the cedar palace – tale of a remodel

See before photos of our remodel of a little cedar palacd

I NEVER thought we’d ever remodel a home. We have bought or built many homes in our 32 years of marriage. I have been really spoiled because every one of those houses has been brand new. No one else’s toothbrush laid in our bathroom drawer. No one else’s hiney ever touched our toilets. It’s just the way it worked out. My dad was a builder, so when we lived out east we built 3 houses (2 of which we never lived in – but that’s a story for another day). And of the other 3 places we’ve purchased, 2 have been builder’s spec homes and our current home is one we had built.

 We’ve now lived in the same house for nearly 19 years. That’s longer than we’ve lived in any one place. Our children are grown and we have 5 grandkids and counting, so we’ve decided to do what we are calling, a re-size. We are not downsizing, we just want to re-appropriate the square footage we currently have to allow for our growing family and we wanted a bigger yard than we have. However, our location is perfect for us. We are only minutes from each son and walking distance to town, parks and biking trails.

The Cedar Palace's before photos

LOCATION is the ONLY reason to buy a house like this!

The Cedar Palace

We (actually the hubs) first looked at this little cedar sided house more than a year ago. I was out of town and he just told me that he and the realtor agreed that there was nothing about this house that I would be okay with.  So our search continued.

After more than a year of searching for what didn’t appear to be available, I said to the Hubs that I think we should revisit that house and consider a remodel. “Just let me go down there and see if I can see myself on that property.” You know what they say, “Location, Location, Location!” It’s exactly 46 seconds, by car from our current driveway to this little property, so essentially it’s exactly where we want to be!

I tiptoed in around the 3 cats that we’re the owner’s pride and joy and tried not to breath too much of the 20+ years of chain smoking remnants into my lungs. The layout was horrible, the basement is an old low ceiling basement that can’t be changed with any kind of moderate budget and if I could have bottled the smell and sent it to you all, you would have called me crazy. I’m calling me crazy! But this little gem, that I’m sarcastically calling a “palace”, sits on 1.6 acres of prime city (flat) property, and it just might be our dream home. But a remodel would be MAJOR work. I wasn’t sure we were up to that.

Before photos The Cedar Palace /

Poop or get off the pot

YES, I just said POOP! We had just started bringing in contractors to see what kind of costs would be involved in a remodel when someone else put an offer on the property. UGH! Now we had to make a rush decision AND have that dreaded bidding war. I won’t bore you with the details, but in the end our offer was accepted and we weren’t the highest bidder. We just had better conditions. The little nicotine stained, cat lover’s home became ours and the fear set in. (The fear is still here and maybe even worse now!)

We now had a quick month to get a plan, a builder and a cost estimate to the bank. No problem! (sarcasm font)   The search for a builder who had the time to take us on was proving to be very difficult, even IF contractors worked quickly (which they generally don’t). I was beginning to panic.

Remodel before photos from the Cedar Palace

It all comes together.

Here’s where our story gets good. I had been talking with a former neighbor about the house they had just built and she said her father-in-law, Larry was an old school, paper and ink draftsman and had designed their home for them. I got his number and the next day my husband made contact with him. Since he knew where we lived (former neighbor’s dad and all), as my man was explaining where the property was, Larry said, “I drew a plan for that exact house for someone who was looking at it last year.”  Whoopee! Best case scenario: The plan would be exactly to our liking. Second best: It would only require a few tweaks.

Second best won!  We had a plan! We chose a builder! And here we are! In all her glory…. YIKES!!!!

The basement before photos / The Cedar Palace


I hope you’ll keep checking back on our progress. If you’re not already following, I have a page created on Instagram and Facebook called My Cedar Palace, where I’ll be posting photos on a more regular basis. I’ll also be doing some blog posts on elements of the remodel. Most importantly, I”m going to be in  need of some opinions and advice!

In the end, I’ll basically be living in a brand new house, within an old house frame. So I guess, it’s the best possible scenario. Unless I was a bazillionaire and could have knocked it down and built exactly what I wanted. But then again, if I was a bazillionaire I’d probably move my entire family someplace warm and wonderful, where we’d never have to shovel snow or brave subzero wind chills. A girl can dream can’t she?

P.S.  I’ll add exterior photos in a separate post.


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  1. Mary Boggs

    I’m excited to see the project as it progresses!

    • Paula

      I’m really stressing about stuff. It’s kind of making me mad because I want to be excited.

      • Mary

        Hang in there! I think it will become more fun when these bigger decisions and obstacles are put if the way.

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