The HGTV Project – What happened?!

Alright, folks – the cat is officially out of the bag. I can FINALLY talk about the HGTV Project!

Thank you to all of you who posted, shared, commented about, and watched my debut on HGTV! I am humbled and grateful for your support.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here: Integro on HGTV!

Ah, where to begin…shall we start at the beginning?

Once upon a time, there was a 3,100SF 3-flat in Ravenswood:


Our goal was to replace all MEP, duplex the 2nd and 3rd floor into the Owner’s unit, renovate the 1st floor for rental income, and rebuild the rear porch. Our schedule for completion was August 2015.

Then we did demo:

Nope, there’s no filter.

A little hard to see here – I circled where the previous owner had cut holes into every floor joist of the 3rd floor in order to get a plumbing line to the bathroom. The 2nd photo is where the previous owner cut the support joists of the 3rd floor that were also supporting the bay windows in order to….actually, I don’t know what the intent was. I can, however, guess the name of the alcohol involved.

Not sure what you’re looking at? Neither am I.

Holes in the roof? No problem, stick a paper bag in them!

These are our temporary support columns to bear some weight while we changed the game plan.

Ultimately, we found that 1) the roof and walls of the 3rd floor had so much water damage that the majority of the water was not, in fact, coming through the holes in the roof – the water was seeping through the wood itself and pooling all over the interior 3rd floor; and 2) since ALL of the floor joists were cut IN ADDITION TO being completely water soaked, they were no longer bearing any load; and 3) the 3rd floor rear bedroom was supported by the rear porch which had its main supporting joist for the bedroom cut off on the interior – why? nobody knows…

What all of this means is that the entire 3rd floor had no load bearing wall, it was essentially floating on the 2nd floor walls with no support of its own. While floating, it was also carrying over a ton of weight from a 1.5-story roof that had 5 layers of shingles on it, the bottom of which was the original shake from 1881. Therefore, the weight of the roof was pushing the 3rd floor walls outwards, towards the neighbors. So, basically, the 3rd floor was ready to collapse and the rear bedroom was breaking off the back of the house.

…Oh! I almost forgot, and the chimney was collapsing!


So, what do we do? What any good midwestern girl would do! We rip off the 3rd floor and start new:

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Check out my facebook page for the action shot of the roof coming down! Oh, the reverie!

Then came time for inspection:

He said he loved it! *purrrr* …that the craftsmanship was excellent. He was concerned, though, about the fact that we replaced the floors, walls, and roof instead of shoring up what was existing. Technically, that’s new construction….and so it began. Bureaucracies, UNITE!

Before I go any further – and this is NOT “tongue-in-cheek” – I would like to thank the City of Chicago Department of Buildings, the City of Chicago Zoning Board, and Alderman Pawar’s office for all of their advice, support, and expertise regarding this matter. Yes, it took a long time. Aside from that, we got everything that we wanted and were able to complete the 2nd floor for HGTV. We couldn’t have done it without them and they didn’t have to help us to the extent that they did. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

You can see the 2nd floor photos here!

So, where are we now? We just received our new permit for the 3rd floor last week! We’ve ordered our construction inspection (again) and plan to finish up by Spring 2016. Yep, that’s right, we’ve been 6 weeks from finishing since June 2015.

I’ll keep you posted!

Want to see more projects? Check us out at!


15 thoughts on “The HGTV Project – What happened?!

    1. I know…these poor people. They purchased as-is and there was a bidding war for the property. Remarkably, it’s still a good deal in the overall scheme of equity. It’s just that, yknow, an extra $120k is hard to pull out of…somewhere.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Talonn Dragonstar

      Because the previous owner did work to the joists, the previous owner knew or should of known of all the defects of that property. The knew owners should look into suing the previous owners for failing to disclose the problems in the house that were hidden to the new owners but that previous owner knew about.


  1. Ulrik Knudsen

    I so enjoyed the Hoyne project. Both the contractor and the home owners were very likable. I’ve added (50% my labor) about 800 square feet to our second story log home in Indiana. I know the stress involved and very much admire the good spirits of the home owners.

    Thank you,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The HGTV Project – Final Reveal! – Integro Rehab LLC

  3. Rebecca

    I was almost in tears watching this show because of the horrid construction previously done in which the couple was stuck fixing….everything!!! I’m glad it worked out in the end but the city of Chicago should be thanking them for doing the house the way it should have been done in the first place! How in the HELL did that house EVER pass inspection to be sold in the first place?!?! That’s an embarrassment for the city of Chicago.


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