Duplex Renovation: Living next door to my big sister

There’s something so addicting about renovating a house, am I right?

It’s a strange addiction, the kind that you feel like you are going to kill over in the middle of, but then you see the finished product and you think…. “let’s do it again.”

(Living room before) 

(living room after)

I hate that I am waiting till just now to start sharing photos, so you have to see all our furniture in it (which every piece except one, which is from a flea market, is a hand-me-down OR my father in law and hubs built)

But to say we have been busy since May is an understatement.

We bought this place in May 2017 from the sweetest family, making us only the second owners of it since 1955.

A couple purchased it as a duplex for their daughters, who lived side by side for years in this sweet place.  If I am not mistaken, the cousins who sold it to us lived in this space for a part of their childhood.

The closing was emotional, seeing that we were purchasing this home after years of it being in the same family.  I felt so honored to be entrusted with something so special to another family.

Getting to meet these folks made all the difference in the way we saw our new home.  Being the history nerd that I am, I often try to envision what this place was like in the 50s and 60s, the 70s and 80s, and so on.

At the time of the purchase, the street we live on now was the end of the city limits in Montgomery.

Today, I would dare say we are hardly “midtown”.

(Bathroom before)(Bathroom After)We kept the original mirror/medicine cabinet.

In the removal of ALL that pink and blue tile, we discovered THOUSANDS of razor blades. Y’all, there are no words for the amount that were piled up the wall of the bathroom.

In my research and questions asked, I was told that in the 50s, men would shave their faces and discard the razor through a small slot in the medicine cabinet, depositing it into the wall (no insulation, so room for piling). There is something so sweet about that cabinet and the history that we get to hold onto from the time when the place was built.

It’s a good thing we are tall, because short people can’t see into that mirror well, but we love it, so that’s all that matters right?

(Kitchen before)

(Kitchen After)

This tiny space was actually quite the nightmare to renovate.

We pulled up laminate floors that had probably been there for decades, leaving behind the most insane amount of glue and residue.

You may think that so little floor would require little work, but the large commercial sander we rented indeed wouldn’t do the work needed to the floors, so we are talking HOURS on all fours with hand sanders to get all of it up.

(Master Bedroom before)

(Master Bedroom After)

This room, we stained half of it before we realized that stain was not going to “fade into the color we wanted it to be” and had to completely redo the sanding, staining, sealing, re-sanding (a lighter grade sand because the polyurethane bubbled) and then seal it AGAIN.

If you ever want to know what it feels like to lose your mind, rip up some old carpet, then rip up all the staples and nails from that, sand down glue, and then do the listed experience above.

(Guest room before)(Guest Room After)

Within about a month or so of renovating this space, my sister and her husband were on the hunt for a new house.  Their landlord was selling theirs and they needed to find a new home quickly.

With a toddler and pregnant with another, my sister was a little anxious to find something else sooner than later.

  Her landlord ended up selling said house and so my sister and brother-in-love took up our offer to live on the other side of our duplex.

We renovated both sides (unfortunately I have not taken any pictures of Side B, but it’s pretty similar.)

We started working the day we closed, May 3, 2017 and we finished and moved completely in on August 5, 2017.

Longest months ever.

But totally worth it.

I find it fitting that of all the offers that went in on this little place, somehow Cody and I were the chosen ones. Not only were we picked, yes the cousins that sold it to us actually took some kind of favor to us, but I feel like I am carrying on the legacy that this family left behind. 

Living side by side to one of my sisters, watching my now two nephews grow up, feeling safe and secure when my husband travels out of town because I know that I am technically sleeping under the same roof as family is such a blessing.

Can you say God moment? 

It’s such a good space and time.

A time where I can hear my *almost* three year old nephew playing outside and giggling. 

A time when I can walk next door to visit with sister after work.

A time when we can make Saturday morning breakfast and share it with each other.

A time when we can have supper together and hang out with our friends down the street without turning the ignition.

We can carpool to church and family events because honestly, it’s just more fun that way.

We can sit in the backyard (which is huge by the way AND fenced in #blessed) and swing or let the dog and toddler run wild.

We are living out a season of life we may never experience again, and it is sweet. It is so incredibly sweet. 

p.s. Can I have a triplex so all three Plunkett sisters can live next to each other? That may be a project for another day 🙂

P.P.S. I am still in contact with one of the family members that sold this space to us. Isn’t that fun? She is coming over to visit in December and I already have an entire LIST of questions about this space. I can’t wait to share more stories about duplex life past and present. 

Photos of family: Nalin Crocker

4 thoughts on “Duplex Renovation: Living next door to my big sister

  1. Thank you for letting us visit today. What a joy to see this duplex alive again with young families. Y’all did such a beautiful job making it a home again!


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