DISCLOSURE: This post is loooooooong. Think War and Peace, only if Tolstoy had written about tightening his Taco Bell budget so he could install new flooring instead of the invasion of Russia. Or whatever War and Peace is about. It’s been a while.
Basically, if long posts filled with pictures and whining aren’t your jam, you may want to move on to something else. Might I suggest looking at sports photos with kittens instead of balls?
So yeah, this house. It’s pretty much your run-of-the mill, 3 bed/2 bath ranch home, but what really sold it for us was its location (corner lot at the top of a hill in an awesome neighborhood), the huge deck with a view of Mt. Shasta, and the fact that the price was so ridiculously low. I’ve mentioned this before, I think, but our mortgage is less than the rent was for my old 2-bedroom apartment.
Part of the reason for the low price is that it was a foreclosure, and the former owners took pretty much everything that wasn’t nailed down – the fridge, dishwasher, shower heads, even the door to the wood stove. Which brings me to the next reason it was so cheap – the listing agent apparently thought the wood stove was the only heat source, and so he priced it accordingly. And then lowered the price by another $10,000 the night before we made an offer. He didn’t know he made that mistake until our broker said he was surprised the listing only included “wood heat,” and the listing agent was like WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. So that was fun. Anyway, the great price means we will be able to make some upgrades. We’ll have to decrease our discretionary spending (I’ll miss you, Steak Cantina Bowl), but if we stick to a budget and take it one project at a time, it’ll be do-able.
I tried to take pictures in every room/living area of the house, and instead of regurgitate our giant TO-DO list all in one chunk, I’m just going to note under each picture what we plan to do in that specific area. Besides “drink all the rum and not think about how much money we’re spending.”
Exterior! Our main fixes out here include new paint – we’re thinking gray with white trim and I’m trying to convince Dave we need a bright front door. Like maybe yellow. He kind of hates the idea, so I’ll probably wind up doing the “mature” thing and just paint it when he’s gone so he’s stuck with it. We’ll probably wait to paint the exterior until next spring, since rainy weather will be here soon. Also, money. It does not grow on trees. I wish it grew on dead grass though.
The lawn was nice and green just a few months ago, so I think once we start watering again it’ll bounce back. We also plan to add flower boxes below the two shuttered windows, and plant some stuff along the left side of the walkway in that planter box.
It does not bode well that we’re not even inside the house and I’m already exhausted.
The entry! Obviously that “light fixture” will be replaced, and yes, those awful popcorn ceilings continue throughout almost the whole house. Oh, 1980s decor. We’ve gone back and forth on whether to get rid of the popcorn right away, but I think we’re going to hold off and do it down the line. I’d rather have fresh paint and new floors first. That awful green wall color will be replaced with dark gray, and the baseboards will be painted white.
To the left of the entry is the kitchen, which opens out into the dining area. Sadly, we are excited about this meager counter space, since it’s like triple the counter space we are currently living with. Eventually I think we may paint the cabinets white and add some dark knobs/pulls to the doors, but there are more pressing issues to take care of first.
Issues like this giant hole where the dishwasher used to be. For now, we’re thinking of storing the trashcan in the hole and covering the front with a tension rod/curtain. I’m used to washing dishes by hand, and frankly I’d rather save money for the future therapy I’ll need to cope with this house project than spend it on a dishwasher. Also, the former owners were apparently attached to that one cupboard door, since they took it with them and left all the others. We plan to just keep it open and store our cookbooks in there until we come up with a better plan (which means they will probably stay there forever).
Before you feel bad for the former residents that I’m calling dirtbags, know that these people seriously left SHIT on the carpets. Not shit as in junk or dirt, but shit as in ACTUAL FECES. Dave thinks it was human crap, but I wasn’t interested in analyzing it very closely so I’m going to just take his word for it that somebody took an anger dump in the living room and then tracked it all over the house. And let their kids color all over the walls. And generally just trashed the place because they were pissed.
ANYWAY, our house does not have a refrigerator. I tried to convince Dave we’d be fine with a couple of those styrofoam coolers they sell at gas stations, but Mr. Fancy insists on living like a king so I guess we’ll be forking out money for a fridge. (That’s him, putting out the vibe over there by the sink.) The stove is in good condition, but our current one is nicer, so we’ll be bringing that one with us and selling this one on Craigslist.
This little pantry area is around the corner next to the garage door. We’re not doing much here except painting. And stockpiling it with spam and Velveeta Shells and Cheese because that’s all we’ll be able to afford for the next six months.
This is the dining area, and as you can see, we’ve got kind of a “Santa’s Workshop” vibe going on with our green and red walls. Hopefully within a week or two, this will all be a nice, dark gray with white trim. We’re thinking of doing a bar in that little alcove. The washer/dryer are on the other side of that wall, so plumbing should be pretty simple (so I’m told), and Dave thinks his grandpa can do the construction for us. Our table will go in that open space in front of the alcove, and we clearly need a light fixture for above the table where those wires are poking out. I think Dave will be in charge of that project, since my knowledge of wiring extends to holding them while pretending to be Nic Cage diffusing a bomb.
Living room! As you can see, that carpet is NASTY. We are ripping up EVERYTHING, even the existing flooring in the kitchen/dining area, and replacing it with a darker, coffee-colored wood laminate. And if you’re judging me for using laminate instead of hardwood, please email me so I can tell you where to send your “Buy Heather Real Hardwood” donation check.
As for the stove/hearth, I think it might look cool to paint the bricks white, but I’m going to think about it a little more before going through with it. I plan to just put candles in the wood stove for now, since we’ll probably use the central heat this winter. Dave is trying to convince me that we should make it into a fish tank. I think his goal might be to turn our home into Pee Wee’s Playhouse.
The deck! This guy needs to be sanded/stained. We eventually want to build a bar-height table around the tree. Normally there is a view of Mt. Shasta out there, but pretty much all of Southern Oregon is on fire right now and you can’t see it through the smoke. Stop ruining my life, OREGON.
The back of the house as seen from the deck. The gate needs to be fixed, the back of the house is not supposed to be the color of Snooki’s tan, and if the insurance company sends a rep over and they see that branch growing into the chimney, they will shit their pants. And then raise our policy. We’re taking care of the branch ASAP, and the rest of it will likely be put on the back burner for a bit.
Guest bath. As you can see, there is no shower head installed. Did people not shower in the 80s? Since making this tub into a shower will involve tiling up most of the wall and doing something to protect that window sill, my short-term fix will consist of setting a Big Gulp cup on the edge of the tub so our house guests can scoop up water to wash their hair. Who wants to come visit??
Bedroom one, aka Dave’s “game room.” With new flooring and fresh paint, it should look as good as a room featuring a gamer chair possibly can. (I feel like after I denied him his precious rotisserie hot dog cooker, I kind of have to give in on the gamer chair, right?)
Bedroom two, which will also be getting new flooring and paint. This will be the guest bedroom/my craft room. Just in case I feel like sitting down for a nice crafting session after a long day of back-breaking manual labor around the house. I know what you’re thinking and yes, we did pay extra for that plastic solar system.
This is the left wall of the master bedroom. Again, new flooring and paint will go here. Am I crazy for wanting to remove those closet doors and replace them with a tension rod and curtains? I just hate how big and blocky they are.
The right wall (looks out onto the front yard).
The attached bath. I don’t know what that crap on the wall is, but it’s going. I’d like to mount a TV on that wall someday.
And finally, a closer look at the bathroom attached to the master bedroom. It’s small, but in good shape. We”ll need to buy a shower head/curtain/curtain rod asap, but I’m not too concerned about it on account of AT LEAST THERE’S A SHOWER IN THERE. We’ll eventually replace the linoleum in both bathrooms, but that’s pretty low on our priority list right now.
So that’s the tour! We’re excited to get started, even though it’s going to be hard to juggle all of this with me working full-time and Dave working part-time and going to school. We’ve never done this whole fix-up-a-house thing before, so if any of our ideas are dumb, please feel free to set us straight in the comments. Or even better, come do it for us. There’s a Big Gulp cup in the guest bathroom with your name on it.