2015: A Year in Review


January 6, 2016 by Sarah

We have come a long way on the house in the past year.

Our second floor went from no walls/insulation/anything/down to the studs to actually being able to sleep up there.

We worked on project mostly in spurts or when we needed to hit a deadline for a contractor to be able to come in and finish their work. The walls in before drywaller could mud/tape, wall paint before radiators could be installed, flooring installed/patched before they could come to refinish, etc. We needed these little deadlines to help push us to get some of our projects done. The City of Saint Paul came by a few weeks ago to have a looksee at the house.  It needed to be reassessed after we filed to have it officially turned from a duplex to a single family home. They registered that we were “70% complete” with the project (i do not know how they came up with that number but it feels good to have someone put a number to it). I would guess they need to come back out and have a look at the house again once we are finished with the renovations.

Here are some of the biggest milestones looking back:

Framing the Second Floor

bedroom framing lvls

After much working and reworking the layout that we designed ourselves, we hired out the framing. It turned out to be a much bigger project than planned after finding a fair amount of unsound structure.

Insulating the second floor

bedroom insulation

Closed-cell spray foam insulation was applied to the walls and ceiling thanks to funding from the Neighborhood Energy Connection.

Drywalling the second floor


We hung the drywall ourselves but hired out the mudding and taping.

Patching and refinishing the floors

hardwood floors refinished

The old hardwoods were refinished in the bedrooms by a contractor. We layed a new quarter-sawn white oak floor in the hallway ourselves which was then finished onsite.

Now that all these big things are done our stress levels seem to have improved. One of the biggest disappointments of the year has to be the second floor bathroom.

insulation floor heat

Although it does have hydronic radiant floor heat, that is about all it has right now. All work on it came to a halt after we discovered yet another leak in the flat roof. We were hoping to put off having the roof replaced until after the winter. We knew there were leaks in the roof but we were not sure if they were due to ice dams since there was very little insulation in the house, or if it was solely the old roof failing…maybe both?   At any rate, we had a leak in September after getting a few soaking rains and we decided we didn’t want to deal with that anymore. We had a new flat roof put on, but kept the rest of peaked roof shingles intact for now. As you can imagine the cost of a flat roof was substantial and we basically used up all our would-be bathroom monies to take care of that before we had planned. I have a whole post about this marinating in my draft box. Perhaps one day I will get around to posting it.

Some of my favorite projects this year were some of the smallest:

Making the toekicks for the kitchen cabinets

using a router jig

Installing the corner cabinets in the bedroom

installing built-in cabinets

Installing some super amazing light fixtures

pottery barn chandelier

Painting the window sashes black in the kitchen

Craftsman window trim painted

It is pretty amazing to look back and see how much the house has changed and how much we have completed in a year.

On a sad note, our beloved 2nd kitty son, OC, passed on after abruptly taking ill in December. He suffered a short illness and sadly was not able to recover.

kitchen window kitten


We took him in from off the streets 5 years ago when he started coming around our house looking for food, love and attention. He was a happy and independent cat that we really miss having around the house. Adrian wrote a touching tribute on this FB page:

“OC stands for “Outdoor Cat” or “Other Cat”. He officially joined our family in 2011. Kitty Simi Boo Boo joined our family the year prior initially to help keep Sarah company while in Duluth for grad school. I soon learned that I could use some company myself. OC was a small slender polydactyl black cat with large eyes and the softest fur. He walked around our north end neighborhood and often stopped by our door. I began to feed him and he grew on me. I thought about taking him in so I let him in the house for a test run and he went straight to the litter box so I knew he had potential but I wasn’t sure yet. A few days later I noticed him outside with a large wound above his tail. We took him in and brought him to multiple vet visits which resulted in a substantial financial commitment, so he was now ours. He fit in perfectly at St Paul Haus. His larger older brother Simi had the upper hand in kitty wrestling until OC bulked up after hanging out in the kitchen. They had a love hate relationship over the years but they were definitely brothers. OC enjoyed climbing in boxes, bins, tubs, and bags. He loved gazing out of the window and meowing quietly at the birds chirping. Hearing him make any noise was a rare treat. He loved giving kitty massages and suckling on my shirts while I was wearing them. He could rip through an entire toilet paper roll in minutes. He loved chasing lights, catching flies, keeping mice away, and he stayed by my side after my lasik procedure. When we drove up to Duluth to see Sarah he would wander around the car looking out the windows, walking over the seats, and crawling on my shoulders. He did the same today on his way to the vet. He recently began having medical issues. The vets and techs that saw him all commented on how sweet, friendly, and peaceful he was, but all they could tell us was that his issue could have many potential causes but no definite solution. Sarah and I had to make the extremely hard and tear-filled decision to lay OC to rest today. He will truly be missed. We love you OC my youngest kitty son.”

OC Son


Good gosh I miss that goofy kitty.

We are looking forward to all the good things to come on 2016. Here is a short and condensed list of projects we are really hoping to complete:

  • Finish renovation on master bedroom, my office, and the home gym.
  • Finish second floor bathroom
  • Finish kitchen renovation (finish painting cabinets and trim, tile backsplash, install vent hood)
  • Finish back entry/mudroom/pantry
  • Gut the ceiling and closets in the guest bedroom, insulate, and drywall.
  • Drywall the entry closet
  • Clean out and organize the basement
  • Replumb the main floor bathroom, paint, and repair tile.

It is a hefty list, but I have faith that we will pull it off. Any good vibes you can send our way would be much appreciated.


One thought on “2015: A Year in Review

  1. tboard says:

    You are just having too much fun with that beautiful house of yours.

Comment or I'll hate you forever.

Sarah&Adrian @ StPaulHaus

About Us

We are DIY weekend warriors. We like old houses and cats. Learn more here.

Follow STP Haus

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 581 other subscribers


Kitchen Progress

Living Room Progress

Posts by Room

%d bloggers like this: