Home Renovation Update – Almost finished!

empty nest home renovation
No more construction fence! A brand new replica of the original leaded glass front window has been installed. Dumpsters should be gone soon. The design of the super cool driveway is a bit unique in that it is cut in a large brick pattern. The color of the concrete is called “Fawn” and was designed to be much the same color as the old concrete on the sidewalks. We wanted the house to be updated, but still blend in nicely with all of the other old homes on the street.There is still a lot to do on the outside, but we are thrilled with the results so far.

empty nest home renovation
Interior patio. The fountain will be under the window. All of the sprinklers were just installed. There will be a wrought iron rail on the steps and lots of planting to do!

Empty Nest Home Renovation Update!

I have not given you an empty nest home renovation update since late April. We have been scrambling quite a bit in the last month and a half. Craig, Rocco and I ended up leaving Seattle three weeks sooner than we expected because the leasing company rented out our apartment earlier than they should have. Ugh!

It is kind of a long story and makes me angry just to write about it. The leasing company was definitely in the wrong, but they have way more power than we did and I felt like I didn’t need the additional stress just to stay for the three extra weeks that we had planned. So… we packed up and headed to Southern California on May 2.

We arrived on May 4th after making the two-day road trip. The house had been progressing, but was not nearly finished. We had no place to stay with Rocco, except for Craig’s mom’s house. She has been so gracious, but this is not an easy arrangement. I live out of three suitcases, everything else is packed. I am sick to death of every piece of clothing and don’t really have everything that I need. Rocco has a whole new set of sounds to protect us from and is barking far too much. The complaining stops here… it is not healthy for me to dwell on the negative. You know what I mean?

I never anticipated being out of my house from late August until June. I only packed winter clothes (for Seattle) with just a few summer things. It is freaking 90 degrees here in Pasadena! I don’t have any of my own “stuff”. We cannot eat they way we want to and I feel like I have been playing pin the tail on the donkey and been spun around too many times. Trying to remember where I stash things, where the bills are etc.

We leave this week for a quick birthday trip to San Francisco and Napa and plan to move in on June 23rd. The end is in sight.

Why did the home renovation take so long?

Two reasons:

  1. Craig and I evidently had an unrealistic expectation that it would only take 6 months. WRONG. The contractor expected to finish in mid-April (8 months) However, we ran into a few unexpected issues like windows that were too dilapidated to keep so we needed to order custom ones that took 8 weeks.
  2. Renovating an old house down to the studs with ancient plumbing and wiring takes time. Period. Although, I do have a pretty good collection of plumbers in Los Angeles I can get a consult from. Plus, we built out a second story and completely renovated the pool, driveway, front and backyards. But ultimately, another couple of months truly doesn’t matter for the long term.

Last update:

We are in the final stages on the inside with just some fine tuning and a last coat of polyurethane on the new hardwood floors.

Photos please!

Hands down my favorite room in the house is the kitchen. We have installed some incredible faucets and kitchen sink accessories, (I need to give you a closer look at that soon) the new appliances with wood cabinet panels, light fixtures and an amazing hand crafted stainless steel sink. When we are moved in and have dressed the house up a little, I will give you more photos and details.

Let us remember what the kitchen used to look like:

fixer upper home renovation old kitchen
The old and dated kitchen.


home renovation New kitchen!
New Kitchen!
Glen Summer Kitchen Before View from Breakfast Nook
The kitchen “before view” from the original Breakfast Nook
empty nest home renovation new kitchen
Standing in the same spot in the kitchen 10 months later. We still need to move in and add the kitchen table and cushions, plus cookbooks for the book shelves. There are french doors where the sink used to be!


The cutest laundry room!

empty nest renovation
It has a fun, cement tile floor, the hardware is the same as the kitchen and the countertop is a marble remnant from the master bath. The stackable washer and dryer provide more space.


Dining Room

dining room
The wrought iron chandelier is still partially under wraps. The original wall is gone and the opening to the right is closed up. There are two new window in the dining room as well.
home renovation "Before" of dining room
Original dining room! Eesh!
Swimming pool tile is installed waiting for the plastering (soon)


Every day there are new changes and progress is made. It is astounding how many details there are when building a house.

Would I do it again? Yes.

We made this move primarily to be with my sick Dad and to be closer to our families. Mission accomplished and we really have enjoyed the challenge of renovating an old home. I am a bit weary from the whole experience and the recent nomadic existence and very happy to be almost finished. I try to be as honest as possible and to not sugar coat the challenging parts of the home renovation adventure.

Thanks so much for reading and for your support.

I have written many posts about the process of moving and renovating the house. You can click below on the other links. We will have a final “reveal” sometime this summer, I hope!


More posts about the empty nest home renovation:

The Pasadena Fixer Upper Update

An Update of the Renovation of the Empty Nest

New Update for the Fixer Upper Renovation

The Empty Nest Home Renovation is Delayed…a little

It’s Time for a Fixer Upper Update

The Challenges of Moving Into a New “Old” House

Our Empty Nest Renovation and 6 Months in Seattle

Empty Nest Renovation: Before Photos and Video

The Empty Nester Downsize: We Now Call it Rightsize

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23 thoughts on “Home Renovation Update – Almost finished!”

  1. Suzanne, your new home is going to be absolutely beautiful. Fear not; no one would ever accuse you of dwelling on the negative! I really appreciate your honesty of the ugly, the bad, and now the good! So often, people make it look as if they waved a magic wand and Presto, their lives transformed into something completely different yet equally as perfect as their previous portrayal. Your renovation updates have been real, classy, and inspiring! Wishing you all the best.

    • Thank you Laura! I do appreciate your kind words! This has been quite the adventure. Mostly good, but with lots of challenges in between. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment.

  2. Well at least you see the light at the end of the dark tunnel!!! I was always told to add 8-10 weeks on any reconstruction project…NOWI TELL YOU THAT?!!!
    Can’t wait to see you in your new home!!!!

    • Yes we always new that the budget swells and the time it takes lengthens. This project is no exception. I can’t wait for you to see it in person. 🙂

  3. OMG! All the photos you posted–wow! It all looks wonderful. Love the kitchen and laundry room. So pretty and clean and crisp yet they have some details that fit your Spanish architecture perfectly. I cannot wait to see it. Jon mentioned the other day that when you’re moved in and ready to show it off, we’ll come down, stay at the Langham and go to dinner. No pressure. 🙂 Did I say we can’t wait? 🙂

    Congratulations to you and Craig. And an early Happy Birthday! I sent your card to this address. You’ll obviously get it after you get back from the Bay Area. Enjoy your time up north.


    • Thank you so much Angela for your continued support and enthusiasm. We worked so hard at so many details and it is exciting to see them happen! Yes we would love to see you any time, even if we aren’t finished yet. xo Suzanne

  4. Wow! This looks fantastic! I love the flooring in the kitchen; it goes really well with the rest of the house. Congratulations on making so much progress!

  5. Be picky and have lots of options. Seek at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the same specifications, materials and labor needed to complete the project. Homeowners should discuss bids in detail with each contractor and ask questions about variations in pricing. The lowest-priced contractor may not be the best.

    • I totally agree! We did exactly that! The contractors we chose were quite impressive and the attention to detail was incredible. Not everyone can praise their contractor at the end of a big job!

    • Although it was delayed, it was not the fault of the contractor. It was that we were trying to save the old windows and we just realized they were not worth saving and had to order custom ones.

  6. I’ve worked in the home renovation industry so I know how long it takes to furnish a home! It takes a lot of effort, but if done right can make you feel like you are living in a new home! Thanks for writing!

  7. Wow, great post! Love this type of house, it’s gorgeous. All the renovations look great and definitely a huge improvement. Thanks for sharing!


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