So… I Flooded My House. Here’s What Happened & What’s Next

This past Monday, I did one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done… let’s start at the beginning. Eliza has been in swim lessons every day for the past several weeks. After I get her from lessons to school, I run home and get the towels in the wash and her bathing suit in the sink to soak. Well, Monday my mom and I had plans to make a trek to Trader Joe’s as soon as I got back. We were running out for florals and supplies — and a few essentials — and were going to try to get back in enough time to finish setting up a few spaces and shoot for some upcoming blog stories. She got to my house just as I was getting home so I ran upstairs, tossed the towels in the washing machine, put her bathing suit in our master bathroom to soak, and while the sink was filling, I ran to Eliza’s bathroom to grab some of her washcloths to toss in the washing machine, also. I ran downstairs and we headed out in my mom’s car. We tried to be as quick as possible but with TJ’s being close to an hour each way, we were gone at least three hours total…

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What Happened…

We pulled up the driveway and I pressed the garage door opener, but it wasn’t working. I assumed the battery was dead. While my mom headed to the front door to enter via key, I texted Dave at work so he could open the door remotely from his phone — he said “it’s showing as off-line” — my assumption was “oh, the power must be out”. I started down the sidewalk and was met by my mom who was totally frantic. I don’t remember what she said but she led me to the garage where the ceiling was pouring water. I mean pouring. Through lights, through drywall, through outlets… onto my car, onto the floor, onto racks, onto everything. At this point, I had no idea what was going on but thought a pipe must have burst while we were gone. “What do I do?! Who do I call?! 911?!” My mom — a little more levelheaded than my current emotional state advised we quickly call a neighbor. He’s a fire chief and while he’s on duty a lot, thank goodness he was home and came right over. I headed to the basement to shut off the main water source for the house while my mom headed upstairs to find the culprit. It wasn’t a busted pipe. It wasn’t the washing machine. I had forgotten to turn the faucet off when I went to soak the bathing suit. The tiny little bathing suit — what a stupid thing.Honestly, we didn’t even know if the upstairs was sound enough to be standing on but luckily, our neighbor knew what to do in the moment. The breaker in the garage had tripped but he got the garage door open and I got my car out. We mopped up water in the upstairs as best as we could with towels and rugs and he cut holes in the garage ceiling drywall to help direct the water out. It kept coming and I kept sweeping. I called insurance, Dave came home and the disaster cleanup people came to make note of the damage.

The Damage…

Let me say — compared to what it could have been, we got off easy. For those of you who have faced natural disasters, I’m sure this pales in comparison — it just stings because it was such a stupid mistake and I’m totally responsible. Second of all, it was a true gift that the rooms and areas that were affected were what they were. They were literally all probably the only places in the house that have never been “done”.

These photos were taken after a few days of industrial dehumidifiers and initial demo, just to get things dried out.

My vanity sink here is what started it all. Fortunately, it flowed away from the master bedroom, toward the master closet and toilet room. The water rose quite a bit before ultimately draining down to the garage.

Flooded Bathroom Plans

The tile, baseboards, and vanity were all flooded and will have to be removed, which of course, leads to other repairs. Everything from the vanity over — the toilet room, linen closet, and master closet — were all flooded. Another fortunate gift, aside from carpet and baseboards, everything (all of our “stuff”) in the closet was totally fine!

Flooded Closet Plans

We got everything out and set in Eliza’s now-delayed “playroom”. It looks like a tornado but a preserved, not ruined tornado 😉 The water did go through the bathroom wall, into the office bathroom, so tile and baseboards have been ripped out in there, also. But, the vanity, tub, etc. were all salvaged. We’re thankful to have a downstairs guest bathroom we can use in the meantime and between a few essentials I’m keeping in there, I set up a makeshift “vanity” in the bedroom. You can see my former makeup vanity setup HERE.

Flooded Home Plans

I didn’t want to wrestle with clothes on the floor every day so I ordered THIS rolling hanging clothes rack off Amazon — it arrived in two days, had free shipping and was just over $30. It’s two-tiered, adjustable and the top bar does extend out. Because I work from home and thrive in that *casual athleisure life* (haha) most of my daily clothes are leggings, sweats and tees that I keep in the dresser. I pulled a few sweatshirts for the rack but dedicated most of it to Dave’s work clothes. We’re hoping to just recycle these outfits and pieces for the next while to simplify laundry and to stay out of the disaster playroom-to-be that holds the majority of our closet.

Flooded Home Plans

Rolling Clothes Rack

The garage looked the worst. This screenshot from a video I took — after the water had stopped pouring and after a few rounds of water sweeping — doesn’t look as bad as it did and does in person. Again, it was a gift and a miracle that more damage wasn’t done. While the ceiling and some of that stuff will have to be replaced, the majority of our possessions are totally fine.

Flooded Home Plans

The water did go from the garage down to our basement but fortunately, it’s unfinished and only minor damage was done to *some* of our belongings. Aside from a little insulation, no construction has to be done in the basement.

So, we’re living with a bit of dust and debris but the soaked rooms are now dry. I’m so thankful it wasn’t our kitchen… or our master bedroom… or basically any other rooms other than the ones that were affected. I’m so thankful that for the first time, my mom and I didn’t grab lunch on the way home from TJ’s… or stop off to check out Pottery Barn. Things could have been so much worse. So now — I’m licking my wounds, trying to slow down from all the multi-tasking and absentmindedness, and am hoping to turn lemons into lemonade.

So… What’s Next?

We weren’t planning on it but I guess I officially have a few new room projects in the works. Obviously, they’re in the VERY beginning stages (like, nothing past actually declaring them “projects”) but with the spaces that have been cleared out and will have to be reconstructed, I”m going to take advantage to bring ideas here to the blog that may have otherwise not happened. Bittersweet. Right now, mostly bitter but I’m hoping in a couple months, we’ll more into more of the “sweet” (lemonade) part 😉

The Master Bathroom

I haven’t been shy about declaring that I don’t love our bathroom — or that I never planned to take it on because we don’t plan to be in this house forever and bathrooms can get expensive. But, with so much demo having to happen to even put our bathroom back together — not just the floor tile but as a result, the shower tile, tub surround, etc. — plus, since the one vanity was damaged, the other has to be pulled, too… just things like that that compound beyond the initial damage — I decided to make some changes and upgrades along the way. So, we’re doing a bathroom! Because this isn’t an expense I was planning on and insurance will only cover things directly impacted by the water damage, I’m going to try to do some things I want without getting out of hand with $$$. Plus, bathrooms are a major thing when you’re selling your house, right?! We won’t be changing the footprint or knocking down walls, but here are a few improvements we’re considering since we’ll be under construction.

  • Remove the corner tub and install a free-standing tub
  • Remove the prefabricated shower pan and have a tiled shower built with frameless glass enclosure
  • New vanities
  • Install tall, framed mirrors with side sconces instead of overhead sconces
  • Install can light over shower
  • Install fixture in the corner of the bathroom
  • Window privacy solution
  • Paint, paint, paint
  • Upgrade tile throughout

I have no idea what direction I want to go in in terms of aesthetic but I’ve already found that I’m picking too many “features” in terms of tile than can actually go in the bathroom. Between the shape, color and type of tile to combos, placement, and pattern in which is laid, I’m all. over. the. place. For the vanities – I don’t know if I want them built or ordered. I don’t want this to drag out forever so when we get started, I probably will move quickly.

We don’t have a wall long enough to accomodate a double-sink vanity so we will have to work within the wall space we already have — neither vanity can be much over 50″ but I want to maximize the storage space with whatever we go with. I also have hated not having drawers so that will be a big focus with whatever we decide on. I love THIS single sink vanity — the top drawer is even cut into a “U” shape to fit around the plumbing. But, it is showing as not being available for delivery until September/October and we can’t wait that long…

Pottery Barn Black Bathroom Vanity

Vanity

I liked this vanity — not quite as much but it was definitely a contender, until this moment when I went back and saw it’s now out of stock in black until late June. It does come in four colors…

black single sink bathroom vanity

Vanity (comes in four finishes)

So… I really have no idea. And while I was thinking of black, it was really just that first PB vanity that swayed me in that direction — I may go with something totally different.

Another advantage of ordering a vanity is not having to get bogged down with decisions in terms of cabinet features and details. Plus, no picking out countertops. We’ll see — I’m not totally sold one way or the other.

Again, while I want to do some things I want to do, I will have to be mindful of budget and currently, still have no idea what any of this will look like in terms of out of pocket costs. Everything we had before was pretty basic so the upgrade cost could potentially be significant.

Master Closet

Aside from maybe choosing a different carpet, we aren’t doing anything in the closet except getting it back “ok” again. But, we will be using this as an opportunity to purge, organize, donate, etc. Nothing will be coming back in this closet unless it is used and has a purpose. This project is long overdue so flooding it out and having no option but to clear the space may just be the incentive we needed to tackle it all. Another perk of having it all cleared out is seeing the closet in its bare structure — it’s a reminder of just how many cool features and organizers we had installed when we moved in back in 2015. Lots of potential that hadn’t been capitalized on. I may configure a few components to best fit our needs today, but I’m grateful to have this closet system. You can see a post I did a long time ago HERE.

Elfa Master Closet

Flush Mount Light | Elfa Closet Systems

Garage

The goal is to just get the garage back like the flood didn’t happen… except yet again, this is a long overdue organization and purge project. Depending on time constraints and what else is happening, we may try to implement some new organization solutions in here.

Office Bathroom

Replace the floor tiling — that’s it. Nothing crazy, no makeover projects… just a new tile.

Basement

Because the structure wasn’t damaged down there — it’s all concrete — no repairs have to be made except for replacing some insulation. We are long overdue on a basement purge and organization but we probably won’t be fitting that in in the immediate future.

So… there it all is, in a nutshell, summed up as quickly as I could while including a few details. As I mentioned earlier in the post, I was ready to move full speed ahead on Eliza’s playroom and we were days away from installing the mural (you can see the full design plan HERE), but that will have to be put on pause for now. The dining room and conversation rooms are getting close — I just have to hang drapes and am waiting on a piece of art and some pillows that have been on backorder. So, in addition to the *surprise* new projects (for you and me, haha), I still have the results of those makeovers to share.

If you’ve done something similar to this, please let me know below. Have tips that can help me (and others)? I’d love to hear them! I’m disappointed, slightly embarrassed, and am mad at myself for putting more on my plate than I needed at the moment, but I’m grateful it wasn’t what it could have been and am almost semi-excited for the opportunity to take on projects I otherwise wouldn’t have taken on. I’ll be back soon with a design plan for the master bathroom and updates will follow — be sure you’re subscribed to receive emails (link at the bottom of this post) to see all that’s ahead!

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40 Comments

  1. 3.28.21
    Lisa said:

    On the Friday after Thanksgiving, a neighbor’s husband put the previous night’s bonfire ashes into a plastic garbage container INSIDE their garage. He didn’t check the ashes’ temperature, and left the house at 9ish am to do chores. Two kids home from college were upstairs, sleeping; one of the rooms is over the garage. One noticed the floor was hot (!) and the other rushed to the kitchen to see billowing smoke under the door. The garage was engulfed and the adjacent laundry room was half gone. House is 100% fire and water damaged, garage has a temporary plywood shield, they’ve all moved out, and the insurance company is STILL dragging its feet. The owner feels more than awful about this “rookie” mistake, but thankfully no one was injured.

    • 3.30.21

      Lisa, I am so sorry this happened to your neighbor. What a tragedy! I am so glad to know that no one was hurt. I definitely realize that my situation could have been much worse.

  2. 3.28.21
    Judy said:

    I am SO sorry you have to go through this. I know what it’s like to have water damage. We’ve had pipes break over the years in 2 different homes. One took out our whole lower level that we had just completed…lower family room, bedroom and bath and lower level bar/kitchenette. Our daughter had 4 rooms with damage just 6 months after moving into her first home from an ice dam in her roof. She was planning on redoing her master bath the following year, but the ice dam/water damage sped up that plan.
    This early stage is so emotionally draining, but keep telling yourself that you are all safe and in a short time you will be enjoying your new areas.

    • 3.30.21

      Judy, I am so so sorry this happened to you. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I also appreciate your encouragement as we begin the process. xoxo

  3. 3.28.21
    Courtney said:

    I’m so sorry you had to go through this! I haven’t had this happen but I could see how I absolutely could at any time…I start too many things and it can happen to anyone. Keep your head up and I look forward to seeing what you do especially in the bathroom remodel. Don’t be too hard on yourself; women/moms multi task too much and it could happen to any of us!

    • 3.30.21

      Courtney, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by. I really appreciate your sweet note. I am determined to make lemonade out of this lemon. xoxo

  4. 3.28.21
    MARYJANE RILEY said:

    Is your insurance gonna cover it ? , because we had a leak from our bathroom from behind the shower head that water damaged my kitchen and statefarm didnt cover us.

    • 3.30.21

      Hi Mary Jane, I am so sorry you had an issue. We are still at the beginning of the process, but so far our insurance company has been great.

  5. 3.28.21
    Shelly said:

    Oh gosh, I am so sorry that happened to you and your beautiful home. Our water heater up in the attic burst and we had quite a bit of damage, water coming through the light fixtures and such, thank goodness we were home but still alot of damage in a short time. No more water heaters in the attic, we went with a tankless. If you don’t already have LED lights in your garage get them, they are so bright and you never have to change the bulbs plus the weather does not affect them. They are great! Good luck to you on your renovation, take a breath momma and slow down.☺

    • 3.28.21
      Jean ann said:

      I’m so sorry Kelly Nan. I did a similar thing when we lived in an upstairs condo and it ruined the downstairs neighbors’ ceiling and several of their items as well as our bathroom floor. I feel your pain! (25 years later, I am still cautious about faucets.). Your lemonade will be beautiful! I can’t wait to see it.

      • 3.30.21

        Jean Ann, Thank you so much for your kind note. I am so sorry to hear that you had a similar experience. You better believe that I will be extremely cautious about faucets in the future!

    • 3.30.21

      Shelly, I appreciate your kind note. Thank you for commiserating with me! So sorry you also had a water damage situation. It’s definitely not fun. And yes, we will be switching out to LED lights in the garage. xoxo

  6. 3.28.21
    dianne mcneely said:

    OOOOPS!!! I hope your husband didn’t go ballistic!! I can’t wait to see what you select as I always look forward to your blog.

    • 3.30.21

      Dianne, Thank you for taking the time to stop by. Dave was so gracious about everything. He is absolutely wonderful!

  7. 3.28.21
    Christie said:

    Kelley, I love reading your emails and looking at all the beautiful work you do each and every time I receive them!
    Unfortunately, this one brought back memories of a time I nearly burned our house down. It was near the Christmas holidays and we had my in-laws over for dinner. It was getting close to dark so I decided to light the candles on a beautiful Christmas arrangement on the dining table. We proceeded outside to the patio to grill.
    After being outside for about 30 minutes, we heard the smoke alarm.
    We opened the back door and the smoke was so heavy you could barely see through it. We walked into the dining room to find our table fully engulfed in flames and the flames shooting up into the light fixture. (20 foot ceiling) My husband grabbed the fire extinguisher
    from under the kitchen cabinet and was able to put out the fire. We called 911. The fire itself caused limited damage to that area but the soot was the culprit!!!
    It was on every single item in every room of our home.
    We too, used Serv-Pro and the cleanup process was long and hard!!
    We also decided to do some upgrades and renovations during this time.
    In the end, everything looked so much better than before, but it took me a long time to forgive myself for what happened.
    Don’t beat yourself up. It was an accident and that’s
    just what accidents are. Accidents. When you are finished with all the cleanup and renovations, I know it will be absolutely gorgeous!
    On a side note: The Christmas arrangement had taper candles. We, to this day, do not know if the candles fell over or burned too far down. Regardless, to this day, I have never purchased, owned or used a taper candle again! (20 years later)

    • 3.30.21

      Christie, Thank you so much for your kind note. I appreciate you sharing your story with me and am so sorry that happened to you. You better believe I learned a very important lesson and need to slow down a bit. I am determined that I will make lemonade out of this huge lemon!

  8. 3.28.21
    Kas said:

    Omg, I’m so, so sorry this happened to you!! But it sounds like you’re making the best of the situation & have a positive attitude, which is the best way to handle it IMO!

    And boyyyy, do I know how you feel!!! A few years ago I was teaching myself how to do minor plumbing repairs and had a *mishap* that flooded my master bathroom, closet, bedroom, and caused 2nd degree burns to both my hands and forearms.

    The worst part is that we didn’t end up filing a claim because it was cheaper to repair ourselves, but we weren’t at a point financially that we could do anything beyond getting the carpet/carpet pad dried out and shoved back under baseboards as well as we could do ourselves, so we lived with that lovely stained, loose/wrinkled, and stinky carpet for a year. It was so disgusting and I was SO embarrassed and angry with myself for being the cause of such a mess.

    Thankfully my husband was only upset about me burning myself and not about me causing what we now jokingly refer to as The Great Flood of 2019. 😋

    So please know you’re not alone!! I feel your pain so, so much. A year from now this will feel so much better and hopefully y’all will be able to laugh about it like my hubs and I are able to now!

    • 3.30.21

      Oh Kas, I am so sorry this happened to you! I really hate that you were injured. I look forward to the day that I can laugh about this. I am so lucky that Dave has been so gracious and wonderful about the mishap. It sounds like things have now improved for you in your home. I am so glad!

  9. 3.28.21
    Linda said:

    It’s not really a “stupid mistake” as you say … it’s just a mistake. It happens to busy people who have a lot of things going on in their lives. My neighbour put her oven on self clean. It locked, as it’s supposed to, with the broiling pan still inside loaded with bacon fat. That started a fire and ya can’t keep that quiet … lots of firetrucks. She was a busy mom, too. It happens.

    • 3.30.21

      Hi Linda, Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my sad story. You are so kind and I do realize that I need to slow down a bit. I am so sorry to hear your neighbor’s story. I hope that things turned out okay.

  10. 3.28.21
    Kim Wolozyn said:

    Sorry about the flood. I’m working on a poolside bathroom and a fantastic place to find tile is artistictile.com. They have a great variety and all price points. Good luck!

    • 3.30.21

      Hi Kim, Thank you for taking the time to stop by. It sounds like you are in the midst of a wonderful and fun project. I wish you the best!

  11. 3.28.21
    Jen said:

    Oh Kelley I’m so sorry this happened to you guys! At least it’s not worse and you have your Mom there to help! You’ll get through this and hopefully in time you’ll be able to laugh about it a bit!

    • 3.30.21

      Hi Jen, You are so right, it could have been much worse! My mom has been great and I do look forward to that time when we can laugh about this. xoxo

  12. 3.28.21
    Cecilia from Georg!ia said:

    I know you will have PTSD for a long time because you are blaming yourself. STOP! It was an accident and nobody was hurt. Most women have so many duties and such little time to complete them; we all should slow down and enjoy the little things. I love how you summed up this story and how you are looking at it in a positive direction. I think you will have a good bit of time before everything dries out so you don’t have to make final decisions too soon. God bless you all

    • 3.30.21

      Cecilia, Thank you so much for your kind note. I realize that I need to try to focus on one thing at a time, like that darn faucet! We are fortunate that the company that came to help had things dried out in a couple of days. But now more demo must be done so that things can be put back together. We are coping and realize it will be a process. And yes, I will continue to look for the positives in this! xoxo

  13. 3.28.21
    Marla said:

    I got brand new hardwoods in my kitchen. A few days later my neighbor came to the door and I went outside to chat going on and on about my new floors.. all while leaving the sink running! It flooded the kitchen and some board warped and I still can’t believe I let that happen and it was 30 years ago!

    • 3.30.21

      Marla, I am so so sorry this happened to you! I’ve received many similar stories, if that helps a bit. I will never forget what happened to us.

  14. 3.28.21
    Michelle Fox said:

    I’m exhausted after reading this post 😂. I just couldn’t even imagine. What a great attitude you have.

    • 3.30.21

      Hi Michelle, Thank you for the note. I am determined to make the best out of this!

  15. 3.29.21
    Pam said:

    Kelly, I’m so sorry you had this happen. I know the new rooms will be lovely.

    I’d like to mention something about the demo you talked about though. You just said the flooring and baseboards will need to be replaced. Many years ago my basement flooded. Luckily it just had a concrete floor and some second hand carpets on it that were easily disposed of. But the walls were dry walled, had insulation behind the drywall and baseboards. The remediation crew that was hired by the insurance company removed the baseboards and cut off the bottom 3 ft of drywall. I asked why. They said even though just the very bottom of the drywall got wet that you can see, drywall still wicks up moisture further up and if it’s not removed to a certain extent away from the actual part that was in contact with the water, it will create mold as time goes on.

    Please talk to your reparation experts and ask around if your lower drywall should be removed also.

    I know you don’t inadvertently want to expose yourselves to hidden mold in the back of the drywall because the repairs weren’t done thoroughly in the first place.

    Good luck!

    • 3.30.21

      Hi Pam, Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and for your note. At this point, only the materials that needed to be removed for the first phase were removed. I understand that much more demolition will need to occur before things are replaced. I will definitely mention the lower drywall, as you suggested. Thank you!

  16. 3.29.21
    Tracy said:

    Oh wow! We just moved to Northern Georgia and I found your site because we have very similar houses- although yours is gorgeous. I am so sorry for the flooding but so excited to see the changes because those are the exact changes I want to do in our bathroom. Best of luck!!

    • 3.30.21

      Hi Tracy, Thank you so much for your sweet note. Welcome to North Georgia. I hope you love it here as much as we do!

  17. 3.29.21
    Shauna Pittman said:

    Hi, I randomly stumbled across this today. What a challenge! First, make sure your new sink has a built in overflow drain. We just remodeled 2 baths, and I spent a lot of time making selections and LOVE what I got, especially all the storage in a QUALITY vanity at a good price! Wyndham Collection, ordered from Lowes. I also LOVE my Cambria Berwyn Quartz vanity, and tile selections. I could share pix and details if yiu are interested. We didn’t go over the top since we will be selling in a year or so. Anyway, just thought I would offer in case it helps. Best to you as you recover!

    • 3.30.21

      Shauna, Thank you so much for your note. Congratulations to you on completing your recent projects. I am looking forward to making selections for my redo, too!

  18. 3.30.21
    Sue Layne said:

    I’m so sorry that happened. You’re a new mom. I forget so many things now that I’m responsible for more than just me. I have 6 children and I have left water running three separate times and flooded areas. I think we’re so busy thinking about the next thing and trying to get everything done. So glad your damage was as minimal as it was. I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I swear, now that I’m a mom my brain doesn’t work at all! I can’t wait to see the new projects take shape.

    • 3.30.21

      Hi Sue, Thank you for your sweet note. You must be super organized and I admire you so much! I’ve received lots of stories from others, so you and I are definitely not alone. xoxo

  19. 3.30.21
    Gail said:

    Kelley….take a long deep breath and if you choose to tackle the master bathroom first, be very selective! There are a gazillion choices for every item on your list so take your time and choose carefully. Obviously function should prevail but consider multiple sources for EVERY piece of your bathroom puzzle. Oh! And don’t think that be using the existing floor plan you’ll be saving much. Plan on $20K plus!! Seriously!! More for custom vanities !!

    • 3.31.21

      Hi Gail, Thank you so much for your note. Yes, I realize this will be a process and will be costly. I am looking forward to making my choices, and yes, there are so many out there. This will be an opportunity to craft the master bathroom that works best for us. I hope you will stay tuned as this project progresses.

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