...because home doesn't happen overnight.
08.30.11 / A Few New Things

Several projects are underway simultaneously at the Underdog.  I have a few things to share since the last update. First, the electrical conduit is in place for our future kitchen island.

All the black mold Handy Hubby found on the backside of one of the bathroom walls is gone.

After spraying and scrubbing the mold with a bleach/water mixture to no avail, Handy Hubby got a useful tip from a new neighbor.  He suggested pouring chlorine on the mold and he happened to have some on hand that he kindly let us use.  HH applied the chlorine to the mold and watched as the mold shriveled up into small brown bunches that either fell off or were easily removed.  Not sure that chlorine is the greenest way to get rid of mold but it sure worked like a charm and it’s gotta be better than inhaling mold.

After hiring a professional plumber to update the washer/dryer hookup and run new gas lines {more on that stuff in a few…}, we were happy to learn that the bathroom tub and shower plumbing wasn’t the cause of the mold.  Whew.  We hadn’t planned on renovating the bathrooms just yet.  Instead, we discovered the original bathroom tile on the other side of the wall was to blame for the mold. Oh. Not so whew after all.  Individual tiles have pulled away from the wall allowing water to seep behind them.  You can literally push on the tile surround with one finger and it will move.  Looks like we’ll be knee deep in at least one bathroom reno before we move in.  And we haven’t had a chance to check the other {master} bathroom for leaks yet.  Grrr.  But it’s nothing unexpected from a 50+ year old house that’s been neglected for years.  We just hadn’t prepared ourselves for a bathroom remodel so soon.

Speaking of that plumber I mentioned…

…the new washer/dryer hookup is all set!  I like seeing new things in our Underdog.  True signs of progress.

Thanks to our plumber we now have a water line to our future refrigerator too.  The plumber also installed some new gas lines.  One for the future gas stove in the kitchen…

…and one for the wood burning fireplace that we’ve decided to convert to gas while the walls are down for easier access.  With two young kiddos in the house, we thought gas would be the safer way to go but I do like me a wood burning fireplace.

The plumber called the county to come out and inspect his work but we found out that in our particular county if you’re converting a wood burning fireplace to gas, you must first install the gas insert before the county will come out to inspect the new gas lines.  Bummer.  We hadn’t even looked at gas inserts yet.  So we did.  And the price for one of those brand new suckers is crazy expensive!!!  As in $2,000 – $3,000 expensive!  Not in our budget.  So HH did the next best thing – scoured craigslist.  Lo and behold he came across a used gas insert with dimensions that matched our fireplace.  It looked to be in good shape, so HH called.  Two days later, we found ourselves on a short road trip to Indiana to check out the unit.  The guy selling the insert had it stored in his garage where HH was able to hook it up and make sure it worked.  Luckily, it did work. After HH did a little talking down, the gas insert was in the back of our car for $700 – down from the $800 it was listed for on craigslist.  At $700, it wasn’t cheap but considering new units go for at least $2,000 it was a deal.  I don’t know much about gas inserts, but HH seems very happy with the find. Another craigslist match made in heaven.

The picture above doesn’t really do it justice.  I took it in the garage with all the doors and windows closed so the lighting was awful.  And the faux logs aren’t so excrement-like {sorry, I couldn’t think of any other way to describe them!} in real life. Still, you get the idea.  We really like the wide, chunky frame.  I mentioned to HH that I’d like to paint the frame but I don’t think he’s sold on the idea yet.

That’s the latest word on the Underdog.  A few other things have changed even since these pictures were taken, so I’ll give you another update soon.  Oh, and stay tuned for a post all about how we sold our previous home by owner!  Coming soon…

What about you?  Have you found any great craigslist buys recently?  Have you ever driven across state lines to hunt down a craigslist find?

images:  all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 




gosh, you are my and hubby’s inspiration. really. everything looks amazing.


I work for Servpro, we specialize in mold remediation. You guys NEED to put an encapsalate on the wood that had mold. Mold WILL grow back with just sanding. You can use KILLZ or anything in that family to ensure that mold will not re-grow there! Good luck.


I’ve never tried to buy or sell anything on Craigslist, but when I was selling my house last year, some scammer listed my house as being for rent! I found out about it when I saw someone standing on my porch looking in the windows!!!


Oh this sounds all too familiar! We ran into EXACTLY the same problem during our renovation. As soon as they started demo on the other side of the wall tiles were just falling off. Then they found the mold. We ended up replacing the entire tub…We replaced the wood on the other side as well. We aren’t even using our master bath right now because we’re sure it has the same issue!


Hi Dana
We had mould all over our bathroom ceiling when we moved in (broken exhaust fan) so I did some research: our cleaning guru here in Australia, Shannon Lush, says bleach and chlorine only get rid of the mould stain, but not the mould spores themselves. SO you could still actually have mould there. She recommends you “use 1/4 teaspoon of Oil of Cloves per litre of water, put it in a spray bottle, lightly mist on and leave overnight and wipe off. (Oil of Cloves available from a chemist or anywhere that sells natural essences).” We did, and it worked. A litre of water is about a quart I think.


Anne – Thanks for the tip! We’ll have to look into oil of cloves I guess! And here we thought we had it all figured out…

Dana, just started coming to your website. Really exciting project you have underway. Have you considered running speaker wire in the ceiling or wall space before you drywall? It’s really cheap, doesn’t need to be inspected or permitted and can be left there until you decide to throw in ceiling or wall mounted speakers. We have them in our family room for surround sound and music when company is over and it’s much better than having speakers and wires sitting on the floor. Feature creep… it happens!

Good Luck!


I spend hours looking at Craigslist… I’m totally addicted! I recently sold a table and chair set on CL and have been looking for weeks for a white kitchen cart/island but have had no luck. So sad.

Great progress! It has to be so exciting! Will it be possible to convert your fireplace back to wood after the boys are older?

Yay Indiana! That was home sweet home for me for 23 years. So much greener than Texas.


John – Oh, yes! Handy Hubby has all the speakers for the TV surround planned out. I for one could live without all the techie stuff but he really enjoys it, so we’ll do it. In fact, I believe our electrician has already run wire for the surround and flatscreen. I’ll be sure to update on more tech progress as it goes! Thanks for the comment.


Chelsea – We planned on gutting the bathrooms at some point. It just looks like we’ll be doing it sooner rather than later. While tearing out all the mold infested materials will get rid of it, we’re still wanting to eradicate it beforehand since HH spends a lot of time working at the Underdog. He wears a respirator when the job calls for it but not all the time. I don’t want him breathing all that mold!


I love Craigslist! When I lived in San Francisco I happen to live in the same neighborhood as Craig who created Craigslist. They even did a documentary about Craigslist and the whole idea. It is called ” 24 hours on Craigslist.” They showed it in SF but maybe it is on Netflix, it is quite interesting .


Jordan – “24 Hours on Craigslist”?! That sounds so cool! HH and I will have to make a date of it!


Another plus on your fireplace find- if you have to buy the logs yourself they are a couple hundred dollars themselves. We had gas in our first house and had to buy our own logs and waited until the off season trying to find them on sale. We were shocked at how much they were! We love watching your progress- thanks for sharing!


Yes “24 Hours on Craigslist” Here is the wikipedia article about the movie



Very exciting progress! Bummer about he bathroom, but that’s kind of the way remodeling goes, ya know? You peel off one little scab and find a much larger wound than you were expecting. I am very excited to see what you do with the bathroom! My own bathroom remodel has been on hold for 4 years because I just haven’t got the budget (or the stomach!) for it right now, so I will live vicariously through you on this one.

And, I am a certified Craigslist junkie! I have bought an sold so many items through it: bathtubs, purses, woodstoves, tile saws, drill presses, firewood…I always check there first. Oh, I also found my boyfriend via Craigslist…and drove to the next state to pick him up and bring him home! Best find EVER! :~D


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