Monday, July 8, 2013

The Houston Project

Early in the summer, I had a friend in need. Their house suffered some massive water damage due to a leak, they had a roommate with self-confessed hoarder tendencies, and they needed some help getting things to a functional level after the repair company was done putting in new drywall and flooring.

I was fortunate enough that they had a spare bedroom that I could make use of, so I arranged for childcare and kissed my husband good bye for a couple of months. This project was and is to date to the most extensive that I have taken on.

What follows are some before and after pictures. This was a low budget project where we needed to make use of what was available within the home, deal with some hoard removal and storage for the roommate, and making nonfunctional areas functional once again. I did not focus on design or decor in this project, beyond making use of the items that the homeowner had available or wanted to use.

My apologies for lighting, but many "Before" pictures were taken during the day and are clear; many after pictures were taken after the day of work and once darkness had fallen, so are not as crisp.

The first room we tackled was the kitchen. Before: 


Functional issues were all that basically there was too much stuff in this area and it was not clearly devoted to cooking, cookware, and food supplies. The pantry was bulging with out of date goods and so packed that no one could locate the food that they did have on hand.

We first cleared off all of the countertops, then brought things back in one at a time determining functional "Work zones" for food prep, easily reachable food storage, that cooking appliances were along one wall and ones needing water were near the sink (such as the coffeemaker). The homeowner also wished to display some items that matched her plates and cookware. In addition, everything got a new scrub down, the pantry was papered, and some grease removal was done to the stovetop and ovens. The pass-through bar was cleared off to hold a winerack within reach of the stove, and the client's Scentsy warmer. Upper cabinets were rearranged to more functionally store dishes, drinkware, and spices (including seperate spaces for the roommates).

Attached to this space was an eating area /catchall hot spot. Before:


Per the homeowners wishes, we developed a small storage and eating area here using a pub table she had always wished to have usable in this pace, and a rack to store the larger items that there was no room for within the kitchen. The glass was also cleaned from the windows and tape removed. Catbox was relocated to an area not related to food prep or eating. Floor surfaces were swept and disinfected. The refrigerator and freezer were also cleaned out of expired and unusable perishables, then the outside was cleaned and polished.

The second room was tackled was the main hoard area in the front living room. I have several before pictures to show.

And after:

This focused very much on simple hoard removal. The first picture "Before" showed the entrace from the kitchen to the dining area. The first picture "After" shows after hoard removal was finished. The small white pantry was cleared out and seperated to then give the roommate her own accessible pantry. Many of the items were either trashed, donated, or went to storage. The remainder were cleaned up and organized (even if loosely) into bins for art supplies, craft supplies, sewing, etc. The bar cabinet hutch was also cleaned up and at this point contained all of the alcohol and barware needed for the entertaining that the homeowner wished to do. Catboxes were reduced down to the one large one, which was placed well away from both the fabric supplies and food.

Further plans were in the works but incomplete at the time that I left to make this room multi functional with a built in wall of bookshelves and fabric storage. Some minor re-arrangement and finishing were done after these pictures were taken to further clear out the space.

The final large room that was tackled was the living area. I do not actually have before and after shots (my battery died during the "after").

This room was the easiest in terms of what needed done, but the longest in terms of how much time it took to do. The boxes stacked against the far wall (tallest stack) contained books which were relocated to the gameroom library.

The remaining boxes contained the homeowner's contents that had been boxed up for the repairs which had been completed. Many were empty; those were repurposed to deal with the hoard in the front room for items which would be stored. Several were unpacked and the items returned to the areas they belonged in or otherwise sorted. At the time that I left, all of the boxes had been cleared out of this room and the homeowners could once again use this space for intended purposes. Video game supplies and other games were organized inside the large wall unit; DVD's for display were organized on the three part smaller bookcase along the far wall. The sheet of insulation and other items were removed from the home. The trash area was cleaned up and moved around the side of that wall into the kitchen, and seperate recycling bins were installed underneath the rack in the eating area of the kitchen. In addition, the roommate's overflow items of Television and boxed goods from the entryway in the first picture were removed to storage and/or the roommate's room.

In addition, some of the leftover repair supplies (grout, tiles, etc) were removed from the entry way and it was completely cleared. The coat closet situation was addressed.

I also tackled the guest bathroom with a good top to bottom scrub. At the time that I arrived, there was almost nothing in here, including a shower curtain, due to the repairs. All of those items were located and restored (curtain, bathmat, trash can, etc). I made suggestions to the homeowner regarding wall hooks for towels, inner cabinet organization (cabinet not shown, to the right of the sink - a built in closet type).

And finally, my little home away from home :) I kind of miss the simplicity it offered, and brought back those memories with me (the things I *really* need on a day to day basis). I will post more about that later!