christine clling

Renovation Progress | Duluth, MN 1970s Split Level Renovation

We’re in the middle of our renovation and things are going well overall. Reed is done putting up all of the sheetrock upstairs (the basement will be finished this winter), and he’s started mudding. The 15 foot window is in in the kitchen, and our new heating system is almost done. We finished one bathroom upstairs, it just needs some finishing detail work like trim and paint touch ups (and shelves, hardware, toilet paper holders, etc). It looks so good though, and even though its really small (8.5 x 5) it’s really cute.

Mudding will take at least a couple of weeks, but after that is done we can paint and then start assembling, painting, and then installing the cabinets. Then we can install flooring, and trim, and then move in!! We will order counters right when the cabinets are installed because the company needs them to be in before they can measure. So we are hoping that the upstairs will be done, except for some small details, by the end of October.

The entire house is torn apart except for our bedrooms and the now-finished bathroom. We set up a makeshift kitchen/living/dining room in our garage, and that was working really nicely until the cabinets arrived. Now they take up most of the space, but we can still cram ourselves at the table. We’ve been doing all of our cooking on the grill, and we’re starting to get a little sick of it. Burgers and chicken are our go-tos. We did figure out how to make spaghetti on the grill though. That was an exciting day. (We have a single gas burner on the grill, so we first boil noodles on it, then set them aside and brown hamburger, and then add sauce. Soooo good after the same things for so long!)

We’ve been using our laundry sink as our kitchen sink, and we are definitely excited to have a kitchen sink again (mostly a dishwasher). We’ve found many spiders hiding in the dishes while washing, and it’s my least favorite thing! The sink is in the corner of the basement with all the spiders :(.

Maren has been really good about not going where she’s not supposed to. And Sophia hasn’t started crawling yet, and we think we’ll finish the upstairs just in time for her to start really cruising around. Since I’m home with the girls all day, we play in one of our three bedrooms or outside. We have a really big driveway that Maren loves to play on with her baby & stroller, chalk, car, or “cook” with her pots and pans and rocks.

Reed built me those built in bookshelves <3

There was an eat in kitchen area/breakfast nook thing that took up half of the kitchen space. We took out that wall and are making the whole thing the kitchen. If you look closely in the pictures below you can see the tape on the floor where the island is going to be. It’s going to be 5×10 feet and I’m so excited.

From this corner of the room below will be the kitchen, looking into the dining room and living room (left and right, respectively)

All of the paneling in the house is gone. I don’t exactly miss it.



Looking into the dining room. The big window overlooks the bay and Lake Superior, and next summer we’re going to put a patio door there and built a big deck out into the backyard.

Maren loves to look out the window and watch the ships. We can see a lot of them from our house, and we found binoculars she likes to look through.

The view below is looking into the living room

This was the original 1970s bathroom. It was pretty big but felt really cramped. The new bathroom is small so it’s hard to get a wide shot for you guys of how it looks now, but you can get an idea. I didn’t get a very good shot of it, but Reed put a really nice wood-look tile on the floor. You can see a tiny sliver of it right by the new toilet below.


There was a fancy green tiny bathtub shower combo that took up the entire bathroom even though it was tiny. We tore that out and put in a normal bathtub. We were going to put in a fun (also meaning expensive) tile, but I miscalculated how much expensive tile would cost for a WHOLE bathtub. It would have been $600+ for each tub, just for the tile. So we did a fun pattern with subway tile and light gray grout. This bathroom was the first thing Reed has ever tiled, and it turned out really good. We still have to clean up the grout lines where the tile meets the tub (you can see it in the picture below), and finish painting the edges of the walls next to the tile, and put in trim. 

As an almost last minute thought, we decided to put in a walk in closet in our room. Our room was pretty big and we had the extra room and decided we’d rather have a smaller room with a walk in closet. While he was redoing that, he could lay in bed and see through the entire house. We were staying at my parents house for three weeks while he got the bathroom done.

The doorway to our room was really wide, so we narrowed it and moved it over to make room for the closet. I absolutely love how it turned out, and I also plan on using it as an extra nursery area for when we have guests or for another baby so we don’t have to combine the girls together so soon.

Inside the closet. We put rods on the left and will build a shelf system on the right out of 10 inch pine board and spray it all white. 


The old toilet on the left was our view from our bed. No door. I don’t know what they were thinking. So when we redid the closet we made sure to widen the walkway to make room for a door, lol. It was also a really small bathroom, with just that toilet and a sink. So we took some space from the other bathroom and made ours bigger. It’s about 8.5×7 feet. We will finish it this fall after the main living area and kitchen is done. We also put in a really deep 6 foot tub. 



How the kitchen looked when we bought it, and how the kitchen looks now. 

Maren loves “helping” and has been very good at not going where tell her she can’t. She loves laying on the sheetrock piles.

Reed has done almost every single thing here. I’m very impressed (he has no prior experience) and thankful for all of his hard work.

Our kitchen/living/dining room setup in the garage. It was quaint until the TWO pallets moved in right in front of the table there. Like full size shipping pallets. Now we have to squeeze up to the table to eat, and it’s really hard to clean which is a bummer. Hopefully only a couple more weeks……

And this is the basement walkout family room. I absolutely love this room and am almost more excited for this to be done than the upstairs (ok, not actually). We have to replace that sliding door because it’s basically open to the outside (but at the same time impossible to open, for you thieves out there). Otherwise we’ll sheetrock, paint the fireplace, and put cozy carpet down. We’ll have our big fluffy couch against the wall not pictured to face the fireplace, and have built in bookshelves on the whole wall above it. In the corner by the slider and window I’m going to put a round table with maybe a cute light above it for games and puzzles. We’re thinking of putting a TV over the fireplace but it depends if we keep it wood burning or not.

The rest of the basement has an extra bedroom, a bathroom, and a laundry room. It won’t cost too much to finish except for the carpeting, because it just needs sheetrock and mud basically. So hopefully this winter we will get it done!

August 28, 2018


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