Sunday, February 22, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

I think I'm in love...

...but as with all love, there are problems.

We went and looked at this gem on Wednesday. It is located on this charming cul de sac in the city, right near Byrd Park, a local institution. Look at that wonderful center fountain!

Penny even found a wonderful old post card of the park:

It is in our price range (sort of) and the location cannot be beat. A fabulous park just beyond the front door, restaurants and shops within walking distance, that lovely cul de sac filled with unique architectural jems, what's not to love?

Then, we went inside. Not only is every inch of this place covered in paneling circa 1963, most of it is harvest gold. All of the woodwork is painted harvest gold as well. Take a look:
The Entry
I adore this small window in the entry.

The entry opens up to the staircase.
The living room is off to the left with a fireplace.
Off to the right is the dining room, kitchen, and closed in back porch.Get a load of the cornice boards.

And the kitchen is advertised as having stainless steel appliances. The door leads to the back yard. That plaid is spectacular.

Let's go upstairs and look at the bedrooms and bathrooms. First we'll pass this pristine piece of vintage lighting:

Into the master bedroom, the harvest yellow finally relents to another color scheme: Yes. That is pickled green paneling combined with a green faux toile papered paneling. Up close:
The master bath has some repair issues, but isn't totally horrible. I actually really like the old hex tiles.

The second bath is swathed in harvest gold. Wondering who thought a yellow toilet was a brilliant design decision makes me wonder. But what really keeps me up at night is that thousands of people bought into this idea and installed them!

The second bedroom's best feature is that it leads out to the fabulous rooftop deck. Running a close second is the delightful shag carpeting and the BLUE pickled paneling. Who knew they pickled paneling blue? There are two more smaller bedrooms, but I did not get good pics of those.

The basement might have been a bit scary, but had been cleaned up pretty well. The plaster ceiling is damaged and needs to be pulled down.

So, what's to love about this house. She has great bones, good flow, and a spectacular location. It needs a lot of love to bring it back from the brink. I love the challenge of it and I think it would be a great investment as well. Who's up for a 70s party and then a demo party?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Looking at Houses

So, this morning we went to go look at this house in our preferred neighborhood.

It is listed at the very top of our price range in a fairly modest neighborhood, $265,000. At this price, we expect that everything will be done, updated, refinished and move in ready.

We had been recently admiring this house which was the basis for our assumption on price. It was listed at $239,950.
It is a huge four bedroom, four bathroom American Foursquare. It had been completely gutted and renovated. All new systems, new kitchen, new roof, all done. It is on a good block just a few hundred feet from a large park.

So, we had high hopes for this brick house today. It is also on a good block, corner lot, a block and half away from the same park. This is what we saw:

From the street, not so bad.

As we got closer, we could see some issues starting to emerge on the outside but exteriors can be a bit more difficult to keep up than interiors. Some water damage on the soffit and some stucco issues on the porch.

Let's go inside and see what we can see, shall we?

Would you look at those entryway floors! What was that?

And that's me trying to take in the living room/dining room combo? And oh, I how I wish blogs had "smell-o-vision" technology. It smelled like a cross between hair straightener solution, lysol spray, and church lady perfume. And the house was doused in it! And check out the double sided Chesterfield sofa. Who puts that in their living room??

It was at this point that we start to hear voices. Plural. Several. Kids mostly. And the realtor yells up the stairs that we're here and looking at the house. A teenaged boy comes down the stairs saying that he and his siblings will be leaving because they are off for the holiday. It was an awkward moment to say the least. Especially because we have already commented none too complimentary things about the house so far. Like I said, awkward.

Someone, sometime had ripped out the original French doors and replaced it with this ugly rectangular opening with those attractive planters between the front room and back room.

More living room. Can I just say here that every surface was covered in wallpaper, throughout the house. And not in a good way.

It baffles me that people put their house on the market and do nothing to make it marketable like declutter and depersonalize. Isn't this common knowledge these days?

This is the downstairs bathroom. Love that groovy metalic wall paper. And tell me, who thought it was okay to make bathroom fixtures in yellow. Really? Yellow. Who thought that was a good color?

And let's move onto the kitchen. All the particleboard uppers had been covered in some sort of stainless steel, but they had never been finished around the edges. The floor, and I am so sad I didn't get a picture of this, was tiled recently. And in the center, they had added decorative medallion wall tiles that had raised high relief of neo-classical baskets. Weird.

They didn't bother to move the fridge so they just tiled around it.

The original porch had been closed in to make an odd little dining nook and a sun room. I personally love how they have recreated the "Hall of Justice" in the sun room.

This is the upstairs bathroom. Spectacularly craptastic.

The basement was incredibly scary. Beyond scary. There were like three different furnaces. A very scary glass block bar. Just very scary:

So, it was a grand disappointment, to say the least. They must have been high to think of pricing this place where they did. It needs everything and a huge amount of work. It will sit like that for a very long time. Given our tight budget, I'm more than willing to take on a project house, but this lacks the really neat stuff I love in these houses, namely the French doors, and those wide open entries with grand staircases. We shall keep looking and I shall continue to document it all!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Breezeway/Florida Room

This is a slightly awkward room. It is exactly eight feet wide and just over twenty feet long, running the entire width of the house. So, it's long and narrow. It separates the rest of the house from the garage. On one end is a sliding glass door leading toward the back yard. On the other a set of three jalousie windows (which I abhor) that look toward the front yard.. The window on the left side is over the kitchen sink.

Several years ago, I decided to paint the dark red brick to lighten the room and make it a bit more cheerful and less dark and dank. What a nightmare. I made so many mistakes! I think that is the one and only time I've ever cried over paint. It took forever to paint as the brick is highly textured and I had no clue about how to paint it. I also picked a blue and I'm not a blue fan. Then, I also picked the wrong sheen, gloss. Why I thought gloss would be right out there is still a mystery to me. I also picked a darker, greyer tone for the trim. When I was all done, it looked like a cross between a battleship and a pool locker room. I repainted the trim to the lighter blue and trimmed out several other things in a bright spring green. I also painted much of my furniture in there the same green, or a bright orange. I was going for a beachy, island look. Don't ask me why. I've since gotten rid of the old brass ceiling fan, painted all the trim a nice bright white, and left it at that. We use this room as a place for morning coffee in the spring and fall when it's a bit too chilly to go outdoors. Mostly however, we use the room as a large dog house. There's a doggy door in the slider and it allows the animals to come and get out of the weather. It also serves as a greenhouse for my ever shrinking house plant collection.

The floor is covered in bamboo mat-rug things we found on clearance. The underfloor is concrete and the bamboo is hard wearing and looks neat and clean.


The master bedroom: not huge, but it fits a king bed and side tables easily.

The second bedroom. We used to use it as a walk in closet but have pulled down the shelves, repainted, and staged it as a bedroom.

Third Bedroom/Office: We installed two floor to ceiling bookshelves and use this room as an office. Neither of us have extended family and have little need for a guest bedroom. Besides, the house is small and we need to use the space more efficiently. Directly to the left, just outside the frame of the picture is a second, smaller closet. Originally, this room was dark with the old knotty pine paneling with its orange-y shellac. I love how fresh and clean it looks now. This photo was taken in the doorway that leads directly to the kitchen. Down the hallway you can see the entrance to the master on the left. At the end of the hallway is the second bedroom. Off to the right is the bathroom.