18 September 2009

Our New Old House

How's your imagination? Mine is pretty active, which you will see shortly.

We knew even before we returned to Nebraska from Spain that we wanted to buy a house, but it was going to have to be a CHEAP house. I tentatively set the budget at $50k - that is, $50k to buy & make the house habitable. I stalked realtor websites for close to a year just to see what was actually feasible in the areas we were considering. Fortunately for us, we are from Nebraska, where housing prices are typically lower than other parts. My other criteria was that it had to be within 30 minutes or less of a city and had to have at least 2 bedrooms. And not be gross.

That's where my imagination comes in. :) We found & recently purchased a house that fit all that criteria (and came in WAY under budget), except that some have argued with me that our house is indeed gross. But imagine with me, if you will, a 1913 cottage with original oak floors, 10-inch baseboards, original built-in glass-fronted oak bookcase dividers, original claw foot tub, enclosed front and back porch, a full basement and a garage. Got that picture in your head? Good. In the spirit of Ultimate Thrifting (which should be a real sport, by the way), come with me on a tour of our new old house and keep an open mind!

So the bushes will most likely be yanked out of the ground in favor of something that doesn't need constant trimming to keep the place from looking abandoned. I'm thinking a row of lavender flanking each side of the walkway. We'll replace the shingles & paint the siding grey with white trim.

This is the enclosed front porch. First impression for guests! Right now it gives, well, the wrong impression. I've got this area decorated in my head really cute. Trust me. You'll love it. Just don't breath through your nose right now. It's not pleasant.

Ah, a breath of fresh air. Kind of. The original oak craftsman style door. Lovely.

This is what you see when you walk through that lovely craftsman door. Please look beyond the nasty, nasty carpet. See the built-ins! They really make the house. You're standing in the living room looking into the dining room and beyond into the kitchen.

Now we've walked into the dining room and turned around to see the living room. Like the glossy paint colors? Neither do I. They have inspired me to choose a calm grey palette for the whole house. I want to relax in this place, not be jittery all the time from color overload. I don't know if you can tell, but the previous owners PAINTED the glass on the french doors in the living room. Thanks. Fortunately, it peels right off.

Now to the kitchen. Oh, hello. There's Vino & the leg of Mary, our lovely realtor (who reads this blog - hi, Mary!). Stop looking at the floors, all of you. It's all getting ripped up. The kitchen will be tiled and the living & dining rooms will have refinished wood floors that are currently living under the carpet-o-filth.

Under that trash is a cute little enclosed back porch with original beaded board ceiling & little closets. This will be a mud room/pantry. It WILL be cute. Very cute. Let's keep moving. It creates a slight breeze that makes the smell more bearable.

This is the back bedroom. Not much to say here. It was really clean compared to the rest of the house. Not being a fan of wallpaper borders, this one will go. It's also around the top of the wall just under the ceiling.

Just down the hallway we encounter the bathroom. Someone put a lot of work making this room homey. Hunter green faux woodgrain wallpaper & double outhouse borders. It has been loved & served it's purpose and is no longer in good shape. Filthy, actually. AND since it's not anything close to my taste, it also will be coming down. I hope it goes easily. Same with the rose stencils on the tub. Side note on the tub. I'm a bath girl. Since we have been married, 8 years, we have NEVER lived in a place with a tub. I am ecstatic beyond words to have a deep soaking tub. And yes, I will clean the living daylights out of that thing before I set my body in it!

Here we are in the front bedroom. Oh, look. The previous owners left us some electronics, several cassette tapes from the 90s (Cher's Greatest Hits!) and a stained king-sized bed. Anyone need a scanner? The sponge painting, sadly, will be going bye bye. I'm not super big on faux finishes myself.

So that concludes the tour of the main floor. But what about the basement, you say? Are you sure you want to go there? If not, stop reading right now. If so, put on your haz-mat suit.

This is our intro to the basement stairs, from the kitchen. Nice. I think we're safe to assume that there were large dogs living here at one time. They have left other clues besides this.

That's Vino back there checking out the toys on the floor. That's the part about this house that makes me sick. Adults, I suppose, have the right to live in their own filth & let their pets do whatever they want in the house, but when children are involved, it's really more than sad. Enough said.

Like my laundry room? Even my imagination can't come up with something cute for this space. I think that to start with it will be basic, clean & utilitarian. I'll work on cute later.

And now for some shots of the Special Things left behind for us to clean up.

In the living room. Hiding in a dark corner. Cat? Raccoon? Very small dog? This, for sure, is gross.

I found a pizza in this pile. Just keep in mind that this house has been vacant for 5 months.

I told you not to look at the floors, but I wanted to show the full heinousness of the carpet & linoleum before I rip it all out with my carefully gloved hands. Those would be pet pee stains, not oops-I-spilled-the-apple-juice-stains. And one of many cigarettes. The man of the house apparently lives on these with a Mountain Dew chaser, as evidenced by the plethora of bottles & butts around the place.

This is a sad little vignette.

Well, thanks for sticking with me to the grisly end. Hats off to Mary (pictured above with Vino) for trudging through this place in her cute little kitten-heel sandals. You deserve an award. Funny enough, though, of all the houses we looked at this day, this one was BY FAR the best. Not the cleanest, but the most potential. Thank goodness Mary & Vino have as much imagination as I do! Stay tuned for updates on the house progress. We want this re-do to be nice but inexpensive. We want to think outside of the box when it comes to fixtures & furnishings. You might be surprised when it's done. You might just think it's a place you would actually want to live. I hope I do!!


koopermom said...

It reminds me of a house I used to party in back in college (but that one was condemned! :)

Can't wait to see what you do with the place!

Big Sis said...

Hey! This is Amanda. What happened to your other house? I thought you kept it while you were in Spain. I think it's going to be wonderful when it's done! But yes, I have to say right now it IS definitely gross! It seems like a very similiar, if not the same, layout as your other house. Right? Have fun!!!

Erin said...

Hey, Amanda! We sold our old house before we went to Spain. I'm really glad we did because we didn't have to worry about renting it while we were gone, and we made a decent profit from it that we are using to fix up this new old house. But you're right, it reminds us a LOT of our old house!

Beth said...

You guys just left and I immediately looked for your blog. I am excited to follow your makeover story. Congratulations and blessings on your new home. You guys are amazing!