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


  1. A tear down for sure! Too bad about the floors they look nice.

  2. Danger Will Robinson
    Danger Will Robinson

    Did woo hear us skhreaming 'RUN MANGO MOMMA AND MASTER'???

    That was DEFINITELY a moneypit if evFUR we saw one!

  3. Wow! That's a big house and LOTS of work!

  4. Our mom LUVS da claw foot tub and da wood floors, but dats it. Good idea to pass on dis one.

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae and Max

  5. It's unanimous: good choice to pass. But what a shame such a lovely old house was allowed to deteriorate so badly.

    Jed & Abby