Flashback – December 2011I need to spend some time flashing back over the past year and a half because where we are today is not where we thought we would be when we bought this house in December 2011.
We loved the neighborhood where the house was located. It was close to town, it had a fantastic area to walk round and the water was only a short walk in a couple of different directions. Location, location, location.
The house was built in the early thirties and was made up of a living room with a fireplace with old, worn out, wall to wall carpeting. We sensed that it covered a beautiful hardwood floor. Off of the living room was an outdoor screen room on the north side of the house. On the other side in front, it had a small dining room (I think it was also used as a bedroom) and behind it in the back of the house was a room that could be a bedroom or an office. The kitchen, which was on the north side of the house, was a tight galley kitchen with the stove next to the refrigerator on an inside wall without any outside venting. The breakfast area was tiny and not a place I wanted to start the day in because it was like being in a closet. The cabinets throughout the kitchen looked like they were last replaced when Eisenhower was president. I kid you not.There was a set of winding, narrow stairs from the kitchen up to the second floor. The two bedrooms on the second floor were made slightly larger with doggy dormers in the front and a half dormer in the back.
The first floor bathroom had a tub but the room was so small that the door banged into the sink when opened. The upstairs bathroom was even smaller with the world’s smallest and darkest shower that I had ever seen. Think of a telephone booth. Now reduce it by half.Every room had probably not been painted in over twenty years. And they needed it.
The cellar had a low ceiling, with a sort of built in room and a work area. It was dark and like any old, dark cellar a bit creepy. Interestingly though, when they built the cellar, the area under the breakfast area was formed in making a closet area. I declared that it would be my wine cellar. For those ten dollar bottles of wine. Oddly and unfortunately, it did not have an outside entrance. Because I like to do wood working, every time I looked at a house, one of my acceptability tests was could I get a full sheet of plywood in the cellar? I don’t build boats or cabinets and I often don’t use full sheets of plywood for anything, but you never know when I “might” want to start.
The lot outside the house was full of stands of trees that shadowed the south side of the house. They hadn’t been well cared for in years. The garage, which was attached to the house behind the kitchen, had a drive way that cut the yard in half. It was a bad design and any outdoor entertaining was going to be difficult. Food would have to be brought down the stairs from the kitchen, out the door and across the driveway. Not a great design.
The outside of the house had old shingles with tons of heavy, aged gray paint coating them. The roof shingles were in half way decent shape with a few years left on them.
I’m sure the house and yard was perfect for the elderly couple that lived there before us. It fit them and their needs. However, we needed to know that we could make it ours and make it fit our needs. So before buying it we noodled around some ideas that started with basic painting and perhaps new cabinets. They were great ideas, but like any home project, it magically morphed into something much bigger. Enter the contractor.
And then the fun began.