Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lucky Number 7 -The Duplex Before and After

I don't think we had any idea what we were getting into when we started on the duplex.  It was a foreclosure and I'd like to blame the lack of running water and electricity that kept us from seeing the warning signs!  But we certainly learned a lot about what can happen to a building that has been vacant for 4 years.  It takes quite a toll!

The challenges included a deck that was completely rotted away.

Asbestos on the pipes that cost a fortune to remediate to the EPA standards (it was a big job and included a surprise inspection from the EPA - story here).

Knob and tube wiring throughout (click here for the rest of the story).

A basement that looked like a wading pool in a heavy rain, which required regrading the entire yard.

And an additional kitchen install that we didn't originally plan on, due to lack of plumbing vents and crumbling walls when we jacked up the sagging floors.

But the finished product is a beauty!  As usual, Waterhouse Builders did a beautiful job.   Check out the 'Owner's Unit' in this video.

And here are the before and after photos of the 'Tenant's Unit'.

The living room and dining room were both nice sized rooms.  But they felt totally cut off from the kitchen, which was sequestered in the back of the house.   So we had some work to do to create a more open floor plan.

The solution was to move the antique china hutch a few feet to the right and eliminate a couple of walls (I make it sound so simple, they were load bearing and it was a lot of work!  The whole story is here).

Living Room with original stained glass window
And suddenly the whole space feels open and bright - particularly the hallway, which became big and open to the kitchen.

The kitchen was transformed, when we gutted the old space and updated it with new cabinetry, quartz countertops and a custom backsplash.  The only thing that stayed in the same place were the door and windows (although they were replaced with new, energy efficient ones).

With the custom marble and subway tile, light and open shelving installed

View towards the Dining Room - Before the hallway was opened up and the bedroom door closed to provide room for the range and butcher block peninsula.  

There were two small bedrooms off of the kitchen, which we decided to combine and create one large bedroom.  You can see them both in the photo to the left (gold and red!).
The finished bedroom is huge (12 x 20) with double closets and plenty of space for everything!

The first floor bathroom also got a complete upgrade.

But the biggest changes were upstairs.  We started with a dark small bedroom at the end of a dingy hallway - that got transformed into a master suite.

There was a surprising amount of unused space in the attic.  We decided to take advantage of it and increase the footprint of the space by 50%.

The master bedroom - before.  We opened up the far left wall, installed a skylight to make the space light and inviting, and installed new wall to wall carpeting (the old flooring was used on the first floor, to patch all the spaces from the wall removal).

The master bath - before (aka the attic space)

Much better than attic space - don't you think? 

And the renovations didn't stop on the interior.  We had to rip off the old decks and the scary staircase that ended in mid air and build two new decks with a balcony off of the other duplex unit (the full story is here).

The trim work on the deck makes it a real show piece.

We decided not to sell this house and rent it instead.  As you can probably guess, it didn't take us long to find renters!  Who can resist moving into a brand new space, with all the antique charm of the original?

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  1. Beautiful Project! Sign me up for the next one!

  2. So lovely and fresh! What does the back garden look like now? What sort of landscaping?

  3. It is lovely! Sometimes you don't know you are getting into, but it is sure worth it!

  4. Thanks! We were very happy with the final result! The back yard is a decent size - although the two car garage takes up a lot of room. Our tenants are planning to install raised beds to do some gardening this summer!

  5. Love your website and work. Are you able to provide plans for some of these renos or would you be interested in taking a trip to Cincinnati to help my husband and I understand the potential of our 1940s cape cod??

    1. Hi Kenley - if you look through the posts for each home, I do include all the floor plans. Hopefully that will give you some ideas. Cincinnati is kind of a long commute :-) Best of luck!


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