To watch Kaitlyn Carty at work, where she is choral director for Krum Independent School District, you would not think she has a completely different side to her. As choral director she is responsible for the high school and middle school choirs. She also teaches an after school choir at the intermediate campus, and she is the assistant Color Guard director.
But when she is not directing her school choral programs, Kaitlyn Carty directs the complete upgrade of her soon-to-be first home. It is more than a hobby. It is Carty’s love.
“I guess I would call my project an extreme upgrade,” Carty said. “I found my home while casually searching the Internet for rental homes, apartments, small homes for purchase, etc. I fell in love with it from the moment I saw the picture. I set up an appointment and although it didn’t show well (filthy and cluttered are an understatement), I knew the moment I stepped foot in the door it was my first home.”
Carty said she knew what she was getting into when she purchased the house in July 2011.
“I was prepared for a ‘fixer-upper’ and in fact have always dreamed of owning one; the work that had to done on the house did not intimidate me, but excited me,” she said. “The house is a 1940s brick craftsman home built on pier and beam. Some structural reinforcement had to be done but nothing major. I like to call the slope to my floors character, along with a few other ‘imperfections’.”
Many people would not be as confident as Carty if they had a project of this size, but Carty tackled the issues from top to bottom, literally.
“I began by tearing out the old tile ceilings, the 1960’s paneling, linoleum, kitchen cabinets and bathroom fixtures with the exception of the tub – essentially I gutted the entire house,” she said. I redesigned the floor plan by widening the opening from the living room to the dining room, closing off the door from the kitchen to the hallway, removing the wall between the kitchen and the mud room, and adding a laundry room. I then began putting the pieces back together.”
Carty said she is careful to maintain the historical integrity of the house.
“I make all decisions conscious of the style and era in which my home was built,” she said.
Keeping the historical integrity in mind, Carty placed new sheet rock in each room, rewired all electrical lines, ran new gas lines, replaced all plumbing, redid the sub floor in the bathroom and kitchen and laundry rooms.
“I am still in the process of mudding and taping, tiling, putting up trim, replacing a few windows, assembling and installing kitchen cabinets and concrete countertops, and of course all of the finishing touches such as painting, light switches, replacing door knobs, decorating, etc.”
Carty has future plans to work on outdoor landscaping, too, but she has to work around her busy teaching schedule.
“I spend every available weekend working on my house, mostly Saturdays and Sunday afternoons. This can average from zero to three weekends a month depending on my school schedule,” she said. “I also take advantage of school vacations. I am able to work three to five days per week on my house over the summer and our winter and spring breaks.”
Carty hopes to have the home ready to occupy by March 2013 and she will continue to work on it while she lives there. She is realistic about when it will be really finished.
“I am always tweaking something, so I am sure my home will never truly be ‘finished’,” she said.
Find out in the next article where Carty gets her talent and tenacity and learn her tips for taking on a home makeover project.