Chapter 8 - Remodeling 2,630 Miles Away

So how do you remodel a house when you live 2,630 miles away? (yes I mapped it)

First of all you marry a Mike. I’ve been in utter awe and appreciation of how Mike has hustled and accomplished so much for us. It’s really a feat to behold and I’m immensely grateful. If it wasn’t for every research, phone call, email, AutoCad rendering or actual physical labor, we’d have nothing.

So when I say we, it’s really all Mike.



Before any work gets started, having a set of eyes on the property, for security, for watching the weather and for seeing which contractor is there working has been a priority for Mike so he installed 2 Nest cameras on the outside of the house. The technology is crazy amazing!! The cameras are motion sensitive and Mike receives a real-time text alert each time the camera is triggered. So far we’ve quietly watched as a contractor did work on our driveway, when our realtor stopped by to pick up something I left for her and as of a few nights ago we had the greatest laugh in a long while watching a porcupine saunter around the yard. What is truly amazing is Mike can activate the voice option and actually talk to the person (or porcupine) from the camera! So Mike started barking at the porcupine and through our tears of laughter we watched the porcupine high-tale it out of the yard, thinking there were real dogs coming for it. My God it was funny! “Porcupine police are coming to get you!”

Meanwhile, here’s a more practical glimpse into how we plan to have Hillside Farm remodeled while we are still living in California.


Our HVAC was already confirmed but we met again in person to finalize details such as duct work placement, expectations, schedule and the placement of all of the vents and return air grates. The vent placement is really important to us because of aesthetics and furniture placement so the contractor told us how many vents we would need in each room and with a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie, Mike and I went through each room on our own time and marked our preference.


We already had a good connection with one interior painting contractor but Mike scheduled two others to do a walk through with us and bid the job. Receiving 1-2 more additional bids is immensely helpful, not just for budget perspective, but for gaining insight on timing, skill-set and any random thoughts that might not have come up with another contractor.

Our interior painting job is quite massive. And when I say painting it’s much, much more! First we need several ceilings demoed because they have an old 80’s office-style acoustic tile attached to the original plaster. Every room has wallpaper which needs to be removed. Much sanding. And then finally prime and paint.

Our bids were a wide price swing and it was a great reminder to not always be tempted by the cheapest. We ended up choosing the original contractor we connected with. His bid was considerably higher than the others, and much more than we originally allocated, but hiring someone that understood our vision and someone that seemed to be very self sufficient was critical since we would not be there to hover over him.


The flooring contractor was also predetermined but we did have an in-person appointment to firm up details. One thing that we feel will be in our favor is these three contractors have worked together on the same jobs many times. There are a lot of moving parts with Phase 1; one contractor is trying to demo and one is trying to paint so having skilled professionals who will communicate directly with each other and respect each other’s timing was vitally important.