Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Basically, the house counts as a duplex because it has two kitchens. One will be my bedroom, but try telling that to my bank! So herein lies the catch-22: I can't close until I remove the kitchen, but I can't remove the kitchen until I close! Grrr...
I talked with the listing agent to see how we could fix this situation so I can FINALLY close on the dang house. I said that I would be able to do all the work necessary to seal the deal if the seller would allow it, I'd just need access to the house. Luckily, the seller was OK with this and tomorrow morning I'm doing the necessary changes for my loan to go through. I need to remove the oven (it's a mini apartment stove, about 2.5 ft. wide) and the kitchen sink, essentially rendering the kitchen unusable. All I have to do after that is take some photos to email to the appraisal company. The underwriters come next, then closing. Hopefully Friday. Better be Friday!
I looked up Mr. Somes' obituary at the library while I was on campus today to see what it said. Yeah, I'm a creeper but I'm interested about the history of the house! There was a picture in his obituary, which was really interesting to see. You don't usually get to have an image of someone who lived in your house over fifty years ago. The paper said that he served in WWII, how cool is that? As it turns out Mr. Somes was very involved in many community organizations including the American Legion, Elks club, Eagles club, Boy Scouts, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and some sort of business organization. A man after my own heart; I'm in a handfull of student organizations, we must both be prone to joining organizations! He was the branch manager of some sort of business I haven't researched yet. Most impressive though, was that he and his wife managed to raise 6 kids in my 1350 sq. foot 4 bedroom house. Mind you, the second bathroom wasn't added until 1984! I have a lot of respect for Mr. Somes & I'm excited to fix up his house!
Monday, July 30, 2007
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I used a chemical stripper to try to get the remaining paint residue off from one of the salvaged doors, and all that happened was the paint stayed in the cracks and the door became covered in a sticky flamable snot. Fantastic... I'm going to try giving it a light sanding next to see if that would give me a better shot at refinishing. At least these aren't my real doors yet! I don't mind messing up on some salvaged doors that will most likey end up in a closet.
I had a dream about the doors and how they would work being hung in a closet. I need a life.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
I took a little trip over to the house to take a couple photos now that my camera is working. I've included here a photo of the porch, the arts and crafts door I have high hopes for once it's refinished, and a sad little attempt at catching an interior image. That's me in the glare.
Here are a couple photos of the exterior. The first photo is with the refurbished basement window leaning up on the porch. Now imageine all of the trim that color. Something about that picture makes me like the white trim, but I suppose that is because it looks so clean. In real life? No, yuck. I've also included photos of the side entry and the back of the house. Look at that weird roof situation in the back! Why would you do that? I guess it's kinda funky & cool; it's definatelly the only roof like that on the block!
In other news, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Well, more like another, much longer tunnel at the end of the tunnel. But anyways, I'M CLOSING ON MONDAY!!! Yes! I can finally get that 'Before' album started. Good times!
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
I drove over to the house and leaned the newly painted window against the siding so I could stand in the street like a crazy person and evaluate the color choice I made for the house I don't even own yet. I think the neighbors must already think I'm crazy. I walked around the house with my little window and looked at it in different lighting conditions and in different areas of the house. How's it work with the brick? How about the shingles? How's it in the shade vs. in the light?
Last night I had my buddy Andy help me pick up two doors from my 'parts house' that's going down today. They match my house's doors EXACTLY! I whipped out my heat gun last night and got to work stripping off layers of white paint. I only finished the one side of one door, but I'll be doing some more work tonight. The original finish of the door I started last night must have had some sort of waxy varnish because the paint was barely bubbling under the heat, but this varnish became the consistancy of honey (just as sticky) and smelled like crayons. If anyone has any ideas about what this is, let me know! It worked out well because the varnish liquified and the paint just came off in sheets (after I got my technique down). I'm not sure what kind of wood the door's made of, but I think it may be oak. All of the upstairs trim is painted right now anyways, so I don't have much to compare it to. As long as I can get the stain to match across the board, I'll be fine!
My camera is broken, so I unfortunatelly don't have any pictures to share, but hopefully I can get it fixed soon so those who read blogs like I do (skimming through pictures, reading where the pictures are interesting) will have more to look at! I definatelly will have a camera by the time I close!
Take care, fellow bloggers
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I started the first of many, many projects yesterday. I took one of the basement windows that I salvaged and used it as my test subject for the restoration that all of my windows need. I used my heat gun (new favorite tool) to loosen up the old, cracked glazing compound around the panes of glass. After I removed the old glazing compound, I used the heat gun to strip off all of the old layers of paint from the window. I put on the new glazing compound now I just need to wait for it to harden so I can paint it. I chose a green color that I'll be using on the exterior of the windows and on the trim. What!?! Not white!?! Color on my house!?! NO WAY!!!
I talked to the seller yesterday and the house is completely vacant right now, allowing me to hurry al0ng the closing. I met with my lender today and he said we would be able to close a little earlier. I hope to get most of the work undoing the duplex conversion done before classes start, so the earlier we close, the better. I'm just really excited to get moving on this project!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
There are a few redevelopment projects going on around the University, and six houses between 1910 and 1932 are coming down. I have decided that free fits well into my budget, so I've swallowed any bit of pride and have begun essentially dumpster-diving for vintage building supplies! You can find me peering into the windows of vacant, neglected houses wondering "what did my trim look like again?" and "how many more doorknobs do I need?"
I was a little too late for two of the houses which have already come down to make room for a new three level apartment complex with some much needed retail across the street from campus. I had been inside each of these houses before when friends lived in them, so I knew what was salvagable in them. House #1, affectionatelly known to NDSU students as the 'Fiesta House' had a pretty nice staircase and three beveled glass windows (each had cracked panes) but much of the woodwork was either painted with gold spray paint (what?) or missing. House #2 was actually originally built as a 6 unit apartment building. The house had 1.5" oak hardwood floors and some nice radiators. The house had at least 18-20 pristine light oak 5-panel doors. Try to hold back the tears, fellow bloggers. I know I've read that some of you have been searching for those. There were two leaded-glass windows and about a dozen original art deco light fixtures and wall sconces. There was one nice entry door with a large beveled glass window that would have worked in my house, but other than that the rest wouldn't have worked for me. I have two panel doors. It just sucks that most of that ended up in a scrap pile of wood splinters. I could have grabbed some of those storm windows too.
There are four houses that are about to meet the same fate, and I'm thinking I need to get moving! I've included a photo so you can get an idea of the types of places I've been 'casing'. I, ashamedly, have done some window peeping and found that at least one of the houses has my same windows, doors, trim, and doorknobs. Score! I paid a visit today to the development company that owns the buildings, but their office was closed. I'm going back tomorrow to try again, but it might come down to a little 'secret salvage' if they aren't around their office the next couple days! I can see it now in the headlines "Catburglar Nabbed in Doorknob Heist". My parents will be proud.
I checked up on the sinks at Lowes a couple days ago, and there's a little bad, but mostly good news. The $25 Kohler self-rimming sink retails for $230, and the $30 American Standard pedistal sink top retails for $200. Bad news... This requires me to special order in the $160 pedistal leg! Aaah!!! I could have bought a whole bargain pedistal sink for less. But, as my Dad put it, buyers will pay more for the high-end fixtures. I love the sink though, so I suppose it will be ok. I've decided to do white wainscoting on the bottom half of the walls and white hex-tile on the floor in the powder room, and that sink is just going to rock. It's the first thing you see as you enter the room, so it's kind of the focal point.
I just want to hurry up closing and get started already! I have my roommates all lined up already and they all want to get moving in as soon as possible. All I'm thinking about is how long it's going to take to get the house ready for them to move in. I'm going to be so embarrassed if they have to move in and it's still a gigantic dump-hole.
For now I'll just continue being a scavanger!
Thursday, July 5, 2007
I purchased a kohler sink for my upstairs bathroom last week for $25, and today I bought an American Standard pedistal sink (missing the base) for $30! I've included a picture of the sink so you can get an idea of how nice it will look in a 1920's house. All I have to do now is find the base at Home Depot or Menards; I'm not sure which one carries American Standard. I have to make a trip out to Menards anyways because they have a porch swing on sale for $30 and I really want a hanging porch swing just like in my Aunt's craftsman bungalow she used to own. I'm looking forward to the five nice days Fargo's weather will allow me to use the porch and what could be better than a porch swing?
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
I found this 1928 house that is conveniently located, large, and cosmetically challenged. That seemed to be a pretty good investment for my first house, so I put in an offer (which was accepted) a few weeks ago. I'm now extremely excited for closing because I want to start working on the house as soon as possible! I have to wait until mid-august to close because the home is currently rented out and the tenents needed some time to find new lodging.
The house was bought by the previous owner in 1984 as a forclosure, then converted into a duplex which has been rented out for the last 23 years. You can about imagine how well it's been taken care of! I will be converting the house back to a single family home which, after some light construction, will feature four bedrooms and two bathrooms. It's somewhere between 1300 and 1400 square feet, but laid out well. The foundation is perfect and the house is structurally sound, she just needs a little cosmetic TLC to make her shine again.
I have begun planning the renovations that need to take place as soon as I take possession. These changes need to happen to make the house ready for my friends and I to live in. They are as follows:
- removal of 2nd story kitchen
- removal of extra wall dividing the livingroom from the entry
- removal of closets in living room and dining room
- replacement of wall separating master bedroom from hallway upstairs
- replacement of kitchen appliances. I got some that are about 5 years old from a friend'suncle for cheap, so all I need to do is get them into the house. My back hurts thinking about it!
- CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN!!! My house is gross now.
After those issues have been tackled, my list for future projets so far is:
- bathrooms: upstairs needs tile on the floor and tub surround, new sink/vanity, some sublfoor work. basically everything. downstairs needs floor tile, shower stall, new toilet, and because of space issues I'm thinking pedistal sink. I'm hoping that money falls from the sky for these projects, 'cause it won't be cheap!
- windows all need new glazing, some have cracked glass.
- refinish wood floors throughout house
- strip paint from banister and 2nd floor woodwork and refinish. (just got a heat gun on sale, really excited!)
- update kitchen cabinets somehow. I'm thinking paint and hardware because that's all I can afford!
- tile in the kitchen, looking into how to replace the counters.
- replace some wood trim outside on the soffits, bargeboard, etc. then paint. The house has white aluminum siding, so that has to stay, but every available wood surface will be painted because I can't stand how bland the house looks in all white!
- replace light fixtures throughout the house (will happen as sales present themselves! I'm not paying sticker price for anything!)
- repairing cracked plaster in bedrooms upstairs. There are some really weird texture issues!
I have been scouting through salvage shops for some of the items needed for the projects and so far have only found a sink. Hey, it's a start! I'm also watching enough HGTV to make a person's head explode. I'm excited to try my hand at tiling, paint stripping, floor refinishing, and demo. I've done some work in the past, so hopefully it will serve me well.
I think that's about it for now. Future posts will feature photos, but I can't get in there to take them until August!