Monday, December 22, 2008

We Closed Today

It's no longer my Fixer-Upper. I'm not sad though, so everything's good.

I flew from New York to Fargo this morning, landing in the frigid tundra at 10:3o. By 11:30 I had a pen in my hand and I was signing, signing, signing. I had originally thought that I wouldn't be able to be in town for closing, so it was a nice treat to be able to take part. I'm glad that I could be there at the begininning and the end of this adventure. It was also really nice to see my realtor, Jenny again as we had only been conversing through email and phone-tag for months.

I also met the new owner. This situation could have gone two different ways and, fortunatelly, it went very well. He had two of his kids with him and he seems like a really great guy. He has worked as a contractor and has experience working on houses. Score! He's going to start refinishing the floors soon. I might just have to bring him some holiday cookies or something, just to spy on what the floors look like all cleaned up! His kids had already picked out which room was for whom, and they had picked out their new paint colors. It really made my day just to see them excited to call my old house their new home. Good stuff, people. Good stuff.

So, I suppose this is the last entry about the house. I'll make sure to alert you should I decide to buy another fixer upper someday. Trust me, I'm sure I will. It's just too much fun for me.

My best wishes for a special Christmas and an exciting, adventurous 2009!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sold Sign Signals Sale Soon

Lets hear it for alliteration today!

Martha, always my eyes and ears in the Fargo building scene, emailed me this fantastic photo of the house with its little red 'SOLD' sign. Thanks Martha!
From what I understand, that light blanket of snow has since turned into a blizzard. We don't have any snow yet here in New York. Go ahead, just ask me if I miss it.

Well, we're closing a week from today ladies and gents. My last week as a homeowner. You can't see it from where you are but my bottom lip is pushed out as I pout. On a happier note I'll also be flying back to North Dakota again for Christmas on Monday, so I'm pretty excited about that. I haven't been able to get into the Christmas spirit yet but hopefully the change in geography will get me there.

Before I sign off here, I need to extend a great deal of thanks to my realtor, Jenny Schuster, for her work with this house. I had no idea that it could be so much fun to work with a realtor and she has certainly gone above and beyond for me. It can't be easy to try to sell someone's house when he is 1500 miles away but she did a great job, offering her advice and expertise along the way. Might I add that she's hilarious. If you or anyone you know is looking into a real estate transaction in Fargo, get in touch with her. Trust me! Thanks Jenny!

Have a great week & take care everyone!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Martha, you get a gold star for the day. I did indeed accept an offer on the Fixer(ed)-Upper!!!

I'd photoshop some kind of cool 'SOLD' photo with the house but my computer broke again.

We're closing in ten short days and I have to say that I'm very satisfied. There were a couple snags along the way (P.O. issues, STILL!) but in all it was a pretty easy deal.

It's a little bitter sweet for me though. It's nice to think that I've already made my last mortgage payment on the house, especially with the cost of living in NY, but it is hard to think back to all of the work my family and I put into the house. What makes it easier to give up is this next part. I'm totally stoked about this part.

The guy who is buying the house isn't an investor, he's going to live in the house himself. WITH HIS KIDS!!! I am so happy my house will be lived in by a family, not rented to more sketchy weirdos! The closing date is the 22nd, assumable so they can move in before Christmas. How nice is that? The mental image of a family opening gifts in my living room on Christmas morning is such a great picture that it makes all of the work worth it.

...AND I don't have to pay that stupid mortgage anymore! YES!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Commode, Copper, Cashmere?

You didn't think you'd see it, did you? Another post about a repair project. The mind boggles!

I was visiting friends in Fargo yesterday when I received a call from my realtor. I was excited, thinking it was an offer or something, but no. The house was being shown and there was water on the floor in the bathroom from some sort of toilet leak. I think this house just knows when I'm in town and needs to have my attention.

I swung by the house to take a look and see where the water was leaking. Fortunately it was up top and not at the base of the toilet. I wasn't about to go pulling everything apart down to the floor! The coupling between the tank and the bowl was leaking due to a faulty seal, so off I went to the 'Depot for parts.

The part was surprisingly easy to find so I picked it up and then grabbed some insulation for the copper pipes that lead to the kitchen sink. Somebody in their P.O. wisdom installed the pipes right next to the foundation wall where they like to sit and freeze in the winter. I don't know if I blogged about running downstairs during the coldest parts of Jan/Feb with a hair dryer to get the water running again, but I did it a couple times. After some unnecessary browsing through tile and lighting (I can't help myself) I made my purchases and went back to the house.
The water didn't need to be turned off because I hadn't paid a water bill for quite a few months. Strange how I wasn't getting the bills in New York, huh. Later I had to visit the city office to get the water turned back on, but that's another story entirely.

I luckily found a screwdriver and pliers in the basement to use for the job. I really wasn't prepared to be doing house projects yesterday as evidenced by my skinny jeans and cashmere blend turtleneck. Yeah, I was elbows deep in a toilet wearing cashmere. Typical me, right?
Here I am with my toilet supplies, found pliers, and inappropriate housework attire:
I removed the leaky coupling and did my best to catch all of the water in an old mug that I found abandoned in a cabinet. After I dried everything off I dropped in the new coupling and bam, I was done. Easy.
Out with the old:
In with the new:The "under bowl" shot.Next I made my way down to the basement with my insulation to wrap up the copper pipes. I failed to do a spiderweb check and, as I crawled my way over to the pipes, I quickly found myself completely covered with them. In my hair, eyes, mouth, and all over my sweater. After a nice little freak-out session I put up the insulation and ran back upstairs.

I took some photos...
I took some videos...

Then I left, praying that nothing else breaks until it sells!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Lets Pay the Fixer-Upper a Visit!!!

It's been a while since I've posted on here. Good news ladies 'n gents; I'm going to be in Fargo one week from today! I can't tell you how excited I am. Seriously, I haven't been back in over half a year. I'm going to take lots of pictures and post them on here. Pictures of my beautiful, refurbished house and me.

Flat prairies of ND, here I come!

Stay tuned next weekend!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Blog!

As this blog wraps up, I decided to start a new blog about how I'm doing out in New York. Actually it will be mostly pictures of the city and a lot of architectural shots peppered with little tidbits about what I'm doing out here. For some of my return readers: don't feel obligated to follow the new blog. Just because you enjoyed reading about fixing up houses doesn't mean you'll want to read about some mid-western kid dropped in NYC. I understand & take no offense!

No, the house hasn't sold yet.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fashion Week Update

Greetings loyal readers! It's been a busy couple of weeks. No the house hasn't sold yet but I hear it's showing really well. The activity has all been here in New York. It is really hard for new models to book shows in New York, as the designers generally prefer to use models they are familiar with. This year it was even harder for the male models because there were less menswear shows and the shows were using fewer models. Quite a few of my friends came up empty-handed this week, but I was fortunate enough to book a show! The show was a presentation, so I'll have to hold onto my runway walk for next season. The designer was Antonio Azzuolo and the show was on Sunday in the West Village. Here are a couple photos:
Pretty cool, huh? The day before I did some showroom work for 3.1 Philip Lim, which basically means I tried on every look for their runway show so they could take photos of how they wanted the clothes to look. The show was today and it was really interesting to look at the photos and think that I wore all of the clothes four days prior!

Before the next season rolls around, my agency wants me to develop a bit more and get some more exposure. They want to make sure that I'm not a stranger when the shows are casting in Milan and Paris. They are thinking the best way to do this would be for me to travel and book some magazine editorials... in EUROPE!!! So, now it sounds like they are going to look for an agency to represent me in Milan or maybe Paris. Not sure of anything yet, but I'll keep ya posted.

...somebody buy the house already. With that said, that's all for me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Troubles! Fashions! Photos!

Ok, so for the most part everything is going well with the house. We've had a lot of showings, and some interest already. No offers yet, but It's only been a couple weeks. for the problem. Brace yourself:
Smack! Right on the neighbor's garage! There was some sort of storm that apparently couldn't wait until the house was sold. Fortunately their insurance will cover the cost of removing the limb and repairing the roof. Dad found someone who can reinforce the rest of the tree with cable so we don't have to take it out. Sadly, it was the best looking of all of the trees the yard had! This place never has and never will have pristinely manicured gardens, so I don't think it's too big of a deal.

My sister, who was living in the house the last couple months, got her paramedic degree and accepted a job offer in Iowa. The house is now completely vacant and ready for some new owners to take care of her. My wallet and I are hoping for this to happen soon...

For an NYC update, next week is Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and this week is when the castings are for those runway shows. I went to my first casting today, (saw a couple past ANTM winners there), and have another casting lined up for tomorrow afternoon. I had a couple test shoots last week and my agency ordered prints which should be ready by tomorrow. The prints will go in my book (portfolio... we call it a book) so clients can see my purdy mug all glam'd up. If you want to see the results of my test shoot, the best few shots are on my agency's website. You'll find me in the 'new faces' section. I'm the guy in the white, collared shirt under the name 'Nathan'. I'll keep you posted if I book any cool shows.

Take care everyone!

Monday, August 11, 2008

On the Market

Well, the house is on the market and I'm just waiting for an offer. From what I understand, the house was shown twice this weekend.

Dad and Mom flew out to NYC this weekend to visit. It's been a lot of fun showing them my new city and catching up. They're heading home tomorrow morning though. Wish their trip was a little longer. Have a good week everyone!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Finishing Details

Another batch of photos from Mom! She said that everything is ready to go now. A little cleaning here and there and a couple last projects. She painted the inside of the storm door, painted and hung the wood storm windows on the porch, painted the porch floor, and touched up some of the stain on the banister. The staircase is far from perfect, but the new owners need to experience some of the joy of old house ownership, right? Photo time!

The green-ified storm door:Paint for the porch floor and re-hung, painted wood storm windows:
For the staircase lets do a little retrospective. Lets start with the beginnings. Faux-wood paneling as far as the eye can see, a closet blocking the view from the living room, drop ceilings, worn-out rust-colored carpet. Behold the grossness:
DEMO!!! By far the easiest and most satisfying house project:Wall gone, paint stripped, carpet removed, walls repaired and painted. Lookin' good!Lastly, I'd like to wish a very happy 1st anniversary to my very, very good friends Eric and Lindi! I doubt they read the blog, but congrats to you two anyway! This is a photo from one of our Fraternity formals. Cute couple, no? They are seriously the most laid-back, easy going couple I've ever met. In the four or five years they've been together I don't think I've ever heard them fight... and I lived with Eric for a couple of those years. They're a perfect match.

Here's one of my favorite photos of the wedding party. We were in the limo midway between the church and the reception. As we passed a park we had a spontaneous photo session. I'm on the slide on the left, second guy in (look how short my hair was! What was I thinking!). Eric and Lindi should be obvious. He's the guy holding the girl in the white dress. Yup, that's her. Really, you should have already figured that one out by yourself. Fun factoid: The guy to the left of me and the girl standing to the right of Eric are my friends Tony and Laura who are getting married September 6th. That's right in the middle of Fashion Week so unfortunately I can't make it. Eric and Tony were best friends growing up and Lindi and Laura were best friends growing up. How did they meet? Lindi and Laura were my friends from high school. Eric was my roommate in the dorms and when we moved out Tony, Eric and I got an apartment together. Basically, they met through me. Cool, huh?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Somebody Else's Fargo Fixer-Upper

That's right, ladies and gentlemen. Get your very own Fargo Fixer-Upper! The house is officially on the market! Might I add, a couple G's above where the Realtor originally thought. Of course this is because the family did such an extraordinary job with the little details. Details now including:

A fresh coat of paint for the front windows:
(You'd never know that window was broken!)

New light fixtures in the stairwell and second floor hall:
A new downstairs bathroom sink! Look at the difference:The old sink had curling iron burns on the top and the home-made, particle-board cabinet was rotten from an old leak. The new one looks so nice and clean!So there you have it. One beautifully cleaned up 1928 gem. All of this can be yours... if the Price is Right! (Fargo house hunters... COME ON DOWWWWNNNN!!!!)

I'll be praying for multiple offers in church in the morning!

**Happy 28th Anniversary Dad & Mom!**

Friday, July 18, 2008

Fargo Photo Update

More photos from Fargo! The newest shots to land in my inbox featured freshly painted trim and new brushed nickel light fixtures in the two South bedrooms. Mom gave the Southeast room a coat of Provincial Cream paint, which she said turned out a little more yellow than she though it would be. It looks really bright and clean though, so I like it. I think the khaki color is the only paint in this house that has turned out as planned!

Here are the before-and-afters of the work:
Here's the new light fixture in the Southwest room. Same as the other bedrooms, but still thought I'd post it.The downstairs bathroom has not only new flooring, but also freshly painted walls and trim.

Before and after:
If there is enough time before listing, Mom wants to put in a new vanity in this bathroom. I'm starting to wonder who's going to be sadder when this place sells!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dining Room: Complete!

This just in: dining room completed! I received an email from Mom this morning bearing photos of the cheap-o chandelier I bought on ebay dangling from the *ahem* near perfect ceiling in the dining room. It really pulls it all together. Let's view the progression of this room from grimy apartment bedroom (remember I found syringes in the carpet!) to glamorous dining room:


Demo of 80's closet addition:Demo completed, patching plaster:
Scraping loose paint from ceiling: (It's the best ceiling in the house now)
Walls are primed and painted:
Cheap replacement woodwork is sanded, primed, and painted:

Ceiling and walls painted, capstock on window trim, crown moulding in place, and dining-approved lighting:Finished dining room:
I always liked this room. There is so much natural light and the green of the trees in the backyard looks so nice. I bet you can see the new light fixture through the archway when you come in through the front door. It'll knock those house-buyers right on their butts the minute they come in!

The Realtor came over and had a few suggestions, but it doesn't sound like listing is too far off. The carpet needs to be removed from the stairs (done- Dad and my brother took care of it, my younger sisters pulled up staples), This fixture needed to be put up (done- thanks Dad) bathroom tiles need to be finished (my brother pulled up the old ones, new ones coming soon), and a broken window upstairs needs to have the glass replaced. Mom and my older sister painted the doors upstairs and started painting the trim in the South-East bedroom. It's really turned into a family project! Thanks for your help everyone, much love!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Whose House is THIS?

Mom emailed me more photos today. I was floored. Shocked. Stunned. My jaw literally dropped. Did she break into someone else's place and snap some photos? I wasn't prepared for the sight of completed projects. One word: KITCHEN!!! I'm going to do before and afters of the pictures so those of you joining in late (or who need a refresher) can see the extent of the changes. I'm still blown away.

The Realtor wasn't able to come today because she had to show 20 houses to someone from out of town. Yes, in one day. I gave her my sympathies. Mom didn't want to start painting in case she came, as there would be a big mess, so she and my sisters spent much of the day cleaning. I'm still not sure how she got the wood floors to look that good. They looked like garbage while I was there, but that most likely has more to do with my cleaning deficiencies. I think Mom said the Realtor will be coming tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be hearing back soon.

Mom mentioned in the end of her email, "It is going to be hard to see the house get sold...... I have become attached to it!" I didn't even need to read that because as soon as I saw that there were curtains hanging in the kitchen I knew. The house is similar in style and layout to Dad and Mom's first house after they got married. Their house was much cooler though with oak built-ins and it was in much better condition. I know, just get to the pictures, right?

The upstairs bathroom really just needed to have a good cleaning and accessories to get it market ready. I don't know where she found it, but that's the perfect shower curtain. Almost makes the stupid blue tiles look like they should be there!

After:Upstairs Hall: New paint, new wall on the West side with replacement doors and trim.

Saved the best for last for you guys. The kitchen. Who wouldn't want this kitchen now? New appliances, new paint, new hardware, new faucet, new flooring. New curtains!?! (Mom's officially attached now!)

It's so amazing. I wish I could just get the house picked up and dropped in Manhattan! I'm very excited for my next talk with my Realtor just to hear what she says. I think a listing isn't too far off! Again, hopefully up a few k's from her earlier estimate... still dreaming right?

Update Up North

Mom sent me some photos the other day of her progress painting in the house. She's been working on the upstairs hallway and, might I add, doing a fantastic job. The trim received a fresh coat of crisp white paint and the walls are now enjoying a seller-friendly khaki that extends up from the living room. She said that Dad's finishing up a little plaster work on the ceiling so that will get a coat of white in a little while. The white for the doors were on her agenda for today.

I thought, instead of just showing the most recent photos of the hallway, I would take us back to last summer. Wait! I've almost had this place a year now! That is so weird to think about.

At any rate, the West side of the hallway: a fairly big transformation I'd say.

before:framing in the wall between the bedroom and the hallway:
a little drywall:
doors and trim:and finally paint!Looks like that wall's been there for 80 years doesn't it?

Now the East side. All we really needed here was to take off the door to the stairway and paint.

and after:
I hope you noticed in that last set of photos how the stairwell went from 70's paneling to plaster.

This was kind of fun to see. I might have to post some other progression photos from other projects.

I called my Realtor this morning and she is going to swing by the house this afternoon and take a look around. I really trust her judgment and I know she'll give it to me straight. She'll let me know what needs to be done still and what isn't worth the work for the sale. Last time she was in the house was back in the tail-end of April so I'm pretty sure that she will be shocked to see how it looks now. I can't wait to hear what she thinks and I'm even more excited to get the house on the market. Maybe it will even be looking better than she thought and we can bump up that listing price a little. Hey, a broke New Yorker can dream, can't he?