Yo-Yo Renovating – The Ups and Downs of Remodeling a Mod House

Summer is upon us, and what should be a more carefree, relaxed few months of the year, has taken a different turn in my little world.  No trips yet to the lake for me.  No m’am/sir!   More likely, my summer day includes a trip to Menard’s and Home Depot.  What about gardening and planting flowers?  Fuh-gid-a-bad-it!  Anything within 100 feet of the house is in the work zone, and sure to get trampled.  Ah, the joys of remodeling!

Okay, I am being a bit dramatic… It’s not like this house project has been forced on me.  I chose to take it on, and happily so!  (Why didn’t somebody stop me???)  Anyway, it has been quite the challenge with many ups and, to be fair, many downs.  I wonder if there is such a thing as “renovation therapy” to get people through the tougher legs of the house-improvement-journey?  I swear I have developed multiple personalities since this all began…I’m only kind of kidding!

What’s the back-story for this woe-is-me attitude?  It has been a slow week on the ‘ole pra-jay.  I have been crazy frustrated, as the weather has been cooperating, but not the workmen!  There have been various excuses made for the guys to not be on my job, like incorrect weather forecasts, and my not being cool with the carpenter’s 7-year old kid coming to “work” with his dad all day….But I know these guys have other jobs going, and you know what that means.  My project was being stalled.

Of course, I complained.  A lot.  Called, texted, emailed.  Lots of negativity (by me).  I put my foot down!  No more Mrs. Nice Gal!  You might even say I was being just ever-so-slightly bitchy (no doubt)….

So this is the craziest part:  James, the builder/remodeler/owner, had a way of talking me through the frustration and helping me understand the situations.  His response to each complaint seemed genuine, and he always pledged to try to resolve the problems.  One point that has been made is that our project is different than most.  It’s residential, but has a lot of commercial-type details like the flat roof.  Mod houses like ours come with unique challenges, and there doesn’t seem to be a lot of dudes around who are super comfortable with this type of residential design.  Many of the subs primarily work on commercial projects, so there’s a few things that get “lost in translation”, in dealing with me and my house.   Anyway, James most definitely has talent when it comes to calming down a client in a tizzy (Now, if he could just promise his guys will come to work each day…)!

So, here’s where we are at:


The main roof has been insulated, pitched, and has its fully adhered rubber membrane glued. The raised part is the top of the soffit that goes around the whole house.


With the main roof mostly complete, things got going on the garage. Here, you see the new soffit getting built. It will only be on the front side. Other sides will be flush with the walls.


Roofers take over, giving the garage the same treatment as the main house.


The garage roof all done (except for finishing touches on the parapet). Isn’t it pretty?


Close-up of the scupper, where the water drains from the garage roof into a future downspout/gutter.


The guys are adding the strip vent and the underside of the soffit. It’s the same stuff (Hardie Cement Board) as the siding and will be painted along with the house.

Today I am feeling positive, even optimistic, that the project is en route to completion.  I won’t get my hopes up too high, as I know there’s lots left to do, and surely a few roadblocks to come.  But, I will take this “up” mental state for now, and when the “down” surfaces, I know James (aka “The Remodeling-Client Whisperer”) is just a phone call away.

p.s.  Dear Friends,  I promise to get back inside for future posts!  Sure, I will continue to share the progress on the exterior, but I know it’s a bit technical/boring, if it’s not your thing.  Have been saving up some goodies like how my stairs turned out, and yesterday, I finally got my island counter top replaced!  Sooo exciting!  (I am really not that exclamatory in person, but it sure is fun here!)



  1. Love all the new reno lingo. I think I need subtitles. 😉

    We’re having our own little mini-drama with the new house. I just found out that my bedrooms, that were supposed to be painted bayshore beige, were painted salmon. Gross!! Somebody’s gonna have to get that fixed…

    1. Hi Jenn!

      Yes, I enjoy using these new words…”Scupper” is my fav so far.

      What a bummer about the paint color! If possible, get it fixed asap. A color you dislike in your bedroom is never okay! You don’t want to feel upset about it when you go to bed…Plus, it will be the first thing you see when you wake up. Seriously, the sooner the better!!

      Good luck with the move, and wishing you much happiness in your new place!

  2. Allison, I love hearing about the updates on your project! My favorite is the post about Grandma’s dining room table. All of the chatter that has gone on around that table, priceless! I’d love to come over and see the progress on your home!

    1. Nancy,

      So nice of you to follow and comment! It’s fun to have Grandma’s table in our home, and you are welcome to stop by anytime! If not before, we know we can count on seeing you at our next “kegger”, when the reno wraps. Weren’t you and Betsy the last to leave at the last one?

  3. Glad to see this project is coming along. Fun to follow – keep up the posts! While I thought the cantilevered portions were awesome, I follow you on the cost prohibitiveness of re-doing them. Really too bad care was not taken previously to keep them in good shape. Excited to see where this all ends up!

    1. Thanks for your comments, Doug! The canted (I think that’s a word?) awnings did have a lot of personality! I feel a slight tinge of guilt for removing what was such a unique and major detail that the original architect was likely very proud of…

      I do like the direction we are taking with the new look. And that has changed again this past week, due to discoveries of poorly flashed windows and rot. You will have to keep reading to see what we’re planning now…Actually, to be honest, it’s back on our architect’s drawing table. Crazy!

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