects we just had to jump on some demolition in the kitchen.

Here are listing photos, one of the kitchen, and one of the kitchen from the dining room:

Not so bad, maybe? We’re okay with the footprint. The locations of the refrigerator, sink, and stove work well. Not so bad, except…the oven display doesn’t work and the oven door is about to fall off, the floor is the nastiest linoleum on top of more nasty linoleum, the sink leaks, and those cabinets—YUCK:

They are disgusting. 30–40 years’ worth of kitchen grease absorbed into them, they actually stink. It’s obvious which cabinets held the tastiest foods because they had the most distinct hand marks on their doors. Also, there were dozens of hooks in the ceiling which had to be removed, and ugly ceiling fan: your days are numbered.

But what we really hated, and what needed to be addressed immediately, were the cabinets cutting off the view from the kitchen into the dining room. Standing on one side of the counter, you can’t see the person standing on the other side! Just dumb.

And so those cabinets came down.

We did the work over a couple of evenings. First, we had to address the wiring that was in the cabinets. We removed the electrical box and capped and labeled the wires then pulled them up into the ceiling/attic space.

The rest of the cabinets, the ones without any electrical in them, came down relatively easily. One of us would loosen the screws while the other held the cabinet up. We then removed the veneer from the soffit (gently, using a crowbar to loosen nails before pulling them out with a hammer), and then we were faced with this monster:

I’m not sure if this is legit construction (doubtful), but it was legit difficult to get down. We ended up attacking it with a reciprocating saw because that thing was bound together with 800 nails, each with its end hammered over, and installed into the attic. When it was all down, we were left with a pile of splintery, pointy-nailed danger, and four holes in the ceiling (none from us), currently covered with painter’s tape.

The holes will be patched and the ceiling painted soon, but in the meantime, we’re enjoying our new unimpeded view from the kitchen.

It has begun.