A change of plans with the house

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Our new home in Maquoketa

Last week we had the closing on our new home and we are both very excited about all of the changes we want to make to the house.

Our original plans were to immediately see about adding my quilt studio to the back of the house. We were going to build a master bedroom suite and put my studio in the basement below it with hopefully a walkout so I could get plenty of light.

Sometimes we like to sit around with a couple of drinks and plan out what we will be doing to the house. It is amazing what ideas you can come up with! Anyway, Builder Bob got talking about the fact that we spend very little time in our living room; most of the time I’m in my studio and he is in the man cave.

A change of plans with the house

What if we build on the addition with my quilt studio on the main level and his man cave below? We could take the existing living room and change it into our master bedroom which wouldn’t be very big but will have a master bath. This house is much smaller than our river house but honestly, we only spend time in our bedroom to sleep so why do we need a big bedroom?

Remodel first

We have been worried about the river flooding (we are fine so far) so we really haven’t tried to sell our house yet. Since we have a place to live why not do the remodeling first?

We won’t do anything to the two bedrooms upstairs so I can create a “quilt room” in the largest one and we’ll set up beds in the other one so we can come up and stay for a couple of days at a time while working.

This was our guest bedroom, we took the mattresses and bedding all to the new house a couple of days ago. Today we will take up the bed frames and make a king-size bed out of them. 

Twin beds for granddaughters

Last Monday I headed up to Maquoketa to watch the grand-kids and filled my car with as much quilt stuff as would fit. Both girls are in school all day so on Tuesday I dropped them off at school and headed over to the house. Guess what I did? Yep, I started demolishing things!

Demolition begins

Did I mention that Mr. Mickey went along with me? The poor little guy just shakes the whole time he is in the car, I feel so bad for him. Hopefully, we can get him over it as we will be making a lot of trips.

I grabbed the Sears Kenmore sewing machine from my daughter’s house. That is the one I picked up at Goodwill the last time I was up here.

I love tearing things apart, Builder Bob not so much but he loves putting them back together so we make a great team.

I decided to start on the living room that will become our bedroom. 


We met the previous owner who was very nice, he bought the house in 1967 and really did a wonderful job of keeping it updated as far as roofing, furnace, and things like that. Cosmetically it is dated but those are easy things to change.

Dated living room

First thing to do was tear out the carpet. I used a box cutter to cut it into small pieces which were easy to carry out to the garage.

It took me exactly one hour to rip it all out! I was so tickled to take a picture and send it to Builder Bob with the comment that “Yes, we’re doing the renovation first!”

Living room carpet gone

Ceiling Tiles

Builder Bob had hoped that there would be lath & plaster under the dropped ceiling but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Good thing he is an electrician because he will have plenty of things to change. When the wiring was updated it was all done in the drop ceiling. He wants to try and save the rails so he can put a drop ceiling in the garage and insulate it next year. I am no good at removing the rails so that will be his job.

After finishing this room, I went ahead and removed all of the ceiling tile from the dining room, kitchen, and laundry room and hauled it out to the garage. I worked for 5½” hours and was beat. 

Today we are heading up with a truck full of tools, an overnight bag, and two dogs! I can’t wait to see what gets torn out today and I’ll be sure to take plenty of photos! 

In the meantime:


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  1. Karen Poole says:

    I’d love to turn my current master bedroom into a sewing studio! It’s pretty big for a room we use mainly for sleeping! It would make a great sewing space and we have three other rooms to use for sleeping! As it is I have the smallest room in the house for my sewing room!! It’s hard!! And hubby has another room for his man cave! I love following your reinventions! And love the pictures! Your house is fantastic, I’ll be living the dream through you!!

  2. Diana Nelson says:

    Sounds like the new plan for your house works well for both your lifestyles. Many people repurpose their living rooms and it works so much beter. Having your sewing room on the main level is nice as you won’t have stairs to contend with and you end up with ceilings that are higher than ones in the basement. Wil look forward to seeing how things work out. I am so glad you are sharing your remodeling with your readers. Now I’m going to check out your new quilts.

  3. So exciting to get started on your new home!! I hope Mr. Mickey will learn to travel well. Yogi hated to ride in the car. Chloe is a little better, but still whines a lot and wants to sit in your lap. At 70 lbs, that is a LAP FULL!! LOL Looking forward to seeing all the changes!

  4. You sure did take the bull by the horns there, didn’t you?! And I was hoping to see a nice hardwood floor under that rug you ripped up. I can’t remember how old you said the house was but I sure thought it would have hardwood. Have fun making it your dream home!

  5. How cool Connie!! Go get as much work done as you can possibly do before your body starts screaming at you and the.
    muscle pain settles in and makes you question this adventure. LOL I’m sure you’ll have fun the two of you. Should I invest in Ben Gay stock or will you be using something else? 🙂 I’m kidding, but you both take care of yourself and don’t overdo it.

    I know it will be amazing when you’re done.

  6. Kris Pedrow says:

    I look forward to upcoming installments of progress on your new project. I just have to say… Oh, the paneling! yikes. I also love demo, and love seeing my dear hubby put it all back together. I especially enjoyed scraping off the popcorn ceiling from the kitchen of our mid 1970’s home. Living without a kitchen for 11 months was less fun. But the result is exactly what I wanted. Good luck on your next adventure.

  7. Susan the Farm Quilter says:

    How awesome is that!! Love that you will have a place to live off-site while reno is going on as well as having a place to sleep there when you want to!! Sounds like a brilliant plan to me! Poor Mickey…I’m sure he relates the car with going to the vet or being given up…scary for the little guy. I hope he will learn that just because he is in the car, he is not going to the vet or going away forever from his family.

  8. Betty Campbell Madden says:

    Oh, the house looks charming, especially outside, and soon it will inside as well. And give you another year and you’ll have the gardens on their way to annual beauty.
    What are the blocks under the removed rug? And the kitchen ceiling tiles?
    I’m excited for both of you. I know how exciting it is to move into a different place and make it yours. Having lived with renovation for several months while we lived with it, Good decision to have a place to retreat when you want to.

  9. I hope all goes smoothly and as planned for you Connie. It’s a lot easier to remodel when you don’t have to live there in all the mess and dust! Looking forward to seeing it all finished, as I am sure you are too!

  10. Lori Smanski says:

    This is so exciting. Things are starting to move along. Thanks for sharing your progress with us.

  11. Uhh so exciting! Can’t wait to see more

  12. Wow Connie! You really did accomplish a lot of demolition. You and Builder Bob have got great ideas and to renovate before you move in is very smart. I like your ideas of changing up rooms. There are no valid reasons why you shouldn’t have your home the very best way that suits your lifestyle. This will be so exciting to follow all the progress. I do hope Sadie can comfort shivering Mr. Mickey while in the car. Awesome April Dear!

  13. Sylvia E Anderson says:

    I was just wondering how things were coming along with your planned move, and was planning to ask about it. I think it’s a great idea to remodel before moving in, especially it makes a huge job, so much easier to deal with. Our bedroom is just off the front entrance, but we are one ‘of those people’ who, when we moved in 23 years ago, had a large master bedroom and bath built into the plans. I agree with you, regarding only using it to sleep in, but for almost 40 years, lived in a house, where all the rooms were small, and all 6 of us used 1 tiny bathroom., so we really enjoy our bigger rooms. lol. I look forward to seeing all your pictures and hope there will be no unexpected problems along the way. You are quite the demo girl, and lucky you can still help out with all that has to be done.

  14. Connie, will you still have a living room for guests or if the house needs to be sold later on?

  15. Brenda Ackerman says:

    Hello Connie, I look forward to seeing all of the changes that you and Builder Bob have planned for both homes. Mr. Shakes used to shake just like Mr. Mickey, but he has gotten now for he really enjoys car rides. I hope that Mr. Mickey will begin to enjoy them also. He is so adorable! Thank you for sharing some of your plans with us, have a great day!

  16. You and Builder Bob really make a great team. Such great ideas and energy. i also like the demolish phase, but not always good at visualizing the possibilities. Your plans sound great and I look forward to seeing updates as you progress. In no time at all, the work will behind you both and you’ll be enjoying your new forever home with kids and gkids very nearby, as well as time to quit in your new sewing room.

  17. It’s good that you enjoy the process of remodeling. Once the planning part was done I didn’t like being anywhere near the house until the work was done. It just stressed me out.

  18. First steps are always so exciting. That ceiling though, will Builder Bob be hanging dry wall? Good luck on all your renovations!

  19. you are right mainly we just use the bedroom to sleep but yet so many seem to want a huge master suite – I can understand it if you have room for tv and chairs for evening but don’t most mainly relax and watch tv or sew or whatever in a different room. Well be interesting to watch your place change.