ysabetwordsmith recently posted her poem “Picket Fence Committee” about the Monster House, my favorite of her settings and a house that is itself a fixer-upper. This topic is near and dear to my heart right now, for probably obvious reasons.
The House we bought is, by all definitions of the word, a fixer-upper. The bones are solid – foundation, walls, roof – but the inside is quirky, uneven, and rather ugly.
This means two things to us: first, we got the house for less than the appraised value, at an amount that makes the mortgage plus all associated fees (taxes, insurance) no more than our current rent. That gives us a lot of financial wiggle room.
Second, and perhaps more importantly: when we are done, this house will have our stamp on it, un-debatably. We will have ripped out the floors, the walls, the ceilings, some of the fixtures if not all of them, some of the windows and most of the trim, and replaced them – mostly by ourselves; we’re handy people and like doing things like this – with things that suit us.
The bedroom will be painted, a closet added, giraffe carpet. The back room will be turned into a gallery with black walls above the chair rail for the high-contrast art we both like. Most of the paneling will go. Ceilings up, floors down, attic space pushed out. We’ll put in new light fixtures (albeit short ones), and possibly knock out some walls.
It’s like building a house, only very slowly, and getting to live in it while we do it.
And it is a giant craft project – sanding, staining, painting, reflooring, nailing, screwing (hee). And that makes it 100 times more exciting – and sometimes a bit more frustrating – than moving into a new home someone else did all the work on.
Our House has quirks. When we’re not swearing over them, we love laughing over them – much like with our friends. It’s what makes it ours.
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Plus, delicious, delicious equity.
Yes 🙂 Lots and lots of equity.
Enjoy the project! 🙂
Thank you very much!!
I’m not sure how much this advice applies to your part of the world – before you rip out any original timber work check what it is. A lot of home renovators in inner Sydney twenty or so years ago were gaily ripping out and throwing away skirting boards made of this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toona_ciliata not realising what they had. A carpenter I knew at the time used to rescue this wood from garbage skips on footpaths. Does anything similar apply in your part of the world? Not saying you shouldn’t rip away if you really don’t want it or it’s in the wrong place but if it’s rare and these days unobtainable you could reuse it or even sell it…
i don’t know if we have anything like that, either, but the beams are from a barn even older than the house. They’re staying. 😀
Ooooh! Nice. (The people who ripped out red cedar also ripped out sound original 1800’s wrought iron. Some people sould not be let loose with tools…)
Oy. SOme people have no soul