Spring has sprung—and does anything make you happier? I can’t think of anything better than getting out our cute clothes (I mean, have you seen Hazel in a sunhat?), dusting off our patio furniture,...
Help! I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6
The Homeowner Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6
Maddie Cates Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6
The Budget Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6
Maddie Cates is one cool gal. She’s the mother of two awesome teens, Gwen and McCoy, and she’s an entrepreneur. She bought a vintage camper trailer and renovated the entire thing herself, making it into a mobile bar that she uses for weddings and other events. See, I told you she was cool. Anyway, when she renovated the camper, she gutted the whole thing, installed a bar, backsplash, added new paint – the whole nine yards. She thought to herself, “I’m pretty good at this DIY stuff!” and tried her turn at doing some renovation work on her own house. But that’s where it all went wrong. You see, sometimes those skills just don’t translate when you’re trying to do a full-blown renovation on your house. And let me just say, Maddie went for it. She and the kids took down the kitchen cabinets, they removed the backsplash – they just started taking stuff out without a real plan. But she had some false courage from renovating the camper trailer, and the videos she watched on social media made everything look so easy. So she kept at it, leaving holes in walls, exposed electrical, and other unsafe things along the way. Then when Maddie went to take down an entire wall herself and realized it was load-bearing, she finally stopped. That’s where I came in. By the time I reached Maddie’s home, she was in a place where she was frustrated and too embarrassed to have over friends or host clients for tastings.
The Plan Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6
We needed to help this business owner and rad single mom get this house in order so she could enjoy her kids and expand her business. It was Maddie’s dream to open up the kitchen and take down that wall, so even if the wall was supporting the house, we were going to make that happen for her. I needed to figure out how much it would cost to open up the whole space into an open concept, and how much of the budget that would eat up. I also needed to give the family a whole new kitchen and fireplace (another place where they got hammer happy). A leak from the roof two years ago left some damage that we needed to explore, but it could bring the whole budget down. Pro Tip: Never leave water damage in your home, get it fixed! I wanted to also incorporate a place for Maddie to host clients, and also a place for Gwen and McCoy to hang. Phew, and I had 4 weeks to do it all!
You see that big hole in the wall below? That’s where Maddie tried opening up the kitchen wall herself, and thought, “oh… maybe I should stop.” It was clear that she wanted this wall gone more than anything. I wanted to be able to do that for her, but we needed to figure out how to do that safely as this wall was helping hold up the house. We got the okay from the engineer to remove the wall, but it required posts, so I designed the kitchen to have a big beautiful island with the posts flanking it on either side. We added quartz countertops, seating and a cooktop to this nice big island so it could add a whole lot of functionality for this family. We also added all new flooring, all new cabinetry on the back wall, open shelving and backsplash tile all the way to the ceiling. I kept the sink where it was because I liked how it looked out the window. I also got rid of an existing pony wall between the kitchen and eat-in nook so we could extend the kitchen even further with a cute little bar top by the windows. This little window seating area would go perfectly with an at-home bar I had in mind for Maddie. I’ll get to that in a minute…
Special Project: Salvaged Wood Beams
When we took out the wall, we added our new structural support to the roof but the engineering still called for two posts. So I salvaged these cool old beams, and they cost nothing because I salvaged them! Instead of simply incorporating the beams, I wanted to make them feel really intentional. We installed a decorative beam on the ceiling to tie it all together.
This is the room where we needed to do most of our construction, so we needed to rip everything out. But in demoing the kitchen we found a lot of water and moisture under the kitchen sink. We ripped open the wall and although we did find crickets (which I hate!), we found that it was dry behind the drywall. That’s good news, but we also found some mold. You win some, you lose some. Speaking of losing some, when my contractor David was demoing the ceiling in the kitchen he found tons and tons of rat droppings – I came in and they were all over the floor, in the insulation, everywhere. That means that at some point, there were rats right above the kitchen which is so dangerous for health reasons. This was a MAJOR problem. We brought in a professional to assess the situation, which resulted in us removing and replacing all the insulation in the entire house. That cost $4,500 and was a big bummer, but we could move forward knowing Maddie, Gwen and McCoy would have a safe home.
The cabinets cost $12,000, and for this kitchen, I couldn’t just do white cabinets. I couldn’t do a plain kitchen in general – Maddie isn’t a plain kitchen kinda gal! (And I’m always down for painting cabinets!)
Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6
Maddie always envisioned floating shelves in this kitchen, so we installed those ($600) on this cream colored backsplash tile that went all the way to the ceiling ($1,700). The cream tiles play really well with the deep green cabinetry. On this back wall of perimeter cabinetry we went with a butcher block countertop to add another texture to the kitchen. Since the countertop wood is unfinished birch, we went with a clear coat to keep its raw tones intact.
Special Project: Painted Appliances
For all of the hidden problems we ran into with this project, I needed to make our $70,000 budget stretch as far as possible. Since Maddie’s refrigerator and dishwasher were both in good shape, I painted them to update them. My carpenter Ben from this project has a paint booth, so we sanded down and then painted the appliances a cream color that really complements the backsplash tile and cabinet color. They now look totally different at a $1,000 cost, as opposed to $4,000 – which is what new appliances would have run us.
Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6
What a difference removing this wall made! Now Maddie has the open concept space she always wanted and the kitchen feels so much larger and more functional.
My heart went out to Maddie when she said not only does she feel embarrassed to have people over in general, but she doesn’t feel like she can host clients in her home to do tastings. That’s hard when your home starts to interfere with how you run your business. So to put an end to that embarrassment, we added this bar top at the window where she can sit and work or where clients can sit to taste cocktails for their planned events.
Special Project: At-Home Bar
To really make this home work for Maddie, we added an at-home bar right off the kitchen. I found a vintage tool chest at one of my favorite shops, Through the Porthole. It looks like was in a mechanics shop, which I loved – it ran us $600. Scott and I installed a mercury glass tile to the first shelf to give the piece a little bling, and we also installed storage for hanging wine glasses. Maddie said this felt like a speakeasy when we showed it to her!
The Living/Dining Room
When it came to the living room/dining room area, I wanted to update what was there and make the space function better for the family. I loved the original hardwood floors, so we decided to play off of those. Maddie wanted a lot of texture and patterns, so we leaned into an eclectic bohemian design. I wanted it to feel curated and like Maddie. So here you can see that Maddie and Gwen had attempted to remove this fireplace tile themselves, but they quickly stopped when Maddie cut her finger on a broken tile. I wanted to do a relatively simple but impactful update on this fireplace, so we removed the existing mantle and installed a simple wood one. Then we removed the dated tile and I had Maddie come in and help me install a black handcrafted tile. I showed her how to install the tile so she could still have some sense of accomplishment in her home. Overall, it cost us $2,500 to update the fireplace.
Before, it felt like this space wasn’t really defined for any one particular purpose. Since we were able to create a place to host client tastings in the kitchen, I wanted to make this a proper dining area. We installed a full custom banquette with plenty of seating and a cool new light fixture.
Special Project: Dining Banquette
I invited Gwen and McCoy to come help me make and install the custom banquette seating in the dining room so it could be a surprise for their mom. Gwen and I took pieces of wood that I had cut in half and sanded them down a bit, and McCoy helped my contractor David hold and level the wood pieces in place so they could be drilled in. They said their mom is like their best friend, so it felt really special for the kids to be able to do this for her. Custom banquette: $700.
When we first saw the sunroom, my eye immediately went to a wall that looked really damaged from water. Sure enough, Maddie told us there had been a leak in the roof, but that it was fixed two years ago. But here we were, looking at the water damage still in the home. People: if you have water damage, get it fixed. Even though we went up to the roof and confirmed the leak had been fixed properly, it turns out that damp wood was a great snack for termites. The wall with the water damage had the worst termite damage that Scott had ever seen. We had to reframe the wall and remove the damage, and that set us back $4,000. But onward and upward – we moved full speed ahead and made this a cool boho mid-mod space for Maddie and the kids to hang out.
This striped wallpaper adds a cool, textural feel to the whole room ($2,800). Maddie said this sunroom actually feels like a part of the house now. All in all, we went over budget in the whole project by $4,000 because of the termite damage and the insulation remediation. But at the end of the day, this home is now a representation of Maddie, her family, and her business.
Maddie told me that this home finally “feels like us,” and that’s the best thing I could have heard. That was my goal, and it makes me so happy that she and her family can continue their next chapter together in this home.
A very special shout-out to Found Rental Co. for helping us style this home, from the furniture to the decor and everything in between!
Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6 Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6 Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6 Help I Wrecked My House Season 2 Episode 6