In November of 2004 I bought a 1970s “Brady Bunch” house in original condition, took it back to the studs and rebuilt it. The house itself took fifteen months. The front and back yards took eight years. The side is still a work in progress…
The design process began with a conversation with an amazingly talented architect. From initial conceptual sketches, to the final blueprints was a few short weeks.
The demolition and building was documented in slideshow photo essays. To see each slide in the slideshows below, click on the arrows or click and slide.
Built in 1975, the house was a typical California ranch-style house, two bedrooms and two baths in 1,350 square feet.
Every element of the house was original, including the mature landscape
The original front door.
T-111 siding and volcanic rock wainscoting.
The narrow back yard faces north.
The east-facing side yard off the master bedroom
The interior was also typical of the period with sunken living room and shag carpet (also original.)
The yellow 1975 carpet turned out to be green shag in the closets. The wood wall and stone fireplace informed part of the new design.
Harvest gold was the 1070's color
The master bathroom,
The master bathroom.
Guest bathroom. Loved the padded toilet seat!
Framing and Windows
So the old rotten waood was gone,
and I replaced it with new. Nice new heating registers, too.
Not much wall to rebuild; it was all glass under a big header.
Look at all of the light they let in!
I bravely cut holes in the roof...
Now it just looks like lincoln logs on acid.
Well, it wasn't that hard.
And there was the refrig full of beer to look forward to.
It's almost straight!
Strong like bull (did you say chicken legs?)
Now, onward to the back of the hosue. No rotten wood here.
New sliding doors and a big picture window to go over the kitchen counter.
From the outside...
Sliding doors are in.
At least these openings were right in the master bedroom.
Electricity and Plumbing
This is what I started with; barely enough juice to run the saws.
I pulled lots and lots of new wire.
Up and over...
Back and forth...
Past the kitchen...
Ten halogen down-lights to wash the new wood wall.
Four over the kitchen island...
Four over the dining table with boxes for two hanging lights...
And six ovedr the kitchen counter.
I even put eight in the lightwells to refelct down.
Four each over the double master bath sinks.
A view from above.
Large conduit to the media center in case technology changes.
It pops out in the attic in case you need to pull new cabes through.
Speaker wire, TV cable, network cable... it all runs over the cieling.
Eventually the wires were all pulled...
And all roads lead to Rome. This is a new 200Amp service panel.
Fancy fans for the shower (hot showers to your heart's content).
Located remotely so there's no sound to disturb your shower.
All new plumbing too (I didn't do this part).
But Dave did a rock-start job.
Waiting for the new toilet.
Time to start building the shower.
A cricket so that it drains rights starts with the proper slope.
I bet that you didn't know what a cricket was before this; I didn't.
But I do now, and I used lots of glue.
The support wall for the double sink in the master bath.
I put plugs here, too.
The utilities for hte kitchen island are ready.
Insulation and Sheetrock
Insulation and sheetrock first.
Then a brick wall from floor to cieling.
It set overovernight...
Then the new fake rock was applied.
It was real fake rock.
The insulation really made the place start to feel like a house again.
My friend, Memo and I did the whole house in two days.
The fancy plastic facing eliminated the itching and keeps moisture out.
The new tub arrives.
GWB or sheetrock is even better than insulation to make a guy feel at home.
The cieling is hard! especially by yourself.
Did I use too many screws?
But eventually everything gets done.
Even the hallway.
The licing room was last. The lightwells were a pain.
Over the kitchen.
Over the living room.
Even the garage got a face-lift.
The tapers work magic with the 30 year old walls.
A good week's work.
Level five surface in the lightewells
Greenboard with tape only in the tile areas
and Dan and Alfonso had earned their keep for a long time.
The painters masked the openings and used a sprayer to apply the paint.
The exterior was to be four different colors.
Four men did the work in four days, incuding prep time.
They were real pros!
They even cleaned everything up!
And covered all of my many mistakes.
Inside took longer. There are six colors inside and lots of spackling.
But they got the job done.
Lots of color!
Once the wall was paneled, the place started to take shape.
And mustard in the second bath.
I did ask for green, right?
Lots of anil holes to fill in the trim.
The trim is actually an extension of the door jambs.
The walls around the tub have been floated, too. Now the tile can go on.
Oh my God, it's really orange!
The kitchen splash ready for tile.
Hmm... might need sun glasses in the kitchen.
Alright, mabe not too bad. The grout will help.
First step for the double shower is the waterproof liner. No leaks!
The walls are ready to be floated.
Perfectly flat and square.
This heating mat will go under the tile.
The heating mat all glued down... oops, it's under the sink! Oh well...
Warm toes, even in the, um, water closet.
All floated and ready for tile.
The shower looks nice...
So does the floor!
The grout really brightens everything up.
Notice the difference.
Hmm... sure is bright.
The toys came on the first truck-load. Now we can have microwave popcorn.
Where am I going to put all of this shit?
The end of day one for the cabinetmakers.
But all's well that ends well.
Plumbing fixtures come next.
and maybe roast chicken.
Waiting for the shower surround, too. At least the toilet works.
First step was to lay a vynal slip-sheet and moisture barrier.
Glue it down tight!
Moving right along...
It's starting to look like home.
We used the expensive glue, too.
Half way through the floor, I decided to indulge in a fire.
The last day of flooring.
A pom-set to choose carpet fibers. I went with brown...
Ready for another fire.
Time to start on the shoji screens in the master suite.
The frames look good - very minimal.
The sinks don't look bad either. Will this project EVER be done?
Finally I get to take a shower.
and, um, use the water closet. Now for furniture, lights and art.