Hillsdale College alumni Kyle Murnen (‘09) and Fred Hadra (‘09) are in the process of remodeling a 100-year-old house. The house has not likely been renovated since around 1950, Murnen said. Most of the work in the house has been on the plaster walls, mudding over the walls and texturizing them or simply covering them with drywall.
“While working on the house, we’d run into a problem, and either YouTube-it or Google-it,” Murnen said
Renovating a house this old is a lengthy process, as Murnen and Hadra discovered. They gave a few tips for anyone interested in following in their footsteps.
1. Buy the house: Murnen purchased the house this past August from its previous owner who had lived there for over 60 years.
2. Have a detailed plan for renovating the house: Murnen and Hadra left the plumbing and electrical work to contractors, but they have done all the other work themselves.
“We would have more of a plan if we did it again,” Murnen said. “We kind of went about it knowing that we had to change the floor and the walls.”
3. Renovate the walls and floors: One of the rooms had five or six layers of wallpaper, so they spent weeks steaming and scraping the walls in that room and still didn’t remove it all, Hadra said.
4. Carefullyknock out walls to open up space: Murnen and Hadra had difficulty deciding whether or not one wall was a load-bearing wall or not before they knocked it out. After consulting YouTube to figure it out, they decidedto just start knocking it out as a final trial, Hadra said. The ceiling held and they concluded that it was not load-bearing.
5. Enjoy the experience of learning new skills.
“The most enjoyable part is figuring out how to do these projects on our own, we’ve made some mistakes but there hasn’t been any devastating damage,” Murnen said. “It’s been a good experience to learn how to fix up a house.”
“Without working on a million-dollar house,” Hadra added.