Renovation Reality, Part 2….We Survived to Tell the Tale

 

MAXANDEMERSON.WORDPRESS.COM has MOVED….Please click HERE to be rerouted to this same POST on my new site, SalvagedWhimsy.blogger.com.  Sorry for the inconvenience.  Thank you!!

 

There were many days that I thought the end of this renovation would never come.  We had to repaint every.single.surface. inside and out – the trim, walls, stairs, ceilings, doors.  I often told people the house was held together with caulking and plaster.

Nevertheless, we made it and were luckily able to sell it very quickly when we put it on the market. Here’s a little reminder of the exterior we started with:ahhhh, so pretty…as was the overgrown/jungle-esque backyard.  You can’t see it in the picture, but the previous owner had dug a 4′ trench around the red door and window.  Nice. 

Here are the remainder of the lovely BEFORE pictures. (Enter at your own risk) 

 And now, finally, here are some pictures of the “after.”  Please know that we were decorating on NO budget while trying to attract a higher-end buyer… and had to sell ASAP because we had another baby on the way.  I’ll try to point out places where we scrimped/saved money.Back of the house- notice we took the “bump” off the basement level.  Also, on the left (where the round window is located), we added stairs to the basement.  Prior to adding these stairs, you had to go through the old SCARY cellar to get to the newly finished basement.

Front exterior -we removed MOUNTAINS of english ivy and planted grass/added landscaping.  We redid the porch ceiling with beadboard. We eventually repainted the front door red before we listed it to sell.

 This is looking into the foyer from the living room.  This is a scanned picture, so I’m sorry for the poor quality (you’ll see several throughout this post)  The door is a closet, and to the right is the dining room, kitchen, sun room, office/playroom, and stairs to the new basement.

 Please excuse the stroller…this is the sun room.  It use to be an exterior porch, so it was built on a tilt for water drainage.  We built the cornice to try to camouflage the slant in the room.  I made the “curtains” out of some really discounted fabric at JoAnn’s.  I painted the quote, “Dwell in possibility – Emily Dickenson,” by hand.  Although out realtor told us to repaint the room in a more neutral color, I left it as is because I thought it was so fun. 

Kitchen, completely gutted and redone

Standing in the sun room, dining area is to the right. 

 

You can kind of see the sun room on the right, dining room is to the left. On the other side of the double oven is a room that could be used as a bedroom, office, den, or playroom.

This is the dining room, complete with my childhood dining table (free!) that I painted dark blue. (Sorry for another icky picture)  The light fixture isn’t one I’d pick for myself, but it was simple, and more importantly, it was very inexpensive!

 

Only one more icky picture after this.  This is the den-bedroom-playroom.  The laundry room that use to me in the dirt-floor cellar (was a closet) in the back left corner.  There’s a half bath that we added (it was another closet).  We had planned on putting french doors where the large window is located and we wanted to build a deck – but we ran out of time, energy and money.

 

Please excuse the horrible picture and the grumpy bulldog.  This is the only picture I have of the top of the stair case…it use to be a wall and was one of the bigger challenges we faced in trying to complete so that it matched the lower portion (existing) of the stairs.  The end result turned out beautifully – I wish I had a better picture to share!

This is the master bedroom closet.  We added the wall to make it a closet. 

Master bedroom – with my $15 headboard I painted black.  Master bath is on the right. 

Master Bedroom – on the right you can see the hall we added, the door to the nursery, and the top of the stairs (that was originally closed off)

Master Bathroom

This is the finished portion of the basement.  The stairs originate in the kitchen, behind the stove.  The dresser and bed and linens are from Ikea. The lamp is from a thrift store. New laminate floors.  The closet door is one of the original wood doors from the house that we didn’t need, and we cut it down to fit the space.

 The picture on the back of the bed is one of the old wood windows from the house.  I printed some graphics out onto cardstock and colored them in.  I painted the border, and taped the pages onto the back of the window.  Free art (if you can call it “art”). 

 The other half of the basement – you can see the foot of the bed to the left. (And a nice pic of our AC unit out the window!)

 I think that’s all the pictures I have…and I’ve only shown you maybe half the house.  I’m impressed if you’ve made it this far with me though!  I loved this house – it made me so happy when another young family bought it and loved it maybe more than we did (no nightmarish reno experiences!)

Just to bring it full-circle – the house BEFORE. 

And AFTER:

Now, (sigh), we begin again…but we were smarter this time…at least we can live in the house we just bought….with its blue carpet and red countertops.

I’ve seen many beautiful renovations completed here in blog-land.  Any fun stories to share?  I’d love to hear (or see) them!

I originally wrote this post before I knew what “linking up” was – but I’m so much older and wiser now (almost 3 mos!), so I’ve linked to these parties…


Photobucket Savy Southern Style

 

   

TT small


Weekend Bloggy Reading
take care –

erin

Renovation Reality

My husband and I met when he bought his house. I was his real estate agent. Crazy, huh? He bought the house in May 2007, and planned to renovate and sell by September 2007. He chose a local contractor who came highly recommended by my husband’s mortgage broker.

Here’s a peek at the house (built in 1908) – pre $150,000 renovation lawsuit-blood-sweat-many tears:

The front, obviously. Do you like the wire hanging from the ceiling where a light fixture should be? When it rained, water would pour through the hole, and when it was cold, we would get a lovely icicle.

 

And the back…notice the black tarp on the left? The man who owned the house before us had dug out a bunker under where a porch use to be…by hand, with buckets. Odd.

Don’t worry, I have more pictures. To make a long, heartbreaking story short, when we were about $80,000 into the reno, we realized that of the 26 items on the original estimate, only 14 had been started, and not one had been completed. NOT.ONE. We weren’t living in the house at the time, so when we would come out to check on the progress, the contractor would make promises and give explanations…we were so deep, we thought the easiest way to proceed would be to move into the house (with no hot water, finished kitchen, or bathroom doors) and keep a closer eye on things. We quickly realized that we had made a terrible mistake by trusting this contractor.

We were left with a house that was maybe 25% finished, and we only had about $10,000 left to finish the project (which we quickly realized was not nearly enough) So begins the blood, sweat, and tears part of the story. The hardest I’ve ever worked – and we planned a wedding and had a baby during it too. Instead of 3 months, it took 3 years. Here are a couple more pictures – showing before and after. Sorry some of the pictures aren’t so great, unbelievably, we didn’t really take “after” pictures.

                        

FOYER – There use to be a low ceiling in the foyer. We had it removed and the correlating wall, but the contractors couldn’t figure out how to finish the railing to match the existing lower portion of steps.  The wall and closet on the left were removed, the picture on the right shows what was left.

This is how the contractors left the newly created laundry room…knowing we were moving in that day. (Before they started working there, these floors had been in perfect condition.)  Oh, and they never hooked up the plumbing, so the 1st time I did laundry…water was pouring into our basement, which as you’ll see below, had dirt floors.

Basement…or something.  The  rectangular mound on the left was once a 10 foot deep abyss.

                                                                 

BEFORE- On left, original master bath – and only bathroom in the house.  On right, once they tore down kitchen ceiling below the bathroom, they found serious water damage, so the whole bathroom floor came out.

 

 

 

Originally, a parlor  for the master bedroom, but we added a hallway to make it a small 3rd bedroom.

Original kitchen.  These were all of the cabinets, the opposite wall just had a stove on it.      

Thankfully, we survived, so there are “after” pictures to share.   This post has reminded me to take lots of pictures of our next house, I can’t believe how few I have of the last house!

Thanks,

e

New House Introduction

After being in contract on 4 other houses in the past year, and not closing on 3 of them…I believe (still holding breath, crossing  fingers, etc) that we’ve found “the one.”  Just to recap the year in houses:
 
 House #1 – Small cape cod – everything, including carpet, walls, and exterior was a lovely light pea green.  Sellers wouldn’t make several crucial repairs (like make the water run) so we canceled the contract.
 
House #2 – Small cape cod – needed total rehab.  Were doing a (ridiculous) full 203K FHA loan…and costs got out of hand…by closing, we were paying more for the house than it was worth.  Strangely enough, FHA allows that to happen?  Yeah, I know.  Lender surprised us with $3000 in additional closing costs the night before closing, with no explanation other than that he “thought” it “may” have been an error with a credit that the seller was giving us.  Since we decided to cancel the contract, HUD didn’t want to give us our $1000 in earnest money back, but after I wrote a letter explaining the horrible experience we had with our lender….they gave it back, which they NEVER do. (supposedly)
 
House #3 – Small brick ranch without an oven. Water view and .75 acres…but the house was really small – 1426 sq ft (we are big people) and we realized that we would probably grow out of it.  We decided were paying too much for a house that needed updating….we’d never be able to sell the house for what we’d need to put into it.  The final straw was trying to negotiate the repairs with the seller – we only asked for a couple of things that were required by the lender (treating termites) or maintenance items that should have been completed on a full-price house (not a distressed sale) before it was listed.
 
AND….Finally…House #4 – The morning we cancelled our offer on #3, I was lying in bed that morning and thought to myself, I wonder if they’d take “X” amount for house #4 – if they did, I’d want it, even though needs lots of updates and has no water view.  I went downstairs and B was looking at #4 online – he said, they lowered the price on #4 to “X-$1000” (numbers changed to protect the innocent).  I ignored him because he enjoys “pulling my leg” all  the time.  Once he finally convinced me, I realized that it was a sign we were looking for.  We made an appointment with our Realtor to see it again.  We canceled offer on #3 because the seller wouldn’t make repairs, and made a new offer on #4 which was accepted by the sellers.
 
So, here are the “before” pictures of the house that should be ours as of 8/31/11 (if everything goes as planned):
 
One of the things we love about the house is that we can live there and fix it up over time.
 

Front

One side of double-sided fireplace

Other side of double-sided fireplace Living Room and Sun Room Kitchen Colorful kitchen

 

Sunroom

 

Guest / Kids Bathroom

 

Master Bathroom

 

Back of the House

 

Shed in the Backyard

 

Shed

 
I have a napping baby on my lap, so that’s all for now.