Four years ago I purchased a old, run down house with the intention of renovating it. The house was bad…. I mean really bad. When the owner showed me the house there was a giant pile of dog poo in the middle of the bedroom. One friend ran outside and puked it smelled so bad. My friends and my Realtor told me I was crazy for even thinking about buying the house… and that was pretty much all I needed to convince me to do so (I got it for a steal). Keep in mind that all the pictures below are from the showing:

Fron of the House

The front of the house

Bear Lake House Showing


Bear Lake House Showing

Bathroom sink

Bear Lake House Showing


Bear Lake House Showing

Living Room

Bear Lake House Showing


Bear Lake House Showing


My plan was to remodel the house just enough to make it livable for a few years. Maybe some fresh paint, new carpet and some new fixtures. My thought was that I would live there for a bit, then tear it down and build my dream house. That was the plan, but let’s just say things didn’t turn out that way. First it was the carpet, then it was the walls, then it was the windows, then the bathroom and so on. I wound up completely gutting the house and doing the majority of the work myself. I added central air conditioning, bigger windows, a new kitchen, a new bathroom and combined the two small bedrooms upstairs in one giant master.

Bear Lake Home Remodel

Knocking the wall down between the living room and kitchen

Bear Lake Home Remodel

Bear Lake Home Remodel

Bear Lake Home Remodel

New bar between the living room and kitchen

Bear Lake Home Remodel

Front of house window replacement

It took me a good six months to get the house to a point where it was livable. During that time I slept on a blow up mattress on the floor of a friends house. When I was finally able to move in I was so happy. I was proud of myself for taking a risk, turning my vision into a reality (and proving the naysayers wrong).

Bear Lake

Living Room

Bear Lake


Bear Lake


I wish I could say it was over when I moved in. A few months later I decided to build a deck and dock.

The original backyard

Original Backyard

Building the deck

Under Construction

I have to say the deck ROCKs for house parties in the summer.

Bear Lake

Party Pad

Bear Lake Olympics

Decked out for my annual summer party

The changes have continued over time. I am getting the house painted right now (it is what inspired me to do this post). I am happy Tara convinced me to hire someone to do the work, but it just doesn’t give me the same feeling of accomplishment as when I do it myself. I feel like I am cheating. It makes me want to do more around the house. I need to build something!

My tools have been silent too long. Two summers ago I decided to build a floating dock because I was going nuts. I feel the same way now. Construction is like meditation for me, I don’t think about anything else… just the task at hand.

Floating Dock

"Floaty Dock"

The crazy thing is the property I bought actually has two houses right next to each other (originally known as ghetto 1 and 2). While I renovated the one that I live in the other one has remained relatively untouched except some new paint and carpet. I can hear the other house calling me…. but I am torn. These houses are old, they were built in the 1930’s and no matter what I do they will never be the modern home I would like to eventually live in. Do I want to keep dumping money into them just because I desire to work with my hands? I still want to bulldoze these houses in a couple years. The more sweat equity (and hard cash) I invest the more they are part of me and the harder that decision will be.


I am not sure what to do. Has anyone else faced something like this? I have got to do something. Maybe another Floaty Dock? I need a weekend project people!!!

Ted Murphy

Ted Murphy

Ted Murphy is an American entrepreneur. He is currently the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of IZEA, a technology company that provides software for influencer marketing.


  • Incredible work, Ted! That is very impressive and I am sure you are very proud of the result!

  • becky says:

    Gee, Ted, it’s hard to put down the hammer and step away! Whatever you decide to build will rock!

  • Ted Murphy says:

    Actually it’s the power tools and nail gun I have a hard time putting down πŸ˜‰

  • Ang. says:

    Why don’t you build the ultimate 2 story doghouse? Complete with front porch and skylights.

  • Ted Murphy says:

    Now you are talking! I could build something for Bonzo so she can always look out the window.

  • amy says:

    That is really an impressive achievements. Don’t get discourage. Even if the property is old, the location is really excellent. Just continue what you are doing , section by section and just enjoy your place. The changes is totally excellent in comparison to the old pictures you posted. What you have been experiencing is normal, the outcome will be rewarding if you have the drive to finish your goal. You may spend so much money now but, once it will be fully renovated, the price of your property will triple. Just a simple suggestion, was just influenced by watching TV shows like Flipping Houses…LOL

  • Eleanor says:

    wow…how about my house for free…just kidding…lol…anyway, that certainly is a good hobby, carpentry— u feel the power of success once u see your job done…

  • Luis says:

    Ted, I didn’t know you were so versatile. You have a gift. It seems you can build anything (houses to businesses) AND be good at it.

    You might consider viewing the second house as worthy of your pass time efforts and endeavors in a more concentrated way…

  • Jennifer says:

    Something for Bonzo is a great idea! I was going to say, definitely something you can keep/take with you when you decide to tear it all down. If you were going to sell it later, I’d say go for it, you’re only building equity. But if you’re going to tear it down and start over, it’s kind of like throwing the money away, and like you said, investing a whole lot of yourself in it.

  • Gatorbates says:

    Great work Ted … impressive. I’ve got an idea for you … you can come over to my house and paint the entire interior!!!! πŸ™‚

  • While the newer, modern house is something to be desired, it may not be as nice once you finally have it.

    My wife and I bought and old, original condition, run down house in 1999. We then put everything we had into upgrading, and making it what we wanted. New kitchen, baths, pool, patio, screening and much more. Then in 2006 we sold it and moved into a brand new, bigger, fully loaded house.

    Thing is, we still both kind of regret selling the old house. Sure we bought this one, and it is nicer, but it is not “ours.” Just something to think about.

  • Hi Ted,

    My hubby and I actually spend a lot of time investing in real estate. We too, have bought, gutted and rehabbed more properties that looked like yours and worse…

    There’s nothing more satisfying than fixing the ugly into something fabulously beautiful and proving everyone wrong…The uglier it is, the more I like it when we start!

    Just finished renovating a home built in the first couple years of the 20th century – and that’s how it looked – and today, it’s an amazing home in a seriously historic and sought-after area.

    Instead of selling it in this terrible market right now, we’re refinancing, going to put some people into it, and sell it when the market has appreciated a great deal and we’ve built up a ton of equity.

    I do know what you mean though…Although this is such an awesome house, it’s not the house in the back of my mind (well, the front) that I want to live in…

    Go for the gusto Ted…Live in the home you’ve always wanted. No matter what house you’re in, there are always projects and weekend warrior jobs to do all the time, not to mention awesome embellishments that you, no doubt, will create!

    Hope that helps you as you are torn in this one!

    However, your crib looks like a fabulous place to live and a fun place to hang out @!

    Kimberly πŸ™‚

  • […] read an interesting post today from Ted Murphy. In it he ponders on his home’s buying/gutting/refurbushing experience. Most of the work he did […]

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