Third time the charm

When we left off at the end of this post we had just listed our second home for sale. It was a crazy time, we had a five month old baby, a four year old and were 3 months into the most difficult renovation we had ever undertaken.

Let me rewind a bit…Around a year after moving to Temecula we both knew that it was not our long term stop. It became pretty obvious to both of us that we were meant to live by the beach. Something about the salt air, eclectic community and proximity to family made south orange county the right choice. We started looking for places right away, knowing that we would need to invest in a soaring real estate market before we were priced out.

I’ll spare you the gory details of our real estate search..but it was not pleasant. The properties in our price range all required substantial work. We knew we would need to rent the property out while we fulfilled work commitments in the inland empire, so ideally we wanted only a cosmetic fixer. HAHAA…that is not quite what happened.

Here are a few before images of the property we ended up with. My camera with all the before photos was stolen before I could download them, so we will have to settle with a few before photos from the inspection report:

family room
Family Room
Dining Room
Dining Room
Bathroom with a pink tub
Exterior Window

Once we closed escrow we spent about 5 weeks getting the house ready to rent. We replaced the floors, put a fresh coat of paint on everything and added some minor updates to the kitchen and bath. By the time this house was rental ready it looked like this:

1416 Dining room and Kitchen Before
Dining Room and Kitchen

We kept the original cabinets and added subway tiles, butcher block counter tops and a new stove.

1416 Kitchen Before

The house is small by most standards, under 1000 SF 2 bdrm and 1 bath, so we knew it was crucial to lighten it up and focus everyone’s attention on the great natural light and views. Nothing like a coat of neutral light gray paint (Dunn Edwards – Crystal Haze) and driftwood laminate floors to give it a relaxed coastal vibe.

Dining room looking out
Dining Room looking into Family Room

In the original layout there was a giant linen closet that divided up the dining and family room.This was one of the first things to go when we underwent the major renovation less than a year later.

1416 Bathroom Before
Bathroom – Reglazed the pink tub and added a new gray ceramic tile floor

Here is a shot of the exterior. Seeing this picture now reminds me of how undeveloped the yard was when we bought the house. It is almost unrecognizable today, I can’t wait to share more of those pics soon.

Backyard Before

A wonderful couple ended up renting it shortly after it was listed. They were great tenants, which made it all the more difficult when they had to cut their lease short and move.

We received a call from them about 10 months into their lease complaining of mold growing in the bathroom. We called in a remediation expert and the issue started escalating. Before we knew it, our tenants were moving out and we were ripping the house apart to remediate unknown water damage and age old issues that had not been caught in the inspection report.

So. So many things did not go according to plan, or budget, on this house renovation. We have been living here a year now and it feels like we might finally be emerging from the renovation PTSD. Here is a glimpse of where we are today:

Kitchen Today


Now that we are all caught up I can’t wait to start sharing the day to day happenings at this house. I have already started sharing photos of it on Instagram, so follow along there if you want the daily deets, #rockreno3.

As we were renovating we kept telling ourselves that this was the long term home, dare we say the forever home. The house itself has some major shortcomings, like the missing garage, missing bedroom and crumbling stairway, but we will get to those issues soon.


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