Lessons Learned from Building a Wall in Three Days

I bought my condo just over a year ago (woop! to one year ‘home’ ownership).  I was actually convinced upon seeing my unit that I wouldn’t be caught dead in it.  It’s a studio and I never lived in one before.  I have no problem with small spaces, but being able to see into my bedroom from the front door was not cool with me.  Oh, and the fact that I could hear someone peeing in my bathroom while I lay in my bed… also not fun.  I fully believed in buying a one bedroom.

before pic

There was only one little problem…

I couldn’t afford it.

And let’s just be honest… I can barely afford my studio.  I am in a tremendous amount of debt (both loan-wise and personal credit-wise) because of it.  If you’re out there saying ohmygosh this poor little girl rushed into something too quickly, buying is too risky, who should own a ‘home’ at 26 anyways?  Just save yourself… please.  I already have a voice, in my head, telling me the same thing.

The reality is that I grew up in Cleveland.  Remember when we talked about that?  I learned that some things require sacrifice and some things (like homes not drugs, kids) are worth the risk.  So, I’m betting on the gamble that this whole condo thing will work out for me in a few years.  Hopefully, I can sell it for a little more than I invested and put the surplus towards family life when that stage starts for me.  Fingers crossed. :)


Anyways, my real estate agent finally convinced me that I could buy the studio and eventually build a wall one day.  Wouldn’t that be fun??!!!  In my head, I was like OK maybe I could afford to hire some contractors in a few years to build this thing.  Then I remembered that I have a lovely father who flips houses in his spare time!!  He would love to build me a wall!!  Real truth: Fathers can never say no to a request from daddy’s little girl.  Even when she’s 26.

This is what led us to a weekend from hell building a wall.

Lesson Learned #1: Home Depot employees will know you by name

We took not one, not two, but no lie – eight – trips to Home Depot this past weekend while building the wall.  When I say we, I mean the men went to Home Depot every time except once when my little sister braved the drive in foreign territory to the foreign and very orange land of HD where she was promptly told to ‘call her boyfriend and ask him which type of nails he would like to buy.’


Note: Even after talking to ‘said boyfriend’ on the phone, the employee sold my sister the wrong nails, which led to the men’s eighth trip to Home Depot Sunday afternoon.

Lesson Learned #2:  All rules will be broken

Like I said, I live in a condo, which just happens to come along with a really fun Home Owners Association that loves to make really fun rules!!  Upon the first thirty minutes of my dad and my brother’s friend Mitch unloading supplies, from our favorite place of Home Depot, the Property Manager came running over to scold ask my dad who the heck he is and what he is doing.  (She had apparently not seen my email about the construction over the weekend.)  After a quick discussion where my dad mentioned a “bookshelf” and his fatherly love for me, the woman insisted provided padding on all the walls in the elevator in case anyone nicked anything while moving supplies up one floor.


after pic



Lesson Learned #3: The wall will look AMAZING!!!

The wall looks absolutely fantastic!! I am honestly shocked at how much it looks like it was originally built into the unit.  My dad now fondly calls my condo the ‘builder’s model.’

There were a lot of struggles along the way (hello electrical work and baseboards), but the outcome was well worth it (certainly for me haha)!  And I think my dad would say that he increased a lot of his skill-sets as well.


There is one other person who ‘benefited’ too: my brother’s friend Mitch.  Meet Mitch!  With his eyes closed!  He is really like my brother since he has been close to my family for a long time.  And, guess what!  He owns his own business doing this type of work (e.g. plaster & painting).  If you live in the Cleveland area and need any similar thing done to your piece of property, call Mitch (business card below); he is awesome!!  I give a lot of credit to my dad, but in reality, Mitch did about 95% of the work.  Not kidding.


Thanks to everyone (mom, dad, my sister and Mitch!) for everything you did this weekend.  You guys are awesome and I cannot thank you enough!! :)