Home

A Quick Turnaround on the Garage Apartment

Leave a comment

We are lucky enough to own a home with a garage apartment in Huntsville, Texas. The house is in a good location near Sam Houston State University and Huntsville’s cute downtown Our home is on a pretty corner lot. The one bedroom garage apartment door faces the backyard and has a sidewalk and deck off the doorway that provides privacy and a feeling of living more in the country than the city. My daughter in law says it feels like a treehouse and I agree!

The first of August we got notice that our awesome tenants in the garage apartment would be moving out due to graduating and getting a job in downtown Houston. We were bummed and a little nervous because ideally we like to switch tenants over the summer before August 1 for college students. Our tenants went above and beyond to move out by August 15th and to find us another tenant that we totally approve of and are thrilled to welcome. They move in September 1st.

Since our last tenants were there almost 3 years we knew we had some sprucing up and maintenance before the next move in. The guest house we have been working on recently is on a short hold while we get things taken care of at the garage apartment. Bummer.

I am a worry wart so I made a list about 5:30 one morning when I couldn’t sleep.

We had some leveling to do because a center beam in the garage settled, a little rot around the stairs that needs to be addressed, and some stabilization of the steps by connecting the steps to the garage wall. It is an ongoing struggle with exterior upkeep. Huntsville is pretty hot and humid along with being amazingly rainy, the back yard is in the shade almost all the time, the trees drop leaves everywhere, and well, the building is 71 years old. The original garage floor was dirt which wasn’t uncommon in 1950. At some point concrete without any reinforcement was poured and it made the garage doors so low that only a sports car would fit in there.

Leveling the center joist involves two bottle jacks, wood, and metal shims. You literally jack the post on the right up until you can add shims into the permanent post on the left. We had it professionally done five years ago and this is just maintenance. The exterior walls need to be leveled the next time but we weren’t ready to disconnect all the support beams and lift them this time. It would have taken us several days we don’t have.
Mr. Math wants everyone to know he added strapping to the post to attach it to the joist and keep the metal shims in place. I just didn’t get that picture.

We also touched up paint on the exterior. I am so grossed out every time we switch tenants with the front door that I was positive it wouldn’t be white again. I decided on red- Behr dark crimson to be specific.

This is a picture of the apartment from five years ago when I was mad the painters didn’t paint the trim. I didn’t take a close up picture of the door so imagine a grimy smudged door.

The change is dramatic. I like dramatic.

We also switched from the exterior wall paint on the deck outside apartment to porch paint. I am actually shocked we got five years out of the porch being sprayed with exterior wall paint. We are going with Behr Slate Gray on the wood decked porch. It will provide a nice contrast to the blue paint. Mr. Math spent half a day power washing, nailing in popped nails, and scraping 6 by 6 the deck and stairs to get us ready.

During the hard freeze we got in Texas last winter a pipe burst in the bathroom and thanks to the Texas power grid issue, we went way more than 24 hours in the very low teens with no electricity. All the pipes are exposed in the garage below. Of course we fixed the burst pipe but knew we had damage to fix on the inside this summer. The water from the burst pipe seeped into a crack in the grout then froze under the tiles. The concrete backer board under the tile absorbed enough water that it swelled and burst in places causing four tiles to need to be replaced. We expected hardwood floor damage but weren’t aware of the bathroom issues. Four of the avocado green tiles in the bathroom had to come out. Surprise, surprise, we couldn’t find new green tiles. So, this quick reno involves four new beige tiles. I don’t love it but the bathroom is part of our long term plan and will be totally renovated down the road to allow for stackable washer and dryer and for the bathtub ceiling area to be raised.

The original to 1950 pine flooring is one of my favorite things about the garage apartment along with a super cute phone niche and the original trim and doors complete with crystal door knobs. The floor took a hit during the freeze with water covering the entire floor. There are also some pretty deep scratches from a tenant who lived there when we purchased the property’s two huge dogs that have to be addressed. This time around we will be patch staining and re-polyurethaning the floors. I really wanted to sand and strip but it will involve sanding, stripping, using wood filler, and probably replacing a couple of boards. The exterior walls of the house needs to be leveled before we tackle that. Since we have a two week turnaround, the poly needs to have time to harden before moving in furniture, it will have to wait.

We also cleaned the walls, windows, appliances, did interior touch up paint, cleaned inside the cabinets and will be having all the plumbing redone next week to the kitchen and bathroom. Hopefully the Pex piping will not be as prone to freezing.

We are almost there. The list is nearly complete.

Beside the plumber coming Thursday we need to add new solar lights along the gate sidewalk, exterior cleaning and new silicone to the tub, replacing 2 mini blinds, and a smoke detector, we will be done.

Owning and maintaining our own rental is hard work. It isn’t for someone who doesn’t mind getting theirs hands dirty and backs sore but it is a great investment opportunity.

We love hearing from you,

Karen

The Weekend Country Wedding

2 Comments

Well the big day has come and gone for Baby Boy and Sweet Amanda.  I now officially have a daughter-in-law and I couldn’t be prouder.  My daughter the southern bell and her fiancee were also able to be at Star Hill for the weekend.  The wedding was beautiful.  Sweet Amanda was stunning in her gown.  I do believe that I had no idea how much work holding a vintage wedding at a state park would be for both families ( mostly Sweet Amanda’s mom and dad), the kids’ friends and family friends but I think we would would gladly do it again (just not tomorrow please) to see how happy that it made the kids.  The ceremony was held at Huntsville State Park in the Raven Lodge.

The lodge is located overlooking a small lake.  It is really a site suited to Sweet Amanda’s vintage-rustic-elegant style.

The site was transformed from a blank slate into a beautiful site.

Raven Lodge was transformed in one morning into a beautiful site by a group of Baby Boy’s friends who unloaded and arranged 200 chairs and 20 tables, rigged the lighting, and even carried out stuff for centerpieces.  The brides’ buddies brought in boxes of treasures to decorate every square inch and her parents started working at 8:00 in the morning without stopping until after midnight with the cleanup.  The groom had the best deal going because of the no seeing the bride on the wedding day rule.  Sweet Amanda was at the site until 2:00 for her 5:30pm wedding.  You will see her a lot in the pictures below because she really did oversee the whole process.

 The bride hard at it.  She was cutting ribbons to hang from the sconces in the chapel.

Tara completing the chalkboard for the entrance to the chapel.
The results were amazing.  The pictures I have are certainly not going to show you how beautiful everything looked, but I hope you get an idea of what a beautiful wedding they had.

 The center of each table was a funky mix of books, bottles and vintage items.

 This is MUCH better than the Texas Parks and Wildlife poster that is mounted to the fireplace.  Some of Amanda’s friends literally went home and got curtains to cover the poster.  Other friends added the window frame, the flowers a chalkboard with Sweet Amanda’s favorite verse and some of the vintage luggage that dotted the entire wedding.

 Sweet Amanda asked people to bring sweets for a sweets table.  This is the set up before the food arrived.  It was beautiful and delicious. I loved the painted frame chalkboard on the table.

 This was the start of the sign in table.  My friend Tanis brought an antique table up and decorated the table with vintage items.  One of the coolest things that she did is to set up three Mason jars for the guests to write wishes for the couple to open on their 1st, 5th, and 10th anniversary.  The frame was used to display pictures of the kids growing up.  The sign in book was on this table.  I wish I thought to take pictures of the finished product.  It was beautiful

The view from the chapel windows.  It looks out over the lake.
I only have a few pictures from the beautiful wedding.  I was a little busy and forgot all about taking pictures but I have collected these to show you a few to show you that it was all worth the effort.  Their smiles the entire evening warmed my heart. 

Thank you to those of you who shared in our joy.  We truly feel blessed to have a family and friends who ventured up to the country in July heat to share in this special moment.