This Old House

img_4755For a year now we’ve been intentionally avoiding the (proverbial) elephant on the farm. With so many projects to tackle, the house was a low priority.  But with the slow winter season and a growing impatience with the derelict accommodations, I got antsy.  So I’m starting a series of posts on our progress with our little Fixer Upper.  What we lack in Joanna Gaines style, we make up for in desperation determination.

The real debate was facelift or forklift.   To doze or not to doze?  A brief overview of the house’s shortcomings:

  • Gaping holes & rampant rot in the siding
  • Chicken-barn quality roofing, leaking no doubt
  • Moldy carpeting
  • Scrabble tile style kitchen flooring
  • Condemnable deck rot
  • 7′ bedroom ceilings
  • No heat or air conditioning
  • Outdoor water heater (really)
  • Live, exposed wiring in walls/crawlspace

It has good bones.  Really – I found them in the crawlspace.

The usual.  Now this is no condemnation of simple living – no one  grows up disadvantaged because of laminate countertops or faux brick.  But many of these were safety issues.  The most egregious was the power cord for the walk-in tub which was trapped under the metal stabilizer leg – complete with frayed wires and char marks on the floor.  Yikes.


Welcome mat to critters

Back in November we made the decision to renovate after talking with several contractors who agreed that there were somethings worth keeping.  That, plus the upfront $10k demolition.  Can’t we put that money towards improving instead of removing?  Maybe.

Our biggest stroke of luck came through the woods.  We discovered a nearby neighbor with the woodworking skill of Norm Abrams.  “Gary”, as we’ll call him (no real names here to hoard protect the gift), is our leader.  We = hapless manual labor.  Did I mention we are doing the demo ourselves?  All of it.  Paul does the power tools.  I wield the pry bar and wheelbarrow.  The kids stay absent to avoid work.  (Actually Spaghetti likes to get all HGTV and obliterate drywall into dust.  Fun clean up.)


Master bath (also the kids & guest bath)

Our goal is to have the bulk of the work finished before the business of spring planting/ bee swarm season rolls around.  I optimistically asked Gary “February?”  🙂  “March?”  🙂  I finally resorted to bribery, promising a venison tenderloin dinner for him and his wife once the job was complete.  A flicker of interest but no guarantees.   Bear in mind that our portion of = work is being done at night by floodlight or on weekends.  Paul still has a responsible job to fund this venture.  Thank you baby.

So stay tuned to follow our adventure and see where this train takes us.  With any luck, we’ll be in by next November!





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