Friday, October 11, 2013

Our Home-buying Story

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This may be really old news for some of you (it's been a few months now), but I think I'm finally ready to share the "Before Pictures" only since we are *almost* ready to start sharing after photos of what we've been working on. And now, I bring you a little backstory about the house.

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Andy and I knew we wanted to stay in the West End, which is where we lived before. It's full of old houses, trees, charm, and it's really close to where he works and the places we frequent. We tried to think outside the geographical box, but my heart was always in the West End. I also really tried to like houses built after the 1920s. I really, truly, wholeheartedly tried, but to no avail. I just love me some old houses.

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By the time we started looking at houses, Andy had already been actively searching online for months. This one terribly ugly house kept coming up again and again. As a real fixer-upper. I called it the insect house since the porch had been screened in and the front was all widows that looked like large, ugly eyes staring at you. The "charming" awning was about 25 years past it's prime and the whole thing just hadn't been updated in a very long time. Plus the square footage was way too much for just the two of us.

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After looking at a number of houses, Andy brought this one up to our realtor, who somewhat hesitantly agreed to show it to us. As we got out of the car and walked up to it, Andy thanked me for humoring him and I kind of laughed.

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Once we got past the enclosed porch, which looked like the inside of a metal barn, everything was mint green. The wallpaper, the floor-length curtains. So much. (We've since discovered that was the least of it. At one point the shutters, doors, and fixtures had even been painted that color. We thought that was bad. Then we found mint green carpet shards as we were pulling up carpet in one area. Apparently we had seen nowhere close to the worst of it.) But, man, the bones of the house were so good and there was so much space. And just so much all-around potential it hurt.

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By the time we'd gotten into the ridiculously large kitchen, I sheepishly looked at Andy and said, "um, I actually really like it..." We looked at more houses and talked and our realtor thought we were nuts when we said it was a top contender. To give you an idea of what a hard sell this was, the previous owner had not lived in it since 2008. This means we got a really good deal on it. Exactly in the neighborhood we wanted, even closer to Andy's work than before.

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I think some reasons this had been a really hard sell before are:
  • (Read this like a yo mamma joke) The front of that house is so ugly, the realtor said she couldn't even get people inside to look at it! But it's true.
  • An unreal amount of old, thick wallpaper. Unreal. Everywhere. And on the ceilings in half of the rooms. And in the closets. And on the ceilings in the closets. WHY.
  • The only full bath is upstairs under the pitch of the roof and the shower head is on the short side. Unless you are less than five feet tall, this is not cool.
  • The "master bedroom" off of the kitchen. It's actually not the master, and we're using for an office now, but this seemingly random, weird L-shaped room was used as the master (even without a full bath on that floor) since the tiny doorway leading upstairs couldn't fit a box spring mattress up. (Yeah, we already knocked that wall out.)
  • And then there are the issues of ancient sockets, switches, fixtures, etc.
  • Weird large mirrors everywhere. In the dining room, above the fireplace, in the office off of the kitchen. Who knows why. Feng shui? Body building? I won't ask.
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This house was going to need some love, but this was the one for us. I just kept saying, "It's so weird; I love it!"

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As you might imagine, we've got quite a to-do list and the major things include:
  • Tearing down wallpaper, updating sockets and switches, and painting the dining room and living room and adding recessed lighting in the living room (in progress)
  • Remodeling first floor bathroom to make a full bath (and it hopefully won't smell like old sweaty socks anymore)
  • Tearing out the enclosed barn-porch and making it an open porch fit for this wonderful bungalow
  • Remodeling the upstairs bathroom and weird short shower situation
  • Patching, removing wallpaper, and painting the upstairs bedrooms
  • Eventually... Remodeling the kitchen and back office, and putting in a back patio
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So far, I've come to hate wallpaper with a passion, Andy's learning all about electrical things, and I'm itching to get the living room decorated! I thought we might do a statement wall of wallpaper, but no way. I mean, we scrubbed wallpaper paste from the high ceilings of closets for goodness sakes (shout out and thanks to my dad on that specific task!).

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This is going to be a long process, but we're really close to seeing our work start to pay off in the form of finished rooms and I'd say we would absolutely pick this house and these crazy projects again. Now welcome to our adventure.

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