Sunday, July 29, 2012

House Hunting

The hunt has begun for our next project house. The house we looked at today showed a lot of promise on paper. 

Built in the late 19th century, it was likely home to mill workers back when the Saxonville Mills were thriving.

The house is now owned by the bank. The previous inhabitants were Buddhist monks from Cambodia who ran it as a meditation center. 

It sure has a lot of character from the outside.

The condition of this little bump out did send off warning bells. The roof is barely there and plenty of mold around the base.

But it is a lovely piece of property. A full half acre.

From the back of the property. When I looked up the town records there were many permits pulled for big tents to be erected. Likely for meditation retreats hosted by the monks.

We actually had to sign a health waiver before going in. Never had to do that before, but there is a lot of mold inside. Well, I take that seriously, thank you very much, and here I am ready for inspection.

I'm not sure why the kitchen was partially demolished. Oh well, it is a gut job anyway.

Remember that little bump out? It is some sort of pantry and totally rotten on the inside.

We like to inspect from bottom to top, so the Mr. made his way into the basement. The stairs are pitched dangerously forward and would clearly require rebuilding.

Not much of a basement and I was surprised to find a poured floor instead of the dirt which is common in older homes. The stone foundation is a giveaway as to the age of the structure.

Back on the first floor and inspecting the "repair" of a burst pipe which seems to have been accomplished primarily with duct tape.

From the right angle, some of the rooms are quite charming. I believe this is meant to be the dining room.

The living room, overlooking a screen porch. The curved imprint is from where the monks had their alter. Steam heat. Got to go.

Oh look! A chandelier!

Two bedrooms on the second floor. Gosh, I am in love with the flooring. Big, wide, wooden floors. Unfortunately, the further up you go in the house, the lower the ceilings get. People weren't so tall back when the house was built and the Mr. estimated the bedroom ceilings at about 7 1/2 feet. I was feeling a bit claustrophobic.

I was surprise to find two full baths. This is the second floor bath (more nice flooring).

Two additional bedrooms on the third floor. Each has only one tiny window. Must get hot up there.

Water damage everywhere. I doubt there are enough buckets to put under all the parts of the house that drip and leak in a rainstorm.

There is no getting past the third floor requiring a dormer. The stairs are steep and narrow and I banged my head TWICE on the ceiling going up (and I am only 5' 6").

This one is a pass. Even if we could make the interior pristine, the spaces just don't work well and the low ceilings are a big problem. Plus the neighborhood, while nice enough, is more sketchy than the neighborhoods we have worked in the past (lots of rental units) so the upside just might not be there.

Then there is the vinyl siding over asbestos shingles on the exterior. Folks looking for quaint old homes are not keen on vinyl siding, but removing the siding and getting rid of the asbestos shingles (hazardous waste) would be insanely expensive.

Oh, and no garage. Sigh. The bank is frantic to dump this place and has lowered the price $20,000 in just the two weeks since we first saw it on the market. I suspect once the price is low enough that it will go as a tear down. There are lots of things inside that have good resale value for people renovating antiques.

So, onward we go.

Mango Momma

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Before and After

Goodness. Such a long time since my last post, but here we are, just two days away from closing and time for before and after photos.

Shockingly, my memory failed me as I was certain that I had taken a robust suite of "before" shots. Unfortunately, by the time  I had the opportunity to take pictures, work was under way, but I think you will get the gist of it.

Here we go!

Curb appeal. You know it!


This is actually the back of the house, but it gives some idea of the disarray of the landscaping.

As opposed to "after." The flower beds have hundreds of beautiful lilies. They will need to be thinned out a bit, but they really perk the place up.

Back view before and after. Most notable are the stupid gigantic windows which were replaced by energy efficient sliders.

As you can see, by the time I ventured in for my first photo shoot the oven had already been sprung and tools strewn about. Can't say it made the kitchen look much worse. Ew, nasty.

Can this possibly be the same room? All custom made cabinets, new appliances, floor, and a fancy pants faucet.

Hmmm... can't find a good before of the front entry, but this is the finished entry. All opened up to the kitchen. Plenty of room for a nice dining room table.

Another "oh wow" space. This is the old family room. An absurd window and vintage 1960's wood panelling.

Same view. For real. Pop that wide screen TV right in.

In the back of the family room, there was a closet.

And there still is, but now it is all clean with custom doors.

The living room during initial demolition.

The living room now.

The wood flooring extends down the new hallway.

Another original 1950's style room. Before...

And after...

The bedrooms were all a mess. The original casement windows had to go. Not energy efficient and just worn out.

I love the view from the rear bedroom window. 

Every closet received new doors.

The master bedroom. Notable for the absurd corner window configuration and the suspicious stain on the wall.

Same corner, much improved.

Little half bath.

Still small, but at least now I don't have to wash my hands BEFORE going in. Sorry about the green tint. Must be something up with my camera. The bathroom is the requisite white, white, white, and more white. 

This shows you how confused I am. I thought this was the garage before, but upon close inspection it is the rear of the family room. Just goes to show you the extent of the construction.

But here at last is the garage with a nice little cubby for the new furnace.

So, let's do a quick inventory, shall we?

  • new roof
  • all new windows
  • new furnace
  • new electrical service
  • miscellaneous re-routing of hot water heating pipes
  • furnace relocated from kitchen to garage
  • landscaping
  • tear down rotting shed and fence in yard
  • all carpet and tile ripped up and replaced
  • kitchen totally gutted and re-done
  • bathrooms totally gutted and re-done
  • miscellaneous framing for windows, doorways, etc
  • all ceilings and walls painted
  • all new flooring
  • new doors everywhere
I think that about covers it. 

We are taking a little breather between projects. Believe it or not, there are some things that need to be done around our own house. Anybody know a good carpenter? Hehehe. 

And next time, I super duper promise to be more methodical about the before photos.

Mango Momma