Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I'm Gonna Make this Place (my) Home

I have mentioned a few times that my house is kind of a nightmare. Here is show and tell.

"We" bought it a few days over 3 years ago, hub hadn't so much as crossed the threshold until after the papers were passed- on December 6th 2010- 2 days after his return from Iraq on December 4th 2010. I did everything- offer, counter-offer(s), inspection, Purchase and sales, repairs and ALL the paperwork all on my own. Truth be told, I was a little upset he made it home to actually sign, I felt I earned the right to say I bought the house by myself. The whole thing was actually a nightmare and Hub called the bank more than once from Iraq, you can only imagine how that call went. Anyway, after 3 months of wrangling, the house was ours.

Front of house, before removal of tree-bush

Ok, it isn't much, and it was even worse inside than out. BUT It's in the neighborhood we belong in: safe, clean and full of people we love. Many of the kids I grew up with have settled here as well, no small thing in a major city.  Best of all, we're just a few blocks from my parents... and we have this huge back yard!

Backyard 1 (My 30th birthday)

Backyard 2-- pictures taken at the same time, all this stuff was back there at once!

As it turns out, a lot of the trouble with houses are that they are old, at least they are if you live where I do and aren't a millionaire (literally).  This house had not one speck of insulation (that is a slight exaggeration, we found a few strips behind the living room walls where there was a fire years ago and some pour in insulation in the ceiling between the second floor and the attic.). The basement floor was partially torn up after the discovery of termites by the prior owner (a HUGE problem in this area- no surprise to us as buyers- but you couldn't have re-poured the floor?). There was little to no renovation or upkeep in the 60 years between building and our purchase, It had been in one family for all or almost all of that time.

See the can of Pledge? It was for the kitchen walls..

Living room, pet stained carpet coming up, Persian arches, awful mantel..

See the color difference on the wall behind vs in front of me? Yeah.. that's from washing off the nicotine

The problem is, I didn't see these as issues when I bought the house, a little paint (which we needed because there were 1 or 2 people smoking up to 3 packs of cigarettes EACH a DAY for the majority of this house's lifespan yuck), some work pulling up carpeting and refinishing floors and *ok fine* a complete kitchen re-haul (but I would never be able to afford a house in this area with a new kitchen- they were starting at 500,000 at the height of the recession) and we would be as good as new.

Problem one was the FIRE that happened years before my purchase. There is a massive burn hole under that gross carpet- the carpet is long gone due to the smoke and pet urine that soiled it. We keep the couch over it, as it is in our living room. It's fine...

Things I didn't know before I bought- 60 year-old horsehair plaster isn't nice, even if you put new paint on it. Also, insulation is way easier to put in with walls down, as is new electric work. By the way, if you buy a house that is older than your parents, you're going to need new wiring run most likely. Who knew?

So we started a room by room renovation. 

We've gone through this process with 4 of 7 rooms in the house. It's been a TON of work,  but we're now here with our living room:

Hub is building cabinets and a mantel for around the fireplace, and we are re-tiling after Christmas
You can't tell from here, but we widened the doorways and removed the arches (hub said they reminded him of Iraq.. oops). And here is the baby's room now. I don't have a 'before', but it was just as ugly as the rest of the house:

Doesn't hub do good work?

We have a lot to do (like that kitchen.. shudder) but we've come a long way, even on the outside!

We've replaced the door too :)

Settle down, it'll all be clear
Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you're not alone
'Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

1 comment:

  1. You are doing a great job with your home! Our home is very similar, we need to redo pretty much everything! There is a real sense of satisfaction with the parts that we have completed, though. I love what you have done with the living room and the nursery.