A few years ago, I purchased a condo in Fraser Colorado located just north of Winter Park. Originally built in 1980, to less than strict building codes, we decided to completely gut it and start over. Built primarily for rental purposes, it hadn’t seen a lot of love in a long time. Long turquoise shag carpet, cheap cabinetry, worn out laminate flooring, and in general, poor construction methods destined this home to a short life, if major effort wasn’t expended to preserve it. I tore the house apart and got it down to just sheet rock and plywood and started from scratch. I’m pretty certain the neighborhood thought I was a little crazy for taking on such a project, but this is just the kind of project I love.

These pictures are from the outside of the house mid-project. What you don’t see in these pictures is a fireplace that had a cement cap which leaked for years. The internal rot allowed the fireplace to fall away from the house. So much so that rocks were falling off its exterior which made it a little dangerous to be around. The decks were also rotted from years of neglect and were too small to be used for any event. Did I forget to mention that squirrels were living in the walls and attic?!

BEFORE

AFTER

The interior from a utilization point of view, was poorly designed. The kitchen was so poorly designed that more than 1 person in the kitchen caused chaos. To modify it, we relocated the water heater previously in a closet within the kitchen, removed the island and a small wall separating the kitchen from the dining area. We then ripped out the cabinetry and replaced it with top of the line Home Depot cabinetry, that is incredibly well built. With a little effort, out of the box cabinetry can be extremely nice in a complete remodel. As you can see, we created a peninsula, removed all of the flooring, reinstalled the refrigerator in the water heater location and laid all new walnut flooring.

This opened up this space and created a very workable and comfortable workspace. Thank you Tamara Day for your assistance.

This picture shows the extent of work we did before and after on the flooring.

This view of the rear deck shows the addition of a substantial add on from the 5 ft by 25 ft deck to 12 ft by 25 ft including stairs and benches made from trees on the property. Several trees had to be removed because of beetle kill that has plagued Colorado for several years. Colorado has a lot of beetle kill, which means that beetles are carving into the pine trees and releasing a fungus which kills the tree. It gives the wood a very unique color and also has different variations of colors ranging from blues, browns, blacks and grays. Instead of wasting the trees, we were able to use a little ingenuity to create some seating for the decks. Simple but effective.

To alleviate the chimney problem I opted for a new gas fireplace and enclosed it with corrugated tin, that is so popular in Colorado. I love the new look framed in cedar. We also added a 14 ft by 25 ft deck to the front, replacing the 6ft by 4 ft deck that provided an entrance into the home. We also opted to build a steel roof over the deck for snow protection in the winter. With 8 ft snow loads possible it required extra reinforcement to survive. A fabulous improvement that is pleasant year around.

To make effective use of local resources, we made custom furniture, designed and built by my good friend, Joe Gray. Utilizing beetle kill pine beds were constructed with storage underneath. We also used beetle kill pine to replace the popcorn ceiling and a unique coat rack and couldn’t be happier with the result. It really warmed up the home.

The home has given us several years of pleasure both during construction and after. All of my children in one way or another provided their expertise in rebuilding this home. We did the vast majority of all of the work ourselves creating a lot of pride. I doubt that we will ever sell this home. It has created too many special memories. I can’t wait to return this summer.

-Ward