Thank you to everyone who entered our Home Makeover Contest. It was a pleasure to hear your stories and see the before and after photos. The awe-inspiring struggles that each of you have hurtled through updating your home, in effort to ultimately make your home better for your family, is definitely worth a relaxing vacation to a Marriott of your choice! At The Wemert Group, Waterstone Mortgage and DeWine Designs, we are so thankful to be in a business where we get to share in the joys of our community’s families and the impact their homes have on them.
We have chosen the following five entrants as candidates for voting on our Facebook Page. Here, you will be able to see the full story that each Entrant has written, and all the before and after photos for each Entrant. Voting begins now, so just log into Facebook, and visit our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/TheWemertGroup. To make your vote, please LIKE the entry that you feel should win the prize! The entrant with the most LIKES, will be the winner. We will be announcing the winner on February 2nd on our Facebook Page, at 12 noon.
ENTRANT 1: VOTE
There’s an old saying that “God sometimes takes us into troubled waters, not to drown us, but to cleanse us.” This has proven to be true over and over again, we just didn’t know that we would be dealing with ACTUAL troubled waters.
Our little family of three knew we had found our “forever home” as soon as we stepped foot on the property with the guidance of Jenny Wemert and Susan Ballou from The Wemert Group. Yes, the landscaping was insanely overgrown and hadn’t been cared for in many years. Yes, the home was decorated with antiques and all sorts of Amish nick-knacks. Yes, EVERY SINGLE wall and ceiling of the home (interior and exterior) was a different shade of green. Yet, we knew with a few minor tweaks here and there, this would be the home where we would watch our daughter grow from pre-school to high school. This was the home where we would watch evening sunsets over the EastWood golf course from our rocking chairs on our front porch. This was the home that was just minutes away from my parents’ home in nearby Stoneybrook. This was the home that was only stone’s throw from my favorite Publix supermarket. Everything was going to be perfect in our “forever home”…or so we thought.
Shortly after closing and moving in, the Florida “rainy season” that we are all too familiar with began. It rained hard and it rained often. It rained morning and night. Each and every time it rained, our entire pool deck/patio and yard would flood, and I do not mean a few puddles. Water would come into the home under sliding glass doors. Muddy water from the unkempt landscaping would overflow directly into our pool turning it a lovely shade of greenish-black.
This happened so often to the point that our daughter would cry every time it rained that our house was flooding and that she hated our new pool because it could never stay clean enough for her to go swimming. Hours after hours, weeks after weeks, months after months we spent pulling out bushes, digging self-made drainage ditches, installing sump pumps and gutters, dumping hundreds of dollars of chemicals into the pool, and enhancing the pool deck drain. After threatening legal action for failure to disclose pre-existing severe flooding/drainage issues, we were able to obtain a small settlement from our sellers to help us have a proper drainage system professionally installed. On our evenings and weekends with the help of family, we worked to completely revamp all of the landscaping on the property, installed a fence, laid new sod, and had the entire exterior of the home professionally painted.
With the exterior of the property finally in functional-capacity, on the interior of the home we steadily made minor changes; changing paint colors and decorating each room one by one, transforming the home into our own modern, simple style.
Again, with the help of family, we also spent a weekend self-installing a glass mosaic tile backsplash in our kitchen to modernize the home and give it a more contemporary, but classic look. Things were good; we were loving our home and surely, but steadily making it our own.
Then a flood happened…AGAIN. Only this time, it was a slab leak in our master bathroom. How could this be? We had just spent so much time and so much money correcting the exterior from water damage and issues. We had always thought that at some point down the road eventually, we would update our master bathroom. Yet, now our hand was being forced yet again to make instant corrections/updates to keep our home livable and avoid flooding issues. So much for the minor tweaks we thought the home only needed. The home that we envisioned spending our lives in was quickly turning into a money pit all because of uncontrollable water, outside and now inside our home!
We were told by the plumbers that we had only two options to repair the slab leak: 1) replumb the entire home since it was found to have polybutylene pipes or 2) tear up our travertine tile floors to make a repair where the pipes burst. Keep in mind, the tile floors were one of the first things that drew us to the home…they were simply gorgeous and covered the entire home except for the bedrooms. In my mind, tearing them up was not an option, especially with the risk of further plumbing issues down the road. As such, within 24 hours, we had baseboards and cabinets removed, huge, noisy drying units in place, and holes in EVERY SINGLE room in our home where the plumbing was being replaced in the entire home. My daughter’s playroom or bedroom weren’t even immune, as the plumbing had to be run through the walls to the nearby kitchen and bathrooms.
After a week without running water and “camping” indoors, we had beautiful brand new functioning pipes in our home. We also now had a mess of patched walls all over the home. As such, the various shades of green that once graced every inch of wall/ceiling were freshly painted in neutral taupes, whites, and blues. Our “realtors for life” and friends at the Wemert Group once again came through for us, referring us to an outstanding tile installer to focus on the Master Bath. It had to be completely renovated as to repair the plumbing damage meant that all of the pre-existing 1980s 4-inch white square tiles had to be removed. The redwood cabinet vanities were now a clean white, along with brand new baseboards. The bath and shower tiles were completely redone and updated to a simple, yet modern 12×18 matte white tile, a glass mosaic accent, and brushed nickel fixtures throughout.
As with any homeowner, we still have a long list of updates and repairs as we continue to make this our forever home sweet home. We just hope and pray that the rest of these home improvements come on our own terms and that we can avoid any additional troubled waters along the way.
ENTRANT 2: VOTE
Why did you decide to make this renovation?
My wife and I had the privilege of working with The Wemert Group at the sell of our original home and the purchase of our new home. We purchased the property with the understanding that my wife and I would like to grow into the home with a family eventually. The home was in great condition but definitely was in need of upgrades. Our goal is to give the house a modern, warm, country feeling. How are we supposed to fit all that with our different interests in colors? It’s a challenge that we both enjoy.
How has the renovation made your home an even better place to live?
The fresh paint and even newer wood floors give us a sense of comfort that we have been wanting in a home. It’s rewarding when we can relax on a Sunday morning with the dog (Princess) with a cup of coffee.
Did you live in the house during the renovation?
Yes we did.
Did you do it yourself or use contractors?
The demolition was self performed but being a General Contractor is very helpful when it comes to construction as the installation was by Mostro Remodeling. The guys did an incredible job and was in/out in one day.
Tell us any details you’d like to include in your story that sets you, your family, and your remodel apart.
The journey of selling our first home to purchasing a new home was far from normal. In December 2013, my wife and I decided that we wanted to down size from our first home of 2,600 SF that was located in Winter Garden. The sell of the home was difficult due to competing with the builder and also due to the property having a high water table which was not allowing the property to drain effectively. We lost a few buyers who were sold on the home until the drainage concern was brought to their attention. Once the news was shared with the buyers, the buyers discontinued any interests in the property. After badgering the HOA, land developer, and home builder, we were able to get a solution for the drainage. The solution was to install additional french drain parrell to the property and divert the water to the main storm sewer system. Being a General Contractor, I have a very good idea on how long something like this takes and the process in getting the activity to occur. Long story short and 3 months after a solution was provided, we had another bite on the property with the exception that the drainage was resolved prior to the buyer moving in on May 22nd 2014. My wife and I agreed to the terms based on a verbal agreement from the land developer who was going to remediate the drainage. As the final week was approaching for the buyers to move in, their agent indicated that the drainage had to be fixed as agreed which I knew at this time was not going to happen. Two days before the proposed closing date we received a call that the couple would close on the home and would move in the home in two days as long as we agreed to additional terms that the drainage will be address as per the new agreed date or we will give the seller $2,500. My wife and I scrambled to load a two story home with two U-Hauls trucks by ourselves. Talk about being aggravated! When I asked the buyers why such short notice, they told me that they were always going to close on the property and did not know their agent was telling us differently. Shortly after the closing, the drainage was repaired.
Once we had confirmation on the closing and had to be out in two days, my wife and I had no where to live and were technically homeless. With the help of Jenny Wemert and her staff, they were able to help us out. We rented a home from one of their clients that was selling their home and was located out of time. We rented the home for 5 months until we found the home that we are in now.
Now that we are finally moved in and have recovered from all the brain damage, it makes me very happy to know that we had The Wemert Group behind us 110% and literally opened their doors to us when we needed it.
ENTRANT 3: VOTE
A FRESH START = VERY OVERWHELMING (to say the least)
And so begins my story……
married …divorced …remarried to the same person..oh! 3 children…16,15,12 .. 2 dogs….and a very BUSY schedule
We had been looking for a house for a year. We owned a home in Eastwood that my husband bought after we were divorced. It was perfect for them but after I moved back in and the kids got bigger it got smaller. One kid driving with a two car garage that really is one with all the stuff we have, and another kid a few months away from getting a car we really needed a bigger house and a house that we could call home as a family… a new fresh start for all of us.
After looking and looking and almost giving up we found on the same day, 2 houses we liked.
COMPROMISE… I wanted the house in Waterford with the big kitchen fully done, they wanted the house in Eastwood because everyone wanted to stay in this neighborhood.
Soooooo I gave in . One thing, first and for most, this house needed a kitchen! And that’s what got remodeled!!!
We rented out our other house so we had a month from the time we bought this and the time the renters were to move in. WELL guess what that month was… December, the busiest month of the year. I knew I wanted the kitchen done before we moved in. I had no idea where to start so I called a friend… whom I knew had cabinets painted years ago. “DeDe Asprey,” she says “Use her, she is amazing!” And she wasn’t kidding. Dede’s talent in painting and building my dream kitchen was about to unfold…
As the house was set to start, my daughter who does some modeling got sent out of town for 4 days the week of starting. It became very hectic and I was very stressed. With 2 kids at home, me gone and husband working, no one was around. Let’s just say if weren’t for DeWine Design and the amazing people working I don’t know how we would have made it.
Don’t forget it’s Christmas time. No tree… No lights… No gifts for kids… No house… lot’s of tears.
In the end, I can’t tell you how happy I am and how much this remodel means to me. This is our house from the heart, a place to call home, to live and grow in. We turned this house into our own. This remodel changed our lives for all the right reasons. Family dinners, big breakfasts on the weekends, and a great place to gather with friends and family.
It’s what I call.. HAPPINESS: meaning~ good fortune, pleasure, contentment, JOY. (to say the least)
The secret to happiness, it turns out , may not be wealth or power… it may be a NEW KITCHEN!!!
ENTRANT 4: VOTE
Finally! After all the stress, hard work, and dedication…our home is now “home sweet home”.
More than just a dream house… for our family this is a new beginning in so many ways. They say moving is one of the most stressful things in life… try selling a home, moving in to a temporary apartment, purchasing a new house, and to put the cherry on top… remodel and makeover too! Thank goodness our project is complete.
Talk about a budget! Our budget was very tight… and with some unforseen situations… even tighter. We found our bank owned house that needed much love to make it right. New paint, new countertops, new light fixtures, new appliances, and the list goes on! We could not afford to contract anything out… so we took a week vacation and starting making things happen all on our own.
I will never paint a house this big again! It took us at least 5 days to paint but boy was it worth it! The house started to look amazing already with the new paint and color scheme. The kitchen cabinets were not the greatest but there was definitely no money to replace those, so we chose to paint the kitchen a dark tone to help the cabinets look better… once we changed the countertops… bingo… the kitchen was a success! New appliances were a must, so we searched specials and gathered coupons to get all new stainless steel appliances for less than $2,000.00.
Our awesome friends and family chipped in a few ways to help. Some helped with fixing up the house, some helped with cleaning, and some helped with giving us furniture that we needed to fill up all the extra space we now have!
Overall we are so thrilled to have this beautiful new home…it’s more than perfect! We owe a huge thank you to the wonderful Wemert Group for helping us every step of the way… from selling our first home, to helping us find a new home that had the extra space we needed… so much… to finally closing the deal and making us proud owner’s of our dream house in a great location with good schools for our kids.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
ENTRANT 5: VOTE
Back in March of 2014 we decided to sell our home in SW Florida and move to the Orlando area. We came across the Wemert Group in our search for Realtors and selected them based upon their ranking in the market. From there we were fortunate enough to link up with Susan Ballou when we contacted the office.
After visiting several homes, Susan brought us to a listing at 1931 Winding Oaks Drive in Rio Pinar Preserves. We loved the location and the property and were able to agree upon a selling price with the owners. When we had the home inspected we were informed that there was a severe mold issue in the kitchen island, moisture issues along the outside walls due to poor drainage, and other less severe issues. As a result we essentially ended up making over much of the house.
The kitchen island had to be disassembled and removed and rebuilt as part of the mold remediation. All of the work was performed by people that Susan recommended. There was a remediation company, a granite company, a person that rebuilt the cabinets, restored the plumbing, etc. As you can see from the attached pictures it was a very big job. When all was complete the state was brought in to inspect and approve the work. Knowing that the mold had been completely remediated gave Nancy and me peace of mind that the house was safe from any health risks that are associated with mold infestation.
The moisture in the foundation required that the foundation was dried and sealed. This was another big job because of the area that had to be dug up. In addition we decided to install gutters, downspouts and drainage so that water wouldn’t pool against the house during heavy rains.
Other work that was performed was having the interior of the house painted. Again Susan recommended a painting company that did a fine job. Some of the rooms required a second and third coat of paint to cover the colors that were on the walls.
As you will see, we also redid the bathroom from the original built in cabinets to vanities with a granite countertop. We also replaced all of the carpet in the house, had the floor and grout steam cleaned, replaced the fixtures in all of the bathrooms, had the deck around the pool repaired and painted, had the garage floor sealed and painted, had the duct work and HVAC cleaned, and more.
What I haven’t mentioned is that our primary residence is in the Philadelphia area and we were there (out of state) while all of this work was being arranged and coordinated by Susan and The Wemert Team. We would have never been able to get it done without their help. And their level of professionalism and commitment is such that we never had to worry or wonder about the work or workmanship.
So now we are the proud owners of a beautiful home in a wonderful area in Rio Pinar.