Fort Recovery residents Brandon (left) and Amanda Wyerick, pictured here with daughters Brooklyn (front left) and Jadyn in the kitchen of their home, were the recipients of the most improved dwelling award at the recent annual meeting of the Fort Recovery Chamber of Commerce. The couple were renovation rookies who leaned heavily on online research before completely remodeling the first floor of the home. (The Commercial Review/Kelly Lynch)
Fort Recovery residents Brandon (left) and Amanda Wyerick, pictured here with daughters Brooklyn (front left) and Jadyn in the kitchen of their home, were the recipients of the most improved dwelling award at the recent annual meeting of the Fort Recovery Chamber of Commerce. The couple were renovation rookies who leaned heavily on online research before completely remodeling the first floor of the home. (The Commercial Review/Kelly Lynch)
FORT RECOVERY — The Internet helps many people in their day-to-day lives, but for the Wyerick family, online resources, and a lot of personal labor, helped make their house a home.
After buying their Fort Recovery home in 2010 with the intention of renovating it, Brandon and Amanda turned to the Internet for cosmetic ideas and simple how-to tutorials on everything from electrical to plumbing.
Brandon took to popular sites Google and YouTube for structural questions, while Amanda looked over Pinterest and Houzz for cosmetic ideas.
Over the next eight months, they taught themselves all they needed to know to do the renovations themselves.
“Any time I had a question on something, I Googled it to see different options,” said Brandon. “There are plenty of times I didn’t quite understand what I was doing, so I’d just go on the Internet and pull it up on YouTube and watch it,” he said.
“That’s one thing I know my dad made a comment of, ‘Back in the day, you didn’t have that. You had to wait to find someone who did it for a living.’ So that definitely helped speed the process up.”
For Amanda, along with online sources, it was seeing these houses firsthand that inspired her.
“We’ve just been through a lot of different houses,” said Amanda. “I kind of compiled a list of what I wanted, what looks nice, what we really needed and what we could work into this space. It came from everywhere.”
Brandon ended up doing 90 percent of the labor on his own, hiring out only the air conditioning, HVAC, and exterior labor, which helped Amanda make her dream become a reality.
“He’s amazing,” said Amanda. “I tell him what I want. I change it a few times, and he’s able to work with me.”
“By doing it yourself you can stretch that dollar,” said Brandon. “On average, whatever we quoted out we knew that if you doubled that, that’s what materials and labor would be to hire it out.”
It also helps that as a police officer, Brandon works nights and treated renovating as his full-time day job — especially when unforeseen construction arises.
“I don’t know if it was something they did in the olden days, but there was a cistern, with water in it, under the kitchen, which is now the living room,” said Amanda.
“We knew that we were going to replace the floor, and pull up the sub-floor and leave the joists, but my husband was tearing all the stuff out, and all of a sudden he was standing on a joist, and he’s not a very big man, and he broke through it.”
The Wyericks found out that the cistern full of water had been seeping into the wood, essentially weakening the joists.
They had to overhaul the entire floor, which was an added expense that, luckily, they were able to work with. An expense, along with the other eight months of renovations, that earned the Wyericks “Most Improved Dwelling” from the Fort Recovery Chamber of Commerce.
“Honestly, it’s nice to be recognized,” said Amanda. “I like the fact that more than just our family and friends say that we did a good job. For the whole town to come together and say you really have made our town a lot more beautiful because of your efforts in remodeling this house. It sits well with me.”
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Overall, Brandon and Amanda reconfigured the entire layout of their 1,859-square-foot, four bedroom/one full bathroom house — including the addition of a second full bath.
In the front of the house, the Wyericks took the first floor bedroom and converted it into the master bathroom, which entailed building a shower, closing off a chimney to put up a wall and adding two additional closets. Then they took the existing living room and made it into the master bedroom, connecting it to the new bathroom.
“One of the problems we came across here is that there’s an old chimney here so we had to go around,” said Amanda. “We were able to work around it.”
They decided to switch the simple U-shaped kitchen by building a kitchen out of a connecting utility room and making the old kitchen the new living room. This meant taking out sinks that ran underneath the main windows and closing off an exterior door in what was the utility room.
Amanda added a laundry room adjacent to the kitchen, which took some of the space previously occupied by the only bathroom. Amanda used the convenient wall that’s shared with the master bedroom’s closet to save time on housework. In that wall, she’s left a square cut out so that she can easily throw clothes from her room to the laundry room.
“That was one thing I wanted to do so I didn’t have to drag dirty laundry all the way around,” said Amanda.
With the main bathroom being cut to make space for the laundry room, Amanda took advantage of the smaller size to try a more creative solution to storage.
 “Since it’s a smaller bathroom, we wanted to take the ceiling up a little bit, and I hated wasting all of that space up top so I told my husband I wanted storage up there,” said Amanda. “I have yet to see anyone with storage above their shower.”
They waited to work on the outside of the house until they renovated the inside enough to move in and stop payments on a rental property as well as paying the mortgage on the house.
They hired help to put up the siding and stone work on the exterior as well as hiring a builder for the deck on the back of the house.
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Along the way, the Wyericks have tried to include family members in the decision-making, whether it is their children’s opinions or their own parents’ advice.
They wanted to make sure to give their daughters, Jadyn, 3, and Brooklyn, 7, a say on superficial changes to the house.
“We tried to include them in a lot of cosmetic stuff,” said Amanda. “‘What color do you think would look good?’”
Brooklyn takes credit for the cobalt blue siding on the house.
“They helped tremendously with the house,” said Amanda. “They’ve really put up with a lot.”
Jadyn became an asset as she was home with her dad during the daylong renovations.
“We just tried to make them feel a part of it, especially my youngest, Jadyn,” said Brandon. “She’s here with me every day. Brooklyn would be at school so it’s just me and Jadyn, and she’s playing in saw dust so we try to make it fun for them as well.”
“Making castles out of two-by-fours,” said Amanda.
“It’s not fun; it’s work,” Brooklyn interjects.
But it wasn’t just fun and games. Some in the family took it more seriously than others. Brandon learned quickly that if his mother-in-law was stopping by, he better be prepared.
“Every time she would come over, she would not say anything until there was one thing she caught that was wrong or out of her expectations,” said Brandon. “At the time, it was really bugging me, but then it came to the point where, sometimes, I just wanted to get it done and do it quick, but I caught myself knowing that my mother-in-law would be coming over and seeing this. To some degree I appreciate her doing that. It made me want to do better work than just slapping it together.”
That determination is what’s going to help the family through to even more renovations.
“We haven’t done the upstairs yet,” said Amanda. “We’ve got paneling and drop ceilings upstairs in the girls’ rooms, but that’s the next project.”
For now, they’re enjoying the rewards of their hard work.
“For doing it ourselves, and not having it hired out, we did really well,” Amanda said.