The house that Craigs list built

We jokingly refer to this house as “The house that Craig’s list built”. We have managed to accumulate nearly every single interior finish we can think of by diligently searching Craig’s list and other social media and yard sale sites for new or gently used materials. We have also made a habit of buying materials we like that are at a great discount from retailers. This has allowed us to use this planning stage productively and will ease the burden on our finishes budget to promarily labor when the time comes.

The accumulation began when we bought “the house that wasn’t”. We had initially planned for the remodel there to encompass much more, including a kitchen overhaul and master bath redo. Those were put on hold when we decided we needed to step away from that house and rent it, which led to the eventual sale.

While we had that house, we acquired our appliance package, a complete set of high end Bosch appliances, all bought off Craig’s list, and most bathroom fixtures. The six burner cooktop is brand new, Lowe’s made a mistake shipping the wrong product, that customer ended up with two, sold us ours for $400, half off the retail. The oven was a display model, never installed for $200. Some of these we’ve had to drive for, but the savings are worth it.

Our bathtubs are whirlpool tubs, also display models, got both for the kids baths for $200. The side doors came from a contractor that was moving for $200 for 2 96″ glass doors. Our master bedroom has a wall of Windows that leads outside, a 10′ sliding glass door. We found one for sale, still not delivered by the retailer for $1500, normally a $3500 door. The retailer transferred the order into our name and will deliver right to us. 

A huge part of this collection has been the ability to pick things up quickly, know exactly what we need by knowing our plans inside and out, and being willing to store things in the meantime. We came across a commercial play structure being taken down by a school so they could replace it. The catch was, we had to take it down ourselves, had two days to do it, and had to find the right tools to disassemble commercial play equipment. Sean and I spent the next two days in the school yard taking apart a huge and heavy metal play structure! It is better than any set we could have gotten and it was free! 

We started touring model homes early on so that we had an idea what finishes appealed to us. This helped choose things like what color metal we wanted throughout, from door hardware to light fixtures, and stick with that. We chose what type of flooring material would work best for us, carpet in the bedrooms, and a wood look tile throughout. We found the tile we liked on sale through lumber liquidators. While we didn’t have a house yet, we ordered 1700 sqft  at $1.59/sqft and delayed delivery as long as possible. 

Up until this point, we’d been using our formal living room for storage, it was over run, a disaster. We found a 20ft shipping container on Craig’s list for $900, it just needed to be moved. We found a towing company that would put it on a flat bed for $125/hr and bring it to our site, it took less than 2 hours and we had permanent storage. 

The flooring delivery truck needed a driveway to deliver on, the wet weather had taken a toll on the ground. Craig’s list gave us a gravel dealer that delivered 16 yards of gravel for $600 and we tractored it out into a temp driveway just in time for a large tile delivery.

I’m to the point now where I have a hard time thinking of things we might need to even look for. Most of what we will need is actual building materials like lumber, wiring, concrete, roofing, drywall, etc and those are a bit out of my scope and will likely be legitimate construction expenses when the time comes. We’ve tried to keep track along the way so we don’t duplicate supplies but haven’t been good at tracking what we’ve spent on this stockpile. We realize we may end up with things we can’t use or change during construction, but because we’ve bought at private party prices, a resale will not be a burden. In fact, we usually ask the question “can I resell it for that” when making the decision to buy. In a process where budget overruns are the norm, I hope this collection can take a bite out of our end cost!

Author: Brandy K.

Bio: I wanted to take a chance to introduce myself, I am Brandy Kollenborn, a furniture painter from Sacramento, CA and owner and artisan behind  “Brushed By Brandy”. I'm a stay at home mom of 3 boys, Noah 11, Ashton 8, and Logan 5, married for 16 years to my favorite furniture cameraman, repairman and delivery person, Sean. I have a degree in finance and left my career with The State of CA to stay home when my youngest son was born, with no clue what my next step would be, it was a leap of faith! The first pieces I did were a bedroom set in 2016 that tenants left behind in our rental, it was beat up, but solid wood, and I had nothing to lose, it was either going to the curb or I could make something of it. I've always been on the crafty/artistic side so this was a great way to express that on huge canvases. My hobby has turned into a booming little business, most of my pieces are sold before I create them and designed alongside my customer. My style is blended, smooth, colorful statement pieces for any room. I'm proud to partner with The Dixie Belle Paint company and Prima Marketing group creating sample pieces, lives, and blogging tutorials at We are in the process of building our forever home on 5 acres for our boys, it will be my biggest custom project to date :) and I love sharing that journey on my page and in a blog as well. We are project people through and through, don't know how to sit still.  I'm so appreciative of the support, my confidence wavers all the time, I love answering questions and connecting with other creatives, this community has been so welcoming to me and I hope I can return that! I’m so grateful for this opportunity, I never imagined there would be interest in me painting furniture in my garage! 

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