Lothrop House: Renovation Log

February 7, 2018: Closing

Today was the day the big snowstorm of 2018 began.

The closing went off without a hitch. We went for a final walk-through to make sure the seller was in compliance with the addendums and agreements, and he was. We met at the title company office on Second in New Center on a slushy and snowy day, spent a few minutes signing papers, and that was that. The seller was handed a check, and we were handed keys. Our wonderful real estate agent Nika Jusufi had a bottle of bubbly and a houseplant (which Nicole promptly named "Fred") as a closing gift for us.

The title agent was very, very insistent that we file the property transfer affidavit with the city within 45 days. She mentioned it multiple times.

We went immediately to the Secretary of State with the deed, and got our legal address changed and registered to vote in our new city district (now District 4). On a side note: I'm going to miss having Raquel Casteñeda-Lopez as our district city council rep!

From there, we went to the post office to get mail forwarding done, and then to Brooks Lumber to buy smoke detectors since the house didn't have any. Nicole went, for the first time, to her new house, while I stayed back at the Sullivan house to do business stuff... namely get the utilities scheduled for turn-on and switch-over. Scheduled DTE for gas and electric and Comcast for internet (to our great chagrin, RocketFiber is not available in LaSalle Gardens)

February 8, 2018

Snowstorm started kicking for real. Cars stuck on streets. Nicole went to the city and filed the property transfer affidavit.

February 9, 2018

The first part of the major snowstorm was finished after dumping about 10 inches on Detroit. We went to shovel for the first time because DTE said they'd be there. They never showed. Yay us!

We waited for a couple of house in the cold and eventually just bailed. It took us 20 minutes to get our car out of the snow. However, during that time, we got to meet two of our new neighbors who were out shoveling snow, and they warmly welcomed us to the neighborhood, so it was all worth it.

February 10, 2018

Didn't do much. Drove by, got the mail, shoveled. Kyle, my son, started moving his stuff in.

February 11, 2018

Reschedule of DTE and gas turn-on was a success. Heat was acquired!

February 12,2018

Our first contractor meeting: Randy Penhorwood from Penhorwood Floors came out, admired the hardwood floors, and took measurements for his quote.

The quote came in lower than we had hoped, and we're going full steam ahead with the floor renovations.

We decided to do the top floor first, since there will be nothing up there for a while. That gives us time to work on some of the bigger projects downstairs without worrying about the preciousness of the floors. In the meantime, upstairs is mostly cosmetic renovations, so it won't be nearly as disruptive.

February 13, 2018
Still snowed in, but we stopped by to meet with Comcast for internet installation. It's janky for now, but it does work.

We also had our first meal in our new house! Chinese take-out eaten on the counter.


  • February 17, 2018

    • Still trying to get an electrician to call us back.
    • My friend Anastasia came out to take photos of the place for an archival record of "before" we start in earnest.
    • We rescued an abandoned cat and bought her/him all kinds of stuff but the cat disappeared and has been hiding for three days. Hopefully they come out soon, we want it to feel welcome.
  • February 27, 2018

    • Met with RC Marsack for initial masonry, concrete, and pebble dash repair
    • Rescued second cat from abandonment, brought him/her home
    • Kyle began deep-cleaning. Litter and leaf removal from yard, basement clean-up, deep clean and throwing out garbage from under benches and cabinets
    • Got an electrician to call us back, first meeting tomorrow
    • Had a walk-through with a potential sponsor for paint
  • February 28, 2018

    • Initial meeting with electrician
  • edited March 2018

    There's just something about February and March that make home renovation progress really slow.

    Haven't done much other than have a couple of contractors in for initial measurements and quotes.


    Broken old water tank removed, tankless system partially installed:

    Electrical work begun:

    Master bedroom drop ceiling demolished, new drywall ceiling in progress:

  • Have you an update for your eager audience? :)

  • yeah... what's up

  • Really sorry for the year-and-a-half delay in progress updates, but if I'm being honest, it feels like there hasn't really been much progress, despite the fact that there has.

    In January of 2019 I was laid off from my job and then in February my freelance contract was cancelled and I have been out of work since.

    The layoff was unexpected, and it came literally days after we signed a $25k+ renovation contract. As you can imagine, this put a major damper on our ability to get this project done in a timely fashion.

    Our contractor has been extraordinarily understanding and has allowed us to trickle money to him when we can. With no income from me and sporadic income from Nicole, it's been a very slow slog to get anything done.

    The big news is that major kitchen renovations are in progress and mostly complete. We gutted the kitchen and removed the first-floor bathroom entirely.

    Things we HAVE gotten done:

    • The kitchen and first-floor bathroom were gutted to studs, and the bathroom was removed completely
    • Kitchen re-design was completed and approved
    • Structural repairs to first-floor ceiling to properly support bathtub upstairs
    • New joists installed in kitchen
    • New cabinets were purchased
    • New hardwood floor installed in kitchen
    • Most cabinets have been installed
    • New plumbing throughout entire house
    • New electrical throughout entire house
    • New range hood purchased and venting installed to outside
    • Electrical rough, plumbing rough, and HVAC rough city inspected and approved
    • Lots of HVAC repairs
    • Roof repairs
    • New ceiling and lighting installed in kitchen
    • New fridge purchased
    • New lighting controller installed
    • Basement floor dug up for underground plumbing repairs
    • Plumbing repairs to main water feed from street
    • Underground leaks fixed in basement
    • New laundry tub installed
    • New washer and dryer purchased
    • Significant progress on second floor painting (hallway and two bedrooms)

    So, while it may seem like nothing is happening because we've still not moved in, despite purchasing the house in February of 2018... We are making progress.

  • Thanks for the update. :)

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